Thursday, June 8, 2017

Isao Tomita - 1970 - Expo '70 Multiplex Sounds For Global Vision Toshiba-Ihi Pavilion

Isao Tomita 
Expo '70 Multiplex Sounds For Global Vision Toshiba-Ihi Pavilion

01. Sound Of "Global Vision Theater" In The Air.
02. Sound Of "Waiting Space" On The First Floor.
03. Sound Of "Under Ground Park Of Light And Water"

1970, Osaka, Japan

Composed By – Isao Tomita
Celesta – Isao Nomiya
Guitar – Kinji Kitashohji
Harp – Keiko Yamakawa
Marimba – Keiko Abe
Orchestra – Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra
Conductor – Hiroshi Ishimaru
Hammond Organ – Micky Yoshiko
Percussion, Keyboards – Akira Ishikawa & His Group
Read By Poem – Allan Bruens
Sitar – Yohko Uehara
Vocals – Rokumonsen
Vocals, Electric Guitar – Chei Kohsei

Extremely rare and crazy psych/experimental/jazz-rock artifact given out as a promotional item to visitors of the Toshiba Pavilion at the Expo 1970 in Osaka. Featuring the talents of Isao Tomita, Akira Ishikawa, and members of The Golden Cups, Helpful Soul, etc. Experimental psych, hippy poetry, weird orchestrations, electronic soundscapes, electric sitar, wild fuzz-wah guitar outbursts, heavy organ, electric piano solos, and more! A real hidden treasure of the classic Japanese scene.

The Piano Choir - 1975 - Handscapes 2

The Piano Choir
Handscapes 2

01. Ballad For The Beast From Bali-Bali 7:04
02. The Need To Smile 6:24
03. Barbara Ann 4:47
04. In What Direction Are You Headed 6:30
05. Prayer For Peace 8:45

Stanley Cowell - piano, synthesizer
Sonelius Smith - piano, electric piano,
Ron Burton, Nat Jones, Hugh Lawson, Webster Lewis, Harold Mabern - piano
Mtume, Jimmy Hopps, John Lewis - percussion

Recorded and mixed at Minot Studios, White Plains, N.Y. August - December 1974.

The follow up to the first "Handscapes", this is an LP of piano-only jazz recorded in 1975 for Strata East. The lineup is a who's who of hip, black piano players from the time, and includes Harold Mabern, Sonelius Smith, Stanley Cowell, and Webster Lewis.

So:  those who love progressive music please salute this installment.  This group of pianists made two records in the mid-seventies, and this one was posted by the boxes of toys blog so I direct you there. Bascially if you donate to Gianni, even just a small amount, you can access the wav rip.  I recommend it. 

The group consists of the following musicians: Danny Mixon, Harold Mabern, Hugh Lawson, Nat Jones, Sonelius Smith, Stanley Cowell, Webster Lewis.  The full information can be found on discogs.  First of all going quickly over that tracklist you can be sure we are dealing with some very ambitious progressive music here, just from perusing the titles.  The wonderfully named Hugh Lawson composition Ballad For The Beast From Bali-Bali starts with grand piano and synth noodling, but without hesitation moves into the arena of George Gruntz's wonderful piano conclave: intense, odd, fusiony, and oh-so interesting.  The track that follows, Sonelius Smith's The Need to Smile threw me to the floor with the opening mellotron strings soprano touches, as an electric piano plays an almost dissonant obligato in a different key, the different keyboards (electric, synth, acoustic) charm us with their weaving together of a complex pattern, like one of those richly hued arab carpets full of colors and geometry.

And that title!  yes, listening to these consummate artists, there is indeed a need to smile...

Barbara Ann is a gospel, Keith Jarrett-influenced acoustic composition by Webster Lewis.  This track and the first of side b were posted on soundcloud by Gianni.  The Prayer for Peace by Stanley Cowell, the last track, will shock you like an electrocution if you love polytonality and advanced-level, postgraduate composition.  It's a stunner.  I recommend it for teaching purposes at university schools of music-- advanced composition classes only for the most highly talented please.

The Piano Choir - 1973 - Handscapes

The Piano Choir 

01. Jaboobie's March 13:40
02. Straight No Chaser 6:00
03. Precious Lord 4:50
04. Sanctum Saintorium 13:40
05. Nation Time 5:40
06. Effi 6:50
07. Man Extensions 31:25
08. The Almoravids 15:40
09. Killers 7:30

Danny Mixon
Harold Mabern
Hugh Lawson
Nat Jones
Sonelius Smith
Stanley Cowell
Webster Lewis

Producer – Geri Hamlin, The Piano Choir
Choir: Piano, Electric Piano, Vocals, Percussion, African Piano, and Harpsichord.

Order of entrances on track A2: Webster Lewis, Stanley Cowell, Danny Mixon, Nat Jones, Sonelius Smith, Harold Mabern, Hugh Lawson.
Solo order on track C1: Stanley Cowell, Hugh Lawson, Harold Mabern, Webster Lewis, Sonelius Smith, Nat Jones, Danny Mixon.

All tracks recorded October 28, 1972, except track A3 which was recorded June 18, 1972.

At the time of release Ebony reviewer Phyl Garland said "One needn't be a "piano freak" to appreciate a truly new recording. First of all imagine seven gifted and talented pianists sitting down to seven grand pianos (with electric piano, organ, harpsichord, a few tambourines for spice) and proceeding to tear up these instruments - musically, that is. ...the torrrent of sound springing from their 70 fingers is so powerful and majestic as to be unlike anything one has ever heard.

Handscapes The Piano Choir LP double live album 1973 Strata-East Associates NYC! This is the perfect gift for the jazz piano fan in your life! 

The New York Bass Violin Choir - 1970 - The New York Bass Violin Choir

The New York Bass Violin Choir 
The New York Bass Violin Choir

01. Keep Me In Mind 3:20
02. Biskit 5:05
03. John Coltrane 9:00
04. Horace Silver 5:10
05. Monica 3:25
06. Veronica 8:58
07. House Of The Rising Sun 6:28

Double Bass – Bill Lee
Double Bass – Lisle Atkinson, Micheal Fleming, Milt Hinton, Richard Davis, Ron Carter, Sam Jones
Drums – Sonny Brown (tracks: A2)
Percussion – Sonny Brown
Piano – Harold Mabern (tracks: A3, B3)
Saxophone [Tenor] – George Coleman (tracks: A3, B3)

Someday someone, whether it is Strata-East we will never know, will be emboldened to reissue this classic recording and then connoisseurs of great music from the indelible literature of Jazz will be right royally pleased. There are few records—this one exists only in analogue vinyl form—worthy of being called “classics” like this one and although Bill Lee has had the rare distinction of performing in such stellar landscapes that included the likes of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger, and Odetta, this ambitious recording remains his most edifying creation; a true Holy Grail for all musicians especially folk and jazz musicians, collectors, especially audiophiles to reach for. This disc is first and foremost a splendid celebration of the artistry of the bass; and glorifying the instrument is seven of its finest practitioners. Moreover, the bassists are supported by a tenor saxophonist, pianist and percussionist in what its creators called a “narrative folk, jazz opera”. Judging by the splendid melismas that are created by each of the bassists, playing pizzicato or con arco, it reflects not just the operatic scope of the music, sans vocals, but also a symphonic sense. And it that owes much to Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus its beauty comes in no small measure from the singularly elegant voice of Bill Lee and Sonny Brown of course.

This might easily be Bill Lee’s greatest epiphany. It also celebrates the artistic partnership that Bill Lee shares with the six other bassists on the album. The seven movements run the gamut of musical measures that are a delight from first to last. They also bring out the special qualities of the bass violin quite masterfully. The musicians of the bass violin choir constitute a constellation of stellar virtuosos who weave the most magical tapestry of sound. To start with there is a sense of sharing the sheer physical thrill of the acoustic bass and because the instrument is a lead voice throughout—performed at any given time by a multiplicity of bassists—there is a sense of fierce and brilliant movements at every twist and turn in the music. At first blush a central theme may not be discernable, but then it is suddenly there—a palpable delight of rhythmically engaging music shrouded in mystery and magic, and so much agile brilliance that I was left breathless. And how they can dance—these seven basses, playing melody and harmony and rhythm like artists weaving as if in a whirling trance as their magical quilt to life. The deep sonorous drone of the basses contrasts delightfully when, with tripping lines some break away from the business of roar and rumble to soar in the upper atmosphere of the bass. Everywhere is the palpable sense of touch and subtle dynamics, where even the tiniest phrase has meaning and ornament.

If “Keep Me In Mind”, the theme from “Baby Sweets” sets the tonal gravitas for this operatic score, the individual portraits of individual musicians “John Coltrane” and “Horace Silver” and the ladies-in-waiting, “Monica” and “Veronica” become the dramatis personae in this ingenious labour of love. Even though they might seem to be disparate elements in a suite it is this very multifariousness of texture, shading and timbral extravagance that creates the glue that binds them all together. This is followed by one of the most extraordinary readings of “House of the Rising Sun” that I have ever heard. Here the entire ensemble of bassists revels in its echoing harmonies as they draw you daringly into their world of mystery and wonder. There is a whispered intimacy that extends into Bill Lee’s audaciously ornamented arrangement of the piece. At the end of it all you can be in no doubt of the thought that has gone into the making of this exquisite piece. His extraordinary musical character has gone into every aspect of this purported opera. And Bill Lee harnesses the possibilities of the bass in the service of this elongated suite. The result is a clear labour of love, and one in which he shines new light on his old magic to mesmerising effect, all of which is captured by a warmly sympathetic recording that alas is either out of print or at best extremely hard to find. Cherish your copy if you are lucky enough to have one.

The New Apocalypse - 1969 - Stainless Soul

The New Apocalypse
Stainless Soul

01. Stainless Soul 4:07
02. Domicela 2:57
03. Comin' Home Baby 4:09
04. Junk Shop 3:11
05. Wichita Lineman 5:23
06. Watch Your Step 2:47
07. Three Shades Of Gray 3:33
08. Get Outta My Life Woman 3:05
09. Eleanor Rigby 3:54
10. Labyrinth 4:13

Bass – John Garrison
Drums – Dennis Meros
Guitar – Greg Novik
Organ – Christopher Lynch
Saxophone – Gene Meros
Trumpet – Keith Vinroe

Hailing from the Baltimore suburb of Brooklyn Park, The Apocalypse came together in the early-1960s, making a name for themselves playing a mixture of jazz and more rock oriented instrumentals on the mid-Atlantic college and club circuit.  By 1968 the band had gone through a series of personnel changes, musical realignments and a name change - the creatively updated The New Apocalypse  Signed by the small Maryland-based ID label, they made their recording debut with a 1968 jazz-rock single: 
- 'Junkshop' b/w 'Labyrinth' (ID catalog number 2614) 

The single did nothing commercially and the band continued touring.  By the time the band signed with the Decca affiliated MTA Records, the line-up featured bassist John Garrison, keyboardist Christopher Lynch (replaced Mike Meros), drummer Dennis Meros, sax player Gene Meros, guitarist Greg Novik, and trumpet player Keith Vinroe. 

So before going on any further, a quick work of warning - if you don't want to be disappointed, ignore any of those high prices catalog listings that tag this one  as being acid-tinged, or psychedelic.  The most psychedelic thing on 1968's "Stainless Steel" were the negative photos found on the back cover.   Produced by Bob Thompson (George Massenburg engineering), the album featured an all-instrumental set that found the band trying to find a niche for themselves amidst the public's growing indifference to Stax-styled soul; offset by rising interest in Chicago-styled horn rock.   (Okay 'Get Outta' My Life Woman' included a brief vocal segment.)  Judging by these ten instrumental tracks, these guys were clearly a talented band, capable of handling a wide array of genres.  Unfortunately, the absence of vocals put them at a significant disadvantage versus the competition.  Material like title track, '' and '' had a nice Stax-vibe, but by 1969 the collection must have already sounded dated.  That's not meant as a criticism, rather just pointing out one of the reasons the album failed to sell and is now quite hard to find. 

- Judging by the slightly funky title track instrumental, these guys had been listening to more than their share of  Booker T. & the MGs styled southern soul.  If you liked the genre (and I'm a big fan), then the combination of Lynch's organ, Novik's guitar fills (which bore more than a passing resemblance to Steve Cropper's work) and the punchy horns made 'Stainless Steel' a pleasure, though by 1969 this must have already sounded dated.   'Course that didn't stop MTA from tapping the song as the second single.
- 'Domicela' was a bluesy number that gave sax player Gene Meros a brief shot at the spotlight.  A surprisingly enjoyable atmospheric ballad, it was actually one of my favorite performances.   
-  Maybe it was Dennis Meros' Latin-tinged percussion, or Novik's lead guitar, but  'Comin' Home Baby'  has always struck me as having a bit of Santana influence.  I've also always liked the abrupt mid-song shift where the song suddenly lunged off in a much tougher, rock oriented direction.   
- As mentioned above, 'Junkshop' had previously been released as their debut single.  Imagine The Young-Holt Trio with a slightly funkier edge and you'd have a feel for what this one sounded like.  
- It took a couple of seconds for melody to kick in, but once it did, their version of Jimmy Webb's 'Wichita Lineman' was reduced to cocktail jazz status.  That's a shame since the intro section was killer.   Too bad they didn't keep down that track.   You were left to wonder why MTA tapped it as the second single.
- Yeah, I know it was meant to be hip  and I'll readily admit that the opening 20 seconds was great, but 'Watch Your Step' has always sounded like a piece of throwaway music that you might have heard during a commercial break for the Dating Game.
- Putting a jazzy edge on Novik's guitar, 'Three Shades of Gray' was actually a pretty cool number.   Once again, the unexpected shift in direction was quite nifty with Novik turning in his most impressive performance. 
- While it couldn't compete with Allen Toussaint original, or Albert King's classic version, these guys turned in a nice cover of 'Get Outta' My Life Woman'.   Not sure who handled it, but there was even a brief vocal on this one.  
- The first part of their 'Eleanor Rigby' gave it a Young-Holt styled jazz-soul arrangement and then the horns went into full out jazz mode.  It didn't last long and then it was back to the rote cover.   
- The 'B' side to their 1968 single, 'Labyrinth' was also the album's most jazz-rock-ish tune.   Normally something like this wouldn't have done a great deal for me, but the twin tracked sax was actually quite impressive.  Maybe it had something to do with the classical undertones throughout the Song?  

As mentioned, the album spun off two singles: 

- 1970's 'Stainless Steel' b/w 'Last Train To Liverpool' (MTA catalog number 185) 
- 1970's 'Wichita Lineman' b/w Stainless Steel' (MTA catalog number 190) 

For what it's worth, the album's repeatedly been sampled ...  Chuck D, Cypress Hill, and scores of other acts. 

With the album vanishing into cutout bins, the band called it quits in 1971.

The London Experimental Jazz Quartet - 1975 - Invisible Roots

The London Experimental Jazz Quartet 
Invisible Roots

01. Time Is Of The Essence 3:35
02. Edible Wallpaper 4:00
03. My Dog's Tail Is Longer Than Yours 4:15
04. Destroy The Nihilist Picnic 5:32
05. Ron Martin Special With Mustard 1:21
06. Eric's Madness 4:51
07. Jazz Windows Waltz 5:31
08. Spain Is For Old Ladies 5:55
09. The Sound Of Next Year's Echo 3:37
10. The Potential Of Something Exquisite 28:51

Alto Saxophone – Eric Stach, Ron Martin (tracks: 5)
Bass Saxophone – Peter Denny
Cello – Erna Van Daele
Clavinet – Gregg Dechert (tracks: 10)
Drums – Gregg Dechert (tracks: 5), Randy Coryell
Electric Bass – Gerry Van De Kamp
Flute – Eric Stach, Erna Van Daele
Piano – Gregg Dechert, Randy Coryell (tracks: 5)
Soprano Saxophone – Eric Stach
Vibraphone – Erna Van Daele (tracks: 9), Peter Denny
Vocals – Gregg Dechert

Recorded April 23, 1974 at the Creative Electronics Sound Studio. Originally released by Scratch Records as SR-10, London, Ontario, Canada

Track 10 recorded April 10, 1975 at the Creative Electronics Sound Studio. Taken from the unreleased album "Fruit From Another Garden Volume 2"

That's London, Ontario – not London, England – which means that the group have an even more far-flung sound than you might expect! The album's a brilliant and overlooked gem from the Canadian scene of the 70s – really mindblowing music by a group who are equally great at grooving, and at taking things very far outside – mixing together modes that are sometimes highly rhythmic, other times very loose and freewheeling! We're really not familiar with any of the players from later projects at all – but they're clearly a very hip batch of younger musicians who come together and sparkle brilliantly for this rare set – with a mix of soprano and alto sax, wood flute, cello, piano, bass, funky drums, vibes, and even some other cool effects that really make the record a treat throughout! 

The Frank Derrick Total Experience - 1974 - You Betcha!

The Frank Derrick Total Experience 
You Betcha!

01. Socialite Suburbanite 5:42
02. You Betcha! 2:47
03. Inspiration 3:36
04. Good Evenin' Rev 6:18
05. Jazz Scene 3:30
06. No Jive 5:23
07. Poor Man's Blues 4:53
08. Variations In Jazz 8:01

Bass – Jeff Simon
Guitar – Leo Pochinskas Jr.
Keyboards – Bob Jones
Leader, Drums, Producer – Frank Derrick III
Saxophone – Bill Payne, Charles H. Washington Jr., Don Sturner, Frank Derrick Jr., Kenneth James
Trombone – Bill Petties, Edwin Williams (3), Jim Sullivan
Trumpet – Buddy Brooks, Jimmy Doss, Sanden Joren, Tim Galloway

Superb funky jazz gem titled "No Jive” by The Frank Derrick Total Experience. This track was featured on the group’s very rare 1974 release You Betcha!, which is a live recording of the group performing at a Chicago nightclub called Fiddlers. The group is lead by drummer Frank Derrick III, which at the time of this recording, he was only 19 years old. The live album has an energetic, yet soulful spiritual groove throughout that at times has a slight bluesy feel in it’s tone. Overall, , this record continues to be one of the most rare and sought out by jazz collectors………….

The Brass Company - 1975 - Colors

The Brass Company 

01. Spanish Dancer 5:20
02. Alias Buster Henry 4:41
03. Geni 5:52
04. High Steppin' 4:29
05. Colors 12:20
a. Early In The Morning
b. Evening Shadows
c. No Promise Of Tomorrow
d. Clear Skies, Bright Lights

Drums – Billy Higgins, Sonny Brown
Euphonium – Kiane Zawadi
Flugelhorn – Clif Lee, Kamal Abdul-Aim
Trombone – Charles Stephens
Trumpet – Bill Hardman, Eddie Preston, Harry Hall, Lonnie Hillyer
Tuba – Bob Stewart

Recording dates: June 4 and July 3, 1974.
Studio: Minot, White Plains, New York.
Guest Artists: Clifford Jordan, Stanley Cowell, Charles Tolliver.

Background Mexican blanket courtesy of Betty Dillard.
Poem "Evening Shadows" by Mitchell Christopher Carmichael.

Rare big-band brass LP featuring most of the Strata-East family incl: Tolliver, Cowell, Higgins, Abdul-Aim and Clifford Jordan!