Chico Freeman – The Search (1983) (India Navigation)


Chico Freeman – The Search
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC | Web scans | Jazz
1.52GB (24/192) + 806 MB (24/96) ||
1983 India Navigation IN 1059

I have not posted on this blog in nearly 6 months.  For those of you still hanging around, I hope you are all doing well.  A lot has been happening in the world, and in my personal and professional life, that have kept me away.  But I will try and check in more frequently.

Ramsey Lewis passed away at a dignified age as an elder statesman of jazz since I last posted.  Gal Costa, among the first artists to attract my ears to Brazil, passed away this week suddenly and in a manner that sent the country into a spasm of collective grief.  At least she got to see the country kick the fascist scum Bolsonaro out of office.  I don’t really do “memorial blog posts” any longer but I will probably post about both of those artists in the coming weeks and months.  Meanwhile, I have been listening to a lot of Chico Freeman lately, who is alive and well.

The search for peace in times of war, for stillness in times of agitation – that is the basic sentiment that motivates, opens, sustains, and closes this nonchalantly beautiful record by Freeman (who is from a prolific jazz family that includes his father Von Freeman and brother George).  It builds on a tradition of ‘spiritual jazz’ whose efflorescence was happening when Freeman was just getting started, and brings it into that most un-spiritual of decades, the 1980s.  But there is nothing nostalgic or backward-looking about this record; it could have been made at any time in the last fifty years.  And Freeman is still out there making good music, having recently returned to New York after a long period living in France.

This album was never released on CD and it is very, very good.  It is one of several examples of great work Freeman has done with jazz vocalists — in the year following this album, he also released a collaboration with Bobby McFerrin, titled ‘Tangents’, which is excellent as well. Vocalist Van Eley is better known for her work in musical theater than for jazz sessions (this is her only credit on the resource Discogs); a few years before this she participated in the and this appears to be her one and only album credit, so that is a bit mysterious.

I have a handful of Freeman’s output on India Navigation (not all of them, but getting close) as well as stuff he recorded for other labels.   I’ll make a banal observation about a difference between the worlds of jazz and pop music here:  the ability, or maybe insistence, of artists not to be tied to exclusive contracts is interesting to me (although it can also work the other way around – the unwillingness of major labels to commit to promoting and fostering an artist in the long-term).   Freeman maintained a relationship with the indie label India Navigation that allowed him to continue his warm embrace of the modal and the experimental at the same time he was releasing more commercial recordings on labels like Elektra.  The interested vinyl collector will be happy to know that you can find those releases on Elektra and other labels like Contemporary on the cheap out there at your local record shop — and they are all solid and worth picking up.  . The India Navigation titles will cost you a bit more.

An example of the Freeman’s ease with taking risks can be found as soon as the needle hits the vinyl here, opening with the only the voice of the relatively unknown Van Eley reassuring us that there IS peace, if we look within.  It is one of those sentiments that sounds trite when spoken, but get a good vocalist to SING it on a jazz record and it becomes an invocation, or at least an invitation – Freeman has a message he wants us to hear, something he feels strongly enough about that a purely instrumental jazz record just won’t cut it.  As bold a statement as the opening title cut, things really get moving with the second piece, which heavily features Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos doing all the things he does, opening the track with one of his trademark musical invocations on the berimbau.  Cecil McBee contributes a pretty traditional jazz balad, Close To You Alone, which is an refreshing grounding back in the element of Earth and the more ordinary varieties of love and loneliness.  Soweto Suite brings back the hard edges and merges Earth and Spirit, a drum solo from Billy Hart near the beginning along with an urgent vibraphone riff as a base, the angular melody of Val and Chico blending voice and saxophone, cascades of piano from Kenny Barron, and the whole structure subjected to a controlled demolition in several places of free-jazz skronk.  Although I don’t hear any musical nods to the rich South African jazz scene, I’m not actually trained in this stuff so maybe someone else can illuminate me if I missed it.  I assume the subject matter is more concerned with the abomination of apartheid.

To the best of my knowledge, this album has never been released on CD or on a digital streaming platform.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

A1 – The Search (10:50)
A2 – Illas (11:40)
B1 – Close To You Alone (07:25)
B2 – Soweto Suite (12:15)

Total length: 42:10

More information:



Published By – Nisha-Ayl Publishing Company
Published By – LeMac Music
Mastered At – Europadisk

Bass – Cecil McBee
Berimbau, Percussion – Nana Vasconcelos
Drums – Billy Hart
Piano – Kenny Barron
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Chico Freeman
Vibraphone, Marimba – Jay Hoggard
Vocals – Val Eley

Design – Tan Ohe
Photography By – Beth Cummins
Producer – Bob Cummins

LINEAGE: 1983 India Navigation IN 1059 pressing; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica Signet TK7E cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 preamp; Audioquest Black Mamba and Pangea Premier interconnect cables; RME Babyface Pro interface ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair with output monitored manually; further clicks and pops removed manually 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.


p/w = vibes

La Sonora Matancera – Super 100 Éxitos (2008)

La Sonora Matancera
Super 100 Exitos
Warner / Rhino / Peerless MCM 2851359
Made in Mexico

Super 100 Éxitos, or is it 100 Super Éxitos? This is a 5-CD boxset with 100 tracks and no  notes or booklet.  Which is a shame because La Sonora Matancera is an institution whose inheritance the whole world has gained something from, arguably the “mothership” from whence all salsa music derives.  As has been stated here before, “salsa” is a catch-all, umbrella term anyway encompassing a bunch of different styles, like guaguancó and son montuno – both well represented here – but also bolero and many others, and there are even a few cumbias scattered around this collection.  The collection features Celia Cruz, Bienvenido Granda, and probably Daniel Santos, Nelson Piñedo and other stars of this storied group.  If anybody out there stumbles on a more thorough breakdown of the provenance of the songs on this collection — or, gods forbid, feels like making one of their own “from scratch” — please share you knowledge in the comments section!


#01 – La Esquina del Movimiento
#02 – La Isla del Encanto
#03 – Micaela
#04 – Quémame Los Ojos
#05 – En El Cachumbambé
#06 – Yo No Soy Guapo
#07 – Rio Manzanares
#08 – El Negrito del Batey
#09 – Pa’ La Paloma
#10 – El Mambito
#11 – Tu Significas Todo
#12 – El Sofá
#13 – Delirio
#14 – Piel Canela
#15 – Besito de Coco
#16 – Bajo La Luna
#17 – Mis Noches Sin Ti
#18 – Descarga Sonora
#19 – La Mamá y La Hija
#20 – Ritmo Cubano

CD 2

#01 – Asombro
#02 – Cualquiera Resbala y Cae
#03 – Hoy Sé Mas
#04 – Lagrimas de Hombre
#05 – Palmeras Tropicales
#06 – Máquino Landera
#07 – Se Formó El Rumbón
#08 – Linda Caleñita
#09 – El Mambo Es Universal
#10 – Ven Bernabe
#11 – Las Muchachas
#12 – Cumbia de Buenaventura
#13 – Florecilla de Amor
#14 – Amor Fenecido
#15 – Madre Rumba
#16 – Tu Rica Boca
#17 – Historia de Un Amor
#18 – Cancaneito Can
#19 – No Te Miento
#20 – Enamorado

CD 3

#01 – Cañonazo
#02 – Ritmo Tambó y Flores
#03 – Total
#04 – Ave Maria Lola
#05 – Angustia
#06 – Déjame Que Te Arrulle
#07 – El Diecinueve
#08 – Me Voy Pa’La Habana
#09 – El Preso
#10 – Linstead Market
#11 – Rareza del Siglo
#12 – Ya Se Peinó Maria
#13 – Óyeme Mamá
#14 – Tomando Té
#15 – Oye Mima
#16 – Así Son Los Quereres
#17 – La Pachanga
#18 – Burundanga
#19 – El Vaiven Arrullador
#20 – Mi Barquito Marinero

CD 4

#01 – Ay Cosita Linda
#02 – Rock And Roll
#03 – Una Docena de Besos
#04 – El Corneta
#05 – El Ermitaño
#06 – Quero Emborracharme
#07 – Tristeza Marina
#08 – El Yerbero Moderno
#09 – Humo
#10 – Nocturnando
#11 – Los Aretes de La Luna
#12 – Por Dos Caminos
#13 – Yo Vivo Mi Vida
#14 – Cha Cha Cha de Los Feos
#15 – Ignoro Tu Existencia
#16 – La Sopa En Botella
#17 – Que Dichoso Es
#18 – De Ti Enamorado
#19 – Ojos Malos
#20 – Juancito Trucupey

CD 5

#01 – Eso Se Hincha
#02 – El Muñeco de La Ciudad
#03 – Amnistia
#04 – El Solterito
#05 – En El Bajio
#06 – Sin Pensar En Ti
#07 – Margarita
#08 – Te Miro a tTi
#09 – Guaguanco No 3
#10 – Vendaval Sin Rumbo
#11 – Hoy Lo Niegas
#12 – La Pitita
#13 – Tu Voz
#14 – Apambichao
#15 – Dos Almas
#16 – En La Orilla del Mar
#17 – Malvado Proceder
#18 – Luces de Nueva York
#19 – El Vaquero
#20 – Ritmo de Mi Cuba


Mirror 1 (Mega)

Mirror 2 (Filefactory)

FLAC and mp3 320 in multiple parts that can be distinguished by the filenaming.

p/w:  vibes

Leci Brandão – Antes Que Eu Volte A Ser Nada (1975) (1980 Japan Polydor / Marcus Pereira WLP)

Leci Brandão – Antes Que Eu Volte A Ser Nada
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC |  300 dpi scans |Samba, MPB, Brazil
1975 Marcus Pereira || 1980 Polydor Japan


A classic debut album from one of the best artists to emerge from the 1970’s roots samba revival in Brazil, Leci Brandão is unique in that not only was she a tremendous singer but she also composed — on this album, there’s not a song she didn’t write!  Continue reading

Dorothy Ashby – Afro-Harping (1968)

Dorothy Ashby – Afro-Harping
 Orig. release 1968 Cadet Records / 2018 Geffen / UMe

Next to Alice Coltrane, Dorothy Ashby is easily the best-known proponent of “jazz harp.”  I mean, it’s not exactly a crowded scene, is it?  This record stimulates all my auralgenous zones, drawing on ‘soul jazz’, pop, Latin, post-bop, R&B and proto-funk.  It may even evoke “exotica”, but only in the best ways: the lead-off track has a theremin in it, FFS.  It’s the kind of thing jazz purists used to overlook or disdain, with many nods to contemporary pop (“The Look of Love” closes the record, and “Theme from Valley of the Dolls” is a pleasant addition).   The musicians are uncredited, but Phil Upchurch has a writing credit and is mentioned as the guitarist on the title track (where he is misidentified as “Paul” Upchurch).  The producer on this was Richard Evans, of Ramsey Lewis and The Soulful Strings fame, but given that Cadet issued it, I can’t help wonder if he drew from the stable of musicians used by Charles Stepney for projects like Rotary Connection.  It’s got a similar baroque-psych/soul-jazz quality to it.   If you like this, you could do worse than to check out her album The Rubáiyát Of Dorothy Ashby for similar good vibes.

The transfer featured here is from the 2018 reissue, and was done before I upgraded my DAW and a few other components, but I haven’t posted anything in a while and this is worth hearing in any format.  I’ve been stupidly busy but it has been a cold winter-y week where I’m at, so it’s a good day to give the blog a little love.  Also, I neglected to post anything here in the entire month of March, so I’m going to try and make up for that in April.


Label/Cat#: Geffen Records – B0028591-01, UMe – 677 046-1, Cadet – LPS-809
Country: US, Year: 14 Sep 2018
Genre: Jazz, Funk, Soul
Style: Jazz-Funk. Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Stereo
A1 – Soul Vibrations (03:15)
A2 – Games (03:58)
A3 – Action Line (03:40)
A4 – Lonely Girl (03:12)
A5 – Life Has It’s Trials (04:35)
B1 – Afro-Harping (02:59)
B2 – Little Sunflower (03:45)
B3 – Theme From ‘Valley Of The Dolls’ (03:32)
B4 – Come Live With Me (02:35)
B5 – The Look Of Love (04:05)

Total length: 35:36

More information:

LINEAGE: 2018 Geffen B0028591-01 / UMe 677 046-1 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica Signet TK7E cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest Black Mamba and Pangea Premier interconnect cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed manually with Adobe Audition 3.0; resampled and dithered using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

Mirror 1 ||  Mirror 2

16-44.1 FLAC

Mirror 1 ||  Mirror 2




Mirror 1 || Mirror 2


Mirror 1 || Mirror 2

Slapp Happy – Acnalbasac Noom (1980) (2020 Our Swimmer)

Slapp Happy – Acnalbasac Noom
2020 Our Swimmer – WELLE102 for Record Store Day
Original release 1980

Recorded with members of Faust at that band’s Wümme studio in 1973, this album was originally scrapped and then rerecorded (without Faust) and released as Casablanca Moon. This version finally surfaced in 1980, with the original title spelled backward.   I’ve seen it described as “more raw” than the rerecorded album, but don’t be fooled — these aren’t demos, this is a finished album, recorded and mixed immaculately. I love it to pieces, and although gets both the “prog” and “psychedelia” tags, there is a strong vibe of jangly folk-rock here too. In fact it is so tuneful and melodic that it is hard to believe this is the same band that would merge with Henry Cow a few years later. From Dagmar Krause’s double-tracked vocals to Peter Blegvad’s impeccably-crafted guitar work, this record is a pleasure from start to finish. Continue reading

Eddie Harris – Bad Luck Is All I Have (1975)

Eddie Harris – Bad Luck Is All I Have
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | 300 dpi scans | Jazz, Jazz-funk
1975 Atlantic Records SD 1675, Presswell

This is an under-the-radar album, never released on CD, from the eclectic Eddie Harris, who gets help from Willi Bobo and Bradley Bobo in the rhythm section (as well as Calvin Barnes, who only has a few sessions to his name). Strangely, for a jazz-funk album from the middle 1970’s, there is almost no trap kit drumming on this, instead relying on timbales and other percussion for most of the groove. Some fun trumpet work from Oscar Brashear on this too.  It’s an essential album by any means, but the eclectic Eddie Harris was always worth a listen.  Continue reading