Jazz for aficionados

Jazz for aficionados

I'm going to review records in my collection, and you'll be able to decide if they're worthy of your collection. These records are what I consider "must haves" for any jazz aficionado, and would be found in their collections. I wont review any record that's not on CD, nor will I review any record if the CD is markedly inferior. Fortunately, I only found 1 case where the CD was markedly inferior to the record.

Our first album is "Moanin" by Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. We have Lee Morgan , trumpet; Benney Golson, tenor sax; Bobby Timmons, piano; Jymie merrit, bass; Art Blakey, drums.

The title tune "Moanin" is by Bobby Timmons, it conveys the emotion of the title like no other tune I've ever heard, even better than any words could ever convey. This music pictures a person whose down to his last nickel, and all he can do is "moan".

"Along Came Betty" is a tune by Benny Golson, it reminds me of a Betty I once knew. She was gorgeous with a jazzy personality, and she moved smooth and easy, just like this tune. Somebody find me a time machine! Maybe you knew a Betty.

While the rest of the music is just fine, those are my favorite tunes. Why don't you share your, "must have" jazz albums with us.

Enjoy the music.
Rok, I am impressed. I love Little Jimmy Scott! I will never forget the first time I heard him. A friend came over a few yeards ago and, as we often do, try to stump each other by doing blind-tests to identify players and singers. He played this cut:


I wasn't sure, but I guessed Nancy Wilson. Well, it turns out that Jimmy Scott was, by her own admission, Nancy Wilson's biggest influence. He is a beautiful interpreter with wonderful phrasing. The influence on Nancy Wilson is remarkable. Not just in the phrasing, but also the tone and pitch of her voice. Some singers (and players) approach sustained notes either from above the pitch center or from below. Notice how they both approach it from below which gives certain sung notes an ever so slightly flat intonation until they are brought up to the pitch center; gives the singing a subtle tension-and-release quality that is very expressive. Here is Nancy Wilson, possibly my favorite female vocalist (next to Victoria De Los Angeles, but that's a different genre) from one of my very favorite records:


I had the good fortune of hearing Jimmy Scott live about fifteen years ago. Very interesting performer with a very warm demeanor and curiously androgynous appearance.

Good call!

I listened to "The Inflated Tear" every day for three months after hearing it for the first time. What an incredible song.

Now I'm wading through the minds of Mr. Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler.

Shepp's "Le Matin des Noire", "Hambone" and Ayler's "Summertime" just blow me away.

I'm trying hard to stay away from Braxton but I feel it coming on.

"Notice how they both approach it from below which gives certain sung notes an ever so slightly flat intonation until they are brought up to the pitch center; gives the singing a subtle tension-and-release quality that is very expressive."

I pulled out my copy of Nancy and Cannonball. I listened for what you described. I think I know what you are talking about. I will now go back and compare her to Jimmy. BTW, she didn't sing long enough, before Cannonball and the boys took over the CD. :(

I would have never noticed that on my own. First I would have been too involved staring at the CD cover photo. Then listening to her wonderful voice.

It's good to have a person with your background in the group. Even I, might be able to learn something!

She is one of the few big time singers I have seen / heard in person. Constitution Hall in D.C.

Thanks for the insight.

Folks don't wade thru Braxton's mind, they go via 4 wheel drive hummer!! :) Otherwise you might end up like the guys in the old Tarzan movies, up to your neck in quicksand. Good Luck!

Today's Playlist:

Walter Davis Jr.(piano) -- Davis Cup
w/ Jackie McLean / Donald Byrd / Sam Jones / Art Taylor

Straight-Ahead, Hard Bop, Blue Note Session. Some critics say one of the best ever! All tunes written by Davis. Great supporting cast. Very enjoyable record.

Walter Davis Jr. -- In Walked Thelonious

Davis playing solo piano. All of Monk's tunes are here. At least 14 are. Mapleshade Production, so you know the recording is excellent. Think of it as Davis' take on Monk, without all the 'clutter'. No flat piano here!! This man didn't record much, and this is one of his best, along with the one listed above. Get them both. You won't be sorry.

Now, The Piece de Resistance!!!

Rahsaan Roland Kirk -- Blacknuss

He plays everything from Motown, to The Old Rugged cross!! Not a weak, or throw a way, track on the CD.
He is funny, serious, profound, silly and absolutely brilliant, all at the same time! He also sings and plays several instruments at the same time.
This CD is a MUST HAVE!! You know you have to have it, so if you ain't got it, git it!!

I have another one of his I will 'review' tomorrow.


While Rok and I disagreed on the sonic qualities of the music in that bargain set, we absolutely did not disagree on the absolute qualities of the music. This music belongs in anyone's jazz collection who considers himself an "aficionado". I have, and I will continue to pay an exorbitant price for this music. If this set meets your sonic requirements, then you have received "manna from heaven". Here is a very small sample from "you tube".


That very beautiful lady on the cover is Tammy, and she graces the cover of my LP. Every time I hear this, I feel Tammy's fragrant breeze.

Another cut on this same LP is "On Green Dolphin Street". This is the coolest "Green Dolphin Street" on record. I can still feel Tammy's fragrant breeze while I'm listening to it.


Enjoy the music.
Heard Today:

Etta Jones (vocals) -- Don't go to Strangers
She should be more well known and highly regarded. She can sing with the big girls. Does 'fine & mellow'. Only Billie could do it better.

Andrew Hill (piano) -- But Not Farewell
Plays with a quintet. I like it, better than I used to. Has been on the 'save for later' shelf for years.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba (piano) -- The Blessing
Trio with Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette. Not two of my favorites, but they are a good fit here. Nice version of 'Besame Mucho'. Another Cuban Virtuoso.

Murray Perahia (piano) -- Bach Keyboard Concertos Nos. 3, 5, 6, 7
Not Jazz? Hmmmmmm, maybe. But great Music and I did listen to it today.

Rknight, Like all music on an edge, not all of Braxton's music is a math equation, or played over your head.

Try Anthony Braxton/ New York, Fall 1974, with Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, Dave Holland on Bass, Jerome Cooper on drums. Some fairly straight ahead compositions, and a couple of streches. Startling dynamics, at least on my 40 year old LP.
It seems the Braxton recording was never released digitally, but only on LP.
Thanks for the Braxton "warnings" and tips, everyone.

I'll track down "New York, Fall 1974" and give it a whirl, Acman3. Sounds like a good album to start with.

Thanks again.
Victor Wooten (Bassist), Album title: "What did he say". John Coltrane rendition of Naima is one of the highlights.
Victor Wooten is indeed an incredible electric bass player - the best I have ever heard, by quite a large margin. His work on all the Bela Fleck and the Flecktones stuff is great, too. Met him once, a very nice guy. Saw the Flecktones live in the early 90's, and Victor was a close friend of a friend. He came and sat in my friend's lap during the middle of the show (who was also a bass player, though mostly a classical one), started laying down a funky bass line in one hand, and then played a Paganini caprice in the other hand above it. Amazing.
Vic is da' man!! One heck of a nice guy, I agree!!!
Learsfool, that must have been great!!
John McLaughlin "Belo Horizonte"
I like all of his stuff, but this is a gem!
Agree re Wooten; great player. Thought it fitting to look at the record that started it all:


Not much I can add to Pat Metheny's liner notes for the record, which also touch on some things discussed on this thread; good reading:


Firstly, I was stunned into speechlessness!! The thread has apparently been highjacked by entrepreneurs engaged in the manufacture of silk purses!

A certain FRAU, has decreed, that weekends will be reserved for listening to 'Hits from the Fatherland'! So I have been jamming to the three B's. Beethoven, Bach and Brahmns. So I am behind in my 'Reviews".

The thingy on Jaco was interesting. I wonder why Jazz of all genres arouses such controversy.

Rok, No intention of a thread hijack, please look at it as a small supplement.

I have been enjoying your lists. Even ordered and am listening to the Mellow Fellows, on vinyl. Very good indeed.

I stumbled across Etta Jones by way of the great Houston Persons, and agree she is wonderful.

Walter Davis? I need to pick some more of his work up.

Mingus "Town Hall Concert" ; Listen to what Byard is doing to create tension. Mingus as a composer was on the EDGE too!

I was just kidding about the thread hijack thingy. Just messin' with the Frogman. After all, I am the Last person on this site to complain about hijacking a thread. I used to do it all the time. But only to those that needed to be hijacked. :)

I just pulled out my CD of Mingus' 'Town Hall Concert'. Will listen and give you my thoughts tomorrow. Thanks for mentioning what you are listening to. I am listening to a lot more Jazz since this thread was started.

BTW, did you know Etta Jones was / is married to Houston Person? Person just has to be the most underrated and under known player in all of Jazzdom! I have him on the CD 'Jazz in an R&B Groove, vol 1' One of the most enjoyable Jazz Cds ever!


My copy of Jimmy Scott's "All the Way" arrived today. Sounds great. I liked it so much, I ordered a couple more of his CDs.

Another recommendation for folks haven't heard it-Ahmad Jamal Trio, "The Awakening"
Etta Jones, one of my favorite singers, was never married to Houston Person, although they had a very strong musical bond and friendship.

I bought "Don't Go To Strangers" in 66, and it has many personal memories, I still have that LP plus a new one.

Rok, I'm still waiting for your comments on "Soul Brothers/ Soul Meeting" with Ray Charles and Milt Jackson, as well as the Trio Trebien.

Enjoy the music.
Glad you liked the mellow fellows. I listened to 'Town Hall Concert' Today. It's a great CD. A sad reminder of what a great loss Eric Dolphy was.
You are correct about Mingus being on the edge as a composer, but his groups were always very well rehearsed. I could always follow his music. His music never sounds arbitrary or without direction. 'Mingus At Antibes' is my favorite.


I don't have the 'Awakening' by Jamal. I will have to find a way to listen to bits of it. I do have several of his CDs, that you have just put me in the mood to listen to.
Glad you liked Scott.


Ref 'Trio Tres Bien' -- Nice music. As you said, sort of hard to stop listening once you start. I heard it all the way through.
One thing that sort of spoiled it for me was the packaging. Seems sort of amateurish.

A player should never have his picture on a Jazz Cd sitting at a portable electronic keyboard. Or holding a snare drum. They appear to be a group for local functions, weddings, birtdays etc.....
I could not get this outta my mind as I listened. Took away a little from the music.
But, they can play.

Today's Playlist:

'The Jazz Soul of Porgy & Bess'
arranged and conducted by Bill Potts
Big Band take on the Gershwin Opera. No Vocals.
w/ Harry Edison, Art Framer, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans and others.

With this lineup of players, the playing is of course outstanding. I guess I missed the singing.

Canadian Brass -- Basin street
The songs on this CD should have qualified this CD as one of the best examples of New Orleans Jazz. All the great classic tunes are here. Not Close, no cigar.

World class brass players, but they didn't get the essence of the music. Maybe, what's missing is a rhythm section, or a clarinet. Or maybe they were just missing Louis!

I also have a Christmas CD by these guys. It was a disappointment also.

Joanne Brackeen -- Where Legends Dwell
w/Eddie Gomez and Jack De Johnette

Brackeen plays great piano. All tunes written by her. Eddie Gomez is a monster on Bass. I am not sure if this is her best work. I understand she also has a Maybeck Recital Hall CD. I will love to hear her on that one.

Oscar Brown Jr. -- Sin & Soul

A classic. Everyone has to have this one. Great song writing. Not a weak track. 'Rags and Old Iron' is one of the great songs. Lots of social commentary in the songs. And lots of humor also. Ain't got it? Git it!!

Good comments, Rok. Agree with your assessment of the Canadian Brass recording; great brass players, but don't have the necessary feel and looseness for that music. The Oscar Brown Jr. recording is definitely a classic; I've always wondered why his recordings don't get more attention.
Brackeen does indeed play great piano; although I have always been mixed about her playing. To me, she is, in some ways, one of the most beautiful pianists, but with a not completely convincing swing feel. This live recording is a perfect example of what I mean. She plays in a gorgeous rhapsodic style and uses the keyboard almost like an orchestra with her use of dense harmonies and textures with great flow and shape, but at around 4:30 when she goes into a double time swing feel things fall apart for me; too stiff and rushed. Still, beautiful playing.

This post is about the big boy of the saxophone family (we'll skip the bass saxophone; for now), the baritone saxophone. Pepper Adams, appropriately nicknamed "The Knife" by Stan Kenton, probably the greatest of the great baritone saxophonists. I particularly like how he uses the extreme bottom of the instrument. While it may seem an obvious thing to do, many more modern players have a tendency to play in the extreme upper range of the instrument (the tenor saxophone range), Pepper loved the bottom of the horn. Of special note on this recording ("The Master"; probably his best) is George Mraz's bass playing. What a beautiful bass player! Notice the fabulous definition and intonation of what he plays. Too often, and in part due to the instrument's fret-less nature, even the great players play with less than perfect intonation and definition, especially in up-tempos. His lines are like melodies that can be easily followed.


Ronnie Cuber is another great baritone saxophonist in a more modern bag who can be heard on many pop recordings (Steely Dan, Stuff, SNL) but who is a bebopper at heart. Some of his best work was as part of George Benson's Cookbook. A really fun record:


Gary Smulyan is probably the most prominent young(er) baritone saxophonist on the scene today. Member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, he filled Pepper's shoes; and what shoes they were. A great player:


Now for something different. World Saxophone Qt. member Hamiett Bluiett is an acquired taste:


Very good Pepper Adams. I get what you said about the bass playing. I though Gomez' intonation on the Brackeen CD was good also. That's why I liked it, just didn't know how to describe it.

Is it harder to play the sax in the lower range?

I had to lol at the last note of the Pepper tune! Now on to the others.

Well, 'The Cooker' was certainly aptly named. They were really cooking! I love stuff that moves right along. I had forgotten that george Benson was a very good Jazz player at one time. Now I will have to inflict a Benson 'review' on you all.

The sax playing was very good also. You nailed it, a FUN disc.!!

Agree about Gomez; also very good in that respect. I meant to mention that in my post re the a Brackeen cut. Actually, it is generally harder to play the saxophones in the extreme upper range. Many modern players today consider it a testament to their ability on the instrument to play in the upper range; so they go there way too often IMO, at the expense of tastefulness. You will hear a lot of modern jazz players, and especially pop-jazz (aargh!) players play in the "altissimo" register. I think Pepper exploited the bottom of the horn as a statement about "tradition" and resistance to gimmicks; IMO.
Gary Smulyan, now this is the most exciting of all to me, because you say he is of the younger generation. Hell, this could have been Person / McDuff!! I liked it very much. Not the most complex / involving music, but I had no idea anyone was still playing in this vein. Maybe I will finally get to buy music by people still recording and still alive!!

I liked the play on words 'Smul's Paradise' cute.

Hamiett Bluiett -- What does one say? I have several WSQ CDs and he is part of that group.

On the tune you sent, It was not too bad, because I knew it was 'a night in tunisia'. While he was playing his thing, I had the melody going on in my head. Like he was soloing over my tthoughts. That made it all a little easier to follow. His skill on the horn is not in question!

I know I bash these free Jazz folks alot, but at least they are in the arena doing something. They deserve credit for that. Hard to understand music, is better than nothing to understand.


Thanks for the posts.
I am still listening to the Brackeen youtube thingy. Lord, she is good. I hope I can hear the point you made, about around 4:30.


she does need a new hairdo.
****Hard to understand music, is better than nothing to understand.****


Perhaps for a different thread, but apropos your comment, and knowing you are also a fan of classical and opera, have you tried Alban Berg's operas (Wozzeck, Lulu)? Very difficult to understand, but fabulous mind-bending music.
Frogman you have good taste,Pepper Adams is a wonderful musician and I have numerous recordings with him as leader and sideman.I also love his utilization of the lower register of the majestic baritone sax. Gerry Mulligan is equally accomplished with a different approach. "Night Lights" which features prominently Art Farmer is beautiful, these two were excellent together.
The Ray Charles -Milt Jackson collaboration mentioned earlier is very good.
I have read of it somewhere.(Lulu) Most likely in one of the music magazines I buy. I didn't pay it much mind. I havee noticed that all opera seems to be getting 'modern' in appearance. Wardrobes etc.....

I decided that when it comes to Opera, it's better to buy DVDs than CDs. The Aural and the Visual are both just too vital to getting the impact and meaning of the performance.

I will find a way to hear/see it.


You realize, 'mind bending' can be good or very bad! :)

I am sure you have probably seen this, but here it is.


I think I might like this Lulu!


"Rok, I'm still waiting for your comments on "Soul Brothers/ Soul Meeting" with Ray Charles and Milt Jackson, as well as the Trio Trebien."

I did comment of Trio Tres Bien. I am afraid 'soul meeting' is still in the waiting to be ordered box. But I think the time is now to order.


You are correct on Jones and Person not being married.
Thanks, Charles1dad; ditto. Have not heard "Night Lights", but will definitely check it out. Being very familiar with both Mulligan and Farmer, I imagine they are a beautiful pairing indeed.
Rok, if you want Lulu on DVD be sure to get the Met Opera, James Levine cond. DVD; terrific. BTW, of special note about this music is the fact that the saxophone (alto) features very prominently in the piece; unusual in orchestral writing.

I found the metro / Levine. You failed to mention JULIA MIGENES!! I love that woman! I have her doing Carmen. They did a 60 minutes thingy on her years ago. What a babe.



Ref Brackeen

Can't the change at 4:30 be thought of as the beginning of the second movement? I noticed it but did not think it was a bad thing.

Exactly! Good description; like a second movement, and not a bad thing at all. It is common for players to change the mood by double timing at a certain point in the ten. Perhaps I wasn't clear, but my issue it is not with her choice to double time, but rather her swing feel at the faster tempo. Listen in particular to her left hand; that's a solo piano player's rhythm section when there is none. I think it falls a little flat. Don't get me wrong, she's a great player, and she sounds fabulous in a looser style as in the first 4 minutes of the cut. I just think she is not as convincing with her swing feel as some other players. Remember the Vignola/Peplowski cut; the fact that they could swing so hard without a rhythm section is why I liked it so much.
Today's Playlist:

Terence Blanchard -- A Tale of God's Will (a requiem for katrina)
Very beautiful, Moving and reflective music. Blanchard plays for his home town, New Orleans. This could have been a disaster, but was very well done.
Most of the tunes written by Blanchard. Also includes the backing of the Northwest Sinfonia, and, a guy playing the Tabla and the Happy Apple!!
Not sure it's Jazz, but Blanchard is a Jazz player from the birthplace of Jazz. That's good enough.

Oscar Peterson Trio -- At Newport (July 7 1957)
A tale of two LP sides. Side A has the OP Trio in their usual outstanding form. This man does not make bad recordings. Just some are mo'better greater than others.
Side B is when Roy Eldrige, Sonny Stitt and Jo Jones join the party. WOW! What a difference drums and horns make. All is good, the tunes with Stitt and company just take it up a notch.
The liner notes mention that Stitt started his career on alto, but since Bird was still alive, he switched to tenor. When Bird died, he went back to alto. hahhahahhah Live at Newport Festival.

The Paris All-Stars -- Homage To Charlie Parker
The All-Stars include: Dizzy, Getz, Roach, McLean, Phil Woods, Milt Jackson, Hank Jones, and Percy Heath. All Stars Indeed!!
Great playing throughout. The Sax players sort of take over on the last three tunes: Cherokee, Night in Tunisia and OO PA PA DA. Outstanding playing from all three sax players. Dizzy sings on the last tune, and it is a riot!! Great Stuff!! Live in Paris.

Maynard Ferguson -- Conquistador
Stop all those boos, and cries of outrage!! I haven't said anything yet.
Commercial claptrap at it's worst!! Sellout!!! Non-Jazz!! One reviewer said that 'Mister Mellow' was the worst song he had EVER heard!!
As Chief of Jazz Police for Central Texas, I have to stand by my fellow Aficionados.

I just don't understand how, or why, I wore out two LPs playing this mess, and then bought it on CD!!! Hmmmmmm

Wanna hear how high a human can play a trumpet? This is it. It ain't Jazz, but it's very enjoyable music. In fact, it's the only record I have ever heard, from a distance, that I thought was a live band!! Still remember the time and place.


Like R&B?
Like Country?
Here it is on the same CD. 'Rhythm Country and Blues'
Very well done. Check it out.


"BTW, you just destoryed my rep as a 'reviewer'. Thanks!
Rok2id "

Rok, I really appreciate your playlist, it helps me to decide on new CD's.

This is a "jazz" music forum, and the music Rok recommended is some fantastic jazz.

While Rok and I disagreed on the sonic qualities of the music in that bargain set, we absolutely did not disagree on the absolute qualities of the music. This music belongs in anyone's jazz collection who considers himself an "aficionado". I have, and I will continue to pay an exorbitant price for this music. If this set meets your sonic requirements, then you have received "manna from heaven". Here is a very small sample from "you tube".


I may have destroyed your rep as an "audiophile", but since you never claimed one, I don't think that's an issue. Nowhere in any of my posts did I question your legitimacy as a music reviewer. I just thought I would set the record straight.

Enjoy the music.