Monday, July 14, 2008

Hampton Hawes - Playin' In the Yard

This live LP mostly features Hampton Haweson electric piano, performing at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival in a trio with electric bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Kenny Clarke. Hawes interprets three of his originals, Sonny Rollins' catchy "Playin' In the Yard," and "Stella By Starlight." Although well-played, little memorable occurs, and Hawes never did sound as distinctive on keyboards as he did on acoustic piano.

1. Playin' In the Yard
2. Double Trouble
3. Pink Peaches
4. De De
5. Stella by Starlight


Friday, July 4, 2008

Melvyn Price - Rhythm and Blues

The late ’60s were an explosive time in America. Flower power was blooming, civil rights were in full swing, and while American soldiers were fighting in Vietnam, American musicians were creating several brands of rebellious music back home. One such musician, a trombonist/conga player from Pontiac, Michigan, had grown weary of his nation’s volatile political climate. While evading the draft, Price traveled a well-worn path overseas where he toured Europe with a set of congas on his back. Eventually, he befriended a young Swedish girl with whom he would return to the States. Their stay, however, would be brief. With the birth of Melvyn’s first child on the horizon and social tensions mounting, the two longed to return to a country more befitting for a young family.

In the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Price set sail for Sweden where he immediately began gigging with Scandinavia’s jet-set jazz musicians. Although Price had cut his teeth in Motown, the folk explosion of the mid-’60s and Afro-Cuban music’s increasing visibility were both making major impacts on Price’s musical leanings. In 1974, after a pair of primarily percussive albums intended to aid dance instruction, Price composed and recorded his masterpiece, Rhythm and Blues, released on his own Meldor label. The music was simple, yet inspiring, pairing Sweden’s disciplined session players with imported Latin-American percussionists. Rhythm and Blues was never widely distributed abroad, and has, in recent years, fetched top dollar at auction.

1. Voodoo Love Dance
2. Toward Brazil
3. Behind Kungstradgarden
4. Happiness Is ...
5. Five O'Clock Traffic
6. Last Train


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stanley Turrentine - La Place

1. Terrible T.
2. Cruisin'
3. Night Breeze
4. Take 4
5. Touching
6. La Place Street
7. Sparkle


Eddie Henderson - Realization

Although the electric Herbie Hancock Sextet (and septet) left only a slim three-album discography on Warner Bros. and Columbia, you can expand it considerably by adding the two LPs that Eddie Henderson made as a leader on Capricorn -- a Georgia rock label known mostly for recording the Allman Brothers. Henderson's band is, in fact, the Hancock Septet minus Julian Priester with a second drummer (Lenny White) added, and they play the same brand of fantastic, electronically charged, intergalactic jazz-rock.

Henderson extends and develops the Hancock approach, sputtering and moving laconically about in a manner greatly affected by Miles Davis but more ebullient in tone. There are five compositions here, most of them by Henderson, with a contribution from Hancock (the subtly beautiful "Revelation") and the delicately textured "Anua" from Bennie Maupin. The drumming (from White and Billy Hart) is brilliantly propulsive; Hancock logs a lot of solo time and gets to play with his Echoplex, while Patrick Gleeson slips in mind-blowing streaks and whooshes of sound from his Moog and ARP synthesizers. This is one of the great lost treasures of the jazz-rock era; the music is a bit looser than that of the Hancock records yet every bit as invigorating and forward-thrusting.

1. Scorpio - Libra
2. Mars in Libra
3. Anua
4. Spiritual Awakening
5. Revelation - Realization