Whaoah! I seem to have a lot of catching up to do as, sitting by the hi-fi, there’s a small mound of recent releases that deserve a few words…. Larry Young, Kalaparusha, Pat Patrick & The Baritone Saxophone Retinue, Jaimeo Brown….
OK… gonna try and keep each one short if possible….so, kicking off is the Larry Young ‘In Paris’ double CD – a set of previously unreleased recordings that Resonance records discovered in the vaults of the world famous RTF/ORTF vaults in France. This is a serious exercise in crate digging that may just be the tip a musical iceberg.
Of that generation of early 60’s Hammond B3 players, Larry Young is, for me, the most free and exhilarating. His ‘Into Something’ LP on Blue Note is a classic and this set follows in its wake. These slammin’ recordings are built around a quartet led by the very excellent Nathan Davis on tenor, a stunning 21 year old Woody Shaw on trumpet and drummer Billy Brooks who shift combinations to include a group of Paris based musicians including drummer Franco Manzecchi, pianists Jack Dieval & Jacques B Hess, tenor-man Jean Claude Fohrenbach and excellent Guadeloupean conga player “Jacky Bamboo”.
This double CD set comes with a fat little booklet of extensive notes and photos and the music itself is completely compelling. Writing credits go to Nathan Davis (‘Trane Of Thought’), Larry Young (‘Talking about JC’ – a blinding 15 minute version) ), Woody Shaw (Beyond All Limits’), Jack Dieval (La Valse Grise’ – another expansive 16 minute journey!) and Wayne Shorter (‘Black Nile’ – which is handled beautifully by the quartet over 14 glorious minutes).
The free spirit of Trane resides in all these recordings but when the infectious, hard-swinging grooves these musicians deliver does kick in this music is guaranteed to up the vibe on the dancefloor of any hard core jazz dance session. Basically, Larry Young is deep… Woody Shaw is amazing… and if you’re vibed on mid Sixties Blue Note era jazz – this set is VITAL!
Next up is Pat Patrick and his Baritone Saxophone Retinue – ‘Sound Advice’ which has just been released via the excellent Art Yard imprint. Originally released via Sun Ra’s El Saturn label in 1977 this 8 baritone sax ensemble + flutes, bass, piano, drums and congas is joyful listening. The ensemble was initiated by Arkestra veterans ‘Pat’ Patrick and Charles Davis and made their first appearance at a tribute to Duke Ellington’s majestic baritone sax player Harry Carney. The music/arrangements on ‘Sound Advice’ reflects that legacy – it’s a set that’s steeped in the tradition. It’s great to have both Latin maestro Mario Rivera and 70’s/80’s baritone pioneer Hamiett Bluiett in the mix. The quality of the recordings might not be sup-dupa but they are what they are. As Pat Patrick says in the notes the album he dedicates “these sounds to the great pioneers (in the idiom) of Baritone Saxophone” and I suggest you just turn up the volume on the hi-fi and tune in. (Big thanx to James Gilbert for turning me on to this LP!)
After a lot of detective work I finally tracked down a copy of Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre‘s final recording – ‘Musical Blessing’. One of the first posts I did on Ancient To Future was devoted to a deeply moving documentary by Danilo Parra called ‘The Untold Story Of Kalaparusha’ and in it the saxophonist gets the test press of an album he’s just recorded and reflects with some surprise that he sounds like Coltrane. After Kalaparusha passed away, I tried in vain to find the album with no joy but more recent enquiries revealed it was released by a label called Creative Improvised Music Projects (CIMP) and available via Cadence in NYC. So, I bought a copy! Recorded in over two days in January 2010 in the Spirit Room in NYC and featuring two bassists – Michael Logan and RaDu Ben Judah, drummer Warren Smith and Kalaparusha on tenor sax, this album is a raw but deeply engaging trip into what people now define as ‘Spiritual jazz’. Physically, Kalaparusha wasn’t in great shape when he made this record, long term drug usage had taken its toll but despite the odd reed problem his playing is as reflective as ever. From the opening cut of ‘Mystical Blessing’ you are dropped into one deep session that takes us through nine compositions that include the drum and tenor duet of ‘Southside Loop’ and a rendition of Trane’s ‘Impressions’. This might just be an album for devotees but I’m glad I finally got engage with the final musical journey of a man who’s other offerings have have generated much joy.
ABOVE: Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre RIP
On a different tip comes Jaimeo Brown’s second offering in his ‘Transcendence’ series- ‘Work Songs’. This is a new generation offering that parallels the increasingly challenging works of Matana Roberts. The liners notes commence with the sentence: “Throughout history, human beings have chanted, hummed and sung their way through the drudgery of labour. These sounds are the living tapestry of our human way.” Along with his co-writer /co-producer, Chris Sholar, Jaimeo Brown combines modern technology and the artistic sensitivities of a generation schooled on hip hop with the the “forgotten voices of coal miners, southern prisoners, gandy dancers, stone masons and cotton pickers”. ‘Work Songs’ is rooted in the African American experience but makes global connections to workers elsewhere via Indian vocals and samples from Smithsonian/Folkways recordings from Japan. Jaimeo also embraces samples recorded from the building site opposite his apartment and as a drummer he readily responds to the pulse of those lost voices and sounds. He even strays into the rhythmic terrain of drum’n’bass but overall there is a filmic quality to his compositions which remains underpinned by the warm resilience of global humanity. One of my top albums of the last 12 months.
To be continued! More reviews to come… Snowboy, Inner City, Comet Is Coming, United Vibrations….