Currently viewing the tag: "Album Feature"

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Who is Cal Massey, well let me tell you how I found out. I was sitting back/relaxing and listening to one of my favorite albums of Lee Morgan, “Lee-Way” and was looking through all the credits to see if Lee Morgan had composed any of the songs. I noticed that he had composed one of the songs, “The Lion and the Wolf” and Jackie McLean had also, “Midtown Blues” but the other two, “These Are Soulful Days” and “Nakatini Suite” had the name “Massey” listed beside them. For curiosity sake, I did a quick search on Cal Massey and learned about a very underrated and rarely mentioned trumpet player who only recorded one album as a leader but more importantly, I found out that he was a great composer of Jazz songs. I will be featuring this standalone masterpiece which was recorded in 1961, “Blues to Coltrane.” Unfortunately for all Jazz fans, this album was not released until 1987! I personally consider this to be a crime and you will probably feel the same when you hear it for yourself. I’m glad that I was able to find out more about Cal Massey and will be more than honored to share this album play with the Jazz Con Class listeners. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the album:

Recorded in 1961, but not released until 1987, BLUES TO COLTRANE was the only recording session Massey led. Cal was one of the unsung heroes of jazz, not even rating a mention in “All Music Guide,” but recognized by connoisseurs as a master of beautiful, melodic and soulful trumpet playing. This belated first release of an album recorded almost half a century All songs written by Cal Massey. Recorded at Nola Penthouse Sound Studios, New York on January 13, 1961…..Read More

Biography of Cal Massey:

There’s some doubt about the birth date of composer and trumpeter Cal Massey, with some accounts having him born on January 11, 1928. But there’s no question about his ability as a composer; Massey wrote some poignant and compelling material, and had works recorded by John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Lee Morgan, Philly Joe Jones, and Archie Shepp, among others. Some Massey numbers that were cut included “Bakai” by Coltrane, “Fiesta” by Jones, “Assunta, Father and Son” by Hubbard, “Message from Trane” by McLean, and “Cry of My People” by Shepp. Massey studied trumpet with Freddie Webster and worked in big bands led by Jay McShann, Jimmy Heath, and Billie Holiday….Learn More

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JazzCrusadersAtTheLighthouse(1962)FeaturedPost

Wow! The more you hear this dynamic Jazz band play, the more you love them. I have featured them before, specifically “The Freedom Album” which was recorded “live” in 1966. This one of course, is live also and was recorded even earlier, in 1962. The name of this featured album is “The Jazz Crusaders at the Lighthouse” and is a real beauty! The extraordinary aspect of  the Jazz Crusaders and separates them from the others is their trombone lead style. Wayne Henderson is not a household name when it comes to Jazz greats but after hearing him, anyone in their right musical mind will immediately begin to match and compare him to the well known trombonists. Come to think about it, the Jazz Crusaders, as a whole could match up with any other band in the history of Jazz, Outstanding!! Check the schedule link for play times and enjoy, you will!!

About the Album:

Recorded in 1962, before Buster Williams joined the band, Victor Gaskin fills the bass chair here and is not credited on the front sleeve with the other members. The program for At the Lighthouse is a series of tunes mostly by the band’s members including the hard swinging hard bop of Wayne Henderson’s “Congolese Sermon,” Joe Sample’s fine “Weather Beat,” and Stix Hooper’s “Blues for Ramona.” There is also a fine read of Jackie McLean’s “Appointment in Ghana,” with its killer head, originally written for trumpet and alto, done beautifully here by Henderson’s tough trombone and…….Learn More

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Wayne “Trombone” Henderson Biography:

From his formative years in the Lone Star Republic (Texas) to his present international recording artist status, multi-instrumentalist and producer/composer Wayne Henderson is identified by his ebullient persona and scintillating trombone style. Without sounding rhapsodic, we’re also compelled to emphasize that Henderson’s effervescence, combined with the legendary Jazz Crusaders many smash hit-recordings, is in large part responsible for the cosmic success of these musical icons since the group’s inception in 1961.

More than forty-years ago, Wayne Henderson, along with childhood buddies Wilton Felder, Joe Sample, and Nesbert “Stix”¨ Hooper, formed the nucleus of the Jazz Crusaders/Crusaders. As a fledgling, attending Houston’s Phyllis Wheatley Jr. High School, the precocious Henderson took the lead in sculpting the group’s dazzling style into one that was ground breaking, with considerable eclectic overtones. By fusing elements of jazz, funk, soul, R&B, rock, Latin, and gospel, an iridescent sound emerged with such impact that a musical revolution was unearthed. As the quartet’s cornerstone, Henderson’s objective was to accentuate the straight-ahead (often restrained) jazz sound with other musical styles that, ironically, are the offspring of generic, or classic jazz. As a result of exposure to all of the above-mentioned forms while growing up, Henderson’s transcendent……Read More

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This classic featured album was recorded in 1956 and can be used as a benchmark for those who have any crazy doubt about Sonny Rollins. The name of this album which I will be featuring is “Tenor Madness” and should be in every Jazz lover’s library. Sonny Rollins is accompanied by the already well known John Coltrane and successfully manufacture a historical work of art. Never was a title for a Jazz album so misleading, especially when there are two tenor saxophone players together. The expected and the norm would be intense dueling with a strong emphasis on competitiveness. The title of this album sure implies this but cannot be anymore than the opposite. Both Rollins and Coltrane work in perfect harmony and compromise each other impeccably with their distinct sounds. Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the Album:

It’s interesting to contrast Sonny Rollins’ playing here, backed by the 1956 Miles Davis rhythm section, and his work with Ray Brown/Max Roach Incorporated. Certainly if Clifford Brown hadn’t died that summer in an auto wreck, Rollins and his PLUS FOUR teammates would have continued to rival the creative output of the heralded Davis Quintet.

Here, Rollins and special guest John Coltrane get right down to it on the classic riff “Tenor Madness.” Coltrane is still zeroing in on his sound, while Sonny has found his (for now). Coltrane chases the blue trains, the snakes and the wind on a fulminating solo, ending with a hint of “Stranger In Paradise.” Rollins replies coyly–his sense of space and phrasing more akin to Miles–painting with clouds, patiently elongating his line out of dozens of little melodic motifs, teasing Philly Joe until he busts, finishing with a counterpunching flurry of his own. As Coltrane and Rollins trade riffs and choruses, you can hear them commenting favorably on each others’ inventions until they’re practically one voice………Learn More

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This album feature is considered to be a teaser but the Jazz Con Class listeners will still hear a full hour’s worth. The album’s official name is “Charles Mingus & Eric Dolphy Complete Live in Amsterdam” and is 1 hour and 31 minutes long in its entirety. Three songs of seven will be featured and for a few weeks. My suggestion is to purchase this Jazz collector’s edition, it is one of a kind. Check the schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

The complete long-unavailable concert by Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The concert appears here with the exact performance order for the first time ever on CD, including nearly three minutes of Mingus’ solo on “Fables of Faubus” that were absent from every previous CD issue.  This is the first preserved performance on their 1964 European tour, during which many performances were preserved, mostly by local radio……Read More

Here’s a video of “So Long Eric” (not the same concert):

Anyone with a good knowledge of jazz music would mistakenly think this album was from the Avant Garde era but in fact, it was recorded in 1956. Just proving again how advanced Charles Mingus was and how much influence he actually had on the future of jazz. His attitude towards his fellow band members was to allow them to constantly experiment as they played. Of course, this is referred to as improvising but Mingus left much bigger gaps for the others to fill and on the fly. This album is a excellent example and could be considered as one of his best and ever recorded. The name of this album is Pithecanthropus Erectus and will honorably be featured for all the Jazz Con Class listeners. It will be on the rotation for a couple of weeks, check the schedule link for play times, ENJOY!

Review of Album (All Music):

Pithecanthropus Erectus was Charles Mingus’ breakthrough as a leader, the album where he established himself as a composer of boundless imagination and a fresh new voice that, despite his ambitiously modern concepts, was firmly grounded in jazz tradition. Mingus truly discovered himself after mastering the vocabularies of bop and swing, and with Pithecanthropus Erectus he began seeking new ways to increase the evocative power of the art form and challenge his musicians (who here include altoist Jackie McLean and pianist Mal Waldron) to work outside of convention. The title cut is one of his greatest masterpieces: a four-movement tone poem depicting man’s evolution from pride and accomplishment to hubris and slavery and finally to ultimate destruction. The piece is held together by a haunting, repeated theme and broken up by frenetic, sound-effect-filled interludes that grow darker as man’s spirit sinks lower. It can be a little hard to follow the story line, but the whole thing seethes with a brooding intensity that comes from the soloist’s extraordinary focus on the mood, rather than simply flashing their chops. Mingus’ playful side surfaces on “A Foggy Day (In San Francisco),” which crams numerous sound effects (all from actual instruments) into a highly visual portrait, complete with honking cars, ringing trolleys, sirens, police whistles, change clinking on the sidewalk, and more……Read More

Album Liner Notes:

I remember the stisfaction in Mingus’s voice when he read me, on the phone back then, that section of his notes below dealing with this album’s title composition. He had taken a rather huge theme, on which he had been brooding extramusically for a long time, and had not only transformed it into music but had also brought his colleagues into a sharing of his bold, grim vision. As Mingus explains in his notes, he could not have done that by simply setting score paper in front of his musicians. They had to “learn” it by hearing it from Mingus and then finding their own routes, within his design, to understanding the rise and fall of Pitheconthropus Erectus.

On the other tracks here, and in all of Mingus’s collective discoveries that were to come, his musicians were similarly compelled to dig into themselves. As one Mingus alumnus told me recently, “He would yell at you in the middle of a solo: ‘Stop playing licks and get into yourself!’ Christ, he had more confidence in what we were capable of than we did.”

Here, for instance, you can hear the stretching of Jackie McLean, J. R. Monterose, Mal Waldron, and Willie Jones. And of Mingus himself, of course. In its joy and rage and remembrance of loves post, in its celebration of the life force – Mingus’s was serious music. To paraphrase the English writer on jazz, Valerie Wilmer, it was as serious as his life. As Mingus himself said: “In my music, I’m trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason it’s difficult is because I’m changing all the time.”

Yet, certain themes, certain preoccupations, concerned – and sometimes consumed – Mingus all his life. He often spoke, for instance, of Pithecanthropus Erectus because he often thought of the future of the species. At times he felt, and his music reflected this, that we might yet learn – before it’s too late to learn any thing how shatteringly destructive the false security of the enslaver can be…..Read More

This album is a real beauty with hard hitting improvising from a quartet of legends, showcasing Sonny Rollins and Kenny Dorham. A perfect example of raw hard bop jazz from when it started and with a little leftover bebop to boot! The name of the album is “Moving Out” and will be featured here on Jazz Con Class for about two weeks and then respectively placed in the Hard Bop Playlist. Check the Schedule link for play time and ENJOY!

Following on the heels of his magisterial work with Miles Davis on BAGS’ GROOVE, Sonny Rollins entered Van Gelder Studios with a fire-breathing quintet on August 18, 1954, resulting in four of the five selections which make up MOVING OUT. This session might just as well have been titled “Busting Out,” because MOVING OUT represents a breakthrough for Rollins as a bandleader and an improviser.

Rollins really stretches out on the title tune and “Swingin’ For Bumsy,” playing with a new-found rhythmic command and melodic authority–spreading his wings and flying with Bird-like harmonic declamations, and a dramatic flair all his own. The oft-neglected Kenny Dorham proves a brash soaring foil, but it is the legendary pianist Elmo Hope who really arouses the Heath Blakey axis. Hope’s dense, dancing accompaniements prod the soloists into uncharted waters, while his limber, sprawling improvisations represent a singular school of modern piano, occupying a space somewhere between Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. On the ballad “Silk N’ Satin,” Hope’s brief interlude provides a dark spiritual contrast to Rollins’ romantic yearning, while his blues shouts and broad harmonic brushstrokes on “Solid” inspire Rollins to really dig in and shout……Learn More

This album not only exemplified the power the blues has on Jazz but also opened the doors nice and wide to an endless flourishing future of improvisation for Hard Bop. This Horace Silver album, “Blowin’ the Blues Away” was very advanced considering its date of released, 1959. It’s a fast moving and energetic album. Find out when it will be airing on the Schedule link.

More on Album:

Besides the wildly popular SONG FOR MY FATHER, the second most acclaimed Horace Silver disc is the endlessly enjoyable BLOWIN’ THE BLUES AWAY. This 1959 Blue Note date features the pianist in full stride with a quintet that includes trumpeter Blue Mitchell and saxophonist Junior Cook, two fellow proponents of funky hard bop. The gospel and R&B influence in Silver’s approach is evident as finger-snapping grooves support bouncing melodies that bubble and pop with every chorus. As the title suggests, this music is a celebratory fanfare that washes away the hardships of everyday life.

The explosive title track opens the session with a bang as the group burns through the changes with tight precision and plenty of spirit. The jazzier “The St. Vitus Dance” is a swinging trio cut with hints of an Ellington influence among the bopping lines of Silver’s solo. The most well known tunes here are the lush ballad “Peace,” featuring outstanding work by Mitchell, and the classic “Sister Sadie,” one of the most recorded Silver compositions in the jazz repertoire. Other highlights of this exemplary session are the bebop-flavored “Break City” and the aptly titled ballad “Melancholy Mood.”…..Learn More

I ran into this album just the other day while searching for more Nat Adderley, the mostly unmentioned younger brother of the great Cannonball and an excellent Cornetist. Surprisingly he is featured on the trumpet in this album and is joined by an all-star supporting cast. They are Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, J.J. Johnson and many more. The name of the album Jazz Con Class will be featuring is Sayin’ Somethin’ and consists of 8 songs.

More on album:

Cornetist Nat Adderley was at the peak of his powers in the mid-1960’s. This Atlantic issue has four quintet numbers with tenor-saxophonist Joe Henderson (three also feature pianist Herbie Hancock) plus four tunes in which Nat is part of an 11-piece group. He plays quite well on such songs as “Cantaloupe Island,” “Hippodelphia,” “Gospellete” and even the then-current pop tune “Call Me,” making this set one to search for. ~ Scott Yanow…..Read More

This an interesting statement from Nat Adderley that I found while searching for more information on this album. It also points out the songs each musician participated in:

I have always believed that, no matter what the reason, the music always speaks for itself. I consciously went into this recording with an idea in mind that I wanted to show that music is music. That there is not such a big gap between blues and avant-garde. That the gap is in the labeling of the music rather than the music itself. All music is to be listened to and enjoyed, if possible, and no one should limit himself to just one type of music. If the musician is not limited, the listener should not be limited either. Open-mindedness is the answer. – Nat Adderley……. Learn More

Look forward to listening to the album feature for a couple of weeks, check the Schedule link for play time. ENJOY!

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