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July 29, 2010

ESP-Disk' 12 Day Summer Sale

Fresh in my inbox this morning I received news that ESP-Disk' is hoping to clear some shelf space. A special Summer Sale is in place to move some inventory and make room for upcoming fall releases. There's newer CD releases priced at a very reasonable $9.00, as well as great reissues going for $6.50. Even box sets get low price tags -- nine CDs of rare Albert Ayler cuts for $40.00!!!

And for those non-budget buyers, early vinyl pressings and rare imports are available as well. With price tags ranging from $25.00 to $90.00.

Take a look, these deals last until Monday, August 9th.

July 26, 2010

"New And Old Gospel" - Jackie McLean

Wow!.. Is the expression I would choose if asked to describe this album in one word. McLean is my favorite hard bop/post bop alto saxman, and to hear him along side Ornette Coleman is just insane.

Jackie McLean always sited Coleman as a huge influence, and even though he never fully crossed into Free Jazz, listeners could definitely her a unique tone, aesthetic, and building concepts that were unlike other Bop saxophonists. What makes this Blue Note session brilliant is that Ornette stays away from his own alto. Other critics have cited that this date failed due to this missed opportunity to pair the two on alto, but I disagree. Staying on trumpet allowed McLean to shine on the reeds, and he deserved it. And although, the record doesn't stray far from Post Bop, Coleman adds his own shapes and colors allowing this quintet to dab into uncharted terrain.

Lifeline is suite in it's own right. Time signature changes, and different themes coming and going, the cut offers four separate variations from the whole performance. It's probably the most ruminate of the three tracks here. Higgins swings as expected, and Lament Johnson's rhythm accompaniment is perfect for for the up and down moments of the record. The swinging really takes off on Old Gospel, which points towards, as you might guess, heavy Gospel themes. Scott Holt's bass playing jives and rolls with the rest of the group here too. And what happens when you add Ornette's free trumpet playing over a mid tempo, Hard Bop balled, you get Strange As It Seems, which showcases Lament Johnson's heavy chord soloing.
1967 - Blue Note.
Jackie McLean, alto saxophone; Ornette Coleman - trumpet; Lamont Johnson - piano; Scott Holt - bass; Billy Higgins - drums.

July 16, 2010

More on Anderson and Dixon, and Pekar is the third.

AccuJazz proprietor, Lucas Gillan, pays wonderful accolades to the recently passed Bill Dixon, and Fred Anderson. He states the Avant channel will be heavily dominated by Anderson and Dixon recordings. He really nails it for both of these extremely different individuals. I particularly like his personal experience with Fred Anderson described below. Please check out the AccuJazz blog for the full read.
I personally am extremely grateful for Anderson's dedication to running the Velvet: I have frequented the club's longstanding Sunday night jam sessions for years, and my band played our debut gig there in April. Fred presided all night, and even agreed to show up 2 hours early so we could sneak in a last-minute rehearsal before the gig. At the end of the night, after everyone had cleared out, it was just me and Fred left as I was packing up my drums. He told me a story about how Lester Young used to be a drummer, but decided to switch to sax when he got tired of missing opportunities to go home with girls because he was busy tearing down his drums. Clearly, he felt for me. He was always so kind and gracious, and never seemed outwardly phased by the daunting economic realities of running an avant-garde jazz club in a run-down neighborhood.

In a prior post, maybe I shouldn't of said they come in threes. Harvey Pekar passed this prior Monday at the age of 70. My knowledge on Pekar is limited to the Giamatti flick, but I do appreciate his love for jazz music. I found this interview from the Atlantic containing his thoughts on Jazz, and JazzTimes posted some links to his reviews here.

July 9, 2010

Beer & Album Pairings

It seems this blog is becoming more libation friendly. I'll work on a new album write-up soon for this month. I just want to direct attention to a
Beer and Album pairing piece I did for Brewpublic.com. The site's host, Angelo De Ieso II, wrote a wonderful forward to my entries. Keep following Brewpublic as there will be more contributions from other beer and music nerds. Below is one sample I did, but please check out Brewpublic for the full read.


Don Cherry, Where is Brooklyn? / Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Where is Brooklyn? Well, Brooklyn Brewery pumps out some of the best brews in the Northeast and their Black Chocolate Stout is fitting for this adventurous album by Don Cherry on Blue Note. Recorded in 1966, we hear a piano-less quartet that’s similar to Ornette Coleman’s classic Quartet earlier in the decade but oh how different it is. Pharoah Sanders’ more haunting, spiritual tone completely contrasts the melodic blues and boogie aesthetic of Coleman’s. It’s a jarring album of collective improvisation and connectivity. With Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout we’re offered a robust, sweet, chocolaty brew. Enjoy it slowly along Cherry’s slurring and vivacious cornet playing. Black Chocolate Stout is thick yet has a smooth texture on the palate much like Ed Blackwell (drums) and Henry Grimes (bass) as they back up the two horn players.