Saturday, February 29, 2020

Billy Preston - 1966 - Hymns speak from the organ

Billy Preston
Hymns speak from the organ

01. Lay My Burdens Down
02. Just A Closer Walk With Thee
03. Do Lord
04. How Great Thou Art
05. Angels Keep Watching Over Me
06. Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow
07. Pass Me Not
08. Gospel Interlude
09. The Only Hope We Have
10. His Eye Is On The Sparrow
11. May The Good Lord Bless You And Keep You

Reissued in the UK as "Gospel in my Soul"

Billy Preston: Organ

Liner Notes from 1973 re-issue:
Once in a lifetime a talent appears who bears the stamp of greatness. A talent so impregnated with intensity that the potential is immediately unmistakable. So is the proficient artistry of Billy Preston.
Billy is one of the most respected organists in gospeldom, as well as pop circles. Since his youth, Billy's work with choirs and group, both in person and on recordings, has been exeptionally original.
On this gospel album, Billy Preston displays his talents as both an organist and a pianist, and through the mechanical magic of overdubbing he may be heard playing both instruments simultaneously. Especially interesting is Billy's rendition of the old Hymn PASS ME NOT O GENTLE SAVIOR. The Hymns, for the most part are standard and his interpretation of them, though performed in unique Preston manner, retain much of the basic quality. In other words, you can sing along with the organ and piano and you can identify each and every selection.
Such old favorites as WHEN I LAY MY BURDEN DOWN, HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW, JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE and ANGELS KEEP WATCHING OVER ME are included with more recent popular items as HOW GREAT THOU ART and THE ONLY HOPE WE HAVE. And for an appreciation of Billy's versatility, listen to him as he makes his electric console organ speak in the traditional cathedral style on PREAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW.
Though Billy has received many awards, including a GRAMMY for his popular soul recordings, it is apparent his roots are in Gospel and this album presents Billy to the audience with the Gospel of his soul in it's purest form.

Billy Preston - 1965 - Early Hits Of 1965

 Billy Preston 
Early Hits Of 1965

01. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling 2:18
02. Eight Days A Week 2:13
03. Downtown 2:41
04. Goldfinger 2:19
05. My Girl 3:03
06. Go Now 2:44
07. Ferry Across The Mersey 2:51
08. Shotgun 2:27
09. Stop In The Name Of Love 2:23
10. King Of The Road 2:20
11. The Birds And The Bees 2:20
12. Can't You Hear My Heartbeat 2:02

"A million dollars worth of music!!!
Played by the greatest organist ever."

Released: 15 December 1965
Recorded: March-September, 1965

Organ – Billy Preston

Recorded in the same sessions of The Most Exciting Organ Ever and originally released by the Vee-Jay label and re-released by Exodus Records the following year.

Billy Preston - 1964 - The Most Exciting Organ Ever

Billy Preston
The Most Exciting Organ Ever

01. If I Had A Hammer
02. Low Down
03. Slippin' & Slidin'
04. Drown In My Own Tears
05. I Am Coming Through
06. The Octopus
07. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'
08. Soul Meetin'
09. Let Me Know
10. Billy's Bag
11. The Masqerade Is Over
12. Steady Gettin' It

Organ – Billy Preston

It is quite likely that each of us has an individual opinion on what exactly is the most exciting organ ever and to whom in particular it happens to belong... but hang on there, this is a Billy Pres­ton review and we are actually supposed to talk about his contributions to the world of key­board-based music, or are we not. The album, with one of the most provocative titles ever, was released a few days prior to Billy's 19th birthday on the VJ Records label (notorious for being the first overseas label to gain rights to Beatles' recordings, before EMI got around to their senses), and is often considered his first «proper» album, even though it really is the second.

And there is relatively little substantial difference between Billy at 16 and Billy at 19, except that now, almost half of the tunes are original instrumental compositions for the organ (ʽI Am Coming Throughʼ gets to have its title chanted in group harmony form, but that's about as far as it goes with vocal presence). None of them are particularly memorable or interesting per se — the themes are fairly basic — but even the most rhythmically and tonally generic, like the basic blues shuffle of ʽLowdownʼ, are all quite pleasant for those who like Preston's style in general.

Of course, his «conversing organ» style is best appreciated where he is emulating classic melo­dies: my favorite bit is the attempt to emulate Little Richard's singing intonations on ʽSlippin' And Slidin'ʼ — not a lot of rock'n'roll excitement here, but the comic-seductive vibe is carried over very well, by heavily taxing the organ keys instead of the vocal cords. ʽIf I Had A Hammerʼ is somewhat less recognizable, but even more inventive in exploring the organ's capability to beat the human voice as primary message-carrier.

Overall, though, the whole thing is surprisingly less exciting than 16 Yr. Old Soul. Maybe it is because of the backing band, which seems sort of slack and disinterested, acting like a mere dummy (at least on 16 Yr. Old Soul there were actual guitar solos, competing with the organ). Maybe it is because the choice of covers is a bit off (I mean, who the heck is interested in Don Covay's ʽSoul Meetingʼ?), and the originals aren't quite up to par. Or maybe it is because, in the end, the whole thing sort of comes across as just a blunt publicity campaign for the Hammond.

On the other hand, there is no need to be condescending. Billy's level may be incomparable with that of, say, Jimmy Smith (it is always tough to compare the levels of «pop» and «jazz» musici­ans, even though so few people actually listen to the latter), but this is his vision, and there was nobody else around with a vision like that in 1965. The Hammond, with its thick sound and extra elec­tronic capacities, could do lots of tricks for the rock and pop world that an ordinary piano could never reproduce, and Billy, both here and elsewhere, is quite keen on discovering as many of these as possible — pitch, tone, strength, modulation, whatever. What the hell, in a way, this could be the most exciting organ ever. I mean, I like Rick Wakeman and all, but maybe whatever he brought into this world should be described by some other word than «exciting». A thumbs up here, for reasons that go beyond «historical», even if not too far beyond.

The Most Exciting Organ Ever is the second album by Billy Preston. The fully instrumental album was released in 1965, several weeks before Preston's nineteenth birthday, at a time when he was a regular performer on the ABC TV pop music series Shindig![1] The album includes "Billy's Bag", which was a favorite among British musicians and club-goers at the time.[2] Preston included a live version of the track on his 1974 album Live European Tour.

Extra songs recorded during the sessions for The Most Exciting Organ Ever were released on Preston's next studio album.

As the late John Holmes would tell you, it's damn near impossible to live up to a title as lofty as The Most Exciting Organ Ever, but Billy Preston does his best -- the raw physical power of Preston's performances are matched only by the imagination and virtuosity of his phrasing. The music bridges the sacred and the profane, fusing the deep, bold sound of the church with the razzle-dazzle of R&B. While Preston's innovative use of bass pedals lends the music its pendulous bottom, his melodies defy gravity, soaring and dive bombing like birds of prey in flight.

Billy Preston - 1963 - 16 Yr. Old Soul

Billy Preston
16 Yr. Old Soul 

01. Greazee 4:10
02. Lost And A'Lookin' 2:22
03. I Can't Stop Loving You 2:36
04. Born To Lose 2:55
05. Ain't That Love 2:27
06. Bring It On Home To Me 3:48
07. God Bless The Child 2:37
08. Pretty Little Girl 2:13
09. In The Spring 2:09
10. Good News 3:47
11. Sweet Thing 2:03
12. Win Your Love For Me

Bass – Cliff Hils
Drums – Earl Palmer (tracks: 1, 5, 6, 10), Milt Turner (tracks: 2 to 4, 7 to 9, 11, 12)
Guitar – Gene Edwards (tracks: 1, 5, 6, 10), Tommy Tedesco (tracks: 2 to 4, 7 to 9, 11, 12)
Piano, Organ – Billy Preston

Originally released as 16 Yr. Old Soul DERBY LPM-701 June 1963
Released in the UK in 1969 as: Greazee Soul

Tracks 2 to 4, 7 to 9, 11 & 12 recorded February 8, 1963 at United Recording, Hollywood.
Tracks 1, 5, 6 & 10 recorded March 5, 1963 at RCA Recording Studios, Hollywood
Sound restoration & Archiving: ABKCO Studios, NY

Tracks 11 & 12 previously unreleased

For all of the unabridged amazement surrounding Billy Preston’s high school-aged mastery of both the bubbling jazz of Jimmy Smith and the lean Memphis R&B of Booker T. Jones, the truth is, he’d been at this a while.

When Derby released the aptly titled 16 Year Old Soul five decades back, Preston had already made an unforgettable contribution to Sam Cooke’s ageless blues project Night Beat, adding his own organ-based barnyard asides to a simmering new take on “Little Red Rooster.” Prior to that, Preston had served as the choir director at his mothers church going back to the tender age of five.

He appeared on Nat King Cole’s television variety program, singing “Blueberry Hill,” toured Europe with Little Richard (where Preston began a life-long friendship with the Beatles) — and even played the childhood version of W.C. Handy for a 1958 biopic called St. Louis Blues.

16 Year Old Soul wasn’t even Billy’s first recording. That honor went to the tiny Contract label out of Hollywood, which released a pair of largely forgotten early 45s. Still, his debut on Cooke’s fledgling label (started with J.W. Alexander, of the Pilgrim Travelers; and S.R. Crain, of his Soul Stirrers) is generally understood to be the beginning point of Preston’s legend — the moment when many first came to know the boundless talent, enthusiasm, joy and marrow-deep groove that surrounded his work at the organ.

A mixture of covers and original material — including Preston’s first single for Derby, the appropriately named “Greazee” — 16 Year Old Soul found Billy surrounded by a group of ace sessions guys, including drummer Earl Turner and guitarist Tommy Tedesco, among others.

He returns with a swinging update of “Lost and Lookin’,” which had earlier appeared on Cooke’s Night Beat,; transforms “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (which had just become a crossover hit for Ray Charles) into a girder-rattling groover; finds the heart-opening gospel centerpoint of Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me”; and threatens to shake the studio loose of its foundation on his own hard-charging “Ain’t That Love” — the last of which serves as a small glimpse into the afro-shaking funk to come. This new reissue is rounded out by two rare bonus cuts, both of them instrumentals.

Most listeners only became aware of Billy Preston as a solo artist after he signed to Apple Records in the late 1960s. But he'd been recording for a long time prior to that, dating back to when he was a teenager. This instrumental album for Sam Cooke's SAR label (issued on its sister Derby imprint) was cut in March 1963, when Preston was still going to high school in Los Angeles. The very fact that it's wholly instrumental indicates that it's pretty early in Preston's evolution, and though he does play some piano, it's really on the more uptempo, organ-dominated tunes where he hits the best groove. In truth, these aren't any great shakes even when it comes to soul organ instrumentals, but they have a nice swinging bounce that places them a cut above period background music, though they fall a good ways short of being spellbinding. The slower numbers (including covers of hits by Sam Cooke and Ray Charles) verge on easy listening; in contrast, the more urgent cuts are cookin', with bop, jazz, and gospel influences spicing up the soul/R&B recipe. Preston didn't write much of the material, but one of the numbers on which he's credited as a co-composer, "Good News," is a highlight. [The 2011 CD reissue on ABKCO adds a couple of bonus tracks, one of them a cover of Cooke's "Win Your Love for Me."]

Friday, February 28, 2020

Jerry Cole And His Spacemen - 1963 - Outer Limits

Jerry Cole And His Spacemen 
Outer Limits

01. Outer Limits 2:00
02. The Strut 2:15
03. Wipeout 2:37
04. One Color Blues 2:31
05. Pipeline 2:25
06. Sukiyaki 2:40
07. Midnight Surfer 1:57
08. Pokey 2:10
09. Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow 2:07
10. Point Panic 1:57
11. Tequila 2:07

Bass – Larry Knechtel, Ray Pohlman
Drums – Earl Palmer
Guitar – Jerry Cole
Keyboards – Billy Preston, Don Randi
Tenor Saxophone – Steve Douglas

Jerry Cole was a first-call session guitarist in the 1960s who played on a number of Phil Spector's epochal sides and led the pit bands for the rock & roll-oriented TV shows Shindig and Hullabaloo. When he wasn't busy with all that, he cut a number of instrumental rock albums under a variety of assumed names, but Outer Limits features Cole and his band working under his own shingle for a change. Outer Limits is a no-fuss collection of 11 surf-influenced tunes, many of them covers of popular hits of the day, and while Cole's style couldn't be called "revolutionary," there's a lot more muscle in the performances of "Pipeline" and "Wipeout" than on the originals. Cole's discreet use of fuzz and the full-bodied tone he could conjure from his gear give his performances a sound that stands out from others of his ilk, and his originals are strong if basic stuff. If this isn't exactly the Holy Grail for surf fans (and the more passionate might want to spring for Power Surf!: The Best of Jerry Cole & His Spacemen), Outer Limits is still good fun, and anyone who digs classic surf and instrumental sides will get hip to this.

Jerry Cole, supreme studio guitar session man from almost every '60s record you've ever heard, also moonlighted as chief fret-bender with his Spacemen, whose original albums are today revered as surf classics. 1963's Outer Limits, now on compact disc for the first time, rides pounding oceans of reverb, deftly skims by the pier and hits the beach running with not a hair out of place, just in time to frug and watusi alongside a bevy of bikini-clad nubiles. Taken from the stereo master tapes, this bona fide party-starter can now take its rightful place as a cornerstone of the surf legend. For all you Beatles maniacs out there, it features young Billy Preston on Keyboards!

James Cleveland With The Angelic Gospel Choir Featuring Billy Preston -1962 - This Sunday In Person

James Cleveland With The Angelic Gospel Choir
This Sunday In Person

01. It All Belongs To My Father
02. Christ Is The Answer
03. He's So Good
04. I Won't Take It Back
05. Jesus Will Bring Things Out
06. It's In My Heart
07. Trust Him
08. Only Believe
09. Cross That River

Choir – The Angelic Choir
Creative Director [Choral] – Rev. Lawrence Roberts
Creative Director [Choral], Arranged By – Thurston Frazier

Drums – Joe Marshall
Lead Vocals – James Cleveland
Organ, Featuring – Billy Preston
Piano, Organ – Alfred White

Rev. James Cleveland was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5, 1931 to Rosie Lee and Benjamin Cleveland during the height of the greatest depression.  James’ grandmother attended Pilgrim Baptist Church, where she was a member of the choir.  James had no choice but to attend these rehearsals with his grandmother and found himself sitting through these choir rehearsals – bored stiff!!  Eventually James decided he would conquer the boredom through attempting to sing along with the choir.  It was in one of these rehearsal that James’ singing was noticed and he was made choir mascot.   The choir director, Thomas A. Dorsey wrote a song for him which launched the career of what was the be a long line of performances.  Through Dorsey’s teaching and directing young James was influenced in a great way.
Playing the piano was a skill that James developed through trial and error.  His keen ear and ability to quickly grasp musical style helped him develop a command of the keyboard.  But it was Roberta Martin who was the inspiration for his piano style.  At a young age, James patterned his playing after Mrs. Martin, and it was Roberta Martin who published James Cleveland’s first composition, “I Want to See Jesus”.  After developing his musical skills, James went to New York where he became Minister of Music at Faith Temple COGIC. where Bishop A. A. Childs was pastor.  There he worked with organist Herman Stevens.  From New York, James went to Philadelphia, where along with Bessie Folk and Narcellus McKissick (former members of the Martin Singers) the Gospel group “The Gospelaires” was formed.  After much success with the Gospelaires, James went on to move to Detroit, Michigan where he became Minister of Music for  Dr. C. L. Franklin.  In the course of the next few years, James moved from Detroit to Chicago, and then back to Detroit.  It was then that he became Second Assistant Pastor to Rev. Chas A. Craig Sr., at Prayer Tabernacle and through this  fellowship the famous “Voices of Tabernacle” was born.  Eventually Rev. Cleveland relocated to Los Angeles, California, where he founded the Cornerstone Baptist Church.  Even though the church started with less than 100 members, the membership grew to over 7,000 people.

Before moving to California, James Cleveland enjoyed a great deal of success as a Savoy Recording artist.  However, after moving West, he found himself without the usual polished background singers, and nearing the end of the recording contract, James needed to complete one more recording session.  He decided to call his friend Reverend Lawrence Roberts, pastor of First Baptist Church of Nutley, New Jersey, and solicit the use of Roberts Angelic Choir to background this final session.  Roberts responded positively and James along with friends Thurston Frazier and Billy Preston drove from California to Nutley, New Jersey.  The album was recorded in 1962 and titled “This Sunday In Person” featuring James Cleveland with the Angelic Gospel choir, under the direction of Thurston Frazier and Rev. Lawrence Roberts, featuring Billy Preston at the organ.  The LP was the first live gospel recording session ever. It was an overwhelming success.  Savoy Records hurried to re-sign Cleveland and quickly produced Volume 2.  This LP was even greater success featuring the hit selection “How Great Thou Art”.  Volume 3 of James Cleveland and the Angelic Choir was titled “Peace Be Still”.  This 1963 LP became the first gospel LP to sell over 50,000 albums (unheard of back then).  From then on James Cleveland had the “Midas” touch on any LP which he was associated.  He spoke of his musical style … “I’ve always maintained my own style of music, it has changed slightly over the years because I’ve tried to stay up with the times.  I prefer traditional messages and stylings because people in the church choirs can sing it.  I try to make my music a source of material for churches and choirs.  I play simple enough so that even storefront musician can pick it up”.

As  a musician, performer and producer, James maintained a level of excellence over an incredibly long period of time.  Reverend Cleveland stated once, “I want to stay in the music business through promoting gospel music and upgrading the quality and performance of gospel music.  I am pleased that Gospel Music Workshop of America has grown to the largest gospel music organization in the world, with over 20,000 members”.

The stage presence of Rev. James Cleveland is an experience that’s almost unexplainable, he mesmerizes audiences, not only with the presentation of singing material, but this unique way of addressing musicians with a single “ssshh”. Cleveland had a charisma on stage that was inimitable.  He said, “Nobody taught me about stage presence, I just try to be with people on their level.  I feel like people like folk who talk about everyday problems and shared experiences, rather than trying to be glamorous.  I try to talk to them (audiences) and give them hope that things are going to get better.  I think I can talk to people on their level because people are just people”.

Through his lifetime James Cleveland has won numerous awards and accolades that are too numerous to list. However it is noteworthy to remember James Cleveland won five (5) Grammy Awards. The last was February 21, 1991, awarded posthumous with The Southern California Community Choir on the Savoy Records LP entitled,  “Having Church”.  It should also be mentioned that Rev. Cleveland was awarded an honorary Doctrine degree from the Trinity Bible College and was the first gospel artist to be awarded a “STAR” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Reverend Cleveland will never be forgotten as one of the world’s foremost leaders and pioneers of gospel music and his gospel music ministry will live on. Literally every black gospel artist today has been influenced by James Cleveland

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Rolling Stones - 2016 - Tour Of Europe ’76 : Les Loups Dans L’Abattoir

The Rolling Stones
Tour Of Europe ’76 : Les Loups Dans L’Abattoir 
The Complete 1976 Paris Tapes
(The Godfather Box G.R Box 20)

To celebrate Godfather’s 20th box set they chose to focus on the Rolling Stones’ European Tour of 1976, most specifically a four night stand in Paris at the famous Pavillion De Paris. This was met with some criticism since some of the shows have been released before and there was nothing “new” to the collecting community. An interesting discussion, one that seems to get under ones skin so to speak and while I get the argument I am choosing to write this review from a different perspective, one of a Rolling Stones newbie. My Stones collection is relatively small number, 26 titles to be exact and is made up of mainly their explosive 1969 American tour plus a few from 1970-1972. After reading Gerard’s reviews of the band’s 1975 Madison Square Garden shows I stepped outside my comfort zone and grabbed a couple up and was pleasantly surprised as I consider myself a fan of the Mick Taylor years. Not only was Woody a great addition to the band personality wise, I found out he could really hold his own when playing some killer leads. Having no boots from the 1976 tour made this set a no brainer for me, and I eagerly looked forward to delving into these shows and see if they lived up to the hype.

Having read Keith Richards’ autobiography it provided input of not only his colorful life but also helped me understand his love for all kinds of music, a love that would allow the band to delve into different directions, sometimes to wondrous heights, other times falling short but one thing we all can agree on is that it was at least interesting. Enough of my rant, lets talk about the Box…

Typical Godfather box set, four double disc sets packaged in a deluxe box set adorned with record (Black And Blue) graphics with the Eiffel Tower superimposed on the cover. All four individual sets are jammed packed with mainly live shots of the group. There is a small replica of the European tour book, a poster and of course an 8 page booklet with informative liner notes by one Ian Iachimoe. Doing research on these dates was fairly easy, although I did find out there is a considerable amount of footage for these gigs as they were recorded on audio and video by the band for what was to become the Love You Live release, this is for me the only downside to this box that there was no DVD to accompany this set. Having all known footage on 2 DVDs would have really put this set over the top.

The box includes:
4 Double CD's.
1976 Tour Book Replica.
8 Pages Booklet.
Promo Poster.

You Should Stay Up For Four Days And Nights… 
(G.R.BOX 20 A/B)
June 4, 1976
Pavillon De Paris (Les Abattoirs) Paris, France

101. Introduction / Drums
102. Honky Tonk Women
103. If You Can't Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud
104. Hand Of Fate
105. Hey Negrita
106. Ain't Too Proud To Beg
107. Fool To Cry
108. Hot Stuff
109. Star Star
110. You Gotta Move
111. Angie

201. You Can't Always Get What You Want
202. Band Introduction
203. Happy
204. Tumbling Dice
205. Nothing From Nothing
206. Outta Space
207. Midnight Rambler
208. It's Only Rock 'N' Roll
209. Brown Sugar
210. Jumpin' Jack Flash
211. Street Fighting Man

The first of the Paris gigs, the audience recording is very good near excellent quality, well balanced with all vocals and instruments being well represented in the mix, there is a small amount of hiss but does not detract to ones listening pleasure. The recordings has seen previously released as Pavillion de Paris (DOG n CAT Records DAC 046), Alright Charlie Watts (Dirty Work Production DWP 001), FIRST DOSE IN PARIS (EXILE EXCD-031/032) and Pavillon De Paris Day 1 (Sweet Records SV – 6476A/B).

The performance is great; the band had a good 20 plus dates prior to this run and was in fighting shape. The atmospheric recording starts as the Drum intro is played that leads into the first song, “Honky Tonk Women”. “If You Can’t Rock Me” is fused perfectly with “Get Off My Cloud” as they had done the previous year in America. Of the new songs I found myself most surprised by, “Fool To Cry”, it sounds almost cheesy when you first here Billy Preston’s keyboard intro but Mick’s vocals immediately win you over and they play a great version of the song, Woody’s guitar is mesmerizing. “You Gotta Move” sounds different than the ‘69 versions that I am most used to.

The show really begins to heat up with a really great version of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”; Mick even gets into a little audience participation. From there the concert just smokes and the finale of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” into “Street Fighting Man” gets the audience and listening fired up as the band finishes in a frenzy of riffing.

The Blues Have Always Been A Part Of Our Music 
(G.R.BOX 20 C/D)
June 5, 1976
Pavillon De Paris (Les Abattoirs) Paris, France

301. Introduction / Drums
302. Honky Tonk Women
303. If You Can't Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud
304. Hand Of Fate
305. Hey Negrita
306. Ain't Too Proud To Beg
307. Fool To Cry
308. Hot Stuff
309. Angie
310. Star Star
311. You Gotta Move
312. You Can't Always Get What You Want

401. Band Introduction
402. Happy
403. Tumbling Dice
404. Nothing From Nothing
405. Outta Space
406. Midnight Rambler
407. It's Only Rock 'N' Roll
408. Brown Sugar
409. Jumpin' Jack Flash
410. Street Fighting Man

The least booted show of the four, the audience recording is very good to excellent sounding most similar to the previous nights recording with a bit more crowd mixed in but it gives it more of a party feeling. I could only find one previous reference to the show as Aux Abattoirs (Vinyl Gang Product VGP 241).

The recording begins with the drums intro but as the band takes the stage and the music starts it sounds as if some fan is pounding on his seat. After it doesn’t really go away I had to start wondering if it is some reverb noise coming through the recording as it does not sound rhythmically like a drum or something. It does go fade lower in the mix and gets way less annoying by the time the group is playing a spirited version of “Hand Of Fate”. The fusion rock and reggae of “Hey Negrita” is real strong and Keith and Ronnie really kick it up a notch. Ian Stewart plays some nice piano fills during “Hot Stuff” and “Angie” moves up a few spots in the set list and sounds somewhat sparse and melancholy. Thankfully a rollicking “Star Star” follows that finds Woody laying down some excellent leads and the song gets a nice ovation from the crowd.

Mick does a lot of speaking in French, his band introductions are a fun listen and is followed by Keith and “Happy”, his vocals sound particularly raspy compared to Mick’s backing vocals. The band goes into a false start to “Tumbling Dice” that has Keith playing out of tune. As with “Angie” the band sound most sluggish but the second half of the song finds the band picking up speed for the finale. The momentum continues with the Billy Preston set and for the rest of the show and one can surmise that sometimes the less booted shows make for some of the best listening.

Playing Reggae Is Like Playing Backwards 
(G.R.BOX 20 E/F)
June 6, 1976
Pavillon De Paris (Les Abattoirs) Paris, France

501. Introduction / Drums
502. Honky Tonk Women
503. If You Can't Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud
504. Hand Of Fate
505. Hey Negrita
506. Ain't Too Proud To Beg
507. Fool To Cry
508. Hot Stuff
509. Star Star
510. Angie
511. You Gotta Move
512. You Can't Always Get What You Want

601. Band Introduction
602. Happy
603. Tumbling Dice
604. Nothing From Nothing
605. Outta Space
606. Midnight Rambler
607. It's Only Rock 'N' Roll
608. Brown Sugar
609. Jumpin' Jack Flash
610. Street Fighting Man
611. Outroduction

For the third show Godfather utilizes both audience and soundboard recordings to complete the show. Of course Stones collectors have had this show as it has been released as PARIS AUX PRINTEMPS (The Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-126), French Made (DOG n CAT Records DAC 009), LIVE 666 (Tarantura TCDRS-7-1,2), Les Abattoirs Paris 76 (Speedball Company SBC002-2), and Godfather’s first release of the show Tour Of Europe ’76 Revisited (The Godfatherecords G.R. 227/228), a release that features a bevy of bonus tracks.

The audience source is good but distant and the soundboard is superb quality, Bill Wyman’s bass sounds incredible and the tape is a joy to listen too, and supplies the bulk of the tape used for this release. For the most part the audience recording fills in gaps between songs and for small snippets and the splicing is extremely smooth and well done. If anything, the soundboard leaves one feeling slightly sterile once there is virtually no audience in the mix, only when the audience source is used.

GS commented in his review of the Tarantura LIVE 666 title that some of the band’s average performance on this night were due to the death of Richards’ son, a subject he does touch on in his autobiography as he freely acknowledges his use of narcotics and his mind frame during this period. As Gerard states in his review the band are slow starting but turn in good performance and I have to agree that “Midnight Rambler” is one that can be compared to past versions with Mick Taylor as Jagger and Company paint a very black picture.

Everyone Knows The Image 
(G.R.BOX 20 G/H)
June 7, 1976
Pavillon De Paris (Les Abattoirs) Paris, France

701. Introduction / Drums
702. Honky Tonk Women
703. If You Can't Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud
704. Hand Of Fate
705. Hey Negrita
706. Ain't Too Proud To Beg
707. Fool To Cry
708. Hot Stuff
709. Star Star
710. Cherry Oh Baby
711. Angie
712. You Gotta Move
713. You Can't Always Get What You Want

801. Band Introduction
802. Happy
803. Tumbling Dice
804. Nothing From Nothing
805. Outta Space
806. Midnight Rambler
807. It's Only Rock 'N' Roll
808. Brown Sugar
809. Jumpin' Jack Flash
810. Street Fighting Man
811. Outroduction

For the final Paris gig Godfather once again uses the excellent soundboard for the bulk of the show with a good audience source to fill several small gaps throughout the gig. The soundboard is not as clear as the previous night and does have some hiss present but most certainly better balanced. The splices are once again seamlessly smooth transitions. The band is in much better form and turn in a lively performance to close out the four night stand. Of course this show has had a myriad of releases such as DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS (RATTLESNAKE RS 066/067), Vive la Fance! (Singer’s Original Double Disk SODD 009/010), Europe 76 (A Vinyl Gang Product VGP 056), VIVE LA FRANCE! (A Vinyl Gang Product VGP 350), Europe 76 (DOG n CAT Records DAC 087), Paris Par Excellence (A Vinyl Gang Product VGP 147), PARIS PAR EXCELLENCE (Singer’s Original Double Disk SODD 067/68), Vive la France!-2010 Remaster version– (Singer’s Original Double Disk SODD 115/116), VIVE LA FRANCE (King snake Records KS-006-2CD), and Live In Paris (Golden Stars GSCD 2096).

The new songs from Black and Blue are well played, most specifically “Hey Negrita”, you can hear a lot of Billy Preston’s organ fills that is very nice and the song has a thicker sound in this recording. The band also play a rare for 1976 version of “Cherry Oh Baby”, most certainly inspired from Keith’s time spent in Jamaica and the reggae musicians that inspired him during this period. Billy Preston’s backing vocals during “Fool To Cry” are excellent, he provides some much needed soul into the sound and Ian’s boogie piano gets things shaking.

The bands stripped down version of “You Gotta Move” showcases the bands adoration for the blues, You swear you were in the deep south listening to a life long blues man pouring his heart out until Billy Preston liven things up and takes it higher to a gospel standard that it was initially known for. The service continues for a nice drawn out “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, part of the charm of these shows is Jagger’s communication with the audience, he does most of his chatting in French and the audience appreciates him for it, the French have been long time supporters of the band and are riled up at the songs conclusion.

Of the two Preston songs “Outta Space” is the best, rock soul and funk all compressed within, the star is Keith, his playing is simple but intricate as he pushes the song higher. Again the weight of the show falls in its last 30 minutes; the playing is fast and furious. “Midnight Rambler” is like a chase versus a stalking, Jagger’s harmonica howls like a dog in the night, the middle section finds Keith and Ronnie trading leads and riff most effectively but the real star of the song is Charlie Watts, his drumming is simply superlative. “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” sounds clumsy but “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and an insane “Street Fighting Man” bring the show to a rousing close.

While most hardcore Stones collectors have had this material for some time and this release offers nothing new, for the general Stones collector like myself this is an excellent way to check out what the mid 70’s Stones were like as they continued to morph and change colors like a musical chameleon. A very solid effort from Godfather and one that should have garnered much more praise and less negativity. Are these sources definitive? I am not one to judge but are most certainly in the running for top spot.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Masaomi Kondo & The Freedom Unity - 1971 - Hitoribochi no Heya

Masaomi Kondo & The Freedom Unity 
Hitoribochi no Heya

01. ツタ (Ivy)
02. オリーブ (Olive)
03. キャベツ (Cabbage)
04. サボテン (Cactus)
05. マンドラゴラ (Mandragora)
06. バイバブ (Baobab)

Masaomi Kondo - vocals
Masahiko Satoh - piano, electric piano, arrangements
Takeru Muraoka - sax
Hiroshi Suzuki- trombone
Kiyoshi Sugimoto - guitar
Masaoki Terakawa - electric bass
Akira Ishikawa - drums
Michio Yamagami - lyrics

Kondo Masaomi is a well know Japanese actor who made this one-off LP in 1971. He raps away on 6 tracks about various plant species such as the Mandragora, breathing out an endangered atmosphere that borders at times on sheer anarchy and agitation. He ain’t no singer, by far but recites his texts in an distraught, frenzied, well-controlled and even calm fashion, gliding on the funky psychedelic groovy airwaves that his backing band – the Freedom Unity – churns out in an addictive fashion. The Freedom Unity on this occasion consisted out some of the finest musicians to be on the scene and included heavyweight players such as Sato Masahiko (piano); Ishikawa Akira (drums – Uganda etc); Sugimoto Kiyoshi (guitar – Count Buffaloos, Hino Hideshi Group, Rock Communication, etc), Terakawa Masaoki (bass – Love Live Life + 1, Ishikawa Akira & Count Buffaloos, Dema), Muraoka Takeru (Sax – Uganda, Count Buffaloos, Love Live Life +1, Dema) and Suzuki Hiroshi (Trumpet – various line-ups of Freedom Unity). The music they bring forth ranges from jazz, free jazz, psychedelic groovy acidic jams, jazz rock and fuses neatly with Kondo Masaomi’s raps, making it a perfect unison that resembles at times the musical greatness of Innocent Canon. It is funky, jazzy, psychedelic, groovy and intoxicatingly hip shaking all at the same time. A true amalgamation and genre-crossing disc, hybrid like for some reason only Japanese records seem to pull off without loosing face. This sole recording by Kondo is largely unknown outside this island here but it is regarded and revered as a great cult item and upon spinning this disc it is easy to understand why. It just has all the right ingredients: funky bass lines, killer guitar exploits, butt-shaking jazzy vibes, rare groove spiritual like rhythms, shrinking sax insertions, fuzzy wah-wah action, crazy raps etc, all executed by top level musicians. Magical slide out of 1971, shedding another light on Japans acidic free psychedelic moves and shakes.

Killer Japanese funky psychedelic masterpiece that sounds like Innocent Canon. Kondo Masaomi is a well know Japanese actor who made this one-off LP in 1971. He raps away on 6 tracks about various plant species such as the Mandragora, breathing out an endangered atmosphere that borders at times on sheer anarchy and agitation. He ain’t no singer, by far but recites his texts in an distraught, frenzied, well-controlled and even calm fashion, gliding on the funky psychedelic groovy airwaves that his backing band – the Freedom Unity – churns out in an addictive fashion. The Freedom Unity on this occasion consisted out some of the finest musicians to be on the scene and included heavyweight players such as Sato Masahiko (piano); Ishikawa Akira (drums – Uganda etc); Sugimoto Kiyoshi (guitar – Count Buffaloos, Hino Hideshi Group, Rock Communication, etc), Terakawa Masaoki (bass – Love Live Life + 1, Ishikawa Akira & Count Buffaloos, Dema), Muraoka Takeru (Sax - Uganda, Count Buffaloos, Love Live Life +1, Dema) and Suzuki Hiroshi (Trumpet – various line-ups of Freedom Unity). The music they bring forth ranges from jazz, free jazz, psychedelic groovy acidic jams, jazz rock and fuses neatly with Kondo Masaomi’s raps, making it a perfect unison that resembles at times the musical greatness of Innocent Canon. It is funky, jazzy, psychedelic, groovy and intoxicatingly hip shaking all at the same time. A true amalgamation and genre-crossing disc, hybrid like for some reason only Japanese records seem to pull off without loosing face. This sole recording by Kondo is largely unknown outside this island here but it is regarded and revered as a great cult item and upon spinning this disc it is easy to understand why. It just has all the right ingredients: funky bass lines, killer guitar exploits, butt-shaking jazzy vibes, rare groove spiritual like rhythms, shrinking sax insertions, fuzzy wah-wah action, crazy raps etc, all executed by top level musicians. Magical slide out of 1971, shedding another light on Japans acidic free psychedelic moves and shakes. Largely undetected but bound to be a huge crowd pleaser once this discs intoxicating fumes reach foreign shores. Highest recommendation.

Sammy & Freedom Unity - 1971 - Salute To Soul

Sammy & Freedom Unity 
Salute To Soul

01. The House Of The Rising Sun 5:32
02. Summertime 4:08
03. What Am I Living For 3:19
04. Trouble Blues 3:22
05. I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know 5:45
06. St. James Infirmary 3:42
07. Nobody's Fault But Mine 2:43
08. Willow Weep For Me 4:07
09. See See Rider 3:58
10. I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl 2:25
11. Hey Jude 4:38

Hiromasa Suzuki: Keyboards
Kunimitsu Inaba: Bass
Takeru Muraoka: Sax
Akira Ishikawa: Drums
Hiroshi Suzuki: Trombone
Sammy: Vocals

"Salute To Soul" is a duet album by the jazz quintet "Freedom Unity" introducing Sammy featuring Hiromasa Suzuki (keys), Kunimitsu Inaba (b), Takeru Muraoka (sax), Akira Ishikawa (ds) & Hiroshi Suzuki (tb). Sammy is the pseudonym of Masami Chino, a versatile soul-rock songstress, the japanese counterpart of Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin. Mostly actives during the seventies, Sammy recorded another album with the group, "Dynamic Rock" feat. the Singers Three, collaborated with saxophonist Jiro Inagaki & his Soul Media on two albums ("Wandering Birds", "Woman Robinson Crusoe-Rock Steady") and with the Akira Ishikawa's Count Buffalos on "Soul & Soul". From Jazz to Soul passing by psychedelic rock, Sammy revisits the classics of british and american rock (Nobody's Fault But Mine, See See Rider) including jazz standards (St. James Infirmary, Willow Weep For Me, Summertime). All songs arranged by Hiromasa Suzuki.

The Freedom Unity / Sammy /Singers Three - 1971 - Dynamic Rock

The Freedom Unity / Sammy /Singers Three
Dynamic Rock

01. Proud Mary
02. 25 Or 6 To 4
03. Someday
04. Smiling Phases
05. Free
06. Hi-De-Ho
07. Lucrecia Macevil
08. Fire And Rain

Baritone Saxophone – Shunzo Sunahara
Bass Trombone – Takeshi Aoki
Chorus – Singers Three
Drums – Akira Ishikawa
Electric Bass – Masaoki Terakawa
Electric Guitar – Kimio Mizutani
Lead Vocals – Sammy
Organ – Hiro Yanagida
Percussion – Masami Kawahara
Piano, Electric Piano – Hiromasa Suzuki
Tenor Saxophone – Kosuke Ichihara
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Takeru Muraoka
Trombone – Teruhiko Kataoka
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Koji Hatori

Sammy is the pseudonym of Masami Chino, prolific japanese female rock singer from Soul to Psychedelic rock who was active in the seventies. She sings it well known Jazz, Pop, Rock, Soul, Rhythm & Blues from british and american covers song and jazz standards (her voice tone can be situated between Janis Joplin and Grace Slick). Introduced in the japanese jazz rock scene, she started to work with the legendary Freedom Unity (a jazz quartet formed by Hiromasa Suzuki and Akira Ishikawa) and collaborated with Jiro Inagaki on several albums as Wandering Birds (1971). Later, she also worked with Akira Ishikawa’ Count Buffalo band for Soul & Soul (1972). It’s the second collaboration with The Freedom Unity, after Dynamic Rock (1971), the group is surrounded by a string section plus additional guitarist (Kimio Mizutani) and arranged by Hiromasa Suzuki.

Yet another album of psychedelic-infused cover tunes, that was all the rage in Japan in the early 70s. I found the Chicago covers '25 or 6 to 4’ and 'Free’ to be the highlights here, with tight horn charts and Kimio Mizutani (on what appears to be his 2,000th recording in 1971) doing his best rendition of Terry Kath. On the other hand, the opening track is Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 'Proud Mary’. Oh you haven’t lived until you’ve heard 'Lor-rin…. Lor-rin…. Lorrin on a Liver’.
Overall the album is fun - perhaps fun-ny at times - and worth at least one listen

The Freedom Unity - 1971 - Down by the Naked City

The Freedom Unity 
Down by the Naked City

01. Down By The Naked City (28:37)
The Doors Of Perception
The Dancing Protoplasm
02. The Equator 8:40
03. The Old Castle 8:18
04. Light Up 7:35

Akira Ishikawa (drums)
Hiromasa Suzuki (electric piano)
Hiroshi Suzuki (trombone)
Kunimitsu Inaba (double bass)
Takeru Muraoka (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone)

Iconic avant-garde masterpiece from the legendary jazz supergroup featuring keyboardist Hiromasa "Colgen" Suzuki, saxophonist Takeru Muraoka, bassist Kunimitsu Inaba, trombonist Hiroshi Suzuki and drummer Akira Ishikawa. The group was formed by all-stars japanese jazz musicians, members of Terumasa Hino Quintet, Count Buffalos & The Soul Media, starting with "Something" in 1970 (highlighting saxophonist Takeru Muraoka), recorded "Salute To Soul" & "Dynamic Rock" featuring japanese rock songstress Masami Chino (Sammy) in 1971, and Hiroshi Suzuki's album "Cat" released in 1975. The album opens on the title-track, an extended modal suite over 23 minutes played in two parts ("The Doors Of Perception" & "The Dancing Protoplasm"), composed by Hiroshi Suzuki, follow by "The Equator", "The Old Castle" & the Muraoka's original composition, "Light Up". All tracks arranged by Hiromasa Suzuki.

Today, we're beginning with an excellent jazz fusion record from Japan. The Freedom Unity was strung together by Hiromasa Suzuki in the early 70s, and he turned this troupe of Japanese jazz musicians into a flat-out revolutionary supergroup - this is seriously fantastic stuff.
It's some of the earliest fusion to ever surface out of Japan, dating to 1971, and counts for the group's second full-length. Where Hiromasa shines on the electric piano, Kunimitsu Inaba matches with some impeccable basslines that charge the pacing to its full capacity. Drummer Akira Ishikawa pins down the energetic stream with a firm-yet-precise grip, and the horns provide the gleam of light streaming from some of the most energetic jazz I've heard. The first track in particular is an endless astronomic navigation that's both clean and executed. Though it lasts for the length of the A-side, one can't help but thirst for more. Neither quality nor intensity diminish on Side B, leaving me with one question as the album wraps up - where do I find their first album, Something?
In any case, it's splendid early fusion that treads the space of the more avant-garde stuff with an understandable injection of electric Miles Davis influence. This is definitely the kind of fusion that can appeal to both the jazz novice and the jazz connoisseur, and I warmly recommend its entrance into your ears.

Echoes of early Weather Report and Miles from '69 can be heard on the first 20+ minute piece. It starts off really well, but gradually ascends into a more self-indulgent mode of overly long dissonant noodling that's hardly an eye-opening moment. Some of the standards such as the "The Old Castle" appeal to me a bit more and therefore somewhat salvage the album. The "avant-gardisms" of the first track were executed more coherently on Weather Report's albums.

The Freedom Unity Featuring Takeru Muraoka - 1971 - Something / Freedom Unity First

The Freedom Unity Featuring Takeru Muraoka 
Something / Freedom Unity First

01. Capricorn 10:58
02. Something 5:38
03. On A Sunny Day 9:44
04. Some Other Night 9:33
05. Blue Soul 4:55
06. Peaceful Planet 11:41

Bass – Kunimitsu Inaba
Drums – Akira Ishikawa
Electric Piano – Hiromasa Suzuki
Tenor Saxophone – Takeru Muraoka
Trombone – Hiroshi Suzuki

Recorded at Toshiba 1st Studio, 18, 26 October '70.

A great bit of fusion from the start of the 70s – kind of a bridge between the late 60s "groovy" Japanese jazz, and some of the freer-thinking work to come! The group features excellent tenor from Takeru Muraoka, who plays with kind of a sharp edge that almost echoes more of the alto and soprano work of the generation – mixed with keyboards from Hiromasa Suzuki – who's plenty great on electric piano! Hiroshi Suzuki plays trombone, and the set's got some nice funky drums from Akira Ishikawa – who's always a treat. Overall, the set often has some of the same funky characteristics as some of the best late 60s electric jazz sets on Liberty Records in the US

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sadowski - 1979 - Swing Party

Swing Party

01. Swing Party 7:25
02. Tenderly 5:13
03. Wieczorne Wspomnienie 3:15
04. Mayaka Y 4:15
05. Swing Medley (8:25)
Honey Suckle Rose
Ain't She Sweet
I've Found A New Baby
06. Softly 4:45
07. Różki Dla Maruszki 5:22

Electric Piano, Organ – Krzysztof Sadowski
Guitar – Tomasz Jaśkiewicz

With today’s internet, different regions of the jazz world are so well connected that once obvious regional differences in music are slowly disappearing. Its just too easy for artists all around the world to keep up with what’s happening in NYC, or London or Tokyo, or anywhere else with any kind of jazz scene. Such was not the case in the late 70s, particularly in Communist controlled countries such as Poland, where the latest musical trends from NYC were not as important as daily survival and trying to duck the watchful eye of ‘the authorities’. In 1979, much of the jazz world was mired in fuzak, while the ‘new lion’ movement, and a new downtown NY scene were just around the corner. None of these latest trends were happening in culturally cut-off Poland, where jazz musicians operated without the restrictions of following the latest trends from the US. All of this background helps explain this somewhat ‘odd for 79’ “Swing Party” album by Poland’s Krzysztof Sadowski, on which Sadowski plays old school swing/hard bop/soul jazz with a full stop organ sound that recalls lounge music of the 1950s. It’s a well made and spirited album, but if it had come out in the states in 79, it would have been a complete oddity, which is of course is not necessarily a bad thing.

Long winded cultural explanations aside, “Swing Party” is a solid piece of organ based hard bop groove that recalls pre-Jimmy Smith organists such as Wild Bill Davis and Doc Bagby. Not only is the music tastefully retro, but Sadowski uses a full ‘theatre’ sound on his Hammond, a sound that had disappeared from the international jazz scene a couple decades earlier, replaced by the leaner sound of Jimmy Smith and his many followers. Sadowski is aided on here by four powerful tenor soloists whose soloing styles range from bluesy Sonny Stitt, to more ‘outside’ Coltrane influenced flights. The tunes range from well known standards such as “Tenderly” and “Honey Suckle Rose”, to some neo-bop originals by Sadowski.

If you enjoy 1950s Hammond organ based jazz, this record will not disappoint, Sadowski’s playing is energetic, and the same can be said for his four tenors, all of whom sound like they deserved more recognition outside of Poland. The only thing that will let on that this record was actually recorded in 1979 is the recording date marked on the outside liner notes.

Krzysztof Sadowski And His Group - 1975 - Three Thousands Points

Krzysztof Sadowski And His Group 
Three Thousands Points

01. Suita Trzy Tysiące = Suite Of Three Thousand 21:36
02. Sorcery 6:04
03. Ten Nasz Zwyczajny Świat (Cz. I I III) = Our Common World 10:00
04. Syrinx 3:46

Bass Guitar – Wojciech Bruślik
Congas – Andrzej Zieliński (5) (tracks: A)
Congas, Percussion – Bożena Bruszewska (tracks: B1 to B3)
Drums – Wojciech Morawski (tracks: B1 to B3), Zbigniew Kitliński (tracks: A)
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Winicjusz Chróst (tracks: B1 to B3)
Flute [El. Flute] – Liliana Urbańska (tracks: A)
Flute, Vocals, Percussion – Liliana Urbańska (tracks: B1 to B3)
Organ [Hammond], Electronics [Ring Modulator], Electric Piano [Fender Piano], Voice – Krzysztof Sadowski
Soprano Saxophone – Veselin Nikolov (tracks: A)
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Tomasz Szukalski (tracks: B1 to B3)
Side A - Recorded at Polish Radio Studio 28.10.1974 at XVII International Jazz Festival JAZZ JAMBOREE 74.
Side B - Recorded at Warsaw's Philharmonic Hall 17-18.06.1975

Third album by Polish Jazz keyboardist / composer Krzysztof Sadowski recorded with an ensemble called Organ Group, which also included flautist / vocalist Liliana Urbanska, saxophonists Vesselin Nikolov and Tomasz Szukalski, guitarist Winicjusz Chrost, bass guitarist Wojciech Bruslik, drummers Zbigniew Kitlinski and Wojciech Morawski and finally percussionists Andrzej Zielinski and Bozena Bruszewska. The reason for the long lineup is the fact that the album was recorded during two separate sessions with two different lineups.

This album was released at the time as part of the legendary "Polish Jazz" series (as Vol.47) and included originally only four tracks, the first of which gave the album its title and was a twenty one minutes long suite originally found on side A of the LP. The three tracks on side B were shorter and spanned between three to nine minutes in duration. Two of the compositions were originals, both composed by Sadowski; one was a Keith Jarrett tune and one was a Classical piece. This remastered reissue adds three bonus tracks recorded at the Polish Radio.

The music on this album shows Sadowski at full swing as a Jazz-Rock Fusion musician, firmly based in the Fusion idiom, which was pretty well established by then both on the Polish scene and abroad. He expands his arsenal and uses electric piano and early synthesizer (ring modulator) gadgets. The flute parts are more daring and the vocalese more developed, clearly following the work of Urszula Dudziak. Nikolov adds a tinge of Balkan spice and Szukalski blows away like only he could, touching upon Free at times. The rhythmic support is very Rock oriented and the overall sound and feel of the music resembles to some extent the best Fusion ensembles active in the West but maintains an East European identity both harmonically and melodically.

In retrospect the album is a great document of the time at which it was recorded, proving that in spite of the relative separation from what was happing beyond the Iron Curtain, Polish Jazz was responding rapidly to the changes in the Jazz idiom, often with ferocity and ingenuity, which were impossible to hold back by the political regime. The grammar mistake in the English version of the title (preserved for historic consistency) is a nice reminder of Socialist bureaucracy (an insider's joke).

As usual it is my duty to thank GAD Records for taking care of the Polish Jazz heritage, who is sadly a lonely rider on that trail. This superb music definitely needs to be fondly remembered and discovered by new generations!

Super album, possibly one of the best I've heard in the Polish Jazz series thus far.
Here the organist totally embraces the new freedom offered by the Jazz Rock and Jazz Fusion idioms, and offers a muscular live set which is bursting with the kind of boundless creativity that's usually associated with the Krautjazz scene of the early 1970's (Wolfgang Dauner's Et Cetera, Exmagma and the likes) - and the resulting album is worlds apart from his Hammond-led, borderline easy listening 1970 set. Great use of electronic gizmos and probing phallic bass guitar riffing in long tracks where Sadowski and his men are given plenty of space to, you know, exxxploooore.. Add to all this a fantastic recording sound - clear, physically present and very lively. I just wish that this album would have been recorded by a bunch of German unknowns - so that, at least, people would know it and the album would get the love it deserves.

Grupa Organowa Krzysztofa Sadowskiego - 1972 - Na Kosmodromie

Grupa Organowa Krzysztofa Sadowskiego 
Na Kosmodromie

01. Na Kosmodromie = On The Cosmodrome
02. Alpha Centauri
03. Wam Jest Do Śmiechu, Mnie Nie = You Feel Like Laughing But I Don't
04. Straight Life
05. Dalarna
06. Blues X

Alto Saxophone [Alto Sax], Piano – Włodzimierz Nahorny
Bass Guitar – Paweł Dąbrowski
Congas [Conga] – Józef Gawrych
Drums – Tomasz Butowtt
Organ [Hammond] – Krzysztof Sadowski
Trumpet – Eddie Engels
Vocals, Flute – Liliana Urbańska

Recorded at 03.1972, Warszawa Polskie Nagrania

Second solo album by Polish Jazz keyboardist / composer Krzysztof Sadowski recorded with an ensemble called Organ Group, which also included flautist / vocalist Liliana Urbanska, Dutch trumpeter Eddie Engels, saxophonist Wlodzimierz Nahorny, bass guitarist Pawel Dabrowski, drummer Tomasz Butowtt and congas player Jozef Gawrych.

This album was not released at the time as part of the legendary "Polish Jazz" series, for reasons that are way beyond the scope of this text. The original album included only six tracks, the first of which gave the album its title and was a twenty minutes long six parts suite originally found on side A of the LP. The five tracks on side B were all much shorter. All the compositions were originals, four composed by Sadowski and one each by Nahorny and Engels. This remastered reissue adds three bonus tracks recorded at the Polish Radio.

By the time this album was released the Polish Jazz scene was in a state of upheaval, torn between two extremes: Free Jazz on one side and Jazz-Rock Fusion on the other. Strangely this album presents a bit of both, since although conceptually belonging to the Jazz-Rock Fusion genre it features a few Free Form solos. Obviously Sadowski was shifting his organ playing stylistics from the traditional influences (Jimmy Smith) towards (then) contemporary keyboard approach represented by Herbie Hancock or Weather Report's Joe Zawinul. The use of vocalese, which was one of the trademarks of Polish Jazz at the time, utilized extensively by Urszula Dudziak in Michal Urbaniak's ensemble, is only one of the parallels between these two pioneering Fusion bands active at the time.

The space exploration, which seems a bit strange as a subject matter of a Jazz album, was at the time one of the main pillars of the Socialist propaganda, which excitedly participated in the space race between USSR and USA, with an obvious winning side. Picking such a subject increased of course significantly the possibility to have one's music released by the State controlled solitary record company in existence at the time in Poland (Polskie Nagrania).

In retrospect the album is a great document of the time at which it was recorded, proving that in spite of the relative separation from what was happing beyond the Iron Curtain, Polish Jazz was responding rapidly to the changes in the Jazz idiom, often with ferocity and ingenuity, which were impossible to hold back by the political regime.

As usual it is my duty to thank GAD Records for taking care of the Polish Jazz heritage, who is sadly a lonely rider on that trail. This superb music definitely needs to be fondly remembered and discovered by new generations!

Krzysztof Sadowski - 1970 - Krzysztof Sadowski And His Hammond Organ

Krzysztof Sadowski 
Krzysztof Sadowski And His Hammond Organ

01. Z Malej Chmury Duzy Deszcz / Heavy Rain From A Little Cloud [2:57]
02. Impressions Of The Beatles [8:30]
   a) With A Little Help From My Friends
   b) Yesterday
   c) A Hard Day's Night
03. Kolyszac Sie / Swinging [3:39]
04. Skad My To Znamy / Something Familliar [2:25]
05. Blues Z Moralem / Don't Count On Neal [4:35]
06. Ballada Z Filmu 'Rosemary's Baby' / Main Theme From 'Rosemary's Baby' [4:29]
07. Punkt Docelowy / Aim Point [4:33]
08. Za Pare Dziekow / For Thanks [4:38]

Polish Jazz vol. 21
Recorded in Warsaw, January 1970
Recording director: Wojciech Pietowski
Recording engineer: Halina Jastrzebska-Marciszewska

Krzysztof Sadowski - Hammond Organ (mod. M-120)
Andrzej Dabrowski - drums (1-4)

Jazz Studio Orchestra of the Polish Radio (5-8):
Jan 'Ptaszyn' Wroblewski - leader
Franciszek Kowalski - trumpet
Jozef Debek - trumpet
Jozef Grabarski - trumpet
Franciszek Gorkiewicz - trumpet
Pankracy Zdzitowiecki - trombone
Andrzej Piela - trombone
Stanislaw Kowalczyk - trombone
Kazimierz Morawski - trombone
Wladyslaw Zurkowski - saxophone
Zdzislaw Przybyszewski - saxophone
Albert Pradella - saxophone
Janusz Muniak - saxophone
Bronislaw Suchanek - bass
Janusz Stefanski - drums

Krzysztof Sadowski born in Warsaw, Poland December 15, 1936. He studied piano for eleven years while at school and after graduating from the Warsaw Institute of Technology took up a career in jazz (1957). In the early 1960s he played and recorded with Zbigniew Namyslowski's Jazz Rockers and Jan Wróblewski's Jazz Outsiders (both 1961-2), and worked with Andrzej Kurylewicz and the Swingtet led by the alto saxophonist Jerzy Matuszkiewicz. He achieved considerable success with his own group Bossa Nova Combo (from 1963), with which he toured the USSR (1965) and Scandinavia (1967).

In 1967, influenced by Jimmy Smith, he took up the Hammond organ and formed a hard-bop ensemble, the Organ Group. He also toured and recorded with his wife, the pop singer and flutist Liliana Urbanska. Sadowski has composed many popular hits in Poland, as well as music for films, theater, radio, and television, and two suites, On the Cosmodrome (recorded on Na Kosmodromie, 1972, Muza 7048) and Our Common World. Long time activist and executive of Polish Jazz Society.
The late 1960's ice rink feel of the first side is absolutely addictive, and the big payoff here. And that Beatles medley is (against all odds) actually very cool. Usually I tend to dislike that sort of thing, but imagine : a Beatles medley played on a cranky Hammond organ and a drum kit (only), recorded live with plenty of atmosphere and cool natural reverb to it.. and it almost sounds like ELP doing it, if Keith Emerson were actually blind drunk.. cracking !

Tons of quirkiness to savour all over the LP (although the second (jazzier) side isn't quite as great as the first), this is the kind of "borderline easy listening" stuff that's actually really quite nice.
This is the first album on the legendary Polish Jazz series, which is dedicated to the Hammond organ, the godfather of the electronic keyboards and probably the most significant new instrument, which dominated Jazz and Progressive Rock in the late 1960s and early 1970s (although available since the 1930s). Keyboardist Krzysztof Sadowski belongs to the first post WWII generation of Polish Jazz musicians, debuting in the 1950s and active on the local scene for many years. He combined his love of Jazz and Rock, playing with the leading ensembles of both genres with equal dedication and success. This album presents his Hammond organ performances in two different environments: Side A of the original LP captures him accompanied just by drummer Andrzej Dabrowski and the duo moves through a Rocky set, which includes a Beatles medley. Side B finds him accompanied by the Polish Radio Jazz Studio Orchestra, led by saxophonist / composer Jan "Ptaszyn" Wroblewski and featuring top Polish Jazz players, among them saxophonist Janusz Muniak, bassist Bronislaw Suchanek, drummer Janusz Stefanski and many others. This set is much closer to Jazz and features a beautiful version of Krzysztof Komeda's ballad from "Rosemary's Baby".

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Jazz Messengers - 1964 - 'S Make It

The Jazz Messengers
'S Make It

01. Faith 3:42
02. 'S Make It 5:28
03. Waltz For Ruth 5:44
04. One For Gamal 3:38
05. Little Hughie 5:33
06. Olympia 5:48
07. Lament For Stacy 5:35

Bass – Victor Sproles
Drums – Art Blakey
Piano – John Hicks
Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore
Trombone – Curtis Dubois Fuller
Trumpet – Lee Morgan

Art Blakey never disappoints, and this album is as good as it gets. Every song has a strong drive to it and I can't think of a jazz album that strikes me as having more of a sense of fun.

The compositions here take front seat to improvisation, which isn't to say there isn't first rate improv going on as well. Curtis Fuller's trombone work, especially, is first rate. Prior to this album I'd have say I didn't like trombone solos - they often sound a little stiff and awkward. Not from Mr. Fuller!

The only problem with this album is that this is the only release with this lineup (including, unless I am mistaken, live releases) so there's nowhere else to go to find more.

This echoes the sentiment of the other reviews on here - I was expecting a lot from this side, especially because of its high praise from critics and it being the only session by this line-up - but it fell short. A band with Lee Morgan, John Gilmore, Curtis Fuller, John Hicks, and Victor Sproles being powered by Blakey could hit a really powerful groove, but everyone just sounds bored.

The album is essentially a collection of boogaloos and blues. It may have sounded hip at the time because this was the "Sidewinder era," when everyone was playing countless boogaloo imitations of Morgan's hit tune, but to the modern listener it sounds tired. I even hear that Lee Morgan left Blakey a second time because he was tired of the leader calling The Sidewinder so much!

There are bright spots. Gilmore sounds really unique; it's a pity the tenor player didn't ever lead his own session. John Hicks sounds like an aggressive yet slick version of McCoy Tyner and plays some great solos. But the material can only provide so much inspiration and the result is that every track ends up sounding pretty samey.

Try to track down the bootleg/video of this band (minus Fuller) playing in London - much more creativity in the house on that day.