Tethered Moon (Masabumi Kikuchi, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian) – Play Kurt Weill (1995)

FrontCover1Tethered Moon Play Kurt Weill is an album by the group Tethered Moon, comprising pianist Masabumi Kikuchi, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian, recorded in late 1994 and released on the JMT label. The album features the groups interpretation of Kurt Weill’s compositions. (by wikipedia)

Although well known in his native Japan, pianist Masamui “Poo” Kikuchi has not received much attention in America. Kikuchi deserves accolades for not settling for another standard piano trio workout with the usual flashy runs and melody-solo-melody format. Instead, he really delves into the pieces, offering probing voicings and careful pacing, varying moods, timing, and tempo. His treatment of “Misterioso” approximates the quirky embellishments and off-center comping and chording Monk injected into the original, while other numbers have genuine movements rather than being continuous linear presentations.

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Bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian intersect and work alongside Kikuchi, sometimes playing solo but most often meshing and establishing real dialogues rather than individual contrasts. (by Ron Wynn)

Paul Motian and Gary Peacock have always preferred to be equal partners rather than “rhythm section” in piano trios, and Tethered Moon continues the tradition. Masabumi Kikuchi may not be a well-known pianist, but he is absolutely worthy of his peerless partners, and of course Kurt Weill’s melancholy songs. If you like your jazz more abstract but still introspective rather than aggressive, you’ll like this. (by Dave Stagner)

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Personnel:
Masabumi Kikuchi (piano)
Paul Motian (drums)
Gary Peacock (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Alabama Song 9.36
02. Barbara Song 6.42
03. Moritat 11.19
04. September Song 8.40
05. It Never Was You 1.52
06. Trouble Man 5.03
07. Speak Low 6.56
08. The Bilbao Song 4.40
09. My Ship 5.27

Music composed by Kurt Weill

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Traffic – Live At Winterland (1973)

FrontCover1Traffic were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham, in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards like the Mellotron and harpsichord, sitar, and various reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music. Their first three singles were “Paper Sun”, “Hole in My Shoe”, and “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”.

Traffic disbanded in 1969, during which time Winwood joined Blind Faith, then reunited in 1970 to release the critically acclaimed album John Barleycorn Must Die. The band’s line-up varied from this point until they disbanded again in 1974. A partial reunion, with Winwood and Capaldi, took place in 1994.

Traffic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. (by wikipedia)

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Despite some dodgy edits, this is one of the best Traffic bootlegs. A soundboard warts ‘n’ all recording rumored to have once been the property of famous rock promoter Bill Graham. Great playing with the Muscle Shoals augmented line-up as on “On the Road”. The major plus about this recording is the inclusion of tracks that never made the aforementioned official live album – Roll Right Stones, Evening Blue, Empty Pages, 40,000 Headmen, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Stew. The sound quality on this set ranges from very good to excellent, with the bass and drum sound appearing much more dominant than on “On the Road”; the telepathy between the musicians is as good as it gets, thus making this a must for anyone’s collection. If there was any justice in the world, this would be available by doctor’s prescription! (winwoodfans.com)

Recorded live at th Winterland, San Francisco, CA January 26th 1973

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Personnel:
Rebop Kwaku Baah (percussion)
Barry Beckett (keyboards)
Jim Capaldi (drums, percussion, vocals)
Roger Hawkins (drums)
David Hood (bass)
Steve Winwood (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Chris Wood (saxophone, flute)

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Tracklist:
01. Shootout At The Fantasy Factory (Capaldi/Winwood) 6.14
02. Rock n’ Roll Stew (Capaldi/Winwood) 7.43
03. Roll Right Stones (Capaldi/Winwood) 13.16
04. Empty Pages (Capaldi/Winwood)  5.36
05. Evening Blue (Capaldi/Winwood) 5.34
06. 40.000 Headmen 40,000 Headmen 5.27
07. Glad (Winwood) 10.10
08. Freedom Rider (Capaldi/Winwood) 6.11
09. Tragic Magic (cut) (Wood) 1.55
10. (Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired (Capaldi/Winwood) 12.03
11. Light Up Or Leave Me Alone (Capaldi/Winwood) 9.43

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Chris WoodChris Wood ( (24 June 1944 – 12 July 1983)

Jim CapaldiJim Capaldi (2 August 1944 – 28 January 2005)

Terence Blanchard – A Tale Of God´s Will (2007)

FrontCover1A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) is a studio album recorded in 2007 by the Terence Blanchard Quintet. The album was originally released on August 14, 2007 by Blue Note Records.

In 2008, Blanchard won a Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and was nominated for Best Jazz Instrument Solo for his work on the song “Levees”.

Film director Spike Lee commissioned New Orleans native Terence Blanchard to compose the score for his 2006 four-hour HBO documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, to show the agony of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2007 Blanchard recorded “A Tale of God’s Will”, which contains parts (“The Water”, “Levees”, “Wading Through”, and “Funeral Dirge”) of the recording that were heard in Lee’s documentary. Blanchard’s mother, Wilhelmina, lost her Pontchartrain Park home in the tragedy but survived.

For the tracks “Ghost of Betsy” and “The Water”, Blanchard drew on his own experiences as a little boy when Hurricane Betsy flooded his Lower 9th Ward neighborhood in 1965. He intended “Funeral Dirge” as a dignified repast for a montage of dead bodies. Pianist Aaron Parks contributed “Ashe” as a benediction. Drummer Kendrick Scott describes his “Mantra” as a “mantra for healing and renewal.” Bassist Derrick Hodge’s lush “Over There”, written before Katrina, nonetheless fit the CD’s theme. Saxophonist Brice Winston wrote “In Time of Need” after moving with his family from New Orleans to Tucson, Arizona. (by wikipedia)

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When director Spike Lee tapped Terence Blanchard to compose the score for his 2006 documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, the agony of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was a story they both knew had to be told from a moral standpoint and with cultural credibility. Capturing the hurricane’s sorrowful consequences through music would have to take its final shape more from the attitudes of their minds, the devastation they witnessed, and from the inspiration emanating from the people they would meet during the making of documentary. On A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina), Blanchard uses every principle he has mastered as a genius jazz trumpeter to relay the impact of the destruction, the frustration, the sadness and the hope for a future. Full of his beliefs, sustained and elevated by the power of his purpose, Blanchard, accompanied by his quintet and the Northwest Sinfonia (which he conducted and co-orchestrated), delivers a powerful explanation of the emotions surging through them during this devastating experience. Opening with “Ghost of Congo Square,” an African beat drenched in Blanchard’s articulate trumpeting, handclaps, percussion and the chant “This is the tale of God’s will” — the listener is immediately informed about why things beyond their comprehension will undoubtedly happen.

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The two-minute trumpet-based “Ghost of Betsy”(about Hurricane Betsy) and the plaintive “Ghost of 1927,” a tune reincarnating another flood that ravaged New Orleans and sketched out by saxophonist Brice Winston and drummer Kendrick Scott, complete a trilogy of brief ghost interludes interspersed throughout the recording to imply warnings from the past. Blanchard depicts “Levees” as perpetually in flux: the calm before the storm as captured by the string arrangement; the interlude which decries a breakdown in the security of the Crescent City, shifting, changing, crashing from the strength of thousands of waves, blown by all the winds that passed and losing their old forms in the backwaters of time. His horn registers the aftermath of the destruction — wailing, grieving and weeping. This song is absolutely amazing. Pianist Aaron Parks plays the unforgettable melody on “Wading Through” “The Water,” and mournful “Funeral Dirge” form the remaining nucleus of the material from the documentary. Songs written by four members of Blanchard’s quintet serve to offer their own perspective of the tragedy, yet all of the music flows seamlessly to create a brilliant, inspired requiem.

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The music is potent, tragic, and adept featuring full orchestral plunges and Blanchard’s stellar trumpet emerging to involve you the way he’s involved. “Dear Mom,” Blanchard’s heartfelt tribute to his mother who lost her home in the tragedy but thankfully survived with her life, closes the recording. The imagery of sadness and frustration is deeply prevalent but Blanchard builds in accents and hopeful rhythmic nuance to give the listener time to catch his breath, leave behind certain memories, and to realize the promise of a brighter future. The music here will leave you in a melancholy, contemplative mood and definitely in awe of the talented musicians, composers, and arrangers who told A Tale of God’s Will. This CD was nominated in 2007 for a Grammy award as Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and Blanchard’s improvisation on “Levees” was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo. (by Paula Edelstein)

BackCoverPersonnel:
Terence Blanchard (trumpet)
Zac Harmon (tabla)
Derrick Hodge (bass)
Aaron Parks (piano)
Kendrick Scott (drums, percussion)
Brice Winston (saxophone)

TerenceBlanchard03Tracklist:
01. Ghost Of Congo Square (Blanchard/Hodge/Scott) 3.05
02. Levees (Blanchard) 8.11
03. Wading Through (Blanchard) 6.29
04. Ashé (Parks) 8.19
05. In Time Of Need (Winston) 7.54
06. Ghost Of Betsy (Blanchard) 2.09
07. The Water (Blanchard) 4.10
08. Mantra Intro (Scott) 3.22
09. Mantra (Scott) 9.52
10. Over There (Hodge) 7.46
11. Ghost Of 1927 (Blanchard) 1.40
12. Funeral Dirge (Blanchard) 5.55
13. Dear Mom (Blanchard) 3.39

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