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Showing posts from June, 2013

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messenger: Hard Bop, Columbia 6 Eye Vinyl, 1957

I can't think of an album more aptly titled than this session from 1957, Hard Bop.

 Hard bop, a term used to describe this harder and more blues based sound opposed to be-bop, which was a lighter yet more complex music that involved rapid chord changes .

Hard Bopthe album, on Columbia Records was one of the few Art cut for the label.

 Jackie McLean on alto sax, and Bill Hardman on trumpet offer a front line support that was one of Blakey's more underrated units.

This, along with the RCA Victor album A Night in Tunisia "not the Blue Note Album" are fine example of this band.

The pictured vinyl copy  is one I found at a Catholic charities thrift shop. I remember  that day fondly, as I spent a good 200 dollars in there, with about 50 of the 100 records I found going directly into my collection.

 A bunch of rare big band mostly from Clare Fischer, Johnny Richards, and Stan Kenton. These were all first presses in excellent condition.

Trumpeter Bill Hardman is a name you …

John Coltrane: Kulu Se Mama, 1967 Vinyl on Impulse Records

John Coltrane's Kulu Se Mama is one of those later period Coltrane albums that really seems to draw a line between the critics.

 Many would not accept anything after A Love Supreme, and frankly I don't think they could get past anything with an over blow or atonal sound.

Actually Kulu Se Mama turns out to be a bit of a world music album along with some fine free elements.

The title track composed by the vocalist Juno Lewis is the meat of the album and happens to be one of the first Coltrane tracks the caught my ear. The pulsating, and droning percussion of Lewis, and eventually the wild sax of Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders drives this music to very exhilarating heights.

The title track sounds modern and contemporary by today's standards, the world music vibes would fit right in on a college student's iPod.

The other 2 tracks on the original Impulse vinyl are "Vigil" and "Welcome", they are classic quartet tracks, and show the quartet pushing the bou…

Archie Shepp Four for Trane on Vinyl

Archie Shepp's Four for Trane is one of those free jazz records that is an easy jumping of point for straight ahead jazz fans.

 I always thought Four for Trane owed more to Ornette Coleman than John Coltrane.

The group interplay just reminds me of that type of jazz Coleman brought to jazz 8 years earlier, but the advances here are Shepp's husky tone, and the reworkings of 4 tracks Coltrane originally did for Atlantic Records.

"Syeeda's Song Flute"is the highlight of the album in my mind.  I love the blues gospel rawness of the track, very advanced playing but clearly more rooted in tradition than one would think given the reputation of the new thing movement.

"Mr. Symms" and "Cousin Mary" get fresh make overs, you will recognize the compositions though, I keep thinking back to that Ornette Coltrane quartet influence,  it is there.

The lone Shepp number here is the seriously felt "Rufus, Swung His Face at Last to the Wind, Then His Neck Sna…