Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ronald Shannon Jackson, What Spirit Say, (DIW 1995)

Probably my all time favorite Jackson recording, just because James Carter and Jef Lee Johnson rock the house. Carter loves extended technique, big tone and big solos, and I think his style actually works best with a strong funk backing groove. Johnson's guitar work is a revelation, grounded in Hendrix and 'Blood' Ulmer, and always in the pocket. Ronald Shannon Jackson's drumming is as melodic (!) as always, and this funk delivers.

Listening to the album again, the third track "Terminal B" sounded too familiar. Sure enough, the James Carter credited tune is also on Carter's "Layin' the Cut" from 2000 (another all time favorite). Comparing this album's version of "Terminal B" to it's later incarnation is interesting. It reveals that the latter album had better audio production, and Marc Ribot's second guitar adds to the recording. Most surprisingly, drummer G. Calvin Weston can hold his own even when compared to Ronald Shannon Jackson. But Jef Lee Johnson's guitar playing is just stellar on "What Spirit Says," as is the interplay with Carter. So draw your own comparisons, they are both excellent tracks!

There's really an amazing dearth of reviews for this gem out there. Anyone want to share?

1. What Spirit Say (Jackson) 4:49
2. Opinions (Jackson) 3:36
3. Terminal "B" (Johnson) 6:13
4. Cameroon Morning (Jackson) 5:43
5. Aged Pain (Jackson) 6:06
6. Sorcerer's Kitchen (Jackson) 3:22
7. Serenade for Magicians (Jackson) 7:33
8. A Night in Seville (Jackson) 6:47
9. Front Seat Frisco (Carter) 4:35
10. Now's the Time (Parker) 4:25
11. Missing Link (Jackson) 3:00

1995 - DIW (Japan) 895 (CD)

Recorded December 11-12, 1994 at the Power Station, New York City

Ronald Shannon Jackson, drums, percussion, flute, boschhorn (schalmei); Jef Lee Johnson, guitar; James Carter, soprano and tenor saxophones; Ngolle Pokossi, bass; Martin Atangana, guitar (7)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Let's Be Generous, Joachim Kühn, Mark Nauseef, Tony Newton, Miroslav Tadic (CMP 53, 1990)

What immediately grabs you on the first track is the free and funky ring modulated electric piano. This is really unique music. I've always liked Joachim Kühn. He played on a couple of my favorite Jan Akkerman recordings. Kühn is nothing if not eclectic, and this is his best recording.

Bill Bruford said about Mark Nauseef and Let's Be generous in his November 1991 Wire Magazine interview: "Great drumming. This is where you'd hope Jimi Hendrix Experience would have got to. I have to say that it gets my blood going to hear Mark Nauseef rather than some of the older guys now. Five out of five."

In his November 1992 Berkeley Weekly review, Henry Kaiser wrote: "If this is jazz, then it's certainly the most daring, original, and innovative jazz recording I've heard this year. Mark Nauseef's Tony Williams vs. John French drumming, Miroslav Tadic's John McLaughlin meets Zoot Horn Rollo guitar stylings, Tony Newton's bass virtuosity and Joachim Kühn's incredibly peculiar, unfashionable, and distorted keyboard sounds all unite and create something that nobody has ever heard before."

Track listing and personnel:
1. The Prophet (E. Dolphy)
2. Senegal (J. Kühn)
3. Avant Garage (M. Tadic)
4. Always Yours (J. Kühn)
5. Something Sweet, Something Tender (E. Dolphy)
6. The Captain And I (J. Kühn)
7. Heavy Hanging (J. Kühn)
8. Don't Disturb My Groove (J. Kühn)
9. Snake Oil (T. Newton)
10. Bintang (M. Nauseef)
11. Kissing The Feet (Kühn / Nauseef / Newton / Tadic)

Let's Be Generous is:

Joachim Kühn on electronic keyboards and piano.

Mark Nauseef on drums, gongs, cymbals, Chinese drums, temple bells, metal plates, "magic drum", ADD II digital drums and junk.

Tony Newton on bass.

Miroslav Tadic on guitar.

Recorded in August 1990 at Ztudio Zerkall, Germany by Walter Quintus.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Miles Davis, More Sessions 1975-76, (ER070)

Another snag from Elastic Rock that for some reason seems to be no longer available there. This one is some rare ephemera from the twilight of Miles great 70s funk band. These tracks have been packaged together in several other collections including "Unknown Sessions 1973-1976, Volume 1 & 2." As Miles descended into cocaine, he played less and less. While his trumpet is completely absent on the first track, his presence is felt, and the opener exhibits both great guitar and great drum machine manipulation by Pete Cosey. Miles does play on the subsequent tracks, beginning with the multiple takes of the melodic "Latin." On "Song of Landa," Miles trumpet disappears again as he plays only minimal organ, yet the simple heartfelt melodicism hints at the direction his music will take when he reemerges in 1980. "TDK Funk" is a brief reprise of the greatest funk band of all time. A bittersweet bookend to one of the greats.

Tracks and personnel:
1 Turn of the Century (M. Davis) Feb 27, 1975 15:34
2 Latin (M. Davis) [takes 3/4] May 5, 1975 4:47
3 Latin (M. Davis) (take 6) May 5, 1975 4:41
4 Latin (M. Davis) (take 6, different mix) May 5, 1975 4:15
5 Song of Landa (S. Morrison-M. Davis) (take 2) Mar 30, 1976 4:05
6 Song of Landa (S. Morrison-M. Davis) (take 6) Mar 30, 1976 4:48
7 TDK Funk (M. Davis) (Untitled original E) Dec 27, 1976 5:01

February 27, 1975
Columbia Studio, New York
Miles Davis Septet
Miles Davis (tpt, org); Sonny Fortune (ss, ts, fl); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Reggie Lucas (g); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); James Mtume Forman (cga, perc)

May 5, 1975
Columbia Studio, New York
Miles Davis Septet
Miles Davis (tpt, org); Sam Morrison (ts); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Reggie Lucas (g); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); James Mtume Forman (cga, perc)

March 30, 1976
Columbia Studio, New York
Miles Davis Studio Group
Miles Davis (org); Sam Morrison (ss, as, fl); Mark Johnson (el-p); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d)

December 27, 1976
Unknown studio, New York
Miles Davis Studio Group
Miles Davis (org); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tisziji Muñoz, Rendezvous With Now (India Navigation 1034, 1978)

Killer, killer album! This had been previously posted over at India Navigation but it's no longer available there.

For some background, here's a short excerpt that Henry Kaiser wrote on Tisziji Muñoz:

"A warmly sustained and lightly distorted guitar dances fluidly over a modally-inflected, jazzy, piano-bass-drums rhythm section. On the surface, for a few moments, it seems a familiar sound, common to the last 3 decades of electric jazz. Something is truly different here, though. The notes and intervals are somehow different - flying by in patterns that don't seem to equate with any of the normal guitar fingering patterns and the rhythm breathes in some different way that is beyond swinging. Clouds and torrents of lightening-fast notes are just slightly slurred or bent to odd, microtonal intervals that are both different and somehow exactly right for the heavenly musical continuum that they inhabit. The longer you listen - the more you realize that this is something unique; both so familiar and so different at the same time, that you know you had better take some time to figure out what's going on."

Here's a youtube video of a live performance in Boston with Tisziji Muñoz, John Medeski and Bob Moses

Check it out, and then head over to anamimusic.com. Most everything Tisziji has ever recorded (except this album) appears to be available. I suggest you buy anything and everything you can.

(A note on his website, I was flummoxed and couldn't figure out how to check out. I sent an email and received a very nice reply from Nancy Munoz offering to sell the cds directly through paypal. I was able to eventually get my order in, but don't I don't remember the exact steps. I think I had to click on a particular album and click "Buy now" before I could find my shopping cart.)

Guitar - Tisziji Muñoz
Piano - Bernie Senensky
Bass - Cecil McBee
Drums - Claude Ranger
Percussion and vocals - Clayton Johnston
A1 The Shepherds Chant
B1 Blessings
B2 The Word of God Chant
B3 Waiting for Now to Be Forever

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ronald Shannon Jackson, Nasty, (Moers 1981)

I'd been searching for this one for years. This is Ronald Shannon Jackson's second recording as leader, but the first where he really hits his stride. Personnel is
Ronald Shannon Jackson, drums; Vernon Reid, electric guitar; Lee Rozie, soprano and tenor saxophones; Charles Brackeen, tenor and soprano saxophones; Byard Lancaster, alto and baritone saxophones, piccolo flute; Khan Jamal, vibraphone; Melvin Gibbs, electric bass; Bruce Johnson, electric bass.
1. Small World (Jackson) 3:20
2. Black Widow (Jackson) 10:18
3. Sweet Natalie (Jackson) 5:01
4. Nasty (Jackson) 5:55
5. When We Return (Jackson) 11:39

1981 - Moers Music (Germany) 01086 (LP)

Recorded March 23-27, 1981 at the Hit Factory, New York City