The Jimmy Heath Orchestra - Really Big!

The Jimmy Heath Orchestra Really Big! (Riverside 1960)

‘Little Bird’ was a nickname that soon wore off as Jimmy Heath developed into a saxophonist, composer and arranger with a singular style. By 1960, Heath had recorded his second album for Riverside, the bright and muscular Really Big!, including, yes, Clark Terry, yes, Cannonball Adderley and, yes, Tommy Flanagan.

The Jimmy Heath Orchestra - Really Big!

Personnel

Jimmy Heath (tenor saxophone), Clark Terry (flugelhorn, trumpet), Nat Adderley (trumpet), Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone), Pat Patrick (baritone saxophone), Tom McIntosh (trombone), Dick Berg (French horn), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Cedar Walton (piano), Percy Heath (bass), Albert Heath (drums)

Recorded

on June 24 & 28, 1960 in NYC

Released

as RLP 333 in 1960

Track listing

Side A:
Big P.
Old Fashioned Fun
Mona’s Mood
Dat Dere
Side B:
Nails
On Green Dolphin Street
My Ideal
Picture Of Heath


Awhile ago I was observing pianist Barry Harris, 87, who sat listening to drummer Eric Ineke and colleagues play in a cozy club in The Hague, The Netherlands. I realised that I wasn’t only looking at Barry Harris, but also at Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. A giant among GIANTS. The same applies for Jimmy Heath, 90, who titled his memoirs I Walked With Giants and, lest we forget, recorded with Harris on a number of occasions, notably on Carmell Jones’ Jay Hawk Talk (Prestige 1965) and Jimmy Heath’s Picture Of Heath (Xanadu 1975).

Heath has been active since the late forties, when he led his first big band, which included fellow Philadelphians John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Ray Bryant, Cal Massey and Johnny Coles. Subsequently, he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s Orchestra and worked briefly with Miles Davis after Coltrane’s departure from the trumpeter’s quintet. During an impressive career, Heath worked extensively with Milt Jackson, Art Farmer and his illustrious brothers Percy and Albert in the sixties. He worked to a greater extent with them from the late seventies as the exciting recording and working band The Heath Brothers. To his composer’s credit, C.T.A., Gingerbread Boy and Gemini have become standards. The number of features is lengthy. Titles as J.J. Johnson’s The Eminent J.J. Johnson Vol. 1, Miles Davis’ Miles Davis Vol. 2, Nat Adderley’s That’s Right!, Freddie Hubbard’s Hub Cap, Red Garland’s The Quota and Albert “Tootie” Heath’s Kwanza serve as a reminder of the continous high level Jimmy Heath was operating on. Hammond B3 geek info: Heath also appeared on Charles Earland’s Black Drops and Don Patterson’s masterpiece These Are Soulful Days.

Fortunately, quite a few of Heath’s generation are still alive, not only playing but teaching as well. Like Barry Harris, Charles Persip, Harold Mabern and Julian Priester, Jimmy Heath is a teacher. He’s a conductor as well. Heath conducted the renowned German WDR Orchestra a year and a half ago. Reportedly, his methods revealed the sensitivity of an elder statesman for which notation is important but a secondary aspect. For Heath, the motion of rhythm and melody is paramount. He’s funny and points the way with charmingly oblique remarks. Rest assured the band will swing. Truly irreplacable jewels of jazz, these old-school musicians who were close to The Source of Bird and Coltrane and pushed some fat envelopes themselves.

56 years before the event of the WDR appearance, Heath led a band for his Really Big! Riverside date consisting of trumpeters Clark Terry and Nat Adderley, alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, baritone saxophonist Pat Patrick, trombonist Tom McIntosh, French horn player Dick Berg, either Tommy Flanagan or Cedar Walton on piano, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath. In a thoroughly blasting sound scape, brass and reed do an ongoing paso doble. The sophisticated use of the French horn in the ballad Mona’s Mood and the Bobby Timmons gem Dat Dere is an extra treat. Trumpeter Clark Terry’s another treat, supplying hi-level fun. He soars joyfully and fluently through the changes, demonstrating that his playing in the high-register is nonpareil. Cannonball’s got short spots, yet is his uplifting self and chimes in with some meaty little stories.

Highlights include the band’s mellow but driving take on Dat Dere, the way Clark Terry nails the buoyant theme bookended by swinging 4/4 sections of Nails, Tommy Flanagan’s sizzling bopology (quoting Now’s The Time/The Hucklebuck) of Picture Of Heath and the leader’s gentle but probing reading of My Ideal and driving uptempo tale of Old Fashioned Fun. Much like early Coltrane, Heath favors a multi-note approach. Soaring bop figures segue into wails and flow back to wonderfully constructed lines. Pretty hypnotic. Like Benny Golson, Heath’s ambidexterity is imposing, the blowing deparment equally impressive as his talent for arranging and composing. Really Big’s a superb case in point.

Ferry Knijn Fotografie 2015

Song For My Kids

Charming, talkative Peter Guidi guides us through his adventuresome career as flutist, saxophonist, bandleader and educator. “I teach my students the rudiments, thereafter it’s up to them. It’s essential to follow your heart and play what you believe in. Because the audience can hear that.”

Teach your children well, sang Stephen Stills. That’s exactly what Peter Guidi has been doing for thirty years now. Well, more than well. The Scottish-Italian, Amsterdam-based Guidi, like one of his all-time heroes Cannonball Adderley, a likable, outgoing gentleman, displays boundless, devoted enthusiasm for nurturing young jazz talent. Don’t come around suggesting to Guidi the popular view that jazz is dead or bereft of a promising future. His slightly curled hair shakes back and forth, his eyes widen: “Are you kidding?! Not when you’re hearing all those youngsters in my orchestras. They play with their heart and soul. With joy and guts. Even with a not yet fully-developed technique they regularly catch me by surprise. Their purity is heart-warming. I send them on stage as early as possible, let them make a lot of flying hours. You can’t learn jazz from a book. You know what Einstein said, and he’s a pretty smart fellow: ‘The only true knowledge is experience, everything else is merely information’. Who’s gonna argue with that? Not only do I feel that jazz is alive, there is the bigger picture. Some of those boys and girls have become friends for life because they share a passion.”

“Jazz provides a great lesson in life. Especially during these times of ‘me, me, me…’ I-this, I-that, the faces in front of the computer screens… Without communication and interaction with other people, life isn’t worth much. Practicing technique to become the fastest gun in the West, alone in your room, makes no sense. Playing together does. Playing jazz involves mutual respect, listening skills, sharing. Furthermore, and this makes it so beautiful, it involves the growth of a personal voice. You have to tell your own story. But, again, within the framework of the group.“

“I’ve had parents come up to me and tell me that their son or daughter, whether he or she has pursued a career in music or not, has grown as a human being. They learn to work as a team and improvise. And life is all about improvisation. We don’t know what the heck is going to happen tomorrow! Some time ago, I encountered a lady who had been in my Jazz Juniors band. She has a very hectic, important job and told me that she always thinks about my lessons in stressful situations, that her motto had become: use your imagination, improvise! You know how good it felt to hear that? Wow!”

Guidi’s accomplishments in the Dutch jazz educational landscape are unmatched. He’s sort of a Dutch equivalent of educational legends in the classic age of jazz, like Captain Walter Dyett from DuSable High School in Chicago, who showed the way to Nat King Cole, Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin, Clifford Jordan, Richard Davis and many others. Guidi built up the Jazz Department of the Muziekschool Amsterdam from scratch in the mid eighties, running numerous prize-winning youth orchestras in the process and kickstarted the careers of countless major talents such as Joris Roelofs, Lars Dietrich, Ben van Gelder, Gidon Nunez Vas, Gideon Tazelaar and Daniel Keller. Guidi has always taught using an unbeatable method he calls ‘the three F’s’: Firm, Fair and Funny. Strict but sincere, with some humor thrown in to illustrate important points. “And never bullshit. Kids can smell bullshit a mile away! If you find yourself at a loss in an educational situation, just say so. Say, ‘well, I don’t really know, but I’ll get back to you with an answer next week.’ They accept that and like you for it because it is honest.”

An optimist at heart, Guidi nevertheless expresses worry about the prospects of contemporary students. “Long term engagements have become practically out of the question. Most young players play one-offs. And later when they’re not young talents anymore, a different reality sets in. The club wants you, but your next performance will be two years later! It’s heartbreaking because the amount of talent today is amazing. What’s my advice to young players? Follow your heart, follow your dreams, always. But at the same time, keep one foot on the ground. In the conservatory, everybody digs Coltrane and Chris Potter but outside few people even know who Louis Armstrong is, let alone Charlie Parker or Lee Morgan. So? The world is your oyster, you have many choices and opportunities. You can of course diversify and do commercial stuff to help you financially, but if you want to dedicate your time exclusively to jazz, then try to get a teaching job or go study something else as well. All of these young jazz students have the talent, dedication and creativity to become anything he or she wants to be. If they studied the equivalent amount of time with the same amount of effort and discipline they could become brain surgeons. That shows you how hard they work. But at the end of it medical students have a career ahead of them whereas jazz students don’t know where the next gig is coming from.”

“What kind of jazz do I teach? Mostly hard bop! It has groove, blues, great chord sequences, instantly recognizable melodies, energy and integrity. My youngest students are nine, ten years old. They’re little jazz barometers, so to speak. I’ve been doing this a long time, I have a pretty good idea of their mindset. Often without any interference on my part, these kids request to play pieces like Work Song, Moanin’, Sister Sadie, Blues March, The Sidewinder, Song For My Father, Sugar! Tunes that are not too complex where you can improvise using pentatonics or a blues scale. Chronologically, bebop comes first of course, but in educational terms, it’s better to start with hard bop. And earlier some catchy blues like C-Jam Blues. It gives them security and convinces them to jump off the diving board. Not to be afraid of ‘wrong’ notes. Duke Ellington said: ‘There’s no such thing as a wrong note. If you play it long enough, it turns into a right note.’ The blues reflects that wise statement. ‘Wrong’ blue notes are ingrained. They are what make it sound blue.”

Before Guidi found his educational destiny in the capital of The Netherlands, the young man’s unorthodox path led him from Glasgow, to Jersey to Milan. As a kid in Glasgow he listened to Sinatra and opera in the Scottish-Italian household and was held spellbound by the slow-dragging bass voice of the legendary Voice Of America Jazz Hour radio presenter Willis Coniver. Soon playing clarinet for his beloved mother and whistling bebop tunes almost 24/7, on Jersey Guidi set his mind on obtaining a saxophone from the only music store on the island and, once he purchased it with the money earned working in his father’s restaurant, had the opportunity via the Jersey Jazz Club to jam with the likes of Johnny Griffin, Art Taylor, Ronnie Scott and flutist Harold McNair. At the age of eighteen he was the chauffeur of Ronnie Scott, who wanted to drive to the sole booking office on the island to bet on the horses as soon as he got off the airplane. A professional in Milan and London, the hard road of making a jazz living became apparent, the pleasures of living and breathing with legends like Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, Sonny Stitt and Dexter Gordon as well. And then, Amsterdam. The liberal city which he loves like no other town in the world and has been calling his home for over three decades. “Opportunity knocked. I was asked for a teaching job in the Muziekschool Amsterdam. I had a lot of experience as a musician playing at major festivals and also in small jazz clubs some no more than holes in the ground. That experience allowed me to pass on some practical knowledge. I learned a lot too because you can’t really learn how to teach except by doing it.”

Perhaps the DIY attitude necessary to find your way on an outpost like Jersey during the winter season accounts for Guidi’s level-headed, entrepreneurial spirit. “Yes. And also the typical immigrant attitude of my family. Be your own boss, like my father said. Well, I became my own boss once I moved to Milan. I played in soul bands. I still love soul music. I did South-American stuff with real Argentine and Brazilian bands playing extended stints in top Saint Moritz hotels. The only down side with the Argentine band was wearing a poncho, spurs, one of those belts with coins on it. That might look cool when you play guitar, but sax? I looked and felt like a complete idiot! But with those earnings I bought a soprano saxophone. There was no Real Book or Aebersold method back then you understand! No Jazz Conservatory. You had to learn by playing on stage. If you wanted to learn Cherokee, you had to ask somebody to write down the chord changes for you. And trust your ears.”

“Milan was great. That was my conservatory. The two best clubs were Capolinea and Due. I started out as a jack-of-all-trades. As well as playing I arranged replacements when somebody skipped a gig, translated contracts. Soon, I became a translator for many of those incoming legends who played at Capolinea. It was a great opportunity to be around those guys. Dexter Gordon, Buddy Rich, Tony Scott, Elvin Jones, Sonny Stitt, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis… A great saxophonist, ‘Lockjaw’. Inimitable phrasing, powerful stories. Fantastic balladeer. When ‘Lockjaw’ Davis had a few drinks he played slow. Not as slow as Ben Webster when he was drunk, but medium slow. On the other hand, Sonny Stitt… He played Koko loaded. Really fast! And spot on! Reportedly, when asked how he managed to play when drunk, Stitt replied, ‘I practice drunk’! Some attribute that quote to Zoot Sims, but no matter who said it it’s a great story either way. Another priceless memory is seeing Gerry Mulligan perform. At the end of the night after the club closed he played with Tony Scott, both playing baritone, in the restaurant of the Capolinea jazz club. The drummer played brushes on an overturned spaghetti pan! Can you believe it?! Two in the morning and they played an unforgettable version of Body & Soul. I was soaking in all these great things that were happening to me. I translated for the Club and got paid with experience, so to speak.”

“Playing with Jimmy McGriff was exciting as well. Not only because McGriff is one of the great soul jazz organists, and a very sophisticated one at that, but also because it showed me how real jazz is – how it can communicate to an audience. I was in New York with Frank Grasso, to play and gain experience. We ended up in New Jersey at a small club. It was kind of a sleazy joint. There were some dangerous-looking people outside. But when I mentioned this to the owner he said not to worry and showed me a shotgun he kept under the bar.Welcome to America! McGriff liked us and invited us for a gig in Hartford, Connecticut. I said, ‘wow, that’s fantastic. I love your music. But… on one condition.’ ‘And that is?’, asked McGriff. I said: ‘That I don’t have to carry your Hammond B3 organ around!’ McGriff laughed. The reason was I almost got killed once carrying a Hammond organ up the stairs of the Pipers Club in Rome. McGriff’s van was like a bordello. A flophouse! Portable bar, lace all over, velvet, red wine-coloured curtains. The gig was great. Vintage soul jazz. The all-black crowd of army veterans and their families was having a wonderful time, shaking and dancing to our music.”

Guidi, a well-set man who walks slightly bent forward like an archeologist on Roman grounds and whose ironic and naughty grin brings to mind the elder Michael Caine, always stresses the value of entertainment in jazz. That’s why he’s such a big fan of Cannonball Adderley. “Ah, those live albums like Cannonball Adderley Quintet In San Francisco and At The Lighthouse. The atmosphere is so positive that you wanna be there! Cannonball is pure promotion for jazz! A great ambassador and communicator. I always tell my students to pick any one of Cannonball’s albums, especially from the late fifties and early sixties. If those don’t lure you to a jazz club, I don’t know what will! In this respect, I should also mention albums like Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers’ Live At The Café Bohemia and Live At The Jazz Corner Of The World. And Free For All, also from Blakey. Not a live recording but the bible of hard bop! What controlled power, everyone in the band is cooking. Tubbs In New York, from the English tenor saxophonist Tubby Hayes, is another cooker.”

“We shouldn’t forget that jazz always has had one foot in art, one foot in entertainment. That was made obvious by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Ammons, Erroll Garner… too many to mention. Cannonball scored an enormous hit single with Jive Samba. A jukebox favorite for jazz fans, particularly in the black community. The message is that you don’t have to compromise, but always recognize that you are playing for an audience. The audience is smart, you know. People listen with their hearts. So if you want to touch them it helps to say something on stage. Even if it’s just a couple of words: communicate with the audience. Not everybody has the natural flair of Cannonball, but at least take notice of the audience. I don’t appreciate artists who don’t seem to care about the spectators and are playing just for themselves. Cecil Taylor did that. I respect a lot of free players for their excellence and vision, but at least try to explain something to the bewildered public. I saw Cecil Taylor empty a piazza at an open air jazz festival in Italy within ten minutes! I’d rather hear the indomitable Dexter Gordon telling the lyrics to What’s New to the audience before playing the theme. He did that with many tunes, he knew all the words to the songs. Chords are the roots of the plant, melody is the flower. But the lyrics constitute the perfume.

“In addition to Cannonball’s charm, I’ve always loved his style. He’s a joyful player. You get the idea Cannonball was happy where he was. The flowers are blooming in the fields, bubbles are in the air. A whole different ball game than John Coltrane, whom I greatly revere as well. Two different sides of spirituality’s coin. Coltrane was always searching, never happy where he was. My favorite Coltrane albums? That’s easy. There are two albums that say, ‘here I am’. One is Giant Steps, with its harmonic daring and power. The other is Crescent where tracks like Crescent and Wise One define an arrival point for the deeply spiritual Coltrane. And the concise Bessie’s Blues is a gas. There’s nothing simpler than that blues theme. The essence of the blues. Just triads. But what he does with them… So pure, so simple, yet so deeply involved. Coltrane keeps ‘singing’ throughout. That’s something his imitators usually miss. They pick up on his harmonic theory and technique but they lack that spiritual cry. Really, do you know a more sincere quartet than Coltrane’s famous group with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones? They’re so pure, like kids.”

Typical of Peter Guidi’s life story that an a-typical jazz instrument like the flute turned out to become his main jazz instrument. Guidi’s an incomparable flute historian that can tell you all about pioneers like the classical flutist Gazzeloni and the Cuban Alberto Socarras, who was one of the first to be recorded playing flute with a jazz band. Generally speaking the foundation of the modern jazz flute started with players such as Frank Wess in the Count Basie Orchestra and developed through the wonderful works of Sam Most, Eric Dolphy, Roland Kirk, James Moody, Herbie Mann and many others. “After hearing James Moody with the Dizzy Gillespie band, I wanted a flute. I love its lyrical, mystical quality. Aristotle already commented on the flute: ‘The flute is not an instrument that has a good moral effect. It’s too exciting.’ It only came into prominence once microphones came into the picture, providing the necessary volume to hold its own against reed and brass. Regardless of its relatively short jazz history, there have been, and are, so many fine players. The general public has likely heard of Herbie Mann. Although he did a lot of great bossa-nova material, I prefer players like Sam Most. Back then, you were either for Mann or Most. It’s like the Stones and Beatles. Fans of Herbie Mann would shout, ‘Mann Is The Most!’. Fans of Sam Most would reciprocate: ‘Most Is The Man!’”

Lest we forget, Guidi is a monster flutist himself who polished an excellent bop and mainstream jazz style while experimenting expertly with both the quarter tone flute and bass flute, vocalising, multiphonics, microtones and other modern techniques. Both as a leader and as a guest soloist, Guidi performed prolifically. “Not anymore, alas. The flute still stands beside my desk, I write a lot of compositions and I am planning a new CD release. But I don’t have a quartet anymore. Hey, until last year I led eight student ensembles and big bands, you understand? Busy! I must admit though, that I really miss performing in a quartet situation. But today there are so few places left to play.”

“So, anyway. What was your question? Haha!”

Peter Guidi

Peter Guidi (Glasgow, 1949) teaches at the jazz department of the Amsterdamse Muziekschool, where he is head of the jazz department. He is the bandleader of numerous youth orchestras such as Jazz Kidz, Jazz Juniors, Jazz Focus Big Band and Jazzmania Big Band, all of which have won a total of eighty-seven Dutch and international prizes. Mr. Guidi, associated with countless educational projects beside the Amsterdamse Muziekschool, was knighted as Ridder In De Orde Van Oranje-Nassau for his outstanding contributions to the Dutch jazz community in 2010. An acclaimed saxophonist and flutist, Guidi has performed and recorded prolifically, both in The Netherlands and at international festivals such as Umbria Jazz, Jazz Jamboree Warsaw and North Sea Jazz Festival. Peter Guidi lives in Amsterdam. His Jubilee Big Band will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Muziekschool’s jazz department, the 25th Anniversary of the Jazzmania Big Band and the 20th Anniversary of the Jazzfocus Big Band with a performance at North Sea Jazz Festival on July 8, 2017.

Selected discography:

A Weaver Of Dreams (Timeless, 1993)
Forbidden Flute (BMCD, 1999)
Beautiful Friendship (Timeless, 2000)
The Jazzmania Big Band – Further Impressions (with Benny Bailey, BMCD, 2004)
Jazz Focus Big Band – Focused, (JF, 2007)

Go to Peter Guidi’s website here.

Photography above: Ronaldus
Photography homepage: Ferry Knijn Fotografie

Flophouse Favorites 2016

FLOPHOUSE FAVORITES 2016: Heaven abides, a year without ‘epic’ hypes. Let’s just go about our business and check out the real deal of the past, and present. In Cannonball’s words: ‘I mean soul, you know what I mean, soul.’ Read all about Flophouse Magazine’s favorite releases of 2016 below:

Cannonball Adderley, One For Daddy-O – Jazz At The Concertgebouw (Dutch Jazz Archive Series)

The Dutch Jazz Archive has been releasing the Jazz At The Concertgebouw series since 2007. From the mid-fifties to the early sixties, the concerts presented the first opportunity for Dutch jazz fans to see and hear legends of jazz perform in person. Over the years, the Concertgebouw concerts have acquired a near-mythic status, much like the Kralingen Pop Festival gained a reputation as the Dutch equivalent of Woodstock for the babyboom hippies. Among other CD’s, the Dutch Jazz Archive released Concertgebouw performances by Chet Baker, The Miles Davis Quintet featuring John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers featuring Lee Morgan and Wayne Shorter, Count Basie, J.J. Johnson, Gerry Mulligan and Lee Konitz/Zoot Sims. The latest addition highlights Cannonball Adderley, who played at Amsterdam’s prime concert hall on November 19, 1960. 1960 was a pivotal year for Adderley. The heavy-set, amiable alto saxophonist, who had made such an indelible impression upon his arrival in New York City in 1955, had really gotten his act together now, having signed with Orrin Keepnews’ Riverside label, which released the highly succesful and influential live album The Cannonball Adderley Quintet In San Francisco at the tail end of 1959. Adderley brings the quintet with him, minus pianist Bobby Timmons, who’d returned to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and was replaced by the English pianist Victor Feldman. Feldman’s Exodus is performed, as well as This Here, One For Daddy-O and Bohemia After Dark. Feldman makes his simultaneously sophisticated and bluesy mark in the Bobby Timmons chart hit, This Here, Nat Adderley is ebullient and the rhythm section of Louis Hayes and Sam Jones makes abundantly clear why it was regarded as one of the hardest swinging outfits around. Cannonball is in top form, tackling the tunes like a lion grabbing the neck of a lion cub. Added to these four tunes is a guest performance of Cannonball Adderley with the local crew of pianist Pim Jacobs, guitarist Wim Overgaauw, bassist Ruud Jacobs and drummer Cees See at Theater Bellevue in Amsterdam on June 3, 1966. It was recorded for Dutch radio broadcast. The group, albeit in excellent command of the material, is a bit timid in contrast with Cannonball, who fires on all cylinders, occasionally flying off the rails with great zest. While jubilant, it seems Cannonball also had to drive out some demons that particular day in the nation’s capital. One For Daddy-O – Jazz At The Concertgebouw comes with insightful liner notes by journalist Bert Vuijsje.

Cannonball Adderley - One For Daddy-O

Find One For Daddy-O – Jazz At The Concertgebouw here.

Tom Harrell, Something Gold, Something Blue (HighNote)

At the age of 70, trumpet and flugelhorn player Tom Harrell is not about to slow down. Harrell, a supreme lyrical player and sophisticated composer, started out his professional career with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman in the late sixties and early seventies, had extended performance and recording stints with Horace Silver (1973-77) and Phil Woods (1983-89) and cooperated with numerous greats of jazz like Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Konitz and Art Farmer. Since the late eighties, Harrell has broadened his horizon by writing for large ensembles, big bands and orchestra, both jazz and classical, including his own Chamber Ensemble. His work has been recorded by luminaries as Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, Hank Jones and Charlie Haden. For over ten years, Harrell has kept a quintet going, occasionally switching sidemen. For his latest release, Something Gold, Something Blue, the line-up consists of drummer Jonathan Blake, bass player Ugonna Okegwo, fellow trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and guitarist Charles Altura. Forefronting his trademark, marshmellow sound, a sound that embraces you like a blanket on a cold winter’s day, Harrell’s set switches from the intelligent, lithe groove of View, the world music of Delta Of The Nile, modal tendencies of Trances to the ethereal Travelin’, which showcases Harrell’s gift for exploring every corner of a melody. An enigmatic, intriguing performer on stage, Harrell’s time in the studio is also still well spent.

Tom Harrell - Something Gold, Something Blue

Find Something Gold, Something Blue here.

Liebman, Ineke, Laghina, Cavalli & Pinheiro, Is Seeing Believing? (Challenge)

Saxophist and flautist Dave Liebman, the musical equivalent of Sesame Street’s cookie monster, has done about everything from being part of the Miles Davis group in the early seventies to writing chamber music. Liebman has also been an expert educational writer and organiser. Among other endeavors, he founded the International Association Of Schools Of Jazz, stressing educational cooperation without borders. It’s this responsive spirit that’s at the heart of Is Seeing Believing, a collaboration between the five IASS colleagues Liebman, veteran Dutch drummer Eric Ineke (a longtime Liebman associate who also played on, among others, Lieb Plays The Beatles and Lieb Plays Blues à la Trane), pianist Mário Laghina, bassist Massimo Cavalli and guitarist Ricardo Pinheiro. An international cast that cooks a varied brew. Excepting a robust interpretation of Old Folks, marked by the vibes of John Coltrane’s Impulse output, courtesy of Liebman’s freewheeling, uplifting phrases and Ineke’s lush, pulled-and-pushed rhythm, and the Post Bop-meets-Gypsy-meets-Dixie-meets-Prog Pinheiro tune Ditto, the repertoire is soft-hued, introspective, a gentle but stirring lake of intricate, fine-tuned jazz. A conversation between Liebman’s sensual soprano and Pinheiro’s spicy acoustic guitar is the centre of the warm-blooded piece of folk jazz, Coração Vagabundo. On the other tunes, Pinheiro plays electric guitar, employing a prickly, Jim Hall-ish sound, and daring to turn into eccentric pathways during his concise stories. Like in the sprightly take of Skylark, wherein Liebman and Pinheiro improvise simultaneously. With the wisdom of the elder master, Liebman’s tenor work is spirited without excessive frills. The highlight is the title track, a composition of slow-moving voicings that meander on the sensitive, resonant sound carpet of Ineke, which nicely lets the personalities of the soloists ring through. Pianist Mário Laghina’s embrace of the melody is enamouring, sometimes following the steps of Liebman, sometimes going against the grain teasingly. Part of an album of moving and intelligently crafted modern jazz.

Liebman, Ineke, Laghina, Cavalli & Pinheiro - Is Seeing Believing?

Find Is Seeing Believing? here.

Woody Shaw & Louis Hayes, The Tour Volume One (HighNote)

Nowadays, trumpeter Woody Shaw is revered as the last great trumpet innovator. Following a low ebb at the turn of the decade, Shaw was at a creative peak in the mid-seventies. On a collision course with fusion and free jazz, the virtuoso Shaw candidly expressed the need to restore faith in straightforward, acoustic jazz, a need that equally passionate classic (hard) boppers such as Cedar Walton, Jimmy Heath, Joe Henderson, Barry Harris and Bobby Hutcherson undoubtly agreed with: “I blame the musicians for nearly killing the music. I mean, some of the rubbish they call jazz in The States is not jazz.” And about the new group he founded with Louis Hayes in 1976: “We said: ‘Wait a minute – we gotta change this a little bit. By no means is jazz dead – that’s essentially why Louis Hayes and I formed this band.” Boy, did Shaw deliver on his promise! In the past, High Note released a series of live recordings by Woody Shaw. This year, the label released The Tour Volume 1, a live recording of his group in Stuttgart, Germany on March 22, 1976. It’s a cutting edge set that shouldn’t be missed. According to the famed jazz producer, writer and co-founder of Mosaic, Michael Cuscuna, who visited countless Woody Shaw shows in the seventies, the trumpeter was a constant crackerjack. Indeed, all the assets that make Shaw such a unique jazz artist are in check: his dark, rich tone, clean attack, facility in all registers, surprising effects and suave modulation through keys. And on the experimental side, the use of the (Coltrane-influenced) pentatonic scale and wider intervals. The kind of stuff that was difficult to pull off with the three-valved trumpet. The group’s no-holds-barred attitude shines through on all cuts: avant-leaning, burnin’ originals by Shaw, (The Moontrane) Matthews, (Ichi-Ban) and Larry Young (Obsequious), a boiled-over bossa of Walter Booker/Cedar Walton (Book’s Bossa) and a greasy semi-ballad of Peggy Stern (Sun Bath). The ever-hard swinging Louis Hayes is relentless, Junior Cook holds his own with a bluesy, big-toned sound and ‘Trane-tinged, edgy phrasing and Ronnie Matthews contributes deft, ringing statements. The somewhat slower Invitation, a Bronislaw Kaper composition, is a gas. Shaw is fluent like a slithering snake in the grass and his technical prowess isn’t executed for virtuosity’s sake, but instead facilitates a beautifully constructed, quietly thunderous storyline. A cat who was truly revealing the full potential of the trumpet.

Woody Shaw & Louis Hayes - The Tour Volume One

Find The Tour Volume One here.

Larry Young, In Paris: The ORTF Recordings (Resonance)

Woody Shaw is present as well on the outstanding 2016 release by Resonance Records, Larry Young – In Paris: The ORTF Recordings. It features sessions that were recorded for radio broadcasting during Young’s periodical 1964/65 sojourns in Paris. Larry Young took Hammond organ jazz beyond its churchy soul jazz roots and the bop ethos of Jimmy Smith, adding whole tone scales and the intervallic inventions of John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner to a clean, crisp sound and restrained, resonant phrasing. The result was a fresh and amazingly free-flowing kind of organ jazz. The organist, well-known for his role on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, returned to the USA at the end of 1965, where he released his acclaimed masterpiece Unity. In Paris, Young was also joined by tenor saxophonist Nathan Davis and drummer Billy Brooks as well as an international parade of players, including tenor saxophonist Jean-Claude Forenbach. At a purposeful crossroads in his career, Young’s style alternates between the layered, wayward runs of Trane Of Thought and ferocious, pentatonic variations on melodies of Wayne Shorter’s Black Nile. The 19-year old Woody Shaw is a jubilant asset to tunes such as his original composition Zoltan (that would be featured on Unity), nicely contrasting with Nathan Davis’ earthy, edgy tenor. In Paris, which was released on both CD and limited edition vinyl, is the kind of release of unearthed classic jazz material that makes your heart skip a bee: the sound quality is excellent, the package is top-notch and includes previously unreleased photographs and a vast collection of insightful, meticulous liner notes by, among others, Nathan Davis, organist Lonnie Smith, Woody Shaw III, Larry Young III and Resonance producer Zev Feldman. A rare treat for classic jazz fans and a mouth-watering dish for Hammond B3 geeks.

Larry Young - In Paris

Find In Paris: The ORTF Recordings here.

Willie Jones III, Groundwork (WJ3)

Afusion of tradition and innovation, keeping it fresh, energetic, real. The versatile drummer Willie Jones III, who worked with Horace Silver, Hank Jones, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove and Arturo Sandoval, reserves his self-owned independent label, WJ3, for his hardest boppin’ efforts. Groundwork, the seventh album of Jones on WJ3, is dedicated to his mentor, Cedar Walton, who passed away in 2013, and other deceased colleagues Ralph Penland, Mulgrew Miller and Dwayne Burno. It has the vibe of both the mid-sixties hard bop Blue Note albums and the early seventies catalogue of Muse and Mainstream, created by a mutually responsive outfit that includes veteran bassist Buster Williams (former Walton associate) and the outstanding pianist Eric Reed, who deceptively easily marries intricate modalities with lively blues bits. Post bop gems like the moody Cedar Walton tune Hindsight and the uptempo cooker Gitcha Shout On are alternated with a frolic Buster Williams blues, Toku Do, and Latin-flavored tunes like Ralph Penland’s Jamar and Reed’s New Boundary. Repertoire that’s uplifted also by the pristine, quicksilver phrases of vibe player Warren Wolf and lively blowing of trumpeter Eddie Henderson and saxophonist Stacy Dillard. The propulsive drumming of Jones, just a pulse away from both Billy Higgins and Joe Chambers, is crucial to the proceedings, favoring sympatico support over solo time. Dear Blue, a melancholy ballad written by the Dutch saxophonist Floriaan Wempe, ignites strong emotions. Stacy Dillard creeps into the crevices of the crepuscular melody, evoking memories of Chet Baker singing ballads later in life. Do you hear that pin drop?

Willlie Jones III - Groundwork

Find Groundwork here.

Chasin’ The Barry

Barry Harris, grand seigneur of bebop and one of the last direct links to the music of Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk, turns 86 years old today. Conviction and dedication, I guess, are words specifically designed for the personality of pianist and teacher Barry Harris.

Check the footage below. Harris, at 85, played the Detroit festival in 2014 and as you can see, is still going very strong. The interview bits by Brian Pace are both revealing and amusing. I also included my review of Harris’ 1962 album Chasin’ The Bird and some stunning footage of Barry Harris with the Cannonball Adderley Quintet at Newport, 1960.

See Pace Report
Read Review
See Cannonball

B00067RF4Q.01.LZZZZZZZ

Bobby Timmons This Here Is Bobby Timmons (Riverside 1960)

A working day that sucks the soul out of me. An argument with the woman that hangs suspended in the air like a radioactive snowflake on the leaf of a tree. Many of you know the drill. Or don’t. Me and my wife, we’ll catch up. But for the moment, what better cure than a good piece of music? Bobby Timmons’ classic cut This Here certainly qualifies. Lasting a mere 3:31 minutes, its forceful, gospel-driven beat and style is enough for at least a temporary driving out of demons. It comes upon me like a strong but gentle wave. I jump for joy. Am moved by its groove and feeling.

B00067RF4Q.01.LZZZZZZZ

Personnel

Bobby Timmons (piano), Sam Jones (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums)

Recorded

on January 13 & 14 at Reeves Sound Studio, NYC

Released

as RLP 1164 in 1960

Track listing

Side A:
This Here
Moanin’
Lush Life
The Party’s Over
Prelude To A Kiss
Side B:
Dat Dere
My Funny Valentine
Prelude To A Kiss
Joy Ride


Cannonball Adderley used to introduce the tune, that became part of his set when Timmons joined his quintet in 1959, as ‘simultaneously a shout and a chant.’ Jazz waltzes often have a lithe, airy quality. Not This Here. It has relentless drive. Indeed, all tunes on Timmons’ solo debut on Riverside, This Here Is Bobby Timmons, swing from start to finish. Even ballads like My Funny Valentine. At the time, Timmons’ version of the tune, as Orrin Keepnews reveals in the liner notes of the album, was commonly referred to by Timmons’ colleagues as My Funky Valentine. Obviously, Timmons put a lot of church influence in his music. Timmons was raised in church, played church organ and his father was a minister.

Timmons had been part of major groups like those of Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt and Art Blakey, with whom he recorded his signature tune, Moanin’ in 1958. By the fall of 1959 Timmons had become part of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Their live album The Cannonball Adderley Quintet In San Francisco, recorded on October 18 & 20, 1959, was a smash (jazz) hit, largely due to their exciting rendition of This Here. Three months later, on January 13 and 14, Timmons recorded his first solo album with fellow Adderley member, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Cobb had been an Adderley member at various recordings from Winter 1957 to Spring 1959. By January 1960 Timmons had decided to return to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He would record Dat Dere with Blakey on March 6, 1960.

Dat Dere is longer than its ‘churchy’ cousin This Here, but the fire cracks almost as hard. Yet its playful, rollicking theme also has a moody quality. After Timmons states the theme in rootsy, Ray Charles-like fashion, the groove gets going. Then follows a Sam Jones intermezzo, whereafter the tune builds to a climax with a terrific shout chorus and a clever modulation that leads back to the theme. Timmons’ version has a rawer quality than ‘Blakey’s’ equally immaculate version. That version boasts Blakey’s inspiring accompaniment and great solo’s by Lee Morgan and Wayne Shorter. In ‘Cannonball Adderley’s’ version on Them Dirty Blues of February 1, 1960, Timmons jumps into locked four-hands playing almost immediately. It’s a great solo but different.

‘Art Blakey’s’ iconic version of Moanin’ is powerful at the core. Timmons’ take isn’t short on power either. Sam Jones’ deep sound and strong beat and Jimmy Cobb’s uplifting style coupled with Timmons’ tough yet playful left hand create an unmistakably groovy piece of hard bop. The piano sound of Timmons – tough, slightly feeble – ignites the atmosphere of a barrelhouse. The whole album benefits from this atmosphere. Intricate jazz loaded with feeling and a barrelhouse sound. It’s too good to miss.

This Here, Dat Dere and Moanin’ are iconic hard bop cuts that refreshed the jazz world of the late fifties and early sixties and inspired generation after generation thereafter. One thing they have in common is that they never wear me out. Should we consider Joy Ride a fourth classic of Timmons’ Riverside album? Not a bad idea. It’s a piece of blistering bebop soul. Jimmy Cobb opens the uptempo tune with a series of cocky firecrackers and Timmons’ solo is a spirited mix of blues, Art Tatum and Bud Powell.

The tender Prelude To A Kiss shows the delicate side of Timmons’ personality. Lush Life’s dramatic flourish is enticing. Yet even in these tunes Timmons sneaks in bold, accurate blues lines. They make complete Timmons’ quintessential album This Here Is Bobby Timmons: a gospel-tinged, extremely swinging and articulate affair that’s imbued with a joyful sense of discovery. It kills me time and again.

Milt Jackson

Milt Jackson Plenty, Plenty Soul (Atlantic 1957)

At the time of Milt Jackson’ recording of Plenty, Plenty Soul, the group that he was part of, The Modern Jazz Quartet, was a major force in the jazz world. It had recorded their blend of modern jazz and chamber music on albums as Concorde, Fontessa and Django, which included the famous title track. With more time on his hands for the blues away from MJQ, Plenty, Plenty Soul showcases a freewheelin’ Milt Jackson.

Milt Jackson

Personnel

Milt Jackson (vibes), Joe Newman (trumpet), Jimmy Cleveland (trombone A1-A3), (Cannonball Adderley credited as Ronnie Peters, alto A1-A3), Frank Foster (tenor saxophone A1-A3), Lucky Thompson (tenor saxophone B1-B4), Sahib Shehab (baritone saxophone A1-A3), Horace Silver (piano), Percy Heath (bass A1-A3), Oscar Pettiford (bass B1-B4), Art Blakey (drums A1-A3), Connie Kay (drums B1-B4)

Recorded

on January 5 & 7, 1975 at Atlantic Studio in New York City

Released

as SD 1269 in 1957

Track listing

Side A:
Plenty, Plenty Soul
Boogity Boogity
Heartstrings
Side B:
Sermonette
The Spirit-Feel
Ignunt Oil
Blues At Twilight


Side A has the upper hand. The opener and title track is a long blues that includes an abundance of funky and virtuoso Milt Jackson phrases. The rhythym section of Art Blakey, Horace Silver (Silver had parted ways with Blakey’s Jazz Messengers half a year prior to this session) and Milt Jackson’s colleague form the MJQ, bassist Percy Heath, is especially exciting on the joyful Boogity Boogity. Jackson is stimulated considerably by Blakey’s amalgam of press rolls, tom attacks and nifty use of the snare drum’s metal ring. Ending side A, Jackson’s radiant sound and lyrical twists and turns are at the core of the ballad Heartstrings.

The uplifting arrangements of the first three tracks are by Quincy Jones. The solo’s by Jackson’s sidemen are excellent. Part of the all-star cast is altoist Cannonball Adderley, (credited as ‘Ronnie Peters’ for legal reasons) whose solo on Boogity Boogity is one of the album’s highlights.

In comparison to this session, the one that culminated in side B is less spiritedlacks. Milt Jackson’s other colleague from the MJQ, drummer Connie Kay, is much less energetic than Art Blakey. It’s why tunes like Nat Adderley’s pretty, infectious melody Sermonette, don’t really take off. Less exceptional than side A, side B nevertheless presents a couple of highlights. Firstly, the abundant church feeling Milt Jackson brings to his performances, especially in The Spirit Feel, makes the heart skip a beat. Secondly, Jackson demonstrates both outstanding technique (utilising the four mallet-approach) and a feeling for the blues in the slow blues Blues At Twilight. Finally, tenorist Lucky Thompson’s round tone and articulate style are responsible for the session’s merry atmosphere.

In my opinion, both sides of Milt Jackson – the ‘blowing’ kind and the MJQ-kind – deserve equal attention. The downgrading of John Lewis has been a favourite sport of Milt Jackson fans. Reportedly, Jackson hated his guts and in spite of being fed up with the quartet periodically, stayed in it for the money. Yet, Jackson fans tend to forget that Lewis’s writing and arranging skills and understated (quietly swinging) piano backing brought masterful play out of Jackson.

Obviously, we should be very glad that Milt Jackson also kept recording in his own right. As his second solo foray on Atlantic using a top-notch all-star cast, Plenty, Plenty Soul foreshadowed other exciting collaborations with Ray Charles (Soul Brothers, Soul Meeting), Coleman Hawkins (Bean Bags) and John Coltrane. (Bags & Trane)

Cannonball Adderley - Inside Straight

Cannonball Adderley Inside Straight (Fantasy 1973)

Inside Straight, the last great album by Cannonball Adderley, who passed away in 1975, is a live-in-the-studio recording, a trend not invented by Adderley and producer David Axelrod as such, but definitely popularised through their earlier albums. It’s a superior jazzfunk date by an artist who stays true to himself while being in sync with contemporary developments at the same time.

Cannonball Adderley - Inside Straight

Personnel

Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone), Nat Adderley (cornet), Hal Galper (electric piano), Walter Booker (bass), Roy McCurdy (drums), King Ericsson (percussion)

Recorded

on June 4, 1973 at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California

Released

as FT 517 in 1973

Track listing

Side A:
Introduction
Inside Straight
Saudade
Inner Journey
Side B:
Snake In The Grass
Five Of A Kind
Second Son
The End


1963’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy was a superb in-house session, (the cover erronously credited ‘The Club’) yet it’s 1960’s smash hit The Cannonball Adderley Quintet In San Francisco (recorded at The Jazz Workshop) that is generally credited with influencing the road live jazz production would travel. The method: put a small, appreciative (mainly standing room only-) crowd in a cozy place containing attractive acoustics and production circumstances, and serve them enough libations to feel comfortable. (or slightly off-centre)

An added bonus of In San Francisco was the deadpan and eloquent manner in which Cannonball Adderley talked the audience through the show. It was an idea originally concocted by Adderley and producer Orrin Keepnews of Riverside.

In 1973, Adderley re-united with Keepnews, then head of the jazz department of Fantasy Records. And a Cannonball introductory talk is present on Inside Straight. The quintet then dives into the title track. Now that’s how you open a live album! A funkblues boogie connected through a hot line to the quintet’s seminal recording at a church meeting, Country Preacher of 1970, including a kick-ass bridge, an irresistable bass pattern locking thumbs with a solid drum groove, cocksure soulful phrases by Cannonball and, last but not least, a growling trumpet statement by Nat Adderley that is part deadpan humour, part boisterous mating call, Inside Straight is destined to sweep you out of your seat and prompt you to grab whoever’s around for a decidedly funky ritual dance.

Both Saudade and Inner Journey are groovy cuts with a Latin flavour and contain fluid Cannonball solo’s; Nat Adderley flies through Saudade in lyrical mode, resembling Chet Baker, albeit a funkified one. The atmosphere of these tunes, as of the whole album, is warm and beguiling, courtesy also of Hal Galper’s layers of electric piano sound and probing phrases. ‘Hot’ is an adjective most appropriate for Five Of A Kind, which moves from a slow build-up to a fast-paced bebop demonstration. It’s not groundbreaking, it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s rock solid.

Snake In The Grass is a slow deep funk cut that, containing more than proficient improvisation, would make George Clinton’s group sweat. Combining such seductive repertoire with keen musical experience and intellect, the Cannonball Adderley Quintet holds in near-perfect suspension the need to entertain and the search for musical truth.

Which, come to think of it, is more or less exemplary for the sum total of Cannonball Adderley’s recorded output.