CTI All-Stars – CTI Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl: Live One (1977)

CTI All-Stars – Live One (Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl)
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Photos and art scans at 300 dpi
1977 CTI Records – CTI 7076

01 Grits Bowl 8:09
Written-By – Hank Crawford

02 Inner City Blues / What’s Going On 8:46
Written-By – A. Cleveland, J. Nyxw, M. Gaye, R. Benson

03 California Dreaming 8:36
Written-By – J. Phillips, M. Gilliam

04 First Light 8:27
Written-By – Freddie Hubbard

Record Company – Creed Taylor, Inc.
Published By – Jobete Music Co., Inc.
Published By – Char-Liz Music, Inc.
Published By – Wingate Music Corp.
Published By – Hubtones Music
Mixed At – Electric Lady Studios
Recorded At – Hollywood Bowl

Credits

Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Flute – Hubert Laws
Guitar – George Benson
Keyboards – Bob James, Deodato, Johnny Hammond
Percussion – Airto
Saxophone – Grover Washington, Jr., Hank Crawford, Joe Farrell, Stanley Turrentine
Trumpet – Freddie Hubbard
Vibraphone – Milt Jackson
Vocals – Esther Phillips

Engineer – David Palmer
Design [Album] – Sib Chalawick
MC – Leonard Feather, Rick Holmes
Photography By – K’Abe
Producer – Creed Taylor
Recorded By – Wally Heider

Matrix / Runout (Runout A): 87738A1
Matrix / Runout (Runout B): 87738B11

RIPPING INFO
CTI 7076 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


I had intended to post this for the American Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer in the country that doesn’t recognize May Day as the real labor holiday.  This and the other two volumes were nearly ready to go when I received crappy professional news that I took personally.  At this point, not posting on the blog when I get bad news is the equivalent of “my dog ate my homework”.  When some good news finally comes in I’ll probably have to shut the blog down completely, it will be such a disruption from the pattern of the last three years.

Of course immediately after that holiday weekend, I was propelled into full-on disaster preparedness mode for the impending apocalypse, as discussed in my last post, which failed to actually occur.  It did happen in the Caribbean, and now Mexico and Puerto Rico are being smitten by the hammer of the gods.  I also hear that THE RAPTURE is imminent, so there may still be a chance to see the end of the world before the month is out.  Meanwhile, why not groove to the proto-smooth-jazz of the CTI All-Stars while waiting for the four horseman of the Book of Revelations to crash through your bedroom wall like the map thieves in Time Bandits?   Obviously I’m not really “feelin'” this post right now but I had it prepared for you and, in the northern hemisphere, it is the official last day of summer so I might as well post part 1 of 3 of a summer jazz festival.

Calling the CTI All-Stars “proto-smooth-jazz” is slightly cruel but still not altogether wrong.  The MC who opens the show (either Leonard Feather or Rick Holmes, I can’t tell), opines, “If jazz is dead, this is the biggest funeral I’ve ever seen.”  Somehow this doesn’t inspire confidence in me at all.  After all, jazz has always had a lot of friends and relations, and I’d expect a big turnout at its interment.  Nevertheless, this concert was recorded in 1972 and so it is legitimately pretty funky and soulful jazz. A listener might hope – what with this being live on stage, and not a tightly controlled Creed Taylor studio production – that the musicians would let loose more, take more risks, really let it rip.  Instead this is still largely a polished diamond, all the rough edges shaved down to gleaming facets, and if that’s how you like your jazz then you will revel in this.  Although I’m tempted to think of the presence of Creed Taylor anywhere in the vicinity to be a bit like the unseen policeman in the tower in Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, compelling all the musicians to stay on their best behavior and discipline themselves, the truth is probably less cryptic.  This is an “All-Star” band comprised of around a dozen people who were all good bandleaders in their own right.  You get the feeling that everybody is being respectful and not wanting to step on anybody else’s toes by grandstanding too much.

I’m not sure what the story is in the five-year lag between the recording of this concert and its release on album.  The fact that it was done in three separate installments, and at the very end of CTI’s partnership with Motown Records, makes me inclined to think this was a contractual obligation thing.  I suppose three budget-priced LPs might sell a little easier than a deluxe triple disc set, but then again anybody still closely following CTI in the late 70s, when the label had pretty thoroughly run out of steam, probably would have bought it no matter how it was packaged.  As it stands, these three volumes seemed to get relegated to the cut-out bins pretty quickly and are pretty easy to find on the cheap.  All of mine were ‘new old stock’ so they made for a nice and easy vinyl transfer.

I’ve already described the music in general terms.  I could get specific but then I would have to complain about the silly police siren in the Marvin Gaye sandwich of Inner City Blues/What’s Going On.  Oh my, I guess I just did.  Listen to the incomparable Jack DeJohnette on his drum kit chaffing at the bit on this piece, trying to inject a little improvisational excitement into the careful, reverential arrangement, and you might see why I’m being kind of dour.  I still dig it, but it’s not a “you gotta hear this!” kind of cut like a roster of this much talent merits.  Still, this concert is an opportunity to hear some of the people whose careers took off in the 70’s while they were still young and hungry – Grover Washington, Jr,  and George Benson often don’t get their due credit, and that’s largely the fault of their own sleepy and predictable releases as time went on and they truly became the poster children of pre-Kenny G ‘pop jazz’.  Others, like Joe Farrell, had a bunch of consistently interesting records for CTI that I really do think are unfairly overlooked.

Benson takes the lead in a version of ‘California Dreaming’ that is more exciting than it probably deserves to be.  The closer on this set, Freddie Hubbard’s “First Light” is the most compelling thing here.  Which isn’t too surprising – Hubbard turned in some of my favorite CTI releases, which I think rank among the best LPs of his career, in particular Red Clay and Straight Life.  It’s solid and makes you want to hear the next LP of this set, but ultimately the version on his own album is still better.

All three of these records are gatefolds, featuring the same photograph of a (mostly but not entirely filled) Hollywood Bowl from behind the musicians.  The graphic designers and typesetters changed the track list, but the musician credits are generic – it is up to you the listener to discern who is taking a solo at any given time, or whether that’s Bob James or Deodato on the electric piano on this or that cut.  Hell, singer Esther Phillips is credited on all three LPs but only actually appears on the last one.  If any readers happen to have a break-down of who actually plays on which tracks of this sprawling triple live project, leave a comment and if the info is reliable I will add it to the body of this post.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for the next volume which features a moody rendition of Windmills Of Your Mind that is worth a listen.


password: vibes

 

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Charles Earland – Odyssey (1976)

CHARLES EARLAND
ODYSSEY
Released 1976
Mercury SRM-1-1049

After the phenomenal double-LP ‘Leaving This Planet’, which featured Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson as rocket fuel, Earland continued in a similarly cosmic-jazz direction.  He made one more LP for Prestige, a live album of new material called Kharma, and then began a new phase at Mercury Records with this jazz-funk-latin-disco-rock fusion called Odyssey, which also became the name of his spaceship, I mean vehicle, for releasing this kind of thing for the next few years.  This album has never ever been issued on CD.  Meet you after the jump to continue the voyage.. Continue reading

Eugene McDaniels – Outlaw (1970)

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Eugene McDaniels
“Outlaw”
Released on Atlantic (SD 8259) 1970

1 Outlaw 5:00
2 Sagitarius Red 3:03
3 Welfare City 2:52
4 Silent Majority 4:10
5 Love Letter To America 3:57
6 Unspoken Dreams Of Light 6:40
7 Cherrystones 3:08
8 Reverend Lee 6:31
9 Black Boy 2:59

Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Ray Lucas
Engineer – Bob Liftin , Dean Evenson
Guitar – Eric Weissberg , Hugh McCracken
Percussion – Buck Clarke
Piano – Mother Hen
Producer – Joel Dorn

Recorded at Regent Sound Studios, NYC

With special thanks to
Les McCann

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“She’s a nigger in jeans, she’s an outlaw, she don’t wear a bra.”
With opening lines like these, you know you are in for a weird trip.

Eugene McDaniels may be famous (or infamous) for `Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse` but for my money (which isn’t much these days), THIS album has the songs! Also, while that album has the reputation for being the one that prompted Spiro Agnew to tap his phone, I have a strong feeling the spying started with “Outlaw”. I mean, they’re holding a rifle on the album cover, and “Love Song to America” declares him an enemy of the state (albeit unwilling).

Eugene McDaniels may be famous (or infamous) for `Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse` but for my money (which isn’t much these days), THIS album has the songs! One of the weirdest career trajectories in music, McDaniels had gone from an early 60s R&B hit maker, as Gene McDaniels, with songs like “100 lbs of Clay”, then seemingly taken a few years away from music, and reemerged with this militant, bizarre, and utterly seductive music. If I remember correctly he had begun working on this album while in the studio with Bobby Hutcherson recording the amazing album “Now!” Only one of the tunes on this album is really reminiscent of that masterpiece, “Unspoken Dreams of Light”, loaded with jazz intervals and trippy, convoluted lyrics about a coming bloody revolution sweeping the country. It’s a rock-funk-folk arrangement, I suppose, but the refrain sounds like it was left over from “Now.”

Every song on here is very literally great. McDaniels’ vocals are amazing, both emotionally stirring and also full of swagger and attitude. There is a twang to some of the tunes and especially Hugh McCracken’s and Eric Weissberg’s guitar licks that might invite comparisons to the Rolling Stones of this era. You can say that if you like, McDaniels probably would have not have objected to the comparison, but in a profound way these two albums of McDaniels are everything the Stones wanted to be in 1970. Black, for one thing, but incendiary, funky, roots-laden, gospel-tinged soul and rock music that truly must have made the so-called “Silent Majority” tremble in their straight-laced shoes with its scathing social criticisms, dark ironic humor, and sharply articulated anger. How is the listener supposed to react to the folk strumming of “Welfare City” whose chorus is, “la la la, la la la la la, la la, la la la la la, smoke a joint” ?? Well, just sing along I guess. By the end of the tune, with layered vocal harmonies, it sounds as catchy as “I’d Like To Give The World a Coke.”

“Silent Majority” is sadly as relevant today as it was in 1970. For those too young to know the history of that phrase, it was what the reactionary Nixon-era conservatives called themselves during the “cultural revolution” of leftist politics, free love, drugs, and rock and roll. McDaniels calls them out on their hypocrisy and also makes the astute observation that they weren’t really all that ‘silent.’ Unfortunately these same types of people are even more organized now, and still claim to speak for the “majority” of Americans, representing true patriotism, and calling anyone who disagrees with them a communist. These days, they call themselves The Tea Party.

McDaniels would never again make records like this one and “Headless Heroes”. It seems as if he has never said much publicly about them (silenced by the Kissinger-blessed majority??). It almost seems as if he is not aware, or simply uninterested, in the profound influence this music had on the relatively few people who have had the privilege of hearing it. These are underground classics loved by fans of rock, soul, and funk, have been name-checked by all kinds of hipsters. There was an article devoted to Daniels in the respectable magazine (I mean that sincerely) Wax Poetics, but I don’t remember what it said. Also can’t figure out what issue it was in but it seems to have been included in the second `anthology` in book form. Anyone who wants to scan it and post it here, be my guest. The guy is kind of a mystery to me in a lot of ways.

McDaniels was a good friend and colleague of Roberta Flack during this period, and wrote classic tunes in her repertoire like “Compared to What?” and “Reverend Lee” (his version of this latter tune is MUCH stranger, and longer), both of which became stables of Flack’s repertoire during the early 70s. McDaniels also penned one of her huge hits, “Feel Like Making Love”, which won him a Grammy. Again, ….what the fuck? How does one go from making THIS record, to winning a Grammy for a love song just a few years later??? He has also written material for Aretha Franklin.

Gene McDaniels is still around, he has a website, a Facebook account, and a You Tube channel. He has even released some music recently, about which I knew nothing until yesterday when researching for this upload.

This was one of my first vinyl rips, made on my Music Hall turntable, a Parasound preamp, and recorded using a Tascam digital recorder at 24/96 resolution. I think it sounds warm and musical, but someday I may rip it with my new setup, after I get the album out of storage from my bunker in the Kayman Islands. Apparently this was released on CD by Water Records but I never knew that until yesterday and have never come across it. I find their mastering to be cold and harsh on everything I have by them — although they usually release amazing, essential music – so I am quite happy with this for the moment.

I photographed the album with my Nikon D80 but.. I have no idea what I did with the files. So I have included some album cover scans I found on an interesting blog devoted to vinyl album art. ENJOY!!

Ripping specs:
Music Hall MMF.5 Turntable with Goldring 1012GX cartridge, Gyger II diamond stylus, and MK II XLR Ringmat –> Pro-ject Speedbox II -> Parasound Z Phono Preamp -> Marantz PMD 661 digital recorder at 24/96khz .Declicked on very light settings with Click Repair -> DC Offset and track splitting in Adobe Audition 2.0 Dithering to 16-bit in IzoTope RX Advanced using M-Bit algorithm. Converted to FLAC and mp3 with DbPoweramp. Tagged properly with Foobar 2000.

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in 320 kbs em pee tré

in FLAC LAWLESS AUDIO 16-bit / 44.1khz

in FLAC LAWLESS AUDIO 24-bit / 96 khz ‘hi-rez’ format

special secret weather underground communist conspiracy pass-phrase in the comments section