Thursday, January 21, 2066

The place to report broken links and request stuff!

Howdy people...

October 1, 2016 Update:

Sorry for being absent for a while, part of it was due to a very nice Indian Summer and discovering a new beach about 2 clicks from home. So now that I have worked up a bit of a tan, I am happy to inform you all that I am back, tons of stuff ready to post, And that I finally resolved the situation of my faulty hard drive and got myself a nice new 8  tb server for the house, Spent most time this week transferring from the Data DVD's I had as backup (It takes a while and a shitload of discs to back up 6tb)... Once this is done I will close shop for a little while as far as new posts go and concentrate on reuploading all the dead links, It will be much easier having it all on one drive than to have to sift thru a gazillion backup DVD's... wish me luck and happy music hunting y'all... o yeah! and Shanah Tova to my Jewish friends around the world!

From now on lets use this sticky post for all requests and re-post notices, So that I can keep better track of it, and get stuff done... Thanks a lot!

When notifying about a dead link, please include te link to the actual post, because that would make my work a lot faster (And I mean  A LOT). Thanks in advance to all the dudes and dudettes helping out!

Thanks a lot for all the encouraging messages and anonymous goodies! (I really appreciate it).

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

O'Donel Levy - 1977 - Time Has Changed

O'Donel Levy 
Time Has Changed

01. Time Has Changed
02. Have You Heard
03. Dancing Girl
04. Butta
05. Sophisticated Disco
06. Love Will Never Die

Bass – Marcel Turner
Drums – Robert Wyatt
Flute – George Young
Guitar – O'Donel Levy
Percussion – Jimmy Maelen
Piano, Synthesizer – Robert Butta
Saxophone, Flute – David E. Smith
Trumpet – Jimmy Wilson
Vocals – Aleta Greene

Recorded at Flite 3 Recording Studio, Baltimore and Mediasound Studios, New York.

Little known album. Space deep funk jazz with vocals cut - "Time Has Changed"! Very much in the vein of Gary Bartz's 'Music Is My Sanctuary'. Rare guitar-led funky jazz album that came out on subsiduary of Miami's TK records.
The time has changed really, big production, the funky guitar groove sometimes shines through the slick instrumental cloud and somewhere must even be Robert Wyatt on drums!

O'Donel Levy - 1976 - Windows

O'Donel Levy 

01. Panama Red 6:31
02. I Believe In Miracles 5:43
03. Freedom And Good Times 5:27
04. I'll Sing From My Window 5:34
05. Moisturizer 6:15
06. Green Machine 5:15

Bass – Gary Grainger
Drums – Stafford Levy
Guitar, Written-By – O'Donel Levy
Percussion – Jimmy Maelen
Piano, Synthesizer – Charles Covington
Saxophone, Flute – David E. Smith, George Young, Lew Delgatto
Strings – Frederick Buldrini, Guy Lumia, Harold Kohan, Jesse Levy, Julian Baker, Norman Carr, Richard Locker, Richard Maximoff, Richard Sortomme, Tony Posk
Strings, Horns, Arranged By, Conductor – Brad Baker
Trombone – Barry Rogers, Joe Randazzo
Trumpet – Jimmy Wilson, Lewis M. Soloff, Randy Brecker
Vocals – Aleta Greene

Recorded at Track Studios (a.k.a. Track Recorders), Washington D.C., August 1976.
Overdubs and mixing at Media Sound Studios, August 1976.

Following on the heels of George Benson's crossover blockbuster Breezin', Windows casts O'Donel Levy in the same mainstream, fusion-inspired mold, complete with vocals. To Levy's credit, the album never feels like a sell-out bid, and if anything, the mellow context underscores the chromatic beauty of his singular guitar aesthetic. With its bold, lush arrangements, the album at times boasts a cinematic splendor calling to mind the blaxploitation sound. Inasmuch as funk is ever subtle, Windows is ripe with nuance and resonance, yet never falls prey to the sleepiness of smooth jazz.

O'Donel Levy - 1973 - Simba

O'Donel Levy

01. Bad, Bad, Simba 7:16
02. Kilimanjaro Cookout 4:53
03. Playhouse 4:37
04. Sierra Lonely 5:34
05. Sad, Sad, Simba 6:07
06. Joni 5:10
07. Nigerian Knights 5:06

Bass – Tony Levin
Drums – Steve Gadd
Electric Piano – Warren Bernhardt
Flugelhorn – Alan Rubin, Burt Collins, Cecil Bridgewater, Lew Soloff
Flute, Piccolo Flute, Baritone Saxophone – Eddie Daniels
Guitar – O'Donel Levy
Percussion – Jim Madison
Trombone – Bill Watrous
Trumpet – Burt Collins, Ernie Royal, Jon Faddis, Lew Soloff

Recorded July 2-3, 1973

Simba is one hot album of funky soul-jazz. O'Donel Levy had played with Richard "Groove" Holmes and Jimmy McGriff on other albums for producer Sonny Lester's Groove Merchant label, and even had one released under his own name (Black Velvet), but this was something different. Black Velvet had a couple Levy originals, but relied heavily on cover tunes. For Simba, Lester brought in Manny Albam to supply both the tunes and the arrangements, and it makes all the difference in the world. The songs are catchy and funky, and play to Levy's strengths as a player. The arrangements are fantastic, played by a who's who list of '70s session men (including a young David Sanborn and Tony Levin, who throws down throughout). It's a shame that the Albam/Levy partnership didn't last longer, because later in the same year Levy had a follow-up (Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky) without Albam, and it was back to another album of unremarkable covers. Simba is the O'Donel Levy album to own.

O'Donel Levy - 1973 - Friday the 13th - Cook County Jail

O'Donel Levy
Friday the 13th - Cook County Jail

01 Freedom Suite, Part I 8:58
02 Freedom Suite, Part II 15:45
03 Green Dolphin Street 5:51
04 Everything Happens To Me 5:41
05 Cherokee 4:29

Recorded At – Cook County Jail

Bass – Mickey Bass (tracks: 1, 2), Sam Jones (tracks: 3 to 5)
Drums – Louis Hayes (tracks: 3 to 5), Marion Booker Jr. (tracks: 1, 2)
Guitar – George Freeman (tracks: 1, 2), O'Donel Levy (tracks: 1, 2)
Organ – Jimmy McGriff
Piano [Electric] – Cedar Walton (tracks: 3 to 5)
Saxophone – Lucky Thompson (tracks: 3 to 5)

This album contains two separate sets that were both performed before inmates at the Cook County Jail one day in 1972. Organist Jimmy McGriff and his quintet (with guitarists George Freeman and O'Donell Levy, bassist Mickey Bass and drummer Marion Booker, Jr.) performs his lengthy two-part

"Freedom Suite," generating a great deal of heat. Lucky Thompson, mostly on soprano, jams on three standards with keyboardist Cedar Walton, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes. Thompson's hot playing (particularly on "Cherokee") makes this album worth searching for.

O'Donel Levy - 1973 - Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky

O'Donel Levy
Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky

01. Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky 3:20
02. Marbles 6:25
03. Will It Go Round In Circles 3:20
04. Livin' For The City 4:59
05. Sideshow 4:48
06. Willow Weep For Me 6:20
07. Hey, Love! 3:17
08. Are You Foolin Me 3:07

Drums – Hugh Walker
Guitar – George Davis
Guitar, Vocals – O'Donel Levy
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Charles Covington
Percussion – James H. Madison (tracks: A1, A3), Ralph MacDonald (tracks: A1, A3)
Saxophone – David William Sanborn* (tracks: A1, A3), Joseph Temperley* (tracks: A1, A3)
Trombone – Michael Gibson (tracks: A1, A3)
Trumpet – Lewis M. Soloff (tracks: A1, A3)
Vocals, Percussion – Judd Watkins

Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky, O'Donel Levy's follow-up to his excellent Simba, is something of a letdown in comparison. Simba featured a bunch of solid tunes, written and dynamically arranged by Manny Albam. Although both albums were produced by label head Sonny Lester, without Albam's input these sessions seem somewhat lost. The title cut is not a direct ripoff of the Allen Toussaint tune, but it is fairly derivative. The second tune is a direct ripoff. "Marbles," credited to Levy, is actually a John McLaughlin tune, from his album Devotion, and it's downhill from there. Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round in Circles" is taken at breakneck speed, and let's just say Levy is better off sticking with instrumentals. "Livin' for the City" gets a heavy wah-wah makeover, but is one of the better tracks on the album. The rest is just unremarkable. "Sideshow" shows the ballad side of Levy's playing, and the standard "Willow Weep for Me" is treated as a pretty straight blues. None of this is awful; it just lacks the great tunes and arrangements of its predecessor. Unless you simply can't get enough O'Donel Levy, skip Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky and stick with Simba.

O'Donel Levy - 1972 - Dawn Of A New Day

O'Donel Levy 
Dawn Of A New Day

01. Dawn Of A New Day 4:11
02. Baa Waa 3:39
03. I Wanna Be Where You Are 3:31
04. Where Is The Love 2:33
05. People Make The World Go Round 4:40
06. Maiden Voyage 5:48
07. Super Woman 4:41
08. I Want To Make It With You 3:42
09. Goin On To Detroit 4:16

Bass – George Russell
Drums – Chester Thompson
Guitar – O'Donel Levy
Organ, Electric Piano – Charles Covington
Trombone – William Watrous, Eddie Burt, Wayne Andre
Trumpet – Burt Collins, Cecil Bridgewater, Jon Faddis, Marvin Stamm

Dawn of a New Day expands the Baroque funk horizons introduced on the brilliant Breeding of Mind, O'Donel Levy's previous collaboration with arranger Manny Albam. A bigger, bolder effort, Dawn's panoramic sound also borrows much from blaxploitation cinema. Joined by collaborators including trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater and organist Charles Covington, Levy's remarkable leads seem to cut and paste elements from across the history of jazz guitar, most closely recalling the lean, mean genius of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green. His solos are graceful yet muscular, each note crackling with energy. The material here is also excellent, sidestepping the usual Groove Merchant soul and pop warhorses in favor of material including "Maiden Voyage" and "People Make the World Go Around." Levy's originals are also strong, in particular the title cut.

O'Donel Levy - 1972 - Breeding Of Mind

O'Donel Levy
Breeding Of Mind

01. We've Only Just Begun 3:55
02. It's Too Late 3:33
03. Breeding Of Mind 3:10
04. Cherries 4:00
05. On Broadway 3:34
06. Ideal 3:58
07. Never Can Say Goodbye 5:15
08. Let's Stay Together 3:08
09. The Chocolate Horse 3:15
10. Angel Eyes 4:29

Bass – Eric Ward
Drums – Chester Thompson
Guitar – O'Donel Levy
Organ – Charles Covington

Breeding of Mind pairs guitarist O'Donel Levy with arranger Manny Albam for a genre-defying set that embraces elements of jazz, funk and baroque pop -- the end result is soulful and sublime, couching Levy's uncommonly expressive tone in a series of bold, lush contexts that underline the sophistication of his craft. Backed by bassist Eric Ward, organist Charles Covington and drummer Chester Thompson, Levy transcends the limitations of Groove Merchant warhorses like "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "We've Only Just Begun" with aplomb, winnowing deep inside their familiar melodies to reveal new layers of loveliness, but Breeding of Mind is undoubtedly best served by originals like "Cherries" and "The Chocolate Horse," which address contemporary funk sensibilities with remarkable imagination and intricacy.

O'Donel Levy - 1971 - Black Velvet

O'Donel Levy
Black Velvet

01. Watch What Happens
02. Granny
03. I'll Close My Eyes
04. Nature's Child
05. Love Story
06. Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)
07. I'll Be There
08. Misty
09. Call Me
10. You've Made Me So Very Happy

Bass – Alarza Lee Collins
Congas – Nathaniel Rice, Jr.
Drums – Chester Thompson
Electric Piano, Organ – Charles Covington
Guitar – O'Donel Levy
Percussion – William Thorpe
Saxophone [Tenor], Flute – Arthur 'Fats' Theus
Trumpet – Billy Skinner

As its title portends, Black Velvet boasts a smooth, rich texture absent from O'Donel Levy's subsequent Groove Merchant sessions -- its mellow, stoned-soul sensibilities nevertheless complement the guitarist perfectly, affording him the space to weave a series of righteously beautiful solos. Like so many Groove Merchant efforts, the album relies far too much on the pop charts for material -- pap like "You've Made Me So Very Happy," "I'll Be There," and "Theme from Love Story" turns up like bad pennies -- but the arrangements are lovely, spotlighting contributions from organist Charles Covington, reedist Fats Theus, and trumpeter Billy Skinner. Levy also proves himself a composer of some distinction, contributing a pair of charming originals, "Granny" and "Nature's Child."

Hal Galper - 1980 - Ivory Forest

Hal Galper 
Ivory Forest 

01. Ivory Forest 7:36
02. Continuity 6:32
03. My Dog Spot 6:31
04. Monk's Mood 5:58
05. Yellow Days 3:48
06. Rapunzel's Luncheonette 9:36

Bass – Wayne Dockery
Drums – Adam Nussbaum
Guitar – John Scofield
Piano – Hal Galper

Recorded October 31, 1979 and November 1, 1979, Ludwigsburg

Although a quartet is listed on this set (pianist Hal Galper, guitarist John Scofield, bassist Wayne Dockery, and drummer Adam Nussbaum), only three of the selections are performed by the full group. Galper's "Continuity" (one of four of his originals) is a piano/guitar duet; Galper also duets with Dockery on "Yellow Days," but sits out altogether on Scofield's solo rendition of "Monk's Mood." Well-played, if not overly memorable, modern mainstream music.

This album is officially by the Hal Galper Quartet, but the front cover (of the CD edition, at least) has only "Hal Galper -- John Scofield" printed, as if they shared equal billing. Whatever the case, the personnel is Hal Galper, piano & composer of the four originals here, Scofield, guitar, Wayne Dockery on acoustic bass and future John Scofild Trio drummer Adam Nussbaum. The commements below concern Scofield's participation in the session, but before I make them I'll say that Galper is a fantastic, tasty pianist who, like Jim McNeely and Alan Broadbent, is unfortuately overlooked by the larger jazz audience.

The first piece is an unacompanied guitar solo (a rarity in the Scofield catalog) where Sco plays "Monk's Mood" (by Monk, of course). The 1965 Spanish popular song Yellow Days follows (it's best known, with its English lyric, as a Sinatra tune) and it is the only tune of the six not to feature Sco (Nussbaum is out too--it's a piano/bass duet).

Then comes the four Galper originals, quartet numbers all except "Continuity," which is a guitar-piano duet.

Scofield's sound and playing are superb--this is before he found the Roland Jazz Chorus amp sound, and the tone he gets on these early dates to me is just timeless. Sco, told Bill Milkowski in 1990, speaking of another late-70s session of his, "The sound of the guitar was not really together then. I've gotten much more adept at dealing with effects to fatten up my sound and get a wider variety of tones and colors. But basically, I hear all the same sort of stuff I do now." With all due respect, I beg to differ about the sound and it's "togetherness". With his cleaner tone, all the nuances of his amazing touch are brought forward--you aren't listening through the veil of a chorus effect. Perhaps it's just a matter of what context he's in--on recent albums like "Überjam," the guitar processing seems entirely appropriate and enhances his sound. On the other hand, in a more classic jazz setting like this date or his fabulous early-1980s trio records with Steve Swallow, I'm so glad he chose to use the sound he used.

Hal Galper - 1978 - Speak with a Single Voice

The Hal Galper Quintet
Speak with a Single Voice

01. Speak With A Single Voice
02. I Can't Get Started
03. Waiting For Chet
04. Blue And Green
05. Now Hear This

Bass – Wayne Dockery
Drums – Bob Moses
Piano – Hal Galper
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Michael Brecker
Trumpet – Randy Brecker

Recorded Live In Feburary, 1978 at ROSY'S in New Orleans, LA. US

The Brecker Brothers (tenor saxophonist Mike and trumpeter Randy) join pianist Hal Galper, bassist Wayne Dockery, and drummer Bob Moses for a set of high-quality modern hard bebop. The Breckers spent much of the 1970s in the studios, so this LP (not yet reissued on CD) gave one a rare opportunity to hear them during the era playing in a noncommercial setting. The quintet performs three Galper originals (including the Chet Baker tribute "Waiting for Chet") and "I Can't Get Started," while the leader performs "Blue and Green" unaccompanied. A fine session that has unfortunately become quite obscure.

Hal Galper - 1977 - Now Near This

Hal Galper 
Now Near This 

01. Now Hear This 8:19
02. Shadow Waltz 6:11
03. Mr. Fixit 5:02
04. First Song In The Day 9:02
05. Bemsha Swing 6:09
06. Red Eye Special 5:32

Bass – Cecil McBee
Drums – Tony Williams
Piano – Hal Galper
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Terumasa Hino

Recorded February 15, 1977

Hal Galper has had a long, distinguished career as a jazz pianist, bandleader, composer and educator. While the pianist has made a flurry of recordings over the past few years, record labels are beginning to mine the wealth of material he produced during the '=1970s. Now Hear This was first issued by Enja in 1977 and subsequently reissued in its original form, though this edition sports a redesigned cover and a bonus track. Galper's inspired quartet includes trumpeter Terumasa Hino, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Tony Williams. The title track, which was recorded by its composer with a different quintet during the same decade, benefits from the stripped-down quartet and a decent piano (something not available for the live Century LP Speak With a Single Voice (1978)and reissued as the Double Time CD Children of the Night).

"Now Hear This" is one of Galper's most infectious works, as the pianist launches into a furious solo, with Hino's contribution followed by Williams' simmering break. The playful "Red Eye Special" suggests a bit of McCoy Tyner's influence, punctuated by Hino's searing trumpet. Galper builds "First Song of the Day" upon a simple repeated riff, intermingling thunderous chords and lightning runs in his solo, while both Hino's and McBee's features are equally full of fire. This expanded reissue includes a previously unreleased alternate take of it, which is a bit shorter but no less intense than the master. In addition to Galper's five originals, he includes a sauntering, sassy interpretation of Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing." This is easily one of Galper's best recordings of the 1970's.

Hal Galper - 1976 - Reach Out!

The Hal Galper Quintet
Reach Out!

01. Reach Out 9:17
02. I'll Never Stop Loving You 7:18
03. Spidit 6:00
04. Waiting For Chet 8:12
05. I Can't Get Started 3:15
06. Children Of The Night 13:13

Bass – Wayne Dockery
Drums – Billy Hart
Piano – Hal Galper
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Michael Brecker
Trumpet – Randy Brecker

Hal Galper was on a tear during the 1970s, writing a number of adventurous post-bop compositions and getting regular opportunities to record them. This 1976 studio session for Steeplechase features the pianist with trumpeter Randy Brecker, tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker, bassist Wayne Dockery, and drummer Billy Hart. The turbulent opener, "Reach Out," must have been incredible to hear in a live setting; this studio version features an intense, constantly searching solo by the leader, as well as impassioned solos by the Brecker Brothers. Michael switches to flute for the brisk "Spidit," which blends post-bop and elements of Latin jazz. Galper, a former sideman for Chet Baker, penned the multi-faceted "Waiting for Chet," possibly to represent the tumultuous life of the troubled trumpeter; in this song, Michael starts on flute but switches to tenor sax. The leader arranged terrific interpretations of two Gershwin standards. Ending the CD is the extended composition "Children of the Night," in which everyone solos, though everyone drops out as Wayne Dockery delivers a stunning performance. This is easily one of Hal Galper's best recordings.

Hal Galper - 1973 - Inner Journey

Hal Galper 
Inner Journey

01. Inner Journey 7:04
02. Invitation To Openness 6:27
03. P.M. In The A.M. 5:04
04. Joy Ride 4:12
05. My Funny Valentine 5:20
06. Taking The Coltrane 4:26
07. Wandering Spirit 4:31

Acoustic Bass – Dave Holland
Drums – Bill Goodwin
Piano – Hal Galper

Hal Galper's third album as a leader, which also was his third and final recording for the Mainstream label, finds him making a bit of a change. It was at this point in his career that he made a clean break from playing electric piano at all, becoming exclusively an acoustic pianist. With bassist Dave Holland and drummer Bill Goodwin (the latter with whom he would be reunited for a few years when he replaced Mike Melillo in Phil Woods' group) Galper delves extensively into a challenging set of originals, beginning with the introspective, driving "Inner Journey." The leader's approach to the standard "My Funny Valentine" is far darker than typical arrangements, with plenty of twists thrown in for good measure. At the end of the disc, on both the album jacket and the record label, the last two songs are not heard in the order shown in print. Galper's cerebral "Wandering Spirit" precedes, not follows, Duke Ellington's "Take the Coltrane" (which is misidentified as "Taking the Coltrane"). The pianist's rapid-fire treatment of Ellington's blues riff takes an adventurous path, with plenty of solo space for Holland and a series of breaks by Galper and Goodwin. With the demise of Mainstream, this LP is getting more difficult to acquire and it remains one of the very best recording from Hal Galper's early days as a leader.

Hal Galper - 1972 - Wild Bird

Hal Galper 
Wild Bird

01. Convocation 7:05
02. Wild Bird 8:03
03. Change Up 5:04
04. This Moment 11:40
05. Whatever 7:14

Bass – Charles LaChappelle, Victor Gaskin
Drums – Bill Goodwin, Billy Hart
Electric Piano – Hal Galper
Guitar – Bob Mann, Jonathan Graham
Soprano Saxophone – Michael Brecker
Tenor Saxophone – Michael Brecker
Trumpet – Randy Brecker

Hal Galper - 1971 - The Guerilla Band

Hal Galper 
The Guerilla Band

01. Call 6:05
02. Figure Eight 7:37
03. Black Night 3:16
04. Welcome To My Dream 4:50
05. Rise And Fall 9:05
06. Point Of View 5:49

Bass – Victor Gaskin
Drums – Charles Alias, Steve Haas
Electric Piano – Hal Galper
Guitar – Bob Mann
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Mike Brecker
Trumpet, Trumpet [Electric Trumpet], Flugelhorn – Randy Brecker

Bebop is nothing new to Hal Galper. Weaned on Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Jackie Byard, Bill Evans and Sonny Rollins, he has played with many of the be-bop masters. He spent three years on the road with Chet Baker, three with Cannonball Adderley and ten years with the Phil Woods group. His list of credits also includes playing with Johnny Hodges, Roy Eldridge, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Art Blakey and Lee Konitz as well as with Sam Rivers, Donald Byrd, The Bobby Hutcherson-Harold Land Quintet and John Scofield, among others.

Galper's music has always been wide ranging and original. He has played the full scope of his musical heritage from the post-be-bopists to the ultra-modernists. Reviewers have found his music "adventurous, exploratory" (New York Times), " Four Star" (Billboard), "Startling, very exciting indeed" (Record World), and "energy driven and versatile" (Down Beat Magazine).

As a scholarship student at Berklee School of Music in the '50's, Hal first discovered 'the music' while hanging out at Herb Pomeroy's club, The Stables, hearing local Boston musicians like Jackie Byard, Alan Dawson and Sam Rivers. Galper started sitting in and became the house pianist at The Stables and later on, at Connelly's and Lenny's On The Turnpike, Boston clubs of '50'sand '60's vintage.

" For a time, I was a free player. It became obvious that this wasn't in vogue in Boston when my fellow musicians ran off the bandstand holding their, in 1960, I went to Paris to see what was happening there. I played four gigs in two months and returned to Boston discouraged with music. I didn't play for two years." "

Through the Boston grapevine, Galper learned that Chet Baker was coming to town and looking for a piano player.

Chet on Hal: ""He's a very good player... I like the way he plays and I like the way he writes. I asked him to sit in with me at the Jazz Workshop in Boston and hired him... just like that." "

Playing with Chet gave Hal's career some firsts... his first road band jazzgig... his first recordings (The Most Important Jazz Album Of 1964-65 and Baby Breeze).. his first playing experience in top circuit, big city clubs...his first residence in New York City. "I learned a lot from Chet about dynamics, restraint, listening and how to play a ballad...but the parting of the ways came when I wanted to play more modern stuff. I couldn't make it New York alone and went back to New England in 1966."

Hal recalled that his first playing experience with Phil Woods came about this time. " I was with the house band at Lenny's in Boston. Phil was the guest soloist and we played a week together. It was love at first beat!"

In 1967, He realized it was time to go back to New York again and was reunited with Woods for a couple of one-nighters. He played short engagements and one-nighters with Donald Byrd, Stan Getz, Chuck Mangione, Joe Henderson and Al Cohn and Zoot Sims and recorded three albums for Mainstream under his own name, The Guerilla Band, Inner Journey and Wild Bird.

In 1973, rumor had it that Cannonball Adderley was looking for a new keyboard player to replace George Duke. Galper's audition was held on the bandstand at the Jazz Workshop in Boston, Playing one set a night for the weekend of Cannonball's engagement. It turned into a highly spirited three year playing stint, performing and touring fifty out of fifty two weeks of each of those years.. Hal wrote tunes and recorded three Quintet albums, Inside Straight, Love, Sex and The Zodiac, and Pyramid for the Quintet. "I'm still absorbing what I learned from Cannonball's band. I loved the high level of rapport and the energy...but I knew after three years that I didn't need the road. The time had come to develop my own musical identity. "He made the difficult decision to leave the Quintet in 1975.

Another major realization was that he had been avoiding the acoustic piano and the responsibilities of it. "I had to go back," he said, "after all, I was an acoustic pianist." As a symbol of his commitment to himself, he wheeled his Fender Rhodes to a dock on the Hudson and threw it into the river, watching the bubbles rise as it sank.

In the next year and a one half, supported by a NEA grant, plans were carefully laid out. Randy and Michael Brecker were in that plan and Wayne Docker and Billy Hart completed the Hal Galper Quintet. A successful debut at Sweet Basil in New York and two records for Steeplechase (Reach Out) and Century (Speak With A Single Voice) brought the band to the attention of New York audiences, major East Coast club owners and the producers of the 1978 BerlinJazz Festival. "This was a very contemporary band. Everyone played with one hundred percent freedom... but after a while," Galper Says," the direction... the concept became only a part of what I wanted to play." He ended the Quintet in 1978, ready to play a more disciplined, melodic kind of music.

Back on the road again as a sideman, Hal toured with Lee Konitz, Nat Adderley, John Scofield and Slide Hampton. Sitting in for a week at the Village Vanguard with The Phil Woods Quartet in September of 1979 led to the inception of Hal's 10 year stint (1980-1990) as pianist-composer-arranger with this award-winning group. "What a Gig," said Galper. "Ten years recording and touring the world, playing acoustic be-bop... a rare and fortunate experience!".

The 10th. year anniversary also marked the Concord Jazz release of Galper's successful trio album, "Portrait"... "after 35 years of playing, mostly as an accompanist and some-time leader, I realized that many people had not heard me play the way I really can play, especially in the trio setting."

Encouraged by the success of "Portrait", Hal left the Woods group in August 1990 to start touring and recording with his new trio with (Steve Ellington on drums and Jeff Johnson on bass.) Say's Galper, " A choice rhythm section that plays with a big beat and is sophisticated enough to go in any direction. We are really developing our own sound and identity and I'm enjoying playing the piano more than I ever have before.". From 1990-1999, Hal's group was on the road six months a year. They recorded four trio albums for Concord, two quartet albums for ENJA (with special guest Jerry Bergonzi) a trio album (Live at Vartan Jazz), another live trio album "Fugue State," a quintet album "Let's Call This That" for Double Time Records. and a live duo recording with Jeff Johnson called "Maybeck Duets on the Philology label

Galper is internationally known as an educator. His theoretical and practical articles have appeared in six of Down Beat Magazines editions and his scholarly article on the Psychology of Stage fright, originally published in the Jazz Educators Journal, has subsequently been reprinted in four other publications. His new book "The Touring Musician, A Small Business Approach to Booking Your Band on the Road (Billboard Books) is fast becoming the last word on the subject. As a founding member of the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he still teaches, Hal is also on the faculty of Purchase Conservatory. He extensively travels the College lecture-workshop circuit.

I've been on a non-stop '70s Fender Rhodes electric piano LP collecting frenzy so this was definitely a lovely dig during a recent trip to California. One of the defining Rhodes jazz-funk records of the era, keyboardist Hal Galper's debut as a leader can be a tricky Mainstream Records title to track down, especially in minty shape like this WLP [White Label Promotional] copy. Galper's aggressively driving approach here has a powerful, swirling quality that's complex, modal and quite adventurously funky at times. The Guerilla Band is a searching and furious Fender Rhodes keyboard workout akin to the work of The Awakening's Ken Chaney on Black Jazz Records, another master of the instrument, or perhaps a slightly more fast-paced Eddie Russ approach. "Figure Eight" sounds exactly like its title, full of crisscrossing angular swoops of Bob Mann's searing electric guitar and Galper's fuzzy keyboard lines swimming amidst electric bassist Victor Gaskin and drummer Charles Alias's space-funk bottom. Slickster L.A. studio stalwarts the Brecker brothers make early recording appearances here and actually sound nicely textural and 'in the pocket' with little overblown schmaltz compared to their blaring later efforts. Mysterious, mesmerizing music and superior to Galper's other (but still very highly desirable) LPs on the Mainstream label.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Grassella Oliphant Quartette - 1965 - The Grass Roots

The Grassella Oliphant Quartette
The Grass Roots

01. One For The Masses 4:34
02. The Descendant 3:00
03. Star Dust 4:02
04. Uptown Hours 4:04
05. Mrs. O 3:23
06. Haitian Lady 4:05
07. Shiny Stockings 4:10
08. Granfather's Waltz 3:31
09. Step Lightly 4:36
10. Mood Indigo 3:16

Bass – Ray McKinney
Drums – Grassella Oliphant
Tenor Saxophone – Harold Ousley
Vibraphone – Bobby Hutcherson

The Grass Roots pairs the only two recordings drummer Grassella Oliphant ever released as a leader. He was a solid sideman in the 1950s with Sarah Vaughan, and then later with singer Gloria Lynne and organist Shirley Scott. Both these titles were released on Atlantic. The first, The Grass Roots, features saxophonist Harold Ousley, Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, and bassist Ray McKinney. It's a varied date ranging from killer groove soul-jazz such as Ousley's "One for the Masses," covers of "Stardust" and "Mood Indigo," and hard bop swingers like "The Descendant" (also written by Ousley). Oliphant's playing is delightfully understated, but his contrapuntal work with Hutcherson is literally startling. Ousley's playing should be noted for its fury and tenderness, depending on the tune. His use of restraint is tentative because it allows him to bust it wide open at all the right moments with a big fat reedy tone.

Grassella Oliphant - 1967 - The Grass Is Greener

Grassella Oliphant 
The Grass Is Greener

01. Get Out Of My Life Woman 2:43
02. Ain't That Peculiar 2:52
03. Soul Woman 5:21
04. Peaches Are Better Down The Road 5:47
05. The Yodel 6:35
06. Cantaloupe Woman 4:37
07. The Latter Days 3:01
08. Rapid Shave 3:04

Bass – Major Holley
Drums – Grassella Oliphant
Guitar – Grant Green
Organ – John Patton
Tenor Saxophone – Harold Ousley
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trumpet [Pocket] – Clark Terry

Drummer Grassella Oliphant's The Grass Is Greener is as good as it is rare. One of many soulful organ jazz dates that have gained cult status among sample hungry hip-hop and acid jazz devotees, this 1967 Atlantic album is packed with great playing and solid grooves (besides recording only one other album as a leader, his 1965 debut The Grass Roots, Oliphant also appeared on dates by singer Gloria Lynne and organist Shirley Scott, among others). With guitarist Grant Green and B-3 master John Patton completing the classic organ combo setup, the trio particularly stretch out on fine numbers like "Cantaloupe Woman" and Patton's own "Soul Woman." While these cuts are marked by a progressive, almost modal sound, much of the other material, which also features tenor saxophonist Harold Ousley and trumpeter Clark Terry, has a more down home and groove-heavy flavor; this is especially true on Terry's "Peaches Are Better Down the Road" and a cover of Allen Toussaint's classic bit of New Orleans soul, "Get Out of My Life Woman." Other standouts include a rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar" and Ousley's breezy Latin swinger "The Latter Days." A great set.

It gets to you. That slow draggin’ beat of Get Out My Life, Woman that makes you think you’re listening to an alternative backing track of the Allen Touissant tune as performed by Lee Dorsey with Clark Terry ‘singing’ through his pocket trumpet, flavored with the lazy horns that state the well-known theme and the added bonus of John Patton’s greasy organ. A surprising start to a hip record by obscure drummer Grassella Oliphant.

Well, not that obscure. A number of hip hop artists have plundered The Grass Is Greener for beats, as well as Lee Dorsey’s funky recording of Allen Touissant’s composition. Think what you like about these methods – whether it’s pure theft or a mature artistic effort – at least they had good taste.
I wouldn’t call The Grass Is Greener an all-out smash, though. One’s search for a bit of flair in Oliphant’s drumming in the two jazzier bits will remain fruitless. And from the soul and funk-jazz tunes that luckily comprise the main part of the album, Ain’t That Peculiar (the 1965 hit for Marvin Gaye that was written by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and was a very popular cover among soul jazz artists of that period) doesn’t really pick up steam and is redeemed largely by the sharp-as-a-tack presence of guitarist Grant Green. The rest, however, and especially organist John Patton’s compositions Soul Woman and The Yodel are on the ball from start to finish.

Both tunes receive an unconventional snare treatment by Oliphant, a continuous, rollicking roll that is continued throughout. It’s powerful and stimulating for the other musicians. The Yodel is a particularly heavy cooker in which Patton and Green trade red hot solo’s. With such hard bop giants in tow, it’s hard to go wrong, and Oliphant doesn’t.

A comparison with John Patton’s album Got A Good Thing Goin’ (recorded April 29, 1966), that also has got Grant Green aboard, is justified. An uncommon figure of three tunes overlap with The Grass Is Greener: The Yodel, Soul Woman and Ain’t That Peculiar. It includes a version of the latter that runs smoother than Oliphant’s take. John Patton’s originals are cookin’ and faster executed, including outstanding Green and Patton solo’s. Nevertheless, I prefer the earlier 1965 versions of The Yodel and Soul Woman, that possess the added tenor sax of Harold Ousley on The Yodel and a more ‘southern’ feel. Both fine albums, I dutifully stipulate, deserve a place in your shopping bag.

Grassella Oliphant (nicknamed “Grass”) dropped out of the business in 1970, only to return professionally after a 40-year hiatus in 2010 in the New Jersey area. He won’t make the cover of Downbeat Magazine, but will undoubtly serve the citizens of New Jersey a tasty and spicy meal.

Charles McPherson - 1977 - New Horizons

Charles McPherson 
New Horizons

01. Promise 5:02
02. I'll Never Stop Loving You 4:17
03. Night Eyes 9:38
04. Horizons 5:19
05. Samba D'Orfeo 6:56
06. Dee Blues 8:13

Charles McPherson - alto sax
Mickey Tucker - piano
Cecil McBee - bass
Freddie Waits - drums

Recorded September 28, 1977

One of the top bop-oriented altoists of the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s, Charles McPherson recorded some of his finest records during his period with the Xanadu label. For this quartet set with pianist Mickey Tucker, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Freddie Waits, McPherson performs four excellent originals ("Promise" and "Dee Blues" are well worth reviving), plus "I'll Never Stop Loving You" and "Samba D'Orfeo." The music is typically swinging and has its exciting moments.

Charles McPherson - 1975 - Beautiful

Charles McPherson

01. They Say It's Wonderful 4:59
02. But Beautiful 6:18
03. It Could Happen To You 5:43
04. Lover 4:49
05. This Can't Be Love 5:28
06. Body And Soul 7:44
07. It Had To Be You 5:42

Alto Saxophone – Charles McPherson
Bass – Sam Jones
Drums – Leroy Williams
Piano – Duke Jordan

Recorded August 12, 1975.

Xanadu was a perfect label for altoist Charles McPherson since he was always a bop-based improviser who was perfectly at home jamming straightahead standards. This CD reissue features the talented altoist (who is joined by pianist Duke Jordan, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Leroy Williams) infusing beauty and boppish ideas into such songs as "They Say It's Wonderful," "It Could Happen to You" and "This Can't Be Love."  A previously unreleased trio rendition of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" (recorded while the musicians were waiting for McPherson to show up) has been added to the CD. Recommended.

Charles McPherson - 1973 - Today's Man

Charles McPherson
Today's Man

01. Charisma
02. Naima
03. Invitation
04. Stranger In Paradise
05. Cheryl
06. Bell Bottoms

Bass [Acoustic] – Lawrence Evans
Drums – Billy Higgins
Flute, Saxophone [Baritone] – Chris Woods
Flute, Saxophone [Tenor] – Frank Wess
French Horn – Julius Watkins
Piano [Acoustic] – Barry Harris
Saxophone [Alto] – Charles McPherson
Trombone – Garnett Brown
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Cecil Bridgewater, Richard Williams

A great document of the more soulful shift made by Charles McPherson in the 70s – and an album that features his moody alto work set amidst a slightly larger group – filled with great players that include Chris Woods on flute, Richard Williams and Cecil Bridewater on trumpet, Frank Wess on tenor sax, Garnett Brown on trombone, and Barry Harris on piano. The tracks are deceptively easygoing, but swing with a nice spiritual soul jazz undercurrent – and McPherson blows in some warm, open modes that really grab us on the best tunes.

Charles McPherson - 1972 - Siku Ya Bibi (Day Of The Lady)

Charles McPherson 
Siku Ya Bibi (Day Of The Lady)

01. Don't Explain
02. Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be)
03. God Bless The Child
04. Miss Brown To You
05. Good Morning Heartache
06. For Heaven's Sake
07. I'm A Fool To Want You
08. Lover Come Back To Me

Alto Saxophone – Charles McPherson
Bass – Sam Jones
Drums – Leroy Williams
Guitar – Earl Dunbar
Piano – Barry Harris

For the second of his three Mainstream sessions (one that has been reissued on CD), the bebop altoist Charles McPherson pays tribute to Billie Holiday; in fact, "Siku Ya Bibi" means "Day of the Lady" in Swahili. The emphasis is mostly on ballads, with "Miss Brown to You" and "Lover Come Back to Me" being exceptions. Four of the eight selections find McPherson backed by ten strings arranged by Ernie Wilkins, while the remainder of the date has the altoist joined by a rhythm section that includes pianist Barry Harris. Although not quite up to the level of his upcoming, more freewheeling Xanadu sessions, this is a fine outing. Highlights include the two aforementioned cooking pieces, "Lover Man," "Good Morning Heartache," and "I'm a Fool to Want You."

Charles McPherson - 1971 - Charles McPherson

Charles McPherson 
Charles McPherson

01. What's Going On 3:28
02. Serenity 7:25
03. My Funny Valentine 7:37
04. Another Kind Of Blues 7:03
05. While We're Young 6:33
06. Bird Feathers 5:10

Alto Saxophone – Charles McPherson
Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Leroy Williams
Electric Guitar – Carl Lynch, Gene Bertoncini
Piano – Barry Harris, Nico Bunik
Trumpet – Lonnie Hilliard

Recorded: June 16-17, 1971

Charles McPherson is in fine form on this self-titled out-of-print Mainstream LP as is ex-Mingus sideman Lonnie Hillyer on trumpet.
Barry Harris and Ron Carter offer their usual strong support as well. McPherson offers up two originals, "Serenity" and "Another Kind of Blues" as well as two standards, "My Funny Valentine" and an up-tempo version of Alec Wilder's "While We're Young".
Charlie Parker is also represented with "Bird Feathers". The only throw away track is "What's Goin' On" which sounds dated and is marred by poorly engineered sound. Thankfully, this is the shortest track on the record.

Charles McPherson - 1970 - McPherson's Mood

Charles McPherson 
McPherson's Mood

01. Explorations
02. McPherson's Mood
03. Opalescence
04. My Cherie Amour
05. Mish-Mash-Bash
06. I Get A Kick Out Of You

Recorded December 23, 1969.

Alto Saxophone – Charles McPherson
Bass – Buster Williams
Drums – Roy Brooks
Piano – Barry Harris

When alto saxophonist Charles McPherson recorded McPherson's Mood in 1969, jazz was going in many different directions. The jazz landscape offered everything from fusion, organ combos, and jazz-funk to modal, post-bop, and avant-garde jazz -- a wide variety of experimentation was taking place. But McPherson was still a bebopper at heart, specifically, a bebopper who had a lot of Charlie "Bird" Parker in his tone and was a Bird disciple without being a Bird clone. McPherson's Mood isn't the least bit innovative (by 1969 standards), but it's definitely solid and enjoyable. Joined by pianist Barry Harris, bassist Buster Williams, and drummer Roy Brooks, McPherson sticks with what he does best -- pure, unapologetic bebop -- and Bird's influence serves him well on exuberant originals like "Mish-Mash-Bash" and "Explorations," as well as an enthusiastic, if conventional performance of the Cole Porter standard "I Get a Kick out of You." Most of the time, McPherson's Mood sounds like it could have been recorded in 1949 instead of 1969. But then, a 1949 session wouldn't have included an interpretation of Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour," which the altoist successfully gives a lyrical bop makeover. McPherson wasn't the only jazz instrumentalist who tackled "My Cherie Amour" in the late '60s, but unlike the various organ combos that embraced Wonder's charming soul-pop classic, McPherson isn't trying to combine jazz and R&B. Instead, he shows us what "My Cherie Amour" might have sounded like if the melody had been around in the '40s or early '50s and Bird or Sonny Stitt had decided to interpret it. Again, McPherson's Mood isn't innovative or forward-thinking, but it's well-worth obtaining for those seeking high-quality, swinging bebop along the lines of Bird, Stitt, Sonny Red, and Phil Woods.

Charles McPherson - 1968 - Horizons

Charles McPherson 

01. Horizons
02. Lush Life
03. Ain't That Somethin'
04. Night Eyes
05. I Should Care
06. She Loves Me

Recorded in New York City; August 27, 1968.

Charles McPherson -  Primary Artist, Alto Saxophone
Walter Booker -  Bass
Billy Higgins  - Drums
Pat Martino  -  Guitar
Cedar Walton  - Piano

  Charles McPherson's fifth Prestige album (which was reissued in 1998 in the Original Jazz Classics series) differs from the first four in that McPherson contributed four of the six originals. Assisted by pianist Cedar Walton, the up-and-coming guitarist Pat Martino, bassist Walter Booker, drummer Billy Higgins and (on three of the songs) the obscure but fluent vibraphonist Nasir Hafiz, the altoist is in typically swinging and boppish form. Best among his originals are the catchy "Ain't That Something" and "She Loves Me," while "Lush Life" is taken as an alto guitar duet. By playing bop-oriented music in 1968, Charles McPherson could have been considered behind the times, but he was never a fad chaser and he has long had a timeless style. This music still sounds viable and creative decades later.

Charles McPherson - 1968 - From This Moment On!

Charles McPherson 
From This Moment On!

01. Little Sugar Baby 3:14
02. Once In A Lifetime 5:11
03. The Good Life 6:30
04. I Like The Way You Shake That Thing 3:14
05. From This Moment On 3:32
06. Without You 7:10
07. You've Changed 6:15
Recorded January 31, 1968.

Alto Saxophone – Charles McPherson
Bass – Peck Morrison
Drums – Lenny McBrowne
Guitar – Pat Martino
Piano – Cedar Walton

Some of the songs on this set by bop-influenced altoist Charles McPherson (reissued on CD in 1997) use boogaloo and pop rhythms. The repertoire ranges from a couple of OK originals ("Little Sugar Baby" and "Like the Way You Shake That Thing") to a recent show tune ("Once in a Lifetime") and a few standards. Pianist Cedar Walton, the young guitarist Pat Martino, bassist Peck Morrison and drummer Lennie McBrowne form the strong supporting cast. Not one of McPherson's most essential releases, as the material and arrangements are just not that strong; nevertheless, the altoist still plays well, and his fans will want to pick up this reissue.

Charles McPherson - 1966 - The Quintet / Live!

Charles McPherson 
The Quintet / Live! (Recorded Live At The Five Spot)

01. The Viper 4:45
02. I Can't Get Started 9:05
03. Shaw 'Nuff 10:15
04. Here's That Rainy Day 6:30
05. Never Let Me Go 11:30
06. Suddenly 6:50

Alto Saxophone – Charles McPherson
Bass – Ray McKinney
Drums – Billy Higgins
Piano – Barry Harris
Trumpet – Lonnie Hillyer

Altoist Charles McPherson and pianist Barry Harris are the stars of this live bop-oriented session. Trumpeter Lonnie Hillyer does his best although he stumbles a bit on the rapid "Shaw 'Nuff," drummer Billy Higgins and the forgotten bassist Ray McKinney are fine in support and the repertoire (ranging from the funky "The Viper" and "I Can't Get Started" to "Here's That Rainy Day" and the recent "Never Let Me Go") is diverse and challenging. It's an excellent album overall.

Charles McPherson - 1965 - Con Alma!

Charles McPherson 
Con Alma!

01. Eronel 6:54
02. In A Sentimental Mood 7:53
03. Chasin' The Bird 7:08
04. Con Alma! 5:28
05. I Don't Know 8:16
06. Dexter Rides Again 8:04

Alto Saxophone – Charles McPherson
Bass – George Tucker
Drums – Alan Dawson
Piano – Barry Harris
Tenor Saxophone – Clifford Jordan

Altoist Charles McPherson teams up with distinctive tenor Clifford Jordan, pianist Barry Harris, bassist George Tucker and drummer Alan Dawson for jazz classics by Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie (a mysterious version of "Con Alma") and Dexter Gordon in addition to an original McPherson blues, "I Don't Know," which closely recalls "Parker's Mood." McPherson and Harris both have their share of fine solos, but Jordan generally takes honors on this set; he is the only musician who was looking beyond bop and playing in a more original style.

Charles McPherson - 1964 - Bebop Revisited!

Charles McPherson 
Bebop Revisited!

01. Hot House
02. Nostalgia
03. Variations On A Blues By Bird
04. Wail
05. Embraceable You
06. Si Si

Alto Saxophone – Charles McPherson
Bass – Nelson Boyd
Drums – Al Heath
Piano – Barry Harris
Trumpet – Carmell Jones

Recorded November 20, 1964.

A Charlie Parker disciple who brings his own lyricism to the bebop language, Charles McPherson has been a reliable figure in modern mainstream jazz for more than 35 years. He played in the Detroit jazz scene of the mid-'50s, moved to New York in 1959, and within a year was working with Charles Mingus. McPherson and his friend Lonnie Hillyer succeeded Eric Dolphy and Ted Curson as regular members of Mingus' band in 1961 and he worked with the bassist off and on up until 1972. Although he and Hillyer had a short-lived quintet in 1966, McPherson was not a full-time leader until 1972. In 1978, he moved to San Diego, which has been his home ever since and sometimes he uses his son, Chuck McPherson, on drums. Charles McPherson, who helped out on the film Bird by playing some of the parts not taken from Charlie Parker records, has led dates through the years for Prestige (1964-1969), Mainstream, Xanadu, Discovery, and Arabesque.

Bebop is the thing on this excellent outing as altoist Charles McPherson and pianist Barry Harris do their interpretations of Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. With trumpeter Carmell Jones, bassist Nelson Boyd and drummer Al "Tootie" Heath completing the quintet, the band romps through such bop classics as "Hot House," "Nostalgia," "Wail" and "Si Si" along with an original blues and "Embraceable You." A previously unissued "If I Love You" is added to the CD reissue. McPherson and Jones make for a potent frontline on these spirited performances, easily recommended to fans of straightahead jazz.

Charles Kynard - 1973 - Your Mama Don't Dance

Charles Kynard 
Your Mama Don't Dance

01. Superstition 4:44
02. The World Is A Ghetto 2:59
03. Momma Jive 3:26
04. I Got So Much Trouble 5:06
05. Your Mama Don't Dance 2:36
06. Zambezi 5:34
07. Summer Breeze 3:25
08. You've Got It Bad Girl 3:47

Charles Kynard - electric organ
Ray Pounds - drums
Paul Humphrey - drums
Chuck Rainey - Fender bass
Arthur Adams - electric guitar
David Roberts - trombone, bass trombone
George Bohanon - trombone, bass trombone (solos)
James Kartchner - trumpet, flugelhorn
Jerome Rusch - trumpet, flugelhorn

Recorded in '73, Jazz organist Charles Kynard does his take on a number of recently recorded funk tunes, circa that era... including Superstition, The World Is A Ghetto, I've Got So Much Trouble and Summer Breeze. There's not a single miss on this album...
Featuring ultra funky soloing, funky comping, a tight rhythm section, tight crisp horn section - - funky but crisp arrangements... tightly produced... and not a tune is a miss.
Fred Wesley fans... take note of George Bohannon, the original Funky Trombonist's presence... His solo on SUPERSTITION steals the show.

Charles Kynard - 1972 - Woga

Charles Kynard 

01. Little Ghetto Boy
02. Hot Sauce
03. Lime Twig
04. Slop Jar
05. Rock Steady
06. Name The Missing Word
07. The First Time Ever
08. Shout

Charles Kynard : electric organ
Chuck Rainey : Fender bass
Arthur Adams : electric guitar
David Roberts : trombone, bass trombone
George Bohanon : trombone, bass trombone
James Kartchner : trumpet, flugelhorn
Jerome Rusch : trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Humphrey : drums

Sweet organ lines, heavy drums, and a great little groove throughout -- a tight batch of groovers from the mighty Charles Kynard! The keyboardist is in fine 70s form here -- stepping away from the sparer sound of his albums for Prestige with a fuller style for Mainstream Records -- in a groove that's almost part blacksploitation funk, thanks to some sharp backings from arranger Richard Fritz! The mighty Paul Humphrey is at the bottom of the set on nicely funky drums -- and other players include Arthur Adams on guitar, Chuck Rainey on bass, and some great additional horns, which give the record a larger jazzy finish, but never get in the way of Kynard's lean, mean organ lines. There's a great version of "Rock Steady" on the album, one that has a great funky intro -- plus the cuts "Shout", "Lime Twig", "Slop Jar", "Name The Missing Word", "Little Ghetto Boy", and "Hot Sauce".

This is one of organist Charles Kynard's best albums in my opinion. Most of the material is of a high caliber which is generally one of the biggest drawbacks to listening to the soul jazz or "acid jazz" of the early and mid 70s. The cheesy material was usually some popular pop tune or R&B tune meant as a single for radio.

This 1972 Mainstream Records album has several cover tunes such as the first track the Donny Hathaway sung "Little Ghetto Boy". This tune comes off rather well in my opinion. Charles states the vocal melody on his organ with a sound crossed between Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff. Charles is not a blow the listener away with tons of notes type player, his forte is the groove and while the listener does get a few glimpses of Charles chops on this album he plays more of what the song requires which in my opinion is a sign of a mature improviser.

The band assembled on Woga is a great contribution to this albums successful sound because they're super tight and have a relaxed grooving chemistry together. The band has an interesting horn section made up of Jerry Rusch and James Kartchner on trumpets with George Bohanan and David Roberts on trombones. On guitar is Arthur Adams, on electric bass the legendary Chuck Rainey who kills it on every tune with his fat clear sound and funky bass lines. On drums is Paul Humphrey and Richard Fritz arranged, conducted the horns and wrote all the tunes except for tracks 1,5,6 & 7.

In my opinion it's the Fritz originals that deliver the band's most inspired performances especially track 4 "Slop Jar" along with the Aretha Franklin tune track 5 "Rock Steady". In all honesty I can put this album on and enjoy it from start to finish which is a rare thing with this era soul jazz. As I said before about the tendency of the record labels wanting singles for radio that usually ended up being badly arranged pop material popular at the time.
Here on Woga that doesn't happen, the arranger Richard Fritz avoids adding the Vegas show sound into the horn arrangements and the horn section is very tight and in tune with each other. I'd also like to mention the great sound and production on this album, every instrument can be heard clearly with good separation. The drums and bass sound great! Up front and punchy. A rare feat for 1972 recording technology.

I'll close this review by saying if you're a fan of the soul jazz sound of this time by guys such as Lou Donaldson, Leon Spencer Jr, Melvin Sparks, Jimmy McGriff or Neo Soul jazz sound of artists such as Karl Denson, The Greyboy Allstars and Medeski, Martin and Wood you should definitely have this album in your collection. Good luck finding the cd for under 50 bucks,

Charles Kynard - 1971 - Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui (Beautiful People)

Charles Kynard 
Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui (Beautiful People)

01. Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui (Beautiful People) 7:50
02. Winter's Child 4:33
03. Zebra Walk 6:10
04. Something 9:40
05. Change Up 9:00

Bass [Fender] – Jimmy Lewis
Drums – Bernard Purdie (tracks: B1), Idris Muhammad
Guitar – Melvin Sparks
Organ, Electric Piano – Charles Kynard
Saxophone [Tenor] – Rusty Bryant
Trumpet – Virgil Jones

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, December 14, 1970

Kynard is joined by luminaries from Prestige's soul-jazz stable -- Rusty Bryant on tenor sax, Melvin Sparks on guitar, Jimmy Lewis on bass, Virgil Jones on trumpet, and Idris Muhammad and Bernard Purdie on drums -- for a solid album that occasionally catches fire. In particular, the eight-minute title track is not just a highlight of Kynard's discography, but a stellar moment for soul-jazz in general. Sparks sets the pace on that number with superb James Brown-style rapid-strum choke guitar, Lewis lays down a "Get Ready"-style bassline, and everyone really cooks when it comes time to solo, including Kynard; he takes a while to make his presence known, but then unleashes passages with uncharacteristic, unrestrained passion. The ten-minute cover of the Beatles' "Something" does a lot more with the overdone standard than many people have, Kynard again shining with some imaginative and unexpectedly lengthy, exuberant soloing.