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 – Virgo Red (1973) (Polydor PD-6016)

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Virgo Red
1973 Polydor PD-6016
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | Art scans at 300 dpi

An underrated Roy Ayers Ubiquity album, Virgo Red has to overcome the fact that it leads off with its weakest track, a cover of the Hot Chocolate song “Brother Louie”, which became a #1 hit for Stories and was ruined for all perpetuity by disgraced comedian Louis C.K. Blame it on his time playing with hirsute Herbie Mann if you will, but Roy seemingly couldn’t pass up an opportunity for cheesy covers of pop songs. Continue reading

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).

Continue reading