LPs WE'VE BEEN ENJOYING
John Coltrane - Crescent
John Coltrane (ten & sap sax), McCoy Tyner (p), Jimmy Garrison (b) & Elvin Jones (dr)
Impulse Records, 1964
Autumn is in the air, so John Coltrane is in heavy rotation. Crescent, Coltrane Plays the Blues (really, any of the Atlantic Records recordings), Blue World - the newly released LP!, Blue Train... these all are wonderful Autumn choices, but we're still open to Ascension or First Meditations, don't think we're closing the doors on those.
Mkwaju Ensemble - Mkwaju
Midori Takada (perc), Yoji Sadanari (perc), Junko Arase (perc), Pecker (perc), Hideki Matsuake (computer programming) & Joe Hisaishi (key)
Recorded Nippon Columbia Studios, Tokyo, Japan; 1981
orgiginally released: Better Days Japan Records 1981 - reissue WRWTFWW Records (you know what I'm talking about) Zürich 2018
The only problem with the LP is that it should be longer. As in, it should never end. Get ready for a percussive journey friends. This is earlier work from Midori Takada, who is still making incredible music.
Fela Kuti and Africa 70 - Fear Not For Man
Recorded in Lagos, Nigeria - 1977
There's been a whole lot of Fela in the rotation lately, so there could be any number of albums which could fill this slot. We'll give the nod to 'Fear Not For Man' here because, while it is musically equal to many of Fela's better known albums (Shakara, Upside Down, ITT, Zombie, etc.), it doesn't receive the same love (for the same reason, we almost gave the nod to 'Sorrow, Tears and Blood'). "What is your favorite Fela album?" is sort of like asking, "what is your favorite wine?"
Various Artists - Formation 60
Modern Jazz From Eastern Germany 1957-69
artists: Manfred-Ludwig Sextett, Toby Fischer & Günter Wilk, Michael Fritzen-Sextett, Orchestra Klaus Lenz, Volker Schmidt-Combo, Theo Schumann-Combo, Werner Füller-Quintett & Modern Jazz Big Band 65
JCR Jazzanova Compost Records, Germany; 1998
Clearly some John Coltrane records made their way behind the Iron Curtain and were heavily listened to by many of these artists. They were also clearly aware of what was happening in the (western) Europe jazz scene at the time - there is a heavy Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland type of vibe running through a lot of these tracks.
Roy Ayers Ubiquity - Vibrations
Polydor Records, 1976
Roy Ayers has at least a dozen albums that are worth keeping in your collection - a couple of which are much more celebrated (Everybody Loves the Sunshine, Mystic Voyage, etc.), but I'm tellin' ya - this is THE ONE. P-Diddy didn't sample this album as much, but A Tribe Called Quest did.
The Jijadu Sisters - Danger
The Lijau Sisters (Kehinde & Taiwo) w/ Biddy Wright (g, ten sax & perc), Ade Jolaoso (b), Johny Wood (key) & Felix Shittu (alto sax)
Recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, Afrodisia Records, 1976
- reissued: Knitting Factory Records 2011
Hauntingly beautiful AfroBeat. A lighter feel than much of the, say, Fela or Tony Allen recordings. Light and poppy rhythms with the sisters' sweet and organic vocal harmonies belie the deep, hard-hitting lyrics within. Scorching stuff. Reissued by Knitting Factory records, but they're still extremely difficult to get ahold of.
Makaya McCraven - Universal Beings
International Anthem Recording Co.; 2018
percussionist Makaya McCraven w/ Miquel Atwood-Ferguson, Anna Betterss, Daniel Casimir, Dezron Douglas, Nuby Garcia, Ashley Henry, Shabaka Hutchings, Josh Johnson, Carlos Niño, Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Tameka Reid, Joel Ross & Brandee Younger
A beautifully layered, sweeping, spiritual jazz album. Makaya is working here with a number of musicians from scattered locations around the planet. The four sides of the record reflect four, separate recording sessions - completely improvised - one each in New York, Chicago, London & Los Angeles.
Chick Corea - Now He Sings, Now He Sobs
Chick Corea (key), Miroslav Vitous (b) & Roy Haynes (dr)
Recorded in 1966
I believe this was originally released by Toshiba in Japan and later in America by a couple of different labels. This is a less common cover - reissued by Pacific Jazz in the '80s.
Fred knows I've been on a "sparse piano" kick lately, and this one definitely fits the bill. I think this is his second recording under his name (his first, Bliss!, is also fantastic). This one is a beautiful, intellectual work out. Five originals that are as exciting as they are beautiful.