Saturday, May 26, 2018

Irene Schweizer / Carl Quartet - 1975 - Goose Pannee

Irene Schweizer / Carl Quartet 
Goose Pannee

01. Glücksgäu 4:30
02. Opus De Fökk 4:20
03. Masur 0:40
04. Scheidling Extra 9:40
05. Goose Pannée 21:15

Recorded At – Quartier Latin, Berlin

Bass – Arjen Gorter
Drums – Heinrich Hock
Piano – Irene Schweizer
Tenor Saxophone – Rüdiger Carl

Recorded Live 13/14 September 1974 at the Quartier Latin/Berlin on the "FMP-Recording-Unit"

A tremendous early showcase for Carl and Schweizer, before an appreciative Berlin audience. The album opens with one tune by each, revealing the depth of their talents, before building to the side-long climax that is the title track. A full-bore blowout, it's a classic example of Euro free improv at its peak, and deserves as wide an audience as possible.

Ronald Shannon Jackson & The Decoding Society - 1999 - Montreux Jazz Festival

Ronald Shannon Jackson & The Decoding Society 
Montreux Jazz Festival

01. Mother's Day 5:49
02. Iola 7:15
03. Gossip 7:14
04. Zane'sFangs 10:58
05. Alice In The Congo 14:54

Bass - Melvin Gibbs
Bass - Reverend Bruce Johnson
Drums - Ronald Shannon Jackson
Guitar, Banjo, Guitar - Vernon Reid
Saxophone [Alto, Soprano] - Zane Massey
Trumpet - Henry Scott

Recorded on 21 July 1983 at Casino, Montreux

Another fiery set from the Decoding Society, this one from July of 1983. Song selection is almost evenly split between Mandance and Barbeque Dog. Vernon Reid is featured on banjo on several cuts, including the lovely "Iola," where he does some nice trading off with bassist Bruce Johnson. The rest of the set is fairly explosive, highlighted by "Alice in the Congo," a lengthier track that touches on other tunes (like "Small World") and gives the players a bit more room to solo. The playing of both Zane Massey on saxes and Henry Scott on trumpet should not go unmentioned, as they receive the bulk of the solo spotlight and really take advantage, sending their solos into the stratosphere. In addition to his banjo playing, Reid gets a chance to burn on electric guitar on both "Gossip" and "Alice in the Congo" (where the band slides into a very straight blues for a short time). Montreux Jazz Festival is a fine live document of what is arguably the strongest version of the Decoding Society.

Ronald Shannon Jackson & The Decoding Society - 1999 - Live In Warsaw

Ronald Shannon Jackson & The Decoding Society 
Live In Warsaw

01 Christmas Woman 4:34
02 Front Seat Frisco 3:45
03 Night In Seville 9:54
04 Cameroon Morning 4:46
05 Serenade Of Musician 7:33
06 Opinion's 2:49
07 Now's The Time 8:21
08 Christmas Woman 6:48

Bass - Ngolle Pokossi
Drums, Flute - Ronald Shannon Jackson
Guitar - Jef Lee Johnson 
Saxophone - James Carter

There is no questioning Ronald Shannon Jackson's abilities as a drummer and composer, although his actual albums have tended to be somewhat erratic and inconsistent. Such is the case with Live in Warsaw, a 1994 recording with James Carter on saxophones, Jef Lee Johnson on electric guitar, and Ngolle Pokossi on electric bass, although the album still has its merits. The problem lies mostly with the excess of nebulous fade-ins and inconclusive fade-outs, one or the other of which occurs on nearly every track. The actual sound quality is good for a live recording, and the performances are often inspired. "Night in Seville," which features a long coda for Johnson's flamenco-tinged guitar, does meander a bit, but the R&B-flavored opener, "Christmas Woman," and the joyous, Bo Diddley-evoking "Camaroon Wedding" are infectious. Unfortunately, the rug gets pulled out from under each of the latter tunes by the aforementioned fades, and these tracks are surrounded by some not-as-strong pieces that just don't seem to go anywhere (see the murky disco-jazz of "Opinion's" [sic]). Not until the swinging avant-blues take on Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time" and the foot-stomping reprise of "Christmas Woman" does the band really get cooking. These tracks, and Carter's honking, blues-drenched solos in particular, are likely to have listeners calling for an encore and wishing the rest of the album had been on such a high level.