Dom Salvador e Abolição – Som, Sangue e Raça (1971)

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DOM SALVADOR E ABOLIÇÃO
SOM, SANGUE E RAÇA
1971 CBS (137735)

First CD pressing – Sony Music (Brasil) / Columbia (2-495859) 2001

Reissue on Selo Cultura / Sony Music 2010

1 Uma vida (Dom Salvador, Abolição)
2 Guanabara (Arnoldo Medeiros, Dom Salvador)
3 Hei! Você (Getúlio Côrtes, Nelsinho)
4 Som, sangue e raça (Marco Versiani, Dom Salvador)
5 Tema pro Gaguinho (Dom Salvador)
6 O Rio (Arnoldo Medeiros, Dom Salvador)
7 Evo (Pedro Santos, Dom Salvador)
8 Numbre one (Dom Salvador)
9 Folia de reis (Paulo Silva, Jorge Canseira)
10 Moeda, reza e cor (Marcos Versiani, Dom Salvador)
11 Samba do malandrinho (Dom Salvador)
12 Tio Macrô (Arnoldo Medeiros, Dom Salvador)

Dom Salvador – piano and accordion
Luiz Carlos – drums and vocals
Rubão Sabino – bass
Oberdam P. Magalhães – Alto sax and flute
Serginho – trombone
Darcy – trumpet and flugelhorn
José Carlos – guitar
Nelsinho – percussion and vocal
Mariá – vocal

Artistîc direction – Ian Guest
Photography – Franklin Correâ

Reeissue project supervision by Charles Gavin
Remastered from the original tapes by Luigi Hoffer at DMS Studies, Rio

dom salvador

This is a huge album — and the ONLY album — from Dom Salvador e Abolição, who were part of the Brazilian soul music explosion in the wake of Tim Maia’s first record, performing at festivals alongside Tim, Toni Tornado, Antonio Adolfo e Brazuca, and others. Long forgotten about, perhaps because it was ahead of its time in its eclecticism and sophistication, it was reissued on CD for the first time some years ago — I am not sure when, unfortunately. This pressing is part of a brand-new series of reissues put out by my favorite book & recordstore, Livraria Cultura. (Think a Brazilian Borders or Barnes and Noble, but with occasional art openings, lectures, and live performances..) I bought it the same week it arrived, and found this review from Tarik de Souza (possibly my favorite Brazilian music critic at the moment) had been online for some time, indicating that it had already seen a CD reissue previously.

I have translated the first paragraph of that review into English. As you can see, this band contained the nucleus of Banda Black Rio, who would become icons of the funk and soul movement in Brazil. The rest of the review talks about pianist Dom Salvador’s background as part of jazz trios such as Rio 65 and Copa Trio, the latter of which provided backing support to both Elis Regina and Jorge Ben. He goes on to describe a few chosen tracks and their use of electric and acoustic piano, brass, cuíca and accordion in their mixture of funk, samba, baião, and jazz. Dom Salvador moved to the USA later in the 70s and has never left. He also has a website, which also includes a page with this sadly small discography on it but little else.

I can’t really add much to Tarik’s review as he is very good at what he does! Enjoy this one.
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Partial Flabber translation

This isn’t just a seminal album recovered by the meticulous work of researcher Charles Gavin (Titãs). It is an estuary. All the black rivers that would form Brazilian funk/hip-hop flow through it. Led by Paulista pianist Salvador Silva Filho – Dom Savlador – “Som, Sangue, e Raça” from 1971, one year after the explosion of Tim Maia on the scene, catalyzed the bossa nova and jazz background of its leader with the rhythm and blues of its members like saxophonist Oberdã Magalhães, newphew of samba-enredo master Silas de Olvieira and future leader of Banda Black Rio, who since the group Impacto 8 (which had, among others, Robertinho Silva on drums and Raul de Souza on trombone) had already been trying to reconcile MPB with Stevie Wonder and James Brown. Add to all this a mixture of samba, Nordestino accent, and even the black side of the Jovem Guarda represented by the authorial presence of of Getúlio Cortes (older brother of Gerson King Combo, our James Brown “cover”) in ‘Hei! Você’, one of the most-played tracks here. Alongside these elements and the preseence of Rubão Sabino (bass), who still called himself ‘Rubens’, drummer Luis Carlos (another member of Black Rio), the disc enlists the trumpet and flugelhorn of symphonic musician Darcy in place of the original Barrosinho (yet one more founder of Black Rio), who was traveling during the recording but would end up being a leading force of the band.

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Este não é apenas um disco seminal, recuperado pelo trabalho meticuloso do titã pesquisador Charles Gavin. É um estuário. Todos os rios negros que formaram o funk/hip hop nativo confluem para ele. Comandado pelo pianista paulista Salvador Silva Filho, o Dom Salvador, Som, Sangue e Raça, de 1971, um ano depois da explosão de Tim Maia, cataliza a formação bossa nova & jazz do lider com rhythm & blues de integrantes como o saxofonista Oberdã Magalhães, sobrinho do mestre do samba enredo Silas de Oliveira e futuro líder da Banda Black Rio, que desde o grupo Impacto 8 (entre outros Robertinho Silva, bateria, Raul de Souza, trombone) já vinha tentando agregar MPB com Stevie Wonder & James Brown. Entram ainda na mistura samba, sotaque nordestino e até o lado negro gato da Jovem Guarda representado pela presença autoral de Getúlio Cortes (irmão do posterior Gerson King Combo, o nosso James Brown cover) em Hei Você!, uma das faixas mais destacadas. Além destes elementos e da presença de Rubão Sabino (baixo), que ainda se assinava Rubens, do baterista Luis Carlos (outro que integraria a Black Rio), o disco arregimenta o trompete e flugelhorn do músico de sinfônica Darcy no lugar do original Barrosinho (mais um fundador da BR), que estava excursionando durante a gravação, mas seria o titular da banda.

Egresso do Beco das Garrafas e a caminho dos EUA, para onde se mudaria em definitivo ainda nos 70, Dom Salvador liderou o Copa Trio ao lado do baixista Gusmão e do batera Dom Um Romão. O grupo serviria de suporte para as decolagens de Elis Regina e Jorge Ben (antes do Jor), entre outros. Formou também o Rio 65 Trio com o baterista Edison Machado. O noneto Abolição (aí incluído o vocal de sua esposa, Mariá) foi uma saída para o desgastado formato trio da bossa nova. E não só. Cada faixa de Som, Sangue e Raça é diferente da anterior por conta de um cuidadoso trabalho de fusão de elementos sonoros até contraditórios como o pique folk de retreta de Folia de Reis moldado em acordeon, sopros (até tu, tuba?) e uma intrusa cuíca. Moeda, Reza e Cor tem um encadeamento de sopros que lembra os arranjos de Gil Evans para Miles Davis, mas logo desagua num solo de piano funkiado pelo baixo elétrico. Samba do Malandrinho levado pianinho (no elétrico digitar de Don Salvador) remete para a bossa nova com direito a improvisos jazzísticos.

Já Tio Macrô, repleto de reviradas de sopro e contraritmo sustentado por baixo engata num samba funk. Intercalando grandiloquencia e balanço, Uma Vida abre com declamação e uma longa introdução pianística depois picotada pelos sopros. E tome funk na veia como nas instrumentais Guanabara e Number One. O piano elétrico alicerça O Rio, um funk andante que desata em samba de escola com direito a apitos. Também a construção de sopros funkiados da faixa título acaba num samba, movido a cuíca. Com acordeon e costura acústica, Tema pro Gaguinho lembra o choro dos regionais, só que devidamente turbinado. Hey! Você (belíssima a condução de sopros) combina R&B com um ritmo de baião que antecipa a fusão de Burt Bacharach. A tamborilada Evo emoldura um funkafro com cuíca e coro. A riqueza das combinações torna o resultado muito acima da média do pop ralo das FMs, o que talvez explique o fato de o disco não ter estourado a despeito de tantos ganchos no recheio. Agora em CD remasterizado haveria até uma nova chance, se a situação não tivesse mudado. Para pior.(Tárik de Souza)

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The inside sleeve blurb by Charles Gavin:
The album ‘Som, sangue e raça’ paves the way for future generations of musicians and producers of the carioca scene at the beginning of the 1970s. The lyrics that dealt with the question of race and the explosive fusion of samba, soul, jazz and funk, elaborated by Dom Salvador and his troupe, Abolição, established the bases for the development of new sounds and tendencies in Brazilian music.

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Baden Powell – É de lei (1972) (aka Images On Guitar)

baden powell
baden powell

Baden Powell
“É de lei”
Released 1972 on Philips (6349.036)
01 – Até Eu (Baden Powell / Paulo César Pinheiro)
02 – Petite Waltz (Baden Powell)
03 – Violão Vagabundo (Baden Powell / Paulo César Pinheiro)
04 – Conversa Comigo Mesmo (Baden Powell)
05 – Blues à Volonté (Baden Powell / Janine de Waleyne)
06 – Sentimentos Se Você Pergunta Nunca Vai Saber (Baden Powell)
07 – É de Lei (Baden Powell / Paulo César Pinheiro)
08 – Canto (Baden Powell)

Baden Powell – guitar,vocal
Janine de Valeyne – vocal
Ernesto Ribeiro Goncalvez – bass
Joaquim Paes Henrique – drums
Alfredo Bessa – percussion

Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000

This is a truly breathtaking album, one of the most progressive records I’ve heard by the great Baden Powell. A lot of the album is instrumental, but the vocals from Janine de Valeyne truly take those tracks to another sphere of existence, giving a baroque twist to the compositions (although I do have one friend who finds her vocals too operatic, I politely disagree with him). Baden’s own voice is technically-less-than-perfect but in other ways it is a perfect foil for his guitar playing, which is almost TOO perfect — his voice reminds us that he is human and not a machine! When the two of them sing together, the mixture is like sand and silk, and I fully approve. This is a unique record in Baden’s discography but it is a good example of why his music can be so hard to categorize, pushing boundaries between bossa nova, samba, jazz, classical. It is Baden Powell, and that’s all that needs to be said. For me, the monster cut on this album is “Blues à Volonté” where everyone just cuts loose in a 9-minute groove, complete with scat singing from both Baden and Janine. This tune convinces me that Baden Powell is the only Brazilian guitarist to actually understand the blues of black North America. And then there are other tracks full of ethereal beauty, like Sentimentos Se Você Pergunta Nunca Vai Saber, and Canto, the latter of which receives a good musical analysis in the review references below.

This album has been repackaged and reissued in a variety of ways: as “Images on Guitar” in Germany, in a double-CD set that includes all the MPS label recordings he made, and as part of an expensive 13-CD box set that is no longer in print.

There exists a wonderful German website devoted to Baden Powell that is a unparalleled resource for those interested in his massive body of work, which can be confusing to get a grip on since his recordings were issued in different countries with different titles and different album artwork and on different labels (often on different labels in the SAME country, it should be noted), then repackaged over the years in even more permutations. The site – Brazil On Guitar which you can find here – helps make sense of all this but also has attentive, serious reviews of the music. I have taken the liberty of reproducing the review for this album in its entirety. Not only did I learn a few things from it, but I concur completely with its aesthetic assessments:

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After his japanese studio recording in April 1971, this record was the third and last recording for MPS in cooperation with the Japanese Canyon label in October 1971. BP found a new quartet with Ernesto Ribeiro-Goncalves, Alfredo Bessa and the drummer Joaquim Paes Henriques, the last one would accompany him in studio and on stage until 1974. However, after this recording the quartet split up. The following recordings three weeks later were recorded without them. In 1990 Baden, Ernesto and Alfredo would work again together on the re-recording of the “Afro Sambas”.

BP’s Images on Guitar is conceptionally one of the best records of the seventies. Hardly any other record sounds as thematically closed as Images on Guitar or Canto on Guitar. While the last Quartet recordings had their focus on Afro-Brazilian music he was now playing his own compositions. Elaborate themes used elements from Jazz, Baroque, Blues and Funk. These combinations would remain unrepeated. Many of these themes were only recorded once.

Ate Eu can be seen as an continuation of the three last Quartet recordings of December, 1970. However Petite Valse seems to be the true introduction to this record. This title would be the first in many of his concerts.
While Baden Powell (1971) was an hommage to Garoto and Pixinguinha this record can be seen as an hommage to Janine de Waleyne. The complete title can only be found on the MPS cover: Images on Guitar / Baden + Janine.

In four duets BP gives his favourite singer the necessary space for her impressive voice. The dynamics of these compositions increase and culminate in Blues a volonte. It is a powerful and cheerful improvisation and the best example of the inspirational work of everyone involved in the recording. Conversa Comigo Mesmo (dialogue with myself) seems like a well-done extension of his 1966 recording Invencao Em 7 ½.
E de Lei, in an instrumental and accurate arrangement, is followed by the inspiring and evocative Canto.

Canto: the guitar takes up the theme of the vocals. In an short rhythmic part this seems reversed. The guitar gives the impulse. The last note of the vocal remains unaccompanied and is followed by an altered D-minor chord (Dm9/#11). This chord shows great tension. The powerful quint on the bass strings is eased by guide tones as chord extensions (Bb and E) on the higher strings Finally the motiv of descending perfect fifths is repeated, played only by the guitar. The piece ends with a straight quint sound (D,A,d). This seems like a confirmation or easing. Maybe Canto tries to show the importance of the voice as the original instrument, the instrumental player trying to imitate the voice.

The cover art of the German release is one of the most beautiful of BP’s covers.
The Japanese CD release lacks a reprint of the gatefold cover. The record was released as E De Lei in Brazil in 1972, with a release on CD in 2003.
The Japanese CD release is from 1998 (POCJ 2556), in 1997 the record (except for one track) was released on the CD: Jazz Meets Brasil
(MPS 533 133-2). A re-edition with the original cover art remains to be released.

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Vinyl rip is from a first pressing in VG+ condition with light surface noise in places but very dynamic and robust. As usual, I prefer to leave a potential click or pop alone when in doubt, rather than remove ‘wanted’ audio (in particular, the very last track, “Canto”). Single clicks were removed after Click Repair, but very sparingly and I am sure I didn’t get them all. There are other vinyl rips of this floating around the interwebs but I happen to think mine is “special”. There is also a 24-bit/96khz fileset available if anyone is interested.

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Eumir Deodato – Os Catedráticos 73 (1973)

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Eumir Deodato
“Os Catedráticos 73”
originally released 1973
This reissue 2008 on Atração Fonográfica (ATR41066)

Remastered by Cláudio Abuchaim
This album is no stranger to the blogosphere, being posted about on quite a few blogs featuring Brazilian music and rare groove delights. This post highlights a recent reissue on the label Atração Fonográfica that has given us a new remastering and fancy fold-out digipack graphic design, the same they have used for their other Deodato issues. I suspect that this album is so popular among rare groove enthusiasts because it has the same musical sensibility of post-bossa Brazilian jazz fusion infused with North American soul and funk that characterized his more famous recordings for CTI, but here they shine completely free of the sterile and sterilizing production prison of Creed Taylor. One other difference, however, is that Deodato almost exclusively plays the Hammond organ on this disc, with some occasional electric and acoustic pianos hanging back in the mix on a few cuts. An ignorant reviewer at AMG (which I realize is a redundant phrase..) talks about this record as some revolutionary marriage of the organ with Brazilian music that hadn’t been done before, which is of course utter bullshit — Walter Wanderley and Ed Lincoln were exploring this territory long before Sr.Eumir. But Deodato definitely takes the funky factor up a notch, and also incorporates the rhythms and cadence of other Latin American musical traditions — something he most definitely picked up in multicultural North America, and *not* in Brazil. And like all of Deodato’s work, there is a dose of “lounge” in the sound that is either an asset or a detriment depending on your orientation, but this album manages to swing pretty hard even when it gets ‘light,’ and anyone in their right mind has to give props for the arranging skills shown here. It should be mentioned that Os Catedráticos was also the name of a jazz-bossa combo that Deodato put together in the 60s, but as far as I can tell this record is a total reinvention with completely different musicians involved.The lineup on this album is rather crowded and confusing, so I have taken the liberty of using Doug Payne’s breakdown of it which is the most thorough I have seen, albeit a little tricky to read. It’s worth noting the presence of drummer Mamão from Azymuth and percussionist Orlandivo. Payne has also given a release history of the various labels this has appeared on (minus this more recent reissue on Atração). The album has also been issued as ‘Skyscrapers’ in some countries, with different song titles in English, and there has been at least one bootleg version on vinyl with the original cover according to Discogs.com. Note also the writing credits on two tracks to the Brothers Valle.

from the website of dougpayne.com

Eumir Deodato (p,org,arr,cond); Durval Ferreira (g, el-g); Zé Menezes (12 string g); Sergio Barroso (el-b); Ivan Conti (Mamão) (d); Bebeto (cga); Helcio Milito, Orlandivo (perc).

overdubbed in New York City: September and October 1972
Marvin Stamm, John Frosk (tp,flhrn); Phil Bodner (ts, c-flute); Romeo Penque (bs, g-flute); Eumir Deodato (el-p,arr,cond).

a. Arranha Céu (Skyscrapers) (Eumir Deodato) – 4:49
b. Flap (Marcos Valle/Paulo Sergio Valle) – 3:17
c. Rodando Por Aí (Rudy’s) (Eumir Deodato) – 3:09
d. O Jogo (Soccer Game) (Pacífico Mascarenhas) – 2:28
e. Atire A 1a Pedra (aka The First Stone) (Ataulfo Alves-Mário Lago) – 3:18
f. Puma Branco (The White Puma) (aka Elizeth)
(Marcos Valle/Paulo Sergio Valle) – 3:30
g. Passarinho Diferente (The Bird) (aka The Byrd) (Eumir Deodato) – 1:52
h. Extremo Norte (The Gap) (Eumir Deodato) – 3:52
i. Tô Fazendo Nada (Down The Hill) (Eumir Deodato) – 2:55
j. Menina (Boy Meets Girl) (Eumir Deodato) – 3:10
k. Carlota & Carolina (Carly & Carole) (Eumir Deodato) – 3:12

Issues: a-k on Equipe (Br) EQS 100.001, Ubatuqui (Sp) UBCD-105 [CD], Bomba (Jap) BOM-22068 [CD]. a-k also on Irma (It) 509563-1, Irma (It) 509563-2 [CD] titled SKYSCRAPERS.

Samplers: b & f also on Irma (It) 507901-2 [CD] titled SUMMER SAMBA.

Producer: Eumir Deodato. Executive Producer: Oswaldo Cadaxo (Equipe (Br) EQS 100.001). Eumir Deodato, Arnaldo DeSouteiro. Executive Producer: Carl Rosenthal (Ubatuqui (Sp) UBCD-105 [CD], Bomba (Jap) BOM-22068 [CD], Irma (It) 509563-1, Irma (It) 509563-2 [CD]).

Engineer: Ary Perdigão & Walter, George Klabin

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Gil Evans – Gil Evans & 10 (1957)

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Gil Evans – Gil Evans & Ten (1957)
Original release, Prestige 7120
This release Fantasy/Prestige (OJCCD 346-2)

Remember
(Irving Berlin)
Ella Speed
(Ledbetter , Lomax)
Big Stuff
(Leonard Bernstein)
Nobody`s Heart
(Lorenz Hart , Richard Rogers)
Just One Of Those Things
(Cole Porter)
If You Could See Me Now
(Sigman , Dameron)
Jambangle
(Gil Evans)

Bass – Paul Chambers
Bassoon – Dave Kurtzer
Drums – Nick Stabulas
French Horn – Willie Ruff
Piano – Gil Evans
Saxophone – Zeke Tolin (Lee Konitz) , Steve Lacy
Trombone – Jimmy Cleveland
Bass Trombone – Bart Varsalona
Trumpet – Jake Koven , Louis Mucci

Drums – Jo Jones (tracks: 1)
Trumpet – John Carisi (tracks: 1)

Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in Hackensack, NJ, September and October 1957

Remaster by Phil De Lancie in Berkeley, 1989

A casual look at the composition credits might tend to assessment that the listener is in for no big jazz surprises on this 1957 record, treading the songbook stalwarts of Gershwin, Rogers and Hart, and Cole Porter. But then there is the inclusion of Leadbelly, and Leonard Bernstein’s “Big Stuff” which he wrote for Billie Holiday. And the inclusion of an 11-piece ensemble on the record utilizing instruments like French horn, bass trombone, and bassoon. If Gil’s arranging skills aren’t enough to entice you, there is the buoyant bass of Paul Chambers, and great sax riffing from Steve Lacy and Lee Konitz (playing under the pseudonym of Zeke Tolin.. not sure why, contractual issues perhaps?). Jimmy Cleveland’s trombone is a treat, and Gil’s parsimonious piano never sounded sweeter. And I do mean SOUND too – Van Gelder works all his magic here, and the muted piano tones that Evans favored float nicely atop the lush sonorous carpet. Thanksfully, this is an original CD issue of the Prestige OJC pressing with Phil De Lancie’s mastering work, so we aren’t left at the mercy of Rudy’s recent travesties in remastering his own recordings… Thanks to ****** for providing the original rip of this one to me. (You know who you are.) 1957 was a very busy year for Gil Evans, and this album is among his best work.

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Bobby Hutcherson – Now! (1969) with Eugene McDaniels & Harold Land

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Bobby Hutcherson – Now!
Released 1969
BlueNote Records (BST 84333)

This reissue BN 73164

The first time I ever heard Bobby Hutcherson was probably on Eric Dolphy’s “Out To Lunch.” Even though everything on that album is noteworthy, memorable, and intriguing, I found Hutcherson’s work there particularly deserving of those superlatives. Capable of delicate texture and agile flight in his playing, he more than earns his reputation of a big fish in a rather small pond (post-bop vibraphonists). This album is something of a best-kept secret – the presence of not only Harold Land, whose other collaborations with Hutcherson are acclaimed by critics and audiences, but also Eugene McDaniels and Candido, should make this record stand out on anyone’s radar.

Eugene McDaniels’ career had one of the strangest trajectories in music: coming into his art as a bop jazz crooner who would sometimes share stages with Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, and Ornette Coleman, and then being catapulted to pop stardom with a string of R&B hit records in the 60s, morphing into a politicized soul-jazz-funk artist who made two amazing albums for Atlantic in the early 70s, then writing some notable songs (including a #1 hit) for Roberta Flack, and then mostly disappearing. These sessions were cut slightly before his landmark “Outlaw” album was released (coming soon to a blog near you, by the way).

The usage of a vocal chorus on this album remind me somewhat of “Up With Donald Byrd” (1965) but way more abstract. The album “Now!” is associated with Black Power consciousness. McDaniels’ lyrics may not be as weirdly radical as on his own Atlantic releases that inspired Kissinger to suggest wiretapping his house or whatever, but they are still pretty out-there. They unfold more in the form of tone-poems than straightforward lyrics. Some of them are rather hard to make out (the song ‘Now!’ for example) and a search around the interwebs yielded no results for transcriptions. Here are some samples from the opening cut –

Free soul soul free touch me heal you change
Lock your lost key touch me heal you change
Free soul soul free touch me free me
Touch the spiral falling upwards
God is watching, God is dying, slow change

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Eugene McDaniels

Anchoring the quintet is drummer Joe Chambers, whose albums credits also include Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Andrew Hill, McCoy Tyner, Charles Mingus, and Archie Shepp. His work, described somewhere as “cymbal-driven forward motion” is propulsive and staggering, bringing that motion to the brink of collapse in places, a mimetic counterpoint to the lyrics.

The next track, “Hello To The Wind”, written by Chambers, is gorgeous in description-defying ways. It would be better to let the listener to experience this with no preambling words of introduction or commentary. It grabs you from the opening measures of the guitar arpeggios and McDaniels voice. A little more than halfway through this piece McDaniels breaks into some vocalizations that fall somewhere between Qallawi singing and Leon Thomas, curling my toenails and raising the hair on the back of my neck, and Candido breaks into very heavy and relentless santería territory on the congas. This cut might well be the best example I can think of that blends accessible melodic figures (damn near ‘pop music’) dropped amid post-bop intimations of free jazz

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I was thinking the other day that I have most likely overused the word “haunting” during the nearly two years this blog has been active . What do we mean when we call a piece of music haunting? Do we mean that a melodic line lingers in our consciousness long after the music comes to a stop? Wouldn’t we just call that “catchy”? Or is it the sensation of that melody, harmonic internal, rhythmic change, coming back hours and hours later, “coming back to haunt us”? Does it remind us of things we can’t forget, or refuse to forget? Or do not want to forget. Not yet. All the tales of wandering spirits roaming among us have at least this much in common – that such shades and ghosts call to us because they have not received the proper rites required for a peaceful rest in the afterworld. This is where the difference between forgetting and letting go is salient. There are things we should not, ever, forget – the experience of love found or faded; our friends and ancestors gone from this earth; the rape of your land, your sisters and mothers; the enslavement of your people. Finding peace is no easy road and there are plenty of reasons we might not want to find it, or let it find us. We become haunted. It abets our hunger for vengeance or vindication, it is aided by the sting of slights, loss, and injustice. The song “Now!” was composed by Hutcherson for a lost friend, the bassist Albert Stinson.

After the song-suite of the first side, the second side of this record stretches out. Wally Richardson plunks down dissonant squalls of understated guitar on “The Creators,” the electric piano of Stanley Cowell punching out a carpet of sound, the bass and drums locked in a smoky and deliciously repetitive paean to the old gods ending in hand-claps and more Candido. The final cut “Black Heroes” is more hard bop and the lyrics here are the ones most obviously connected with black consciousness and civil rights. The word “now” again enters our awareness. “Lies are wearing so thin the people can see through them now. Now. Freedom now! Right now!” Harold Land takes the first solo, twisting around the main theme in contortions of Coltrane; Hutcherson follows with quick jolts to our blood pressure. Be careful. Did I mention Bobby Hutcherson is on this record? I haven’t talked about him much because it goes without saying that he is in his element here as master of ceremonies. This album qualifies for the Flabbergast stock phrase of “a singular addition to his discography.” It really is. I wouldn’t lie to you.

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After the original album are bonus tracks from a 1978 platter called “Blue Note Meets the L.A. Philharmonic” (BN-LA870) that also featured Carmen McRae and Earl Klugh. Normally these Blue Note CD’s feature alternate takes from the same sessions, a practice that tends to appeal mostly to the jazz fanatics. But this time it’s quite different, as we get to hear the song-suite from the original album’s first half played 8 years later with full orchestra and new arrangements. I miss the inspired playing of the original quintet (especially Chambers and Land) but these guys aren’t chopped liver either and Eddie Marshall lays down some serious funk. The real treat here is the orchestra, giving a fifth dimension to what were already transcendent pieces of music. The sound is nothing short of stunning on this live recording. Bereft of McDaniel’s lyrics, the orchestra still manages to bring out the grace and fluidity of his contributions, hanging in the air like an after-image on our aural retinas. After the reprise of “Now!” we can hear an enchanted audience in what is almost certainly a standing ovation. Rather than the often-repetitive alternate takes for the jazz scholar, this addition to the CD version is a wonderful coda to what may be Hutcherson’s most overlooked album.

1 Slow Change 7:14
2 Hello To The Wind 5:56
3 Now 2:44
4 The Creators 12:32
5 Black Heroes 7:03
6 Slow Change 5:05
7 Now 2:49
8 Hello To The Wind 3:06
9 Now (Reprise) 1:43

Personnel: Tracks 1 – 5: Bobby Hutcherson: Vibraphone; Harold Land: Tenor Sax; Kenny Barron: Piano; Stanley Cowell: Piano; Herbie Lewis: Bass; Joe Chambers: Drums: Wally Richardson: Guitar, Electric Guitar; Candido Camero: Conga; Gene McDaniels: Vocals; Hilda Harris: Vocals; Albertine Robinson: Vocals; Christine Spencer: Vocals.

Tracks 6 – 9: Bobby Hutcherson: Vibraphone Manny Boyd: tenor and soprano saxophone; George Cables: piano; James Leary: bass; Eddie Marshall: drums; Bobbye Porter Hall: percussion; Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Calvin Simmons.

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password: vibes

Jimmy McGriff – Soul Sugar & Groove Grease (1971)

Jimmy McGriff
Soul Sugar / Goove Grease
Two albums both released 1971 on Groove Merchant
Reissue on Groove Hut Records 2007 (GH66704)
McGriff

1 Sugar Sugar
2 Ain’t It Funky Now
3 Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours
4 Dig on It
5 Bug Out
6 Now Thing
7 You’re the One
8 Fat Cakes
9 New Volume
10 Spirit in the Dark

McGriff

11 Groove Grease
12 Bird
13 Plain Brown Bag
14 There Will Never Be Another You
15 Canadian Sunset
16 Mr Lucky
17 Moonglow
18 Red Sails in the Sunset
19 Secret Love

I think the only way these two records could make me happier is if they opened up with a soul version of “Yummy Yummy Yummy I’ve Got Love in My Tummy.” Since it does not I suppose I can accept “Sugar Sugar” in its place. If this disc was any more fun it would be illegal. Before Jimmy Smith thought of covering pop and soul hits with marvelously funky results, Jimmy McGriff was already laying down cuts to make the jazz purists wince while turning up their erudite noses. McGriff didn’t care and doesn’t seem to have been restrained by such labels, often positioning himself as more of a blues player anyway. I have been meaning to do a post here about another fabulous Groove Merchant disk he did with soul-blues singer Junior Parker that is just amazing. All in good time, even though I’ve been thinking about doing that post for over a year now…

Since a great deal of songs on these two albums are all-instrumental covers of hit songs, you can feel free to use it at your next karaoke party. That is if you are not only prepared to tread the same musical ground as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, and Aretha Franklin, but also spar with the infectious chops of Mr. McGriff. My guess is that he will upstage you. But feel free to give it a go.

A glance at the lineup on these two platters may not cause any names to jump out at some of you. But his musicians here all have a pretty impressive pedigree, having played with the likes of Nina Simone, Eric Dolphy, Ahmad Jamal, Art Tatum, Stan Getz, Pharoah Sanders, B.B.King, Lonnie Liston Smith, Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, among others and many more. Particularly noteworthy is bassist Richard Davis who just dominates these two albums like the monster he was. He sometimes plays with a phasor enevelope-follower effect on his bass that adds a nice subtle twist to his tone.

Both albums also have fabulously tacky blaxploitation jackets, the better to arouse you with.

Weird side note: according to a friend of mine, the first three tracks of Groove Grease on this reissue are HDCD encoded. Although it’s not uncommon to find HDCD coding on discs that don’t mention it on the packaging, it is somewhat mysterious why they would encode three tracks and stop. I actually have an HDCD player packed away in a storage shed full of audio gear but I am not about to drag it out to verify this. I will take my friend’s word for it, and pass it on to you for what it’s worth.

I think anybody with a pulse will find themselves enjoying this music. And I promise I will have that collaboration with Junior Parker here before the year is out..

McGriff

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