AUGUST 31

           GEORGE RUSSELL
          At Beethoven Hall
            
                Recording Date:
                     August 31, 1965


                Personnel:
                      Cameron Brown   B 
                      Don Cherry     TP,CT
                      Ed Blackwell       TP
                      Albert Heath       D
                      Bertil Lovgren    TP
                      Ray Pitts            TS
                      George Russell    P
                      Brian Trentham  TB 


                                                                        LINK

Review by Scott Yanow
This intriguing double LP (the music has not yet been reissued on CD) was innovative composer George Russell's first recording after breaking up his young combo of the early '60s. Recorded in Germany at a concert, Russell (who plays fairly basic piano) is joined by cornetist Don Cherry, trumpeter Bertil Lovgren, trombonist Brian Trentham, tenor saxophonist Ray Pitts, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath for explorations of several lengthy pieces and a remake of "You Are My Sunshine." Most unusual is a suite dedicated to Russell's Lydian concept that includes abstract versions of "Bags' Groove," "Confirmation" and "'Round Midnight."
 

AUGUST 30


          DON BYAS
         Tenor Giant

         Recording Date:
             August 30, 1945 tk 1-4
             September 6, 1945 tk 5-8
             November 1, 1945 tk 9-12

         Personnel:
             Don Byas            TS

             Slam Stewart      B
             Erroll Garner P  1-4,9-12
             Harold West  D  1-4,9-12
            Johnny Guarnieri P  5-8
            J.C. Heard           D  5-8

                                                                                                                                                    LINK
 

Nobody played better tenor sax in the mid-1940s than Don Byas. Byas' running of chord changes and big tone indicated his roots in Coleman Hawkins' style, but Art Tatum also marked him, as Don's use of substitute chords indicates. Harmonically, he was as advanced as the boppers.

Penguin Guide.
A respectful pause for those figures condemned to the limbo of the "transitional". Don Byas dominates the strip of turf mid-way between Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker, combining the old man's vibrato and grouchy tone with Bird's limber solo style and fresh, open diction. Hard these days to recognize just how highly regarded Byas once was, until one actually hears him.

Scott Yanow, from the liner notes.
He left the Basie band in 1943 and became one of the unsung heroes of early bebop, matched - for sheer class and undue neglect - only by Lucky Thompson. To a degree, Byas rode his luck for (like one of those actresses said to be "loved" by the camera); he was always hugely flattered by the microphones of the time. To a large extent Byas is forgotten today. The reason is fairly obvious. In 1946, when he was 33, Byas visited Europe on a tour with Don Redman's Orchestra and decided to settle overseas. Although he worked steadily, Byas' absence from the New York scene resulted in his being overlooked not only in popularity polls, but in history books. His one return to America was fairly uneventful and occurred too late (1970) to correct the oversight.

AUGUST 29

           DEXTER GORDON
            A Swingin' Affair
                      
                   Recording Date: 
                      August 29, 1962

                  Personnel:
                     Sonny Clark       P 
                     Dexter Gordon  TS
                     Billy Higgins       D 
                     Butch Warren    B 

                  LINK







Review by Thom Jurek
Dexter Gordon was on a roll in 1962 when he recorded A Swingin' Affair. Two days earlier he and this same quartet recorded his classic album Go!; the band included pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Billy Higgins. Gordon wrote two of the set's six tunes, the first of which, the Afro-Cuban-flavored "Soy Califa," is a burner. Higgins' drumming double-times the band as Gordon lays out the melody — even his solo doesn't stray far from it and he returns to it repetitively. Clark vamps with beautiful minor-key chords that he then adds to his own solo, moving all around the lyric with his right hand. And Higgins and Warren are truly wonderful on this one. There are also three standards here. Gordon was always a master of them because his own approach to improvisation was essentially one of melodic invention. "Don't Explain" is ushered in by Clark stating the changes; Gordon's low and slow playing is romantic and sensual. On "You Stepped Out of a Dream," Gordon and Clark take the melody and invert it in the bridge; they turn it into a kind of groove as Higgins plays Latin-tinged rhythms throughout. Warren's "The Backbone" is a hard bop groover with a bossa nova flavor, as he and Gordon twin on the tune's head before Dex moves off into his solo. It's easily the best thing here. This is a hot hard bop band, playing a program that's relaxed and mostly upbeat; they even manage to stretch a bit. The Rudy Van Gelder Edition features fine sound but no bonus material.

AUGUST 28

      CHARLIE PARKER
    At New Brunswick, NJ

               Recording Date:
                    August 28, 1950

              Personnel:
                   Charlie Parker   AS
                   unknown band

                 LINK

 

 

 

SummerStage presents Charlie Parker Jazz Festival featuring Archie Shepp Quartet / Madeleine Peyroux / Anat Cohen / The Gerald Clayton Trio

 Tompkins Square Park
100 Avenue A
(at East Seventh Street)
New York, NY  10009
Free admission (all visitors, all hours).
Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 3 pm
The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival annually assembles some of the finest musicians in the world, who reflect Parker’s musical individuality and genius, to promote appreciation for this highly influential and world-renowned artist. The two days of free concerts take place in neighborhoods where Charlie Parker lived and worked, in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park on August 27 and the Lower East Side’s Tompkins Square Park on August 28.

Saxophone player, composer, pianist, singer, activist, poet, playwright Archie Shepp has entertained audiences around the world for nearly 50 years with his multi-instrumental talents. His music highlights the juxtaposition of original black American music: blues and spirituals. At the head of the avant-garde free jazz movement, Shepp combines his own unique style with his inspirations: the wild raspiness of his attacks, his massive sound sculpted by a vibrato mastered in all ranges, his phrases carried to breathlessness, his abrupt level changes, and the intensity of his tempos, but also the velvety tenderness woven into a ballad.

Inspired by the cornerstones of jazz, songstress Madeleine Peyroux began her music career as a teenage busker on the quaint, acoustic streets of Europe, where she enhanced her vocal and guitar skills. Peyroux is best known by her fans for intimately arranged covers of the early American blues and jazz repertoire. With her latest album, Bare Bones, she explores a different realm of expressing herself through a collection of self-penned compositions and collaborations.

An established bandleader and prolific composer, idiomatically conversant with modern and traditional jazz, classical music, Brazilian choro, Argentine tango, and an expansive timeline of Afro-Cuban styles, Anat Cohen has established herself as one of the primary voices of her generation on both the tenor saxophone and clarinet.

Grammy nominated Gerald Clayton, born in the Netherlands to a musical family, was exposed to a variety of music styles at an early age. His passion and talent on the piano was immediate and allowed him to cultivate his dynamic sound with audiences nationally and internationally, while sharing the stage with numerous jazz greats. Clayton’s trio, with Justin Brown (drums) and Joe Sanders (bass), allows him to explore and expand his creativity in music.

AUGUST 27

              DEXTER GORDON
                    Go!
              
                  Recording Date: 
                        August 27, 1962


                  Personnel:
                       Sonny Clark       P
                       Dexter Gordon  TS
                       Billy Higgins      D
                       Butch Warren    B 


                    LINK







Review by Stacia Proefrock
From the first moments when Dexter Gordon sails into the opening song full of brightness and confidence, it is obvious that Go! is going to be one of those albums where everything just seems to come together magically. A stellar quartet including the stylish pianist Sonny Clark, the agile drummer Billy Higgins, and the solid yet flexible bassist Butch Warren are absolutely crucial in making this album work, but it is still Gordon who shines. Whether he is dropping quotes into "Three O'Clock in the Morning" or running around with spritely bop phrases in "Cheese Cake," the album pops and crackles with energy and exuberance. Beautiful ballads like "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" metamorphosize that energy into emotion and passion, but you can still see it there nonetheless. Gordon had many high points in his five decade-long career, but this is certainly the peak of it all.
 

AUGUST 26

        SONNY CRISS
     Plays Cole Porter

            Recording Date:
                   September 26, 1956
                   October 3, 1956

            Personnel:
                  Larry Bunker     VB
                  Jimmy Bunn       P
                  Buddy Clark       B
                  Sonny Clark      P,AS
                  Sonny Criss        AS
                  Larance Marable  D
                  Teddy Smith       B


                                                                                 LINK

AUGUST 25

         JIMMY SMITH
            The Sermon!

                 Recording Date
                    August 25, 1957  tk2

                    Feb. 25, 1958 tk 1,3

                Personnel:
                     George Coleman AS
                      Lee Morgan       TP
                     Curtis Fuller        TB
                     Jimmy Smith     ORG
                     Kenny Burrell       G
                     Donald Bailey       D


                                                                                  LINK



Review by Lindsay Planer
The seven sides on The Sermon! (1958) come from a pair of studio dates, the first of which was held August 25, 1957 and includes Jimmy Smith (organ), Lee Morgan (trumpet), George Coleman (alto sax), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Eddie McFadden (guitar), Kenny Burrell (guitar) and Donald Bailey (drums). This was followed by a second exactly six months (to the day) later on February 25, 1958.
Along with Smith, present and accounted for during the session were Lou Donaldson (alto sax) replacing Coleman in addition to contributions from Tina Brooks (tenor sax) and the ubiquitous Art Blakey (drums). From the '57 confab are the popular music standards "S'Wonderful" and "Blue Room". The former is given an unhurried mid-tempo workout as Morgan banters sublime licks with McFadden. Fuller's full round tones effortlessly manoeuvre "Blue Room" with the intimate trio of Bailey and Smith in support. The real essence can be heard in the variety of styles utilized in the latter gathering. An emotive "Lover Man" is punctuated by Donaldson's fluid leads behind Smith's heartfelt changes. This is sharply distinguished by the longer jams featuring Burrell, Blakey and mighty impressive blows throughout from Morgan and Brooks. They ride hard on the Bird classics "Confirmation" and an intense "Au Privave". Brooks' solos are much of the reason why each excels with such bop finesse and are best experienced rather than simply read about. "Flamingo" is a sumptuous ballad that allows Morgan and Burrell to trade some laid back lines within the context of an unencumbered rhythm section. Whether upgrading the mid ‘80s CD or discovering the platter for the first time, The Sermon! is a prime example of Smith and company's myriad of talents.
 

AUGUST 24

         BLUE MITCHELL
           Blue's Moods

            Recording Date: 
                 August 24-25, 1960


           Personnel:
                 Roy Brooks       D 
                 Sam Jones        B 
                 Wynton Kelly    P 
                Blue Mitchell TP,CT 


          LINK





Review by Scott Yanow
Of trumpeter Blue Mitchell's seven Riverside recordings (all of which have been reissued as CDs in the Original Jazz Classics series), only this set (along with three numbers on Blue Soul) feature Mitchell as the only horn. Joined by pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Roy Brooks, the trumpeter is typically distinctive, swinging and inventive within the hard bop genre. He performs four standards, Ronnell Bright's "Sweet Pumpkin," and the obscure "Avars," and a pair of originals in fine fashion.

AUGUST 23

  JOEY DeFRANCESCO
       JIMMY SMITH
           Legacy

          Recording Date:
               August 22-24, 2004
 

         Personnel:
              Joey DeFrancesco O
              Jimmy Smith        O,Vo
              James Moody       TS
              Byron Landham     D,GO
              Paul Bollenback    G
              Ramon Banda       D,Tim
              Tony Banda          B




Steve Ferrone     D
Mel Brown           B
Joey DeLeon       CG
Raul Yanez          P
Mikey Flowers     GO
Eddy O'Reilly       Z


LINK

Review by Matt Collar
Extending the good vibes created out of their first pairing on the live recording Incredible!, organists Joey Defrancesco and Jimmy Smith get down to business on Legacy. The two stellar and funky musicians have a great musical rapport and seem to really enjoy playing together. Fans of Incredible! will most likely find much to enjoy here. The album has a heavy Latin sound with percussionists Ramon Banda and Jose "Joey" de Leon supplying additional timbales and conga rhythms respectively. Also joining in this time around is special guest tenor saxophonist James Moody, who adds his fiery bop chops to "Jones'n for Elvin." Backing Defrancesco and Smith here are bassist Tony Banda, guitarist Paul Bollenback, and drummer Steve Ferrone.

AUGUST 22

            RED GARLAND
                  Rojo

                Recording Date:
                      August 22, 1958


                Personnel:
                        Ray Garland      P
                        George Joyner  B 
                        Charlie Persip   D 


                 LINK






Review by Scott Yanow
Pianist Red Garland recorded frequently with trios for Prestige during the second half of the 1950s. For this set (reissued on CD), Garland, bassist George Joyner and drummer Charlie Persip are joined by Ray Barretto on congas and the emphasis is on forceful swinging. Garland takes such ballads as "We Kiss in a Shadow" and "You Better Go Now" at faster-than-expected tempos. "Ralph J. Gleason Blues" and the Latin feel of "Rojo" are among the highlights of this enjoyable disc.
 

AUGUST 21

            HANK JONES
       Relaxin' at Camarillo

                Recording Date:
                     August 21, 1956

                Personnel:
                     Hank Jones      P
                     Bobby Jaspar   FL
                     Paul Chambers B
                     Kenny Clarke    D



               LINK






Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
Pianist Hank Jones recorded fairly extensively for Savoy during 1955-56, and most of the music was reissued on LPs in the late '70s and early '80s, although the performances have only partially appeared thus far on CD. For his final Savoy session, Jones is teamed with Bobby Jaspar (an excellent tenor player who here sticks exclusively to his fluent flute), bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Kenny Clarke. The music is quiet, but often swings hard. Jones is well featured on three underrated standards ("Moonlight Becomes You," and Cannonball Adderley's "Spontaneous Combustion" and a 13-minute rendition of "Relaxin' at Camarillo"), the obscure ballad "Sunday in Savannah," and his own "Minor Contention." This combination of musicians works together quite well.

AUGUST 20

           MILES DAVIS
             Bitch's Brew


               Recording Date:
                  August 19, 1969 tk2,4,6
                  August 20, 1969 tk 3
                  August 21, 1969 tk 1,5

              Personnel:
                  Miles Davis        TP
                  Bennie Maupin   BCL
                  Wayne Shorter   SS
                  Chick Corea       P
                  Joe Zawinul         P
                  John McLaughlin G
                  Dave Holland      B
                Harvey Brooks  B (-1,4,5)
Jack DeJohnette D
Lenny White      D -1,2,4,5)
Don Alias          CG

LINK


Review by Thom Jurek
Thought by many to be the most revolutionary album in jazz history, having virtually created the genre known as jazz-rock fusion (for better or worse) and being the jazz album to most influence rock and funk musicians, Bitches Brew is, by its very nature, mercurial. The original double LP included only six cuts and featured up to 12 musicians at any given time, most of whom would go on to be high-level players in their own right: Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Airto, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Don Alias, Benny Maupin, Larry Young, Lenny White, and others. Originally thought to be a series of long jams locked into grooves around one or two keyboard, bass, or guitar figures, Bitches Brew is anything but. Producer Teo Macero had as much to do with the end product on Bitches Brew as Davis. Macero and Davis assembled, from splice to splice, section to section, much of the music recorded over three days in August 1969. First, there's the slow, modal, opening grooves of "Pharaoh's Dance," with its slippery trumpet lines to McLaughlin's snaky guitar figures skirting the edge of the rhythm section and Don Alias' conga slipping through the middle. The keyboards of Corea and Zawinul create a haunting, riffing groove echoed and accented by the two basses of Harvey Brooks and Dave Holland. The title cut was originally composed as a five-part suite, though only three were used. Here the keyboards punch through the mix, big chords and distorted harmonics ring up a racket for Davis to solo over rhythmically outside the mode. McLaughlin is comping on fat chords, creating the groove, and the bass and drums carry the rest for a small taste of deep-voodoo funk. Side three opens with McLaughlin and Davis trading funky fours and eights over the lock-step groove of hypnotic proportion that is "Spanish Key." Zawinul's trademark melodic sensibility provides a kind of chorus for Corea to flat around, and the congas and drummers working in complement against the basslines. This nearly segues into the four-and-a-half minute "John McLaughlin," with its signature organ mode and arpeggiated blues guitar runs. The end of Bitches Brew, signified by the stellar "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down," echoes the influence of Jimi Hendrix; with its chuck-and-slip chords and lead figures and Davis playing a ghostly melody through the shimmering funkiness of the rhythm section, it literally dances and becomes increasingly more chaotic until about nine minutes in, where it falls apart. Yet one doesn't know it until near the end, when it simmers down into smoke-and-ice fog once more. The disc closes with "Sanctuary," a previously recorded Davis tune that is completely redone here as an electric moody ballad reworked for this band, but keeping enough of its modal integrity to be outside the rest of Bitches Brew's retinue. The CD reissue adds "Feio," a track recorded early in 1970 with the same band. Unreleased -- except on the box set of the complete sessions -- "Feio" has more in common with the exploratory music of the previous August than with later, more structured Davis music in the jazz-rock vein. A three-note bass vamp centers the entire thing as three different modes entwine one another, seeking a groove to bolt onto. It never finds it, but becomes its own nocturnal beast, offering ethereal dark tones and textures to slide the album out the door on. Thus Bitches Brew retains its freshness and mystery long after its original issue.

AUGUST 19

           ARCHIE SHEPP
          Mama Too Tight


              Recording Date:
                   August 19, 1966


              Personnel:
                   Charlie Haden       B
                   Beaver Harris        D
                   Howard Johnson    TU
                   Grachan Moncur    TB
                   Perry Robinson      CL
                   Roswell Rudd         TB
                   Archie Shepp         TS
                   Tommy Turrentine TP


        LINK

Review by Thom Jurek
The octet Archie Shepp surrounded himself with in 1966 was filled with new and old faces. The twin trombones of Roswell Rudd and Grachan Moncur III embodied this, but so did bassist Charlie Haden and trumpeter Tommy Turrentine, while familiar figures like drummer Beaver Harris and tubaist Howard Johnson had been part of Shepp's regular band. There are four tracks on Mama Too Tight, all of them in some way acting as extensions of the opening three-part suite, "A Portrait of Robert Thomson (As a Young Man)." Shepp had hit his stride here compositionally. The track is, at first, a seeming free jazz blowout, but then traces the history of jazz, gospel, and blues through its three sections. Certainly there is plenty of atonality, but there is plenty of harmonic and rhythmic invention too. The piece, almost 19 minutes in length, has an intricate architecture that uses foreshadowing techniques and complex resolution methods. The title track is a post-bop blues swinger with a killer front-line riff turning in and out as the trombones go head to head. And finally, "Basheer," with its Eastern modality that transposes itself toward blues and folk music, becomes a statement on the transitional ties the '60s were ushering in musically. Here again, lots of free blowing, angry bursts of energy, and shouts of pure revelry are balanced with Ellingtonian elegance and restraint that was considerable enough to let the lyric line float through and encourage more improvisation. This is Shepp at his level best.

AUGUST 18

              DONALD BYRD
        Places and Spaces

         Recording Dates:
                August 18, 1975 tk 1,5,6
                August 20, 1975 tk 2,4,7
                August 25, 1975 tk 3

         Personnel:
              Raymond Brown       TP
              Donald Byrd       FLH,TP,Vo
              George Bohanon      TB
              Tyree Glenn Jr.        TS
              Larry Mizell             P
              Skip Scarborough    EL-P
              Fonce Mizell           TP
              Craig McMullen        G 
              John Rowin            G

Chuck Rainey          B
Harvey Mason         D
King Errisson          CG
Mayuto Correa       CG
James Carter         Whistle
Kay Haith              Vo

LINK


Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Reuniting with Larry Mizell, the man behind his last three LPs, Donald Byrd continues to explore contemporary soul, funk, and R&B with Places and Spaces. In fact, the record sounds more urban than its predecessor, which often played like a Hollywood version of the inner city. Keeping the Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, and Sly Stone influences of Street Lady, Places and Spaces adds elements of Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Stevie Wonder, which immediately makes the album funkier and more soulful. Boasting sweeping string arrangements, sultry rhythm guitars, rubbery bass, murmuring flügelhorns, and punchy horn charts, the music falls halfway between the cinematic neo-funk of Street Lady and the proto-disco soul of Earth, Wind & Fire. Also, the title Places and Spaces does mean something — there are more open spaces within the music, which automatically makes it funkier. Of course, it also means that there isn't much of interest on Places and Spaces for jazz purists, but the album would appeal to most fans of Philly soul, lite funk, and proto-disco.
 
August 20, 1975
16550 Just My Imagination Blue Note BN-XW 783-Y, BN-LA 549-G 
16551 Places And Spaces Blue Note BN-LA 549-G 
16552 Wind Parade
The Sound Factory, Los Angeles, CA
August 25, 1975
16553 (Feelin' Like) Dominoes Blue Note BN-XW 783-Y, BN-LA 549-G 


AUGUST 17

            SONNY ROLLINS
            Reel Life

            Recording Date:
                   August 17-22, 1982


            Personnel:
                  Bobby Broom      G 
                  Bob Cranshaw     B 
                  Jack DeJohnette CG,D 
                  Yoshiaki Masuo   G
                  Sonny Rollins      TS


             LINK




Review by Michael G. Nastos
The cover art of Reel Life, with a tiny image of Sonny Rollins sitting on top of a giant tape reel, is a telling factor in this 1982 studio session. Rollins was one of the first beboppers, and one of the last remaining to record with magnetic audio tape in an analog format. This sterling band with Rollins featured two electric and distinctly different guitarists in Bobby Broom and Yoshiaki Masuo, longtime electric bass guitarist Bob Cranshaw, and the keen and vibrant drummer Jack DeJohnette. As the career of Rollins moved into fourth gear, his love for hard bop, Caribbean music, and funkier styles continued to appeal to die-hard fans and the urban crowd. A matchless melodic tenor saxophone, Rollins just kept rolling along like the rotating metal wheel that documented these selections. Since his hit "St. Thomas," the tenor man always serves up an obligatory calypso, in this case the strolling "Rosita's Best Friend" with a brief lead, then one extended with Masuo's acoustic guitar. Hard bop and easy swing are also staples with Howard McGhee's hot "McGhee" and the classy take of "My Little Brown Book" respectively. When Rollins became interested in more contemporary music, it was never at the point of selling out, as the title track, in its basic child's melody in a funky soup with the two electric guitarists, is a pure delight. The Masuo original "Sonny Side Up" also brims with soulful beats, while "Best Wishes" swaps from swing to contemporary funk with ease, with Broom's deft solo emphasizing the marriage of the two styles. Both guitar players are so distinctly different, with Broom's Chicago based rhythm & blues roots and the resonant, steelier sound of Japanese national Masuo offering contrast aside the spike bass of Cranshaw and DeJohnette's purposeful, fluent drumming. In the middle is Sonny Rollins, at ease and comfortable in not so much driving the band as being the golden centerpiece in this stable display of modern jazz that in many ways set the standard for an upcoming new era.
 

AUGUST 16


       GERRY MULLIGAN
   Quartet with Chet Baker


           Recording Date:
              August 16, 1952  tk 10,15
              September 2, 1952  tk 1,4,8,9
              Oct 15-16, 1952  tk 2,5,19-20,23

          Personnel:
                Chet Baker       TP
                Gerry Mulligan  BS
                Bob Whitlock    B
                Chico Hamilton D

                Carson Smith    B tk 1,4,8,9

                                                                     LINK


Review by Scott Yanow
Baritonist Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartet of 1952-1953 with trumpeter Chet Baker was one of the most popular groups of the period and an influential force on West Coast Jazz. Mulligan's interplay with Baker looked back toward the collective improvisation of Dixieland but utilized up-to-date harmonies. This four-CD set overlaps with a previous (and now out-of-print) five-LP Mosaic box. In addition to all of the Pacific Jazz (as opposed to Fantasy and GNP/Crescendo) recordings of the Mulligan Quartet (including the hit version of "My Funny Valentine"),  Despite both musicians remaining active for over 30 years, Mulligan and Baker only teamed up again on one occasion, for a 1970s Carnegie Hall concert released by CTI. The consistently delightful music on this box (much of which is classic) is highly recommended for all jazz collections.

AUGUST 15

         GRANT GREEN
               Alive!

              Recording Date: 
                     August 15, 1970

                     Cliches Lounge, NJ

             Personnel:
                    Joseph Armstrong CG 
                    Claude Barlee      TS 
                    Billy Bivens          VB 
                    Neal Creque          O 
                    Ronnie Foster       O 
                    Grant Green         G 
                    Idris Muhammad    D 
                    Bobby Green        MC



                                                LINK


Review by Steve Huey
Alive! is the hardest funk LP Grant Green recorded during the later phase of his career, capturing a storming gig at Newark's Cliché Lounge. The sweaty club atmosphere adds something to the music that's difficult to pin down, yet unmistakably present — a certain organic quality that isn't as noticeable on Green's studio albums of the time. Moreover, Green sounds more like the captain of his ship, with greater assurance in his musical direction and more strut on the R&B material. Drummer Idris Muhammad is a monster in this live setting, and he helps push Green (plus the rest of the band, which includes organist Ronnie Foster) even farther with his kinetic, continually evolving funk rhythms. That's especially true on the swaggering Kool & the Gang cover "Let the Music Take Your Mind," but Don Covay's "Sookie, Sookie" grooves almost as powerfully. What's most surprising about the set, though, is that Green finds ways to work in bits of the modal style he had been pursuing in the mid-'60s on slower pieces like the Earl Neal Creque ballad "Time to Remember" and "Down Here on the Ground," which was later sampled by jazz-rap pioneers A Tribe Called Quest. Green's continued interest in modal jazz is reinforced on the CD reissue, which contains a spacy, grooving cover of Herbie Hancock's classic "Maiden Voyage" as a bonus track (the other two are contemporary R&B covers "Hey, Western Union Man" and "It's Your Thing"). Still, this is the most convincing and consistent Green had been as a funkster and, while nearly all of his albums from the early '70s feature at least some worthwhile material for acid jazz and beat-sampling junkies, Alive! is probably the best place to start.
 

AUGUST 14

                  ZOOT SIMS
             Quartet

               Recording Date:
                   August 14, 1951

               Personnel:
                    Zoot Sims         TS
                    Harry Biss          P
                    Clyde Lombardi B
                    Art Blakey         D



               LINK







Review by Scott Yanow
This CD reissue features the great tenor-saxophonist Zoot Sims (who was then 25) leading his first American recording dates. All but two numbers clock in around the three-minute mark: an over eight-minute alternate version of "Zoot Swings the Blues" and an 11-minute "East of the Sun." Sims is in fine form throughout these cool-toned but hard-swinging sets.
 

AUGUST 13

                 BLUE MITCHELL
             Step Lightly
                
                 Recording Date:
                         August 13, 1963


                 Personnel:
                        Roy Brooks          D
                        Herbie Hancock   P
                        Joe Henderson    TS
                        Blue Mitchell       TP
                        Gene Taylor        B
                        Leo Wright          AS


       


              LINK


Reviewby Scott Yanow
Trumpeter Blue Mitchell's Blue Note debut went unissued for 17 years, only coming out on this 1980 LP (not yet reissued on CD). The set must have been lost in the shuffle, for the music is consistently excellent. Mitchell, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, altoist Leo Wright, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Gene Taylor, and drummer Roy Brooks perform four originals and obscurities, plus lyrical versions of "Sweet and Lovely" and "Cry Me a River." Worth searching for.

AUGUST 12

        ART PEPPER
       Pacific session

            Recording Date:
                      August 12, 1957

            Personnel:
                    Don Fagerquist   TP
                    Stu Williamson  VTB
                    Red Callender    TU
                    Art Pepper          AS
                    Bill Holman        TS
                    Bud Shank           VB
                    Russ Freeman     P
                    Monty Budwig    B
                    Shelly Manne      D

              LINK



Review by Scott Yanow
This superior three-LP box set reissues all of altoist Art Pepper's small-group dates for the Pacific Jazz label. Virtually all of the music has since been reissued on CD (part of it as The Artistry of Pepper and part of it under trumpeter Chet Baker's name), but the Mosaic box, which has an attractive booklet, is the definitive treatment of this chapter in Pepper's musical story. The great altoist is heard in a sextet with Baker and tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca, on a version of "Tenderly" with Chet Baker's big band, with Baker and tenor Phil Urso in a different sextet, sharing the spotlight with tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins in a quintet, and heading a nonet playing arrangements by Shorty Rogers. The music is very much in the cool/bop tradition, but Pepper is instantly recognizable (he never sounded that much like Charlie Parker) and even at this early stage, he was at the top of his form. All 26 performances are quite enjoyable and swinging, making this hard-to-find set worth the search.

AUGUST 11

          DEXTER GORDON
             Gotham City

               Recording Date: 
                     August 11-12, 1980


               Personnel:
                     George Benson  G
                     Art Blakey         D 
                     Dexter Gordon  TS 
                     Percy Heath      B 
                     Woody Shaw     TP 
                     Cedar Walton    P






LINK

Review by Scott Yanow
Tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon was still in pretty good form at the time of this later recording. The veteran great is joined by an all-star rhythm section (pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Art Blakey) along with guest appearances from trumpeter Woody Shaw and guitarist George Benson. Although this boppish set is rather brief (just four songs totalling around 37 minutes), the quality of the solos is quite high.