Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bill Evans - "Symbiosis" (1974)

First posted by Bacoso to "Orgy In Rhythm", July 2006

Track 3 excerpt 

Track 1 excerpt 

Simon says :
This was a fairly recent re-post at OIR, but I thought it should be up, should be heard, and should be here! Simply put, it's a beautiful piece of music and the best use of a fender rhodes in an orchestral setting. Jan Stevens' review below nails it, so I'll hand you over and then add some more albums at the end on which Bill Evans plays the Rhodes.

Jan Stevens writes :

is a beautiful and vastly overlooked album in Bill Evans’ prolific canon, yet one that needs to be seriously reckoned with. Claus Ogerman, who had worked with Bill on two previous albums in 1963 and in 1966 ("Bill Evans Trio With Symphony Orchestra") , composed an adventurous and often hauntingly gorgeous work in two parts. In the third section of the first movement, working over a slow and gentle jazzy swing, Bill plays long and fast-moving lines on electric piano that catch your ear with their shimmering beauty and complexity. Ogerman writes lush but never maudlin strings (and a few flutes) here in dense, often whole-tone and poly-chordal fashion underneath - creating a perfect cushion for the pianist’s swirling right-hand lines.

The Rhodes fits in well here, as it does sparingly in and out through Symbiosis’ framework. It is often used as punctuation at the end of a written ensemble phrase, or as an ensemble texture. Evans’ choices as to when to use the Rhodes or the Steinway are wise indeed, and not without great sensitivity, integrating seamlessly within the composition. Claus Ogerman as composer-arranger succeeds marvelously here with a work of great harmonic expression and rhythmic interest that showcases Evans’ lyrical expression and his obviously inherent classical strengths, yet within a composition that represents much of what jazz is about. (Ogerman would later do the same for tenor sax virtuoso Michael Brecker for his "Cityscape" album.)

If we consider the aural comparisons to the other albums Bill did with orchestral accompaniment, it is far and away the most superior achievement, and may represent his best use of the electric keyboard in context. “Symbiosis” is far too important to be neglected as often as it has when jazz writers discuss Bill Evans albums.

As biographer Keith Shadwick noted: “Evans brings to the work the consummate artistry and sensitivity that occurs when he is stretched and stimulated. His rubato playing in the opening and second movement sometimes alone, sometimes in unison with the strings, is both moving and immensely accomplished in a way that few jazz or classical pianists could have countenanced."


1st Movement (Moderato, Various Tempi) - 24:58
Track 1 (a) 7:58
Track 2 (b) 5:17
Track 3 (c) 11:43

2nd Movement (Largo- Andante - Maestoso - Largo) - 15:55
Track 4 (a) 9:11
Track 5 (b) 6:44


Piano [Steinway & Fender-rhodes] - Bill Evans 
 Composed By, Arranged By, Conductor - Claus Ogerman 
 Concertmaster - David Nadien
Bass - Eddie Gomez
Bassoon - Wally Kane
Clarinet, Clarinet [Bass] - Danny Bank , Ron Janelly
Congas - Ralph McDonald
Contrabassoon - Donald MacCourt
Drums - Marty Morell
Flute - Bill Slapin , Don Hammond , Hubert Laws
French Horn - Al Richmond , Brooks Tillotson , Earl Chapin , James Buffington , Pete Gordon (2) , Ray Alonge
Oboe - George Marge , Phil Bodner
Percussion - Dave Carey , Doug Allen , George Devens
Saxophone [Alto] - Harvey Estrin , Jerry Dodgion , Phil Woods , Walt Levinsky
Trombone [Bass] - Paul Faulise , Tommy Mitchell
Trombone [Tenor] - Urbie Green
Trumpet - Bernie Glow , Johnny Frosk , Marky Markowitz , Marvin Stamm , Mel Davis , Victor Paz
Tuba - Don Butterfield


Recorded on February 11, 12 and 14th 1974 at Columbia Recording Studios, New York City.

MPS Records Catalogue # 15402
Producer - Helen Keane
Recorded By - Frank Laico

Photography - Raymond Ross
Cover Design - Ulrich Eichberger + MPS-Atelier
Hubert Laws courtesy of CTI Records.
David Nadien courtesy of the New York Philarmonic Orchestra.

Bill Evans on the Fender Rhodes

1970 "From Left to Right" at Sing My Body Electric / alternate
1971 "The Bill Evans Album" at Blues and Cats

1972 "Living Time" (with George Russell) at Etnik Cafe
1974 "Intuition" (with Eddie Gomez) at Jazzt music

1974 "Symbiosis" in comments here
1976 "Montreaux Vol. 3" at DJ Vilson Professor Groove / alternate
1978 "New Conversations" at Las Cintas Recuperadas / FLAC version
1978 "Affinity" (
with Toots Thielemans) at Soundological Investimigations
1979 "We Will Meet Again"
at musica que cuelga

Claus Ogerman

website on Claus Ogerman

1980 'Claus Ogerman & The London Symphony Orchestra with Gidon Kremer' at Scoredaddy's
1982 "Cityscape" - Michael Brecker & Claus Ogerman - rapidshare 1 2
2008 'Across The Crystal Sea' - Danielo Perez & Claus Ogerman at sunline-muzic


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

54 albums from Mongo Santamaria

Simon says :
Going by the downloads for "Latin Rhodes 2", we've got some latin heads here. So here are three fantastic, slamming slabs of Mongo Santamaria vinyl, donated here by Bacoso - followed a discography of 54 of his albums. Some are uploads by readers here, and the rest are blog links - this one of those posts that keeps growing and growing. Yes, you need all of these albums :)

Mongo Santamaria

Bacoso says :
Essential! Heavy heavy heavy descarga session from way back when Mongo was still killing 'em dead and hadn't sold out to lame soul covers and boogaloo nonsense. Features the ferocious "Bacoso" which develops into a scorching percussion battle mid way through and the storming "Descarga at the Blackhawk". Interestingly enough, one of Joao Donato's first U.S. recordings on which he plays both piano and trombone - he contributes "Bluchanga".
Ripped @320 from original vinyl.
One of the great latin LPs of the 60s.

Descarga at the Blackhawk
All the Things You Are


Rolando Lozano - flute
Jose "Chombo" Silva - tenor sax
Felix "Pupi" Legarreta - violin
Joao Donato - piano, trombone
Victor Venegas - bass
Julito Collazo, Cuco Martinez, Mongo Santamaria - percussion
Recorded at "The Blackhawk", San Francisco, CA, 1962
Released in 1964
Fantasy Records LP 3351


Mongo Santamaria

Bacoso says :

Mighty Mongo from 1964 on Riverside. One of my favourite Mongo albums, this one is a cracker not least for Marty Sheller's furious "Dirty Willie" .

Here's a review from Dusty Groove :
"A killer early album by Mongo Santamaria -- almost an equal blend of jazz and Latin rhythms, and a great illustration of the unique contribution that he was making to both types of music back in the 60s! Mongo's group here is filled with some really great horn players -- Nat Adderley on cornet, Marty Sheller on trumpet, Bobby Capers on alto sax, and Pat Patrick on baritone -- really hitting a hard-edged groove that's as filled with soul jazz solo inflections as it is with Mongo's great work on percussion! The reeds bring a sharp edge to the record that keeps on going throughout - pushing the set with a lot more soul than other Latin sides from the time, particularly those in the charanga mode and most tracks are short and feisty."

01. 'Skins' - (Sheller)
02. 'Fatback' - (Capers, Capers)
03. 'Hammer Head' - (Sheller)
04. 'Dot Dot Dot' - (Sheller)
05. 'Corn Bread Guajira'- (Capers)
06. 'Dirty Willie' - (Sheller)
07. 'Sweet Tater Pie' - (Grand)
08. 'Bembe Blue' - (Laws)
09. 'Dulce Amor' - (Grand)
10. 'Tacos' - (Laws)
11. 'Para Ti' - (Santamaria)

Nat Adderley - Cornet (1.3.10)
Marty Sheller - trumpet, latin percussion
Hubert Laws - piccolo, flute, tenor sax
Bobby Capers - alto sax, baritone sax
Rodgers Grant - piano
Victor Venegas - bass
Jimmy Cobb - drums (1,10)
Ray Lucas - drums (2.9)
Mongo Santamaria - conga, bongo
Carmelo Garcia - timbale
"Chihuahua" Martinez - latin percussion
Wito Kortwright - guino

Recorded Spring 1964
Riverside RLP 93530

Here's a chart I found for 'Para Ti'


Mongo Santamaria
"FREE SPIRIT" (1984)

Bacoso says :
Mighty Mongo for Tropical Buddha from 1984. Mongo hooked back up with the great Marty Sheller for this excellent latin jazz LP which was coordinated by none other than Jack Hooke, DJ extraordinaire and the man behind the Monday night salsa meets jazz sessions at the Village Gate. Two essential cuts on this one : "Power Struggle" and "Espiritu Libre" (which has just had a reworking by Beatconducter!) Highly Recommended. Ripped @320 from original vinyl.

01. 'Mañana Wilson' - (Marty Sheller)
02. 'Tish' - (Marty Sheller)
03. 'Zimbabwe' - (Sam Furnace)
04. 'Con Hache' - (Bobby Sanabria)
05. 'Power Struggle' - (Tony Hinson)
06. 'Tracey' - (Marty Sheller)
07. 'Espíritu Libre' - (Eddie Allen)
08. 'You Are on My Mind' - (Bob Quarantas)

Mongo Santamaria - percussion, conga, leader
Eddie Allen - trumpet, flugelhorn
Sam Furnace - flute, alto sax, baritone sax
Tony Hinson - flute, soprano sax, tenor sax
Bob Quarantas - piano, keyboards
Eddie Resto - bass
Pablo Rosario - bongos
Bobby Sanabria - drums

Produced by Henry Montalvo and Vicente Iturbides.

Released on Tropical Buddha Records, 1984

Mongo Santamaria discography - behold dead links from 2008!  :

1952 "... and his afro-cuban beaters"
1958-59 "Afro Roots" (combines "Yambu" and "Mongo") at El Milagro Verde
Also here are cover scans and label scans for "Yambu"
1959 "Sabroso" at Avax or My Favourite Sound
1961 "Arriba! La Pachnaga" contains "Arriba" and "Mas Sabroso" - thanks Xerxes. 
1961 "Mas Sabroso" - also comped on "Arriba! la Pachnaga"
1962 "Go, Mongo!"donated by Xerxes - info
1962 "Watermelon Man" info
1962 "Viva Mongo" donated by Xerxes, re-up by LOL Music
1963 "Mongo at The Village Gate" at Dimension Latina
1963 "Mongo Introduces La Lupe" at AfroCubanLatinJazz
1964 "La Bamba" / alternate
1964 "Mighty Mongo" from here
1965 "El Pussy Cat" at Flageolette
1965 "El Bravo" donated by Xerxes
1967 "Mongomania" - info
1967 "Mongo Explodes" at Orgy In Rhythm
1967 "Explodes at the Village Gate" at BanaMusic
1967 "Hey Let's Party" at Buns O'Plenty
1969 "Stone Soul" thanks LOL Music
1969 "Afro American Latin" at Blog - o - Blog / alternate
1969 "Soul Bag" at Vinyl For Giants (see word 'soul' in text)
1970 "All Strung out" (Without 'Me and You Baby', already included and complete in 'Afro-American Latin')
1970 "Feeling Alright' at Nübeats
1970 "Mongo's Way" at Avax
1970 "Mongo 70" at Avax / alternate
1974 "Live At Yankee Stadium" at Blog - o - Blog / alternate
1975 "Afro-Indio" (with A La Carte) / alternate / alternate
1976 "Sofrito" at I think I see the Mothership Coming" / alternate
1976 "Ubane" at El Punto de la Salsa
1977 "Dawn" - fully comped on "Mambo mongo" at Si Si RompeSe Compone
1977 "Dawn" aka "Amenecer" at Blog-O-Blog / alternate
1978 "
A La Carte" donated by reader Xerxes. Thanks!
1978 "Drums and Chants" (rec. 1955) donated by Rowan - (also comped on
"... and his afro-cuban beaters", see above)
1979 "Red Hot" at Standard and Grooves
1980 "Montreaux Heat" at AfroCubanLatinJazz
1983 "Mongo Magic" donated by Remy
"Free Spirit (Espiritu Libre) at Orgy In Rhythm
1987 "Soy Yo" at Zonamusical or Si Se Rompe se Compone

1988 "Soca Me Nice" donated by LOL Music
1989 "Ole Ola" donated by LOL Music
1990 "Live at Jazz Alley" at Pepanito
1993 "Mambo Mongo" - info
"Mambo mongo" at Si Si Rompe Se Compone(same title & year, different album!)
1996 "Brazilian Sunset" - recorded 1992 - info / FLAC from LOL Music
1996 "Mongo Returns" at Si Se Rompe Se Compone
"Le Sorcier des Congas" at Avax


"Greatest Hits" at Zonamusical


Mongo Santamaría - Jazz à Vienne (video - 24:04)

- Mother Jones
- Who's got the bread?
- Aged in soul
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
donated by LOL Music
please add to the discography and report dead links, thanks!
Thanks to LOL Music for much help with new links

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reggie Workman First - "Conversation" (1977)

yes, that scribble is part of the design

'Mark II' excerpt

'Conversation' excerpt

I’d always imagined that REGGIE WORKMAN had been John Coltrane’s bass player for many years, but apparently it all took place in 1961. I guess it's the legacy of recordings like the Village Vanguard recordings and the Africa/Brass Sessions that makes it seem longer. I mean, I just collected my mail and there's a promo pamphlet for a new pizza delivery service called "Love Supreme", who promise "emotional pizza for one and all". Now that's cultural reach.

After Coltrane replaced him with Jimmy Garrison, Workman spent the 1960s playing on many albums by artists like Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Freddie Hubbard, Archie Shepp, Herbie Mann, Roy Ayers and Wayne Shorter. (album blog links, not bios)

Around the turn of the decade, he played on spiritual albums like Pharoah Sanders' "Karma" and Alice Coltrane's "World Galaxy", and took part in some significant Strata-East dates - Stanley Cowell's "Brilliant Circles"; Charles Tolliver's "Impact" and "Live at the Loosdrecht Jazz Festival", and Billy Harper's "Capra Black".

During the 70s Workman became more involved in education, and led the New York-based Collective Black Arts organization in New York - a community self-help project that for a while published its own newspaper, "Expansions".

is his first album as leader. He's joined here by Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet); Slide Hampton (trombone); George Adams (reeds); Albert Dailey (piano); Michael Carvin (drums) and Lawrence Killian (percussion), who are listed by the collective name "Reggie Workman First".

This album was recorded on December 19th, 1977, a week after the Bridgewater Brothers' "Lightning and Thunder", which also featured Workman, Bridgewater and Carvin.

Workman and CECIL BRIDGEWATER had first played together on some of the "Roy Brooks and the Artistic Truth" albums in 1973, including the amazing "Black Survival", and in 1976-77 had both joined Max Roach on four albums, including "Nommo" and "Live In Tokyo".

Pianist ALBERT DAILEY released his first solo album "Day After the Dawn" in 1972. In the few years preceding this album, he'd recorded on Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto's "The Best of Two Worlds" , Azar Lawrence's "Summer Solstice", and Charles Rouse's "Cinnamon Flower". In May of '77, Dailey and Reggie Workman had both played on Archie Shepp's "Ballads for Trane".

Drummer MICHAEL CARVIN and percussionist LAWRENCE KILLIAN individually had a wealth of percussion credits on various albums by Pharoah Sanders and Lonnie Liston Smith. They'd both played on Sanders' "Elevation", L Smith's "Expansions", and Cecil McBee's "Mutima". Apart from the Bridgewater Brothers album the week before, Carvin and Reggie Workman had also spent part of December working on Hamiett Bluett's album "Orchestra, Duo and Septet". Also a veteran of some great Norman Connors albums, Killian began a five year stint with the Village People the year after this, even appearing (uncredited) in the film "Can't Stop the Music", before heading back to the funkier zone of Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers.

On McBee's "Mutima", Carvin and Killian had been joined by saxaphonist GEORGE ADAMS, who'd also worked with Killian on the Roy Haynes albums "Hip Ensemble" and "Senyah". Most of Adam's 70s work had been with groups led by Charles Mingus, Gil Evans and Hannibal Marvin Peterson, with some side excursions to the Fatback Band's "Keep On Steppin" and, earlier in the year, James Blood Ulmer's "Revealing". The year before, he'd released "Suite For Swingers", his debut album as a leader.

Rounding out the group was trombonist SLIDE HAMPTON, a frequent leader in his own right and a veteran of many Maynard Ferguson albums. His one previous collaboration here was with Reggie Workman on Stick Evans' 1961 album "Stick Around With Sticks Evans", although he would go on to work with several of the players over the next few years.

Things get underway with Hampton's uptempo "Mark II". Carvin and Killian set up a percussive groove over which Workman's constantly sliding around a walking vamp. The brass set up the main melody, leading into solos by Dailey, Bridgewater, Adams, Workman and Hampton. After a return of the melody, there's a percussive workout with Killian on conga and Carvin providing sensitive minimal backing - the two are really locked together on this album, as Carvin's background was as much as a percussionist as a drummer . Finally, a thankfully short drum solo finishes up the track.

Workman's compositions had been few and far between until this point, and his pretty modal piece "Deja Vu" rounds out side 1. Dailey sets up a chord backing for the main brass theme, which is followed by a Hampton solo. All instruments drop away for an extended Workman bass solo. Dailey leads the band back in for Adam's sax solo, then all flirt around the main theme to finish.

Side 2 is taken up with Workman's eighteen minute arrangement of "Conversation", written by pianist Sonelius Smith. The year before, Smith had recorded it as "Conversation Piece" on "World Of The Children", his album with Shamek Farrah. Reggie Workman would later record the track again in 1993 for his "Summit Conference" album.

Workman leads the track in with some tense, bowed crescendos and scrapes that the brass respond to with improvised bursts of colour. The main theme is introduced and leads to a sax solo from Adams, with Workman answering his impro on bass. Next, Cecil Bridgewater solos over an extended complex rhythmical interplay between Dailey and the band. His solo continues while the band break down into some almost-free, yet still controlled, patches of colour built around Dailey’s apeggios.

This breaks down further into a call and answer section between bass and piano. Killian’s varied percussion brings back the beat and calls Dailey back to the key centre, while he continues the solo. There’s another Workman-only solo, which he finishes by re-introducing the main theme, leading into a Hampton solo and a final return of the theme.


1. 'Mark II' (Slide Hampton) 10:34
2. 'Deja Vu' (Reggie Workman) 11:32
3. 'Conversation' (Sonelius Smith, arr. by R.Workman) 18:04


Reggie Workman - bass
Cecil Bridgewater - trumpet
Slide Hampton - trombone
George Adams - tenor saxaphone
Albert Dailey - piano
Michael Carvin - drums
Lawrence Killian - percussion


Recorded at Sound Ideas Studios, New York City. N.Y. December 19, 1977DENON Catalogue # YX-7805-ND
Produced by Yoshio Ozawa for Nippon Columbia Co. Ltd.
Program Co-ordinator : Tsutorou Ueno (Nippon Columbia)
A&R director : Reginald Workman
Recording and Remix Engineer : Jim McCurdy
PCM Operator : Kaoru Yamamoto (Nippon Columbia)
Engineering Supervisor : Norio Okada (Nippon Columbia)

Cover photo - Tadayuki Naitoh
Artwork - Satoshi Saitoh (sign)
Cover Ilustration - Shozo Shimoda
Liner Notes - Hideki Satoh


1977 'Conversation' at base of this post 

1983 'Such Great Friends' (FLAC) @ Strata-East Fan Club
1986 Bootleg concert at Inconstant Sol
1987 "Synthesis" at Avax
1989 "Images - Reggie Workman Ensemble in Concert" from E-Mile (thanks!)
1993 "Summit Conference" at Call It Anything

1995 "Cerebral Caverns" (FLAC) at Call It Anything
1995 "Cerebral Caverns" (MP3) at Musistenz2000 "Altered States"
2006 Live at St Peters Church (with Andrew Cyrille & others) at Inconstant Sol


Some information from :
Rick Lopez's Reggie Workman discography
Michael Fitzgerald's Slide Hampton discography
Marcel Safier's George Adams discography & sessionography
Tony King's George Adams discography

The thirty-five album blog links within the post are from :
Call It Anything, Pharoah’s Dance, Ile Oxumare,
Seventeen Green Buicks, El Goog Ja, Orgy In Rhythm, My Jazz World, Strata-East Fan Club, Four Brothers Beats, Bari Beat Bandits ft. San Pasquale Ent., Keep on Truckin' (on the sunny side), The Roadhouse, Rocker CDs, Vlassis-13, Vibes From the Wax, The Music Jockey, The Sly Mongoose, Loronix, Mondo Musicale, Disco2Go, Rocker CDs, Jazz Archives, Fat Toro. Rapidshare link for James Blood Ulmer's "Revealing" courtesy of Burning Blue Soul, originally uploaded at "El Reza". Thanks to all these bloggers.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Nat Adderley Septet - "Don't Look Back" (1976)

'Home' excerpt

'Don't Look Back' excerpt

'K High' excerpt

Bacoso says: 
From the slamming opener "Funny Funny" to the super funky "K High" to the great title track "Don't Look Back" by Harold Vick this one swings like a mutha. All killer - No filler!

Simon says : 

This Nat Adderley album - recorded for SteepleChase the day after the first anniversary of his brother Cannonball's death - initially drew my attention because it had a version of Harold Vick's "Don't Look Back", my favourite Strata-East album. This version of the track is more uptempo, fitting in with the joyous, funky vibe that permeates this album, and was to continue even more in a funkerly direction in Adderley's followup "Hummin", featuring the same lineup (which I've lost! Who has it?)Nat Adderley is in fine form on the cornet, but this is very much a group effort with solos shared around. NeverEnoughRhodes regular Onaje Allan Gumbs provides two piano tracks, showing signs of the "happy pill" Brazilian harmonies that were to increase in his writing over the next few years. Elsewhere he's providing great rhodes work and some funky clavinet on drummer Buddy Williams' track "K High". I wonder if "K High" meant the same thing in 1976, or if Williams was still just funked out from the sessions on Cedar Walton's "Animation"?

Saxaophonist John Stubblefield, who was to take Onaje Allan Gumbs with him on his debut album "Prelude" a few months later, gets to really break out on "Don't Look Back". Both Gumbs brothers and drummer Williams would go on to appear on Stubblefield's second album "Midnight Over Memphis" in 1978.

But the real revelation here is multi-wind player Ken McIntyre, who plays five instruments on the album and wrote the beautiful slow track "Home", my personal album highlight, presented here in two separate takes. It was also the title track of his 1975 album "Home". McIntyre recorded a series of interesting and varied albums for Steeplechase in the 70s - I'd recommend giving the 'ol Rapidshare a workout and grabbing the McIntyre albums "Hindsight"   ; "Introducing the Vibrations" and "Chasing the Sun".  Hope you enjoy this album!


1. 'Funny Funny' - (Adderley) 6:10
2. 'K. High' - (Williams) 9:31
3. 'Just a Quickie - (Gumbs) 4:50
4. 'I Think I Got It' - (Gumbs) 6:58
5. 'Home' - (McIntyre) 6:30
6. 'Don't Look Back' - (Vick) 7:30
7. 'Home (Take 1)' - (McIntyre) 6:54


Nat Adderley - cornet
Fernando Gumbs - bass
Onaje Allan Gumbs - acoustic and electric piano
Ken McIntyre - alto sax, oboe, bassoon, flute, bass clarinet
John Stubblefield - tenor sax, soprano sax
Ira Buddy Williams - drums
Victor See Yuen - congas, percussion

SteepleChase Records.
Recorded August 9, 1976


..... but here's more by Nat Adderley from Planet Blog :

"Introducing Nat Adderley" (1955)
at Musica Desde Las Antipodes
"Thats Right!" (1960) at Sic Vos Non Vobis
"Naturally" (1961) at Dark Blue Notes
"Autobiography" (1965) at Musica Desde Las Antipodes
"You, Baby" (1968) - Call It Anything
"Calling Out Loud" (1968) - Call It Anything
"Soul Zodiac" (1972) - My Jazz World
"Double Exposure" (1975) - My Jazz World

"Hummin" (1976) - anyone got it ?
"The Old Country" (1990) at Musica Desde Las Antipodes / alternate
"Talkin' about You" (1990) at Musica Desde Las Antipodes
"Work Song - Live at Sweet Basil" (1990) at Dark Blue Notes
"Autumn Leaves - Live At Sweet Basil" (1990) at Dark Blue Notes

"Good Company" (1994) at Musica Desde Las Antipodes / FLAC

Thanks also to El Reza, swboy, My Favourite Sound, Pharoah's Dance, Call It Anything, My Jazz World and Vanish Your Self (links in post) , and of course the Mighty Bacoso.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Buster Williams - "Pinnacle" (1975)

First posted by Bacoso at "Orgy In Rhythm" in November 2006

Simon says :
Yesterday's Julian Priester album "Love, Love" was one of a set of albums made by members of Herbie Hancock's early 70s Mwandishi band after the albums "Mwandishi", "Crossings" and "Sextant".

Colin Buttimer noted the two Eddie Henderson albums, "Realization" and "Inside Out", but others that should be added are Bennie Maupin's "Jewel In the Lotus" and this album, "Pinnacle" by Mwandishi bassist Buster Williams.

I previously had the track "Batuki" from this album on Rhodes Compilation #6. As well as Onaje Allan Gumbs' typical great rhodes playing, the upfront mix of Buster Williams' funky, agile basslines and Guilherme Franco’s energetic mixed brazilian-african percussion make for a rhythmic, spiritual feast that place this album, in some ways, as a bridge between what we might call the Mwandishi and Headhunter periods of 70s jazz.

Doug Payne said :
Whereas the other Mwandishi members recruited band mates like Hancock for their solo projects, Buster Williams opts here to recreate the sound, keeping only drummer Billy Hart from the original band. Onaje Allan Gumbs is especially Hancock-like on the occasionally electric eclectics (notably on the funky "The Hump") and more frequently required piano backbone (especially appealing on the gospel-ish "Noble Ego" and the more exotic "Batuki"). Reed players Earl Turbinton and Sonny Fortune share duties recreating the swagger and the sweetness of Bennie Maupin, while trumpeter Woody Shaw brings his own trademark bop sound to the title track and "Batuki." The addition of Guilherme Franco’s percussion and vocalists on "Noble Ego" and "Pinnacle" suggest that Pinnacle is a descendant of drummer Norman Connor’s Mwandishi-like records, "Dance of Magic" (1972) and "Dark of Light" (1973).

The program’s five long selections set up interesting ostinatos that allow for thoughtful, well-considered improvisation. Buster Williams himself is outstanding, particularly well featured in his self-designed spaces and never as out of place or obstructive as a strong rhythm player can too often be. He suggests that he had ably developed a language beyond the more familiar diction of Ron Carter and one that clearly laid the foundation for Stanley Clarke.


1. 'The Hump' (Williams) - 11:31
2. 'Noble Ego' (Williams) - 6:57
3. 'Pinnacle' (Williams) - 4:47
4. 'Tayamisha' (Williams) - 6:32
5. 'Batuki' (Gumbs) - 14:18


Buster Williams - electric and acoustic bass, vocal (3)
Earl Turbinton - soprano sax (3,4,5); bass clarinet (1,3)
Sonny Fortune - soprano sax (1,3); flute (5); alto flute (3,4)
Woody Shaw - trumpet (3,5)
Onaje Allan Gumbs - acoustic piano, electric piano, moog synthesizer, arp string ensemble
Billy Hart - drums
Guilherme Franco - percussion
Suzanne Klewan - vocals (2,3)
Marcus - vocals (2,3)
.... and Simon adds :
Although this was Williams' solo debut, it's part of a long line of great collaborations around this time between the players represented here.

Apart from those already linked in the post, I'd recommend:

Harry Whittaker's vast "Black Rennaissance"
(Williams, Hart, Shaw)
Carlos Garnett's "Black Love"

(Williams, Hart, Franco, Gumbs)

Woody Shaw's "The Moontrane"

(Shaw, Williams, Gumbs, Franco)

Sonny Fortune's "Waves of Dreams"
(Williams, Shaw)
Norman Connor's "Saturday Night Special"

(Williams, Gumbs)

Harold Land's "A New Shade Of Blue"
(Williams, Hart)

More BUSTER WILLIAMS around zee jazz blogs:

"Crystal Reflections" (1976) at Ile Oxumare

"Heartbeat" (1979) at El Goog Ja

Other blogs linked here :
Oufar Khan, Bug in The City, Abracadabra, Blog-o-Blog, Manepipoca's Music House, Pharoah's Dance, My Jazz World, Ile Oxumare.