Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!


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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Jose Y Manuel - 1970 - Genesis

Jose Y Manuel 

01. Triste Niñez 2:25
02. Esta Tarde 2:42
03. Mi Pequeña Hermana 2:38
04. Elisa 2:55
05. Oh Madame 2:57
06. A Las Seis 3:50
07. Un Rincón Oculto 2:15
08. Anatolia 2:33
09. Una Joven Mama 2:38
10. No Podre Vivir De Recuerdos 2:30
11. Geraldine 5:02

Bass Guitar – Joaquín Torres Méndez
Drums – Luis Baizán Carretero
Lead Guitar – Rodrigo García Blanca
Rhythm Guitar, Vocals – José Antonio Martín
Vocals -  Manuel Martín

Orchestra: Waldo De Los Rios

The brothers from Málaga José Antonio and Manuel Martín formed a duo since their adolescence. Regular participants in festivals of folk music , in 1970 won the attention of the powerful Hispavox record company, with which they recorded a first single: "Y me Enamoré / Pronto Amanecerá" (Hispavox, 1970) , two songs composed by themselves. As the album was not defended badly at the time of sales, they undertake the task of preparing an LP, which will be released the following year. "Génesis" (Hispavox, 1971)  would be, in the end, the most important work of this pair of brothers, fans of vocal games, who, surrounded by a discreet orchestra, achieved one of the best works of theSpanish folk pop . In this long play will appear his most remembered song, "My little sister", with which they achieved a certain notoriety and appear in the sales classifications.

"Genesis" had an impact that the company considered more than acceptable, which continues to support the brothers Martín, who undertake the recording of their second album, "Pronto Amanecerá" (Hispavox, 1972) , very similar in intentions to the first and that enjoys the same production of Rafael Trabuccheli. However, neither criticism nor sales were on a par with those of the first album.

They published a couple of more singles until in 1973 they moved to Madrid to become part of Solera , a project to which they would contribute their voices and their compositions. This supergroup announced to drum and cymbal soon be dissolved, precisely because of the disagreements between these two brothers and the other two components: José María Guzmán and Rodrigo García , not without first leaving one of the fundamental LP of our history: "Solera" ( Hispavox, 1973) .

The Martin brothers, then, began a new project next to the group New Horizons , along with those who recorded the magnificent and now almost unknown LP "Telaraña" (Hispavox, 1974) . José and Manuel took back the original project in 1976 and will still put on the street one last single: "Tomate la Vida tal y Como es / Solo para ti" (Hispavox, 1976) . Soon after, they ceased their activity. Manuel will abandon music and José Antonio will start a long career as a guitar teacher.

Jimmy Smith - 1965 - Organ Grinder Swing

Jimmy Smith 
Organ Grinder Swing

01. The Organ Grinder's Swing 2:15
02. Oh, No, Babe 9:00
03. Blues For J 5:15
04. Greensleeves 8:53
05. I'll Close My Eyes 3:16
06. Satin Doll 7:00

Drums – Grady Tate
Guitar – Kenny Burrell
Organ – Jimmy Smith

Recorded June 14 and 15, 1965 at Van Gelder Recording Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Right after defying the boundaries of idiom with his Hammond B-3 organ and big band collaborations with Lalo Schifrin (The Cat) and Oliver Nelson (Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?) in 1964, Jimmy Smith made his stark return to the organ trio format In 1965 with this strikingly fun-filled masterpiece that became another Top 20 album for him. Organ Grinder Swing is a highly acclaimed masterwork that found Smith in perfect companionship with the great jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell and session drummer Grady Tate as the three musicians gradually demonstrate a vibrant form of free spirited soul jazz and world class merriment, which produced both a true hit with the title track and the entire album as well. Beginning with the highly supercharged title track, the step by step track set proceeds at rapid pace on other organ classics, like the swooning Oh, No Babe and the classic Blues For J, as well as classic standards like Greensleeves, I’ll Close My Eyes and even Duke Ellington’s Satin Doll. Also a part of Verve’s Master Edition Series, what can be best described about Organ Grinder Swing are the liner notes that stated: “To many, the organ truly did belong in church, classical music, in movie palaces, or the roller rink--any place but jazz. In the end, it was listeners and fans who turned the tide--people for whom jazz was still a functioning social music”.
Jimmy Smith was the Hammond organ soloist determined to help break with the instrument’s past by incorporating a set of modern mediums and yet found his way to create a new popular form of acceptance of the instrument, his ideas, a rich legacy, the countless jazz organists he influenced and for jazz itself.

Greg Hatza With Eric Gale And Grady Tate - 1968 - Organized Jazz

Greg Hatza With Eric Gale And Grady Tate 
Organized Jazz

001. John Brown's Body
002. That's All
003. Tate Worm
004. My Favorite Things
005. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
006. Blues For Charlie

Drums – Grady Tate
Guitar – Eric Gale
Organ – Greg Hatza

A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Greg Hatza’s musical instincts came to him as early and as naturally as the ability to walk, and he was picking out blues and boogie woogie tunes on the piano around age four before starting formal lessons shortly thereafter.  The Hammond B-3 became his life’s obsession as a teenager, when a friend turned him on to records by Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Ray Charles, and Johnny Hammond Smith.  His first professional gig on the instrument came when he was 16, with the Frankie Scott Trio, where he played around small towns in central Pennsylvania.

Because there were no jazz organ instructors at the time, Greg was largely self-taught, picking up most of his insider knowledge from the organ players at jam sessions at a local club called the Grand Hotel.  It was the Grand that Baltimore Colts football great and jazz fan Lenny Moore asked the teenager to perform at a club he was opening in Baltimore.  Moore became Greg’s manager and Baltimore became Greg’s home.  The organist played at the club for four years and was something of a young jazz lion himself, recording two albums for MCA subsidiary label Coral Records, The Wizardry of Greg Hatza and Organized Jazz.

In the late sixties, Baltimore was still an organ town and had its share of great players.  It was here that Greg really got a chance to hone his jazz organ skills by playing with the best musicians in town.  Lenny’s club was a great stopping point for national jazz artists who came to Baltimore to perform.  It was here that Greg met his mentor Jimmy Smith and got to play with him. Smith later advised Greg on his soon to be recorded albums.  He also met and got to play in jam sessions with such personalities as Kenny Burrell, Groove Holmes, Damita Joe, Philly Joe Jones, Roland Kirk, Les McCann, James Moody, and Sonny Stitt.

With the trend towards more advanced electronic keyboard and rhythms, Greg adapted to the trend, switching from the Hammond B-3 to the electric keyboard and piano. He played in different be-bop groups and as a member of his contemporary fusion band Moon August, selected as the number one jazz group from over fifty contestants at the First Annual Jazz Quest held at the 1983 Eubie Blake Festival. Moon August was named as the number one jazz band in the Maryland/Washington area by Maryland Musician Magazine from 1985 to 1987.  In 1999, Moon August was awarded the title “Cultural Ambassadors” for the city of Baltimore under then Mayor Kurt Schmoke. The group traveled to Kawasaki, Japan for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Kawasaki/Baltimore Sister City Exchange.

In the meantime, Greg expanded his stylistic scope to include distinct ethnic elements. In 1974, he began to study tabla and later sitar.  He continued his studies for ten years under Ustad Hamid Hossain.  He traveled around the U.S., India, and Bangladesh with Hamid, performing ragas on piano.  In 1986, he won 1st place on tabla in the annual “All Indian Music Competition” held at UMBC in Maryland.  In addition, Greg studied classical music on the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese fiddle, under Shanghai instructor, Liang Shan Tang.

Greg Hatza’s formal education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Composition from the Peabody Conservatory and a Master’s from Towson State University, where he subsequently taught jazz, piano composition, improvisation and music theory for many years. He also performed with the Towson Jazz Faculty Quartet in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In 1994, Greg met Joey DeFranscesco who told him the Hammond B-3 was enjoying a popular renaissance.  He formed the Greg Hatza ORGANization and has been performing and recording on the instrument non-stop since that time. For the last fifteen years, in partnership with the Rev. Dred Scott, they formed a group called Jazz in the Sanctuary. Based in Baltimore, they perform jazz-gospel concerts throughout the tri-state area. Greg currently serves as the Choir and Music Director at St. Gregory the Great Church in Baltimore. He also performs Indian/World Fusion music with the Grammy nominated group Melodic Intersect.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Herbie Hancock - 1968 - Hear, O Israel - A Concert Service In Jazz

Herbie Hancock, Thad Jones, Ron Carter, Jerome Richardson, Grady Tate
Hear, O Israel - A Concert Service In Jazz

01. Blessing Over the Candles - 00:56
02. Matovu - Bor'chu - 06:43
03. Sh'ma - 06:19
04. Micho Mocho - 03:32
05. Sanctification - 05:28
06. May the Words of My Mouth - 01:28
07. Kiddush - 02:40
08. Torah Service - Adoration - 09:52
09. Final Amen - 01:00\

Ron Carter - Bass
Phyllis Bryn-Julson - Contralto Vocals
Grady Tate - Drums
Jonathan Klein - French Horn, Saxophone [Baritone]
Herbie Hancock - Piano
Jerome Richardson - Flute, Saxophone [Alto, Tenor]
Antonia Lavanne - Soprano Vocals
Thad Jones - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Rabbi David Davis - Voice [Reader], Other [Original Sleeve Notes]

Recorded in New York in 1968 and originally released on a private label.

This album is a missing link in the discography of Herbie Hancock, so much so that many ardent fans didn't even know it existed. Hear, O Israel is the recorded version of a jazz concert comprised of lyric and sacred material from the Friday night prayer service in the Jewish synagogue. Privately released in an edition of a few hundred copies, the music was composed by Jonathan Klein, who was commissioned by Rabbi David Davis in 1965 to write jazz for the Friday evening conclavette. Klein was 17 at the time he began. Composed for piano, bass, drums, soprano/alto/baritone saxophones, French horn, flute, flugelhorn, and two voices, Klein performed it with his own group and Rabbi Davis; it was so successful that a few years later, in 1968, the synagogue commissioned a full-blown concert by name jazz musicians. Klein, then a college student, composed more material to supplant some of what he'd written previously, and the instrumentation was changed a bit. The synagogue recorded this concert and it is presented here as performed by Hancock; Jerome Richardson on flute, tenor, and alto saxophones; Klein on French horn and baritone sax; trumpeter Thad Jones (who also plays flugelhorn); bassist Ron Carter (he and Hancock were part of the Miles Davis Quintet at the time); and drummer Grady Tate. Other participants are Rabbi Davis (reading the proper prayer texts), soprano vocalist Antonia Lavanne, and contralto Phyllis Bryn-Julson. But is it good? Heavens yes. One can hear traces of Vince Guaraldi and the early Columbia period of Dave Brubeck in these compositions, but so what? Hancock's no imitator; he was and remains a tremendously lyrical and rhythmically inventive pianist, and the band plays these charts effortlessly with requisite soul and swing. There are beautiful solos by Hancock, Richardson, and Jones, and the rhythm section is fluid, fresh, and upbeat throughout. The vocalists might bother some listeners, but essentially, these tunes and the manner in which they are presented and recorded are quite striking — in the same way that those appearing on records by Azar Lawrence, Doug Carn, and Harold McKinney in the '70s are. The vocal charts are somewhat abstract, so in a sense they are further out than the jazz. In fact, this is a nearly perfect meld, where jazz and sacred music meet and become something else together. One not only reflects the other, but causes it to transcend itself. The longest track here, the nine-plus-minute "Torah Service — Adoration," is a hopping soul-jazz number with killer funky piano work by Hancock in full-on Blue Note mode. The segments read by Rabbi Davis are also very effective in the context of the band's charts, vamps, and improvs. Hear, O Israel was mastered from an LP copy, since the masters no longer exist. There was some groove wear near the end of each side due to a worn stylus, but considering the source, Jonny Trunk has done an excellent job of cleaning it up without sacrificing a bit of the performance. This recording is available on both CD and LP, and should be heard by anyone interested in '60s progressive jazz or Hancock's career during the period. Hear, O Israel gives an entirely literal meaning to the term "spiritual soul-jazz."

Most likely you don't immediately connect Modern Jazz with Jewish Ritual, but this gorgeous reissue of a long lost private pressing of a 1968 Friday night service may have you rethinking those ideas. Written by Jonathan Klein, a then 17 year-old son of a Massachusetts Rabbi, who was asked to compose music for a service dealing with "Sects and Symbols Within Judaism". The music and service were so popular that the Synagogue incorporated the piece into every Friday night service, and Klein assembled a group to tour various New England Universities. For the debut performance in New York, Klein managed to get the finest New York Jazz musicians to perform his piece, including Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, Grady Tate on drums, Jerome Richardson on flute and saxophone and Thad Jones on trumpet and flugelhorn with Antonia Lavanne and Phyllis Bryn-Julson on soprano and contralto voices respectively. Thankfully it was all recorded. Unlike the Christian Youth movement who used spiritually minded rock and folk music to sway new converts, the music for this service doesn't pander to youthful audiences. The music swings in unexpected ways for a religious ceremony but its full intent is an abstract spiritual openness. Even with the Hebrew recitations by Rabbi David Davis, the message is divine, universal and inspired. Rejoice!

Grady Tate - 1968 - Windmills Of My Mind

Grady Tate
Windmills Of My Mind

01. The Windmills Of Your Mind 4:08
02. And I Love Her 4:41
03. Sack Full Of Dreams 2:39
04. Would You Believe 5:01
05. Work Song 6:35
06. A Little At A Time 3:57
07. T.N.T. 3:55
08. Don't Fence Me In 2:17
09. All Around The World 3:47

Bass – Bob Cranshaw (tracks: A1, B2), Chuck Rainey (tracks: A2 to A4, B1, B3 to B5)
Drums – Bernie Purdie (tracks: A2 to A4, B1, B3 to B5), Bob Thomas (tracks: A1, B2)
Guitar – Billy Butler (tracks: A1, A2, B1 to B3), Eric Gale (tracks: A3, A4, B4, B5)
Organ – Herbie Hancock (tracks: A1)
Piano – Paul Griffin (tracks: A2 to A4, B1, B3 to B5)
Vocals – Grady Tate

Producer – Gary McFarland

Mention Grady Tate's name to most bop lovers, and his excellent drumming is the thing that immediately pops into their minds. His singing isn't the first thing they think of, which is regrettable because he really is a fine singer. One of the impressive vocal albums he did was Windmills of My Mind, a jazz/R&B release recorded when he was 36. This album (which DCC reissued on CD in 1998) underscores the fact that Tate was never a radical or abstract type of singer; the smooth, elegant crooner heard on "And I Love Her," "The Windmills of Your Mind" and "A Little at a Time" has a lot more in common with Johnny Hartman, Arthur Prysock and even Johnny Mathis (up to a point) than hardcore beboppers like Jon Hendricks, Babs Gonzales and Eddie Jefferson. Although Tate's backing group includes pianist Herbie Hancock and bassist Bob Cranshaw, much of Windmills isn't jazz -- "Don't Fence Me In" and "Would You Believe," in fact, are pure '60s soul music. One of the best tunes on the album is "Work Song," a riveting account of life on a chain gang. The disappointing thing about the CD reissue of Windmills isn't the material, but the sound quality. An abundance of pops, clicks and crackling make the CD sound like a vinyl LP that's been played too often -- one would expect an audiophile label like DCC Compact Classics to do a much better job of digitally remastering a 1968 recording. Nonetheless, this is an album that both jazz and R&B enthusiasts should hear.

Grady Tate With The Gary McFarland Orchestra, Bobby Scott - 1969 - Slaves

Grady Tate With The Gary McFarland Orchestra, Bobby Scott 

01. Slaves
02. Slaves
03. Meetin' House
04. Black Lullabye
05. Another Mornin'
06. Pickin' Cotton
07. Nightwind (Esther's Theme)
08. Another Mornin'
09. Pickin' Cotton
10. Nightwind (Esther's Theme)

Recorded at A&R Recording, New York

Grady Tate was renowned as a session drummer extraordinaire, an expert in the use of the rim shot for syncopating purposes; prized for his driving, pushing, or subtle coaxing of the beat. Yet he also displayed a warm, flexible, rhythmically agile baritone voice, which, in a reversal of the usual commercial situation, was less well-known than his drumming. He began singing at age four, impressing local Durham, North Carolina church and school audiences, but quit temporarily when his voice broke at age 12. Self-taught as a drummer at first, he picked up the fundamentals of jazz drumming during his hitch in the Air Force (1951-1955), and arranger Bill Berry made some vocal charts for him there. Upon his discharge, he returned to Durham to study psychology, literature, and theater at North Carolina College, before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1959 to teach high school and take up a musical career with Wild Bill Davis.

A move to New York City in 1963 led to a gig with the Quincy Jones big band, and soon he caught on as a recording session drummer. His most famous records as an accompanist were made under the aegis of producer Creed Taylor, for whom he became the house drummer of choice. Tate played on many of Jimmy Smith's and Wes Montgomery's most popular recordings, including 1964's The Cat and 1965's Bumpin'. He can also be heard on albums by such luminaries as Nat Adderley, Stan Getz, Tony Bennett, Kenny Burrell, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Roland Kirk, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, J.J. Johnson, and Kai Winding, among countless other artists.

Arranger Gary McFarland thought enough of Tate's singing voice to record a number of vocal albums for his short-lived Skye label, beginning with 1968's Windmills of My Mind. Yet despite further vocal sessions for Buddah, Janus, Impulse!, and a host of Japanese labels, Tate's profile as a singer was never as high as it could have been. During this period, he also stayed active appearing on albums with a bevy of jazz and soul artists including Ron Carter, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Gato Barbieri, and others. Tate's voice can also be heard on several songs in the beloved Schoolhouse Rock! animated educational series.

Despite the absence of his own solo albums, the '80s proved a fruitful time for the drummer, who returned to teaching and joined the faculty of Howard University. He also remained a highly sought-after session player, appearing with jazz artists like Jimmy Smith, Helen Merrill, and Teresa Brewer, as well as pop superstars like Simon & Garfunkel. His distinctive, undulating drum patterns were also used to good effect on composer Angelo Badalamenti's soundtrack to director David Lynch's Twin Peaks.

He returned to his solo recording work with 1991's excellent, vocal-only album for Milestone, TNT, where drummer Dennis Mackrel used many patterns that he learned from Tate. Body and Soul followed a year later, and he resurfaced with Feeling Free in 1999. Several more well-regarded albums followed, including 2003's All Love with pianist Kenny Barron and 2006's From the Heart: Songs Sung Live at the Blue Note. Tate's drumming was once again featured on the soundtrack to David Lynch's Twin Peaks: The Return. Tate died on October 8, 2017 at his home in Manhattan's Upper East Side. He was 85 years old. ~ Richard S. Ginell

Slaves was a film staring Ossie Davis made in the very early 1970s. I probably don't need to elaborate on the implications of this, given the social context of the era. I have not seen it.

Before Slaves, some background: Gary McFarland was a band leader in the 1960s who went his own way. He was not traditional, he was not avant gaurde. But even is non-soundtrack albums were a mix of jazz, TV-like program music, and movie music of the era. McFarland had a unique approach to harmony, and when you mix all this, you get some amazing music. Check out America The Beautiful: An Account of its Disappearance from 1968, not as a summation, but a departure point. Grady Tate is an amazing jazz drummer. Frankly I don't know his work but if Slaves is any indication I will be finding out more very soon.

Bobby Scott wrote the amazing music here. Most of this is a mournful, sophisticated test tube mix of blues, melodic soul, and early 1970s funk. Funk that works on extremely advanced harmonies.

I just read that last paragraph and realized how strained that sounds: a pretty lame description for a crack reviewer like me. Bad for me but good for you--if I can't describe a piece of music, that is usually the best indicator that I have found music truly unique.

It is joy to review music this brilliant, but you don't need me. Listen and download. You're ears will thank you later.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy Birthday Uncle Ted

Happy Fucking Birthday to the Motor City Madman!

Bobby Enriques And Richie Cole - 1981 - The Wildman Meets Madman

Bobby Enriques And Richie Cole
The Wildman Meets Madman

01. Groovin' High 6:10
02. Once In A While 4:50
03. Yardbird Suite 4:50
04. Wild Man Blues 6:50
05. Green Dolphin St. 6:35
06. Blue Hawaii 6:30
07. Serenata 2:28
08. Um Um 5:07

Alto Saxophone – Richie Cole
Bass – Bob Magnusson
Drums – Shelly Manne
Guitar – Bruce Forman
Piano – Bobby Enriquez

If you enjoy flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, all out "balls to the wall" jazz at it's best, this is the album for you. Controlled mayhem and tight, tight, hard to find this kind of energy on studio recordings of jazz artists...usually only found live. Get it - you won't regret it!

Richie Cole - 1981 - Cool 'C'

Richie Cole
Cool 'C'

01. Back To Bop 5:18
02. Willow Weep For Me 7:30
03. Blue Bossa 5:40
04. Someday My Prince Will Come 4:28
05. Autumn Leaves 4:29
06. Cool "C" 4:56
07. On Green Dolphin Street 4:48

Bass – Nobuyoshi Ino
Drums – Motohiko Hino
Percussion – Masato Kawase, Tadaomi Anai
Piano – Himiko Kikuchi
Saxophone – Richie Cole
Trombone – Hitomi Uchida, Michio Kagiwada, Toshinobu Kawashima
Trumpet – Masahiro Kobayashi, Shin Kazuhara* (tracks: B2), Yoshikazu Kishi

Recorded On Feb. 7&8,1981 at King Studio,Tokyo.

Recorded during his first visit to Japan, this out-of-print LP features altoist Richie Cole playing five bop standards, his own "Cool 'C"' and pianist Himiko Kikuchi's "Back to Bop." Cole is joined by eight brass players, a rhythm section and two percussionists, all of whom are fine Japanese musicians. The results are generally hard-swinging bop with enough humor and color to hold one's interest. The focus is on Cole throughout and he makes a rare appearance on tenor during "On Green Dolphin Street."

Richie Cole With Phil Woods - 1980 - Side By Side

Richie Cole With Phil Woods
Side By Side

01. Save Your Love For Me 8:50
02. Naugahyde Reality 2:42
03. Scrapple From The Apple 7:56
04. Donna Lee 5:30
05. Polka Dots And Moonbeams 5:42
06. Eddie's Mood / Side By Side 12:42

Walter Booker Bass
Jimmy Cobb Drums
Richie Cole Sax (Alto), Vocals
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Sax(Tenor)
John Hicks Piano
Phil Woods Sax(Alto)

Recorded live at The Historic Paramount Theatre - Denver, Colorado on July 25 & July 26, 1980

This set features a very logical matchup. Richie Cole's main influence has long been Phil Woods, so these concert performances pitting the two altoists together have plenty of fire and extroverted improvisations. With pianist John Hicks, bassist Walter Booker and drummer Jimmy Cobb backing the soloists, Woods and Cole really push each other on "Scrapple from the Apple," "Donna Lee" and "Side by Side." Tenor-great Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis sits in on "Save Your Love for Me," the younger altoist has "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" to himself and Cole and Woods have fun on a brief free-form "Naugahyde Reality." It's a generally high-powered and enjoyable set.

Richie Cole With Eddie Jefferson - 1980 - Hollywood Madness

Richie Cole With Eddie Jefferson
Hollywood Madness 

01. Hooray For Hollywood 4:42
02. Hi-Fly 6:46
03. Tokyo Rose Sings The Hollywood Blues 4:46
04. Relaxin' At Camarillo 4:30
05. Malibu Breeze 5:53
06. I Love Lucy 5:05
07. Waitin' For Waits 3:50
08. Hooray For Hollywood (Reprise) 1:10

Bass – Marshall Hawkins
Drums – Les DeMerle
Guitar – Bruce Forman
Percussion – Michael Spiro
Piano – Dick Hindman
Saxophone [Alto] – Richie Cole
Vocals – Eddie Jefferson (tracks: A2, A4, B3), The Manhattan Transfer (tracks: A3, B2, B3, B4)
Vocals [The Manhattan Transfers] – Alan Paul (tracks: A3, B2, B3, B4), Cheryl Bentyne (tracks: A3, B2, B3, B4), Janis Siegel (tracks: A3, B2, B3, B4), Tim Hauser (tracks: A3, B2, B3, B4)

Recorded at Home Grown Fidelity Studio, Studio City, Calif. 4-25-79. Mixed at Garden Rake Music, Studio City, Calif.

This is one of Richie Cole's most successful LPs. Four songs utilize the Manhattan Transfer; the great vocalese singer Eddie Jefferson (heard two weeks before his tragic death) makes his final record appearance; there are some good solos by pianist Dick Hindman and guitarist Bruce Forman; and Tom Waits makes an eccentric guest appearance. But it is altoist Cole who stars throughout on an unlikely program highlighted by boppish versions of such tunes as "Hooray for Hollywood," "Hi-Fly," "Relaxin' at Camarillo," "I Love Lucy," and his original "Tokyo Rose Sings the Hollywood Blues." A true gem.

Richie Cole - 1979 - Keeper Of The Flame

Richie Cole 
Keeper Of The Flame

01. As Time Goes By 6:59
02. I Cant Get Started 4:51
03. Keeper Of The Flame 6:09
04. Harolds House Of Jazz 4:58
05. Holiday For Strings 5:45
06. New York Afternoon 3:59
07. Strange Groove 4:57

Bass – Rick Laird
Drums – Eddie Gladden
Guitar – Vic Juris
Piano – Harold Mabern
Saxophone [Alto] – Richie Cole
Vocals – Eddie Jefferson (tracks: b1-b3), The Alt-Tettes (tracks: b4)

Recorded at Van Gelder Studio 6th September 1978. Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder. B4- featuring the wonderful vocal by The "Alt-Tettes" The "alt-Tettes" Joe Fields, Richie Cole, Harold Mabern, Vic Juris, Eddie Gladden, Rick Laird, David Lahm and Terry Silverlight

This is one of altoist Richie Cole's best-ever albums. He rips through surprisingly effective medium-to-up-tempo versions of "As Time Goes By" and "Holiday for Strings," welcomes the great vocalese singer Eddie Jefferson to "Harold's House of Jazz" and "New York Afternoon," has a humorous dig at free jazz on "Strange Groove," introduces his "Keeper of the Flame" and comes up with a near-classic solo on "I Can't Get Started." This LP is long overdue to be reissued by Muse

Richie Cole - 1978 - Alto Madness

Richie Cole 
Alto Madness

01. Cole's Nocturne 6:11
02. The Price Is Right 7:13
03. The Common Touch 2:23
04. Last Tango In Paris 4:40
05. Island Breeze 5:20
06. Big Bo's Paradise 5:29
07. Remember Your Day Off 5:15
08. Moody's Mood '78 2:59

Richie Cole : Alto saxophone
Eddie Jefferson : vocals
Eddie Gladden : drums
Harold Mabern : piano
Rick Laird : bass
Steve Gilmore : bass
Vic Juris : guitar
Ray Mantilla : percussion.

Some of altoist Richie Cole's finest records were made for the Muse label during 1976-1981 when he did a great deal to help revive bebop. Cole has long had the ability to turn almost anything into jazz and on this set he manages to swing both the theme from The Price Is Right and the main melody from Last Tango in Paris. In addition to solo space for pianist Harold Mabern and guitarist Vic Juris, singer Eddie Jefferson is featured on two numbers: "The Common Touch" and "Moody's Mood '78."

Richie Cole - 1977 - New York Afternoon (Alto Madness)

Richie Cole
New York Afternoon (Alto Madness)

01. Dorothy's Den
02. Waltz for a Rainy Be-Bop Evening
03. Alto Madness
04. New York Afternoon
05. It's the Same Thing Everywhere
06. Stormy Weather
07. You'll Always Be My Friend

Recorded October, 1976 at Blue Rock Studio, NYC

Richie Cole: Sax (Alto)
Eddie Jefferson: Vocals
Vic Juris: Guitar
Mike Tucker: Piano
Rick Laird: Bass
Eddie Gladden: Drums
Ray Mantilla: Percussion

Back in the mid-'70s, when bebop was being greatly overshadowed by fusion, Richie Cole showed that not only was bop not old-fashioned, but it could be quite fun. His Alto Madness was essentially the idea that any tune, no matter how unlikely its source, could be turned into exuberant bop. Through the years, he has successfully recorded such songs as "The I Love Lucy Theme," "Holiday for Strings," "Horray for Hollywood," "The White Cliffs of Dover," "Come Fly With Me," "The Star Trek Theme," and even "La Bamba." Influenced by Phil Woods and Charlie Parker, Richie Cole heard jazz from an early age because his father owned a jazz club in New Jersey. He started on alto when he was ten, attended Berklee for two years, and joined Buddy Rich's big band in 1969. After a stint with Lionel Hampton, Cole formed his own group, doing a great deal to popularize bebop in the 1970s. Some of his finest recordings were his early ones for Muse, during a period when he often teamed up with singer Eddie Jefferson. His humor sometimes left critics cold, but Cole was one of the top bop-oriented players of the 1980s, and his Heads Up releases of the '90s (after a few years off the scene) are excellent.

This Muse album features the group that altoist Richie Cole and the late singer Eddie Jefferson co-led in the mid-'70s. They had a mutually beneficial relationship, with Cole learning from the older vocalist and Jefferson gaining extra exposure from associating with the popular young saxophonist. Their spirited set, which has two Jefferson vocals, is highlighted by "Waltz for a Rainy Be-Bop Evening," "New York Afternoon," "Stormy Weather" and "Alto Madness."

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Narumo - 1971 - London Notes

London Notes

01. If Everyone
02. She Was A Country Girl
03. Remember?
04. Running Away From Me
05. Everybody Needs A Little Loving
06. When Love Comes Knocking
07. A Touch Of Moonlight
08. It Was Sweet Of You
09. Come Out Fighting
10. The Road Just Goes On
11. Paint Yourself Pretty

Shigeru Narumo: guitar
Brian Keith: vocals, harmonica
Michael de Albuquerque: electric bass, vocals
Bill Parkinson: acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Pete Woolf: drums, percussion
Graham Todd: organ, piano
Maria Popkiewicz: vocals
Frank Aiello: vocals
The Pop Arts Quartet: strings

Album by Strawberry Path / Flied Egg Guitarrist Shingeru Narumo recorded in London in 1971 with a full cast of British musicians. Not an earthshaking album, just a solid rock album that I enjoy playing every so often, recently a vsitor requested it, so here it is!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Brân - 1975 - Ail Ddechra

Ail Ddechra

01. Y Ddôr Ddig (3:30)
02. F'Annwyl Un (3:01)
03. Y Gwylwyr (3:00)
04. Wrth Y Ffynnon (4:19)
05. Ynys Gudd (2:27)
06. Myfyrdod (2:19)
07. Rhodiaf Hen Lwybrau (2:44)
08. Mor Braf (2:54)
09. Caledfwlch (3:04)
10. Blodyn (3:45)
11. Y Crewr (3:36)
12. Breuddwyd (4:04)

- John Gwyn / guitars, vocals
- Nest Howells / vocals, keyboards
- Gwyndaf Roberts / guitar
- Dafydd Meirion / drums, flute

BRÂN were a Welsh band who began life as a marginally progressive folk-leaning act and moved steadily toward a more conventional sound as they shifted lineups numerous times during their five-year existence. Mk4 of the group recorded a third studio album in 1978 shortly before they fractured with the departure of founding member John Gwyn. The band was noteworthy for recording solely in Welsh, a characteristic that surely endeared them to their countrymen but undoubtedly limited their commercial potential.

The band's early lineup included vocalist/keyboardist Nest Howells, whose angelic voice cemented the band's sound well inside folk territory in their early years. She would depart after the second release, when the band would abandon any pretense of progressive music with a heavy guitar attack that has been referred to as "crotch-rock" in their waning years.

Gwyn would go on to a career in television and soundtrack music, while a handful of the remaining members would reform as the mainstream rock band MAGGS, and two eventually formed the boogie-rock act LOUIS AR ROCYRS. Remnants of the earlier BRÂN including Howells would resurface as the prog folk act PERERIN. Nest Howells would also give birth to Welsh pop singer ELIN FFLUR.

BRÂN were a band whose claim to progressive status is largely limited to their first (and some of their second) studio releases; while they would end up as a decidedly conventional band, those first recordings and their ties to PERERIN merit some attention in the annuals of progressive rock.

Brân’s first album is the only one that really fits in the progressive folk fold; the ones that followed only became progressively more commercial-sounding, and by their third with the departure of keyboardist and angelic vocalist Nest Howells the group abandoned all pretense of being anything but a regional b- list contemporary Welsh rock band.
Too bad, because thanks almost exclusively to Ms. Howells (along with the songwriting and pretty decent of John Gwyn) the band showed some promise in the mold of groups like Mellow Candle or Fuchsia. I’ve read several places that the most excellent prog folk band Pererin had its roots in this group, but in reading the various album lineups for both groups the linkage isn’t particularly strong. Indeed, most of the members that remained in Brân by the time their third album released all ended up in very conventional and forgettable regional groups.

This album clearly demonstrates the two sides of the band, at times seeming to almost compete for attention. The opening “Y Ddor Ddig” is a rather simple and melodic pop-rock tune in the seventies mold of bands such as the Bay City Rollers or Greg Kihn Band; nothing progressive, just decent bar- band fodder. Ultimately forgettable.

If you give up after that one though you’ll miss out on Ms. Howells’ near-operatic soprano that fairly drips with rustic, bucolic resonance from the opening notes of “F'annwyl Un” through “Y Gwylwyr “ and “Wrth Y Ffynnon”. Each of these follows a similar pattern of simple rhythm, tasty electric guitar breaks and Ms. Howells plunking away on her keyboards (that sound like a spinet at times) and crooning blissfully. Not really the highest order of progressive folk, but the noteworthy guitar work and tastefully understated bass are just enough to keep things from passing as either traditional folk or pop.

The band actually makes an attempt at mixing their mainstream rock sensibilities with Ms. Howells’ inherently folk vocals on “Myfyrdod” to mixed effect. The guitar work and percussion are cheesy and quite dated, while Nest’s voice comes off awkward and disjointed and results in something that probably felt as unnatural to record as it sounds. Not the track to start with if you want to hear the best these guys had to offer.

Speaking of the Bay City Rollers by the way, check out “Mor Braf” and “Blodyn“ for other examples of that three-chord seventies spandex rock but once again unconvincingly peppered with Howells’ voice at oddly-placed intervals. The latter one sounds more like a tavern drinking-song as well, something I suppose every live band needs in their arsenal but which should be left off studio albums in my opinion.

But the good outweighs the bad here, and tracks like “Caledfwich” and “Y Crewr” with their ballad-like tempo and wispy flute are much more suited to her voice and make the off-kilter songs a bit more tolerable.

The closing “Breud Dwyd” is an interesting and beautiful composition that is undeniably the best track on the album and probably of the band’s career, indolent in a charming way with Howells’ classically- inspired piano solo and delicate organ bleats and a couple of mild guitar forays just pronounced enough to remind you this is rock you’re listening to. The interesting part of this song is that the band also recorded a more upbeat version with vocals, which was released both as a rare single and on a Welsh folk compilation album several years after their demise. Its one of the few times I’ve heard of a band releasing the same basic tune in such distinctly different renditions. Just a bit of trivia but cause for a couple minutes of pondering as to what their intent was.

Anyway, I like this album even with its unevenness and lack of any real masterpiece tracks. Overall I’ll say this is easily decent, though not quite outstanding.

Eric Kloss - 1998 - Sweet Connections

Eric Kloss 
Sweet Connections

01. Sweet Connections 5:04
02. Wrapped In A Cloud 7:27
03. The Sands Of Time 7:20
04. Places In My Past 5:40
05. Irish Fantasy - The Ballad Of Charlotte McGhee 10:51
06. Love Is Here To Stay 5:53
07. Days Of Wine And Roses 5:41
08. Gil's Tune 8:42
09. The Seasons 9:25

Alto Saxophone – Eric Kloss
Bass – Steve Tisher (tracks: 7 to 9)
Drums – Terry Silverlight (tracks: 7 to 9)
Piano – Gil Goldstein

Recorded live on December 19 & 20, 1979

Eric Kloss is one of many artists recorded live at E.J.'s in Atlanta before it ceased operations in 1982. Unlike typical guest artists performing there, Kloss doesn't simply play with a local house band; he is joined throughout both dates by pianist Gil Goldstein, with bassist Steve Tisher and drummer Terry Silverlight added on the last three selections. Kloss, who abruptly seemed to have ceased performing and recording without explanation during the 1980s, is in great form on these 1979 live sets. The duo leads off with "Sweet Connections," a furious original credited to both men. The saxophonist's lush ballads "Wrapped in a Cloud" and "The Sands of Time" are followed by a fairly straightforward interpretation of rocker James Taylor's "Places in My Past." Goldstein shows off a bit in a rollicking duet of the standard "Love Is Here to Stay," with Kloss adding a bit of a wry solo. Like other recordings made at E.J.'s and issued on its equally defunct namesake label, the piano sounds a bit muddy and distant, making one wonder if the musicians realized they were being recorded, though this rare opportunity to hear Eric Kloss in a live setting late in his career overcomes any sonic shortcomings.

Eric Kloss - 1979 - Celebration

Eric Kloss

01. Celebration 6:53
02. The Force 10:07
03. Afterglow 5:12
04. Heavy Connections 6:06
05. The Samba Express 7:52
06. Blue Delhi 7:46

Bass – Mike Richmond
Drums – Terry Silverlight
Guitar – Kenny Karsh
Keyboards – Barry Miles
Saxophone [Alto] – Eric Kloss

Recorded at Dimensional Sound Studio, NYC - January 6 & &, 1979

The music on this obscure LP (the last in a long string of Eric Kloss Muse recordings) is often funky and in the fusion vein. The altoist is joined by keyboardist Barry Miles (who contributed the only one of the six pieces not written by the leader), guitarist Kenny Karsh, bassist Mike Richmond, and drummer Terry Silverlight. The playing is on a high level and the compositions are complex,

Eric Kloss - 1978 - Now

Eric Kloss

01. We Are Together 7:32
02. Now 6:39
03. Morning Song 6:35
04. Hey, Hey, Whatta You Say? 5:21
05. Autumn Blue 6:22
06. Booga Wooga Woman 7:04

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Eric Kloss
Bass – Mike Richmond
Cowbell – Efrain Toro
Drums – Jimmy Madison
Keyboards – Mike Nock

Recorded January 4 & 5, 1978 at Van Gelder Recording Studio, Englewood, N.J.

Tenor/altoist Eric Kloss recorded often from 1965-1981 before disappearing from jazz. His sound was fairly original, he was technically skilled, and, even though his impact was fairly minor, he did record many worthwhile sessions, most of which are currently hard to find. On this LP, Kloss (joined by keyboardist Mike Nock, bassist Mike Richmond, and drummer Jimmy Madison) performs six of his originals, none of which caught on. The music is generally lyrical and the leader plays well, even if the rhythm section is fairly anonymous, but little all that memorable occurs.

Eric Kloss / Barry Miles - 1976 - Together Images

Eric Kloss / Barry Miles 
Together Images

01. Relay 6:58
02. The Wise Woman 6:24
03. Together 6:09
04. Song For A Mountain 4:19
05. The Goddess, The Gypsy & The Light 13:05
06. Opus De Mulier 1:55

Alto Saxophone – Eric Kloss (tracks: A1, A2, B2, B3)
Electric Piano – Barry Miles (tracks: A2, B3)
Piano – Barry Miles (tracks: A1, A3, B1, B2)
Synthesizer – Barry Miles (tracks: B1)
Tenor Saxophone – Eric Kloss (tracks: A3, B1)

Recorded July 19 & 20, 1976 at CI Recording, NYC

Eric Kloss / Richie Cole - 1977 - Battle Of The Saxes, Vol.1

Eric Kloss / Richie Cole
Battle Of The Saxes, Vol.1

01. Ebony Godfather 9:52
02. Robin 11:22
03. D.C. Farewell 7:45
04. Harold's House Of Jazz 13:00

Recorded Live At The Tin Palace, New York City, March 1976

Richie Cole: Alto Saxophone (Right Channel)
Eric Kloss: Alto Saxophone (Left Channel)
Rick Laird: Bass
Eddie Gladden: Drums

Except for one obscure release from the year before, this Muse LP has the earliest recording of Richie Cole as a leader (actually a co-leader with fellow altoist Eric Kloss). Cole and Kloss battle it out on four lengthy songs with "Harold's House of Jazz" (which is actually based on "Cherokee") being the highpoint. Worth searching for.

Eric Kloss - 1975 - Bodies' Warmth

Eric Kloss
Bodies' Warmth

01. Lady
02. Joni
03. Bodies' Warmth
04. Scarborough Fair
05. Mystique
06. Headin' Out

Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Eric Kloss
Drums – Terry Silverlight
Electric Bass – Harvie Swartz
Guitar – Vic Juris
Piano, Electric Piano, Synthesizer – Barry Miles

Recorded 6/24 & 6/25 1975.

Eric Kloss joined forces with Barry Miles' Silverlight on this outing and for touring at the time.The results aren't quite as fusion orientated as the Silverlight connection might lead you to believe and it's not until the final "Headin' Out" that we get some balls out banging fusion.Solid album overall.

Eric Kloss - 1974 - Essence

Eric Kloss

01. Love Will Take You There 15:38
02. Affinity 8:57
03. Essence 16:36
04. Descent 3:41

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Eric Kloss
Bass – Buster Williams
Drums – Ron Krasinski
Piano, Electric Piano – Mickey Tucker
Trumpet – Hannibal Marvin Peterson

Recorded 12/14/73 with the interesting - especially from this time - lineup of Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson (as he was then billed), Mickey Tucker (who "appears courtesy of Bluenote (sic) Records" a reference to the New Heritage Keyboard Quartet, I guess) , Buster Williams, Ron Krasinski (drummer, apparently a buddy of Kloss' who apparently "went to California to pursue his musical career". Hope that went ok...) & on one tune Sonny Morgan on percussion.

Tunes are very much "of the time", meaning modal in spots, slightly free-ish in spots, occasionally "rock-ish" in a non-commercial way. Kloss was always a "follower", but to me that's not necessarily a derogatory assessment. This is a guy who started waaaay young and was very much learning - as in going beyond what he already knew - as he went along. If you wnat to look at it "artistically" then hey, big whoop, next, move on. But looked at as one man's journey, well, maybe it should or shouldn't have been documented to the extent that it was for as long as it was (especially early on), but it was, and there's a story there, a human one of some interest if not necessarily a musical one of larger interest. Simply put, the guy's a "good player", and you can make of that what you want and probably not be wrong no matter what.


On this album, Kloss came to play hard and had a band who was more than willing and able to match him (and more than match him). These cats are burning, especially Peterson who was in the first flush of his Gil Evans-facilitated exposure, and Tucker, who's one of the best, most consistently interesting, ever-so-slightly idyosyncratic, pianists/keyboardists that not enough people have heard of (or heard enough of). If Kloss sounds at times like a student who's learned his lessons well and convincingly, these guys sound like the cats he was hoping to get it done with once he did.

Trust me when I say that this is one of those sleeper albums that you can go through your entire life not hearing and still have a good, excellent, even, life. But hearing it ain't gonna hurt a damn thing, and may well be considered a bonus. And if you're into Hannibal and/or Tucker, then you pretty much GOT to hear it.

Eric Kloss - 1972 - One, Two, Free

Eric Kloss
One, Two, Free

01. One, Two, Free
a. One, Two, Free
b. Elegy
c. The Wizard
02. It's Too Late
03. Licea

Bass – Dave Holland
Drums – Ron Krasinski
Electric Piano, Tambourine – Ron Thomas
Guitar – Pat Martino
Saxophone [Alto] – Eric Kloss

Recorded August 28, 1972.

Although based in the hard bop tradition, altoist Eric Kloss was always open to the influence of the avant-garde. This stimulating session features Kloss, guitarist Pat Martino, keyboardist Ron Thomas, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Ron Krasinski really stretching out on Carole King's "It's Too Late," "Licea," and the three-part "One, Two, Free." Eric Kloss pushes himself and his sidemen throughout the date, and even if the Fender Rhodes sounds a bit dated, the high musicianship and chance-taking are still exciting to hear.

Pittsburgh native Eric Kloss (b. 1949) was one of the most distinctive, original voices to emerge on alto sax in the mid-60s. He was only 16 when the first of his eleven Prestige albums was released in 1965. These records featured the cream of the crop of New York musicians and the young Kloss more than held his own with heavyweights like Booker Ervin, Jaki Byard, Chick Corea, Cedar Walton, and most notably, guitarist Pat Martino.

Kloss switched to the Muse label in 1972 and debuted with this outstanding quartet recording, One, Two, Free ; which remains his finest achievement. In a group featuring Martino on guitar and Ron Thomas on electric piano as well as bassist Dave Holland and fellow Pittsburgher Ron Krasinski on drums, Kloss pushes and pulls his group to take chances that explore the outer edges of bop, fusion and even funky pop music.

The 18-minute, three-part title track is clearly influenced by Bitches Brew (on which bassist Holland also participated). But here, like on the surprisingly substantial funk of Carole King's "It Too Late," Kloss's arched sound and searing style move the ostinato vamp in a more avant-garde direction (the way Arthur Blythe later would). Martino gets a notable share of the solo spotlight and never ceases to amaze in his mixture of cool chordal comps and fleet runs up and down the fretboard.

Kloss's beautiful ballad, "Licea," guided by Dave Holland's moody, signature string work, is the jewel of this collection and probably deserves to be better known. Martino waxes lyrically before Kloss enters for a rueful countenance that's worth the price of admission.

32 Jazz was wise to bring One, Two, Free back into circulation - and maintain Don Schlitten's beautiful cover-art photography too. Priced well below other recent jazz reissues, One, Two, Free is a significant chapter in 1970s jazz and provides a great opportunity to discover the interesting music of Eric Kloss (who, despite no widespread releases since the early 1980s, still performs infrequently at Pittsburgh events with his vocalist wife). Even though there's 42 minutes of music here, one wishes creative interaction this good kept on going. Recommended.

An extraordinarily gifted altoist, Eric Kloss first appeared on the scene at the age of 16, when his debut record won him critical acclaim as a blind child prodigy. By the time of this recording, the 23-year-old Kloss had lived up to his early promise, growing as an open-minded musician with experience playing with such jazz heavy-weights as Jaki Byard, Booker Ervin, Jack DeJohnette, and Chick Corea.
One, Two, Free is an avant-garde album of often funky music, with its strong rhythms rooted in the driving bass lines of Miles Davis-veteran Dave Holland and the vintage Fender Rhodes sounds of Ron Thomas. Kloss and guitarist Pat Martino stretch imaginatively on the 18 minute title track (seamlessly divided into three parts), crafting a memorable original that approaches the electric intensity of Miles Davis‘ work from the same era.

Carol King’s “It’s Too Late” starts off with tongue-in-cheek straightness, but once the theme is stated, the pop-song is turned on its head and transformed into a funky vehicle for exploration. The closing track, “Licea,” is complex and cerebral, but rewards close listening. Featuring two originals and one cover tune, all over 10 minutes long, One, Two, Free is an adventurous blast from the past that still retains its freshness and is definitely worth owning. Buy it, and help rescue one of the unsung heroes of the saxophone from undeserved obscurity.

Eric Kloss - 1972 - Doors

Eric Kloss 

01. Doors
02. Waves
03. Quasar
04. Sweatin' It
05. Love
06. Libra

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Eric Kloss
Bass – Gene Taylor
Drums, Tambourine – Ron Krasinski
Piano, Electric Piano – Neal Creque

Recorded January 1, 1972.

Eric Kloss: Past And Prescient
March 30, 1984
Washington Post

The latest album in the racks by saxophonist Eric Kloss isn't new at all. Entitled "Doors," it was recorded in 1972 at a pivotal point in Kloss' career. At the time he was moving away from the confines of post-bop structures and beginning to experiment with freer forms and different styles. "Selective electicism" is how he described it.

Kloss has since gone on to make his mark in jazz as an individualistic and adventurous musician and composer. But "Doors" reveals the saxophonist first spreading his wings, and a dozen years later the music still holds up.

The album opens with the title track, paying homage in 9/8 time to poet William Blake's "doors of perception." Muted keyboards, over-dubbed horn duets, spacious silences and a recurring figure in the bass create an entrancing, rather impressionistic effect. our other tracks (or "doors") bear similarly apt one-word titles: "Waves" is an idyllic retreat, carefree and alluring; "Quasar" has enormous collaborative energy; "Love" is part sentiment, part emotion; and "Libra" balances two over-dubbed tenor saxophones of differing musical temperaments -- one jazz, the other rock.

Because a conceptual album like this requires a cohesive and intelligent group effort, Kloss was fortunate to have pianist Neal Creque, bassist Gene Taylor and drummer Ron Krasinski along for the ride. Kloss' playing on alto and tenor saxes is often striking and always sensitively executed, but the individual and collective contributions of his fine rhythm section consistently add to the album's enduring appeal. 

Eric Kloss - 1970 - Consciousness!

Eric Kloss

01. Sunshine Superman 10:37
02. Kay 10:24
03. Outward Wisdom 6:05
04. Songs To Aging Children 6:58
05. Consciousness 8:36

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Eric Kloss
Bass, Electric Bass – Dave Holland
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Guitar [6 String, 12 String] – Pat Martino
Piano, Electric Piano – Chick Corea

Recorded January 6, 1970

One common feature of every Miles Davis group is the stellar rhythm section -- whether it's Garland/Chambers/Jones, Kelly/Chambers/Cobb, or Hancock/Carter/Williams. Yet one of the best Miles rhythm sections, Corea/Holland/DeJohnette, didn't make much of an impact in the studio; while they were absolutely scorching in concert (as any of the Fillmore concerts will attest to), this 2-on-1 CD gives a good idea of what they could do in the studio.
Eric Kloss was (and supposedly still is) an edgy post-bop altoist, obviously aware of Coltrane's innovations but with a very distinct, individual sound. On some of the tracks he plays tenor. Anyway, he definitely deserves mention alongside Jackie McLean and Gary Bartz.

The first album, To Hear Is To See (tracks 1-5), is relatively more "inside" and it's interesting to hear the rhythm trio swinging in a more conventional setting (one month later they'd be recording Bitches Brew). Like a lot of other jazz cerca 1969-70, there's a definite rock influence both in the rhythms and in Corea's use of the electric piano (he also plays acoustic). Consciousness! (tracks 6-10) was recorded in January 1970, and sounds a lot more like the intense Fillmore recordings. Pat Martino, who joins the band on guitar, is an explosive presence.

This is highly recommended to any fan of Corea, Holland, or DeJohnette as well as to anyone who likes the sound of late 60s post-bop jazz. And besides, you will never hear a funkier version of "Sunshine Superman" in your life. 

Eric Kloss is a world renowned alto and tenor saxophonist, a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, composer, clinician, educator, and television personality. Blind from birth music became his vision. A true child prodigy he performed with his mentor Sonny Stitt at age 12. Backed by jazz guitarist Pat Martino, his recording career began at age 16 with the release of “Introducing Eric Kloss”. Blending hard bob, be-bop, pop, rock, funk, free jazz, classical and world music, he went on to release 22 critically acclaimed recordings on the Prestige and Muse labels. A who’s who of jazz masters appeared as sidemen on his albums including Gerald Veasley, Barry Miles, Don Patterson, Jaki Byard, Gil Goldstein, Richard Davis, Alan Dawson, Cedar Walton, Jimmy Owens, Kenny Barron, Booker Ervin, Leroy Vinnegar, Billy Higgins, Kenny Barron, Bob Cranshaw, and Alan Dawson. His most acclaimed album, Eric Kloss and the Rhythm Section, features the Miles Davis rhythm section of Corea, DeJohnette, and Dave Holland. Kloss toured the USA and Europe for 25 years wowing audiences with his technical brilliance and wild improvisations.

Eric was a frequent guest on the PBS TV show Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, second only to pianist Johnny Costa for most appearances by any musician. In 1989 he became a spokesman for Yahoo Music promoting and performing with the sax-like MX-11 wind synthesizer. In the 1990s he began teaching at Duquesne University and went on to become head of the jazz department at Carnegie Mellon University. As an educator and clinician he mentored a new generation of jazz performers and instructors. The Fantasy Jazz label has reissued several of his recordings: First Class, About Time, the 2 CD box set Eric Kloss & the Rhythm Section/Love and All That Jazz, and the 2 CD box set Sky Shadows/In the Land of the Giants. Eric withdrew from teaching and performing in 2001 when he became seriously ill. He continues to write and plans to perform and record if his health improves. The unreleased work Cosmic Adventures demonstrates his musical mastery.

An excellent album from Eric Kloss that again teams him with the Miles Davis rhythm section of the period (Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette) plus guitarist Pat Martino, who was really stretching out at this time. The resultant electric grooves are way different than Kloss' earlier work, yet still much tighter and more soulful than his later stuff -- with some slight bits of funk and soul jazz to keep things real. All tracks are fairly long, and the record features versions of "Sunshine Superman" and "Songs To Aging Children" -- plus the tunes "Consciousness" and "Outward Wisdom"

Eric Kloss - 1969 - To Hear Is To See

Eric Kloss 
To Hear Is To See

01. To Hear Is To See 5:32
02. Kingdom Within 6:01
03. Stone Groove 6:58
04. Children Of The Morning 8:27
05. Cynara 9:35

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Eric Kloss
Bass – Dave Holland
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Keyboards - Chick Corea

Recorded July 22, 1969.

An all-star rhythm section backs up saxophonist Eric Kloss for this 1969 Prestige release. Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette (all of whom were working with Miles Davis in the late '60's) join the saxophonist for a set of varied but consistently good post-bop tunes.

At first listen the tune appears to be a funky blues in the style of Horace Silver or Duke Pearson. On closer inspection one will find that the melody is actually cleverly phrased in 7/8. Kloss’s joyful solo sounds like an adventurous Cannonball Adderley and Chick Corea’s comping on Rhodes supports him perfectly. 

Things go in a different direction on “The Kingdom Within” as it opens with a free improv section that eventually turns into lovely modal tune. In his solo Kloss sounds almost like Coltrane on alto with soulful blues-inflected modal sound. “Stone Groove” is funky and swings but drifts freely into other rhythmic areas during the solos. Once again Kloss’ solo is the highlight here and the band sounds their best as they reach a fever pitch at the apex of his solo.

“Children of the Morning” is an optimistic sounding straight-eighth number and possibly the weakest track. Kloss doesn’t seem to muster the energy he achieves in the other tunes, but Corea gives probably his best solo of the record. For “Cynara” the band dives back into time signature play with a tight 5/4 vamp and a beatifully dissonant melody. The tune is a nice vehicle for Kloss and Co. and they are able to slip in and out of time and harmony with ease.

This is arguably Kloss’ best recording, thanks in large part to the excellent rhythm section. As with most good jazz, the soloist feeds off of his rhythm section who, in turn, feed off of him creating some really great music.