Monday, May 23, 2011

Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch (1964)

"SS: When you would spend time together in New York, what were some of the things Eric enjoyed doing other than playing?

RD: Cooking swordfish steak. It was the first I’d ever heard of a swordfish steak. He went out to the neighborhood fish market, bought it and cooked it."

I find these two features from Stop Smiling magazine very telling about Eric Dolphy. The above quote comes from an interview with Richard Davis, the bassist on this album. The second is a short piece written by Bobby Hutcherson, the vibist on this album. Dolphy seems to have been a very humble, genuine person. The jazz world of the time had its share of egoistic and volatile players (if anyone knows of any stories detailing Dolphy's interactions with Mingus, please share). It's refreshing to read that Dolphy was respected as a sweet guy. Out To Lunch kicks off with "Hat and Beard", a tribute to the High Priest of Bop, Thelonious Monk. Instead of a pianist Dolphy employs Bobby Hutcherson on vibes. Dolphy also pays homage to flautist Severino Gazzelloni. As Wikipedia confirms, the final track of the album is meant to "to evoke a drunken stagger." Cheers.


1. Hat And Beard
2. Something Sweet, Something Tender
3. Gazzelloni
4. Out To Lunch
5. Straight Up And Down


Freddie Hubbard, trumpet
Eric Dolphy, alto sax, flute & bass clarinet
Bobby Hutcherson, vibes
Richard Davis, bass
Tony Williams, drums

Produced by Alfred Lion
Recording by Rudy Van Gelder
Recorded on February 25, 1964
Digital Transfer by Ron McMaster
Cover Photo and Design by Reid Miles


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hank Mobley - Workout (1961)

Another Hank Mobley Blue Note sesh fer ye. Workout features one of my favorite jazz guitarists, Grant Green, whose style I associate with tasteful restraint. His playing and tone are unique and instantly recognizable as his own. Like the last Hank record we posted, Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers are back. However this time Philly Joe takes the stool in place of Art Blakey.


1. Workout
2. Uh Huh
3. Smokin'
4. The Best Things In Life Are Free
5. Greasin' Easy
6. Three Coins In The Fountain


Hank Mobley, tenor sax
Grant Green, guitar
Wynton Kelly, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Philly Joe Jones, drums

Produced by Alfred Lion
Originally recorded on March 26, 1961 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Remastered in 2005 by Rudy Van Gelder
All transfers from analog to digital were made at 24-bit resolution.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kurt Weill - September Songs

Kurt Weill is best known for his collaboration with Bertolt Brecht on The Threepenny Opera . The songs he composed for it have become standards and countless interpretations exist, especially the oft-performed "Mack The Knife". Nick Cave delivers on his version, although I think it could have benefited from a Bad Seeds interpretation closer to their "Avalanche" cover. It's a pretty diverse lineup, featuring PJ Harvey, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello and others. I'm glad they kept Lotte Lenya's original version of "Seeräuber Jenny", for she really is an inimitable character.


1. Mack The Knife (Nick Cave)
2. Ballad of the Soldier's Wife (P.J. Harvey)
3. Alabama Song from The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (David Johansen)
4. Youkali Tango from Marie Galante (Teresa Stratas)
5. Lost in the Stars from Lost in the Stars (Elvis Costello)
6. Pirate Jenny from The Threepenny Opera (Lotte Lenya)
7. Speak Low from One Touch of Venus
8. Oh, Heavenly Salvation from The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (The Persuasions)
9. Lonely House from Street Scene (Betty Carter)
10. Weill: Happy End - Der Kleine Leutnant Des Lieben Gottes (Teresa Stratas)
11. Don't Be Afraid from Happy End (Mary Margaret O'Hara)
12. September Song from Knickerbocker Holiday (Lou Reed)
13. Mack The Knife from The Threepenny Opera (Bertolt Brecht)
14. What Keeps Mankind Alive? from The Threepenny Opera (William S. Burroughs)


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hank Mobley - Soul Station (1960)

I'm really feeling Hank Mobley right now. He seems to be a relatively-forgotten figure in the sax world, especially compared with tenor giants like Trane and Sonny Rollins. We already posted some Hank earlier on Shhh, but in a larger group context that included trumpeters Lee Morgan and Donald Byrd. Here, in quartet setting, Hank really is the star. It doesn't hurt that behind him is an incredibly solid, all-star rhythm section. Hank can kill it on the faster bop numbers but there is a beautiful delicacy to his playing that I really admire. I'm also into how concise these Blue Note sessions are. Dig it.

Hank Mobley, tenor saxophone
Wynton Kelly, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Art Blakey, drums

Produced by Alfred Lion
Recorded on February 7, 1960 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Originally recorded and remastered in 1998 by Rudy Van Gelder
All transfers from analog to digital were made at 24-bit resolution

Reissue produced by Michael Cuscuna
Cover photograph by Francis Wolff
Cover design by Reid Miles
Liner photographs from the actual session by Francis Wolff © Mosaic Images
Originally issued as Blue Note BLP 4031 and BST 84031


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Captain Beefheart - Grow Fins: Rarities (1965-1982)

Great collection of Beefheart from Revenant Records. Little else need be said.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shirim Klezmer Orchestra - Pincus And The Pig: A Klezmer Tale (2004)

The Klezmer version of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf", written and narrated by Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak. I've been on a big Tzadik kick recently and I'm trying to get my hands on more of their "Radical Jewish Culture" series. John Zorn is the man.

Maurice Sendak, narration
Glenn Dickson, clarinet
David Harris, trombone
Brandon Seabrook, banjo, mandolin
Michael McLaughlin, piano, accordion
Jim Gray, tuba
Eric Rosenthal, drums

Suddenly someone remembers an old melody; it rises in him as if from nowhere and breaks out from his lips. Involuntarily he puts a new feeling into it - ths is, a new soul; it is almost as if a new melody has been born.

- Y.L. Peretz as retold by Maurice Samuel.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Paul Bunyan - Benjamin Britten (1988)

One night he dreamt he was to be
The greatest logger in history.
He woke to feel something stroking his brow,
And found it was the tongue of an enormous cow...

This, one of Britten's more accessible if still quirky Operas. Britten finished it more than thirty years after a failed run in the beginning of his career, only returning to it after an open-heart surgery which left him physically and psychologically frustrated. The book was written by the impossibly masterful poet W.H. Auden, who died in 1973, three years before the eventual stage production of the revived opera was pulled off. Auden's flexible verse tells the story of the great American folk hero, the lumberjack Paul Bunyan. The music wanders through an eclectic mix of operatic and folk styles in an unmistakeably Britten way. The whole thing is sometimes goofy, sometimes fantastic, sometimes moving and always magical.

This recording is by the soloists, chorus and orchestra of the Plymouth Music Series, the London Philharmonic Choir and the English Chamber Orchestra. Philip Brunelle. 1988.

Act 1:
1. Introduction and Prologue
2. Since the Birth of the Earth
3. No. No. We Don't Want Life To Be Slow
4. Ooh! Ooh! O How Terrible To Be As Old Fashioned As A Tree
5. You Are All To Leave Here
6. It Isn't very Often The Conservatives ARe Wrong
7. First Ballad Interlude: The Cold Wind Blew Through The Crooked Thorn
8. Act 1, Scene 1. Bunyan's Greeting
9. Call of Lumberjacks
10. Lumberjack's Chorus: My Birthplace was in Sweden
11. Bunyan's Welcome
12. Quartet of Swedes: Swedish Born and Swedish Bred
13. Western Union Boy's Song: A Telegram from Oversea
14. Cooks' Duet: Sam for Soups, Ben for Beans
15. Animal Trio: Ah! Miaow! The Single Creature Leads a Partial Life
16. Bunyan's goodnight (I)
17. Exit of Lumberjacks: Down the Line.... Timberrrr
18. The Blue: Gold In the North Came the Blizzard To Stay
19. Bunyan's Goodnight (II)
20. Second Ballad Interlude: The Spring Came and The Summer and Fall
21. Act 2, Scene 2. Food Chorus: Do I Look Like The Sort of Fellow?
22. Chorus Accusation: There, Now Look What You Have Done!
23. Slim's Song: In Fair Days and Foul
24. Bunyan's Return: Look, The Chief Is Back
25. Inkslinger's Song: It Was Out In the Sticks
26. Entrance of Chorus
27. Tiny's entrance
28. Tiny's Song: Ah! Whether the Sun Shine Upon Children Playing
29. Inkslinger's Regret: All the Little Brooks of Love
30. Bunyan's Goodnight (III)

Act 2:
1. Act 2, Scene 1. Bunyan's Good Morning
2. Shears' Song: It Has Always been MY Dream
3. Bunyan's Warning
4. Farmers' Song: The Shanty Boy Invades the Wood
5. Farmers' Exit
6. The Mocking of Hel Helson: Heron, Heron, Winging By
7. Fido's Sympathy: Won't You Tell Me What's the Matter
8. Cat's Creed: Let Man the Romantic In Vision Espy
9. The Fight: What Is It? What's Happening?
10. Love Duet: Move, Move from the Trysting Stone
11. Mock Funeral March: Take away the Body and Lay It On Ice
12. Hymn: O Great Day of Discovery
13. Third Ballad Interlude: So Helson Smiled and Bunyan Smiled
14. Act 2, Scene 2. (The Christmas Party). Rah! Another Slice of Turkey
15. Dear Friends, With Your Leave
16. Carry Her Over The Water
17. Where We Are Is Not Very Far
18. A Telegram From Hollywood
19. We Always Knew That One DAy You
20. Bunyan's Farewell
21. Litany: The Campfire Embers are Black and Gold
22. Appendix: Overture
23. Inkslinger's Love Song
24. Lullaby of Dream Shadows

Download Act 1
Download Act 2