Friday, May 28, 2010

Some Rock 'n' Roll Recommendations

Recent readings and hearings on the web:

[1] Grateful Dead's two Saturday Night Live performances, one from 1978 and the two and last from 1980. Songs including I Need A Miracle, Good Lovin', Alabama Getaway, Saint Of Circumstance.

[2] Keep On Truckin', on blogspot, has provided a superb 1979 Bob Dylan TV appearance, again from SNL, and the starting point of his famous Gospel influenced tour. Three songs are performed and sidemen are best Nashville session musician that I ever known: Spooner Oldham (keyboard) and Tim Drummond (bass), plus Jim Keltner on drums. All this men where Neil Young's buddies in Harvest sessions. Dig it!

[3] Neil Young’s on the road again, alone and ready for solo sets on what he calls Twisted Road tour. There is a back and forth between new songs and old songs, acoustic and electric guitars, standing and sitting stances, two pianos, an organ. Here is the rare appearance of an old song, “The Hitchhiker,” from a solo electric set of the tour:

Update [January 2011]:
Love and War

Thursday, May 27, 2010

William Gottlieb's Jazz Photos, Part 4

Bebop and swing cats gather at Mary Lou Williams's apartment and digging new records; from left: Dizzy Gillespie, Mary Lou, Tadd Dameron, Hank Jones, unknown man and woman, Jack Teagarden.
Mary Lou's spacious Harlem apartment was a “salon” where, especially in the 1940’s, many prominent jazz people hung out, especially—though not exclusively—those musicians whose style was at the cutting edge.

Duke Ellington

Dave Tough (1907 – 1948), a great drummer associated with both Dixieland and swing jazz in the 1930s and 1940s. He has been described as "the most important of the drummers of the Chicago circle"

Bunk Johnson and his wife.

Bunk Johnson (left) and Leadbelly (right)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hank Jones and His Secret After-hours Classics

Hank Jones’s touch, taste, harmonic wisdom, professionalism, and versatility as a soloist, and accompanist or ensemble player was clear to anyone. In his music all emphasis was on "beauty,” and for instance not on dexterity (which is of course one of the very first elements of a pianist like Jones, especially when you hear him as a sideman), nor on emotional eruptions like his younger brother Elvin, the great drummer of John Coltrane’s classic quartet. Hank’s exquisite sensitivity, and the refinement of his musical thinking, placed him high on everyone's list of favorite pianists from 1950s till very recently. I am one of them.

His light, harplike touch, as though he were plucking the piano's strings instead of striking its keys, and his gracefully restrained single-note style are a reformulation of their aesthetic in modern jazz terms. He was a pianist of great flexibility. He could not only "fit in" with other cats, but inspire and stimulate them, and we are talking about a wide range of jazzmen, from Artie Shaw to Jackie McLean, as well as singers of every variety, from Andy Williams to Ella Fitzgerald. One of the best examples of this stimulation could be found in his duo with Red Mitchell (issued by Timeless label, 283), recommended by my jazz uncle, Ali-Reza Poodat, a beautifully executed record with Hank at his most lyrical touch.

This afternoon I started with his quartet/quintet(s) from a 1955 Columbia session, with Donald Byrd, Matty Dice (at least to me, an unknown trumpeter), Eddie Jones on bass and Kenny Clarke. The thing that stroked me most was Hank’s modesty and generosity in giving his combo a lot of time and space for extended solos, even when the session is under his own leadership, and commercially appeared with his name on sleeve. In these sessions I love his heavily romantic interpretations of standards, and his classical way (in European sense of the word) in translating American pop tunes into a relaxing, dynamics and imaginative eccentricities. As a matter of fact I’ve always loved pianist of a gentler and more lyrical approach to the instrument. Those cats, somewhere between the aggressiveness of bebop and bluesy feeling of hard bop; cats like Hank Jones, Barry Harris, Wynton Kelly, Kenny Baron and Tommy Flanagan. While Hank Jones speaks respectfully of pianists as varied as Fats Waller, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, and Al Haig, his playing derives more from the Teddy Wilson and Nat Cole. I can hear these influences in the works of Kelly, Harris or Red Garland, too.

A day later, I had a delightful time with another Hank’s record from the Savoy label. Hank was virtually Savoy Records' "house pianist" in the middle of 1950s. What I heard was his first trio record, after a solo recording, for the label, simply called The Trio (with bassist Wendell Marshall and Kenny Clarke). Here, Jones achieves one of the most deeply relaxed grooves in jazz history. He provides a model of alert yet unintrusive accompaniment, while his solos combine ascending and descending runs of carefully modulated dynamics, deft funky touches, and a flexible rhythmic sense that constantly pushes and pulls at the beat. “This is one of jazz's secret after-hours classics” says David Rosenthal (in his study of Hard Bop) about the session, and continues “Marshall's velvety bass and Clarke's perfect wrist control on brushes lay down a cushion of sound as they mesh with Jones's dancing, skipping lines on medium tempos and his lushly strummed chords and bell-like octaves on ballads.”

What can I add to this, except listening to Hank with these certain qualities in his music, will never make me tired. There are always lot to hear, lot to groove and lot to be mesmerized. That’s what I call, in my very limited vocabulary of jazz, a PERFECT musician. God rest his soul.

--Ehsan Khoshbakht

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Introducing Jimmy Smith

جیمی اسمیت

8 دسامبر 1928 نوریس تاون ِ پنسیلوانیا

8 فوریه 2005

جیمی اسمیت سلطان ِ بلامنازع ارگ هاموند (هاموند B3 یکی از انواع کیبوردهای الکترونیک رایج در جاز) در سال‌های 1950 و 1960 بود. مایلز دیویس او را به فهرست عجایب دنیا اضافه کرده و «هشتمین شگفتی عالم» می خواندش. تاثیر شیوه نواختن او نه تنها بر تمام ارگیست‌های جازی که پس از او آمدند، بلکه در زنده شدن دوباره این ساز در موسیقی راک و در سال‌های 1960 و 1970 نیز انکار ناپذیر بود. او نشان داد که ارگ می‌تواند ساز اصلی یک گروه جاز باشد و توانست با این ایده ارگ را که تنها به عنوان وسیله‌ای برای دادن ضرباهنگ‌های آتشین به قسمت ریتم ارکستر جاز بود، به یکی از مهم‌ترین سازهای تاریخ این موسیقی تبدیل کند، جایی که سولوهای نفس گیر او شنونده را میخکوب می‌کرد.

مجموعه کارهایی که جیمی با این ساز و برای کمپانی "بلونُت" بین سال‌های 1956 تا 1963 ضبط کرده باعث بوجود آمدن انقلابی اساسی در این ساز و نوع به‌کارگیری آن در موسیقی جاز شد. دست چپ جیمی آکوردهایی که یادآور آکوردهای پیچیده بی‌باپ بودند را اجرا می کرد، با ضرب پایش به پدال ، باس و ضرب اصلی را خلق می‌کرد و دست راست او استانداردهایی چون Walk on the Wild Side را به hit های با ضرب بالا بدل می‌ساخت که در دهه 1960 همه جا شنیده می‌شدند. صدای ارگ او هم‌زمان نشان دهنده تلفیقی از توانایی های او در سویینگ، گاسپل، بلوز و R&B بود. جیمی اسمیت، خود به تنهایی یک ارکستر کامل، در سنت آدم‌هایی مثل وایلد بیل دیویس بود.

اسمیت نواختن پیانو را از والدینش آموخت. به مدرسه موسیقی همیلتون رفت (1948) وکمی بعد(1950) از مدرسه اورنستین در فیلادلفیا فارغ التحصیل شد. نواختن پیانو را از 1951 شروع کرد و در 1953 به سراغ ارگ هاموندرفت. آن‌قدر موفق بود که بتواند در مدتی کوتاه سر از نیویورک دربیاورد و در کافه "بوهمیا" برنامه اجرا کند. در نیویورک با اجراهایی در کلوب "بردلند" و فستیوال جاز "نیوپورت" 1957 شهرت پیدا کرد. "بلونت" با او قراردادی بست و اسمیت اولین کارهایش را با تریوهایی درخشان برای کمپانی ضبط کرد.

همراهان او در این آلبوم ها بعضی از مهم‌ترین نام‌های جازند: کنی بِرل، لی مورگان، لو دانالدسن، جکی مک‌لین و آیک کیوبک. دوره موفق دیگری را بین 1963 تا 1972 در کمپانی "ورو" (Verve) سپری کرد. در این دوره کارهایی با ارکسترهای بزرگ (با تنظیم نلسون ریدل) ضبط کرد و از قالب قدیمی‌اش، کار با تریو، برای مدتی بیرون آمد. در این دوران کارهایی که با وس مونتگمری انجام داده نمونه‌هایی کلاسیک و قابل مطالعه‌ از هم‌نوازی ارگ هاموند و گیتار الکتریکند. در میانه دهه 1970 کلوبی در لوس آنجلس به راه انداخت که در آن به اجرای برنامه می‌پرداخت. در دهه 1980 دوباره به اجرای کنسرت‌هایی در نقاط مختلف دنیا دست زد و نسل جدیدی از ستایندگانش را سر ذوق آورد. قراداد دوباره‌ای با "بلونت" در 1985 امضاء کرد و تقریبا تا سال‌های واپسین دست از نواختن در کلوب‌های کوچک و فستیوال‌های بزرگ برنداشت. قدرت بداهه نوازی اسمیت در ریتم‌های تند به موسیقی او انرژی و شوری منحصر بفرد می‌دهد. اسمیت بدون شک در ساز خود بهترین بود و تا امروز هم رقیبی برای موسیقی او پیدا نشده است، لااقل من خبر ندارم.

دیسکوگرافی اسمیت. آلبوم‌هایی که قرمز شده‌اند، انتخاب من از بین آثار او هستند و کارهایی که حتماً باید بشنوید:

1956-Club Baby Grand-Willingto

All The Way Live

Angel Eyes

Any Number Can Win

Back At the Chicken Shack


Blue Bash!


Cat... The Incredible

Christmas Cookin'

Crazy Baby


Dot Com Blues

Dynamic Duo


Fourmost Return

Further Adventures of Jimmy &Wes

Got My Mojo Workin/Hoochie Coo

Groovin At the Small's Paradise

Home Cookin'

House Party

I'm Movin On

Immortal Concerts: Club Baby G

Jazz 'Round Midnight

Jimmy Smith's Finest Hour

Midnight Special

Off The Top

Open House

Organ Grinder Swing

Paris Jazz Concert 1965

Peter & the Wolf

Prayer Meetin'

Prime Time

Root Down


Six Views of The Blues

Softly As a Summer Breeze


Sum Serious Blues

سایت فوق‌العاده‌ای در این‌جا درباره او وجود دارد که شامل دیسکوگرافی ِ کامل آثار و بقیه اطلاعات ضروری درباره اوست.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


The Roseland Ballroom in New York City's West 52nd Street.
Photo by Marvin Newman

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Classics 928: Louis Armstrong 1944-46

Classics 928
Louis Armstrong
Release Date: 1997
Rating: A

Other notable musicians in this CD: Roy Eldridge, Jack Teagarden, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, Oscar Pettiford, Dexter Gordon, Bobby Hackett, Johnny Guamieri, Herb Ellis, Charlie Shavers, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Don Byas, Billy Strayhorn, Duke
Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald.

label(s): Decca ,Victor, V-Disc
Number of sessions: 8
Unissued materials: Two rejected songs from Decca.
Track Highlights: Mop! Mop!, Groovin', Jack-Armstrong Blues
Other Ratings: Allmusic 4 (from 5), Penguin 4 (from 4)

Other issue or reissues: V-Disc Recordings (Collectors' Choice Music, 4510)

About the period: During the war the United States itself entered the record business, making hundreds of so-called V-discs for distribution to service bases. Most of these V-discs were standard popular fare by name bands, but a certain amount of jazz was squeezed in as well. At the same time Louis Armstrong was still popular but far from his glorious days of 1920s and 1930s.

The Album:
Beginning with a set of V-Discs cut at New York's Metropolitan Opera House on January 18, 1944. The next session is from August of 1944, when Satch cut three sides for Decca in Los Angeles. Backed by his 16-piece orchestra, he sang a couple of pop tunes, including a duet with actress Dorothy Dandridge. Back in New York at the beginning of December 1944, Armstrong cut a couple of sides with the V-Disc All-Stars. One session, held at midnight on December 7, 1944, included an all-star cast, among the musicians Teagarden and Bobby Hackett. According to one story, Armstrong walked into the studio as a surprise visitor when the session was already underway. He joined a mixed bag of musicians to cut his specialty, "Confessin'," and a blues originally issued as "Play Me the Blues," which became part of his standard repertory as "Jack Armstrong Blues." The blues features vocal exchanges between Armstrong, Teagarden, and trombonist Lou McGarity, each exhorting the other to "play me the blues," and consists largely of soloing by the principals. Armstrong plays a half-dozen choruses or more.

His only 1945 studio recordings as a leader, apparently, were two little sides for Decca. And then Esquire magazine provided another jazz context for Armstrong. The magazine had been reporting on jazz fairly regularly for over a decade. In 1943 the editors conceived the idea of a critics' poll of jazz musicians, as a kind of antidote to the Down Beat polls, which jazz fans felt were a travesty. The first poll resulted in a concert of the winners, given at the Metropolitan Opera House on January 18, 1944. Esquire continued its critics' poll through 1947. The first concert was recorded, and the winners of subsequent polls were recorded in various combinations in studios by jazz writer Leonard Feather. Armstrong won four times as a singer but only twice as a trumpet player. "Throughout, Louis parades his showy stuff, frequently on breakneck tunes taken too fast for him. He was at his worst at the Metropolitan Opera concert, flinging about random cliches, straining his way into the upper register, and generally working for cheap effects. He is somewhat better on the formally organized recording sessions: he plays a nice, if familiar, solo on "Snafu," and his opening solo on "Blues for Yesterday" is agreeable, if also familiar. But on the whole, the Esquire cuts show him at or near his worst." says James Lincoln Collier in his critical study of Armstrong's work in An American Genius.

Back to opening track, I still can't believe that Hawk wasn't much keen of Satch, according to his biography, Song of the Hawk. The Armstrong-Hawkins recorded collaboration with the Fletcher Henderson's orchestra, back in 1920s, ended on a low note, but Hawk took many things from Armstrong before his leaving for Chicago, even if he laughed at the drunk Armstrong, throwing up on Henderson, the night before his departure from the band.
Anyway the superb opening track, Mop Mop, composed by Hawk himself, is a good sign of dissolving all problems, enmities and difficulties between two giants, as time has passed.
As far as other writers comment is concerned, I prefer this one: "A delightful pot-pourri in mostly excellent sound," as been told by Cook-Morton.

--Ehsan Khoshbakht


Esquire Metropolitan Opera House Jam Session:
Louis Armstrong-t-v/Roy Eldridge-t/Jack Teagarden-tb-v/Bamey Bigard-c.J/Coleman Hawkins-ts/Art Tatum-p/AI Casey-g/Oscar Pettiford-b/Sidney Catlett-d.
  • New York, January 18, 1944.

VP-467 Mop Mop V-Disc 152-A [spoken introduction by George Simon,Armstrong & Eldridge]
VP-469 Blues V-Disc I 63-B
VP-469 Esquire Bounce V-Disc 163-8
VP-665 Basin Street Blues - vLA-JT V-Disc 234-B
VP-1025 Back Mown Blues - vLA V-Disc 366-B

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra:
Louis Armstrong-t-v dir/Jesse Brown, Andrew "Fats" Ford-Thomas, Sleepy" Crider, Lester Currant-t/Taswell Baird, Adam Martin, Larry Anderson-tb/John Brown, Willard Brown-as/Ted McRae, Dexter Gordon-ts/Ernest Thompson-bar/Ed Swanston-p/Emmitt Slay-g/Alfred Moore-b/james "Coatsville" Harris-d/Dorothy Dandridge-v.
  • Los Angeles. August 9, 1944.

L-3500 Grooving Decca DL9225 (LP)
L-3501 Baby Don't You Cry - vLA Decca rejected
L-3502 Whatcha Say - vLA-DD Decca rejected

V-Disc All Star Jam Session:
Louis Armstrong-t-v/Billy Butterfield-t/Bobby Hackett-cornet/Lou McGarity, Jack Teagarden-tb-v/Ernie Caceres-cl/Nick Caiazza-ts/Johnny Guamieri-p/Herb Ellis-g/AI Hall-b/Cozy Cole-d.
  • New York, December 6. 1944.

VP-1054 "Jack-Armstrong" Blues - vLMG-IT V-Disc 384-A

Louis Armstrong and the V-Disc All-Stars:
Butterfield and McGarity omitted.
  • New York, December 7. 1944.
VP-1079 I'm Confessin' That I Love You - vLA V-Disc 49I-B

Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra:
Louis Armstrong-t-v dir/Billy Butterfield-t/Sid Stoneburn, Jules Rubin-as/Bill Stegmeyer-ts-cl/Arthur Rollini-ts/Paul Ricci-bar/Dave Bowman-p/Carl Kress-g/Bob Haggart-b/Johnny Blowers-d.
  • New York, January 14. 1945.
72692-A Jodie Man - vLA Decca 18652
72693-A I Wonder - vLA Decca 18652

Esquire All-American 1946 Award Winners:
Louis Armstrong-t-v/Charlie Shavers-t/Jimmy Hamilton-cl/Johnny Hodges-as/Don Byas-ts/Billy Strayhom - Duke Ellington-p/Remo Palmieri-g/Chubby Jackson-b/Sonny Greer-d.
  • New York. January 10. 1946.
PD6VC-5020 Long Long Journey - vLA Victor 40-4001

Esquire All-American 1946 Award Winners:
Louis Armstrong-t-v/Neil Hefti-t/Jimmy Hamilton-cl/Johnny Hodges-as/Don Byas-ts/Billy Strayhom - Duke Ellington-p/Remo Palmieri-g/Chubby Jackson-b/Sonny Greer-d.
  • New York. January 10. 1946.

PD6VC-502 I Snafu Victor 40-4001

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong with Bob Haggart's Orchestra:
Bob Haggart dir. Louis Armstrong-t-v/Billy Butterfield-t/Bill Stegmeyer-cl-as/George Koenig-as/Jack Greenberg- Art Drelinger-ts/Milton Shatz-bar/Joe Bushkin-p/Danny Perri-g/Trigger Alpert-b/Cozy Cole-d/Ella Fitzgerald-v.
  • New York, January 18, 1946.

73285-A You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart) - vLA-EF Deuce 23496
73286-A The Frim Fram Sauce - vLA-IF Decca 23496

Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra:
Louis Armstrong-t-v -dir/ Ludwig Jordan, Ed "Moon" Mullens, "Fats" Ford, William "Chieftie" Scott-t/Russell "Big Chief" Moore, Adam Martin, Norman Powe, Al Cobbs-tb/Donald Hill, Amos Gordon -as/Johnny Sparrow, Joe Garland-ts/Ernest Thompson-bar/Ed Swanston-p/Elmer Warner-g/Arvell Shaw-b/George "Butch" Ballard-dNelma Middleton-v.
  • New York. April 27, 1946.
D6VB-1736 Linger In My Arms A Little Longer. Baby - vLA Victor 20-1912
D6VB-1737- I Whatta Ya Gonna Do - vLA Victor 20-1891
D6VB-1738-2 No Variety Blues - vLA-VM Victor 20-1891
D6VB-1739 Joseph 'N' His Brudders - vLA Victor 20-2612
D6VB- 1740 Back O'Town Blues - vLA-VM Victor 20-1912

Total Time: 70 mins. (approximately)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blues For Allah

Between February 27 and May 7, Grateful Dead went to studio, without any peculiar plan, any motif or written music to record Blues for Allah. The band's inspiration to create incredible studio works was in its best since 1970 and recording of American Beauty album. A change of mood that had been started from the glorious Wake of the Flood , in 1973, had achieved a good critical and commercial result. The new members (Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux) were conforming to the sound of Dead so perfectly. I still think it was best Dead line up for a studio session, if not the best for live gigs (I still prefer Dead's latter days with Brent Mydland, especially their return-to-acoustic 1980 concerts)

For me, the reason for returning to this incredible album was finding new materials from the session, mostly studio rehearsals, which is circulating as various bootlegs and open our eyes to a new dimension of Dead at work. The sense of spontaneous improvisation is evident in first tracks Help on the way/Slipknot/Franklin’s Tower, where they are combining jazz riffs with the most moving rock ‘n’ roll rhythms ever used by the group since mid 1960s.

There are two or three unheard tunes in the bootleg that I discovered. One of them, Lazy Lightening, is a quite new one, probably a rejected song, based on a simple groovy theme and extended as a jam-like song. There are also couple of very jazzy jams. A row version of Music never stopped without vocals and reeds. It's another tour de force of master Jerry Garcia.
From the beginning Garcia was playing with his Irwin's guitars, except from 1975-77, when he favored a bone-white Travis Bean. This was another fertile period for Garcia and the Dead, and it includes the albums Blues for Allah and Terrapin Station. Not many changes in his playing style crop up during this era, though the introduction of some new effects did color his sound in interesting ways.

Here, The Dead’s circular rhythmic pattern is most close to the music of Thelonious Monk. Their music is based on rhythmic and harmonic repetition, and they both use arpeggios as a refreshing point of changing harmonies. Dead of Blues for Allah is a psychedelic encounter between Monk in his Underground album with the fingerpickin' style and dexterity of Wes Montgomery.
-- Ehsan Khoshbakht

Monday, May 10, 2010

Good Morning Blues#2: Bucky Affair

The tune was Volare. It suddenly appeared while iPod was doing his shuffle thing, jumping from New Orleans in her heydays to a dying super stereo session in New York of the late 1960s. This uninvited Volare was a part of a heritage inherited to me from my friend/Uncle Ali-Reza. To listen to anything from his treasury, one needs wide open ears and Volare proved it one more time. Volare started with a bright swinging vibe introduction by master Lionel Hampton that session was recorded under his leadership as Lionel Hampton and Friends in 1977.

Then came the moment: one of the most floating sounds ever produced of strings. A Swing in full force, but at ease and like the sound of a man who is enjoying every breath he breathes. Life was glowing from every little note he was playing. His vibration was like a heartbeat: gentle, necessary and steadfast. A quick look at my discography book revealed his name: Bucky Pizzarelli. That was the first time I heard him and I won’t never forget that 'First.'

John Paul "Bucky" Pizzarelli (born January 9, 1926) is an American Jazz guitarist that has been a fixture in jazz and the studios since the early '50s. Self-taught, Pizzarelli has long been a master of the seven-string guitar. He toured with Vaughn Monroe before and after a stint in the military. In 1952, he joined the staff of NBC and 12 years later switched to ABC; in addition, he worked with the Three Sounds (1956-1957) and had several tours with Benny Goodman. In the 1970s he was more active in jazz, co-leading a duo with George Barnes and working with Zoot Sims, Bud Freeman, and Stéphane Grappelli, among many others. Pizzarelli acknowledges Django Reinhardt and Freddie Green for their influences on his style and mode of play. He is 84 now, still alive and on.
--Ehsan Khoshbakht