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Horace Silver Quintet/Sextet The Jody Grind (Blue Note 1967)

The Jody Grind is the last great record of Horace Silver on Blue Note.

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Personnel

Horace Silver (piano), Woody Shaw (trumpet), Tyrone Washington (tenor saxophone), James Spaulding (alto saxophone A2, B1 & B2, flute A2), Larry Ridley (bass), Roger Humphries (drums)

Recorded

on November 2 & 23, 1966 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Released

as BST 84250 in 1967

Track listing

Side A:
The Jody Grind
Mary Lou
Mexican Hip Dance
Side B:
Blue Silver
Grease Piece
Dimples


It’s so damn hard to choose between favorite records and bands of the Horace Silver Quintet. His pioneering hard bop group “The Jazz Messengers” of the Horace Silver Quintet featuring Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Doug Watkins and Art Blakey is high on top of the list. Thumps up too for Silver’s group including Blue Mitchell, Junior Cook, Eugene Taylor and Louis Hayes/Roy Brooks. Blowin’ The Blues Away, Horace-Scope, Doin’ The Thing and Song For My Father are generally considered perfect showcases of a leader and band at the top of its game. But what about Further Explorations with Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan… That record may represent the complete synthesis of Silver’s soulful style and clever writing.

Then there’s The Jody Grind. The sleeve, always a principal factor of the charm of Blue Note albums, isn’t very promising. I’m not sure what Horace is thinking, chin resting on his hand, smiling mildly. Hey baby, what’s up with your hands? Headache? Swallowed a blue note? And what’s with the lady on the right? Looking with overrated expertise at an overrated modern painting? I’m not sure what label boss Alfred Lion was thinking. Obviously, designer Reid Miles was out to lunch. And two white birds on one sleeve was a rarity. Up until then, Blue Note had presented the blackest of black jazz, from the music, art work to the market place. Obviously, Blue Note wanted a little bite from the big white cake as well. Anyhow, The Grind cover is square, a far cry from the hip designs with the sassy ladies on Freddie Roach’s Brown Sugar, John Patton’s Oh Baby and Jimmy McGriff’s Electric Funk. Presumably, covers depicting attractive women were good sellers in general, regardless of color, but these swinging sleeves were unsurpassable!

Right?!

To be sure, by the tail end of 1966, Lion was about the leave the company, heading for Mexico and a career as a ‘pensionado’ photographer. In 1967, Blue Note was taken over by Liberty. However, Silver and co-boss Francis Wolff were loyal to each other. The pianist recorded for Blue Note until 1980.

Other than the sleeve, The Jody Grind is a killer. The tunes may not always possess the typical intricate devices of the Silver Stew such as secondary motives and extended chord progressions. But the tunes are infectious and plainly irresistible. The Jody Grind may be a perspicuous attempt at a new Sidewinder hit, but it is a lively boogaloo, Dimples is a smooth and soulful waltz, Blue Silver a tacky and deep-rooted slow blues, Mary Lou a Latin-tinged beauty, Mexican Hip Dance a first-class hip shaker and Grease Piece an overwhelming romp.

Furthermore, the band is crazy. 21-year old Woody Shaw, three years in the major league game since his contribution to Eric Dolphy’s Iron Man and Larry Young’s eponymous Unity, is as mature as few 40-somethings will ever be, his linear development excellent, richness of ideas striking, hotness of his delivery upsetting. Tenor saxophonist Tyrone Washington has similar fire, he’s an edgy player one might place somewhere between Joe Henderson and Booker Ervin and, if perhaps not of equal repute, whose bended, wailin’ notes add considerable flavor to his storytelling. James Spaulding contributes flute, but his moment of glory is a belligerent Coltrane-esque solo on alto sax during Grease Piece.

The secret of The Jody Grind’s succes, to me, is drummer Roger Humphries. Kudos to Humphries, who was also on Song For My Father, and who is a fantastic extension of Louis Hayes, demonstrating a similar mix of accompanying tricks and punch. Punch? Mayhem! During Grease Piece, it is as if Humphries has swallowed two Art Blakey pills and drank one glass of Elvin Jones.

Silver added a number of trademark shout choruses that considerably heighten the tension. His solo of Blue Silver is a marvel of economy and soul.

As you may have noticed, The Jody Grind goes to my head. Winner!

Woody Shaw - The Moontrane

Woody Shaw The Moontrane (Muse 1975)

Woody Shaw’s killer tune The Moontrane kick starts his namesake album on Muse, a sublime example of progressive mainstream jazz of the mid-70s.

Woody Shaw - The Moontrane

Personnel

Woody Shaw (trumpet), Azar Lawrence (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone), Steve Turre (trombone), Onaje Allen Gumbs (piano, electric piano), Cecil McBee (bass A2, B2), Buster Williams (bass A1, B1), Victor Lewis (drums), Guilherme Franco, Tony Waters (percussion)

Recorded

on 11 & 18 december, 1974 at Blue Rock Studios, New York City

Released

as MR 5058 in 1975

Track listing

Side A:
The Moontrane
Are They Only Dreams
Tapscott’s Blues
Side B:
Sanyas
Katerina Ballerina


Some have argued that the tragedy of Shaw’s life was the undervaluation of his genius. There’s truth in this statement. The name might ring a bell. But although Shaw won a Grammy Award for Rosewood in 1978, the average listener would never put Shaw, as far as trumpeters go, as the exclamation mark on the modern jazz sentence that begins with Dizzy Gillespie and is followed up by Clifford Brown and Miles Davis – Davis is part of the sentence not so much on a technical basis but because of his originality and vision. The average music fan has usually heard about legendary “subordinate clauses” like Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and Chet Baker. Probably even hardcore jazz fans have listened more to those three than Shaw. Shaw came on the scene in the sixties but matured as a leader in the 70s, the synthesized decade that is without the revolutionary spark of bebop or the monochrome charm of hard bop and not as conducive to myth-making.

We all have our favorites, even, and with justified reason, others than mentioned above. But the exclamation mark is set in bold type by fellow musicians, who have championed Shaw as ‘the last great innovator on trumpet’. Max Roach said he had never heard anybody like Shaw, who had perfect pitch, photographic memory and a simply God-given array of talents that hint at ‘high intelligence’ and definitely are proof of a highly gifted musical intellect that effortlessly incorporated avant-garde concepts as polytonality and modality in his style. Shaw is a bridge between the classic age of modern jazz and the young lions of the 80s, many of who are now middle-aged statesmen, like Bryan Lynch, Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Wallace Roney, Valery Ponomarev and Jarmo Hoogendijk.

Let’s hear it from Michael West, NPR:

“Shaw was a virtuoso who restructured the way trumpet players move between long intervals, and wrote his own harmonic and melodic language using notes outside the chords (a technique known as “side-slipping”).”

And Doug Ramsey, Rifftides:

“Shaw reached a level of expressiveness, headlong linear development and freedom from post-bop conventions that was not only ahead of his time; this music from three and four decades ago is ahead of much of the rote, formulaic jazz of our time. (…) Shaw was at once a liberator of the music and a preserver of tradition.”

Ramsey’s assessment rings through when listening to the series of live CD sets (yuk but hey) that have been released over the years. Above all, his live performances from the 70s and early 80s showcase remarkable intensity and hi-voltage stories that surge ahead with unstoppable force like the subway train of The Taking Of The Pelham 123. At the same time nothing of Shaw’s elegance is lost. Then there’s his bright, tart tone, ringing clearly like the bells of St. Mark and his punchy attack, resembling the chutzpah of the strongest kid in class. Moreover, Shaw wrote a number of lasting tunes like Stepping Stones, Rosewood and Little Red’s Fantasy.

Maturity as a leader came late at the dawn of the 70s, but Shaw was already very active as a sideman in the sixties. He debuted on Eric Dolphy’s Iron Man and burst on the scene with his feature on the Blue Note classic album by organist Larry Young, Unity, for which the then 18-year old trumpeter wrote three compositions: Zoltan, Beyond Limits and The Moontrane. Talkin’ about lasting tunes! Shaw hit the hard bop mark as band member of the Horace Silver group. A session for Blue Note featuring Joe Henderson in 1965 was shelved. It was eventually released on Muse as In The Beginning in 1983. He kicked off his solo career in 1970 with the double LP Blackstone Legacy, a charged post-bop alternative for those that deem Bitches Brew languish. And indeed overrated. That includes yours truly.

At the tail end of 1974, Shaw recorded The Moontrane, aptly named after his unforgettable composition. It’s a cutting edge album, a hefty dose of mid-70s progressive jazz that in a sense owes much to the concept and passionate approach of John Coltrane. Oh how I would’ve loved to hear Shaw perform with Coltrane! Why wasn’t that in the stars? The stars would’ve been obscured by miraculous fireworks! On The Moontrane, Shaw is assisted by tenor and soprano saxophonist Azar Lawrence, definitely a fiery, Coltrane-influenced player, with a tad of Joe Henderson. Bon appetite. The band further includes trombonist Steve Turre, pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs, bassists Buster Williams/Cecil McBee and drummer Victor Lewis. The trombone is the tart icing on the frontline cake, that bit of extra punch. The band is a flexible, flamboyant outfit perfectly suitable for Shaw’s challenging shenanigans.

The title track, The Moontrane, recorded 10 years after Larry Young’s Unity, is reclaimed beautifully by Shaw & Co. The exotic groove, Sanyas, is chockfull of highlights: the beautiful, Eastern-tinged introduction by bassist Buster Williams, slides and bends and all; the quaint blend of modernism and the gutsy feeling of the Ellington trombonists of Steve Turre; the plethora of flowing and staccato phrases by Shaw. Shaw’s continuously curious and surprising placing of notes puts you on the wrong foot and that’s a delight. His notes are like the pinches of the acupuncturist’s needle, a dead perfect stimulus.

Are They Only Dreams shifts from a lithe Latin beat to a Hancock/Corea-ish pulse, an apt ambience for Allen Onaje Gumbs, whose lines fall down on you like drops from a little waterfall. Katrina Ballerina is a lovely melody in waltz time. The tension is heightened by turbulent clusters of double timing by Shaw. The album is completed by Tapscott’s Blues, perhaps the only tune you do not desperately need to spin back to back, but a lively romp nonetheless. 1974 may not have been the best year in jazz. Right? Right! But Shaw definitely was keeping the flame burning.

At least, until the candlelight was blown out for him by The Gusty Wind in the 80s. Trumpeter Woody Shaw never returned home to Newark, New Jersey after visiting a performance of Max Roach at the Village Vanguard in New York City in November 1988. Turned out he was caught by a subway train, which severely injured his arm and head. His arm had to be amputated. After a long, partly comatose spell in the hospital, Shaw eventually passed away by the causes of kidney and heart failure on May 10, 1989. Shaw was 44 years old.

The Moontrane is not available on Spotify. (You see, general neglect!) However, the full album is available on YouTube, listen here.

Buddy Terry - Natural Soul Natural Woman

Buddy Terry Natural Soul Natural Woman (Prestige 1968)

For Buddy Terry, natural soul is the music of the church, the street and John Coltrane.

Buddy Terry - Natural Soul Natural Woman

Personnel

Buddy Terry (tenor saxophone, flute), Joe Thomas (tenor saxophone, flute), Robbie Porter (baritone saxophone), Woody Shaw (trumpet, flugelhorn), Larry Young (organ), Jiggs Chase (organ), Wally Richardson (guitar), Jimmy Lewis (Fender bass), Eddie Gladden (drums), the Terry Girls (vocals)

Recorded

on November 15, 1967 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Released

as PRLP 7541 in 1968

Track listing

Side A:
Natural Woman
Natural Soul (Sunday Go To Meetin’ Blues)
Pedro, The One Arm Bandit
Don’t Be So Mean
Side B:
The Revealing Time
Quiet Days And Lonely Nights


The legendary Prestige label had added soul jazz to its cutting-edge modern jazz catalogue in the early sixties. In fact, by putting numerous hi-profile advertisements of their stock in magazines like Downbeat, continuously stressing the ‘soul’ of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Shirley Scott, Jimmy Forrest, Groove Holmes, Gene Ammons and many others, it was a deciding factor in the invention and popularization of soul jazz. By the late 60s, when interest in mainstream jazz dwindled, Prestige focused on funky, bluesy jazz in sync with contemporary popular music and its buying public. So you’d get the barroom organ blues of Sonny Philips or the mean, greasy tenor of Houston Person, who scored one of the last Prestige hits with Jamilah. And Prestige had signed tenor saxophonist Buddy Terry, who’d assisted organist Freddie Roach on Soul Book in 1966. Terry released his debut album as a leader, Electric Soul in 1968. You mean like, soul? In the late sixties, label boss and artists of Prestige still didn’t have to think twice about picking titles.

Buddy Terry had played in the organ groups of Rhoda Scott, Dee Dee Ford, Dayton Shelby and Larry Young and cooperated with Sonny Rollins and Johnny Coles. A couple of years were spent in the band of Lionel Hampton. For Natural Soul Natural Woman, the tough tenor with a ‘far out’ edge assembled his Newark, New Jersey pals – pleasant surprise! – Larry Young, Woody Shaw and Eddie Gladden, weathered cats like tenorist and flutist Joe Thomas, as well as the so-called Terry Girls on vocals – perhaps including the beautiful lady on the front cover? So then you get Don’t Be So Mean, a lurid boogaloo tune with a tacky twist, absolutely the album’s highlight. You get Pedro, The One Arm Bandit, obscure folk music jazzed up upliftingly, following the path Rollins famously paved.

You get Natural Woman, Aretha Franklin’s anthemic soul ballad, that features the Terry Girls and Buddy Terry hollering mercy, mercy; Quiet Days And Lonely Nights, a solid ballad. And finally, The Revealing Time, a mid-tempo blues that passes the 11-minute mark, ample opportunity to stretch out for Terry and Young. Woody Shaw only has short bits of solo space. Honestly, the brilliant, last great innovator of the trumpet’s worthwhile statements are overshadowed by rather lackluster, staccato ad-libs. Sleepy, perhaps.

Buddy Terry, on the other hand, is spry as the cow that line-dances onto the field in Spring. He’s a minister arousing the flock. And a captain of the Enterprise reaching out to the aliens around the Ring of Saturn. His dirty playing style and harmonic sophistication brings to mind Eddie Harris. Buddy Terry took matters in his own hands and also provided the liner notes to his album of raucous soul jazz. A curious mix of bio and exegesis. Terry states: “The entire album is my song of praise to God.”

Hallelujah time well-spent.

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.