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

Abbey Lincoln – A Turtle’s Dream (1995)


The great Abbey Lincoln has been slated for some attention on this blog for years. At various points I have had one or another record from her early career lined up in the proverbial queue and yet they somehow missed the train.  I’ve had a bit of melancholy and existential blues lately and her music is just the right thing for it.  The title track in particular may become my new anthem. The album also features a cover of “Nature Boy” (meh) followed immediately by the Leo Ferré song “Avec Le Temps” (well, that was a pleasant surprise).  Charlie Haden holds down the bass on most of the cuts except for two tracks featuring Christian McBride and the recently-departed Roy Hargrove, who really gets to shine on “Storywise.”

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Abbey Lincoln & Hank Jones – When There Is Love (1993)

Abbey Lincoln – Hank Jones
When There Is Love
1993 Gitanes Jazz Productions / Verve Records – 314 519 697-2
Genre:Jazz || Style:Bop, Post Bop

I have been wanting to do some posts about the great Abbey Lincoln ever since I started this blog, and yet for some reason it’s never happened.  Let this be the year, then.  I also never would have imagined that I would choose this atypical album as her first entry here.  But there is something very warm, charming, and relaxing about this collaboration with Hank Jones that seems to fit the mixture of exhaustion, laziness, and regeneration of energy to face a new and unknown world that’s marked these first few days of 2019 for me.  We can get into Abbey’s more intense material later, but right now this will do just fine. Continue reading

Herbie Mann – Live at the Whisky A Go Go (1969)

Herbie Mann – Live at the Whisky A Go Go
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at  300 dpi
1.22 GB 24-192 khz| 24 bit 96 khz – 611 MB | 211 MB 16-bit 44.1 khz
Atlantic SD 1536 | Released 1969 | Soul-jazz / jazz-funk / fusion

Dr. Vibes’ Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 2:
I am not sure that anyone feels as passionately one way or another about Herbie Mann as they do about, say, marmite or The Grateful Dead, but he certainly seems to divide people.  Adjectives like “lightweight” and “phony” have been thrown around when I’ve posted his work here.  His recording output was prolific and many titles are very common, lining the cut-out bins of many a trusty record shop.  But one thing is hard to deny – he sure could put together a solid lineup when he wanted to.  I mean just look at the list of musicians on this.  Miroslav Vitous and Roy Ayers? Sonny Sharrock?  Since I mentioned him in yesterday’s 12 Days of Christmas post, I figured this album would provide some continuity.  But in truth Sharrock is pretty under-utilized – he plays chunky rhythm guitar through all but the last few minutes of the album, where he takes an abrupt free jazz solo on Rufus Thomas’ “Philly Dog”.  Makes me laugh a little every time I hear it.  The first side of the album is a stretched out jam of a song written by Chris Hills (of the group Everything Is Everything) which appeared on a Vanguard Apostolic album in the same year of 1969.  So I guess it is no coincidence that group’s second (and final) studio album was produced by Herbie Mann and issued on his vanity label, Embryo Records.

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George Freeman – New Improved Funk (1974) (with Von Freeman)

George Freeman – New Improved Funk
1974 Groove Merchant GM 519
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at  300 dpi
Soul Jazz –  Hard bop – Jazz
24-bit 192 khz – 1.55GB | 24 bit 96 khz – 902 MB | 238 MB 16-bit 44.1 khz

12 Days of Christmas – Day 1:  Except for the opening title track (all two minutes of it), this is a lot more of a straight soul-jazz album than the title would imply. It’s good stuff though, with great tenor playing by the late Von Freeman throughout the whole endeavor. Bobby Blevins on the organ chugging along like a mad lorry driver (“crazy trucker”).  George’s guitar playing can switch back and forth from Albert King-like, single-note runs laden with vibrato to angular scronking ala Sonny Sharrock within the same tune (Exhibit A: “Big Finish”, which closes out the first side of the LP….. Continue reading