Grant Green – Alive! (1970) Day 10 of FV’s 12 Days of Xmas

Grant Green – Alive!
2019 Blue Note 80 Series BST-84360 – Original Release 1970

Absolute barn-stormer of classic soul-jazz funk with a lineup that can’t be beat. Idris Muhammad is at his funkiest, but the other show-stealer is Ronnie Foster on the organ. Lean and mean stuff, if you dig this then you need to hear the Live at Club Mozambique from this same era, but which wasn’t issued until the 00’s. I=

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Dollar Brand – Mannenburg Is Where It’s Happening (1974) Day 9 of FV’s 12 Days of Xmas

 

Dollar Brand  (Abdullah Ibrahim)
Mannenberg ~ ‘Is Where It’s Happening’
EMI – CDSRK(WL) 786134, The Sun – CDSRK(WL) 786134
Format:CD, Album, Reissue
Country:South Africa
Genre:Jazz, Style:Cape Jazz

I wasn’t planning on posting this record for the 12 Days of Christmas, insofar as there was ever a plan, which there wasn’t, but then who knew we would lose “The Arch”, Desmond Tutu (followed by an unnerving fire that destroyed the South African Parliament… the good news is they apparently saved the library).   But the township of Manenberg – as well as this song named after it here, and the exiled South African artist formerly known as Dollar Brand – were all important to the story of resistance to the Apartheid government.  The song even has quite an extensive Wikipedia entry.   Today we would refer to the original release as an “EP”, featuring only two songs that clock in at under 27 minutes.  One thing that has always struck me about South African / Cape Jazz is just how uplifting it sounds, and this track embodies that pretty well.  One note about the artist’s name: Brand had converted to Islam in the late 60’s but continued to use his former stage name on recordings for quite a few years.

1. Mannenberg 13:36
2. The Pilgrim 13:00

Published By – As-Shams Music
Marketed By – As-Shams Music
Distributed By – EMI Music

 

Alto Saxophone – Morris Goldberg
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Robbie Jansen
Bass – Paul Michaels
Composed By, Arranged By, Photography By – Dollar Brand
Drums – Monty Weber
Piano – Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim)
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Basil Coetzee

Mirror 1 || Mirror 2

Mirror 1 || Mirror 2

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Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers – The Witch Doctor (1967) (2021 BN Tone Poet) Day 8 of FV’s 12 Days of Xmas

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – The Witch Doctor
2021 Blue Note Tone Poet | Original release 1967

This is a fantastic 1961 session (not issued until ’67) with Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, and Bobby Timmons, but man the drum solos are recorded horribly.  Seems really odd, seeing as it was the drummer’s group… Nice Tone Poet pressing though, in general.  One of my pandemic pleasures has been buying up lots of these Blue Note reissues of titles that have generally been beyond my reach; under Don Was’s stewardship of the catalog, they have been doing a first-rate job at making them available to people who are not willing or able to pay the ‘trophy hunter’ prices of the collectors market.  There are occasional blips and hiccups in quality control — I returned a Paul Chambers release last summer which had very noticeable distortion which, according to a little research, seemed to afflict a whole bunch of copies in that pressing run.  But by and large I have no complaints. Or at least few.

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Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance – Anymore For Anymore (1974) (2021 UMC) Day 7 of FV’s 12 Days of Xmas

To me,  Ronnie Lane was the heart & soul of the Small Faces & Faces. And if you ever found yourself drawn to the evocative, pastoral-esque ballads on the Faces records, then you owe it to yourself to give this debut from Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance a listen.  The other day, after watching a film, I left Netflix on autoplay and it picked an awful-looking romantic comedy staring Jimmy O. Yang which I proceeded to tune out while washing dishes or something, until I heard a song off this album.  I think it was a cover version and not actually Ronnie Lane.  I could find by skipping to the credits but life is short, you know. Continue reading

Pharoah Sanders, Floating Points & The London Symphony Orchestra – Promises (2021) Day 6 of FV 12 Days of Xmas

Pharoah Sanders, Floating Points & The London Symphony Orchestra – Promises (2021, Luaka Bop)

 

Since I mentioned this on Day 5, it seems only natural and right that Day 6 should be this wonderful record from Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The LSO.  I’m not going to say much of anything about it; I know there were many reviews of this album and I am sure many of them are also wonderful.  The album was conceived and recorded during the pandemic and somehow felt like the album we needed, even if we may not have deserved it.  A proprietor of a local record shop where I live didn’t like it, he complained that it sounded “new age” — a characterization that I think is neither accurate nor fair – and that Pharoah barely plays on it, and is too subdued.  But (as I mentioned yesterday) the mood here is very introspective, and feels like a musical meditation on the passing of time, on the luxury and strangeness of having lived to an old age.  Any new worlds that Pharoah may seek to discover at this point are more subtle than the soaring heights of his youthful work, somewhere in between the planes, teetering suspended between the flesh and the disincarnate.  I have this one on vinyl, but I’m still digesting it, so it’s not the version I’m sharing here.

Charles Lloyd & The Marvels – Tone Poet (2021) Day 5 of FV’s 12 Days of Christmas

 

Charles Lloyd & The Marvels gifted us a new album in 2021, and it’s an inspired one too.  The Marvels are a piano-less ensemble with two guitarists – Bill Frisell plays the standard six-string, and Greg Leisz plays the pedal steel.  This makes for some interesting arrangements, especially on tunes where you’d expect to hear a piano, like um, Monk’s Mood.  The guitars manage to fill in a lot of the empty space where those 88 keys would be.  Sometimes Frisell flips the tremolo switch on his amplifier and treats us to vibraphone-like textures.  Charles Lloyd is sort of an elder statesman at this point and it’s great to hear him making this kind of joyful music. The two opening Ornette Coleman cuts, for example, especially “Ramblin,'” earns the adjective “rollicking” from me.  It injects some NOLA second-line funk into the rhythmic structure and has some of the best interplay between the musicians of any of the tunes here.  It’s followed by a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” that probably shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does, albeit maybe a bit too sweetly reverent.  It’s tempting to contrast this simple but elegant record with a very different 2021 release from another elder statesman and true giant: Pharoah Sanders’s “Promises,”a collaboration with composer and electronic knob-twiddler Floating Points, which was a lovely surprise of this year.  But whereas that album is densely textured and pensive, maybe even somber at times, and feels like Winter, or a musical reflection on the closing years of a long and fruitful life, “Tone Poem” is light and buoyant, feels like Spring, and makes me think or at least hope that Charles Lloyd & the Marvels still have a lot of music left to make together.

A1 – Peace (03:15)
A2 – Ramblin’ (05:01)
A3 – Anthem (06:22)
B1 – Dismal Swamp (06:31)
B2 – Tone Poem (09:08)
C1 – Monk’s Mood (10:30)
C2 – Ay Amor (Live) (10:09)
D1 – Lady Gabor (10:53)
D2 – Prayer (08:42)

Total length: 01:10:31

More information: https://www.discogs.com/Charles-Lloyd-The-Marvels-Tone-Poem/release/17814862

Alto Flute – Charles Lloyd (tracks: B1)
Bass – Reuben Rogers
Design, Photography By – Dorothy Darr
Drums – Eric Harland
Guitar – Bill Frisell
Lacquer Cut By – JH*, KPG*
Layout – Meat And Potatoes, Inc.
Liner Notes – CL*
Management – Dorothy Darr, Forest Farm Music + Art
Management [Proudly Presented By The Blue Note/Capitol Team] – Alex Anastasi, Cem Kurosman, Don Was, Eduardo Ribeiro (2), Francisco Marmol, Joshua Kamzan, Justin Seltzer, Melissa Cohen, Rachel Jones (7)
Mastered By – Kevin Gray
Mixed By – Michael C. Ross
Producer [Produced By] – Charles Lloyd, Dorothy Darr
Recorded By – Adam Camardella (tracks: C2), Dom Camardella (tracks: D2), Michael C. Ross (tracks: A1 to C1, D1)
Steel Guitar – Greg Leisz
Supervised By [Supervision: Tone Poet] – Joe Harley
Tenor Saxophone – Charles Lloyd (tracks: A1 to A3, B2 to D2)


LINEAGE: 2021 Blue Note B003313501; 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.

 

All resolutions: 16/44, 24/96, 24/192

 

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