Lonnie Liston Smith and The Cosmic Echoes – Cosmic Funk (1974)

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Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes
“Cosmic Funk”
Released 1974

Flying Dutchman Records (BDL 1-0591)

1 Cosmic Funk Smith 5:39
2 Footprints Shorter 6:11
3 Beautiful Woman Smith 6:58
4 Sais (Egypt) Mtume 8:16
5 Peaceful Ones Smith 5:03
6 Naima Coltrane 4:01

Produced by Bob Thiele
Engineered by Bob Simpson

Electric bass – Al Anderson
Congas, Percussion – Lawrence Killian
Drums – Art Gore
Percussion – Andrew Cyrille , Doug Hammond , Ron Bridgewater
Acoustic and electric pianos, percussion – Lonnie Liston Smith
Soprano saxaphone, Flute, Percussion – George Barron
Vocals, Piano, Flute – Donald Smith

You will have to escuse me if I don’t give this album the presentation and descrption it really deserves. I have wanted to post about here for a long, long time. But for anyone else who is celebrating Christmas alone, as I currently am, I feel an urgent impulse to put this album out there. While all of Lonnie Liston Smith’s records with the Cosmic Echoes may have carried more or less the same variations of messages about peace and love, nothing comes close to the eruption of the first cut off this one that gave the album its name, which introduces Lonnie’s brother Donald Smith on vocals

CITIZENS OF THE WORLD
IT’S TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME for WORLD PEACE!

followed by a long hair-raising scream to let you know he really means this.

This song is one of the heaviest slabs of spiritual/soul jazz funkiness out there. The track, along with much of the rest of the album, combines creative use of electronics in some seriously psychedelic flourishes along with free and post-bop jazz explorations. While his next album, “Expansions”, may get the lion’s share of attention for this former Pharoah Sanders sideman, I find this album to be every bit its equal and in fact I seem to come back to it more often. Beyond the first cut, the rest of the album is a real treat too, with first-rate original compositions along inspired readings of Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” and, unafraid of taking the risk, a vocal version of Coltrane’s “Naima.”

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Gato Barbieri – Bolivia (1973) with Lonnie Liston Smith

gato

Gato Barbieri
“Bolivia”
1973 on Flying Dutchman Records (FD-10158)
This pressing 2001, BMG France

Merceditas
Eclypse / Michellina
Bolivia
Niños
Vidala Triste

Produced by Bob Thiele

Bass – J.-F. Jenny-Clark , Stanley Clarke
Drums – Airto Moreira, Pretty Purdie (Merceditas only)
Guitar – John Abercrombie
Percussion – Airto Moreira , Gene Golden , James M’tume* , Moulay “Ali” Hafid
Piano, Electric Piano – Lonnie Liston Smith
Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Vocals – Gato Barbieri

The corporeal memory of pleasures briefly known and longing barely quenched. Her skin still ageless, her scent rich in my lungs, we drifted off together in exhaustion. She left me there sleeping, a note on the kitchen table. She left me there dreaming the Bolivarian dream of an America united across the hemispheres. She left me a folheto she bought from a street hawker who recited it for us from beginning to end and offered to continue with more. She may have bought it just to silence him and send him on his way, a bribe to leave us to our own private somnambulist poetry. A crowded street in the old city, as he walked away from us I barely noticed that all sound faded into a steady hum of a single note in the dark regions of my awareness, hearing only her voice; of all color fading into a uniform grey, seeing only her pale skin in the half-light. All senses withdrawn into one still point of awareness. She left me lost in the Bolivarian dream as she went back to the arms of the beast that bore me, the colossus of the north yawning and stretching its million arms to every corner of this dying earth. Our homes were exchanged in a backroom trade between our saints arm-wrestling the invisible hand that feeds us. They lost. The body memory of longing never quenched and peace in the future conjunctive. Even the strongest of unions could barely hold out against the fading of that dream.

—————–

This is another beautiful record from Gato Barbieri, making music quite unlike anything else going on at the time and with an ensemble that’s hard to beat. Lonnie Liston Smith receives co-billing on the front cover, and its no coincidence as his Cosmic Echoes band was putting out their first album on Flying Dutchman the same year. The opening track “Merceditas”, having no less than Pretty Purdy, Airto, and M’tume playing together, would seem to be a climax before foreplay, and in any other hands that might be the case. Barbieri pulls this off, though, as the strength of the rest of material is more than enough to carry the album. The title track is particularly rich, beautiful and terrifying. It is difficult for me to write about this record because the liner notes from Nat Hentoff, a much better writer than I’ll ever be, humble the movement of my pen. I will, however, freely quote from him:


“The life-affirming, surging spirit of these performances – with their supple range of colors, rhythms, soaring melodies – is the essence of that basic, visceral beauty that gives hope to lovers and revolutionaries and to all those who believe in real life before death. His music is an embodiment of perennial possibility that is made of blood and flesh rather than vaporous dreams. Gato, in sum, is among the the least abstract of musicians because he is so explosively, specifically alive.”

gato


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Gato Barbieri – El Pampero (1971)

Jorge Ben needs a Jorge Break. And so I bring you…


Gato Barbieri
“El Pampero”
Released 1971 as Flyind Dutchman FD-10151

This reissues 2002 BMG France / RCA Victor Gold Series

1. El Pampero (Gato Barbieri)
2. Mi Buenos Aires Querido (Carlos Gardel – Alfredo Lepera)
3. Brasil (Aldo Cabral – Benedicto Lacerda)
4. El Arriero (Atahualpa Yupanqui)
5. El Gato (Oliver Nelson)

Tracks 1 through 4 recorded on June 18, 1971 at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland

Personnel: Lonnie Liston Smith, piano; Chuck Rainey, electric bass; Bernard Purdie, drums; Sonny Morgan, conga; Nana Vasconcelos, percussion, berimbau; Gato Barbieri, saxophone, vocal on track 4.

Track 5 recorded in May, 1972 at RCA Studios, NYC. Personnel includes:
Romeo Pengue, alto flute, English horn; Phil Bodner, flute, alto flute; Danny Bank, bass clarinet; Oliver Nelson, alto saxophone, conductor, arranger; Hank Jones, piano; David Spinozza, guitar; Ron Carter, bass; Bernard Purdie, drums; Airto Moreira, percussion.

Phenomenal live set from Gato Barbieri at the peak of his feline prowess and with an amazing ensemble that was essentially a pick-up gig for most of them. But not just any pick-up band, no siree! Bernand “Pretty” Purdie on skins along with Chuck Rainey on bass (playing the festival with Aretha Franklin and King Curtis) aren’t exactly some music-school hacks you pick up at the bus station on the way to the show. Lonnie Liston Smith and the one and only Nana Vasconcelos were the only regular band members on stage with Gato, and both give it everything they’ve got. In spite of being improvised by the seat-of-their-pants, the only time I notice the Purdie/Rainey rhythm section lag, if not quite falter, is in the beginning section of Brasil where Rainey comes in a measure behind Pretty Purdie’s triumphant drum entrance about three minutes in. Other than that, they sound like they had all been playing together for years. The ambient place-making of “Mi Buenos Aires Querido” is as evocative a piece as Gato ever played. But the highlight for me is “El Ariero”, a song by the very influential Argentinian composer and writer Atahualp Yupanqui. Gato had also recorded in the studio and released it on the album “Fenix” earlier in the year, where I think it has a little more *power* or some similar descriptor, particularly the vocal, but this version has a nice spontaneous intensity to it. The last track, written by frequent collaborator Oliver Nelson, is a bonus cut to this CD, having appeared on a Flying Dutchman compilation of the same name (El Gato) where it was the sole original, unreleased track. This reissue does us the favor of placing it here, and saving us from looking at the awful front cover design of Barbieri turning into a cat, werewolf-style. The lineup is a considerably augmented ensemble which now includes Ron Carter on bass and Airto Moreira on percussion in place of Nana. A beautiful tune, particularly the double flute arrangements.

Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971)

Gato Barbieri
“Fenix”
Released 1971 on Flying Dutchman (FD 10158)

Having already established himself in the vanguard of free jazz (stints with Don Cherry, an appearance on the landmark ‘Liberation Music Orchestra’ from Charlie Haden / Carla Bley), Barbieri was producing some incredible work as a bandleader by the late 60s. For some reason this album feels like an appropriate “holiday season” album to me, whatever your particular cosmological inclinations might be. The album is really part of a series of a politically-engaged, Pan-American albums whose musical sensibilities were damn unique. Barbieri’s riffing rarely drifts from the fiercer side of a Coltrane / Pharoah orientation. It’s soulful, spiritual jazz, but also angry. With Lenny White on drums, Lonnie Liston Smith on keys, and Naná Vasconcelos on congas and berimbau (Naná was, and still is, the most capable and expressive player of this instrument), you really can’t go wrong with this record. One really interesting cut is the song ‘Falsa Baiana’, written as a samba by Geraldo Pereira and made famous by Roberto Silva (to be reinterpreted later as bossa nova by João Gilberto, and in MPB’s idiom by Gal Costa and others). Gato’s rendition here, one of the calmer tracks on the album, is almost unrecognizable as he circles around the chord changes and doesn’t play the main melody until three minutes into the song. This album is a treasure for the ears and the soul, enjoy!

The BMG France reissue has the original sleeve notes from Michael Cuscuna and some newer commentary in French that I can’t really read.

Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971) in 320kbs em pee three
Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO format
PART ONE //// PART TWO