Horace Tapscott Quintet – The Giant Is Awakened (1969)

Horace Tapscott Quintet
The Giant Is Awakened
1969 original release, Flying Dutchman
2020, this reissue Real Gone Music RGM-1012

Juneteenth is now a federal holiday in the United States.  I don’t wish to take away from the significance of that recognition, especially for those old enough to remember the days of Jim Crow.  But you’ll have to indulge my skepticism about whether this represents a movement toward genuine reckoning and reparations, or whether its a gesture to make white folks feel better.   But while you have your red drink of choice today, and reflect on history and which parts of the past are not past, maybe you can also enjoy this monumental album from the Horace Tapscott Quintet, featuring Arthur Blythe on saxophone.  Tapscott was engaged with a variety of endeavors aligned with a radical black political vision, from the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra and the UMGAA, to supplying music for an album by Elaine Brown of the Panthers.

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Chester Thompson – Powerhouse (1971) (2021 Black Jazz / RGM)

 

Chester Thompson – Powerhouse
2021 Real Gone Music RGM-1202 / Original Release 1971 Black Jazz

This is a short (seriously short, only 27 minutes) but sweet LP from future Tower of Power and Santana organist, Chester Thompson.  Not to be confused with the drummer Chester Thompson, who toured with Genesis in the post-Peter Gabriel years and also played in Santana’s 1980’s lineup at the same time as this Chester, which caused this Chester to start using his middle initial to help people keep them straight.  There is also a song called Mr. T that predates the A-Team by a decade.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the music:

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Marion Brown – Porto Novo (1969) (2020 RSD Org Music)

Marion Brown – Porto Novo
Original release 1969 as Polydor 583 724
Reissued in 1975 as Arista/Freedom AL 1001
This reissue, 2020 ORG Music / Freedom (ORGM-2149)

I thought a change of pace was warranted here to correspond with a new chapter in my life.  Marion Brown played pretty “free” but he could still swing as well as squonk.  He made this album a few years after moving to Europe in the late 60s.  It’s hard at times to believe this is just three people. The lively, engaging drum and cymbal work by a young Hans Bennink deserves special mention here.  Originally released with a different cover on the Polydor label, this 2020 Record Store Day reissue uses the image from the mid-70s Arista version but is pressed on gorgeous red vinyl.  I’ve included a variety of alternate covers below just for fun. Continue reading

Roland Haynes – 2nd Wave (1975) (2020 Black Jazz / Real Gone Music)

 

It’s a total coincidence (or is it?) that my first two posts about the Black Jazz reissues have been by keyboardists, without any brass or reeds in their band. Weird, eh? This record, “2nd Wave” is great stuff by a one-and-done mysterious key tickler, Roland Haynes. There are actually two Fender Rhodes players here, so that should be welcomed by those of you for whom there is Never Enough Rhodes.  Not much is known about Roland Haynes, a situation that is not cleared up by the liner notes by Pat Thomas in the insert.  Continue reading

Gene Russell – New Direction (1972) (Black Jazz BJ01 – RSD 2020)

Gene Russell
New Direction
Real Gone Music RGM1018
Released: 29 Aug 2020
Limited Edition, RSD exclusive, Clear with Black Swirl
US  Original release on BLACK JAZZ RECORDS as BJ/1 in 1971

Well, it has been nearly two months since my last post here. I had planned to share this record at the beginning of the year, hoping that 2021 would symbolize a “new direction” for the world.  But those hopes got dashed just a few days in.

I haven’t been sitting around in the bad kind of funk and stewing in my own juices, however.  The Doctor has just been busy putting food on the table.  And watching more films than last year, so far. That was one of my New Year’s Resolutions. Continue reading

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival (1972/1996)

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival
Original release 1972 Polydor (Japan)
1996 CD reissue Verve Records 314531641-2

Dipping back into the Roy Ayers Ubiquity catalog, this live performance hails from pretty early in their trajectory, and this version was expanded from the original LP to include 4 extra tracks for what is probably a pretty complete representation of their set.  (more below the break) Continue reading