Baden Powell – É de lei (1972) (aka Images On Guitar)

baden powell
baden powell

Baden Powell
“É de lei”
Released 1972 on Philips (6349.036)
01 – Até Eu (Baden Powell / Paulo César Pinheiro)
02 – Petite Waltz (Baden Powell)
03 – Violão Vagabundo (Baden Powell / Paulo César Pinheiro)
04 – Conversa Comigo Mesmo (Baden Powell)
05 – Blues à Volonté (Baden Powell / Janine de Waleyne)
06 – Sentimentos Se Você Pergunta Nunca Vai Saber (Baden Powell)
07 – É de Lei (Baden Powell / Paulo César Pinheiro)
08 – Canto (Baden Powell)

Baden Powell – guitar,vocal
Janine de Valeyne – vocal
Ernesto Ribeiro Goncalvez – bass
Joaquim Paes Henrique – drums
Alfredo Bessa – percussion

Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000

This is a truly breathtaking album, one of the most progressive records I’ve heard by the great Baden Powell. A lot of the album is instrumental, but the vocals from Janine de Valeyne truly take those tracks to another sphere of existence, giving a baroque twist to the compositions (although I do have one friend who finds her vocals too operatic, I politely disagree with him). Baden’s own voice is technically-less-than-perfect but in other ways it is a perfect foil for his guitar playing, which is almost TOO perfect — his voice reminds us that he is human and not a machine! When the two of them sing together, the mixture is like sand and silk, and I fully approve. This is a unique record in Baden’s discography but it is a good example of why his music can be so hard to categorize, pushing boundaries between bossa nova, samba, jazz, classical. It is Baden Powell, and that’s all that needs to be said. For me, the monster cut on this album is “Blues à Volonté” where everyone just cuts loose in a 9-minute groove, complete with scat singing from both Baden and Janine. This tune convinces me that Baden Powell is the only Brazilian guitarist to actually understand the blues of black North America. And then there are other tracks full of ethereal beauty, like Sentimentos Se Você Pergunta Nunca Vai Saber, and Canto, the latter of which receives a good musical analysis in the review references below.

This album has been repackaged and reissued in a variety of ways: as “Images on Guitar” in Germany, in a double-CD set that includes all the MPS label recordings he made, and as part of an expensive 13-CD box set that is no longer in print.

There exists a wonderful German website devoted to Baden Powell that is a unparalleled resource for those interested in his massive body of work, which can be confusing to get a grip on since his recordings were issued in different countries with different titles and different album artwork and on different labels (often on different labels in the SAME country, it should be noted), then repackaged over the years in even more permutations. The site – Brazil On Guitar which you can find here – helps make sense of all this but also has attentive, serious reviews of the music. I have taken the liberty of reproducing the review for this album in its entirety. Not only did I learn a few things from it, but I concur completely with its aesthetic assessments:

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After his japanese studio recording in April 1971, this record was the third and last recording for MPS in cooperation with the Japanese Canyon label in October 1971. BP found a new quartet with Ernesto Ribeiro-Goncalves, Alfredo Bessa and the drummer Joaquim Paes Henriques, the last one would accompany him in studio and on stage until 1974. However, after this recording the quartet split up. The following recordings three weeks later were recorded without them. In 1990 Baden, Ernesto and Alfredo would work again together on the re-recording of the “Afro Sambas”.

BP’s Images on Guitar is conceptionally one of the best records of the seventies. Hardly any other record sounds as thematically closed as Images on Guitar or Canto on Guitar. While the last Quartet recordings had their focus on Afro-Brazilian music he was now playing his own compositions. Elaborate themes used elements from Jazz, Baroque, Blues and Funk. These combinations would remain unrepeated. Many of these themes were only recorded once.

Ate Eu can be seen as an continuation of the three last Quartet recordings of December, 1970. However Petite Valse seems to be the true introduction to this record. This title would be the first in many of his concerts.
While Baden Powell (1971) was an hommage to Garoto and Pixinguinha this record can be seen as an hommage to Janine de Waleyne. The complete title can only be found on the MPS cover: Images on Guitar / Baden + Janine.

In four duets BP gives his favourite singer the necessary space for her impressive voice. The dynamics of these compositions increase and culminate in Blues a volonte. It is a powerful and cheerful improvisation and the best example of the inspirational work of everyone involved in the recording. Conversa Comigo Mesmo (dialogue with myself) seems like a well-done extension of his 1966 recording Invencao Em 7 ½.
E de Lei, in an instrumental and accurate arrangement, is followed by the inspiring and evocative Canto.

Canto: the guitar takes up the theme of the vocals. In an short rhythmic part this seems reversed. The guitar gives the impulse. The last note of the vocal remains unaccompanied and is followed by an altered D-minor chord (Dm9/#11). This chord shows great tension. The powerful quint on the bass strings is eased by guide tones as chord extensions (Bb and E) on the higher strings Finally the motiv of descending perfect fifths is repeated, played only by the guitar. The piece ends with a straight quint sound (D,A,d). This seems like a confirmation or easing. Maybe Canto tries to show the importance of the voice as the original instrument, the instrumental player trying to imitate the voice.

The cover art of the German release is one of the most beautiful of BP’s covers.
The Japanese CD release lacks a reprint of the gatefold cover. The record was released as E De Lei in Brazil in 1972, with a release on CD in 2003.
The Japanese CD release is from 1998 (POCJ 2556), in 1997 the record (except for one track) was released on the CD: Jazz Meets Brasil
(MPS 533 133-2). A re-edition with the original cover art remains to be released.

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Vinyl rip is from a first pressing in VG+ condition with light surface noise in places but very dynamic and robust. As usual, I prefer to leave a potential click or pop alone when in doubt, rather than remove ‘wanted’ audio (in particular, the very last track, “Canto”). Single clicks were removed after Click Repair, but very sparingly and I am sure I didn’t get them all. There are other vinyl rips of this floating around the interwebs but I happen to think mine is “special”. There is also a 24-bit/96khz fileset available if anyone is interested.

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Cal Tjader – Solar Heat (1968)

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Cal Tjader
“Solar Heat”
Released 1968 on Skye Records (SK-1)
Reissued 1994 on DCC Jazz Compact Classics (DJZ-618)

1. Ode To Billy Joe 2:55 (Gentry)
2. Never My Love 2:48 (D. R. Addrissi)
3. Felicidade 2:35 (Jobim , De Moraes)
4. Mambo Sangria 2:38 (Tjader)
5. Here 3:25 (David MacKay)
6. Fried Bananas 2:36 (McFarland)
7. Amazon 2:25 (Donato)
8. La Bamba 2:56 (Tjader)
9. Eye Of The Devil 2:16 (McFarland)
10. Solar Heat 2:30 (Tjader)

Arrangements by Gary McFarland

This is a short but sweet record by the still-under-appreciated Cal Tjader. Two things happened to me this week in relation to this album. I found myself listening to this in my car, twice on the same day (a rarity in itself), and then later received an email from a blog follower who mentioned that he first came to this blog expecting to find lots of albums featuring the vibraphone. And that got me reflecting — DAMN! There really aren’t that many records featuring the vibes at Flabbergasted Vibes. How did that happen? And particularly – Cal Tjader has been on my “short list” for a post since the beginning, but alas, that list has grown ever longer since then.

So here it is, the first of several Cal Tjader posts, and this one is a solid winner. Just look at the lineup of musicians, to start with:

Vibraphone – Cal Tjader, Gary McFarland
Upright Bass – Bobby Rodriguez
Electric Bass – Chuck Rainey
Electric Piano, Harpsichord – Mike Abene
Organ – João Donato
Percussion – Orestes Vilato , Ray Barreto
Drums – Grady Tate (who is left off the album jacket, but credited in the liner notes…)

“Solar Heat” was the first of a handful of albums that Cal recorded and released (in rapid succession) for the short-lived Skye label, for which this record was the inauguration. The title cut is one bad-ass piece of soul-jazz groove that does everything exactly right in performance, production, conception, and pure coolness. I almost feel like you don’t deserve to preview the track before hearing the whole album, that you have not earned the right… But then I discovered the tune was released as a 7-inch single anyway so my sanctimonious fanfare comes crashing down. Check it out and watch the record spin:

Still not convinced you need to embrace this record like a lost orphan? Well then check out this uptempo version of Vinicius & Jobim’s “Felicidade.” It shouldn’t work as well as it does – it’s upbeat happy foot-tapping buoyancy is practically the antithesis of bossa nova, enough to make João Donato’s comadres back home roll their eyes and make jokes about him as a male piano-tickling Carmen Miranda. (*note: I have no proof that this ever happened.)

Speaking of things that don’t work, I always hated the song “Never My Love.” For the first few bars of this version, I held out a hope that Cal Tjader could rescue the tune from the schmaltz graveyard in the sonic netherworld to which it has been banished in my universe, but even he is not powerful enough to inject integrity into this godawful tune. This would be more forgivable if the song didn’t follow a good version of Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billy Joe” which is a GREAT song that nobody can ruin. Well you can’t have everything, I suppose.

Other noteworthy nuggets are João Donato’s own ‘Amazon’, another smoking jazz-bossa, and the two Gary McFarland compositions “Fried Bananas” and “Eye of the Devil,” which was written about McFarland’s membership in and subsequent disillusionment with Anton Lavey’s Church of Satan. But what is more demonic about all this is – DOUBLE VIBES PENETRATION! Two vibraphones, at the SAME TIME!

Did I mention that Ray Barreto and Bobby Rodriguez are on this album? Those guys are great. I really like those guys. Oh, and Chuck Rainey. He is a swell guy too.

This album’s rarity was briefly alleviated by VampiSoul issuing it together with “Cal Tjader Sounds Off on Burt Bacharach”, but if I am not mistaken that disc is out of print. I have never had that pressing but this DCC reissue almost certainly sounds much much better in terms of audio quality.

Gil Evans – Gil Evans & 10 (1957)

Gil Evans – Gil Evans & Ten (1957)
Original release, Prestige 7120
This release Fantasy/Prestige (OJCCD 346-2)

Remember
(Irving Berlin)
Ella Speed
(Ledbetter , Lomax)
Big Stuff
(Leonard Bernstein)
Nobody`s Heart
(Lorenz Hart , Richard Rogers)
Just One Of Those Things
(Cole Porter)
If You Could See Me Now
(Sigman , Dameron)
Jambangle
(Gil Evans)

Bass – Paul Chambers
Bassoon – Dave Kurtzer
Drums – Nick Stabulas
French Horn – Willie Ruff
Piano – Gil Evans
Saxophone – Zeke Tolin (Lee Konitz) , Steve Lacy
Trombone – Jimmy Cleveland
Bass Trombone – Bart Varsalona
Trumpet – Jake Koven , Louis Mucci

Drums – Jo Jones (tracks: 1)
Trumpet – John Carisi (tracks: 1)

Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in Hackensack, NJ, September and October 1957

Remaster by Phil De Lancie in Berkeley, 1989

A casual look at the composition credits might tend to assessment that the listener is in for no big jazz surprises on this 1957 record, treading the songbook stalwarts of Gershwin, Rogers and Hart, and Cole Porter. But then there is the inclusion of Leadbelly, and Leonard Bernstein’s “Big Stuff” which he wrote for Billie Holiday. And the inclusion of an 11-piece ensemble on the record utilizing instruments like French horn, bass trombone, and bassoon. If Gil’s arranging skills aren’t enough to entice you, there is the buoyant bass of Paul Chambers, and great sax riffing from Steve Lacy and Lee Konitz (playing under the pseudonym of Zeke Tolin.. not sure why, contractual issues perhaps?). Jimmy Cleveland’s trombone is a treat, and Gil’s parsimonious piano never sounded sweeter. And I do mean SOUND too – Van Gelder works all his magic here, and the muted piano tones that Evans favored float nicely atop the lush sonorous carpet. Thanksfully, this is an original CD issue of the Prestige OJC pressing with Phil De Lancie’s mastering work, so we aren’t left at the mercy of Rudy’s recent travesties in remastering his own recordings… Thanks to ****** for providing the original rip of this one to me. (You know who you are.) 1957 was a very busy year for Gil Evans, and this album is among his best work.

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Joe Henderson – Canyon Lady (1975)

joe henderson

Joe Henderson
Canyon Lady
1975 Milestone Records

A1 Tres Palabras 10:11
A2 Las Palmas 9:54
B1 Canyon Lady 9:07
B2 All Things Considered 8:38

Recorded in October 1973 in Berkeley, California, at Fantasy Studios
Originally released in 1975 as Milestone M-9057

Congas – Francisco Aguabella , Victor Pantoja
Drums – Eric Gravatt
Engineer – Jim Stern
Flute – Hadley Caliman (tracks: A1, B1-2) , Ray Pizzi (tracks: A1) , Vincent Denham (tracks: A1)
Piano – Mark Levine (tracks: A1, B1-2)
Electric Piano – George Duke (tracks: A1-B1)
Tenor Saxophone – Joe Henderson
Timbales – Carmelo Garcia
Trombone – Julian Priester (tracks: A1, B1-2) , Nicholaas TenBroek (tracks: A1)
Trumpet – John Hunt (tracks: A1) , Luis Gasca (tracks: A2-B2) , Oscar Brashear (tracks: A1, B1-2)

Produced by Orrin Keepnews

joe henderson
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The first album I ever heard by Joe Henderson was “Inner Urge” and I wondered why I had never listened to him before. With Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner on loan from Coltrane, and Bob Cranshaw holding down the double-bass, the record just blew me away. Thereafter I took it upon myself to seek out his other Blue Note recordings and continued to find myself consistently enjoying them. It was a long time, however, before I began paying attention to his Milestone albums, like the one featured here.

For a person who had such a long career, Henderson is one of the most underrated jazz musicians of his generation. In some ways this is understandable — although he has released plenty of material, in terms of recorded output he was much less prolific than many of his peers, at times taking breaks of two years or more between releases. It is particularly unfortunate that the Milestone albums are still overlooked, with the majority of them not seeing a release on CD until the 1994 boxset titled, appropriately enough “The Milestone Years.” For most of that material, the box is the only legitimate release in the digital realm, with the individual albums still never having been issued as separated compact discs, making them accessible only to those willing to invest in a hefty boxset. A few exceptions were issued as part of the Fantasy’s ‘Original Jazz Classics’ series, which includes this set recorded in San Francisco in 1973 and released two years later as “Canyon Lady.” Less experimental than most of his other early-70s material, it is an intriguing mixture of Latin and soul jazz topped with Henderson’s passionate tenor sax. The configurations of musicians are stellar and feature arrangements by Luis Gasca who also contributes trumpet as well as a handful of other instruments like flugelhorn and assorted percussion. George Duke features on electric piano on some of the album, and tight grooves are underscored by the congeros Victor Pantoja and Francisco Aguabela and timbale player Carmelo Garcia. Pianist Mark Levine is prominent throughout and also contributes half the compositions on the album.

The album didn’t grab me right away, starting out rather slowly with the heavily-orchestrated “Tres Palabras” which builds into a more sweeping, gripping crescendo about two thirds of the way through. The following number “Las Palmas,” the only Henderson original here, quickly picks up the pace and kicks the album into high gear. Ten minutes of riffing in an angular 6/8 time signature, it is the most “out” that this record gets and it is pure joy to listen to. The second half of the album does not disappoint either. Levine’s compositions veer towards a more mainstream Latin jazz sound, but punctuated with trippy electric piano by George Duke and Henderson’s ability to be both rough and sensual simultaneously, it never gets boring. The final cut features an all-out percussion jam at the five minute mark that goes on for nearly three minutes before leading into the final choruses that close the album. Production-wise the record has a slickness very much in the style of CTI Records so popular at the time, and while this can often be a shortcoming in that label’s stable of artists, this album somehow avoids the sterility endemic to Creed Taylor’s production skills. This may not be the most adventurous place to dip into Henderson’s Milestone period, but it is not a bad place to start nonetheless.

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Sonny Lester – Ann Corio Presents `How to Strip for Your Husband & More… ` (1962)Sonny Lester – How to Strip for Your Husband & More… (1962)

sonny lester
sonny lester

Ann Corio Presents
“How to Strip for Your Husband & More…” Volumes 1 & 2
‘Music to Make Marriage Merrier’
Orchestra conducted by Sonny Lester

01. For Strippers Only
02. Seduction of the Virgin Princess
03. Shivas Regal
04. A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody
05. Lament
06. The Raid
07. Turkish
08. Blues to Strip by
09. Walkin & Strippin
10. Bumps & Grinds
11. Easter Parade
12. Lonely Little G-String
13. Big Millie from Philly
14. The Late, Late Show
15. Perfume and Pink Chiffon
16. Swinging Shepherd Blues
17. Lullaby of Birdland
18. More Bumps and Grinds
19. Strip Poker
20. Strippers Holiday
21. A Woman
22. Dixie Belle
23. Play the Blues for Masie
24. How Mable Get Sable Cha Cha Cha

“Nothing looks better on a woman than anatomy” – Ann Corio

I have a “serious” post that is in the works, but in meantime here is a bit of naughty fun. These two albums were released in 1962. Apparently the demand was such that *instructions* on how to strip properly were needed for the second volume. Unfortunately they did not come with diagrams or a photographic essay, but the bawdy burlesque jazz makes up for it. Well, sort of. The instructions were written by burlesque bombshell Ann Corio, or at least attributed to her.

sonny lester
sonny lester
sonny lester

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Charles Mingus – Mingus at the Bohemia (1955)

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Charles Mingus – Mingus at the Bohemia
Recorded December 23, 1955, at Cafe Bohemia, NYC
Released originally on Debut Records*
(*Listed usually as a 1955 release, I don`t see how this is possible given the recording date…)I am a bit humbled and dumbstruck when it comes to the prospect of writing anything about Charles Mingus. To tell you what a genius the man was at this point would be like telling you the world is round. More learned men than I have stoked the fires of musical curiosity by hurling superlatives on this jazz giant. So I will leave you, for once, with just the music. This record is a precious live document of Mingus’s Jazz Composer’s Workshop. The liner notes from pianist and workshop member Mal Waldron give a fairly detailed synopsis of what is going on in terms of composition and improvisation that — should your ears fail you in this respect – give you a better idea of just how progressive this `progressive jazz` ensemble really was in 1955. Bebop, big band, avant garde, tuneful, dissonant, weaving simultaneous melodies, committing acts of creative plagiarism. In listing the lineup below the tracklist, I have noted some of the musician’s other credits outside the Workshop in order to further illustrate the vast scope of this project. The work of Mingus truly bridged entire universes of sound.
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Jump Monk
Serenade In Blue
Percussion Discussion
Work Song
Septemberly
All The Things You C-Sharp
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bonus cuts:
alternate takes of “Jump Monk” and “All The Things You C-Sharp”
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Trombone – Eddie Bert (Stan Kenton, Benny Goodman, Thelonious Monk, Stan Getz)
Tenor Sax – George Barrow (Oliver Nelson)
Piano – Mal Waldron (Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Steve Lacey, Abbey Lincoln)
Drums – Willie Jones, Jr. (Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young, Sun Ra)

Special guest Max Roach (everyone) on “Percussion Discussion”

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