Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers – The Witch Doctor (1967) (2021 BN Tone Poet) Day 8 of FV’s 12 Days of Xmas

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – The Witch Doctor
2021 Blue Note Tone Poet | Original release 1967

This is a fantastic 1961 session (not issued until ’67) with Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, and Bobby Timmons, but man the drum solos are recorded horribly.  Seems really odd, seeing as it was the drummer’s group… Nice Tone Poet pressing though, in general.  One of my pandemic pleasures has been buying up lots of these Blue Note reissues of titles that have generally been beyond my reach; under Don Was’s stewardship of the catalog, they have been doing a first-rate job at making them available to people who are not willing or able to pay the ‘trophy hunter’ prices of the collectors market.  There are occasional blips and hiccups in quality control — I returned a Paul Chambers release last summer which had very noticeable distortion which, according to a little research, seemed to afflict a whole bunch of copies in that pressing run.  But by and large I have no complaints. Or at least few.

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Pharoah Sanders, Floating Points & The London Symphony Orchestra – Promises (2021) Day 6 of FV 12 Days of Xmas

Pharoah Sanders, Floating Points & The London Symphony Orchestra – Promises (2021, Luaka Bop)


Since I mentioned this on Day 5, it seems only natural and right that Day 6 should be this wonderful record from Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The LSO.  I’m not going to say much of anything about it; I know there were many reviews of this album and I am sure many of them are also wonderful.  The album was conceived and recorded during the pandemic and somehow felt like the album we needed, even if we may not have deserved it.  A proprietor of a local record shop where I live didn’t like it, he complained that it sounded “new age” — a characterization that I think is neither accurate nor fair – and that Pharoah barely plays on it, and is too subdued.  But (as I mentioned yesterday) the mood here is very introspective, and feels like a musical meditation on the passing of time, on the luxury and strangeness of having lived to an old age.  Any new worlds that Pharoah may seek to discover at this point are more subtle than the soaring heights of his youthful work, somewhere in between the planes, teetering suspended between the flesh and the disincarnate.  I have this one on vinyl, but I’m still digesting it, so it’s not the version I’m sharing here.

Charles Lloyd & The Marvels – Tone Poet (2021) Day 5 of FV’s 12 Days of Christmas


Charles Lloyd & The Marvels gifted us a new album in 2021, and it’s an inspired one too.  The Marvels are a piano-less ensemble with two guitarists – Bill Frisell plays the standard six-string, and Greg Leisz plays the pedal steel.  This makes for some interesting arrangements, especially on tunes where you’d expect to hear a piano, like um, Monk’s Mood.  The guitars manage to fill in a lot of the empty space where those 88 keys would be.  Sometimes Frisell flips the tremolo switch on his amplifier and treats us to vibraphone-like textures.  Charles Lloyd is sort of an elder statesman at this point and it’s great to hear him making this kind of joyful music. The two opening Ornette Coleman cuts, for example, especially “Ramblin,'” earns the adjective “rollicking” from me.  It injects some NOLA second-line funk into the rhythmic structure and has some of the best interplay between the musicians of any of the tunes here.  It’s followed by a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” that probably shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does, albeit maybe a bit too sweetly reverent.  It’s tempting to contrast this simple but elegant record with a very different 2021 release from another elder statesman and true giant: Pharoah Sanders’s “Promises,”a collaboration with composer and electronic knob-twiddler Floating Points, which was a lovely surprise of this year.  But whereas that album is densely textured and pensive, maybe even somber at times, and feels like Winter, or a musical reflection on the closing years of a long and fruitful life, “Tone Poem” is light and buoyant, feels like Spring, and makes me think or at least hope that Charles Lloyd & the Marvels still have a lot of music left to make together.

A1 – Peace (03:15)
A2 – Ramblin’ (05:01)
A3 – Anthem (06:22)
B1 – Dismal Swamp (06:31)
B2 – Tone Poem (09:08)
C1 – Monk’s Mood (10:30)
C2 – Ay Amor (Live) (10:09)
D1 – Lady Gabor (10:53)
D2 – Prayer (08:42)

Total length: 01:10:31

More information:

Alto Flute – Charles Lloyd (tracks: B1)
Bass – Reuben Rogers
Design, Photography By – Dorothy Darr
Drums – Eric Harland
Guitar – Bill Frisell
Lacquer Cut By – JH*, KPG*
Layout – Meat And Potatoes, Inc.
Liner Notes – CL*
Management – Dorothy Darr, Forest Farm Music + Art
Management [Proudly Presented By The Blue Note/Capitol Team] – Alex Anastasi, Cem Kurosman, Don Was, Eduardo Ribeiro (2), Francisco Marmol, Joshua Kamzan, Justin Seltzer, Melissa Cohen, Rachel Jones (7)
Mastered By – Kevin Gray
Mixed By – Michael C. Ross
Producer [Produced By] – Charles Lloyd, Dorothy Darr
Recorded By – Adam Camardella (tracks: C2), Dom Camardella (tracks: D2), Michael C. Ross (tracks: A1 to C1, D1)
Steel Guitar – Greg Leisz
Supervised By [Supervision: Tone Poet] – Joe Harley
Tenor Saxophone – Charles Lloyd (tracks: A1 to A3, B2 to D2)

LINEAGE: 2021 Blue Note B003313501; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica Signet TK7E cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest Black Mamba and Pangea Premier interconnect cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed manually with Adobe Audition 3.0; resampled and dithered using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


All resolutions: 16/44, 24/96, 24/192


password: vibes

Chet Baker – It Could Happen To You: Chet Baker Sings (1958) (2021 Craft Records) 12 Days of Xmas – Day 2

Chet Baker – It Could Happen To You: Chet Baker Sings
2021 Craft Recordings RLP 1119 – Original Release 1959 Riverside

Around the world in late December, millions of the faithful gather together to commemorate the birth and short life of a golden child: Chet Baker, born December 23, 1929.  He would have been 92 this year.  If you love Chet’s vocal sessions – and I happen to love them – then you likely already know this essential record. This 2021 Craft Recordings reissue does not disappoint.  The sessions feature the magnificent Kenny Drew on piano, and Philly Joe Jones sharing the drum chair with Dannie Richmond.  It is also features the future Lionel Ritchie hit, “Dancing On The Ceiling” in it’s original arrangement. Continue reading

Kelle Patterson – Maiden Voyage (1973) (2020 Black Jazz / RGM) – 12 Days of Xmas, Day 1

Kellee Patterson – Maiden Voyage
Vinyl transfer in 24-bit/192 kHz | 300 dpi scans | Jazz, Vocal Jazz
2020 Real Gone Music RGM-1189/ Original Release 1973 Black Jazz

Welcome to what might become a new tradition here: Flabbergasted Vibes’ Twelve Days of Christmas.  There’s been a ton of great music that has helped me get through the last year, and although I don’t have as much time to write about it as I did once upon a time, I’d still like to spread the word and the joy, hence this “holiday event” with some short and sweet blog posts.  In 2021, reissue label Real Gone Music finished putting out the rest of the Black Jazz catalog, the first time this significant body of work has received a legitimate reissue campaign. This Kellee Patterson album was resissued last year, and is a singular entry in the catalog of Black Jazz records – a set of sweet and soulful vocal jazz. She would go on to make some solid jazz-funk-disco albums later in the decade, but nothing that sounded quite like this.   Note that the title track is the classic by Herbie Hancock with the addition of lyrics.  The reissue features informative liner notes from Pat Thomas, but unlike the original releases, these are not also pressed as quadrophonic discs.

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Salah Ragab & The Cairo Jazz Band – Egypt Strut (1974) (2021 RSD Strut reissue)

Salah Ragab & The Cairo Jazz Band – Egypt Strut
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC & mp3|  300 dpi scans | Jazz
2021 RSD Strut Records , Ltd. ed 3000 copies | Original release 1974


Original copies of this flabbergasting bit of rare groove jazz, released by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture,  change hands for thousands of dollars. It’s seen a couple of CD releases but was reissued as a double LP with extras by Strut Records for RSD 2021 with a later, single-LP version planned for the fall. But forget the scarcity factor: the music is jaw-dropping good, like Lalo Schifrin met Perez Prado and early Sun Ra for a jam at the Great Pyramids.  Continue reading