Monday, 29 September 2008

Henry Threadgill - X-75 Vol. 1

X-75 Vol. 1
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Novus 3013

by Chris Kelsey
The jazz avant-garde has produced dozens of notable improvisers (not surprisingly, since improvisation is arguably the music's defining element) but relatively few great composers. Henry Threadgill is a member of that exclusive club. With his fellow Chicagoans Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams, he's one of the most original jazz composers of his generation. Threadgill's art transcends stylistic boundaries. He embraces the world of music in its entirety, from ragtime to circus marches to classical to bop, free jazz, and beyond. Such might sound merely eclectic in the telling, but in truth, Threadgill always sounds like Threadgill. A given project might exploit a particular genre or odd instrumentation, but whatever the slant, it always bears its composer's inimitable personality. Threadgill is also an alto saxophonist of distinction; his dry, heavily articulated manner is a precursor to that of a younger Chicagoan, the alto saxophonist Steve Coleman (no coincidence, one would suspect).

Threadgill took up music as a child, first playing percussion in marching bands, then learning baritone sax and clarinet. He was involved with the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) from its beginnings in the early '60s, collaborating with fellow members Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell and playing in Muhal Richard Abrams' legendary Experimental Band. From 1965-1967 he toured with the gospel singer Jo Jo Morris. He then served in the military for a time, performing with an army rock band. After his discharge, he returned to Chicago, where he played in a blues band and resumed his association with Abrams and the AACM. He went on to earn his bachelor's degree in music at the American Conservatory of Music; he also studied at Governor's State University. In 1971 he formed Reflection with drummer Steve McCall and bassist Fred Hopkins. The trio would re-form four years later as Air and would go on to record frequently to great acclaim. It's 1979 album Air Lore featured contemporary takes on such early jazz tunes as "King Porter Stomp" and "Buddy Bolden's Blues," prefiguring the wave of nostalgia which was to dominate jazz in the following decade.

Threadgill moved to New York in the mid-'70s, where he began forming and composing for a number of ensembles. Threadgill began showing a love for unusual instrumentation; for instance, his Sextett (actually a septet), used a cellist, and his Very Very Circus included two tubas. In the mid-'90s he landed a (short-lived) recording contract with Columbia, which produced a couple of excellent albums. Throughout the '80s and '90s Threadgill's music became increasingly polished and sophisticated. A restless soul, he never stood still, creating for a variety of top-notch ensembles, every one different. A pair of 2001 releases illustrates this particularly well. On Up Popped the Two Lips (Pi Recordings), his Zooid ensemble combines Threadgill's alto and flute with acoustic guitar, oud, tuba, cello, and drums -- an un-jazz-like instrumentation that nevertheless grooves and swings with great agility. Everybodys Mouth's a Book features his Make a Move band, which consists of the leader's horns, with vibes and marimba, electric and acoustic guitars, electric bass, and drums -- a more traditional setup in a way, but no less original in concept.

AMG Review
by Brian Olewnick
After ten years as a member of the innovative trio Air, Henry Threadgill's first album as a leader immediately plunged into experimental waters. He utilized a nonet the likes of which had certainly never been heard before and probably not since: four reed players, four bassists, and a vocalist. The bass quartet was made up of participants in Brian Smith's Bass Violin Choir, and here they provide not only most of the rhythmic impetus but also carry a good deal of the melodic weight, as Threadgill's massive talent for mid-size band arrangements is immediately apparent. Their opening few minutes on "Celebration" presents a marvelous array of bowed, hymn-like tones as well as deeply grooving pizzicato lines.

The songs are less solo vehicles than complete compositions, already prefiguring several of the directions the leader would take with his subsequent ensembles. Only "Air Song," an ethereal piece scored for four flutes and voice, meanders a bit and fails to really catch hold, though even then it presents some wonderful textures and colors. The closer, "Fe Fi Fo Fum," is the most traditionally jazzy of the pieces, allowing for something close to a theme-solos-theme format, Threadgill's alto given a moment to shine in all its acerbic glory. As of 2002, X-75, Vol. 1 was unreleased on disc and, even more disappointingly, there was never a "Vol. 2." But Threadgill fans looking for a link between Air and his Sextett owe it to themselves to search this one out.

Henry Threadgill - Alto Saxophone, Flute, Bass Flute

Douglas Ewart - Bass Clarinet, Piccolo, Flute
Joseph Jarman - Soprano Sax, Flute
Wallace McMillan - Piccolo, Alto Flute, Tenor Sax
Leonard Jones - Bass
Brian Smith - Piccolo Bass, Bass
Rufus Reid - Bass
Fred Hopkins - Bass
Vocals - Amina Claudine Myers

1 Sir Simpleton
2 Celebration
3 Air Song
4 Fe Fi Fo Fum

Soundological HERE or HERE.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

James Newton - Axum

256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from ECM 1-1214

Soundological submits some Sunday morning spiritual sounds for you and yours. A deeply personal album by a critically acclaimed flautist exhibiting his trademark contributions to jazz in an intimate setting, it is mostly remembered for the brouhaha with the Beastie Boys after one of the tracks was sampled
on Check Your Head with ECM's permission (mechanical) and not Newton's (publishing). Not exactly a landmark case, but it reinforced the Eurocentric bias in the US court system towards the L.C.D. of simple diatonic melody. You can read James' take on the whole deal further down the page.

AMG Review
by Scott Yanow

James Newton's set of unaccompanied flute solos is generally more intriguing and diverse than one might expect. An expert at multiphonics (often humming through his flute in order to get more than one note at a time), Newton is also very strong at constructing logical yet utterly unpredictable improvisations. His playing on nine of his originals covers a fair amount of ground, and he alternates between three different types of flutes (his regular horn, alto flute and bass flute). Still, the results are more for specialized tastes.

James Newton - Flute

1 The Dabtara
2 Malak 'Uqabe
3 Solomon, Chief of Wise Men
4 Addis Ababa
5 Choir
6 Feeling
7 Axum
8 Susenyos and Werzelya
9 The Neser

Letter From James Newton About the Decision on
Beastie Boys Sampling of His Tunes

reprinted from On Lisa Rein's Radar
To whom it may concern,

It seems like a real "Weird Nightmare" to be writing you this email. For the last two years I have been involved in a suit because the Beastie Boys sampled a part of my composition "Choir" and did not contact me for permission. They did not change in any way what they sampled from "Choir". It begins with the sampled six and a half seconds and loops in the song over forty times. "Pass the Mic'" has appeared in CD, MP3, LP, and DVD formats.

The law clearly states that to use someone else's music one must contact and receive permission from both the record company and the copyright owner. "Choir" was registered with the copyright office and ASCAP in 1978. My publishing company JANEW MUSIC controls 100% of the rights. Nevertheless the Beastie Boys only contacted and received permission from ECM Records and ignored me.

The case went up for summary judgement one month ago and Judge Nora Manella of US Federal Court ruled against me!!!!!!!!!!! She stated as a fact of law that my music was unoriginal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The liner notes of Axum begins with a quote from the New York Times that "James Newton is the most accomplished and original flutist now playing Jazz".The year that Axum was released (1982) was also the first year that I won the Down Beat International Critics Poll as the best jazz flutist. The judge must feel that her opinion is more significant than all of the experts in the field.

The six and a half second sample consists of three sung notes C,Db ,C and a held flute harmonic C2, as a result of the combination of voice, harmonic and a balanced distribution of each a series of shifting multiphonics are created. She ignored the multiphonics because they weren't written on the score and said that there are just three notes in the score which aren't protectable. If you go to the Beastie Boy's DVD of the piece "Pass the Mic" to signify the song their is only my flute sample and a drum beat . There is a spectrograph that moves wildly when my multiphonics are played. If there was only one pitch the movement would be minimal. She also consistently used European paradigms to judge my music. An aria from Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" and Cole Porter's "Night and Day" were examples of what is protectable. "Choir" is about four black women singing in a church in rural Arkansas. This work is a modern approach to a spiritual. As you well know, one would be hard-pressed to find multiphonic fingerings in most jazz scores, even when multiphonics are used!!!! If I'm writing for a classical ensemble I'll write out the multiphonic fingerings because of how notation is used in that culture of music.

Spirituals come out of the oral tradition, and if they are notated they're in the most simplest form which is the way that I wrote out "Choir" On the same LP one can find "The Neser" which is influenced by Ravel and is a 8-minute work for flute quartet where everything is written out except a short alto flute cadenza. I certainly didn't become dumb when I dealt with my own culture in "Choir." The urgency of this letter is that after unjustly winning the case the Beastie Boys have filed a motion with the court for me to pay their legal fees of $492,000 after they stole my music. I have already spent a considerable amount of money for a creative musician and college professor. This would, of course, send me into bankruptcy, and I stand a chance of losing my home and all that I have worked for through the years. If you can spread the press release around to your colleagues in the European press, it will help the cause greatly. The more newspapers, magazines and journals that this is placed in will help. Please inform us of any press that appears so that we can use it in our legal endeavors. Also any of you that are heads of organizations or lawyers please contact my lawyer, Alan Korn (, and he can give you the information of where to send Amicus letters.

This decision is a dangerous one that would affect jazz composers and other composers that choose to write in other ways. I have had plenty of training to write all of my scores in the most eurocentric Boulezian fashion but why should I be forced to to please a Judge who has very limited musical knowledge, certainly little of the Afro-American musical tradition. The strain on this trial and subsequent rulings have been immense. It has curtailed much of my artistic output because of the seriousness of this situation. For many years I have tried to give much as an artist and educator to the world community. This is a time when I have to now ask for your help. I have never sued anyone in all of my years on the planet up to this point. I am fighting for my rights and the ability to express myself in my own and any other cultural perspective that I choose as an artist. Please spread this around as much as possible.

Yours in music and freedom,
James Newton

Ethical arguments aside, if you focus on the ruling itself rather than the personalities involved and their actions leading up to, during or after the trial there's only one major conclusion you can draw. Justice ain't only blind, She deaf too.

Reissued on CD in 1994 (how's that for timing on ECM's part?) which is also OOP. Like the review said, it's not exactly everyone's cup o' tea but if you like Paul Horn's Inside series or if you like your relaxing New Age sounds less newy and more agey, then you'll likely enjoy this. You never know until you try HERE or HERE.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Johnny Almond Music Machine - Patent Pending

Patent Pending

76 MB
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Deram DES 18030

A sweet slice of bluesy mod jazz from the swingin' late 60s London scene, wherein Johnny was successful due to having the right combination of chops, taste and youth needed to make it in the milieu. He later wound up in Mark-Almond (along with bassist Roger Sutton), one of the better UK prog outfits of the 70s. Another proto-progster on the session was Alan White, who late replace Bill Bruford in Yes. Read on for more...

AMG Bio by Bruce Eder
John Almond (also sometimes referred to as Johnny Almond) was a ubiquitous figure on the British blues-rock scene of the '60s, playing with the likes of Alan Price and John Mayall before partnering up with multi-instrumentalist Jon Mark in the Mark-Almond Band.

Born in Enfield, Middlesex, in 1946, Almond displayed an interest in music from an early age, helped by the fact that his father was a drummer -- although percussion was only one of the categories of instrument on which he started to learn. He was also quick to learn from his father's collection of records, which included a lot of '40s jazz by the likes of Benny Goodman and Woody Herman. Alto saxophone became his first instrument, but he also became proficient on tenor sax and eventually achieved professional mastery on seven others, including various keyboard instruments and the vibraphone.

He had turned professional before finishing high school and played in various groups as a teenager, including a big band under the direction of Wally Johnson. His late teens coincided with the British beat boom, but Almond was working with sounds and instruments far removed from what was sweeping popular music out of Liverpool and Manchester. Rather, he led a jazz combo of his own for a time and played with a group called Tony Knight's Chess Men before he found an extended berth, lasting a couple of years in a relatively prominent young outfit, Zoot Money's Big Roll Band. Following Money's breakup of the band (to join Eric Burdon's psychedelic-era Animals), he joined the Alan Price Set, and then signed on to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in June of 1969. By the end of the year, with the encouragement of producer Mike Vernon, he had cut his first solo album, Patent Pending, credited to the Johnny Almond Music Machine, on which he played a half-dozen instruments. A year later came his second solo album, Hollywood Blues, also credited to the Johnny Almond Music Machine.

His biggest success came, however, when he joined up with his fellow Bluesbreaker alumnus, arranger/multi-instrumentalist Jon Mark to form the Mark-Almond Band, which lasted for most of the '70s (with a breakup in the middle) and generated a lot of great press and reviews, even if they didn't sell huge numbers of records after the early part of the decade. Since the late '70s, Almond has worked primarily as a session musician, but his name recognition is such that his 1969-1970 solo albums have found an audience on compact disc in the 21st century, at least in Japan and Europe.

Dusty Groove review
A stone groover from British multi-instrumentalist Johnny Almond -- stepping out here on a range of instruments that includes tenor, alto, flute, organ, vibes, and mellotron! Like Almond's other session from the time, the set's got a tightly arranged groove that feels a lot like some of the best funky soundtrack work of the late 60s -- an approach that has the larger band vamping in a mix of electric and acoustic instrumentation, while Almond soars out on expressive solos that nicely shift with the feel of each track! A few numbers take on a slightly exotic feel that we really love -- using heavy percussion and a bit of effects to emphasize the groove -- and a good part of the credit for the strength of the album should go to drummer Alan White, who's really cutting it up nicely here! Titles include a version of Yusef Lateef's "Before Dawn", plus the original numbers "Tales Of Junior", "Solar Level", "Voodoo Forest", "Pequeno Novo", and "To RK", a great tribute to Roland Kirk!

Johnny Almond - Sax [Tenor, Alto, Bari], Flute, Alto Flute, Organ, Vibraphone, Mellotron,
Bass Clarinet
Steve Hammond - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Roger Sutton - Bass, Claves
Alan White - Drums, Congas, Cowbell, Percussion
Jimmy Crawford - Electric Guitar
Johnny Wiggins - Piano, Organ
Geoff Condon - Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Producer - Mike Vernon

1 Ensingle
2 Before Dawn
3 Voodoo Forest
4 Solar Level
5 To R.K.
6 Reversed For Two Horns
7 Pequeno Nova
8 Tales Of Junior

I know My Favourite Records upped this a long time ago but I think this one sounds quite a bit fuller. No disrespect, JazzyPier! Especially since MFS is where I was finally able to hear his follow up, Hollywood Blues! If you haven't already scooped this up at MFS, you can lift it from Soundological HERE or HERE.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Gato Barbieri - Under Fire

Under Fire
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Phillips 6369 419

Since before the weekend, this LP had been scheduled to run today. I had written a small intro last night but then El Reza went and did something brilliant like start a blog entirely devoted to the seriously dope Flying Dutchman imprint! Set up along the same lines as Strata-East Fan Club, Magic Purple Sunshine, The CTI Never Sleeps and my new baby blog the shad shack, it's another more than welcome addition to the growing circle of label-themed discographical blogs. Check it out!

In the meantime, here's the post as it was originally intended to run before hearing the news:

Reza, didn't you leave a comment yesterday mentioning Flying Dutchman? Well, you must have been psychic (seems like there's a lot of that going around these days) since this record was already tapped for today's post. This is another one of the better sets from El Gato during the 70s, which is due in most part to its being recorded prior to the '76 quality control cut-off date. Anything after then...well, you pays your money and you takes your chances. Not much of a gamble on this one and it shouldn't be a surprise either, considering the stellar line up at work. I'll let AMG take it from there...

AMG Review
by Don Snowden

Under Fire is Gato Barbieri in his early-'70s prime, when the Argentinean tenorman's transition from the avant-garde to exploring his South American continental routes still hadn't passed beyond the pale into flaccid fusion. He's joined by a pretty stellar band: his regular pianist Lonnie Liston Smith (before he fuzaked out), Airto Moreira and James Mtume on drums and percussion, the veteran Roy Haynes guesting on "El Parana," a young John Abercrombie on guitar and Stanley Clarke in his young lion-of-acoustic-bass phase. Barbieri floats in the background of "El Parana" before kicking into the song proper at an accelerated tempo.

More than improvising per se, his trademark was the emotionally charged sonic stamp he put on the melody (check the intro to the ballad "Yo Le Canto a la Luna," where Barbieri sounds like he's aiming to blow down walls) that made clichés like "Latin passion and fire" sound like, well, the real deal. It also provides a good counterpoint to the exuberant playing of the group -- Smith's solo shows the impact of his years with Pharoah Sanders, but it's Clarke and the rhythm section that really drive the piece while Abercrombie tosses in fills here and there.

"Antonico" features double-tracked Barbieri and the strongest improvisation (so far) at the end, while Brazilian songwriter Jorge Ben's "Maria Domingas" fades in with a full head of steam thanks to Abercrombie and Clarke dueling over Moreira and Mtume. Barbieri's echoed yelps give way to a deeply lyrical sax melody -- he does a lot of similar dynamic shifts here -- before Abercrombie's guitar comps re-start the up-tempo with Clarke effortlessly loping on as the octave-leaping anchor for Barbieri's searing statement of the theme. "El Sertao" opens with Barbieri squeaks over Smith's echoed Fender Rhodes trills, a Clarke foundation riff, and Abercrombie's comps before Barbieri enters full-force. The music stays light and buoyant before another downtempo shift builds to a climatic coda with Clarke shining.

Even the longer pieces are over before you know it so, although Under Fire doesn't quite match the charged intensity of Fenix or El Pampero, it leaves you wishing for two things. First, that there were outtakes to include here because you never come close to getting tired of the music -- double the music would mean double the fun. And what a shame that Carlos Santana, who was just entering his Devadip phase, never recorded with Barbieri at this point in their careers because that combination had the potential to create some pretty incredible music.

Gato Barbieri - Tenor Sax, Vocals
Lonnie Liston Smith - Piano, Electric Piano
Stanley Clarke - Bass
Roy Haynes - Drums
Airto Moreira - Drums, Percussion
John Abercrombie - Guitar
James M'tume - Percussion
Moulay "Ali" Hafid - Percussion

Producer - Bob Thiele

1 El Parana
2 Yo Le Canto A La Luna
3 Antonico
4 Maria Domingas
5 El Sertao

Like Chapter One, this has seen a couple CD reissues but from what we can gather, those are OOP as well. You can catch the funky fusion flak from Soundological HERE or HERE.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Gato Barbieri - Chapter One: Latin America

Chapter One: Latin America
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Impulse! AS-9248

****KILLED BY THE IFPI ON 9/9/09****

I've been pretty tied up the last day or so with the launch of the shad shack and finally moving this weekend so we're back to short & sweet territory for a few more days.

That's why we're throwing up some Gato Barbieri. If you're into jazzfunk, funkjazz, jazz, or just funk, you must have see his LPs or CDs out there (often in the discount bin) so you know what you're in for...mostly. This one is a collection of songs done in Buenos Aires with some of Argentina's best musicians as Barbieri began a serious ethnomusicological journey through Central and South America (hence the title). Calling it "jazz" or even "latin" is a bit of a stretch, although technically they could both be considered correct.

Although it's clearly Barbieri playing in his histrionic style, there's something different in the way he expresses his vocabulary here. It's as if complete abandon and total surrender to the muse brought a different type of restraint rarely heard in his performance. The growls and squeals are still there but what's missing is any forcing of his point in an obvious fashion. Gone is much of the (pardon the pun) overblown emoting or technical theatrics he tends to lean on like a helper monkey and there's scant sign either of the schmaltzy romanticism that crept into his free jazz work of the late 60s, and in which he would wallow during his so-smooth-it's-runny phase of later years.

No, this is El Gato amongst colleaugues and compatriots in a musical context with which he was highly familiar. Having just come home off the wild success of Last Tango In Paris and now about to embark on a quest to find the very musical soul of his continent, it's as if he knows the coming journey will change him in unfathomable ways. He was on the precipice of the abyss and he knew it. This is the sound of him not leaping into it but rather turning around, surveying from whence he came then falling backwards over the edge and letting gravity do the rest. He was very much on fire the next few years and this session is literally incendiary.

AMG Review by Scott Yanow
The four "Chapters" in this series found Gato Barbieri rediscovering his South American roots and displaying his intense tone in melodic settings where his energy would be better focused than it had been on his earlier avant-garde albums. Joined by a large group of Argentinian musicians, Barberi is in top form throughout this heated set, particularly on "Encunetros" and "India." Each of the "Chapters" is recommended although Chapter Three is the only one currently available on CD.

Gato Barbieri - Arranger, Tenor Sax, Vocals
Osvaldo Berlingieri - Piano
Adalberto Cevasco - Bass, Guitar
Domingo Cura - Drums, Bombo
Isoca Fumero - Guitar, Charango
Pocho Lapouble - Drums
Ricardo Lew - Guitar (Electric)
Raul Mercado - Flute, Quena
Amadeo Monges - Harp, Indian Harp
Jorge Padin - Percussion
Quelo Palacios - Guitar (Acoustic)
Antonio Pantoja - Quena, Erkencho, Sikus
Eduardo Zurdo Roizner - Percussion
Dino Saluzzi - Accordion, Bandoneon

1 Encuentros
2 India
3 La China Leoncia Arreo La Correntinada Trajo Entre La Muchachada La Flor De La Juventud
4 Nunca Mas
5 To Be Continued

This has seen a few CD reissues since the 90s but Soundological is under the impression it is currently OOP so we're feeding the kitty HERE and HERE.

****KILLED BY THE IFPI ON 9/9/09****

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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The Shad Shack - A Mainstream Records Fan Site

Thanks to the prodding of E-mile (a man who definitely has his finger on the pulse of outer blogolia) at El Goog's site yesterday, I took the plunge and started the shad shack. It's dedicated to Bob Shad's Mainstream Records, especially the "MRL 300" series familiar to most of the regular readers here at Soundological.

I hope you enjoy this hommage to both Mainstream and Ish, whose efforts with Strata-East and MPS were the impetus behind this initiative. Head on over, take a look around and help us fill in the blanks...but most of all enjoy the sounds!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Chico Hamilton - El Exigente

El Exigente
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Flying Dutchman FDS-135

We complete our Give The Drummer Some! series on Chico Hamilton with this avant garde excursion into the fusion sound from 1970. At this point, Chico's abandoned his Quintet in favour of smaller, more transient combos. As if to offset the extremely commercial appeal inherent in his work creating jingles and theme songs, Hamilton spent this period exploring the avant garde, often in a very electrified fusion format. In the ensuing decade, he also returned to his experimentation with Eastern influences and even let loose with some funk once in while. He laid off recording and soundtrack work for quite a while in the 80s and just before the start of the last decade of that dead century he popped back on the scene and has been firing hard on all cylinders since.

Chico Hamilton - Drums
Arnie Lawrence - Sax (Alto)
Bob Mann - Guitar
Steve Swallow - Bass

1 As I Open My Eyes
2 Take Me There
3 I Came And Saw The Beauty Of Your Love
4 How 'Bout Bobby
5 Stomp, Stomp, Stomp
6 Swingin' On A Sitar
7 Up Front What Counts/On The Trail/Seat Belt/Volvo's/Gonna Get Some Right Now

I don't know who was timing the tracks on this LP but they must have been high on something 'cause the running times don't even kinda match most of the actual tracks. The second side is presented as a suite, which I've kept intact.

A fairly in-demand piece, if you can find a copy the rock bottom price is usually $30 but you'll probably have to shell out $50 or more. Soundological is not so demanding and offers it for considerably less HERE and HERE.

Discography as bandleader:

1955 Chico Hamilton Trio (10" LP)
1955 Spectacular!
c/o My Jazz World
1955 Chico Hamilton Quintet ft. Buddy Collette at JAZZY BLUES (FLAC)
1960 Original Chico Hamilton Quintet
1956 Chico Hamilton Quintet In Hi-Fi
1956 Chico Hamilton Trio (12" LP)
1957 Chico Hamilton Quintet
1957 Zen: The Music Of Fred Katz
1957 Sweet Smell Of Success OST
1958 South Pacific In Hi-Fi
at mohaoffbeat
1958 Chico Hamilton Trio intro. Freddy Gambrell
at mohaoffbeat
1958 The Original Ellington Suite ft Eric Dolphy at mohaoffbeat
1959 Ellington Suite ft Bud Collette at mohaoffbeat
1959 With Strings Attached
1959 Gongs East!
1959 The Three Faces Of Chico
1959 That Hamilton Man at mohaoffbeat
1960 Bye Bye Birdie/Irma La Douce
at mohaoffbeat
1960 Chico Hamilton Special
1962 Drumfusion at Music-a-k-o /My Jazz World (mp3) + JAZZY BLUES (FLAC)
1962 Litho
1962 Transfusion
at Soundological (via slsk)
1962 Passin' Thru at mohaoffbeat
1963 Man From Two Worlds at mohaoffbeat (ape) + Blue Eyed Knight's Place (mp3)
1963 A Different Journey at Musica Desde Las Anitpodas
1965 Easy Livin' at Soundological
1965 Chic Chic Chico at Soundological (via slsk) + Guitar and the Wind (mp3)
1966 El Chico c/o My Jazz World
1966 The Further Adventures Of El Chico
at Soundological (via slsk)
1966 The Dealer at Radiodada / Last Train To Cool (mp3) + Into The Rhythm (mp3/FLAC)
1967 The Best of Chico Hamilton at Soundological
1968 The Gamut
c/o My Jazz World
1969 The Head Hunters
1970 El Exigente/The Demanding One at Soundological
1973 The Master
c/o MyJazzWorld + at notas agudas
1974 Live At Montreux (w/Albert King & Little Milton)
1975 Peregrinations
at ?
1976 And The Players c/o My Jazz World
1977 Catwalk
1979 Reaching For The Top
1980 Nomad
1988 Euphoria
1991 Reunion
1992 Arroyo
1993 Trio!
1994 My Panamanian Friend (The Music Of Eric Dolphy)
1994 Dancing To A Different Drummer
1998 Complete Pacific Jazz Recordings of the Chico Hamilton Quintet
1999 Timely
2001 Foreststorn
2002 Thoughts Of...
2006 Juniflip
2006 Believe
2006 6th Avenue Romp
2006 Heritage
2007 Hamiltonia
2008 It's About Time EP
2008 Alternative Dimensions of El Chico EP
2009 Twelve Tones of Love

The discography was cobbled together from Wikipedia, Chico's site and AMG. Each of them were missing items on at least one other list, so it may not be complete. As always, if you happen to have any additions (either info on recordings to be added or links to blogs/forums with any of the releases in question), please leave them in the comments.

Links checked and updated Aug 26, 2009
MyJazzWorld links replaced with Smooth's oiginal RS links Feb 6. 2010

Monday, 22 September 2008

Chico Hamilton - The Best of (Impulse!)

The Best of Chico Hamilton

82 MB
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Impulse! AS-9174

“I don't play music for people. I play music for music's sake.”
- Chico Hamilton, All About Jazz interview

Continuing with the Chico Hamilton edition of Give The Drummer Some!, we have another "best of" package from Impulse! that follows through quite nicely by pulling material from the early 60s phase of the Quintet. It seems one of my favourite tracks on here, "Conquistadores," is finally starting to get the love it deserves and has popped up on a couple comps the last few years. The collection is also notable for the final track which was Larry Coryell's biggest contribution to The Dealer, his debut recording in the jazz world.

In fact, if nothing else, Chico will be fondly remembered as the man who either gave some of the world's jazz giants their first big break in the biz or allowed young players (like Paul Horn and Eric Dolphy) the unrestricted freedom to develop their own unique voice. For instance, Gabor Szabo had this to say about his stint with Hamilton in the September 26, 1964, issue of Melody Maker:

"When I was studying at Berklee," he added in discussing his own role, "I got the feeling I couldn't play the instrument at all, because I could not use my own things as they didn't fit any set pattern. When I joined Chico, he helped me immensely to develop my own style. He never forced me in any set way. At all times, he encouraged me to be myself on the instrument."

Unlike yesterday's post, I'm going to list each player's appearances since Doug Payne made it so dang easy with his comprehensive research on Szabo, who provides guitar for all but one track on this collection. One other peculiarity of this compilation is that it seems to have gone out of its way to avoid inclusion of brass in many tracks. For instance, El Chico is noted for being the only recording to document the time Sado Watanabe spent with the Quintet, yet the two tracks included are the only ones on which he did not play. It might be due to the same type of contractual issues presently preventing Impulse! from reissuing a huge chunk of their back catalogue - although it could also be because they are far and away the best two tracks on the album :-)

Chico Hamilton - Drums
Charles Lloyd - Tenor Sax (1), Flute (3)
Jimmy Woods - Tenor Sax (3)
Arnie Lawrence - Alto Sax (7)
Larry Coryell - Guitar (7)
Gabor Szabo - Guitar (1,2,3,4,5,6)
Albert Stinson - Bass (1,2,3,4)

Ron Carter - Bass (5,6)

Richard Davis - Bass (7)

Willie Bobo - Percussion (2,3,4,5,6)
Victor Pantoja - Percussion (2,4,5,6)
Ernie Hayes - Organ (7)

1 Forest Flower - Sunrise / Forest Flower - Sunset [Man From Two Worlds 1963]
2 People
[El Chico 1965]
3 Chic Chic Chico [Chic Chic Chico 1965]
4 Conquistadores (The Conquerors) [El Chico 1965]
5 Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me) [The Further Adventures of El Chico 1966]
6 Evil Eye
[The Further Adventures of El Chico 1966]
7 Larry Of Arabia [The Dealer 1966]

It was also during this period that Hamilton branched out into TV and film work to a greater degree. In 1957 he had scored The Sweet Smell of Success (a superb film noir revolving around the seedier aspects of the music and entertainment industry) as well as making a cameo appearance with the Quintet, featuring Paul Horn and John Pisano. The year after he appeared at the Newport Jazz Fest and the recording of their legendary performance documented in Jazz On A Summer's Day was the first time Eric Dolphy entered the consciousness of the mainstream world, sandwiched between Chuck Berry and Louis Armstrong no less! Other than that, it was pretty quiet on the A/V front for a few years.

Chico Hamilton Quintet in
The Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Chico Hamilton Quintet performs "Blue Sands"
at Newport Jazz Fest (1958)

However, it was being asked to score Roman Polanski's classic Repulsion in '64 while in the UK backing Lena Horne that really started the ball rolling for Chico's career in commercial composition. Based on an assortment of interviews, Chico's not much of a romantic where music is concerned and he sure ain't big on nostalgia, but Repulsion obviously holds a special place in his heart. The actual soundtrack is extremely rare, with only a small run put out by Italy's CAM records. If you see it on vinyl, pounce on it as it is worth m-e-g-a-b-u-c-k-s. From there on, he was in high demand for theme and incidental music and he churned it out for films and TV on the side over the next 20 years, never forsaking his own recordings and gigs for too long even while teaching jazz at NYC's New School University.

When asked why he ultimately got off the TV gravy train in a recent All About Jazz Q&A, he had this to say:

"Well I found that it became boring. Very boring. Plus I found out that it bleeds you. I found out I was just doing things, just for the money. TV will ruin you; it uses up your talent."

Can I get a "amen!" brothers and sisters?

This collection has been OOP for over three decades and, like most of Chico's work on the label, it has never seen CD reissue. Since you're unable to make an Impulse! purchase of this collection, Soundological offers it to you at the deepest discount available HERE or HERE.