David Sancious and Tone – Transformation (The Speed of Love) (1976 Epic)

David Sancious and Tone – Transformation (The Speed Of Love)
1976 Epic Records PE 33939| Genre:  Fusion, Jazz-rock, Progressive rock

If, like me, you thought that Incident on 57th Street and New York City Serenade were the high points of Bruce Springsteen’s early career, then you should probably give your attention to musical polymath and chameleon David Sancious.  Sancious was keyboardist for the E. Street Band on their first two albums, and contributed to the title track of Born To Run.  I think it would be a safe claim to say that his sensibility probably helped sculpt the “epic” sound they were crafting, particularly on the longer songs, but if you have The Boss too firmly in mind when putting on this record, you might be jarred by just how dissimilar it seems.  I’ve always been a champion of things eclectic, but Sanscious might be too eclectic for his own good at times.  With his virtuosity on multiple instruments taking front and center stage, it is hard not to marvel at least a little at the breadth of vision, but sometimes they straddle the grey area between stylistic transcendence and plain confusion.  His debut record for Epic (Forest of Feelings, 1975) was produced by none other than legendary jazz-fusion drummer Billy Cobham, and at times the music comes close to holding its own with Return To Forever or Weather Report or Mahavishnu Orchestra, and at other times sounding a bit like a slightly funky Rush without the benefit of no horrible lyrics (everything here is instrumental).

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Airto – Fingers (1973) (CTI Records 6028)

Airto – Fingers
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC |  Art scans at 300 dpi
1.4GB (24/192) | 865 MB (24/96)
CTI Records 6028| Genre: Fusion, Latin Jazz, Jazz Rock

This post was intended to go up over the weekend as a commemoration to wrap up the Festas Juninas.  “Fingers” is really is a masterpiece from Airto Moreira, one of the progenitors of jazz fusion, with lots of help from future members of the Uruguayan group Opa and, of course, his wife Flora Purim. It is less “out” than his solo records up to this point but still retains enough traces of his wild urges toward surprise and experimentation to keep things interesting. The compositions, about half of which are contributed by Opa members, are accessible enough to instantly grab your attention but are always offering new nuances on repeated listens. How many edgy Latin-Jazz-Fusion albums actually contain EARWORMS in their grooves? This album has tunes you will be whistling to yourself for weeks afterward, in particular the track “Parana.” (more below) Continue reading

Larry Coryell – Coryell (1969) – Special Blog 10th Anniversary Post!

Larry Coryell – Coryell
1969 Vanguard Apostolic VSD 6547 | Vinyl rip in 24 bit 196 khz | Art at 600 and 300 dpi
Jazz-Rock / Jazz-Funk / Soul / Fusion / Psychedelic

I’ve been holding back on posting about this album until I could commemorate the 10th ANNIVERSARY of this blog.  It’s a very special record to me from the great guitarist Larry Coryell, who passed away in 2017.  It’s unique in that it captures him in a kind of transition between his time playing in the psychedelic rock group The Free Spirits and his future as an icon of jazz fusion, in the pre-Bitches Brew era when that genre was still fresh and nascent.  And it’s soul-shaking, mind-melting grooviness from start to finish.  I like to imagine that Hendrix heard this album and  decided to shelve the Experience on the spot and start up his Band of Gypsies.  Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on the drums and Chuck Rainey on bass are holding down a solid soul groove  here, which just elevates the vibe to transcendent levels. Continue reading

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

CTI All-Stars – Live Two (Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl)
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Photos and art scans at 300 dpi
1977 CTI Records – CTI 7077

01 Blues Force 7:01 (Stanley Turrentine)
02 Rock Steady 10:30 (Aretha Franklin)
03 Theme From Love Story / Pavane / Fire And Rain 14:01 (Francis Lai, G. Faure*, James Taylor)
04 People Make The World Go Round 6:05  (Linda Creed, Thomas Bell)

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.


The second volume of the contractual-obligation-trilogy, CTI Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl, delivers the same kind of deal as the first, which you can read about in last week’s post.  I don’t have a tremendous amount to say about it.  “Blues Force” gives an opportunity for Milt Jackson to do his thing on the vibraphone.  In the last post I had said this volume would contain a version of the theme from The Thomas Crown Affair, “Windmills Of Your Mind” – well, I lied.  I got my Michel Legrand confused with my Francis Lai.  They both have similar, wistful melodies, so that’s my excuse.  Opening up the second side of the LP, it becomes a medley with some Renaissance jazz in “Pavane” and winds up with an almost-stirring “Fire and Rain.”  Freddie Hubbard again leads the group on the album’s closer with “People Make The World Go Round.”  Not to discourage anyone’s enthusiasm but I reiterate what I said in the first post – these live records are pleasant enough but I would mostly rather here a studio release from any of the many titans on this stage, they are just more compelling.  The third volume should be up this weekend, which features two  tracks (not one, as misspoken last week) featuring the great Esther Phillips on vocals, who gets credited on the first two LPs because it cost too much to customize the album credits on these.

Anybody who reads this blog and has some money to spare – please donate it to the relief efforts in Puerto Rico, that colonial property of the US who a certain asinine toddler just mocked instead of mobilizing support for humanitarian aid.  I’m not in the habit of endorsing specific charitable organizations, most have their pros and cons and it’s your choice.  Stay sane out there!


password: vibes

 

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