Wilson Simonal – Na Odeon 1961-1971 (2004)

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By request, and to toast the arrival of new readers, here is a repost from Wilson Simonal. Fixed links and all the rest. Just remember to check the comments, the legend Carlos Imperial left us something important!

See the original post HERE

p.s. I promise there will be new blog posts soon. I’ve been insanely busy for the last few months.

Azar Lawrence – Bridge Into The New Age (1974)

Azar Lawrence
Bridge Into The New Age
Prestige P-10086 1974
 
 
Bridge Into The New Age     6:45
Fatisha     4:05
Warriors Of Peace     7:59
Forces Of Nature     8:41
The Beautiful And Omnipresent Love     10:07

01 – Bridge Into The New Age  6:45

    Arranged By – Ernie Straughter
Bass – Clint Houston
Drums – Billy Hart
Lyrics By – Ray Straughter
Percussion – Guillerme Franco
Trumpet – Woody Shaw
Vibraphone – Woody Murray
Voice – Jean Carn
Written-By – Azar Lawrence

    02 – Fatisha     4:05

   Percussion – Kenneth Nash
Piano – Joe Bonner
Written-By – Azar Lawrence

03 – Warriors Of Peace  7:59

 Alto Saxophone – Black Arthur
Bass – John Heard
Congas, Percussion – Mtume
Drums – Ndugu
Piano – Joe Bonner
Written-By – Azar Lawrence

04     Forces Of Nature     8:41

    Alto Saxophone – Black Arthur
Arranged By, Written-By – Ernie Straughter
Bass – John Heard
Congas, Percussion – Mtume
Drums – Ndugu
Flute – Hadley Caliman
Piano – Joe Bonner
Trombone – Julian Priester

05 – The Beautiful And Omnipresent Love   10:07

    Arranged By – Ernie Straughter
Bass – Clint Houston
Drums – Billy Hart
Flute [Wood Flute], Lyrics By – Ray Straughter
Percussion – Guillerme Franco
Percussion [Intro Only] – Kenneth Nash
Trumpet – Woody Shaw
Vibraphone – Woody Murray
Voice – Jean Carn
Written-By – Azar Lawrence

Credits

Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Azar Lawrence
Art Direction – Phil Carroll
Engineer – Eddie Harris
Illustration  – Vincent Hollier

    Producer – Jim Stern, Orrin Keepnews

Notes
Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, Ca.
Tracks 1 and 5 recorded September 1974
Tracks 2-4 recorded May 1974

Oh crap, it’s almost Carnival!  But I don’t have a Carnival blog post for you this year.  In fact I doing away with all topical posts – seasonal, obituary, holiday or otherwise.  I have decided to live in the Eternal Now from here on out, with my bongos and soul patch.  I did however consider posting this album at the beginning of the year when the daily news was just a shitstorm of horrors and negativity.  But the moment got away from me.

I confess, I’ve been holding out on you.  I’ve had this vinyl rip sitting on my computer hard drive for at least a year and a half.  There were some things about the transfer that bugged me a little and I
wanted to start it all over, with some minor adjustments to the equipment, but alas I never got around to it.  Now I have a new cartridge and was thinking about re-doing it again and finally just
realized this is getting way too obsessive-compulsive.  This is a great record, and having only been briefly available once in Japan on CD, not terribly easy to find in the digital realm.

 Now I love lots of Prestige stuff from the 70’s, but this first record by Azar Lawrence, a sax player in the modal mold of Coltrane, could have sat comfortably side by side with anything being released by the Strata-East
label, flush as it is with spiritual-jazz and Afrocentric accents.  The Black Jazz label comes to mind too, if only because it is book-ended with a pair of tracks featuring the not-yet-famous Jean Carn on vocals.  Presumably it Lawrence’s affiliation with (ex-Coltrane quarter member) McCoy Tyner, in whose band he played for a while in the early 70s, that brought him to the attention of Orrin Keepnews and the Milestone/Prestige/Fantasy family.

There are a bunch of heavyweights from the outer limits on this album. Julian Priester and Arthur Blythe have credits on one track each, while Woody Shaw shines on two, as does the ubiquitous Billy Hart on drums.  The singularly named soul searcher Mtume runs the drum and percussion throne on other tracks.   There are also some arrangement credits given to Ernie Straughter, who went on to contribute to a ton of more mainstream but funky modern soul records in addition to a Bobbi Humphrey album.  In all it’s an eclectic collection of a musicians for a very focused record.  Very upbeat and driven, even on the laid-back Fatisha. It occurred to me yesterday that the track “Warriors of Peace” would be perfect for an imaginary Blaxploitation film  It features a scene involving a few dozen Afro-hippies dressed in Egyptian headdresses, descending on the Pentagon, serving macrobiotic food to everyone, and handing out artisinal Shea butter to spread their message of universal harmony.  However, this could have been a side effect,  a combination of what sounds like a harmonic minor scale while walking around in the scorching heat where I am currently hiding out.  The heat will pass but this music shall remain.  Dig it.

Enjoy the Beautiful Omnipresent Love!

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Gerson King Combo – Gerson King Combo (1977)

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Gerson King Combo
1977 Polydor

1     Mandamentos Black    
2     Just For You    
3     Andando Nos Trilhos    
4     Esse É O Nosso Black Brother    
5     Swing Do Rei    
6     Hereditariedade    
7     Foi Um Sonho Só    
8     Uma Chance    
9     God Save The King    
10     Blows

I’m wasn’t planning on writing at length about this album, but November is ‘Black Consciousness Month’ in Brazil.  I’m running out of time to post a record in solidarity, and recent events in AmeriKKKA have left me feeling pretty shitty today.  So why not spread some cheer?   Mind you, it is kind of ludicrous that there even *needs to be* a “Black Consciousness Day” in the one country that has the most people of African descent outside the continent of Africa, but there you go…  The actual holiday was November 20th, to mark the date in 1695 when the ex-slave and quilombo leader Zumbi of Palmares was beheaded.  The commemoration itself wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for some serious grassroots mobilization that went on in the 70s.  In short, it means different things to different people, it has its problematic aspects, but it’s definitely worth some respect.

One could say the same about Gerson King Combo, actually.  I sometimes think I’m in the minority in my opinions about Gerson King Combo, but then again at some of my friends share them so maybe I’m not such a freak.  Let me start by saying I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Gerson perform live four or five years ago at the Mercado Eufrásio Barbosa in lovely Olinda, and the guy is still quite a showman and force of nature.  I have no regrets about making that show, none at all.

But his actual records present an uncomfortable thing for me – I often find myself wishing I could just listen to the Combo swing their thing without Gerson singing on top of them.  The band is tight as hell and the arrangements are smart and engaging.  But as someone who’s been a big James Brown fan since I was twelve years old,  it’s hard not to break out laughing when I hear Gerson shouting “good God!!!”..  Most of the funk jams on the record don’t feature him singing so much as vocalizing, occasionally bursting into exclamations of  “aaachk-ck-ck-ck-ck-ck-aaaack owww!!” To me it almost begins to seem like a parody, as if Gil Brother was fronting a band in the 70s.  Oddly enough when he does some soul ballad crooning, like on “Foi um sonho só,” he’s not a half bad singer at all, even if he’s certainly no Tim Maia.  But on the dance-floor rump shakers, I find his vocals kind of distracting and in constant danger of giving me a case of incurable giggles.  I think it’s fair to say that Gerson King Combo’s importance lay more in the role he played in iconography of the Black Movement of the time, whether as a performer or as an immediately recognizable sound when a DJ put on one of his records at a baile.  He cut an imposing figure, and it’s a case where the attitude and image were inseparable from the music. The significance of that shouldn’t be underestimated, but his recorded output and legacy does not cast the long shadow that many of his peers can claim. 

The opening cut, “Mandamentos black,” is a classic of the genre.  And there is lots of other fun stuff here (Swing do Rei, Hereditariadade, Uma Chance are all winners), and some socially conscious lyrics in the middle of it all.  Even my ears eventually “adjust” to Gerson’s voice when I’m in the mood for this album.  But still, if anyone uncovers a tape of the all-instrumental mixes, please send me an email, okay?

The Return of Flabbergasted Vibes / Freeform Radio Hour #9

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It’s back.

Enjoy the music.

320 kbps   /   FLAC

___________________________

Sounds of the City
Experience – Stuff and Thing
Chuito& the Latin
Uniques – Hey Funky Mama
Mass Production –
Music and Love
Gary  Burton – Doin’ The Pig
Johnny Otis – Justine
Rahsaan Roland Kirk –
Breath-A-Thon
Sabinda – Liberdade
Carib Tokyo Steel Band – Super-rod
Alfonso Lovo – La
Gigantona
Gong of Busungbiu  –  Lagu-tabhuh-gari
Harold Land – Our
Home
Christopher Komeda –
Lullaby   and Crib Sequence
Los Buenos – Groovy
Woovy
Phil Upchurch –
Crosstown Traffic
Sarolta Zlatnay and
Skorpio – Hadd Mondjam El
The Cutlass Band –
Obiara Wondo
Miroslav Vitous – Aim
Your Eye
Paulo Moura – Dois Sem Vergonha
João Bosco – Boca de
Sapo
John Holt with Leory
Sibbles – Let’s Build Our Dreams
Irma Thomas – Hittin’
On Nothing
The Impressions –
Look What I’ve Got
Yellow Bird – Wings
of a Dove
Blind Willie Johnson
– Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground
Gene Page – Good To The Last Drop

Incidental and background music during the breaks come from the soundtracks fro Dawn Of The Dead (Goblin), Psycho (Bernard Hermann), and Nosferatur (Popol Vuh).

James Moody – The Blues And Other Colors (1969)

James Moody
THE BLUES AND OTHER COLORS
Original release 1969 (Milestone MSP 9023)
OJC Reissue 1997


1. Main Stem
2. Everyone Needs It
3. Savannah Calling
4. A Statement
5. Gone Are The Days
6. Feeling Low
7. You Got To Pay
8. Old Folks
—————–





Lineup


Tracks 1, 4, and 8


James Moody: flute, soprano sax
Johnny Coles: trumpet, flugelhorn
Tom McIntosh: trombone
Joe Farrel; alto flute, oboe, alto sax
Cecil Payne: baritone sax
Kenny Barron: piano
Ron Carter: bass
Freddy Waits: drums


Tracks 2 and 3
add Sam Brown – electric guitar, Ben Tucker (acoustic and electric bass) replaces Ron Carter


Tracks 5-7


James Moody: flute
Britt Woodman: trombone
Jim Buffington: french horn
Linda November: voice
Alfred Brown: viola
Charles McCracken: cello
Kermit Moore: cello
Dick Katz: piano
Ron Carter: bass
Connie Kay: drums


Recorded August 14, 1968; January 3, 1969, and February 11, 1969


—————–
Produced by Dick Katz and Orrin Keepnews. 
Recording engineer – George Sawtelle
Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (1997, Fantasy Sound Studios, Berkeley, California).
——————
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Well this is an odd little record.  James Moody’s body of work is kind of all over the place but somewhere between Dizzy Gillespie, his Argo albums, and his Perception Records albums, he found time to make a handful of records for the Milestone label.  This one, recorded with two entirely different ensembles (except for Ron Carter, who is the common denominator of all jazz equations, apparently*).  It runs the gamut from modern jazz, hard bop, and toe-tapping soul jazz.  A lot of it is the sound of a small band playing big band arrangements courtesy of trombonist Tom McIntosh, who dropped out of jazz shortly after these sessions.  And the arrangements here are always interesting.  The dissonant soul treatment of Ellington’s “Main Stem” is a gem  The summer stroll through a city park that is “Everybody Needs It” is lovely.  The jazz combo + chamber ensemble idea works well on this record, better than his Moody With Strings album on Argo, for example.   And considering that the album is culled from two sessions separated by six months, it holds together as a long player.  About the only weak spot for me is “Gone Are The Days,” a deconstruction of Stephen Foster that was probably intended as sociomusical critique but ends up being just kind of forced.  (I was somewhat surprised to see that it scored so favorably on the liner notes, both of the reissue and the original release).  Maybe it doesn’t work for me  because it seems to be trying so hard to make a statement, and pales before the previous track, ironically titled “A Statement,” which is truly breathtaking.

The presence of frequent collaborator Johnny Coles is welcome here, as is Cecil Payne.  Kenny Baron plays capably.  Holding down the drum throne are future M’Boom member Freddie Waits and MJQ stalwart Connie Kay.

The last batch of compositions feature wordless vocals by one Linda November.  Her calendar-girl name sounded vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place it, so I looked her up.  Alongside her credits as a pop backup singer, she more famous as the anonymous voice of TV jingles like the Meow Mix song and the “I’d Like To Give The World A Coke” song.  I have no idea how she ended up on this record.  Even when it’s awkward it still works, though, like on the McIntosh composition “You Got To Pay,” which I happened to have played recently on one of my freeform radio hours. The one fact that might legitimately scare some people off is that Moody eschews alto and tenor sax for soprano for the first half and stays on flute for all of the second half.  I happen to love jazz flute but it drives some people crazy for reasons I refuse to comprehend so don’t even bother trying to explain it to me.

* There is an equation for predicting the probability of Ron Carter appearing on any given album.  Take the year of release, add the catalog number (substituting numerological values for any letters), divide by the number of tracks, and multiply by 100.

 

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