Various Artists – Havana Jam 1 (1979)

FrontCover1Havana Jam was a three-day music festival that took place at the Karl Marx Theater, in Havana, Cuba, on 2–4 March 1979. It was sponsored by Bruce Lundvall, the president of Columbia Records, Jerry Masucci, the president of Fania Records, and the Cuban Ministry of Culture.

The festival included, on the American side, Weather Report, the CBS Jazz All-Stars, the Trio of Doom, Fania All-Stars, Stephen Stills, Billy Swan, Bonnie Bramlett, Mike Finnigan, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge and Billy Joel. The Cuban acts included Irakere, Pacho Alonso, Zaida Arrate, Elena Burke, Orquesta de Santiago de Cuba, Conjunto Yaguarimú, Frank Emilio, Juan Pablo Torres, Los Papines, Tata Güines, Cuban Percussion Ensemble, Sara González, Pablo Milanés, Manguaré, and Orquesta Aragón.

In 1977, US President Jimmy Carter and Cuban President Fidel Castro started to loosen the political tension between the two countries and opened Interest Sections both in Havana and Washington. It was the first time in almost two decades after Castro’s rise to power that there was a real interest in establishing a normalization of diplomatic relations and the lifting of the United States embargo against Cuba.

With a real crisis in the music industry in the United States and the start of the salsa boom, in April 1978, CBS Records director, Bruce Lundvall, saw an open door to probe Cuban music and together with a group of the company’s music enthusiasts made a four-day trip to Havana, where they were overwhelmed by the sound of Cuban music, but especially by Afro-Cuban jazz band Irakere, one of Cuba’s most highly regarded and virtuoso musical acts.

HavanaJam01

After months of talks, Lundvall managed to sign Irakere and in July the group traveled to New York to perform an unannounced guest set at the famed Newport Jazz Festival-New York. Rave reviews led to an invitation from the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

A few months later, Irakere won their first Grammy with the album Irakere, recorded at their Montreux Jazz Festival and Newport Jazz Festival performances, and Lundvall wanted to try his luck with other Cuban bands too. So, in the Fall of 1978, he joined forces with Fania Records director Jerry Masucci and convinced the Cuban cultural authorities to organize a three-day festival in Havana with the participation of Cuban and American musicians. The event would be recorded and televised for the enjoyment of both the Cuban and American people.

So they all agreed to set a date for the festival, spontaneously entitled Havana Jam. March 2 through 4, 1979, were the days earmarked for this historical step toward establishing a cultural exchange between the two enemy nations. In order to carry out the Herculean task of planning, Lundvall brought aboard Jock McLean and Phil Sandhaus, of Columbia’s artists development department. Both veterans of major concert promotion, they knew the festival needed professional production of the highest caliber, and enlisted Showco (a Dallas-based concert production company) and Studio Instrument Rentals for the task.

HavanaJam02

At this point in time, Lundvall was diligently “feeling out” select members of the Columbia artist roster, all of whom were honored to accept the invitation to perform in Cuba. By early February the talent was confirmed. Representing the U.S. would be Billy Joel, Stephen Stills, Weather Report, Kris Kristofferson with Rita Coolidge, the Fania All-Stars and the CBS Jazz All-Stars. The latter group was conceptualized by Lundvall and scheduled to feature more than 20 top jazz artists on the label.

With the festival within grasp, other CBS Records personnel were summoned into the picture-rehearsals were set up for the CBS Jazz All-Stars, travel accommodations were made, equipment was rented, a wide cross-section of media was invited, and both recording and videotaping plans were confirmed.

Record producers Bert deCoteaux and Mike Berniker flew down with a crew from the CBS Recording Studios along with a support team and mobile 24-track Recording Studio from Record Plant NY.

HavanaJam03

Engineered by David Hewitt with Phil Gitomer and Michael Guthrie. McLean, Sandhaus, Freston and various other people were already busy working in Havana’s Karl Marx Auditorium when the musicians landed at the José Martí airport on March 1.

Havana Jam was an invitation-only event, with mostly cultural personalities and members of the Communist Party and their children in attendance, though some students from different art and music schools were also invited.

The festival was hardly mentioned on the Cuban press, and thirty years later not many Cubans know it ever existed. (by wikipedia)

In 1979 many of Columbia’s top recording artists made a rare visit to Cuba where they performed (and recorded) at a series of concerts with some of the top Cuban groups. This double LP (unlike the strictly jazz Havana Jam 2) covers a wide range of music from Weather Report, the CBS Jazz All-Stars (an allstar group with Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz and Woody Shaw) and The Trio of Doom (John McLaughlin, Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams) to Irakere, Stephen Stills, Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge. There is enough worthwhile jazz on the two-fer to make this set worth picking up (by Scott Yanow).

What a great jam recording !

Recorded live at the Karl-Marx Theatre, Havana, Cuba, March 2-4, 1979

BackCover1

Personnel:

CBS Jazz All-Stars:
Willie Bobo (percussion)
Arthur Blythe (saxophone)
Stan Getz (saxophone)
Dexter Gordon (saxophone)
Jimmy Heath (saxophone)
Percy Heath (bass)
Bobby Hutcherson (marimba)
Hubert Laws (flute)
Woody Shaw (trumpet)
Cedar Walton (piano)
Tony Williams (drums)

Cuban Percussion Ensemble:
Frank Emilio Guillermo Barreto, Changuito, Tata Guines, Los Papines (percussion)

Irakere:
Jorge “El Nono” Alfonso (percussion)
Carlos Averhoff (saxophone)
Armando Cuervo (percussion)
Paquito D’Rivera (saxophone)
Carlos Emilio Morales (guitar)
Enrique Pla (drums)
Carlos del Puerto (bass)
Arturo Sandoval (trumpet)
Jesus “Chucho” Valdes (piano)
Oscar Valdez (percussion)
Jorge Varona (trumpet)

Stephen Stills Band:
Bonnie Bramlett (vocals)
Mike Finnigan (keyboards)
Joe Lala (percussion)
George “Chocolate” Perry (bass)
Stephen Stills (guitar, vocals)
Gerry Tolman (guitar)
Joe Vitale (drums)

Trio Of Doom:
John McLaughlin (guitar)
Jaco Pastorius (bass)
Tony Williams (drums)

Weather Report:
Peter Erskine (drums)
Jaco Pastorius (bass)
Wayne Shorter (saxophone)
Joe Zawinul (electric piano, synthesizer)

And now, I´m too lazy to search all other musicians … sorry …

 

Booklet1

Tracklist:
01. Weather Report: Black Market (Zawinul) 8.59
02. Irakere: Concerto Para Flaut y Adagio de Mozart(Rivera/Mozart) 9.48
03. Stephen Stills: Cuba al Fin(Stills) 7.48
04. Sara González: Su Nombre Es Pueblo (Gonzalez) 3.54
05. CBS Jazz All-Stars:  Project “S” (Heath) 8.36
06. Orquesta Aragón: Que Barla Mionda (Valdés) 7.37
07. Kris Kristofferson: Living Legend (Kristofferson) 4.29
08. Rita Coolidge: (Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher (Smith/Miner/Jackson) 3:33
09. CBS Jazz All-Stars: Black Stockings (Laws) 6.24
10. Mike Finnigan + Bonnie Bramlett: How Wrong Can You Be (Gronenthal/Grace) 4.46
11. Fania All-Stars: Juan Pachanga (Blades/Ramirez/Masucci) 4.41
12. Trio Of Doom: Dark Prince (McLaughlin) 3.54
13. Cuban Percussion Ensemble: Scherezada/Sun Sun (Rimsky-Korsakov/Traditional) 7.41

LabelB1
*
**

Advertisements

Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper & Steve Stills – Super Sessions (1968)

FrontCover1Super Session is an album conceived by Al Kooper and featuring the work of guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills, released on Columbia Records in 1968, CS 9701. Bloomfield and Stills do not play together on the album, with tracks including Bloomfield on side one, and those including Stills on side two. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard 200, and has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.

Kooper and Bloomfield had previously worked together on the sessions for the ground-breaking classic Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan, as well as playing in support of his controversial appearance at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965. Kooper had recently left Blood, Sweat & Tears after recording their debut album with them, and was now working as an A&R man for Columbia. Bloomfield was about to leave Electric Flag, and at relative loose ends. Kooper telephoned Bloomfield to see if he was free to come down to the studio and jam; Bloomfield agreed, leaving Kooper to handle the arrangements.

Kooper booked two days of studio time in May 1968, and recruited keyboardist Barry Goldberg and bassist Harvey Brooks, both members of the Electric Flag, along with well-known session drummer “Fast” Eddie Hoh. On the first day, the quintet recorded a group of mostly blues-based instrumental tracks, including a modal excursion “His Holy Modal Majesty”, a tribute to the late John Coltrane that was also reminiscent of “East-West” from the second Butterfield Blues Band album. On the second day, with the tapes ready to roll, Bloomfield did not show up.

Inlets

Needing to have something to show for the second day of sessions, to sit in for Bloomfield, Kooper hastily called upon Stephen Stills, also in the process of leaving his band Buffalo Springfield. Regrouping behind Stills, Kooper’s session men cut mostly vocal tracks, including “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” from Highway 61 and a lengthy and atmospheric take of “Season of the Witch” by Donovan.

Some overdubbed horns were later added while the album was being mixed, and sales worth a gold record award were garnered from an album which cost just $13,000 to make. The success of this record opened the door for the “supergroup” concept of the late 1960s and 1970s — Blind Faith, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the like. Kooper forgave Bloomfield, and the two of them made several concert appearances after the album was released. The results of one of those became the album The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper.

On April 8, 2003, Legacy Records reissued the album for compact disc with four bonus tracks, including both an outtake and a live track with Bloomfield, and two with the horn overdubs mixed out. (by wikipedia)

Inlay

As the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) had done a year earlier, Super Session (1968) initially ushered in several new phases in rock & roll’s concurrent transformation. In the space of months, the soundscape of rock shifted radically from short, danceable pop songs to comparatively longer works with more attention to technical and musical subtleties. Enter the unlikely all-star triumvirate of Al Kooper (piano/organ/ondioline/vocals/guitars), Mike Bloomfield (guitar), and Stephen Stills (guitar) — all of whom were concurrently “on hiatus” from their most recent engagements. Kooper had just split after masterminding the groundbreaking Child Is Father to the Man (1968) version of Blood, Sweat & Tears. Bloomfield was fresh from a stint with the likewise brass-driven Electric Flag, while Stills was late of Buffalo Springfield and still a few weeks away from a full-time commitment to David Crosby and Graham Nash. Although the trio never actually performed together, the long-player was notable for idiosyncratically featuring one side led by the team of Kooper/Bloomfield and the other by Kooper/Stills. The band is fleshed out with the powerful rhythm section of Harvey Brooks (bass) and Eddie Hoh (drums) as well as Barry Goldberg (electric piano) on “Albert’s Shuffle” and “Stop.”

KooperStillsThe Chicago blues contingency of Bloomfield, Brooks, and Goldberg provide a perfect outlet for the three Kooper/Bloomfield originals — the first of which commences the project with the languid and groovy “Albert’s Shuffle.” The guitarist’s thin tone cascades with empathetic fluidity over the propelling rhythms. Kooper’s frisky organ solo alternately bops and scats along as he nudges the melody forward. The same can be said of the interpretation of “Stop,” which had originally been a minor R&B hit for Howard Tate. Curtis Mayfield’s “Man’s Temptation” is given a soulful reading that might have worked equally well as a Blood, Sweat & Tears cover. At over nine minutes, “His Holy Modal Majesty” is a fun trippy waltz and includes one of the most extended jams on the Kooper/Bloomfield side. The track also features the hurdy-gurdy and Eastern-influenced sound of Kooper’s electric ondioline, which has a slightly atonal and reedy timbre much like that of John Coltrane’s tenor sax. Because of some health issues, Bloomfield was unable to complete the recording sessions and Kooper contacted Stills. Immediately his decidedly West Coast sound — which alternated from a chiming Rickenbacker intonation to a faux pedal steel — can be heard on the upbeat version of Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.” One of the album’s highlights is the scintillating cover of “Season of the Witch.” There is an undeniable synergy between Kooper and Stills, whose energies seems to aurally drive the other into providing some inspired interaction. Updating the blues standard “You Don’t Love Me” allows Stills to sport some heavily distorted licks, which come off sounding like Jimi Hendrix. This is one of those albums that seems to get better with age and that gets the full reissue treatment every time a new audio format comes out. This is a super session indeed. (by Lindsay Planer)

KooperBloomfield

Personnel:
Mike Bloomfield (guitar on 01. – 05., 10., 12. + 13.)
Harvey Brooks (bass)
Eddie Hoh (drums, percussion)
Al Kooper (vocals, keyboards, guitar)
Stephen Stills (guitar on 06. – 09. + 11.)
+
Barry Goldberg (piano on 01. + 02.)
unknown horn section (arranged by Al Kooper and Joe Scott)

BackCover1

Tracklist:
01. Albert’s Shuffle (Kooper/Bloomfield) 6.54
02. Stop (Ragovoy/Shuman) 4.23
03. Man’s Temptation (Mayfield) 3.24
04. His Holy Modal Majesty (Kooper/Bloomfield) 9.16
05. Really (Kooper/Bloomfield) 5.30
06. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry (Dylan) 3.30
07. Season Of The Witch (Leitch) 11.07
08. You Don’t Love Me (Cobbs) 4.11
09. Harvey’s Tune (Brooks) 2.07
+
10. Albert’s Shuffle (remix without horns) (Kooper/Bloomfield) 6.58
11. Season Of The Witch (remix without horns) (Leitch) 11.07
12. Blues For Nothing (outtake) (Kooper) 4.15
13. Fat Grey Cloud (in concert at the Fillmore West) (Kooper/Bloomfield) 4.38

LabelB1

*
**
KooperStillsBloomfield2

Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield

Stephen Stills – Brookhaven New York (1979)

FrontCover1Woodstock Reunion 1979 was a concert on 7 September 1979 at Parr Meadows racetrack in the hamlet of Yaphank in the town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. It had an audience of about 40,000 and was organized for the 10th anniversary of the original Woodstock Festival.
Performers included Paul Butterfield and Rick Danko, Canned Heat, Richie Havens, Jorma Kaukonen, Country Joe McDonald, John Sebastian, Michael Shrieve, Stephen Stills, and Johnny Winter.
Recordings of the concert were broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. A bootleg CD titled Live at Parr Meadows also exists.

Although this show was billed as a “Woodstock Reunion,” it was not really a reunion, because out of all the acts that played the original festival only a handful made this show. In some cases, only one member of a band showed up—such as Stills, who was representing CSN—and furthermore, it was not at the site where the 1969 celebration of peace, love, and music had actually taken place.

Although Woodstock had only happened a mere decade earlier, the hope was another magical musical moment would once again rock history. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Although Stills, John Sebastian, Richie Havens, and others did their best, there was no audience of 600,000 or national media spotlight to offer the same inspiration as had happened ten years earlier.

Stephen Stills, on hiatus from his day job with CSN, came to play a set of songs mostly built on themes of love. In fact, four of the ten songs played during this set (which was also broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour) contained the word “love” in their title.

Stills had returned to making solo albums and was eager to re-establish his own career during this period. With the exception of a heartfelt version of the Buffalo Springfield classic,” For What It’s Worth” (unfortunately incomplete in this recording), Stills does not offer any of his hits from Springfield, CSN, or his solo career. He does, however, offer a number of surprises including a curious cover of Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man.” He closes with “Treetop Flyer,” a song he had written in the late-1960s while still with Buffalo Springfield, but it was not commercially released until 1983 when it was used as part of the Crosby, Stills & Nash concert video, Daylight Again Live.

Recorded live at Parr Meadows, Brookhaven, New York, September 07, 1979
FM broadcast

Live1979Personnel:
Mike Finnegan (keyboards)
Gerald Johnson (bass)
Billy Meeker (drums, vocals)
Stephen Stills (vocals, guitar)
Gerry Tolman – rhythm guitar
+
John Sebastian (harmonica)

BackCoverTracklist:
01. Introduction – Precious Love (Stills) 5.41
02. Go Back Home (Stills) 8.36
03. Fine Love (Finnigan/Stills) 5.49
04. For What Its Worth (Stills) 5.05
05. Wanna Make Love To You (Stills) 7.50
06. Part Time Love (Finnigan/Stills) 7.05
07. Cherokee (Stills) 10.20
08. Hoochie Coochie Man – Rocky Mountain Way (Morganfield/Walsh) 11.27
09. Woodstock (Mitchell) 7.18
10. Treetop Flyer (Stills) 4.47

StephenStills
*
**