Alan Skidmore Quartet – Impressions Of John Coltrane (2007)

FrontCover1b. Alan Richard James Skidmore, 21 April 1942, Kingston-on-Thames, London, England. ‘Skid’ plays soprano and tenor saxophones, flutes and drums. He is the son of Jimmy Skidmore, who gave him a discarded tenor that Alan ignored until he was about 15. At that time he decided to teach himself to play. A muscular and versatile player himself, the musicians he particularly admires include Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Michael Brecker, Ronnie Scott, Andy Sheppard and, above all, John Coltrane. Skidmore began playing professionally in 1958, and did various commercial engagements, including tours with comedian Tony Hancock and singer Matt Monro and five years in the house band at London’s Talk Of The Town nightclub.

In 1961 he made the first of many appearances on BBC Radio’s Jazz Club, and also met his idol, Coltrane. In the following years Skidmore worked with numerous important and/or successful bands, including Eric Delaney, where he replaced his father when Jimmy decided to leave (in 1963), Alexis Korner (1964), John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (1964), Ronnie Scott (1965), Georgie Fame And The Blue Flames (1970), Mike Westbrook (1970-71), Mike Gibbs (1970-71), and Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood Of Breath (1971). In 1969, he formed his own quintet (Kenny Wheeler, Tony Oxley, John Taylor and Harry Miller), with which he won the best soloist and best band awards at the Montreux International Jazz Festival and gained a scholarship to Berklee College Of Music, although he did not take this up.

In 1973, he co-founded S.O.S., probably the first all-saxophone band, with Mike Osborne and John Surman. He has subsequently formed various small groups of his own, including El Skid (co-led with Elton Dean), SOH, and Tenor Tonic, and has worked with the George Gruntz Concert Band, the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, the Charlie Watts Orchestra, Stan Tracey, Mose Allison, Van Morrison, Georgie Fame again, and with the West German Radio Band as featured soloist from 1981-84. In April 1991, he was reunited with Surman when they played as a duo at a benefit for Osborne. In 2002 he was once again blowing some magnificent saxophone for Georgie Fame And The Blue Flames. Unquestionably one of the best jazz saxophonists Britain has ever produced. (by Rovi)

And this is an extremley good example for his powerful way to play the saxophone …

British jazz legend Alan Skidmore goes a considerable way to recreating the atmosphere of a John Coltrane gig. Here is a man for all seasons, a player with immense physical and imaginative stamina, who is at home in any context, from tight structures to total abstraction, and with any tempo, from breakneck to slow … enjoy this very rare piece of jazz music !

Mike Gorman (piano)
Aidan O’Donnell (bass)
Ian Palmer (drums)
Alan Skidmore (saxophone)

CD 1:
01. But Not For Me (Gershwin) 11.44
02. Lonnies Lament (Coltrane) 15.24
03. Say It Over And Over Again (Lesser) 11.57
04. Impressions (Coltrane) 16.18

CD 2:
01. Summertime (Gershwin) 14.41
02. Resolution (Coltrane) 11.12
03. Weaver Of Dreams (Young) 12.53
04. Take The Coltrane (Ellington) 7.41


Various Artists – Cadillac Records (OST) (2008)

FrontCover1Cadillac Records is a 2008 musical biopic written and directed by Darnell Martin. The film explores the musical era from the early 1940s to the late 1960s, chronicling the life of the influential Chicago-based record-company executive Leonard Chess, and a few of the musicians who recorded for Chess Records.

The film stars Adrien Brody as Leonard Chess, Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, Columbus Short as Little Walter, Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, Eamonn Walker as Howlin’ Wolf, and Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James. The film was released in North America on December 5, 2008 by TriStar Pictures.

Leonard Chess, a Polish immigrant of Jewish descent, starts the record label Chess Records in Chicago in 1950. It opens its doors for black musicians and attracts people such as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Walter and Etta James.

Still01Leonard Chess was the co-founder of the 1950s American record label Chess Records, located in Chicago, Illinois. He ran the legendary company with his brother, Phil, through the 1950s and ’60s. The label started selling records from the back of Chess’ Cadillac, and launched the careers of legendary musical personalities such as blues singers and harmonica and guitar players Little Walter and Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, soul legend Etta James and guitarist singer-songwriters Chuck Berry and Willie Dixon.

Originally, Matt Dillon was slated to play the role of Chess, but the role was ultimately given to Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody due to scheduling conflicts with Dillon. Early announcements of the cast also included Columbus Short as Little Walter, Golden Globe winner Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, and multi-Grammy Award winner Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James. According to director Martin, the role of James was written with Knowles in mind.

As production increased, the roster grew to include Canadian actress Emmanuelle Chriqui as Revetta Chess, Tammy Blanchard as Isabelle Allen, English actor Eamonn Walker as Howlin’ Wolf, and comedian Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon. Final line ups of the cast also grew to include rapper Mos Def as Chuck Berry, and Gabrielle Union in the role of Geneva Wade, Muddy Waters’ common law wife.

Still02The American multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and record producer Steve Jordan produced the soundtrack to the film. He also picked a group of blues musicians, including Billy Flynn (guitar), Larry Taylor (bass), Eddie Taylor Jr. (guitar), Barrelhouse Chuck (piano), Kim Wilson (harmonica), Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Hubert Sumlin (guitar), and Bill Sims (guitar) who, along with Jordan on drums, recorded all of the blues songs used in the film.

Knowles recorded five songs for the soundtrack, including a cover version of Etta James’ “At Last” which was released on December 2, 2008 as its lead single. Mos Def, Jeffrey Wright, Columbus Short, and Eamonn Walker recorded songs for the soundtrack, and Raphael Saadiq, Knowles’ sister Solange, Mary Mary, Nas, Buddy Guy, and Elvis Presley also appear on the album. The soundtrack was released in single and double-disc editions.

The soundtrack spent 48 weeks at number one of the Top Blues Albums.

The soundtrack was nominated for three 2010 Grammy Awards in the following categories: ‘Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media’, Beyoncé’s “Once in a Lifetime” for ‘Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media’ and Beyoncé’s “At Last” for ‘Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance’.

Still03The film received mostly positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives a score of 68% based on reviews from 120 critics. Its consensus state that “What Cadillac Records may lack in originality, it more than makes up for in strong performances and soul-stirring music.” Another review aggretator, Metacritic, gave the film a 65% approval rating based on 30 reviews classifying that the film has “generally favorable reviews”.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 3 stars and stated in his review that “The film is a fascinating record of the evolution of a black musical style, and the tangled motives of the white men who had an instinct for it.” Elizabeth Weitzman of the Daily News awarded the film with 3 stars and wrote in her review, “Writer-director Darnell Martin clearly respects the fact that the history of Chess Records is a worthy subject.”[20] Most critics praised the film for its music, but complained about its script. Jim Harrington of the San Jose Mercury News praised Knowles’ vocal performance and wrote in his review that, “Beyoncé Knowles’ captivating voice and the film’s other pluses can’t outweigh the glaring omissions from the story line for this critic” and “Chess Records deserves, and will hopefully someday get, a better spin than the one delivered by Cadillac Records.”

Barrelhouse Chuck (piano)
Billy Flynn (guitar)
Steve Jordan (drums)
Danny Kortchmar (guitar)
Eddie Taylor Jr. (guitar)
Bill Sims (guitar)
Hubert Sumlin (guitar)
Larry Taylor (bass)
Kim Wilson (harmonica)
Mos Def as Chuck Berry (vocals)
Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James (vocals)
Columbus Short as Little Walter (vocals)
Eamonn Walker as Howlin’ Wolf (vocals)
Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters (vocals)
songs by:
Raphael Saadiq – Solange – Mary Mary – Little Walter – Nas Featuring Olu Dara – Buddy Guy – Elvis Presley – Terence Blanchard


CD 1:
01. Jeffrey Wright: I’m A Man (McDaniel) 3.51
02. Beyoncé: At Last (Warren/Gordon) 3.01
03. Mos Def: No Particular Place To Go (Berry) 2.47
04. Jeffrey Wright: I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon) 3.54
05. Beyoncé: Once In A Lifetime (Knowles/Ghost/McFarnon/Dench/Dring/Street) 4.00
06. Raphael Saadiq: Let’s Take A Walk (Saadiq) 2.29
07. Solange: 6 O’Clock Blues (Knowles/Dozier/Ronson/Mann/Sugarman/Steinweiss/Brenneck)  3.37
08. Mos Def: Nadine (Berry) 2.51
09. Mary Mary: The Sound (W.Campbell/T.Campbell/E.Campbell) 3.30
10. Little Walter: Last Night (Jacobs) 2.53
11. Beyoncé: I’d Rather Go Blind (Foster/Jordan) 3.10
12. Columbus Short: My Babe (Dixon) 2.58
13. Nas Featuring Olu Dara: Bridging The Gap (Jones/Dara/Gibbs)     4.01

CD 2:
01. Mos Def: Maybelline (Berry) 2.31
02. Buddy Guy: Forty Days And Forty Nights (Roth) 2.48
03. Beyoncé: Trust In Me (Ager/Schwartz/Weaver) 3.44
04. Soul 7 Featuring Kim Wilson: Juke (Jacobs) 2.49
05. Eamonn Walker: Smokestack Lightnin’ (Burnett) 3.04
06. Mos Def: Promised Land (Berry) 2.31
07. Beyoncé: All I Could Do Is Cry (B.Gordy/Davis/Fuqua) 3.10
08. Elvis Presley: My Babe (Dixon) 2.10
09. Jeffrey Wright: I Can’t Be Satisfied (Morganfield) 2.19
10. Mos Def: Come On (Berry) 2.34
11. Jeffrey Wright & Bill Simms Jr.: Country Blues (Johnson/Morganfield) 3.42
12. Q-Tip Featuring Al Kapone: Evolution Of A Man (McDaniel/Bailey/Jordan) 3.07
13: Terence Blanchard: Radio Station (Blanchard) 2.07


Eric Burdon – That´s Live (1985)

FrontCover1That’s Live is a live album by Eric Burdon and his band, recorded live in Karlsruhe, Germany, on 8 March 1985, during a European tour. It was originally marked Limited Compact Disc Reference Edition in 1985, and achieved more widespread release in 1992.

That’s Live is the only recording made of this line-up which, during the immediately prior period of 1981-84, had been one of the first Western rock acts to play extensively in the Eastern Bloc, including pre-unification East Germany, where, according to bassist Rob Burns, the band were “treated like royalty”. (by wikipedia)

“This CD is the document of ERic Burdon´s present musical espression. But whatever musical surprises Eric holds in store for us – we can be certain of one thing: he will produce and perform music which will alway be true and honest, carrying the same intensity that has fascinated his fans since the very beginning of rock and beat music” (Alex Manninger; taken from the original liner-notes)

Tom Blades (keyboards, guitar)
Eric Burdon (vocals)
Rob Burns (bass)
Mitch Harwood (drums)

01. Intro 0.24
02. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (Benjamin/Caldwell/Marcus) 6.24
03. When I Was Young (Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch) 7.41
04. Working Life [aka Factory] (Springsteen) 10.40
05. We Got To Get Out Of This Place (Mann/Weil) 10.20
06. Poor Man (Guthrie) 7.52
07. River Deep, Mountain High (Spector) 7.06
08. I‘m Crying (Burdon/Price) 10.09
09. Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Price) 8.50


Judy Collins – Wildflowers (1967)

FrontCover1Wildflowers is an album by Judy Collins, released in 1967. It was her highest charting album so far, reaching No 5 on the Billboard Pop Albums charts. It included her hit version of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”.

The album was arranged by Joshua Rifkin and produced by Mark Abramson. Collins’ recording “Albatross” was used in the 1968 film adaptation of The Subject Was Roses. It was one of three self-penned tracks that appeared on the album, the first time that Collins wrote her own material. (by wikipedia)

Taken from the magazine “Rolling Stone”:
Judy Collins’ well-respected catalog is so vast that, 40 years later, it’s hard to isolate her standout albums. But we’d argue Wildflowers is among her best. After spending the early portion of her career covering the Beatles and Bob Dylan, Wildflowers finds Collins tackling the songs of Leonard Cohen, and the words and mood suit her well. It’s a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” however, that’s the highlight, as the track went on to win a 1968 Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.

What We Said Then: Judy Collins has to have one of the most beautiful and moving voices of any female singer. She has also been smart enough to make magnificent orchestration an integral part of her albums. The arrangements on this album especially complement her voice. The songs she has chosen are also quite representative of the beauty of music of today… Altogether, it is a very beautiful album.” (by James Christman, February 10th, 1968, Rolling Stone)

And I add a live version of “Suzanne”, recorded in 1967 together with Leonard Cohen as a bonus.

CohenCollinsLeonard Cohen + Judy Collins, 1967

Judy Collins (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
a bunch of unknown studio musicians


01. Michael From Mountains (Mitchell) 3.10
02. Since You Asked (Collins) 2.34
03. Sisters Of Mercy (Cohen) 2.31
04. Priests (Cohen) 4.55
05. A Ballata Of Francesco Landini (ca. 1335 – 1397) Lasso! di Donna 4.34
06. Both Sides Now (Mitchell) 3.14
07. La chanson des vieux amants (The Song Of Old Lovers) (Brel) 4.40
08. Sky Fell (Collins) 1.47
09. Albatross (Collins) 4.51
10. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye (Cohen) 3.28
11. Suzanne (live with Leonard Cohen, 1967) (Cohen) 3.55


Keith Jarrett Trio – Paris (1972)

FrontCover1Pianist, composer, and bandleader Keith Jarrett is one of the most prolific, innovative, and iconoclastic musicians to emerge from the late 20th century. As a pianist (though that is by no means the only instrument he plays) he literally changed the conversation in jazz by introducing an entirely new aesthetic regarding solo improvisation in concert. Though capable of playing in a wide variety of styles, Jarrett is deeply grounded in the jazz tradition. He has recorded nearly 80 albums as a leader in jazz and classical music. And he has won the Down Beat Critics Poll as a pianist numerous times, including consecutively between 2001 and KeithJarrett19722008.

This concert of Studio 104 of the Maison de Radio France, preserved in the archives of Ina, was never broadcast in its entirety. A summit of generosity, lyricism, bubbling creativity… Keith Jarrett also played soprano saxophone, as he did at the time. The repertoire is mostly drawn from Birth and Expectations, recorded the previous year. (Thanks to cosmikd for sharing the tracks at Dime.)

Recorded live at Studio 104, Maison de la Radio, Paris, France; June 9, 1972
Excellent FM broadcast.

Charlie Haden (bass)
Keith Jarrett – piano, saxophone, flute, tambourine)
Paul Motian (drums)



CD 1:
01. Coral 7.51
02. Forget Your Memories (And They’ll Remember You) 18.23
03. Take Me Back 9.33
04. Standing Outside 6.04
05. Track V 4.55
06. Piece For Ornette 6.02

CD 2:
01. Common Mama 13.08
02. Moonchild 7.34
03. The Magician In You 9.12
04. Follow The Crooked Path 12.37
05. Expectations 10.02
06. Applause 1.50
07. The Circular Letter (For JK) 6.56

All compositions by Keith Jarrett


The Kinks – Misfits (1978)

FrontCover1The Kinks became arena rockers with Sleepwalker, and its follow-up, Misfits, follows in the same vein, but it’s a considerable improvement on its predecessor. Ray Davies has learned how to write within the confines of the arena rock formula, and Misfits is one of rock & roll’s great mid-life crisis albums, finding Davies considering whether he should even go on performing. “Misfits,” a classic outsider rallying cry, and “Rock and Roll Fantasy” provide the two touchstones for the album — Davies admits that he and the Kinks will never be embraced by the rock & roll mainstream, but after Elvis’ death, he’s not even sure if rock & roll is something for mature adults to do. Over the course of Misfits, he finds answers to the question, both in his lyrics and through the band’s muscular music. Eventually, he discovers that it is worth his time, but the search itself is superbly affecting — even songs like the musichall shuffle “Hay Fever,” which appear as filler at first, have an idiosyncratic quirk that make them cut deeper. Although Ray would return to camp on their next album, Misfits is a moving record that manages to convey deep emotions while rocking hard. The Kinks hadn’t made a record this good since Muswell Hillbillies. —Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Mick Avory (drums)
Dave Davies (guitar, vocals on 09.)
Ray Davies (vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer)
John Gosling (keyboards, synthesizer)
Andy Pyle (bass)
John Beecham (trombone on 07.)
Clem Cattini (drum overdubs)
Mike Cotton (trumpet on 07.)
John Dalton (bass on 05.)
Zaine Griff (bass overdubs)
Ron Lawrence (bass on 03., 04 + 10.)
Nick Newall (clarinet on 07.)
Nick Trevisick – drums on 04., 09. + 10.)

01. Misfits (R.Davies) 4.40
02. Hay Fever (R.Davies) 3.21
03. Live Life (R.Davies) 3.09
04. A Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy (R.Davies) 4.58
05. In A Foreign Land (R.Davies) 3.02
06. Permanent Waves (R.Davies) 3.48
07. Black Messiah (R.Davies) 3.23
08. Out Of The Wardrobe (R.Davies) 3.35
09. Trust Your Heart (D.Davies) 4.10
10. Get Up (R.Davies) 3.19


Duke Ellington – Blues In Orbit (1959)

FrontCover1Still riding the success of his triumphant concert at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, Duke Ellington in 1958 decided to reduce his touring orchestra to a nonet dubbed “the Spacemen,” and recorded this lone project with them for the Columbia label, here reissued by Mosaic Singles and heard in stereo for the first time. Perhaps inspired by the first orbiting satellites, Ellington is not taking cues from George Russell or Sun Ra, whose extraterrestrial inspirations led them to even more progressive paths. This large ensemble is playing mostly standards, but the arrangements and solos carve an integrated yet elasticized concept that allows for a more expanded role for the ensemble’s trombonists Quentin “Butter” Jackson, John Sanders, and Britt Woodman, and select soloists. One in the solo spotlight is Clark Terry on flugelhorn exclusively, putting his fabled trumpet aside. The classic material presented includes clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton’s features “Avalon” and “Early Autumn,” the slinky stripper pole blues version of “St. Louis Blues” with Ellington’s piano taking the lead, and two versions of “Body & Soul,” with tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves completely extrapolating and re-harmonizing the main take, while faithfully playing the original melody on the alternate selection. There’s a modified “Perdido,” an animated and perky “Midnight Sun” that deviates from any other slow and lugubrious version of the ballad, and two attempts of “Jones” — the first a real good swinger, the second with a more unified horn chart accented by a New Orleans shuffle provided by drummer Sam Woodyard. There are two originals; the blues bass of Jimmy Woode and the ‘bones with plentiful piano from Duke infusing “Bass-Ment,” and one of the more delightful of all of Ellington’s book, the poppin’ and boppin’ “Spacemen,” a bright happy horn chart led by Terry that is one of the more distinctive Ellington numbers of this time period. Perhaps in many ways a neglected recording in the vast annals of Ellingtonia, fans will certainly welcome this long out of print re-addition to the master’s CD discography. It comes highly recommended. (by Michael G. Nastos)

Cat Anderson (trumpet on 10. – 12., 18 – 19.)
Shorty Baker (trumpet on 10. – 12., 18 – 19.)
Harry Carney (saxophone)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Matthew Gee (trombone on 01. – 09., 13. – 17.)
Paul Gonsalves (saxophone)
Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, saxophone)
Johnny Hodges (saxophone on 01. – 09, 11. -17.)
Jimmy Johnson – drums on 01. -09., 13. 17.)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin)
Russell Procope (saxophone, clarinet)
Clark Terry (trumpet on on 10. – 12., 18 – 19.)
Botty Wood (trombone on 01. – 09., 13. – 17.)
Jimmy Woode (bass)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Fats Ford (trumpet on 11.)
Quentin Jackson – trombone on 10. – 12., 18. – 19.)
John Sanders (valve trombone on 10. – 12., 18 – 19.)
Billy Strayhorn piano (on 02. + 07.)
Sam Woodyard (drums on 10. – 12, 18. – 19.)

01. Three J’s Blues (Hamilton) 2.54
02. Smada (Ellington/Strayhorn) 2.38
03. Pie Eye’s Blues (Ellington) 3.27
04. Sweet And Pungent (Strayhorn) 4.03
05. C Jam Blues (Ellington/Bigard) 4.52
06. In A Mellow Tone (Ellington/Gabler) 2.43
07. Blues In Blueprint (Ellington) 3.43
08. The Swingers Get The Blues, Too (Ellington/Gee) 3.09
09. The Swinger’s Jump (Ellington) 3.5
10. Blues In Orbit (Strayhorn) 2.29
11. Villes Ville Is the Place, Man (Ellington) 2.33
12. Track 360 (Ellington) 2.03
14. Sentimental Lady (Ellington) 4.02
15. Brown Penny (Ellington/La Touche) 3.02
16. Pie Eye’s Blues (alternate take) (Ellington) 3.32
17. Sweet And Pungent (alternate take) (Strayhorn) 3.52
18. The Swinger’s Jump (alternate take) (Ellington) 3.51
19. Blues In Orbit (alternate take) (Strayhorn) 2.39
20. Track 360 (alternate take) 2.01