Thursday, January 31, 2013
In light of the passing of Ann Rabson, I though I would delve into my archives for a review from 2001 (The January-February 2001 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 249) in which I reviewed her second recording as a solo act and not as a member of Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women. I reviewed few months ago, her last CD which was a collaboration with Bob Margolin, Not Alone.
Ann Rabson’s Music Makin’ Mama disc on Alligator was a more than pleasant surprise when released a few years ago. The followup, Struttin’ My Stuff, by this uppity blues woman is on the increasingly important MC Records label. Like the earlier album, this allows her to mix some vintage blues songs with some telling originals with her boogie woogie piano being the musical anchor for most of this set (with unobtrusive bass and drums on several selections) while she switches to guitar for a few cuts.
While her strongest musical suit is her piano playing, she is more than a capable guitarist and an affable vocalist. Her marriage of traditional boogie woogie motifs with more modern lyrics often results in this disc’s highpoints. Hassle Attack, on which Ann states she grafted her lyrics on a zydeco tune, comes across as a modern reworking of Cow Cow Blues, while this writer was delighted to see her marriage of Chuck Berry’s Sweet Sixteen lyrics to the boogie woogie of Meade Lux Lewis’ Honky Tonk Train, and the closing instrumental Careless Boogie is a nicely paced boogie woogie reworking of Careless Love.
I am not too enamored with the rendition of Eddie Bo’s Check Mr. Popeye, but that might be the result of the understated rhythm on this New Orleans funk number. Brownie McGhee’s Sportin’ Life Blues, is a gem, with her performance capturing the irony of a lyric akin to Willie Nelson’s Night Life.
All in all, another recording that should appeal to the many fans she has as well as fans of her from Saffire.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
For the DC Blues Society I did an interview and article on the Trio around the time of the first Alligator album that was soon published in Blues Revue, then a new publication, and thus the first article on Ann and the band. I know she was a regular instructor at Blues Week at Elkins WV and so she has so many people who she taught over these years.
But the most important one thing one could learn was being such a good person. Ann, I am only one of thousands who will miss you.
Here is Ann Rabson on guitar, not piano, performing One Meatball, a song that she performed as long as I knew her.
Finally a performance of Ann with Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women doing Middle Aged Woman Blues, one of the trio's best known originals that was on the cassette they sold while still a regional band and later re-recorded for the trio's Alligator debut album. Ann is on piano here although you cannot see her.
Having played with a who’s who of the blues world for three decades (including Big James Montgomery and the Chicago Playboys, singer guitarist Mike Wheeler has a new CD on Delmark, Self Made Man. He is joined on this by his band of Brian James on keyboards, Larry Williams on bass and Cleo Cole on drums with young harmonica wiz Omar Coleman added to three tracks.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Catfish & Cotton: Driving Down The Blues Highway by brothers Luc & Marc Borms is a self-published, wonderfully illustrated account of their journey to the heart of the delta blues culture through their experiences visiting Delta landmarks and their interviewing artists, merchants, scholars and others involved in the Delta Blues scene today.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
On the Phil Schaap Jazz Facebook page, Phil writes:
Little Jazz and not Bird on Wednesday January 30, 2013
There will be no Bird Flight on WKCR next Wednesday 1/30.
Instead WKCR – 89.9 FM in the New York City region and wkcr.org online – will play ROY “Little Jazz” ELDRIDGE all day.
The live broadcast of Roy in various discussions at The West End on his 76th birthday (1/30/1987) will be aired at 8:20am ET and a much longer interview done on his 77th birthday (1/30/1988) will be aired at 6:00pm ET
A Lot of Little Jazz on WKCR: January 30, 2013
Here are a couple more videos to whet your appetite. First a classic of Roy and Anita O'Day with Gene Krupa's Big Band from a sound.
Now here is a clip of Roy handling (among other things) a blues associated with Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson, Kidney Stew.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
|Elijah Jamal Balbed caught at an earlier performance at the Smithsonian's Kogod Courtyard|
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I just came across some video clips on youtube of a program from the 1960's called Frankly Jazz with some really terrific performances. How about Gerald Wilson's Big Band doing Miles Davis' Milestones.
Then there is Lou Rawls singing the blues.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
On Monk in Motian, the late drummer Paul Motian is heard leading a combo with guitarist Bill Frissell and saxophonist Joe Lovano with guest appearances by Dewey Redman and pianist Geri Allen. There is no bass on this, and with the exception of the tracks with Allen are piano-less as well. The CD was originally issued on the German JMT label in 1988 and reissued in 2002 on the Winter and Winter imprint, which I recently purchased from JazzLoft.com.
This is packed in a hardback styled cover. It is, as indicated above, not a new release which I purchased it from jazzloft.com.
Monday, January 21, 2013
My recommendation for a Snooks album is the Black Top release Out of Nowhere that was reissued by Shout Factory and which is available from amazon as a cd-r. You may be able to find vendors selling the original CD as used or a collectable. It is well worth trying to locate. I previously posted reviews of several of his albums including Snooks Live in Japan.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
|Paul Carr - Photo Ron Weinstock|
On Saturday afternoon bass clarinetist Todd Marcus will lead his group which will have as special guest, clarinet master Don Byron. That will be followed by a vocal summit featuring Sharon Clark, Lynette Washington and former Count Basie singer Carmen Bradford, backed by the Chris Grasso Trio. Grasso is among the DC area’s most in demand accompanist for singers. Saturday afternoon concludes with the Akiko Tsuruga Quartet, featuring the Japanese born organist who is a mainstay on the NYC scene.
Photo © Ron Weinstock
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Part of my short weekend in New York City, my wife and I went to Smalls, a jazz club in Greenwich Village that I have watched performances of at the club's website. Performing that night was The Hayes Greenfield - Roger Rosenberg group with Greenfield on alto sax, Rosenberg on baritone and soprano sax, Dean Johnson on bass and Scott Naumann on drums.
This was some nice music in an Ornette infleucned vein including a couple of nice renditions of Monk compositions, "Well You Need It" and "Monk's Mood" (on which the bassist Johnson was featured) and an Ornette tribute number in which Naumann was quite lively.
There was wonderful soloing and group interplay. It was a nice cap of three days in the Big Apple.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Russell, daughter of Luis Russell and Carline Ray, is one of the finest interpreters of blues and pop songs form the thirties through the sixties with a marvelous band. She is a singer not simply a shouter, and her set included songs associated with Ella Fitzgerald (when she was a teenager with Chick Webb), Esther Phillips, Dinah Washington, ivy Anderson (with Due Ellington) and Wyonnie Harris. Her taste in her repertoire is matched by her performances.
Here's another shot of Catherine Russell from her set.
Friday, January 11, 2013
2013-0110 Donald Harrison et al at Blue Note-6958-Edit, a photo by NoVARon on Flickr.
Ron Carter, Donald Harrison and Billy Cobham performing at the Blue Note in New York City. I was next to the stage, about 5 feet from Ron Carter and able to get some images abiding with the club's no flash policy. Real nice show that started with a nice rendition of Miles Davis' "So What' followed by Carter's "Cut & Paste." A nice rendition of "I Can't Get Started" was followed by Carter doing a solo on "You Are My Sunshine," and they closed with a lively rendition of the classic Sonny Rollins calypso, "St. Thomas."
Thursday, January 10, 2013
In New York for a brief vacation, I happened to see a wonderful set by saxophonist Donald Harrison with Billy Cobham on drums and the legendary Ron Carter on bass. This is the trio that recorded the High Note CD "This Is Jazz" (and they performed several songs on the CD) and I was sitting at the foot of the stage, FIVE feet from Ron Carter.
Friday, January 04, 2013
The late Johnny Jones was a strong guitarist that was a mainstay of the Nashville Rhythm and Blues scene from the sixties on. The following review was part of a composite review of releases on the German Blue Label/SPV that appeared in the April 2007 Jazz and Blues Report (Issue 292) and I have made minor stylistic changes. I received my review copy from the publication.
Jones' career was revived with the help of Fred James and was highly acclaimed overseas with albums on Black Magic and Northern Blues before the live recording, Can I Get An Amen, from Bern, Switzerland. Its a terrific performance with Jones straight forward vocals and guitar playing which suggests to these ears the late Son Seals. Albert King is an obvious influence with the fine opening, funky interpretation of Don’t Throw Your Love on Me So Strong, followed by William Bell’s Chip Off the Old Block.
The title track opens with some down-in-the alley guitar before he launches into an intense vocal. Herb Stuffing is a funky instrumental with plenty of searing guitar and commentary from Jones. His friend Charles Walker joins on a fervent take on Don Covay’s Ain’t Nothin’ a Young Girl Can Do.This is a fine set of contemporary urban blues, sung with heart and played with plenty of fire which is easy to recommend
Here is a video of Johnny Jones from a few years ago shortly before he passed away.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
2012-1024 Capital Blues Night at The Hamilton Live-241971, a photo by NoVARon on Flickr.
Today I retire as an attorney who practiced primarily in the area of the Exempt Organizations Tax Law with the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service. As offices of all kinds do when someone retires after a long period of time, a party was held to honor me. I had asked that in lieu of personal gifts to me, contributions be made to the Music Maker Relief Foundation and I was pleased that a nice donation in my honor was made to MMF (and check out their website at www.musicmaker.org.
This picture was from the most recent performance that MMF presented in Washington DC, which was one of the better live performances I had an opportunity to attend in 2012 and featured in this picture is guitarist Cool John Ferguson and vocalist Captain Luke.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Carla MarcianoI believe it was a link to a free download on allaboutjazz.com that turned me on the Carla Marciano, an Italian saxophonist from Salerno, Italy. Listening to the download immediately led me to download on itunes (and its available elsewhere) her new recording Stream of Consciousness (AlfaMusic). She elads a quartet of her on saxophone; Alessandro La Corte on piano; Aldo Vigorito on bass and Gaetano Fasono on drums. I ahve seen her referred to as John Coltrane's daughter and listening to this recording it is immediately evident from the opening God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, which certain will evoke Coltrane's rendering of Greensleeves, to the title three-part suite where she and her combo will make some wonder if this is a previously unissued Coltrane recording. What's interesting is that the suite is akin to some of Trane's freer recordings. Anyway this lady has certainly left a strong impression on me and this is well worth checking out.
Here website biography is at http://www.carlamarciano.it/bio.asp
Miles Davis - The Complete Illustrated History
Miles Davis - The Complete Illustrated History, published by Voyageur Press of Minneapolis, Minnesota is a marvelous graphic overview of one of the most important, influential and original artists of the Twentieth Century. This coffee-table sized volume provides an overview of Miles Davis’ life accompanied not simply by wondrous and classic photography, but also short essays by his musical colleagues, jazz critics and historians and cultural historians. The who package is quite well done and the various comments from those of his contemporaries like Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Lenny White, Ron Carter and Clark Terry and such noted jazz writers as Francis Davis, Ashley Kahn and Robin D.G. Kelley, certainly help flesh out a bit of his personality as well as his musical history. This is the second such book on Miles (We Like Miles came out two years ago to accompany a Miles Museum exhibit in Paris and Montreal) and is certainly a must for those who don’t have the prior volume, but also stands on its own for those (like myself) who have the earlier book.
I purchased both of these items.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Brazilian born drummer Duduka Da Fonseca bridged the world of samba and jazz on Samba Jazz - Jazz Samba (Anzic Records). With a band of well-regarded players (and bandleaders): Anat Cohen - clarinet and tenor saxophone; Helio Alves - piano; Guilherme Monteiro - guitar; and Leonardo Cioglia on bass, he produced an appealing album with strong ensemble playing on a varied set of compositions.
Ernest Dawkins Afro-Straight (Delmark) is a terrific recording of straight-ahead jazz from an ensemble led by Dawkins, who is most associated with free jazz, as they tackle tunes from Coltrane, Shorter, Gillespie as well as an original blues from the leader. This is an excellent recording that easily refutes the stereotype that free jazz players can’t play straight-ahead.
Cornetist Josh Berman & His Gang, There Now (Delmark) is an imaginative free-bop release that includes very original interpretations of songs associated with the Chicago Jazz of the thirties. I found it a most imaginative and fascinating recording, full of surprises and passion.
Five members of Brooklyn Jazz Underground, a cooperative association of jazz artists from Brooklyn, NY, collaborated on a new recording A Portrait of Brooklyn on the association’s sister company, Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records. It is an excellent collection of first-rate original compositions and terrific playing.
Johnnie Bassett had a new release on Sly Dog Records, I Can Make That Happen. This was another well produced and enjoyable recording. He died not long after this was released but was still making it happen with his soulful and sophisticated blues.
There are several songs on Linsey Alexander's Delmark debut Been There Done Thatthat if were recorded thirty years ago would be viewed as blues classics. This was one of the finer blues albums I heard in 2012.
Omar and the Howlers, Too Much Is Not Enough (Big Guitar). There is the second album of JimmY Reed's music Omar Dykes has put together and this includes the alte harmonica master Gary Primich about others. These are wonderfully paced performances and many ‘blues players’ would do well to see how one can take familiar material and make it sound fresh and vital
The Lioness of the Blues, Sista Monica, most recent recording on her Mo Muscle Records label is Living In The Danger Zone. A singer that combines the power of an Etta James with the nuanced delivery of Ruth brown, Sista Monica has produced another strong release.
Willie Buck with The Rockin’ Johnny Band had a new album on Delmark, Cell Phone Man. Evoking Muddy Waters, His vocals exhibit some of the same expressive qualities and with the strong backing here (which at times suggests some of the outstanding Delmark albums of the late sixties and seventies) Buck produced an outstanding recording of real-deal Chicago blues.
Magic Sam, Live 1969 - Raw Blues (Rock Beat label). Exceptional previously unissued club recordings by legendary Magic Sam backed by Bruce Barlow (later with Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen) on bass and Sam Lay on drums. Soul may not be quite hi-fi, but the performances are searing.
Don Sebesky’s Giant Box was part of the CTI Masterworks reissues of classic CTI albums marking the label’s 40th Anniversary. The performances onGiant Box display how his ambitious synthesis of classical, jazz and popular music was realized. His orchestrations frame the featured players here and enhance the solos that exhibit the skill and imagination of some of the greatest jazz musicians of four decades ago.
Celebrating a half century of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a new box set on Columbia/Legacy, The 50th Anniversary Collection. It spans there recordings and includes some previously unreleased material. This is a joy and soulfulness of all of the performances here on this celebration of 50 years of what is truly a cornerstone of American culture, not simply music.
Labor Records issued a new Louisiana Red CD, When My Mama Was Living, bringing together 16 tracks comprised of one track on CD for first time and the rest previously unissued selections or unissued alternate takes. This new release of unissued songs and alternate takes is welcome as. Louisiana Red was in quite fine form during this period.
Grant Green, The Holy Barbarian/ St. Louis 1959 (Uptown Records). This is first release of live recording of nearly 70 minutes of what was a strong performance of blues and hard-bop organ jazz in St. Louis at a short-lived pioneering venue. Beautifully packaged this is as exciting release as Resonance Records recent Wes Montgomery CD.
Louis Armstrong & the Allstars, Satchmo at Symphony Hall - 65th Anniversary: The Complete Recordings (Hip-O-Select). A double CD reissue that includes previously unissued music that is one of the classic traditional jazz recordings and one of the most legendary performances of Armstrong’s career which thankfully is finally available in a complete issue.