Chester Thompson – Powerhouse (1971) (2021 Black Jazz / RGM)

 

Chester Thompson – Powerhouse
2021 Real Gone Music RGM-1202 / Original Release 1971 Black Jazz

This is a short (seriously short, only 27 minutes) but sweet LP from future Tower of Power and Santana organist, Chester Thompson.  Not to be confused with the drummer Chester Thompson, who toured with Genesis in the post-Peter Gabriel years and also played in Santana’s 1980’s lineup at the same time as this Chester, which caused this Chester to start using his middle initial to help people keep them straight.  There is also a song called Mr. T that predates the A-Team by a decade.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the music:

Continue reading

Roland Haynes – 2nd Wave (1975) (2020 Black Jazz / Real Gone Music)

 

It’s a total coincidence (or is it?) that my first two posts about the Black Jazz reissues have been by keyboardists, without any brass or reeds in their band. Weird, eh? This record, “2nd Wave” is great stuff by a one-and-done mysterious key tickler, Roland Haynes. There are actually two Fender Rhodes players here, so that should be welcomed by those of you for whom there is Never Enough Rhodes.  Not much is known about Roland Haynes, a situation that is not cleared up by the liner notes by Pat Thomas in the insert.  Continue reading

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival (1972/1996)

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival
Original release 1972 Polydor (Japan)
1996 CD reissue Verve Records 314531641-2

Dipping back into the Roy Ayers Ubiquity catalog, this live performance hails from pretty early in their trajectory, and this version was expanded from the original LP to include 4 extra tracks for what is probably a pretty complete representation of their set.  (more below the break) Continue reading

Freedom Rhythm & Sound: Revolutionary Jazz & The Civil Rights Movement 1963-82 (Soul Jazz Records 219)

Various Artists – Freedom Rhythm & Sound: Revolutionary Jazz & The Civil Rights Movement 1963-82
2009 Soul Jazz Records

I apologize for my absence during these challenging times of turmoil.  The truth is I am exhausted by everything happening in the world, but not anywhere near as exhausted as my black friends, especially those in the United States.  I feel like those who know me, know where I stand. Continue reading

Al Jarreau – Glow (1976)

 

Al Jarreau – Glow
1976 Reprise MS2248
This reissue, late-80’s German CD pressing

There has been another round of recent deaths of talented people in the arts, and I might be tempted to print another list here or to work up a bunch of “tribute” posts on this blog.  But my last post here was a bit ‘heavy’ and I thought I would change things up again for something more upbeat and life-affirming.  If you are the kind of person who sees the tag “vocal jazz” and are about to skip this post, please reconsider.  Many of the best jazz vocalists use their instrument to compliment an ensemble rather than dominate it, and the early Al Jarreau records fall into that camp.  Anyone who only knows Jarreau from his slicker, pop-oriented records from the 1980’s might even be taken aback but just how extremely funky his earlier work could be, yet he was always attuned to popular but soulful melodies that were ripe for improvisational riffing.  Continue reading

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Everybody Loves The Sunshine (1976) (2016 UMG Gold Reissue)

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Everybody Loves The Sunshine
Original release 1976 Polydor
2016 Reissue – Polydor / The Verve Music Group B0024310-01

This 40th anniversary gold pressing is a nice reissue of one of the high points of Roy Ayers Ubiquity’s catalog. There is less vibraphone and a lot more Arp on this one. Every song a winner. Also, it seems like only a matter of time before the track “Lonesome Cowboy” gets used in a Coen Brothers film. Or maybe Tarantino. Anyway enjoy it before they ruin it.  The whole album successfully grafts its cosmic jazz-funk onto the kind of broad positivity preached by pre-Riot era Sly Stone (with “People And The World” sounding like a bit like a discarded Family Stone jam).

Continue reading