Sunday, June 8, 2008

John Stubblefield - "Prelude" (1978)

Saxaphonist John Stubblefield is one of those musicians who spent his life moving back and forth between many types of jazz and latin forms with no straight trajectory. He started out in the 60s backing RnB acts like Jackie Wilson and Solomon Burke, before moving to Chicago at the end of the decade, working with Maurice McIntyre on "Humility In The Light Of The Creator" (1969) and working with the progressive "Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians"

In 1970 he moved to New York, and began working with people as diverse as Chico Hamilton, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Tito Puente, whose band he joined from 1972-74. In 1972 he played a range of reed and percussion instruments on Anthony Braxton's Town Hall album. He briefly joined Charles Mingus' band, but the two had a falling out, eventually reconciling many years later. He also played for a while in the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra, alongside trumpet player Cecil Bridgewater.

Stubblefield played on many dates with the percussionist Mtume in the mid 70s. The two can first be heard on the September 1973 Miles Davis recording of "Calypso Frelimo", which ended up as one side of Davis' double album "Get Up With it". In February 1974 Mtume got Stubblefield in to play on his album "Rebirth Cycle", which also featured bassist Cecil McBee.

Later that year Stubblefield and Mtume joined forces again on McCoy Tyner's "Sama Layuca", with Stubblefield on oboe and flute, and then in 1975 they took part in Reggie Lucas' more fusion-oriented "Survival Themes". The african and eastern leanings of the Mtume and Tyner albums carried over into Stubblefield's participation in Stanley Cowell's "Regeneration" in early 1976, on which he played the "Zurna" (or "zurma"), an egyptian double-reed instrument.

Later in 1976, he joined Nat Adderley's group for the albums "Don't Look Back" and "Hummin' ", both of which also featured Onaje Allan Gumbs on acoustic piano and rhodes.

On December 8th and 9th, 1976, Stubblefield gathered Mtume, McBee, Gumbs and Bridgewater together at Blank Studios in NYC to record this album. Joining them was ubiquitous drummer Joe Chambers, who'd just completed his second album "New World". (thanks Greg!)

The upfront percussion of the Adderley and Chambers albums continues on a few tracks here. "Song For One" bursts into life like an uptempo Strata-East spiritual number, and Mtume and Chambers go into a full brazilian break in the middle of Gumbs' joyous "If Only you Knew", one of two tracks featuring rhodes. McBee's locked in with Chambers, having played on his earlier albu, "The Almoravid", and contributes a good solo to the opener. Low-key tracks like "Little Prince" and "What's Gonna Be Is Gonna Be" feature a beautiful harmony of understatement between Stubblefield and Bridgewater, particularly when they're on the flugelhorn and soprano sax. "Minor Impulse" and "Twelve for K.D." explore more standard post-bop territory, the latter a tribute to the late Kenny Dorham. The album's got great production from Marty Cann, with some unusual spatial overdubs.


01. "Song For One" (Stubblefield) - 7:18
02 "Little Prince" (Stubblefield) - 8:00
03 "Twelve for K.D." (Stubblefield) - 4:00
04 "If Only You Knew" (Gumbs) - 5:35
05 "What's Gonna Be Is Gonna Be" (Bridgewater) - 7:35
06 "Minor Impulse" (Stubblefield) - 7:10


John Stubblefield - Tenor and Soprano Sax
Cecil Bridgewater - trumpet and flugelhorn
Onaje Allan Gumbs - keyboards
Cecil McBee - contra bass
Joe Chambers - drums
Mtume - concussions
(that's what it says) 


Storyville Records SLP-4011
Recorded in 1976, released in 1978

Produced by Marty Cann
Engineer - Bob Blank
Recorded and mixed at Blank Studios, December 8-9, 1976.
Photography - James Levin
Liner Notes - Alun Morgan

Special thanks to Onaje, Bridgewater, McBee, Sharon, Gabe, Hank, and to all who have helped me along my musical path.
Also special thanks to Howie Gabriel.
John Stubblefield plays Prestini reeds exclusively.
This album is dedicated to John Stubblefield III 1919-1976


Album links in this post go to : Vanish your Self, Bitches Brew, Sonora Aurora, Nothing Is v2.0, Ile Oxumaré, Astronation, and Orgy In Rhythm. Joe Chambers' "New World" rip by Greg.

Please thank and support these bloggers if you click through and download.



Please leave comments, I do this for the music conversation 


analogged said...

Simon thanks for all the support for the blog, i've not got this one so i'm going to nab it myself so thanks for the up.


O @ analogged

Will said...

love it

thank you

ish said...

Thanks for this Simon.

I admire how you're jumping in with all the links and backstory; making your blog indispensable already.

il angelo said...

Great work as ever, Simon.
Thanks for this, eager to listen to it.
all best

Michael Can't Sleep said...

The samples sound great. Thanks for this.

alex said...

many thanks simon-awesome al

johnv said...

Thanks so much for this one Simon. Your blog is very cool--keep up the great work!

dka said...

This looks brilliant thanks. Have heard his stuff with Tyner and Miles and the Reggie Lucas, but never heard of this one. Have a later LP of his called Sophisticated Funk with Harry Whitaker and Teruo Nakamura. Interesting too that the engineer is Bob Blank.

Simon666 said...

Yes, Bob Blank appears to have been kept busy for a number of years :)

Burning Blue Soul said...

I've been looking for this one forever; thanks so much for posting this and for all the great background. You DID put in a lot of work and it is it EVER appreciated.

E-mile said...

Hi Simon, you keep a hot spot here!
Mr. Stubblefield is a new one to me
and I'm looking forward to hear it!
Thanks for all the effort you put in this (MUCH appreciated) work and
keep on keepin' on mate!
Peace, E-mile

katonah said...

that is a dynamite line up. shame they didn't cover an mtume tune like rollins or buddy terry.
fantastic post, this site is a must

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments guys, glad to know people are enjoying the music.

Gianni said...

you are so polite simon!
thanks for for z share!
anyway it is always great music!

roberto t. said...

Really a great work. An eclectic musician who deserves to be more known, nice choice, I believe the first of this kind in Bloglandia!

Art Simon said...

Great research on a great album. Top notch! Thanks!

Peter said...

Thanks Si! Good music, beautifully presented.

pim_veenhuizen said...

every single post is great! Thank You so much! great blog

Jur said...

Great album to listen to for relaxing after a hard day's work.


Simon666 said...

Just make sure you don't start dancing Jur :)

Jur said...

I have some talents, but unfortunately dancing is not one of them. I prefer my family not to laugh at me.


S1KS said...

cant wait to check this out. amazing blog. thanks again

Anonymous said...

i ve never listen to him. thank you for the oportunity you let me.

thank you again

see you around


jb said...

Nice post. Stubblefield's an undersung player. Great site. The Rhodes deserves the recognition. Respect.

Simon666 said...

rapidshare WAVS for this one disappearing in 4 days time ...

Greg said...


been so busy upping not had time to flick around and nearly missed this gem :)

Thanks a million for the heads up mate... eternally grateful -- as always!

mrivs said...

Unknown to me before now. Listened to the taster track - beautiful! Thanks for the introduction and for all your good work in bringing together all the discographical links. Superior blog!!

Simon666 said...

Hey Greg and mrivs,
glad you got down here, I love this album.

Baby Breeze said...

Many thanks for the tip that the links were about to expire. If anyone needs a re-up in FLAC I can provide that at another time. Stubblefield is one of those many fabulous musicians who just never got the notice he deserved, much like Harold Vick, Billy Mitchell, Charles Tolliver, Carmell Jones, Dizzy Reece, James Spaulding, Gary Bartz, Billy Harper, and on and on.

Simon666 said...

Thanks Baby Breeze. The links are safe now - as a "free collector", my rapidshare links just need to be downloaded once in 60 days, and someone did that right after I made the new post. All the other links on the blog have been recently downloaded, but I just keep a watch ...
Glad that you enjoyed the Stubblefield.

Miles said...

this one somehow passed under my radar. what a nice recording. thanks, simon.

Simon666 said...

No problems Miles. always happy when people find this one :)

Anonymous said...

thx a lot this is great

RunawayTrane said...

I learn something new about music history every time I come here. Great stuff, thank you

berlin jazz said...

thanks thanks thanks!!!!

Simon666 said...

you're welcome guys :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this.
F.Y.I. There are a couple of copies of 'Midnight Sun' on ebay at the moment,I beleive it was recorded after this, can't quite see the notes on the back cover.


letlive said...

Thanks for your good work!

dputydwg said...

thanks! i met J stubblefield many years again and he was a very gracious guy..

Simon666 said...

Well hello everyone, thanks for the comments :)

if you liked this album you might enjoy John Stubblefield's "Midnight Sun", just posted over here :

Give thanks to Steve D :

Anonymous said...

Hello, Simon. Just wanted to again express my appreciation for your efforts in making this music available to us. Thanks so much.

Simon666 said...

You're welcome jwnola, thanks for commenting :)

St~JAmes Club said...

Thank you Simon , and this is a really dope album , ask you , if you have IN YOU COLLECT. The Bushman Song , another great one , with a wonderful section of musicians , includes Geri Allen on piano , Mino Cinellu on percussions , Victor LEwis on drums and some perc.,and Charnett Moffet on Double Bass , to me is a great "gem" also , and had in first place the production Matthias Winckelmann the co-founder of Enja Records , who have such a vast cv in all credits of ENJA and wonderful records like Marc Levin, Carita Holmström, Seppo Paakkunainen, Teppo Hauta-aho, Reino Laine - Social Sketches 1975 , thank´s for all the nice records .Hug´s Pajó ! :)