Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Coleman Hawkins - (1960) Coleman Hawkins And His Orchestra LP

The abiding contemporaneous of Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969) became in the late Fifties something of a cliché. But cliché or not, he was a 56-year-old veteran who started in jazz 40 years earlier with Mamie Smith s Jazz Hounds, and who when he recorded these sessions more than held his own with younger jazzmen like Thad Jones and Eddie Costa. That is because Hawk was always ahead, harmonically. It was a thing of wonder, to be sure, to hear Hawkins blowing with those modernists in this relaxed set where none of the tempos rises above medium-up. All frameworks for blowing are in the familiar mould of theme-solos-outchorus, and the full session finds Hawk in great form, as if he s got all the time in the world to make his point with a succession of gorgeous solos, full of warmth and invention. Thad Jones, always an intelligent player, is clever and distinctive on open or muted horn, Eddie Costa brings his individuality to bear on vibes and piano, contributing unconventionally and excitingly, while Duvivier and Johnson display fine rapport with him, blending together in a swinging, effective rhythm section.

Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Denny Diaz - (1978) You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It (Or You'll Lose That Beat) LP

You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It (Or You'll Lose That Beat) is an eight-track, 31-and-a-half-minute soundtrack to a low-budget 1970 film that features an embryonic version of Steely Dan: Donald Fagen on keyboards, Walter Becker on bass and guitar, and Denny Dias on guitar and percussion, plus John Discepolo on drums. There are only four actual songs, plus three instrumentals and a reprise of the title track. Yet the playing is suggestive of the sinuous sound that Becker and Fagen would cook up a couple of years hence in the Dan. Nevertheless, it should be sought out by hardcore fans only; there are no gems here, only some baubles.

Eddie ''Lockjaw'' Davis With Shirley Scott - (1963) Smokin' LP

Tenor-saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis cut enough material during these two sessions to fill up four records. The seven selections included on this brief 36-minute LP which was recorded during the same period as Davis's better-known Cookbook albums) also include Jerome Richardson (switching between flute, tenor and baritone) on three of the numbers, bassist George Duvivier and drummer Arthur Edgehill. Together the group swings hard on basic originals, blues and an occasional ballad, showing why this type of accessible band was so popular during the era.

Eddie ''Lockjaw'' Davis With Shirley Scott, Jerome Richardson - (1958) The Eddie ''Lockjaw'' Davis Cookbook Vol. 1 LP

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Shirley Scott set an enduring standard for tenor saxophone/ organ groups, beginning with this their first recording together. Davis' authoritative, hard swinging style came through his seasoning as a key player in the Count Basie band. Scott, an accomplished pianist, took up the organ when she joined Davis in 1955, emerging with her distinctive, driving yet subtle style virtually fully formed. The music on this 1958 date holds few surprises; it's meat and potatoes all the way, but it's made using the choicest ingredients. The barbecue sauce is applied in moderation, as the band steers closer to Basie-style swing than to overt R&B riffing. Davis and his working band -- Scott and drummer Arthur Edgehill -- are joined here by reed player Jerome Richardson and bassist George Duvivier. Richardson, playing flute on most tracks, provides a useful complement to Davis' tenor. Duvivier is indispensable in anchoring the music with a commanding walking bass. Edgehill's quick, light touch helps maintain the swinging, jazzy feel. The tracks comprise three strong Davis originals, two standards, including "But Beautiful," which ranks as a master class in ballad playing, and the CD's centerpiece, the 12-minute plus "In the Kitchen." This slow blues by Johnny Hodges has room for extended soloing all around in a performance that underlines the skill, passion and artistry that made the Davis and Scott partnership a potent and influential combination.

Erskine Hawkins - (1962) Erskine Hawkins Salutes 25 Golden Years Of Jazz Vol. 1 LP

A talented high-note trumpeter and a popular bandleader, Erskine Hawkins was nicknamed "the 20th Century Gabriel." He learned drums and trombone before switching to trumpet when he was 13. While attending the Alabama State Teachers College, he became the leader of the college band, the 'Bama State Collegians. They went to New York in 1934, became the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra, started making records in 1936, and by 1938 were quite successful.

Roger Miller - (1964) The Return Of Roger Miller LP

Allowed to hit with full power on his second album for Smash, Roger Miller presents an album made up completely of his own compositions, quite an achievement in country music circles. The songs reach way beyond the genre into stylistic realms that are difficult to pinpoint, although certain facts are beyond question. They are classic American songs which hold up alongside the best of any generation. They are also songs that appeal to children of all ages, partly due to a whimsical nature that borders on anarchy. His portrait of the "King of the Road" is packed with detail and nuance like a Vincent van Gogh painting, while other songs skip along as if they are about absolutely nothing, tongue firmly in cheek when eventually revealing the message. Like many country releases of this era, this is hardly a bargain in playing time, but Miller gets it all in, balancing the humorous and serious songs, stretching out just a touch on the more swinging numbers and packing something of six verses of gibberish into well less than two minutes of "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd." All praises to Miller the songwriter, but let's not forget the terrific sidemen and arrangements that make each of these recordings so special. It would have been nice if they had credited the guys at the time! One of the most unique things about this material, much of it recorded over a two-day marathon session, is that the sound almost always focuses around the leader's guitar style, which was eccentric to say the least. Scat singing was certainly not the norm in country, let alone combined with instrumental leads in the Slam Stewart tradition. Mainstay instruments of country music, such as fiddle or pedal steel, don't make much of an appearance, instead the sound is built up around doubling of acoustic and electric guitars, with a piano-heavy rhythm section holding everything in place. Small but telling touches make the tracks happen big time, the best example of which would be the finger snapping on "King of the Road," credited over the years to everyone from Miller's sidekick guitarist Thumbs Carlisle to the Lone Ranger.

Jozsef Simandy - (1960) Sings 10''

József Simándy (born Kistarcsa, September 18, 1916 - died Budapest March 4, 1997) was a Hungarian tenor with German origins. His name in Hungarian form is Simándy József, his original family name is Schulder. A student of Emilia Posszert, he joined the chorus of the Hungarian State Opera in 1940; in 1946, he made his debut as Don José in Carmen in Szeged. In 1947, he returned to the Budapest Opera, where he was the leading heroic tenor until 1984. He performed regularly in Munich as well, from 1956 until 1960. Besides heroic tenor roles, Simándy took on lyric and spinto parts as well; he was best known for his Radames, Lohengrin, and Otello. Recordings include two operas by Ferenc Erkel, Bánk bán and Hunyadi László, in both of which he sang the title role.

Unwound - (2013) 7/26/2001 LP

Unwound reunited in July of 2001 with original drummer Brandt Sandeno for a quick run through their old songs at Olympia’s Phoenix Street House. A decade removed from their post-hardcore roots, with heaps of technical proficiency to go around, the trio blazed through their debut album and a few Giant Henry cuts for a select number of Olympians, just prior to the release of their final album, Leaves Turn Inside You.

Unwound - (2014) 6/30/1999: Reykjavik, Iceland LP

In the summer of 1999, Unwound spent two months crisscrossing Europe. They began in Brussels, hit Germany, the Netherlands, and France twice each, spent a week in London and cut a Peel Session, and finally touched down in Reykjavik, Iceland, for a gig and session at RUV. The trio was on their way to recording their opus, and lingered just long enough in the past to revisit a few marquee highlights, stretching them out into droney sonatas drenched in feedback.

1000 copies of this live LP have been pressed, and those can only be purchased with a pre-order of No Energy. A handsome hand-screened jacket houses the affair, utilizing the bunny rabbit logo of noted Icelandic record store Hljómalind.