Friday, June 5, 2020

Sigi Schwab Chris Hinze Jasper Van't Hof - 1982 - Total Musik

Sigi Schwab  Chris Hinze  Jasper Van't Hof 
Total Musik

01. Sphinx 6:52
02. Orfeo Ed Euridice
Part I 8:42
Part II 6:44
Part III 2:29
03. Children Suite
Part I 17:10
Part II 6:08
Part III 2:54

Guitar – Sigi Schwab
Piano – Jasper Van't Hof
Flute – Chris Hinze

Recorded at the Sound Push Studio, Barlicum Holland on March 22 and 23, 1982. Mastered at CBS Studios Holland, with CBS Disc.

File somewhere between electronic, jazz, classical and folk, with a little mbira on top. Sometime I'll get around to posting Schwab's album "Meditation", which is up there with some of Ashra's longform guitar workouts of the 70's. And Jasper Van't Hof's explorations of African music and collaborations with Archie Shepp, Markus Stockhausen, etc. will get their due soon too. Guitar, flute, woodwinds, thumb piano, acoustic piano, synths... give your ears a highbrow sound bath. 

Chris Hinze & Sigi Schwab - 1980 - Live At North Sea Jazz Festival

Chris Hinze & Sigi Schwab
Live At North Sea Jazz Festival

01. Got Me Smiling 5:53
02. Silver Sand 10:03
03. Rendez-vous 6:23
04. Opus II 7:21
05. Lost Generations 4:45
06. After Thoughts 7:40
07. Deep Inside....(This Flesh Of Music) 3:50

Flute, Flute [Alto, Bass, Electric] – Chris Hinze
Ovation Adamas 12 String, Ovation Adamas 6 String, Ovation Classical, Tarang – Sigi Schwab

What you hear on this album is the result of a long-standing friendship between two top musicians, recorded at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague. The German guitar player Sigi Schwab and the Dutch flutist Chris Hinze recorded these compositions of duets with improvisations that reproduce a picture of the entire music scene.

Chris Hinze - 1981 - Solo's And Duo's

Chris Hinze
Solo's And Duo's

01. Requiem For Peter Trunk 3:32
02. Emotions 6:17
03. Second Story Together 5:04
04. Spanish Flower 4:23
05. Heron 4:55
06. Soft Moments 3:42
07. First Story Together 9:28

Flute – Chris Hinze
Guitar – Philip Catherine, Sigi Schwab
Piano – Jasper Van't Hof, Joachim Kühn
Saxophone – Charlie Mariano

The copyright on back says 1974 and 1981 with date of release, 1981.

Wow-- with a line-up like that we expect miracles.  None of those great european masters need introductions.  The compositions are more free than on their solo records, understandably, since they would have saved their best compositions for their own, and each one of these greats has produced masterpiece albums.  Kuhn has a tendency to ramble in waterfall and over-spilling passages as may be witnessed audibly on his solo piano works, but on the third song a flute melody by Hinze seems to tame his more extemporaneous side.  Reminds me of Mingus' Meditations on Integration duo between Jaki Byard and Eric Dolphy -- possibly the masterpiece of chamber jazz improvisation, from the legendary Town Hall Concerts.   And I admit, Hinze's playing is as good as the great late Dolphy though of course this is heresy for american jazz fans, for whom he is a demi-god like John Coltrane (because they both died young probably?).  Sigi on the other hand is always controlled and balanced, never going overboard with theatrics, but highly interesting and progressive in his odd guitar chords chosen, I love his two tracks.  The duo of Mariano and belgian P. Catherine boasts a great deal of virtuosity from the sax player while Catherine puts in a bit of a humdrum performance with the usual minor seconds standing in for the spanish feel (actually probably arabic originally).
Jasper's solo entry (Heron) as well seems to be lacking in direction after a minute or so, never building to its expected airborne climax.  Where is the genius of porkpie?  (and where is the Kuhn who produced fusion masterpieces Cinemascope and Sunshower?)  The album closes out with another duo from Kuhn and Hinze that has its moments.  Oddly the record has two copyright dates, is it perhaps a compilation of unreleased tracks?

Hozan Yamamoto & Chris Hinze - 1974 - Kyorai

Hozan Yamamoto & Chris Hinze 

01. Shakuhachi's Prolog 1:56
02. Flute's Prolog 2:05
03. Encounter Of Shakuhachi And Flute 4:47
04. Wave 1 5:35
05. Oriental 5:20
06. Classics (Sound) Contemporary 20:36

Flute, Flute [Alto, Indian Bamboo Flute] – Chris Hinze
Shakuhachi – Hōzan Yamamoto

Chris Hinze, Tadao Sawai & Hozan Yamamoto - 1974 - Keden

Chris Hinze, Tadao Sawai & Hozan Yamamoto 

クリス・ヒンゼ, 沢井忠夫 & 山本邦山 ‎- 1974 -  怪顚 

01. Koto's Prolog = 箏プロローグ 2:05
02. Shakuhachi's Prolog = 尺八プロローグ 1:50
03. Indian Bamboo Flute's Prolog = インド竹笛プロローグ 2:18
04. Keden = 怪顚 6:42
05. Rakka = 落花 9:47
06. Wave II Nehan = 〈波〉II〜涅槃 4:17
07. Hiyoku = 比翼 5:28
08. Renri = 連理 6:40

Recorded on October 4, 1974. at Aoi Studio

Flute, Flute [Indian Bamboo Flute], Piccolo Flute, Alto Flute – Chris Hinze
Koto – Tadao Sawai
Shakuhachi – Hōzan Yamamotod.

Chris Hinze - 1977 - Silhouettes

Chris Hinze

01. How Insensitive 4:03
02. Gymnopedie No. 3 2:18
03. Central Park East 7:01
04. Don't Cry For Me Argentina 4:46
05. Silhouettes 3:32
06. Asturias 5:37
07. Prelude No. 2 4:19
08. Theme From "Parcival" 5:03
09. Chelsea Bridge 3:09
10. Adagio From The Oboe Concerto In C 4:50

Recorded March 20, 1977:
Basic tracks at Electric Lady Studios, New York, U.S.A.

Does anyone have the information on who the players are on this album?

Chris Hinze - 1987 - Sketches and Variations on Bach

Chris Hinze
Sketches and Variations on Bach 

01. Siciliano 3:33
02. Badinerie 2:46
03. Largo 3:52
04. So Ist Mein Jesus Nun Gefangen 4:28
05. Prelude No. 1 2:15
06. O Haupt Voll Blut Und Wunden 5:15
07. O, Schmerz, Hier Zittert Das Gequälte Herz 2:30
08. Allegro 3:58
09. Wir Setzen Uns Mit Tränen Nieder 5:33
10. Schafe Können Sicher Weiden 5:22
11. Gavotte And Musette 3:34
12. Air 2:05
13. Gavotte 3:18
14. Prelude 1:35
15. Allegro 5:06
16. Ich Folge Dir Gleichfalls Mit Freudigen Schritten 3:53

I don't own the albums "Sketches On Bach" (1974) and "Variations on Bach" (1976). But I recently found this cd and it seems to be a copilation of several tracks of each album, I hope someone out there could help me out with a digital copy of those two albums. And if you have a copy of the "Flute Summit Jamming At Donaueschingen Music-Festival" (with Jeremy Steig) or the "Mange" album with Hozan Yamamoto I would be very very grateful!

The original albums had the following tracklisting:

Sketches On Bach

01. Siciliano 3:33
02. Badinerie From The 2nd Suite In B Minor 2:46
03. Largo From The Sonate For Flute And Continuo In B Minor 3:52
04. So Ist Mein Jesus Nun Gefangen (St. Matthew Passion) 4:28
05. Prelude No. 1 2:15
06. O Haupt Voll Blut Und Wunden (St. Matthew Passion) 5:15
07. O, Schmerz, Hier Zittert Das Gequälte Herz (St. Matthew Passion) 2:30
08. Allegro From The Violin Concerto In A Minor 3:58
09. Wir Setzen Uns Mit Tränen Nieder (St. Matthew Passion) 5:33

Bass, Bass [Fender] – Koos Serierse
Cello, Strings [String Quartet] – Harro Ruysenaars
Drums – Gerry Brown, Louis Debij
Electric Guitar – Peter Nieuwerf
Flute, Flute [Alto], Flute [Bass] – Chris Hinze
Guitar – Jan Goudswaard
Piano, Organ, Electric Piano [Fender] – Louis Van Dyke

Variations On Bach

01. Menuet 2:44
02. Wachet Auf, Ruft Uns Die Stimme 4:57
03. Sarabande 2:11
04. Double 2:36
05. Largo 3:05
06. Schafe Konnen Sicher Weiden 5:22
07. Gavotte And Musette 3:34
08. Air 2:05
09. Gavotte 3:18
10. Prelude 3:18
11. Allegro From The 3rd Brandenburg Concerto 5:06
12. Ich Folge Dir Gleichfalls Mit Freudigen Schritten 3:53

Acoustic Guitar – Jan Goudswaard
Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Flute – Chris Hinze
Bass – Jacques Schols
Cello – Henk Lambooy
Drums – Louis Debij
Piano, Electric Piano [Fender] – Louis van Dyke

Pretty much they are what the covers advertise they are , Bach pieces arranged and played by the master. My mother had the two albums on a cassette tape when I was a kid, so this stuff is part of my growing up. SOme people find it kind of kitsch, I love it.

Chris Hinze - 1971 - Bacharach Bravo

Chris Hinze
Bacharach Bravo

01. The April Fools 4:05
02. What The World Needs Now 4:55
03. The Look Of Love 5:07
04. Trains And Boats And Planes 3:04
05. This Guy's In Love With You 5:07
06. Let Me Go To Him 3:00
07. Paper Mache 4:23
08. Close To You 5:07

Alto Flute – Rien De Reede (tracks: A2, B2, B4)
Alto Flute, Flute – Chris Hinze
Bass – Roger Cook 
Drums – Frank Bennett
Flute – David Porcelijn (tracks: A2, B2, B4), Govert Jurriaanse (tracks: A2, B2, B4), Margriet De Wijs (tracks: A2, B2, B4)
Guitar – Wim Overgaauw
Piano, Organ – Henk Alkema

Chris Hinze is a jazz flute player born in the Netherlands in 1938. Studied at The Hague Royal Conservatory and in 1969 studied at Berklee Conservatory. In 1970, he participated in the Montreux Jazz Festival with his quartet and won the Soloist Award. He seems to have been active in a wide range of genres such as recording trilogy sessions with Japanese musical instrument players, such as jazz to baroque and shakuhachi Kuniyama Yamamoto in 1974, and later focusing on New Age.

Recorded the first leader work in 1969. After releasing two albums in the quartet and one album in the name of the Chris Hinze combination (those are the three LP jackets on the back of the jacket), the fourth piece released in 1971 is this work.

The basics are quintets of flute, piano, guitar, bass, and drums, and four flutes participated in some songs. It's a fresh piece because it's not very familiar. It's a bit disappointing that there are no photos of the members. I don't know why it's on the jacket.

All eight songs recorded are Bacharach and David works.

Among them, B2. "Let Me Go To Him" ​​and B3. "Paper Machete" are original by Dionne. Both songs were recorded on the 1970 album "I'LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN," and both became single A-side songs, but they weren't covered much. The super rare "Let Me Go To Him" ​​is the first cover version I've heard.

There are many relaxing arrangements throughout. I compared the tempo of each song with the original version of that song. Please see the radar chart. Most of the songs are slower than the original. In particular, A4. “A train, a ship, and an airplane” (♩≒72) and B3.
The original of B4. "Haruka no Kage" is Richard Chamberlain, but I compared it with the Carpenters here. The first A1. "April Fools" on the A side and the first B1. "Diss Guy" on the B side started with a simple and fantastic intro unlike any other cover, and I think this guy is not an ordinary person... I will. Throughout the entire volume, Chris plays melody using various techniques, such as flutter tongs and shakuhachi, which are not flashy, but are not flashy. This album isn't about easy listening, it's about jazz.

I wrote that there are a lot of calm arrangements, but A2. "The world seeks love" and A3. "Koi no Omokage" have quite a lot of Chris and piano adlives, and the finish is hard. In particular, "Koi no Omokage" is an avant-garde adlive, and it has an impression that it is close to the world view of "Lupin the Third" TV series 1 (although it is my personal impression). This is my favorite in this album.

There are some unfortunate songs like B4. "Haruka no Kage", which is monotonous without adoliv, but why wasn't it made into a CD so far? It was a bargain album that made me wonder. It's plain

By the way, when the remake of Wake Wana Jake was replaced in 1973 with a photo of Chris, the album name was also changed to "Hinze Plays Bacharach". 

Chris blows the flute in the jacket shot at the time of recurrence, and if you look closely, there are two tubes in parallel. Chris separates normal flute and alto flute depending on the song, but it sounds like a U-shaped alto flute. Since the alto flute is about 1.5 times as long as a normal flute and hard to reach, there are two types of shapes, straight and once bent U-shaped

I don't know if that alto flute was the first time I learned this time , but according to the credit, Chris's flute is made of Muramatsu. I once read in a book that the first product that Japanese flutes received high praise in the US and Europe was Muramatsu flute, but I realized that it was already around 1970!?

Chris Hinze - 1970 - Vivat Vivaldi

Chris Hinze 
Vivat Vivaldi

01. Vivace From Sonata No. 5 ("Il Pastor Fido" Vol. 2) 7:00
02. Vivace From Sonata No. 6 ("Il Pastor Fido" Vol. 2) 9:30
03. Allegro From Sonata No. 1 ("Il Pastor Fido" Vol. 1) 3:45
04. Largo From Concerto In C Major For 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Bassoon, 2 Violins, Strings And Harpsichord F XII No. 17 4:35
05. Minuetto I/II From Sonata No. 5 ("Il Pastor Fido" Vol. 2) 5:00
06. Largo From Part IV (The Winter) Of "The Four Seasons", Op. 8 6:20
07. Allegro From Sonata No. 5 ("Il Pastor Fido" Vol. 2) 4:45

Adapted and Arranged By – Chris Hinze

Bass – Rob Langereis
Bongos – Wim van der Beek (tracks: B4)
Cello – Wouter Möller (tracks: A2, B1, B3, B4)
Alto Flute – Rien De Reede (tracks: A2)
Drums – Peter Ypma
Flute – Chris Hinze, Govert Jurriaanse (tracks: A2, B1, B3), Hutyra Ferenc (tracks: A2, B1, B3)
Organ [Hammond] – Cor Willems (tracks: A2)
Piano – Henk Alkema

Dutch flautist Chris Hinze is well known by jazz funk diggers for Bamboo Magic, an album recorded in 1978 with the Chris Hinze Combination formation.
In Vivat Vivaldi released for CBS records in Netherlands in 1970, he provides a beautiful work by paying tribute to classic composer and virtuoso violonist Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741). He shows in seven cuts choosen among the compositions of the baroque italian genius a nice ability to give them a natural jazz flavour. For each piece, the theme is exposed then musicians deeply appropriate themselves its spirit.
"Vivace from Sonata n° 6" is a long groovy 10 minutes piece with Hammond organ and hypnotic bass that spreads a sweet bluesy atmosphere.
"Allegro from Sonata n° 1 ("II Pastor Fido" Vol. 1)" is an uptempo swinging cut. "Largo From Concerto in C Major" is played as a nice introspective ballad. "Minuetto I/II Sonata n° 5 ("II Pastor Fido" Vol. 2)" has a nice spiritual touch.
"Allegro From Sonata n° 5" closes the album with a piece that begins like a chamber music theme with spinet in background and ends on an uptempo jazz cut played with bongos and an oriental-style flute.

Chris Hinze - 1969 - Teleman - My Way

Chris Hinze
Teleman - My Way

01. Alla Breve From Sonata In G Minor 5:25
02. Spirituoso From Sonata In A Minor 3:25
03. Siciliana From Sonata In A Minor 3:55
04. Cortesemente From "Methodical Sonatas" 3:10
05. Vivace From Sonata In A Minor 3:05
06. Adagio From Sonata In G Minor 4:05
07. Duet From Sonata Nr. 1 In D Major (Allegro) 3:10
08. Cantabile From Sonata In G Major For Flute And Piano 6:00
09. Capriccio From "Pieces For Flute And Basso Continuo" (Allegro - Largo - Vivace - Allegro - Largo - Vivace) 6:35

Bass – Rob Langereis
Cello – Harro Ruysenaars (tracks: A1, B3, B4)
Drums – Peter Ypma
Flute – David Porcelein (tracks: B2)
Flute – Chris Hinze
Piano, Spinet – Henk Alkema
Producer – John J. Vis

Recorded at Nederhorst den Berg, the location of the Bullit Sound Studio, on March 27th and April 15th, 1969.

Composer, George Philipp Telemann, is mentioned as Philipp Telemann on labels.

Tracks A1 - A3, A5 - B1 are part of the Telemann composition "Sonatas And Pieces For Flute And Continuo"
Track B2 is part of the Telemann composition "Six Duets"
The compositions of A4, B3 and B4 are in the titles.

Chris Hinze was born in Hilversum, in the Netherlands. He began his musical studies on the piano at the age of 12. After working as a pianist all over Europe for several years, he returned to Holland and entered the Royal Conservatory in The Hague to study the flute. Around that time he met bass player Dick van der Capellen and together with Cees See/Martin van Duinhoven, they formed the ‘Dick van der Capellen trio’. (‘The Present is Past’). After getting his degree at the Royal Conservatory in 1969, Chris won a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston to study composition and arranging. Whilst at Berklee, he started to produce his unique Baroque/Jazz albums ‘Telemann my Way’, ‘Vivat Vivaldi’ etc. He also founded the ‘Chris Hinze Combination’.
For a complete summary of all CD and LP releases of Chris Hinze see the discography.
Symphonic works At that time one of his great passions was composing major works: he was commissioned to compose a suite for the Holland Festival in 1972. The result was ‘Live Music Now’, for 42 musicians and string orchestra. Hinze received the Beethoven Award from the City of Bonn for this composition. His other symphonic works include ‘New York’ and ‘Parcival’. He also won the “Prix D’Italia” for composers with his production ‘Mangala’, which was the entry of the Dutch Radio and TV Industry in 1986. Between 1972 and 1982 he received 3 Edison awards (from the Dutch grammophone Industry).

In the early seventies Hinze also started to travel to far eastern countries like Indonesia, India and Japan. Studying ragas in Bombay (1974) with bansuri bamboo flute player Raghunath Seth and playing and improvising together with musicians from these cultures formed the foundation of Hinze’s pioneering style, which would now be called ‘world music’: for examples see the recordings made in 1974 in Tokyo with shakuhachi player Hozan Yamamoto: Kyorai, Keden and Mange (sadly no longer available). Later Hinze invited his teacher Raghunath Seth back to Europe for concert tours. They recorded many CD’s together, all available on the Keytone label.

Apart from his ‘baroque-jazz’ and ‘world music’ Chris Hinze has yet more sides to his versatile musical personality: the funky jazz-rock ‘Chris Hinze Combination’ was presented internationally in 1971 at the Montreux Jazz Festival at Lake Geneva. In 1978 he also started duo tours with the celebrated German guitarist Sigi Schwab. These concerts were very successful, based on the concept of ‘total music’, which was completely new at the time.

Over the years Hinze has recorded more than 60 albums, most of which are still available on the Keytone label. He has also produced many other artists, such as the first Pili Pili albums with Jasper van ‘t Hof, the first Kevin Eubanks album, the first Special E.Fax album, and many albums with Charlie Mariano, Arto Tuncboyaci, Michael Urbaniak, Urszula Dudziak, the Brecker Brothers, Larry Coryell, Ann Burton, Toots Thielemans, John Lee & Gerry Brown, the late Zbigniew Seifert (jazz violinist from Poland) among others.

For the last decade, Hinze has been dividing his time between Europe and Asia, where he travels, performs, records, and studies. The following gives a rough idea of his accomplishments during these years. In 1992 and 1993 Chris Hinze visited Bhutan, Tibet, Thailand, China and Japan. -In early 1994, he and the Chris Hinze Combination were invited for a concert tour of India. The live recordings from this tour can be heard on the CD Namaskar, which was released in January 1995.

At the end of this tour Chris Hinze was invited to visit His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Extracts of the recorded text of this interview were used by Chris Hinze in his CD ‘Tibet Impressions’ (1994). September 1997 saw the release of the CD ‘Tibet Impressions Volume II’, the sublime sequel to the highly successful 1994 album.

The Ambient House remixes (made by producer/musician Tom Holkenborg, later well known as JUNKIE XL) of two tracks from Hinze’s successful 1994 CD Tibet Impressions received a highly enthusiastic response. This indicated that the time might be right to produce a remix  by Holkenborg of Hinze’s two “Meditations and Mantras” CDs. It resulted in the beautiful ambient/soundscape/triphop/jungle album Mellow Mantras.
These two productions were the start of the very successful collaboration between the two musicians in recent years. Chris composed, played and mixed and Holkenborg was invited to contribute additional dance rhythms and the end-mix of many of Chris’ albums. Between 1996 and 2000 more albums and tours followed, including; ‘TaiChi in Balance vol.1 & 2’, ‘Chris Hinze & The Gyuto Monks Live’ and ‘Zen the Fire Within’.

In 2000 Chris Hinze went to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos en Burma seeking  inspiration. Burma especially made a big impression on him. A CD/DVD is to be expected in the near future. In 2001 Chris Hinze visited Vietnam and The Philippines. From 2002 on he took up the thread with the Chris Hinze Combination, which resulted in the release of the CD Akar Akar (2002), the CD/DVD release ”Back on the map” (2004) and a yearly European tour with the German photographer and world traveller Kai Uwe Kuechler with the program “Visual Concerts/Tibet Impressions”.
Moving on In 2005 Chris Hinze visited Brazil and Mexico. In  2006 he began walking the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostella. Unfortunately he had to abandon this after 450 km, because of knee problems. He hopes to finish the route next year. At the moment Chris Hinze is working on his new Tibet Impressions vol.3 CD and collecting material for a tour in April 2007 with rapper Raymzter (with whom he recorded the single and clip ‘Vechten Op Het Schooplein’) and the female Moroccan vocalist Rajae Mouhandiz.

There is insufficient space here for extended reviews of all sixty or so Chris Hinze releases, so we refer you to the Keytone Records catalogue. Since the end of 1994 Chris Hinze has lived on the magical Spanish island of Ibiza. An ideal retreat to come back to after all his travels. There he lives and works in a quiet and secluded spot up in the mountains with a beautiful view over the Mediterranean Sea.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Charlie Mariano - 1985 - Plum Island

Charlie Mariano Group
Plum Island

01. Plum Island 5:16
02. Ballad For Ryan And Ambika 3:40
03. Cuffe Parade 10:51
04. Randy 7:09
05. Mute 6:05
06. Tooth Pick 7:42

Bass, Bass Guitar – Nicola Fiszman
Drums – Fredy Studer
Electric Piano [Fender], Computer [PPG Computer], Synthesizer [Korg DW 6000], Concert Grand Piano [Yamaha Concert Grand Piano], Mixed By – Jasper van't Hof
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Mixed By – Charlie Mariano

Recorded June 25-27, 1985 at Soundville Recording Studios, Luzern/Switzerland.

Mariano was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Italian immigrants, Giovanni Mariano and Maria Di Gironimo of Fallo, Italy. He grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, enlisting in the Army Air Corps after high school, during World War II. After his service in the Army, Mariano attended what was then known as Schillinger House of Music, now Berklee College of Music. He was among the faculty at Berklee from 1965–1971. Mariano moved to Europe in 1971, settling eventually in Köln (Cologne), Germany, with his third wife, Dorothee Zippel.
He played with one of the Stan Kenton big bands, Toshiko Akiyoshi (his then wife), Charles Mingus, Eberhard Weber, the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, Embryo and numerous other notable bands and musicians.
Mariano had five daughters, including three with his first wife, Glenna Gregory Mariano, and became the father to musician Monday Michiru with his second wife, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and also had his youngest daughter, Zana Mariano, with Charlotte Mariano. He had six grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. He died of cancer on June 16, 2009

Charlie Mariano - 1975 - Jazz A Confronto 15

Jac's Group Featuring Charlie Mariano 
Jazz A Confronto 15

01. Look Up 11:04
02. I Felt Obliged 4:02
03. Zirkus 4:23
04. 47 Seconds 5:44
05. Eighteen Bar Blues 6:23
06. Duo Maximum 3:51
07. Unexpected 2:24

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Charlie Mariano
Bass – Jean-François Jenny-Clark
Drums – Aldo Romano
Guitar – Philip Catherine
Organ [Yamaha] – Jasper Van't Hof

Recorded at "Titania's Studio", Rome on January 18 1975.
This could be called easily the second Pork Pie album.

Jac's Group“ featuring Charlie Mariano? Actually the complete Pork Pie band offers some unheard and very nice material here. I guess a contract with the MPS label could have been the reason for the irritating spontanous name change and the shortening „Jac's Group“ could stand for „Jazz a Confronto's Group“. Further i guess Pork Pie played a concert at the jazz club „Music Inn“ in Rome in early January 1975, where producer Aldo Sinesio, founder of the Horo label, asked them to make a separate recording in the Titania Studios Rome for his „Jazz a Confronto“ series.  

This often was the way to a record with him and Massimo Di Cicco did a good job as recording engineer. Aldo Sinesio was famous among the younger sceptical italian jazz musicians. The 70's had been difficult times for them to record what they genuinaly wanted and Sinesio offered them free expression in open atmosphere without any distrust of commercialization. And i guess Pork Pie's italian drummer Aldo Romano knew about that fact and so the door was open.

The offered tracks are much jazzier than on Pork Pie's „official“ recordings, though sometimes meandering around the borders of the fusion genre. There is enough space for expressive solos by Jasper van't Hof, Charlie Mariano and Philip Catherine above the rhythmn carpet of Aldo Romano and J.F. Jenny Clark. I don't feel sure about if some tracks could have been out of Pork Pie's or individual players private program or could be improvised.

The only track i'm sure about is van't Hof's composition „Zirkus“ that in fact is a version of „Neuteboom“ from the 1972 Association P.C. record „Sun Rotation“ (of course minus the studio trickery of Conny Plank). I'm very happy about the chance to listen to the „Zirkus“ version, because „Neuteboom“ is one of the tracks i love very much with the tricky 11/8 time signature and the swirling repetitive and mysterious unfinished character . And that crazy keyboard sound! It seems that van't Hof still hadn't finished it here in 1975, when Mariano starts to take part it sadly gradually fades out. Or even 1976 when listening to the end of Pork Pie's (The Door is Open) „Avoid the Year of the Monkey“ that still has a somehow similar structure in it's last minute.

Charlie Mariano - 1974 - Cascade

Charlie Mariano

01. Suite of the Festival  
02. Harriet  
03. Quest  
04. Electric Funk Jungle  
05. Cascade  
06. Piece for Banjo and Kazoo 
07. Locus 
Acoustic Guitar [Spanish Guitar], Guitar [Electric Guitar] – Philip Catherine
Bass [Acoustic, Electric] – John Lee 
Drums, Percussion – Gerry Brown
Electric Piano [Fender Piano], Organ – Jasper Van 't Hof
Flute – Chris Hinze
Guitar [Electric Guitar] – Michael Samson
Piano, Electric Piano [Fender Piano] – Rob Van Den Broeck
Saxophone [Alto, Soprano], Flute [Wooden Indian Flutes], Reeds [Nagafvaram] – Charlie Mariano
Recorded June 25.-27., 1985 at Soundville Recording Studios, Luzern/Switzerland.

When expat American woodwind multi-instrumentalist Charlie Mariano passed away in the summer of 2009 at the age of 85, his death—like much of his life—seemed sadly lost in the shuffle in North America. The expat American—who relocated to Europe in the early 1970d— should have cemented an international reputation with his early alto work with Stan Kenton and pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi; all the more his tenure in German bassist Eberhard Weber's Colours group and Pork Pie, a fusion group with Danish keyboardist Jasper Van't Hof and British-born guitarist Philip Catherine, responsible for Transitory (MPS, 1974). Mariano's large and varied discography more again, including the lost fusion classic, Helen 12 Trees (MPS, 1976), which—like Colours—demonstrated Mariano's considerable acumen on soprano saxophone, flute and the Indian nagaswaram.

That the undervalued Mariano ultimately found an audience everywhere but North America remains more than a mystery

Catherine provides the greatest textural variation, Van't Hof, another unsung piano hero, plays with equal breadth, pushing Catherine's solos to greater heights while engaging lithely with the guitarist.

As for Mariano, the altoist combines elegant melodism with evocative phrasing that constantly pushes and pulls Catherine and van't Hof.  This set finds Mariano and his mates at the height of their improvisational powers, in a set that only makes the void left by the saxophonist's departure all the greater.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Bob Malach - 1980 - Some People

Bob Malach 
Some People

01. Some People 5:24
02. Who's Who 4:11
03. Three On A Cloud 5:12
04. Night Walk 4:03
05. Zbiggytism 4:44
06. Pineau 8:06
07. By The Way 5:50

Recorded At – Tonstudio Zuckerfabrik

Drums – Gerry Brown
Electric Bass – John Lee 
Guitar – Eef Albers
Keyboards, Grand Piano, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Organ [Yamaha] – Jasper Van't Hof
Producer – Joachim Ernst Berendt
Tenor Saxophone – Bob Malach
Violin – Didier Lockwood 

One of the great fusion saxophonists, Bob Malach made the move from his hometown of Philadelphia to NYC in 1976. He soon found work with the likes of Stanley Clarke and Alphonse Mouzon (he’s featured on Mouzon’s MPS release Baby Come Back), and was in the studio with Stevie Wonder, Spyro Gyra and the Brecker Brothers. For the first album under his own name, Malach assembled a group of well-known playmates: John Lee and drummer Gerry Brown were high school buddies, and he and keyboardist Jasper van’t Hof had worked together in Mouzon’s group. Malach and French violin star Didier Lockwood were also well-acquainted – Malach would appear on Lockwood’s MPS album Live in Montreux later that year. Dutch guitarist Eef Albers had already toured the states with Lee and Brown. The title piece shows that Some People are romantic, some are more on the funky side, as the band slides back and forth between the two. Guitar great John Scofield’s Who’s Who is a funky fusion fest with van’t Hof and Malach showing why they’re at the top of the list. The alluring ballad Three on a Cloud features atmospheric solos by violinist Lockwood and Malach in trio with guitarist Albers. The rock-march feel of Night Walk works as the perfect vehicle for Albers’ strolling guitar solo. Zbiggytism was written in honor of violin great Zbigniew Siefert, and both Malach and Lockwood catch the spirit of the Polish maestro. Van’t Hof’s lyrical Pineu has a nostalgic air to it, as well as Malach’s appropriately poignant solo. By the Way rocks the album out with a Shaft-like rhythm line and a smoking-hot tenor. Nothing ‘out’ or experimental here – just straight-ahead jazz fusion at its best.

Apocalypse - 1980 - Twilight Music

Twilight Music

01. Twilight Music 5:45
02. Beach Buggy 2:08
03. Time Is Up 7:25
04. Autumn Scenery 5:35
05. Antropology 3:23
06. I Thought About You 3:14
07. Check Mate 2:56
08. Down And Down 5:35

Drum, Marimba, Percussion – Lennart Gruvstedt 
Bass – Bo Stief 
Flugelhorn, Trumpet – Allan Botschinsky 
Organ, Piano, Synths – Jasper Van't Hof 

Recorded and mixed at EASY SOUND recording studio, Copenhagen in November 1979

Words cannot describe the beauty of this music.  I won't even try.
This is cerebral fusionary classical-jazz progressive scaling the highest Himalayan peaks of invention.  How is it possible it's so little known??

The information reveals the presence, in addition to the famous and revered Jasper, of Danish trumpet / flugelhorn player and main composer Allan Botschinsky who was the leader of the supergroup Iron Office.
 This album is totally different, somehow everything came together for these guys in the most beautiful way possible, perhaps inspired by the band name and title.
The band is rounded out by Bo Stief (bassist and partial composer) and Lennart Gruvstedt on drums.
Thanks to my dear friend for discovering this.  Every day I am grateful to these guys for showing me music I never imagined existing that, sometimes, turns out to be beyond my imagination in beauty and expectation.  If it was just me in this extended project discovering or trying to discover unknown LPs there would be perhaps fewer than one every 1-2 weeks, particularly with my self-imposed limited budget in the low hundreds per month, rather than this embarrassment of riches.  Although the number of those undiscovered must be diminishing with every day that passes and the hunt definitely feels to be getting harder compared to the early 2010s, for sure compared to ten years ago, there still remain enough of those lost gems to make this entire enterprise well worth the effort, and the money.  And always I have to apologize for those records which are fantastic but cannot be shared publically... eventually they will all see the light of day, and sounds of air, too.

Review taken from:

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Natural Food - 1972 - Natural Food

Natural Food
Natural Food

01. Pendulum
02. Auld Lang Sine
03. Siren Song
04. Gin House Blues
05. See See Rider
06. Fair Breeze On Buzzard's Bay
07. Wobbly Bird Blues
08. Granny On The Gramophone

John Abercrombie: Guitar
Mait Edey: Piano, Wurlitzer
Lance Gunderson: Guitar
Craig Herndon: Drums
Bill Hurd: Sax (Alto)
Paul Lenart: Guitar
Phil Morrison: Bass
Billy Floyd Thompson: Sax (Alto &Tenor)
Charlie LaChapelle: Bass
Latifah (Brenda James): Vocals

The players in this band are perhaps not well known, but have interesting pedigrees nonetheless: saxophonist (one of the two here, the other is Billy Thompson) Bill Hurd is an award winning player and already was by then; he is also Charles Lloyd's nephew. Those who follow jazz guitar closely will know guitarist Lance Gunderson, who by this time had already performed with Joe Henderson and Chico Hamilton. Bassist Phil Morrison was a veteran of T-Bone Walker's road band; the other bassist (they alternate), Charlie LaChapelle, was part of Hal Galper's band. There is this other guy who you may know as well. They called him John Crumbles back then; he is known by his real name now: John Abercrombie, and he guested on a track here, and there's also drummer Craig Herndon, who's part of the Heikki Sarmanto quartet! The third guitarist was Paul Lenart. As far as we know, singer Brenda "Latifah" James hasn't been heard from since her excellent performances on three of these tunes.

Edey, who arranged all of this material, wanted to present a blues recording that encompassed as much of the blues form as possible in terms of cadence, harmony and rhythm. What Natural Food came up with was something else. In these eight tunes, there is a place where the blues, soul-jazz, early Rhodes funkiness, out jazz, post-bop, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, acid guitar-vision rock, fuzzed out R&B, and traditional song form all came together for a riot in sound, feel, and groove. In other words, it's a stone classic. The readings of "Gin House Blues" and "See See Rider" are more in line with what's been happening on the beathead scene than it did with the blues-rock sound coming out of the '70s. Part of that has to do with the particular sonorities and plainness in Latifah's voice. She sang these tunes the way you'd converse with a neighbor in the yard if you wanted to get a point across. Edey overdubbed her vocal on "See See Rider," and she did her own overdubbing on "Siren Song." She is a soloist here in an ensemble setting, not a frontperson. The band does not back her: she is part of the band. The hand percussion on "Wobbly Bird Blues," and the two horn players interweaving and interpolating with one another is a fantastic touch and could have been on a Prestige set. "Siren Song" opens with a funky bassline that gets drenched in Rhodes; the same pitch harmony overdub vocal by Latifah offers a centering point for this rhythm heavy approach, the snare is popping, breaking, and then the guitar enters, ready for its chance to cut loose, and it does between the first and third verses. Whoa. The get-down groove quotient on this set is high: it just cooks, simmers, cooks and simmers, until the final cut, "Granny on the Gramophone," where Edey and his pals just let it rip. Bass, Rhodes, wah wah guitars, fuzzed pedals, breaks, loping grooves and general nastiness all push up against one another, building the thing until it just gets all over you and you can't get it off -- much less out of your head. Thanks to the cooperation of Edey and the courage of Mosling, it's a gift that this treasure is available again. Don't miss it the second time around. Just get it!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Stark Reality - 1970 - Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop

Stark Reality
Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop

01. Merry Go Round 1:25
02. Junkman's Song 7:35
03. Thirty Days Hath September 6:15
04. The Whale 1:20
05. The Old Prospector 7:43
06. Grandfather Clock 8:08
07. Cooking 2:38
08. Shooting Stars 6:20
09. Rocket Ship 4:13
10. Dreams 8:11
11. Blue Pillow 5:00
12. Swing High 1:22
13. Clouds 6:00
14. Traveling 1:45
15. Bustin' Out Of Doors 6:31
16. Comrades 6:39
17. All You Need To Make Music 12:15

Bonus CD on Reissue:

01. On Being Black
02. New World Generation
03. Red Yellow Moonbeams (Big Band Version)
04. Red Yellow Moonbeams
05. Nani
06. Pretty Music
07. Roller Coaster Ride
08. Too Much Tenderness
09. Sunday's Song
10. Acting, Thinking, Feeling Pt. 1
11. Acting, Thinking, Feeling Pt. 2
12. Acting, Thinking, Feeling Pt. 3
13. Prelude To Say Brother
14. Theme To Say Brother

Bass – Phil Morrison
Design – Mel Dietmier
Drums – Vinnie Johnson
Guitar – John Abercrombie
Vibraphone, Vocals – Monty Stark

Produced by the Stark Reality and WGBH-TV.

“One of the most prized ‘funk’ artifacts of all time, Stark’s project allies Henrix-stoned guitars, heavily fuzzed vibraphone and Bitches Brew rhythms” – MOJO

Hoagy Carmichael, an active jazz musician as early as the 1920s, will forever be regarded as one of jazz music’s originators and innovators. Carmichael had his share of classics with well known tunes like “Star Dust” and “Georgia on my Mind”, but later in his career, also had his share of lesser known songs and albums, amongst them being a 1957 collection of children’s songs including songs like “Comrades” and “Grandfather Clock”, songs hardly worth mentioning when discussing his extensive discography. Over a decade after the initial release of these songs, in 1970, at which point he was long past the pinnacle of his success, Carmichael became the host of a children’s show on the American television network PBS entitled “Hoagy Carmichael’s Music Shop”. The soundtrack to the television series was provided by an obscure jazz-funk band, Stark Reality and featured the little-known act covering songs from aforementioned children’s album penned by Hoagy Carmichael himself.

At this time, Stark Reality was comprised of four members and led by vibraphonist Monty Stark. The group also included guitarist John Abercrombie who would later go on to play on various notable jazz fusion cuts after his days with Stark Reality. On ” The Stark Reality Discover Hoagy Carmichael’s Music Shop” the band of Berklee College of Music students were able to update the dated sound of Carmichael’s original recordings to an ultra hip sound, replacing oboes and clarinets with distorted guitar and groovy baselines. While the lyrics remain the same as in the original recordings, Monty and his gang transform Carmichael’s songs into something unrecognizable, yet all the more remarkable.

Its incredibly difficult to attempt to describe the sound Stark Reality accomplished on this album. In some ways it is very similar to more common jazz fusion releases of the early 1970s but the one factor that sets the album apart is that it features vocals, something rather uncommon for jazz fusion, yet certainly a welcomed addition to the album with Monty Stark’s unique and warm style of singing. The Carmichael penned lyrics sometimes do not come into play until well over five minutes into a song following long segments of John Abercrombie managing to get the most unusual sounds possible out of his guitar and solos on what sounds like a distorted Fender Rhodes Piano. These extended jam sessions over high pitched bass lines and ride cymbals tend to have a sort of dark feel to them, making it hard to comprehend how this music appealed to children. “Comrades” has an especially spooky feel to it until two minutes in when the innocent, child-friendly lyrics kick in.

Despite the unique style of “Stark Reality Discovers Hoagy Carmichael’s Music Shop”, it is very listener friendly (probably as a result of it being geared toward children).This being one of the first jazz albums I listened to I can say with confidence it is a good album for even those who have not spent a lot of time investigating jazz music or jazz fusion. Due to it’s rarity and extensive selection of breaks, this album has become a sort of holy grail for beat-diggers and record collectors, resulting in an original copy having a price tag of $1000 + (USD) these days. The casual listener is not likely to shell out that much cash on one album, however, this album is certainly worthy of a download from amazon or iTunes made possible by Now Again Records’ 2003 re-release of this classic fusion material.

This review is for the 2013, 3 CD set by THE STARK REALITY. This is the restored and remastered tracks from the original tapes. Unlike past reissues, this set collects all the known music recorded by this group. Included (with correct lower case letters) is the complete "discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop", "roller coaster ride", and "acting, thinking, feeling" albums. There's a 52 page booklet that's attached to the inside of one (of two) of the (stiff cardboard) bill-fold style CD holders. There's an essay on the music along with some great photos of Monty Stark as a young boy. There's also information and photos of the band members. Also included is recording information for each album. Each disc fits inside a paper slip case for protection from scratches, and slips inside a side slot. Everything fits into a stiff cardboard slipcase-with cool color graphics. The sound (using headphones) is very good-clean and open with no apparent harshness. All in all, a very nice presentation.

For something a little different, you might want to check this out. The band consists of Monty Stark-vibes/voice, Phil Morrison-bass, John Abercrombie-guitar, and Vinnie Johnson-drums. Is this a jazz album? No, not strictly. There's also elements of funk and rock, mixed in with jazz underpinnings. At times you can hear just a bit of psychedelia mixed in, which gives this music even more of an identity. Abercrombie's guitar is oftentimes fuzzed out, other times he sounds reminiscent of his later electric work for the ECM label. The electric bass is prominent-laying down a funky base (listen to "Grandfather's Clock") for both Stark and Abercrombie. And talking about Stark-his vibes (also sometimes fuzzed out) are a combination of jazz and something else that can't be exactly defined. But (and here's the weird thing) it all seems to work. Even the vocals have that funky feel to them. Let's face it-you're talking about Hoagy Carmichael tunes after all. This music will put a smile on your face. And that's not a put down or an excuse because the music isn't all that great. The music is great-the smile is extra.

Included in this collection are the first known recordings by this band (cut for radio), the bigger band pieces, and the Carmichael album in full. This music was recorded in the late 60's/1970 when jazz was changing and fans were open to different sounds and different approaches to music. As I said previously, this is hard to define. It's jazz, it's funk, it's psychedelic, and it's Carmichael's songs on one album. The bigger band album incorporates several horns, a couple of bass players, a couple of percussionists, and a few other instruments. The music is reminiscent of late 60's big band arrangements-or perhaps something by Mingus-or some other forward thinking composer. The arrangements are seemingly loose but are written out-the twists and turns of the music are too sharp for free-jazz (or whatever you want to label it), and are quite energetic. At times I'm also reminded of some of Bill Dixon's more energetic compositions from the 1980's or 90's, or sometimes a bit of Sun Ra. The music changes from big band style charts("on being black") to something pretty funky ("new world generation"), which keeps the interest up. Several hearings will reward listeners with a better understanding of what's going on, and a deeper enjoyment of the music.

Obviously this isn't for everyone. The Hoagy Carmichael kid's songs will put off some, the vocal parts (which are well done) will put others off, and the whole jazz/funk/psych label will make others think twice. I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be met with excitement only by people who are already familiar with THE STARK REALITY. John Abercrombie fans will like hearing him early in his career, and Stark's fuzzed vibes are jazz and something else at the same time. The funky rhythms laid down by Morrison and Johnson keep things moving, and the arrangements are well thought out. No matter if it's the small band or the larger ensemble, this is something unique-as opposed to "weird", which it isn't. Check it out if you want something off the usual path. It'll grow on you.

"Acting, Thinking, Feeling marks the first time that psychedelic jazz ensemble The Stark Reality's Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop album has been reissued in full (the 2003 Stones Throw Records anthology Now only contained half of the original album's music). The anthology also contains the band's out-of-print Roller Coaster Ride (first issued as 1969 on Now-Again in 2003), and a series of recently discovered, previously-unreleased tracks in a three CD 'complete works' box set. Besides the missing Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop songs, the most exciting additions to the Stark Reality's oeuvre are the three songs recorded between the earliest incarnation of the band -- the big band that recorded 'Theme to Say Brother' and 'Acting, Thinking, Feeling' in 1968 -- and the slimmed down combo that recorded the Roller Coaster Ride and The Stark Reality Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop. These recordings display a band in flux, and color the development of Stark's genius. We hear the signature sound of his 'plugged in' vibes for the first time; we hear an early stab at the psychedelic 'Red Yellow Moonbeams' (and realize why his addition John Abercrombie and his fuzz guitar was crucial to his vision); we hear a subtle change towards a more funk and rock based sound. Contains 52-page booklet with never before seen photos, extensive liner notes and annotation."

Leon Redbone - 1978 - Champagne Charlie

Leon Redbone
Champagne Charlie

01. Champagne Charlie 2:52
02. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone 2:52
03. Sweet Sue (Just You) 2:41
04. The One Rose (That's Left In My Heart) 4:32
05. Alabama Jubilee 1:42
06. Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) 3:15
07. Yearning (Just For You) 2:48
08. If Someone Would Only Love Me 3:31
09. I Hate A Man Like You 3:41
10. T.B. Blues 3:56

Julien Barber: Violin
Selwart Clarke: Viola
Eddie Davis: Drums
Jonathan Dorn: Tuba
Dennis Drury: Trombone
Tom Evans: Clarinet
Vince Giordano: Sax (Baritone), Tuba
Kathryn Kienke: Violin
Regis Landiorio: Violin
George Marge: Ocarina
Leon McAuliffe: Guitar (Steel)
Eurreal Montgomery: Piano
Kermit Moore: Cello
Sammy Price: Piano
Leon Redbone: Guitar, Vocals
Chris Whiteley: Trumpet
Ken Whiteley: Banjo, Washboard

Record, Mixed And Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York.

Dedicated to the Memory of Emmet Millar and Cliff Edwards.

From the opening track, "Champagne Charlie," to the dazzling finale, "T.B. Blues," Leon Redbone presents an introspective collection of blues and big band melodies in timeless fashion, a rare feat because of its release date in 1978. The record was highly acclaimed and regarded as the purest of jazz and classic blues by a remarkable legend and icon in this musical form. Most of the record, like the amiable "Sweet Sue (Just You)" and memorable "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)," is filled with the best that blues and ragtime has to offer. The music itself is quite light and jolly during the more uplifting moments, with others such as "I Hate a Man Like You" very depressing and sorrowful. The band backing up Redbone is delightful, filled with jubilant horns, oboes, and trumpets. "T.B. Blues" closes out this record as a charming look back into the world of blues via pioneer Jimmie Rodgers. Two melodies written and composed by giant Jelly Roll Morton are featured here, with fresh and stunning new arrangements by Leon Redbone and company, "If Someone Would Only Love Me" and "I Hate a Man Like You." The record is somewhat poorly recorded, losing its listening ability though still portraying its exuberant style and antique mysteriousness. A charming and romantic listen and study of this period of ragtime and blues that will surely not disappoint the average listener.

This is one of the best Leon Redbone recordings as far as I am concerned. It was the first one I bought on vinyl and began my interest in the wonderful melange of blues, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley classics and vaudeville numbers that he purveyed. I had listened to enough crackling 78s from the period he drew on to love his re-creations from the past that interpreted them brilliantly. (I derived a lot of innocent enjoyment by sandwiching a Leon Redbone album between two vintage recordings and seeing if anyone except guitarists noticed. )
Leon is in great form on this one, helped by some excellent sidesmen and really good production where the pace is never pushed and his voice and guitar are supported rather than being overwhelmed.
There are many excellent tracks on this cd. The two outstanding tracks for me are Jelly Roll Morton's I Hate A Man Like You and Jimmie Rodgers T.B. Blues which showcase his voice and finger-picking to great effect. The cd itself came as a pleasant surprise. The sound quality is actually better than that on my vinyl copy without having been remastered. So although I bought the cd for convenience sake I am thrilled to now own a better quality recording and highly recommend it.

Leon Redbone - 1977 - Double Time

Leon Redbone
Double Time

01. Diddy Wa Diddie 3:05
02. Nobody's Sweetheart 2:13
03. Shine On Harvest Moon 3:21
04. Crazy Blues 4:16
05. Mississippi Delta Blues 1:44
06. Mr. Jelly Roll Baker 3:43
07. My Melancholy Baby 3:08
08. Sheik Of Araby 2:31
09. Mississippi River Blues 3:05
10. Winin' Boy Blues 4:17
11. If We Never Meet Again This Side Of Heaven 3:18

Accordion – Dominic Cortese
Backing Vocals – Andrew Smith (tracks: A3), Captain Billy's Whiz Bang (tracks: A3), Frederick Mount III (tracks: A3), Ira Tucker, Sr. (tracks: B6), James Davis (tracks: B6), James Walker (6) (tracks: B6), Mark S. Bentley (tracks: A3), Dixie Hummingbirds (tracks: B6), William Kruse (tracks: A3)
Backing Vocals, Whistling – Beachy Thompson (tracks: B6)
Banjo – Don McLean (tracks: A5), Eric Weissberg (tracks: A3)
Bass – Milt Hinton
Cello – Kermit Moore
Clarinet – Ed Barefield
Drums – Jo Jones
Piano – Bob Greene 
Soprano Saxophone – Yusef Lateef (tracks: A5)
Trombone – Dick Rath, Vic Dickinson
Trumpet – Ed Polcer, Joe Wilder (tracks: A2)
Tuba – Jonathan Dorn
Viola – Selwart Clarke
Violin – Lewis Eley, Sanford Allen
Vocals, Guitar – Leon Redbone
Whistling – Jerry Teifer (tracks: A3), Leon Redbone (tracks: A4)

Leon Redbone followed up his debut long-player On the Track (1975) with Double Time (1977), an equally enchanting, if not somewhat eclectic blend, of jazz, folk, blues and pop standards -- all in Redbone's undeniably distinct throaty baritone. While the tunes may be familiar, these renderings are steeped in the artist's unique sensibilities. The results are uniformly ingenious and commence with a New Orleans ragtime flavored interpretation of Blind Boy Blake's dirty "Diddy Wa Diddie" blues. Augmenting Redbone's acoustic guitar is an extended cast of session stalwarts and a host of other musical notables -- such as Milt Hinton (bass), Jonathan Dorn (tuba), Vic Dickenson (trombone) and Jo Jones (drums). Don McLean (banjo) sits in, supplying his criminally underutilized instrumental versatility on the endearing revamp of Jimmie Rodgers' "Mississippi Delta Blues." The decidedly demented reading of "Sheik of Araby" is nothing short of inspired insanity. Redbone incorporates a Screamin' Jay Hawkins-esque persona belting out a variety of hoots, snorts, howls and hob-gobbles set behind a hot-steppin' fret board flurry à la Django Reinhardt. Among the album's most affective numbers is a cover of a second Rodgers' penned and similarly titled "Mississippi River Blues." This is one of the more intimately emotive performances on the record and features another jazz legend, Yusef Lateef (soprano sax) -- who provides a sweet understated counterbalance to Redbone's dogged delivery. The track is likewise enhanced with the additional textures of the orally generated "throat tromnet" [read: a cross between a trombone and trumpet] contrasting his lyrical yodels and warbles. Also worthy of mention is the languid ragtime of the Jelly Roll Morton classic "Winin' Boy Blues." Bob Greene's ramblin' piano inflections aptly complement the vocals -- which have been electronically manipulated to reproduce a sound likened to that of a vintage victrola. Rounding out the stack is the sublimely reverent "If We Never Meet Again This Side of Heaven." The backing harmonies are courtesy of the incomparable Dixie Hummingbirds whose rich blend oozes from behind the minimalist lead and acoustic piano accompaniment. Potential enthusiasts are well served to begin their discovery of Leon Redbone here.

Leon Redbone's CD album "Double Time" features many favorites for the faithful, but two in particular stand out in my memory of this collection. The first is "The Sheik of Araby," which is iconic Redbone in its blustering, humorous take on this classic, one of the most popular songs from the era of the Flapper. The second number that stands out for me is, in my venerable opinion, the best recording I've ever heard of the song "Shine On Harvest Moon." I recall wondering when I saw the "Shine On" title on the album -- why would a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, a boy who'd grow up to give us a fresh, new look at the Blues, why would he choose this shmaltzy old-time sentimental piece for his album? You only have to hear his rendition of it to understand why. When that all-male chorus fades up behind his vocalization, we're totally into the romantic song Redbone has given new wings. The music soars, and we surrender ourselves to the innocence of a time long ago and the euphoria of loving our gal or our guy. This number, "Shine On Harvest Moon," is worth the price of the album, as they say, and it's the main reason for my gifting Redbone's "Double Time" CD album time after time after time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Leon Redbone - 1975 - On The Track

Leon Redbone
On The Track

01. Sweet Mama Hurry Home Or I'll Be Gone 2:49
02. Ain't Misbehavin' (I'm Savin' My Love For You) 4:03
03. My Walking Stick 3:41
04. Lazybones 3:06
05. Marie 4:24
06. Desert Blues (Big Chief Buffalo Nickel) 3:42
07. Lulu's Back In Town 2:34
08. Some Of These Days 3:16
09. Big Time Woman 2:44
10. Haunted House 4:58
11. Polly Wolly Doodle 2:56

Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals [Throat Tromnet], Vocals – Leon Redbone
Banjo – Don McLean
Bass Guitar – Milt Hinton
Castanets – Ralph Macdonald
Clarinet – Billy Slapin
Cornet, Trumpet – Joe Wilder
Drums – Stephen Gadd
Guitar [Hawaiian] – Charles Macey
Piano – Patty Bown
Saxophone – Phil Bodner, Seldon Powell
Trombone – Garnett Brown
Tuba – Jonathan Dorn
Violin – Emanuel Green (tracks: A5), Gene Orloff (tracks: A5), Joe Venuti, Leo Kahn (tracks: A5)

Leon Redbone (born Dickran Gobalian, August 26, 1949 – May 30, 2019) was a Cypriot-American singer-songwriter and musician specializing in jazz, blues, and Tin Pan Alley classics. Recognized by his Panama hat, dark sunglasses, and black tie, Redbone was born in Cyprus of Armenian ancestry and first appeared on stage in Toronto, Canada, in the early 1970s. He also appeared on film and television in acting and voice-over roles.

In concert Redbone often employed comedy and demonstrated his skill in guitar playing. Recurrent gags involved the influence of alcohol and claiming to have written works originating well before he was born – Redbone favored material from the Tin Pan Alley era, circa 1890 to 1910. He sang the theme to the 1980s television series Mr. Belvedere and released eighteen albums.

Redbone was elusive about his origins, and never explained the origin of his stage name. According to a Toronto Star report in the 1980s, he was once known as Dickran Gobalian, and he came to Canada from Cyprus in the mid-1960s and changed his name via the Ontario Change of Name Act. Biographical research published in 2019 corroborated his birth name, and stated that his family was of Armenian origin. His parents lived in Jerusalem, but fled in 1948 to Nicosia, Cyprus, where Redbone was born. By 1961, the family had moved to London, England, and by 1965 to Toronto.

While living in Canada in the late 1960s, Redbone began performing in public at Toronto area nightclubs and folk music festivals. He met Bob Dylan at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1972. Dylan was so impressed by Redbone's performance that he mentioned it in a Rolling Stone interview, leading that magazine to do a feature article on Redbone a year before he had a recording contract. The article described his performances as "so authentic you can hear the surface noise [of an old 78 rpm]." Dylan said that if he had ever started a label, he would have signed Redbone. His first album, On the Track, was released by Warner Bros. Records in 1975.

He was introduced to a larger public as a semi-regular musical guest on NBC's Saturday Night Live, appearing twice in the first season. During the 1980s and '90s Redbone was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He was also a guest on A Prairie Home Companion.

A self-taught musician, he played by ear, sometimes changing the chords of established tunes, never rehearsing with a band, and not following set lists. In an interview printed in the Winter 2017 edition (No. 177) of BING magazine, the publication of the International Club Crosby, clarinetist Dan Levinson recounted working with Redbone:

"I toured with Redbone for 12 years. We used to listen to early Crosby while we were on the road. [Redbone's] taste in music was more eclectic than that of anyone I've ever known -- it included Emmett Miller, Blind Blake, Paganini, Caruso, Gene Austin, John McCormack, Moran and Mack, Cliff Edwards, Jelly Roll Morton, Ted Lewis, Mustafa the Castrato, the Hungarian singer Imre Laszlo, Jimmie Rodgers ('the Singing Brakeman'), Mongolian throat singers, W. C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy ... and early Bing Crosby."

Redbone was described as "both a musical artist and a performance artist whose very identity was part of his creative output." He usually dressed in attire reminiscent of the Vaudeville era, performing in a Panama hat with a black band and dark sunglasses, often while sitting at attention on a stool, with a white coat and trousers with a black string tie. With his reluctance to discuss his past came speculation that "Leon Redbone" was an alternative identity for another performer.Two common suggestions in years past were Andy Kaufman and Frank Zappa, both of whom Redbone outlived. Though sometimes compared to Zappa and Tom Waits for "the strength and strangeness of his persona", he exclusively played music from decades before the rock era, and disdained "blatant sound for people to dance to". In a 1991 interview, he said: "The only thing that interests me is history, reviewing the past and making something out of it."

Redbone survived a small plane crash in Clarksburg, West Virginia, on February 12, 1979. He traveled to engagements exclusively by car, saying, "I carry around many unusual items and devices. They make life difficult for airport security personnel and flying impossible for me.

On May 19, 2015 on his website, his publicist referred to concerns about his health and announced his retirement from performing and recording.

Redbone died on May 30, 2019, following complications from dementia. At the time of his death he was living in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in hospice care. He is survived by his wife Beryl Handler, daughters Blake and Ashley, and three grandchildren.

A statement on Mr. Redbone’s website noted his death with cheeky humor: "It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th, 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127."

This is the debut long-player from Leon Redbone (guitar/harmonica/vocals/throat tromnet), a one-man folk/jazz enigma. Although it was incorrectly rumored that the artist was a musical visage of Frank Zappa, Redbone began getting notice during a stint in Toronto, Ontario, in the early '70s. For On the Track (1975), he offers a uniquely authentic revival of turn-of-the-century melodies, including those of the Singin' Brakeman, Mississippi Blue Yodeler Jimmie Rodgers ("Desert Blues") as well as Fats Waller ("Ain't Misbehavin'"). However, he liberally applies the same notable technique to a wide array of pop standards from the likes of Irving Berlin ("Marie") and Johnny Mercer ("Lazy Bones"). The minimalism in the arrangements provides an understated delivery focusing on Redbone's distinguished baritone vocals. This includes his self-proclaimed "throat tromnet" -- an orally generated device that sounds like a combination trombone and trumpet. Accompanying him are quite an aggregate of studio stalwarts -- such as percussionists Ralph McDonald (castanets) and Steven Gadd (drums) as well as legendary jazz heavies Milt Hinton (bass), Garnett Brown (trombone), Seldon Powell (sax), and Jonathan Dorn (tuba). Their contributions are likewise discreet and otherwise tastefully augment the highly developed and melody-intensive arrangements. The Spanish inflections of "My Walking Stick" work subtly behind the artist, supporting rather than detracting from his cool and expressive vocals. The swampy and lethargic "Lazybones" reverberates the swelter of the Delta summertime. Hinton's thick basslines amble along at an even pace -- while Redbone's drowsy vocals contrast the high and tight brass interjections and sonic ornamentation. "Lulu's Back in Town" recalls Rev. Gary Davis' talking blues, as it commences with a brief spoken introduction setting up the premise of the song. The manufactured sound effects of a mostly uninhabited pool hall are in essence a wink of the mind's eye for the listener. Famed jazz producer Joel Dorn was at the helm of these sessions and his experience provides an organic attention to nuance. On the whole, the lack of over-production allows the material room to breathe without stifling the arrangements, yet with enough augmentation to adequately support Redbone's more central delivery.

Content to go on his merry way in music, Leon Redbone blithely ignores pretty much all post World War Two music styles in a career that has endured well over forty years. 'On The Track' was his first album for Warner Brothers, released in 1976, and it sounds as fresh and 'oldly new' as it did back then. Singing in a gravel voiced style, and accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, Redbone explores New Orleans Jazz, Country Blues and even novelty songs in a way that is coherent and furiously entertaining. In his way, he was pursuing a similar path to that of Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal and Van Dyke Parks - exploring the forgotten hinterlands of American music - and having a great time doing it. The producer of this set, Joel Dorn, deserves praise for the way in which he has captured great performances without trying to impose contemporary production tricks, making the album very faithful to Redbone's idiosyncratic vision. Wonderful music indeed.