Saturday, June 20, 2009
A new vinyl rip by reader Rowan, donated to the ongoing Mongo Santamaria discography.
This album, containing some of Mongo's earliest recordings a leader/percussionist, was first released as "Changó" in 1955 on Tico Records. Vaya Records re-released the recordings in 1978 as "Drums and Chants", from which this rip comes. Later it was also compiled on an album named "Mongo Santamaria and his Afro-Cuban Beaters".
Here's Thom Jurek from AMG :
"Whatever possessed Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria to release this recording of traditional chants and drumming modes from the various traditions of the Afro-Cuban experience reinvented him not only for his own people, but for the legions of Americanskis who only knew him as the cat who did the Latinized soul-jazz version of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man," which became a pop hit.
Here, Santamaria enlisted the help of Carlos "Potato" Valdes, Antar Daly, Silvestre Mendez, and Julio Collazo in a burning collection of rhythms and call-and-response chants from the various traditions that make up the island's roots music -- Yoruba, Lucumi, Dahomeyanos, Carabalies, and the Congos -- all of whom originated in the river region of Niger before they crossed the Atlantic.
In each case, the listener is treated to a fantastically complex recorded example of rhythms and then chanted information that accompanies them: harvest songs, traveling songs, songs of sorrow, songs of mating, and more. Occasionally, as on "Margarito", a wooden flute accompanies the song, and in the case of "Congo Mania", a trumpet does the same thing. There are numerous drums employed to both solo and "choir" effect like the batas, bembe, congos, quinto, and more.
This is deep Afro-Cuban music from the heart of the Niger region, crossing the ocean with blood, sweat, and tears and finally taking root in the land of sugar cane. There are stories and legends in these tracks -- they are as authentic and raw as it gets."
Please thank Rowan for ripping this for us.
Great compilation of 70s-80s soul-jazz, jazz-funk and some latin jazz, originally put in 1996 by the now-defunct Hubbub Records.
Compiled by Malachi Trout, these are mostly vocal tracks with a few jazz dancers as well, including the classics "Baltimore Oriole" by Lorez Alexandria and "What's Wrong With Groovin" by Letta Mbulu. Lots of other good stuff here, check it out.
Flageolette recently posted the equally-great Volume 2 of the series. I asked if he had other volumes then remembered that I had Volume 1 myself - pensioner moment, call the doctors ...
DOWNLOAD MP3 - DOWNLOAD WAV
01 Herb Geller Feat. Mark Murphy - 'Space A La Mode' (8:50)
from "An American In Hamburg" (1975)
02 Sathima Bea Benjamin - 'Africa' (6:15)
from "Dedications" (1982) ft. Buster Williams on bass
03 The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble - 'Wet Walnuts And Whipped Cream' (8:37)
from "Le Le" (1986)
04 Lorez Alexandria - 'Baltimore Oriole' (3:13)
05 Nicos Jaritz Unidad - 'Hasta Siempre Comandante' (7:46)
from "Para Los Companerous" (1985)
06 Sam Most With Joe Farrell - 'Samba To Remember You By' (5:50)
from "Flutes Talk" (1979)
07 Nanette Natal - 'It's Over' (7:02)
from "My Song of Something" (1979)
08 Letta Mbulu - 'What´s Wrong With Groovin' (2:50)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
AUSTRALIAN JAZZ - THE LIBRARY CONNECTION #2
Don Burrows and his partner George Golla get down to business with three New Zealand musicians in Burrow's most "electric" studio album, named for the Tasman Sea which separates Australia and New Zealand. Although his liner notes propose this as a cross-cultural collaboration, it's more of a disparate group of musicians pushing their individual influences through on different tracks. Some nice bits of fusion, some good easy, some bad easy - a mixed bag that's worth a listen, and quite different from "The Jazz Sound of ..." album - as you'd expect ten years on.
Whereas you can retrospectively draw some musical throughlines from New Zealand albums that involve the indigenous Māori people - particularly through funk, reggae, dub, soul and hip-hop (see my Johnny Rocco Band post) - other New Zealand musicians/composers of the time, rather like their Australian counterparts, don't tend to have a common regional sound or set of styles - though there's some good jazz from New Zealand, check this post.
From memory I saw a version of this band live - I was 14 and playing guitar in metal bands, and my mother used to take me to jazz concerts to try and gently enact some sort of conversion. It didn't work at the time - I went funk then punk instead - but here I am posting the album more than thirty years later. Congratulations mom.
Burrows had been experimenting with electronic attachments across a few albums, and here he's often using harmonic-doubling, wah-wah and some distortion on some of his woodwinds, particularly the clarinet that you hear in "Twilight Zone" and at the start of "The Tasman Connection"(video at top)
Guitarist George Golla seems to have been listening to some CTI-era George Benson, but he's using a seven-string guitar so clearly is one up on George B :) Actually, I should stop being mean to George, he released his solo album "Easy Feelings" in 1976 which contained one decent track called "The Dancers", which was sampled by DJ Shadow at some stage (but wasn't everyone?)
"The Dancers" (excerpt) - George Golla
DOWNLOAD TRACK (not in album download)
Back to the album ... On keyboards and horns we have Julian Lee, a blind man who had a substantial career as an arranger and musician. He was George Shearing's primary arranger for much of the 1960s on albums like "New Look!" and "Deep Velvet". He did string arrangements on a few albums by Gene Harris and the Three Sounds, including "Beautiful Friendship" from 1965, as well as a few albums by Gerry Mulligan.
With that background, Lee is something of an easy listening force here melodically, and contributes three compositions which range from pleasant soul-jazz ("Judo") to übercheese ("Get Into it" and "Long White Cloud") The Māori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, most commonly translated as "land of the long white cloud". In recent years Lee has moved to Australia, and has won several awards for his music education programs for blind children.
In contrast, drummer Frank Gibson Jr is more of a fusion figure - the year before this, he led a group called Dr Tree on a self-titled album that Reza pointed us to in one of the recent recommendation posts here (someone's subsequently posted a better version at the Prog Not Frog forum). That album began with a short track called "The Twilight Zone" which is here expanded in a six minute version built around Gibson's rolling Elvin Jones-ish scatter drums, and is the best thing going here.
"Twilight Zone" excerpt
Frank Gibson moved to the UK soon after this recording, initially working with some jazz and fusion groups like Paz and Morrissey-Mullen, then moving into pop and art-rock circles with Rick Wakeman, Leo Sayer and others. Back in New Zealand he frequently collaborated with Andy Brown, the bass player from here, on projects like their Space Case band.
Anyway hope you enjoy this one, vinyl rips/posts take a while to do so keep the comments a comin' thanks ...
Don Burrows - clarinet, electric clarinet, flute, alto flute, B-flat school flute, percussionGeorge Golla - seven string electric guitarJulian Lee - electric piano, electric organ, flugel horn, trumpetAndy Brown - bass, electric bassFrank Gibson Jr. - drums, percussionTRACKLIST
01. The Tasman Connection (4:52) - Don Burrows
02. Blues Crossover (5:06) - George Golla
03. Don't Contact Us (5:41) - Don Burrows
04. Remember When (4:50) - George Golla
05. Judo (5:36) - Julian Lee
06. Get Into It (2:30) - Julian Lee
07. Long White Cloud (6:11) - Julian Lee
08. In A Mellow Tone (8:34) - Duke Ellington
09. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (2:58) - Billy Taylor
10. Twilight Zone (5:58) - Frank Gibson Jr.
Cherry Pie CPF 1026
Album concept and direction - Don Burrows
Recorded at Stebbing Studios, New Zealand
Additional recording, mixing and post-production at EMI Studio, Sydney Australia.
Engineer - Martin Benge
Production - Graeme Rule
Design concept and graphics - Brian Crowther
Cover notes - Don Burrows
Cover photo by Stephen Cooney
Many thanks to Julian Lee for his inspiration, interest and support. AUSTRALIAN JAZZ AND THE LIBRARY CONNECTION
#1 : Don Burrows - "The Jazz Sound of the Don Burrows Quartet" (1966)
#2 : Don Burrows - "The Tasman Connection" (1976)
#3 : John Sangster - "Australia and All That Jazz - Vol. 1" (1971)POST CREDITS
Vinyl rip by Simon666
Other blogs linked to in this post are : Prog Not Frog, Music Peace & Love to the World, My Jazz World and Aussie Funk.
Please thank these other folks if you visit and download from their blogs
Saturday, June 13, 2009
"Kaffir Song" excerpt
AUSTRALIAN JAZZ - THE LIBRARY CONNECTION #1
I want to write about some ideas here, so click the preview above for a soundtrack while you read. While I've been following a couple of strands in 70s Australian jazz, I've also been listening to a lot of 'library' music, and have been led to wonder why I hear so many similar stylistic threads across these two genres.
Library music, for those unaware, is music composed under contract to companies who subsequently sell it off to film makers, TV programs and commercials, usually by genre - action, romance and so on. Strangely, this older production process is most closely paralled in the production and marketing of contemporary pop music, as the large companies battle to get singles from their latest flash-in-the-pan starlets over the credits of the latest teen slasher film ...
A lot of library music records from the 1970s (and more recently, the 1980s) have retrospectively been hailed as great music, although they were not taken seriously back in the day. In the same way that we recycle fashions and cultures from decades past - by reducing them to signifiers, dressing with an 80s "look" taken from a video clip rather than dressing like people actually dressed in the 1980s - over time we appreciate the reductionist vision of something like "soundalike" blaxploitation library music; whereas back-in-the-day we may have seen it as a gauche simulacrum of what we considered to be "real".
In some ways the Australia of my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s was a "library culture", a distant vision of an idea of England transplanted into a hostile climate. As a then-anglo culture, we would sweat it out over a hot oven roast for Christmas lunch (these days it's cold seafood) in a mid-summer temperature of 40 degrees, the sun nearly melting the fake Christmas snow that shopkeepers would spray onto their windows from a can. Heavily winter-robed Santas would faint in shopping centres from heat exhaustion. As late as the early 80s I remember marvelling at the 60s 'mod' revivalists sweating it out in their thick parkas in the hot summer sun, as they rode their scooters in formation to Bondi Beach. A copy of a copy of a copy.
It was a million miles away from the diverse Sydney that I live in now, with its essentially eurasian population - we all eat with chopsticks as much as with knives and forks - with architecture that begins to emerge from the urban environment rather than pining for an imagined homeland, and social mores that reflect a mix of cultures, sexualities and peoples.
Musically - particularly in genres with an african or afro-american heritage, such as jazz - in these earlier times we were a step further removed from the European distillation of jazz that occured from interaction with American players - on the other side of the planet, we'd copy the distillation, which is perhaps why some of the Australian jazz of the period - Crossfire, Galapagos Duck and others- reminds me of some of the MPS catalogue.
With a small population, jazz players and composers were also forced to find employment wherever they could, often composing for nature documentaries, TV shows, commercials, corporate videos - whatever they could get. This would often make up the majority of their recorded output, and thus it was natural for some of the made-to-style aesthetics to carry across to their "own" records - music that refers to jazz, or as in the title of this record, a "Jazz sound".
I'm starting this strand of exploration with this particular record because it features two of the people I'm going to track across a few albums each, woodwind player Don Burrows and percussionist/vibraphonist John Sangster. You might know their sound from a series of better-known soundtrack albums by film composer Sven Libaek, such as the underground "Inner Space" soundtrack for a television ocean documentary, and "Solar Flares". Burrows' tenor and breathy flute, together with Sangster's vibes, are pretty much the hallmark of the Libaek sound.
Most of the other players here would also appear on Libaek's soundtracks, as well as Burrows' earlier, great soundtrack for the 1968 film "2000 Weeks". Interestingly, that film itself engaged with the same concerns of "faux-English" culture that I was talking about above. Now, I'm with Bacoso in his summation of Burrows' 70s albums there - they're uneven, always include some stinkers, and his constant guitarist George Golla was always a somewhat-constrained, workhorse jazz musician. Neverthless, there are some good moments on several of these albums that I'm going to try and extract.
In retrospect, I think Burrows' importance in Australian jazz was more that he attempted to explore beyond his own capabilities and experience, delving into many musical cultures, and opening the eyes of people who were attracted to his own easy style, but subsequently led to other places. John Sangster, however, went on to achieve more in his own explorations.
This album was originally released in 1966 on EMI/Columbia, then re-released in 1977.
The '77 version has a cover (above) that could have resulted from a psychedelic battle between the various 1970s wallpapers that inhabited my childhood home, with everything eventually merging to a sullen, browny pink. I've put both covers in the downloads so that you can choose your favourite.
"Kaffir Song" excerpt
Although this is neither a library nor a soundtrack album, the good tracks here are the ones that reference other musical cultures in what I'd call a "library style". I can imagine some sections of Sangster's "Kaffir Song" played over flickering black-and-white 50s footage of African natives on a hunting expedition, with a jokey faux-British voiceover contextualising their exploits for Harry and Mabel back home. But I like it for Sangster's vibes workout and Burrows' fife sound.
"Esa Cara" excerpt
Burrow's "Esa Cara" shows his burgeoning interest in the rhythms and melodies of Brazil, a fascination that would later result in a number of interesting collaborations. I like the sweetness of his tenor here, even if it does dive for the easy harmonic resolve a little more often than the relative boldness of 'actual' Brazilian harmonic progression.
"Rain On Water" excerpt
Starting with a cymbal crash, Sangster's "Rain On Water" would go well with faded colour 16mm footage of Japanese people undertaking some sort of religious ceremony (El Goog reaching adulthood? Wara Katsu attaining ninja status?) - perhaps with a dissolved overlay of falling cherry blossoms. It's a distant Antipodean idea of "Japanese-ness" that I somehow like on its own referential terms.
"De Veras?" has some good melodies, but after that we descend into the elevator filler. Generally we've got sparse textures here - there's no drum kit apart from on the closer "Pink Gin". Sangster later developed his skills as a drummer on the local stage version of 'Jesus Christ Superstar', but after this album the quartet took on Alan Turnbull as a drummer while Sangster went off to develop his own work.
Anyway, I'm clearly back to my long rants, so I'll leave you to check this one out. Let me know what you think of it.
1. "Kaffir Song" - 4:27 - (John Sangster)
2. "Love Is For the Very Young" - 2:25 - (David Raksin, arr. Golla)
3. "Esa Cara" - 3:18 - (Don Burrows)
4. "Slightly Blue" - 5:50 - (Don Burrows)
5. "Hard Sock" - 4:06 - (Don Burrows)
6. "Rain On Water" - 3:25 - (John Sangster)
7. "Algeciras" - 3:13 - (John Sangster)
8. "De Veras?" - 3:29 - (George Golla)
9. "Pink Gin" - 3:50 - (George Golla)
Don Burrows - fife, flute, alto flute, clarinet, alto saxaphone
John Sangster - vibes, percussion
Ed Gaston - bass
George Golla - guitar
Produced by Eric Dunn
Columbia-EMI SCXO 7781
Recorded on 8 June & 5 October 1966
re-release 1977 : World Record Club R 05193
Liner notes by John Rippin
AUSTRALIAN JAZZ AND THE LIBRARY CONNECTION
#1 : Don Burrows - "The Jazz Sound of the Don Burrows Quartet" (1966)
#2 : Don Burrows - "The Tasman Connection" (1976)
#3 : John Sangster - "Australia and All That Jazz - Vol. 1" (1971)
Vinyl rip by Simon666 (WAV/MP3)
Album links in this post go to Orgy In Rhythm, The Manchester Morgue and Holy Warbles.
Please thank these folks if you visit them and snatch their records.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
"17th Street" excerpt
"Must be something we can do" excerpt
Well, why not two Gil Scott-Heron posts in a row?
Following the 1977 Bottom Line show and the 1978 Berkeley show, here are Gil and the Midnight Band at the Village Gate in NYC, 1976.
Tracks not appearing on the others are the latin-funk banger "17th Street" and "Must be Something We Can Do" but it's all good, starting off with the usual kickass latin percussion jam.
This is a soundboard rip that has then been broadcast on WRVR-FM, and finally recorded on reel-to-reel quarter-inch tape. Hope you enjoy it!
01. Intro Jam (3:16)
02. 17th Street (6:12)
03. Must Be Something We Can Do (5:24)
04. It's Your World (4:45)
05. Home Is Where The Hatred Is (12:40)
06. Johannesburg (6:36)
SBD - FM - 1/4 inch tape
Upped at Dime by tgb25nld
Also at this blog :
"The Bottle" excerpt
I joined the DIME network to see what I could bring across to the blogosphere, and the first score is this wonderful show (in FLAC and MP3) from Mr Gil Scott-Heron in Berkeley, California in 1978. Thanks to Scott for pointing me at it.
This comes from an FM broadcast. An MP3 recording of it was posted at Sounds From the Edge of the Universe earlier this year by Miles from Birds With Broken Wings.
Essentially we've got the same band - minus one percussionist - that I wrote about in the 1977 Bottom Line show post. Six months after that, it's a pretty similar tracklist, but they're playing with formats and structures a little more. Allan Barnes' synthesiser lines are coming more to the fore, but without sacrificing Brian Jackson's jazzy rhodes tones.
"Home is Where The Hatred Is" excerpt
Gil characteristically opens with local issues, attacking recent cuts to the Afro-American Studies program at Berkeley, seamlessly swinging between polemic and poetry in a spoken piece called "Them Other Niggers". This leads straight into "The Spirit of the Drum", with Gil leading call-and-response vocals with the band, most of whom are on percussion.
From there on it's all-out latin, funk and jazz with not a moment of filler. 73 minutes of joy, hope you like this one!
02. Gil's Opening Speech
03. The Spirit of the Drum
04. Hello Sunday, Hello Road
05. 95-South (All of the Places We've Been)
06. Racetrack in France
07. We Almost Lost Detroit
08. Home is Where the Hatred Is
09. Band Introductions
10. Song of the Wind (aka Blow Wind Blow)
11. Band Introductions / The Bottle
The Midnight Band
Gil Scott-Heron (Vocals, Guitar, and possibly Piano)
Brian Jackson (Keyboards, Flute)
Allan Barnes (Saxophone, Synthesizer)
Delbert Taylor (Piano, Trumpet, Congas, Flugelhorn, Vocals)
Barnett Williams (Congas, Percussion)
Siggie Dillard (Bass)
Reggie Brisbane (Drums)
Also at 'Never Enough Rhodes'
Gil Scott-Heron - "Live at the Bottom Line" (1977)
Gil Scott-Heron - "Live at the Village Gate" (1976)
Friday, June 5, 2009
TRACK OF THE DAY
Forgive me again if I'm the last to know, but this is a little like the WTF moment I had with Donny Hathaway - suddenly discovering a 70s song of his that I'd never heard before. Honestly, I was quite sure I had everything that Marvin Gaye had touched in the 1970s ...
I was just listening to an old Gilles Peterson interview with Larry Mizell, who was talking about three tracks that he and his partners recorded with Marvin Gaye in 1972 for an album which was shelved after some 'political trouble' at Motown, after which Gaye went off to record "Trouble Man".
Marvin Gaye and the Mizell Brothers, shelved??
Apparently so ....
Anyway, a track called "Where Are We Going?" surfaced 30 years later on one of the Gaye compilations, and you can grab it here.
1972 is the same year that the Mizell sound broke through with Donald Byrd's jazz-funk album "Black Byrd", and you can hear a pop-soul version of that sound here, from the backing vocals by Freddie Perren, Fonce Mizell and Larry; through the classic Mizell middle-eight at 1:35; then onto the brief trumpet solo. Would love to hear the other two tracks ...
Album links in this post to 'Into the Rhythm' and 'Un Mondo in Mi Settima'
Marvin Gaye discography @ Blaxploitation Jive
More Tracks Of The Day
More funk n' soul