Paul Winter – Icarus (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgThis 1972 classic captures saxophonist Paul Winter and his ensemble at the height of their improvisational powers. Winter was one of the first artists to incorporate such exotic instruments as the sitar and tabla into his music and the result was memorable chamber jazz-folk played in the wonderfully experimental, post-hippie way only Winter and his merry band could. The title track, one of guitarist Ralph Towner’s compositions, became famous for its pensive melody and soaring soprano sax. “Whole Earth Chant” is a piece that foreshadows New Age artists like Loreena McKennitt with its echoing tribal drums interwoven with ominous distorted guitar. And “Minuit” downright borders on what today some would call world music–it features a choir of voices singing a simple, sauntering melody taken from a Guinean folk song. Classic early ’70s Winter. (Karen Karleski)

This superb album was not widely known in the seventies in my part of the world, yet these brilliant musicians captivated me with this wonderful music played almost entirely with acoustic instruments, & I have never tired of this album. To this day I do not know anything of their backgrounds, or their previous & later works. My appreciation of this record has remained pure & simple. This work is dated 1972, a year of shining musical inspirations.

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When we think of acoustic, we tend to picture acoustic guitars, but just look at the line-up of instruments. Soprano saxophone,cello,oboe,English horn,contrabass Sarrusophone,classical guitar,12-string guitar,Regal,bush organ,Fender bass,conga,tabla,mridangam,surdos,traps,kettledrums,bass marimba,sitar,resonator guitar,& Ghanaian percussion.

The first track titled “Icarus” immediately carries the listener aloft on the air currents & has him/her sailing amongst clouds. One doesn’t really come down again until the final track of this album. Next a track with a peculiar title “Ode to a Fillmore Dressing Room” has the unusual combination of sitar,classical guitar,& jazz bass playing in harmony, with tabla drums also,a remarkable performance. Then a simple but deep song with piano accompaniment,”The Silence of a Candle” reflects one man’s journey within himself, followed by more soaring sensation from tracks with titles such as “Sunwheel”,”Whole Earth Chant”,& “All the Mornings Bring”. I find the use of soprano sax,oboe,& cello as lead instruments rather refreshing in a music market dominated by electric rock.

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The album ends with a truly beautiful West African folk song “Minuit”, which just might remain in your head,& in your heart, for evermore. For me this music always seems like a celebration of the Earth, of Nature, & of Humanity. What more can one say? If you seek just one album of acoustic instrumental music for your collection,”Icarus” may very well fulfill that need wonderfully. (Stephen Keen)

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Personnel:
Herb Bushler (bass)
David Darling (cello, vocals)
Paul McCandless (oboe, english horn, bass, sarrusophone, vocals)
Ralph Towner (guitar, piano, regal, bush organ, vocals)
Collin Walcott (conga, tabla, mridangam, surdos, traps, kettledrums, bass marimba, sitar)
Paul Winter (saxophone, vocals)
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Barry Altschul (percussion on 08.)
Larry Atamanuik (traps on 01.)
Billy Cobham (traps on 04. + 06.)
Milt Holland (Ghanaian percussion on 06.)
Andrew Tracey – resonator guitar, voice (‘Minuit’)
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vocals on 09:
Janet Johnson – Paul Stookey – Bob Milstein

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Tracklist:
01. Icarus (Towner) 3.04
02. Ode To A Fillmore Dressing Room (Darling) 5.35
03. The Silence Of A Candle (Towner) 3.28
04. Sunwheel (Towner) 4.43
05. Juniper Bear (Walcott/Towner) 3.05
06. Whole Earth Chant (Winter) 7.43
07. All The Mornings Bring (McCandless) 3.53
08. Chehalis And Other Voices (Towner) 5.29
09. Minuit (Winter/Fodeba) 3.10

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Wishbone Ash – Argus (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgArgus is the third album by the rock band Wishbone Ash. It is their most commercially and critically successful album. It peaked at No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart.

The album is medieval-themed, featuring a blend of progressive rock, folk, and hard rock, and is considered a landmark album in the progression of twin-lead guitar harmonisation later adopted by bands such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. The sound engineer on Argus was Martin Birch, who also worked with Deep Purple, later with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and other hard rock bands.[6] The bulk of the lyrics were provided by bassist/lead vocalist Martin Turner, although all members are credited with the music and arrangements.

It was named “Album of the Year” in the 1972 year-end issue of Sounds magazine. (by wikipedia)

If Wishbone Ash can be considered a group who dabbled in the main strains of early-’70s British rock without ever settling on one (were they a prog rock outfit like Yes, a space rock unit like Pink Floyd, a heavy metal ensemble like Led Zeppelin, or just a boogie TShirt.jpgband like Ten Years After?), the confusion compounded by their relative facelessness and the generic nature of their compositions, Argus, their third album, was the one on which they looked like they finally were going to forge their own unique amalgamation of all those styles into a sound of their own. The album boasted extended compositions, some of them (“Time Was,” “Sometime World”) actually medleys of different tunes, played with assurance and developing into imaginative explorations of new musical territory and group interaction. The lyrics touched on medieval themes (“The King Will Come,” “Warrior”) always popular with British rock bands, adding a majestic tone to the music, but it was the arrangements, with their twin lead guitar parts and open spaces for jamming, that made the songs work so well. Argus was a bigger hit in the U.K., where it reached the Top Five, than in the U.S., where it set up the commercial breakthrough enjoyed by the band’s next album, Wishbone Four, but over the years it came to be seen as the quintessential Wishbone Ash recording, the one that best realized the group’s complex vision. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Warrior, The King Will Come, Time Was, Blowin Free are such Classics..In fact every track on this album is at least very good if not excellent! This is the “Must Have” Ash recording and has become regarded by most as their finest hour..Its a master piece of prog rock, mystical, diverse and exciting and every track is delivered with conciseness and consistently high quality. One of the best Prog Albums ever! (Steve Smith)

Wishbone Ash were a staple of me and my friends’ mainly English, Progressive leaning lineup of early 70’s bands, and Argus is undoubtedly one of, if not the best, of their albums from that period and this lineup. It is very typical of the then newish, album-oriented, rather than singles, days, in that it is to be listened to as a whole, and indeed, with only two tracks coming in under four minutes, this wasn’t AM radio material (AM radio was still the predominant format in the U.S., esp outside cities). Those were the days of the complete ‘album experience’.

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You put it on, you listened to both sides, in order (Argus only had 2 songs on the second side, so it was a typical listening ‘experience’, then). And that was a big achievement, to put out an album with no fillers and is what brought forth many masterpieces of that time. Argus is full of many songs with strong hooks, however; even the long, ‘proggy-ier’ songs, which change in tempo, etc, have many memorable moments. Powell’s and Ted Turner’s dual guitars turn in joyous performances here, landing them on many ‘best of’ lists. There are softer tracks on this album (the lovely Leaf and Stream) as well as hard rockers, like the majestic Warrior. The King Will Come, and overall theme were often looked upon as Tolkien references, as Lord of the Rings was extremely popular and mined by many bands at that time Although I own and love all of their first four albums, this is my go-to Ash album, and certainly the most cohesively proggy of those. (S BB)

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Personnel:
Andy Powell (guitar, vocals)
Martin Turner (bass, vocals)
Ted Turner (guitar, vocals)
Steve Upton (drums, percussion)
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John Tout (organ on 07.)

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Tracklist:
01. Time Was 9.46
02. Sometime World 6.57
03. Blowin’ Free 5.20
04. The King Will Come 7.08
05. Leaf And Stream  M. Turner 3:55
06. Warrior 5.54
07. Throw Down The Sword 6.00
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09. No Easy Road (single version) 3.39

All songs written by Andy Powell – Martin Turner – Ted Turner – Steve Upton

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I’m leaving to search for something new
Leaving everything I ever knew
A hundred years in the sunshine
Hasn’t taught me all there is to know

The valley, we will gather there
Helpless in our surrender
Tomorrow the plow becomes the sword
Make us stronger in our danger

Time will pass away
Time will guard our secret
I’ll return again
To fight another day

I’d have to be a warrior
A slave I couldn’t be
A soldier and a conqueror
Fighting to be free

Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds Of Fire (1973)

FrontCover1.jpgBirds of Fire is the second studio album by American jazz fusion band the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It was released on January 3, 1973 by Columbia Records and is the last studio album released by the original band line-up before it dissolved.

As with the group’s previous album, The Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire consists solely of compositions by John McLaughlin. These include the track “Miles Beyond (Miles Davis)”, which McLaughlin dedicated to his friend and former bandleader.

In addition to the standard 2-channel stereo album there was also a 4-channel quadraphonic version released during the 1970s. This appeared on LP in the SQ matrix format.

A remastered version of the album was released on CD in 2000 by Sony Music Entertainment. It features a new set of liner notes by JazzTimes critic Bill Milkowski, as well as photographs of the band. In 2015 the album was re-issued on Super Audio CD by Audio Fidelity containing both the stereo and quad mixes.

The back cover of the album features the poem “Revelation” by Sri Chinmoy. (by wikipedia)

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Emboldened by the popularity of Inner Mounting Flame among rock audiences, the first Mahavishnu Orchestra set out to further define and refine its blistering jazz-rock direction in its second — and, no thanks to internal feuding, last — studio album. Although it has much of the screaming rock energy and sometimes exaggerated competitive frenzy of its predecessor, Birds of Fire is audibly more varied in texture, even more tightly organized, and thankfully more musical in content. A remarkable example of precisely choreographed, high-speed solo trading — with John McLaughlin, Jerry Goodman, and Jan Hammer all of one mind, supported by Billy Cobham’s machine-gun drumming and Rick Laird’s dancing bass — can be heard on the aptly named “One Word,” and the title track is a defining moment of the group’s nearly atonal fury.

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The band also takes time out for a brief bit of spaced-out electronic burbling and static called “Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love.” Yet the most enticing pieces of music on the record are the gorgeous, almost pastoral opening and closing sections to “Open Country Joy,” a relaxed, jocular bit of communal jamming that they ought to have pursued further. This album actually became a major crossover hit, rising to number 15 on the pop album charts, and it remains the key item in the first Mahavishnu Orchestra’s slim discography. (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Personnel:
Billy Cobham (drums, percussion)
Jerry Goodman (violin)
Jan Hammer (keyboards, synthesizer)
Rick Laird (bass)
John McLaughlin (guitar)

BackCover1.jpgTracklist:
01. Birds Of Fire 5.49
02. Miles Beyond (dedicated to Miles Davis) 4.45
03. Celestial Terrestrial Commuters 2.55
04. Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love 0.24
05. Thousand Island Park 3.23
06. Hope 1.56
07. One Word 9.55
08. Sanctuary 5.04
09. Open Country Joy 3.55
10. Resolution 2.10

Music composed by John McLaughlin

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Jerry Goodman1

And here´s a very intersting album … with music from The Mahavishnu Orchestra … arranged for a string quartet … the Radio String Quartett from Austria (click on the pic):

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Hadley Caliman – Iapetus (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgHadley Caliman (January 12, 1932 in Idabel Oklahoma – September 8, 2010) was an American bebop saxophone and flute player.

After studying at Jefferson High School (Los Angeles) (the same school of fellow saxophonist Dexter Gordon) with trumpeter Art Farmer, Caliman performed or recorded with Carlos Santana, Joe Henderson, Earl Hines, Freddie Hubbard, Jon Hendricks, Earl Anderza, Patrice Rushen and several other jazz notables.

In the late 1960s, he was briefly a member of a jazz-rock fusion group led by Ray Draper. He recorded his first solo album in 1971.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Caliman was active leading a quartet and quintet in the Seattle area, served on the music faculty at Cornish College of the Arts, and taught Hadley Caliman1978private lessons to area musicians.

Caliman lived in Cathlamet, Washington for many years.

He died of liver cancer in September 2010, at the age of 78. (by wikipedia)

On Mainstream, early 70s,  … the followup to Filles that Miles never made. Made w/ Bobby Hutcherson’s early 70s band w/o Bobby, pretty “trippy” but damn does it hold up well today to these ears.

Hadley’s been on the scene since the late 40s, had a long bout w/drug addiction (which he speaks of openly). Those Catalyst sides are good, espescially the one w/Elvin. Hadley had another Mainstream album before Iapetus that I’ve not heard, but its reputation ain’t so great. Iapetus, however, is one-of-a-kind in my book, one of those “lost treasures” that time is trying really hard to forget. It ain’t “straight ahead jazz”, though. Not everybody would share my enthusiasm I’m sure, if for no other reason than I’ve hyped the damn thing so much that it’ll probably seem anti-climatic. But I can’t help myself. I really do think it’s that good.

Caliman can also be heard on Santana’s Caravanserai, playing the saxophonic skronk that opens the album. (by J.Sngry)

In other words: Not only a fascinating Jazz-Rock album from this period, but a forgotten masterpiece …

Latin vibes, spiritual jazz-soul all in Coltrane’s feeling and early 70’s electric sound on the second album of Hadley Caliman.

Listen and enjoy !

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Personnel:
Hadley Caliman (saxophone, flute)
Todd Cochran (piano)
Hungria Garcia (timbales)
Luis Gasca (trumpet)
James Leary (bass)
Victor Pantoja (congas)
Woody Theus (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Watercress (Cochran) 3.47
02. Ambivalence (Cochran) 7.37
03. Dee’s Glee (Caliman) 7.38
04. Iapetus (Cochran) 9.58
05. Quadrivium (Caliman) 3.48
06. Green Eyes (Cochran) 5.15

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Hadley Caliman
Hadley Caliman (January 12, 1932  – September 8, 2010)

Dr. John – Syracuse (1972)

FrontCover.jpgShit happens:

Grammy-winning American singer Dr John has died at the age of 77 after suffering a heart attack. The New Orleans-born musician passed away on Thursday, according to a message posted on his official Twitter account. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame singer combined the genres of blues, pop, jazz, boogie woogie and rock and roll. Dr John, who successfully battled heroin addiction, is perhaps best known for his 1973 hit, Right Place, Wrong Time.

A statement said: “Towards the break of day June 6, iconic music legend Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr, known as Dr John, passed away of a heart attack.” It added: “The family thanks all whom shared his unique musical journey & requests privacy at this time. Memorial arrangements will be announced in due course.” Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry was among those to pay tribute, sharing a picture of herself alongside the six-time Grammy winner. Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr also tweeted a picture, along with the message: “God bless Dr John, peace and love to all his family. I love the doctor, peace and love.” (BBC)

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It’s been said that the show’s opening jam was inspired by the Allman Brothers (Dr John opened for them; other acts included Nighttripper and Ophan) but for the fans, it must have been a treat as Dr John previewed Iko Iko and Little Liza Jane, both of which were found on Dr John’s Gumbo, which would only be released on April 20, 1972.

Back in June 1972, when reviewing Dr John’s Gumbo in Rolling Stone magazine, Charlie Gillett wrote: “At the time of writing this, “Iko Iko” is at 75 on the singles charts, so maybe you’ve heard it on the radio by now. Dr John has gone back past the Dixie Cups’ hit to the original recording of the song by Sugar Boy and the Canecutters, who called it “Jackamo.” Once again, Dr John infuses more life and variety into it than the originator, and it must sound great coming onto the radio after Cat Stevens and the New Seekers. But there are quite a few better things on the album.”

Thanks to carville for sharing the show at Dime !

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Personnel:
Jimmy Calhoun (bass)
Paul Hornsby (organ)
Jaimoe (percussion)
Dr. John (guitar, piano, vocals)
Ken Klimak (guitar)
Fred Staehle (drums, percussion)
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background vocals:
Robbie Montgomery – Jessica Smith

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Tracklist:
01. Croker Courtbullion (Intro Jam) (Battiste) 2.40
02. Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya (Rebennack) 6.15
03. Craney Crow (Rebennack) 6.35
04. Familiar Reality (Rebennack) 5.48
05. Keep On Keepin’ On (unknown) 4:06
06. Rock ‘n’ Roll Has Got A Beat (unknown) 2:40
07. Let The Good Times Roll (Johnson) 4.12
08. I Walk On Gilded Splinters/Zu Zu Mamou (Rebennack)  8:53
09. Iko Iko (cuts in) (Crawford/Hawkins/Johnson)/Band Introductions 3.22
10. Little Liza Jane (cuts in) (de Lachau) 2.30
11. Mardi Gras Day (Traditional) 6:33
12. Wang Dang Doodle (Dixon) 5.32
13. Instrumental (unknown) 1.41

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Malcolm “Dr. John” Rebennack (November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019)

Thanks a lot and … REST IN PEACE !

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Little Brother Montgomery – Bajez Copper Station (1972/1993)

LPFrontCover1.jpgAnd here´s the story of Little Brother Montgomery:

Little Brother Montgomery ranks among the greatest blues pianists of the 20th century who had unusually long and prolific career. Montgomery’s biographer, Karl Gert zur Heide, called Montgomery “probably the greatest all-round piano player of his time in the Deep South.” He was born in 1906, passed away in the early 1980’s and began his recording career in 1930. Like his contemporary, Roosevelt Sykes, both men chose to record their versions of “44 blues” at their debut sessions; Sykes cutting it first in 1929 as “Forty- Four Blues” and following year by Montgomery as “Vicksburg Blues.” Montgomery recorded steadily through the decades although never became a star like his contemporary, Sykes who cut hundreds of commercial sides for the black record buying public. Montgomery was recorded much more sparingly, cutting some two-dozen sides in the 30’s, without a doubt his greatest recordings, barely recorded in the 40’s and 50’s but saw ample recording opportunities starting with the blues revival of the 1960’s and continuing through the 1970’s.

This is our second show devoted to Montgomery, with the first also spotlighting Roosevelt Sykes. Today’s show was inspired by the recent 3-CD set on the Agram label, Deep South Piano: The Music of Little Brother Montgomery, his Family, Friends and Peers. These recordings stem from a trip to the United States by Karl Gert zur Heide in 1968 and 1972 to seek out piano blues players. During that trip he recorded Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Sweet Williams, Lafayette Leake, Roosevelt Sykes and others. This collection serves as a belated companion to Heide’s long-out-of-print book, Deep South Piano: The Story of Little Brother Montgomery which came out in 1970 (I recently tracked down a copy of this fascinating book). Today’s show is inspired by another album I’ve been listening to quite a bit lately, also titled Deep South Piano and Little Brother Montgomery01.jpgcut for the Storyville label in 1972. The more I listen to this record the more I feel this is one of his finest; perfectly recorded, the album finds Montgomery at his peak and in a nostalgic mood as he remembers those piano men who influenced him but never record on such songs as “Willie Anderson’s Blues”, “Vanado Anderson Blues”, “Bob Martin Blues”, “Cooney Vaughn’s Tremblin’ Blues”, “Miles Davis Blues” and an extended reworking of his classic, “The 44 (Vicksburg) Blues.” Montgomery knew a staggering number of piano players and absorbed a vast musical knowledge from them. Indeed, Montgomery knew a huge number of songs although he had a smaller number of favorites he recorded often throughout the years.

Eurreal Montgomery was the fifth of ten children, born to Harper and Dicy Montgomery. The family home was in Kentwood, Louisiana where Harper ran a honky-tonk where logging workers gathered on weekends to drink, dance, gamble and listen to music. Most all of the Montgomerys were musical. Harper played clarinet, and Dicy played accordion and organ. Eurreal’s brothers and sisters all learned to play piano to one degree or another. Little Brother taught himself to play simple “three finger blues”, as he called them, on a piano his father bought the family. From then on,” he told his biographer Karl Gert zur Heide, “I just created simple things on my own until later I got large enough and went to hear older people play.… like Rip Top, Loomis Gibson, Papa Lord God.” Montgomery had plenty of opportunity to hear older musicians. Most of them passed regularly through Kentwood and played at his father’s honky-tonk. Eventually, he told Heide, “…I ran away from home at about the age of eleven and played piano for a living.”

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Little Brother, along with a group of other players, developed a piano piece that was unlike any other, and they revelled not only in its originality, but also in its sheer difficulty. He described it as “the hardest barrelhouse of any blues in history to play because you have to keep two different times going in each hand”. This remarkable composition developed over a period of years and was inevitably picked up by other players. One of these (“a feller… (who) always used to be hangin’ around us tryin’ to get in on it”) was Lee Green. Later, in St.Louis, Green would teach it to Roosevelt Sykes, who in turn, was the first to put it on a record, for Okeh in New York in 1929, under the title “44 Blues.”

Montgomery played his way through Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. He eventually moved to New Orleans. In the mid-1920’s, Montgomery toured Louisiana with a variety of bands, his own and others. In 1928, Montgomery was hired by Clarence Desdune’s Dixieland Revelers, a dance band. At the end of 1928, Montgomery quit the Revelers and moved up to Chicago. He made a name for himself playing rent parties—house parties put on in black neighborhoods to raise money to pay the rent. As Heide writes: “It seems impossible to lay down a reliable chronology of Brother’s movements in he mid-1920s. Little Brother Montgomery02.jpgHe traveled extensively in the areas round Louisiana and Mississippi… He probably bought his first car when he was eighteen years old. Thus he could traverse the country playing ‘one-nighters.'”

In late 1930, Montgomery accompanied Minnie Hicks and on two songs, Irene Scruggs on four and recorded “No Special Rider blues” and “Vicksburg Blues” for Paramount. The latter song was one of the most popular blues of its day, widely imitated by bluesmen. In 1931 he cut one 78 for Melotone, “Louisiana Blues b/w Frisco Hi-Ball”and cut two 78’s for Bluebird in 1935. His next recording opportunity was in October 1936 in New Orleans where he waxed a remarkable 18 song session. He also backed fifteen year old singer Annie Turner on four numbers. The recordings Montgomery laid down were undoubtedly the pinnacle of Deep South Piano Bookhis career, an astonishing profusion of piano technique, originality and depth of feeling that mark these as one of the finest bodies of piano blues recorded in the era. As Chris Smith writes he was “adept at blues, jazz, stride, boogie and pop which he synthesized into a personal style that ranged easily from the bopping earthiness of “Frisco Hi-Ball” to the pearl-stringing elegance of “Shreveport Farewell.” His high voice and bleating vibrato are unmistakable, especially on his signature piece, “Vicksburg Blues”, a polyrhythmic showcase for his acute but never pedantic timing. it’s also an example of Brother’s poetry of geography; many of his songs, and even the titles of his instrumentals, are rich evocations of places he knew and the railroads that carried him between them.”

Around the time World War II started Montgomery moved north to Chicago where he remained for the rest of his career. After the war, he began playing “old-time jazz” with musicians such as Baby Dodds and Lonnie Johnson. In 1948, he took part in a Carnegie Hall reunion concert by the Kid Ory Band and He played the Chicago club circuit regularly. Montgomery, like many others, saw himself as more than just a bluesman. From quite early on, too, Montgomery had played in jazz bands, and based in New Orleans in the 1920’s, he worked with many of the great musicians in that city. It was in a jazz band that he would appear on his first issued recordings of the post-war era, together with New Orleans musicians Lee Collins (trumpet) and Oliver Alcorn (sax) and a Chicago rhythm section, in 1947 for Century. Also from the 1940’s were unissued sides for Savoy in 1949.

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In the 1950’s there was sporadic recording activity, even if there were few issued records to show for it at the time: a 1951 session for Atlantic with drummer Frank ‘Sweet’ Williams, two 1953 sides for JOB and two sessions in 1954 and 1956 only four tracks were issued, on a ten-inch LP on the Winding Ball label and five rare sides cut for the Chicago label, Ebony, in 1956.

As electric post-war blues took hold in Chicago, Montgomery was an active session musician. He toured briefly with Otis Rush in 1956. His fame grew in the 1960’s, and he continued to make many recordings. He appeared on some of the influential mid-fifties record made by Otis Rush, and played piano on one of Buddy Guy’s first big hits, his 1960 remake of Montgomery’s “First Time I Met The Blues.”

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As momentum to Montgomery’s career picked up in the 60’s and he became a world traveler, visiting the UK and Europe on several occasions during the 1960’s, cutting several albums there, while remaining based in Chicago. He cut some excellent albums during this period including Tasty Blues for Bluesville featuring sympathetic support from guitarist Lafayette Thomas, two exceptional records for Folkways (Blues and Farro Street Jive), the aforementioned Storyville album, a fine live recording in Amsterdam (Bajez Copper Station) plus band recordings with Edith Wilson and the State Street Ramblers (He May Be Your Man… But He Comes To See Me Sometime!), an album with the State Street Swingers (Goodbye Mr. Blues), recordings made for his own FM label among several others. Other notable recordings were made in 1964 for the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation (I Blueskvarter Vol. 2) and in 1960 when Montgomery visited England where he was recorded extensively by piano expert Francis Wilford Smith (issued on Magpie as These Are What I Like: Unissued Recordings Vol. 1 and Those I Liked I Learned: Unissued Recordings Vol. 2.). He continued performing and recording practically right up to his death on September 6, 1985 of congestive heart failure. (coblues.org)

And here´s a pretty good and very rare live recording by this master of the blues piano … recorded live in ‘Amsterdam 1972 … originally released in 1972 by a small German record company called “Blues Beacon Records” (distributed by Car Records) … this label was later a part of the legendary Enja Jazz label …

What shall I say …

… okay Baby … let´s play the blues tonight … and don´t forget to boogie ….

Recorded live at the Bajes Club in Amsterdam, October 7th, 1972

FirstFront+BackCover (1972).jpgOriginal front + back cover (1st pressing, 1972)

Personnel:
Little Brother Montgomery (piano, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Pinetop ‘s Boogie (Smith) 5.22
02. Cow Cow Blues (Montgomery) 4.20
03. Doctor, Write Me A Prescription For The Blues (Smith) 4.37
04. Farrish Street Jive (Montgomery) 2.50
05. Vicksbury Blues (Montgomery) 5.17
06. Up The Country (Thomas) 3.52
07. Big Fat Boogie (Montgomery) 3.51
08. Conny Vaughn Tremblin Blues (Montgomery) 6.32
09. No Special Ride Blues (Montgomery) 4.40
10. Make Me Down A Pallet On The Floor (Yancey) 4.42
11. Keep On Drinkin´(Montgomery) 4.03

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Eurreal Wilford “Little Brother” Montgomery (April 18, 1906 – September 6, 1985)

Monica Zetterlund & Steve Kuhn – Chicken Feathers (1972)

LPFrontCover1Monica Zetterlund (born Eva Monica Nilsson; 20 September 1937 – 12 May 2005) was a Swedish singer and actress.

Zetterlund began by learning the classic jazz songs from radio and records, initially not knowing the language and what they sang about in English. Her hit songs included “Sakta vi gå genom stan” (Swedish cover of “Walking My Baby Back Home”; in Swedish a tribute to Stockholm town), “Visa från Utanmyra”, “Sista jäntan”, “Trubbel”, “Gröna små äpplen” (“Little Green Apples”), “Monicas vals” (“Waltz for Debby”), “Stick iväg, Jack!” (“Hit the Road Jack”), “Att angöra en brygga”, “Var blev ni av”, “Måne över Stureplan” (cover of Sting’s “Moon Over Bourbon Street”) and “Under vinrankan!”, among many, many others.

She also interpreted the works of such Swedish singer-songwriters as Evert Taube, Olle Adolphson and Povel Ramel, and all through her life interpreted the works of international and American jazz musicians/songwriters. She worked with some of the greatest international jazz names including Louis Armstrong, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Steve Kuhn and Quincy Jones, and in the Scandinavian jazz world with people like Georg Riedel, Egil Johansen, Arne Domnérus, Svend Asmussen and Jan Johansson.

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In 1964, she recorded the critically acclaimed jazz album Waltz for Debby with Bill Evans, a record she herself described as “the best I’ve done”[citation needed] and was the most proud of. Her professional skill was amply demonstrated in this album in performing the challenging Harold Arlen song, “So Long, Big Time”.

Her long career also included the song “En gång i Stockholm” (“Winter City”); a jazz ballad with which she represented Sweden in the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest. She finished last, however (mainly because the song genre was not suitable for the competition)[citation needed] and scored the infamous nul points, but still managed to remain successful in Sweden. Her collaboration with the comic duo Hasse & Tage (in the 1960s and 1970s) eventually led to a stage career in revues and films. Memorable are her parts in films Att angöra en brygga and Äppelkriget, with her most memorable role being in Jan Troell’s Utvandrarna (aka The Emigrants; with Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow in the leads) as Ulrika, a former prostitute who together with her teenage daughter Elin (portrayed by Zetterlund’s daughter, Eva Lena Zetterlund) join the main characters in their emigration to America in the 1850s, a role for which Zetterlund received a Guldbagge Award for Best Supporting Actress. She appeared in more than 20 films and television series throughout her life.

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She suffered from severe scoliosis which began after a childhood accident, and as a result was forced to retire from performing in 1999.

On 12 May 2005, she died following an accidental fire in her apartment in Stockholm, probably due to her habit of smoking in bed. (by wikipedia)
Originally released in 1972 on vinyl in Sweden (Sveriges Radio SR-1151), composed by jazz pianist Steve Kuhn,and sung by Swedish vocalist Monica Zetterlund, this is pure HEAVEN. Backed by the thirteen member Swedish Radio JazzGroup Big Band, which was made up of a who’s who of Sweden’s jazz stars at that time, it’s a stellar
performance by all involved.

Zetterlund03There are eleven tunes on the recording and superbly display Kuhn’s unique, sharp
writing skills. Many of them went on to become signature tunes for Kuhn on his later classic dates on the ECM label. The stunning and gorgeous “Silver”, in particular, (which was his nickname for Zetterlund), first appeared on Kuhn’s 1968 MPS trio album, “Watch What Happens”, and would become one of his most recorded pieces on his future releases. Zetterlund and the band are in magnificent form on the entire session, which was produced by Bosse Broberg, who also plays trumpet on it. Kuhn, himself, is not the pianist on this date — Bengt Hallberg fills that role in marvelous fashion.

Along with “Silver”, three other Kuhn pieces on the cd – “Ulla”, “Thoughts Of
A Gentleman”, and “The Saga Of Harrison Crabfeathers”, later appeared on Kuhn’s classic 1974 ECM solo piano album, “Ecstacy” (his second ECM release). “Ulla” is also known as “Remembering Tomorrow”, the title tune of a 1996 ECM Kuhn trio cd, while “Pearlie’s Swine”, another Kuhn piece on Zetterlund’s album, also goes by the title “The Zoo”, which is given a great, funky treatment on “Chicken Feathers”. (“Thoughts Of A Gentleman” changed later, as well, to “Gentle thoughts” on his 1979 ECM album “Playground,” with vocalist Sheila Jordan, which also included “The Zoo”).

Monica and Steve were involved together in the late 60’s, after he had moved to Sweden
from the States to further broaden himself musically. When their love affair ended, Kuhn started writing – in a later interview, he stated, “I can remember sitting in her yard in that period, with tunes just flowing out of me – some with lyrics in pure stream of consciousness, like “The Zoo”. Then after we broke up and I returned home, I was a very unhappy young man, and the things I was writing – “Tomorrow’s Son”, “Thoughts Of A Gentleman” – show it.”

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Two more Kuhn compositions on the Zetterlund cd, “The Baby” (a.k.a. “Saharan”), and “Raindrops, Raindrops”, are also given superb treatment by her and the band. Bengt Hallberg, the pianist, contributes two poignant tunes dedicated to Monica and Steve – “Till Monica” (co-written with trumpeter Jan Allan and guitarist
Rune Gustafsson), and “Till Steve”.

Monica Zetterlund tragically left us at the age of 67 (1937-2005). She was not only a fabulous singer, but also a talented actress in Sweden (over twenty films and TV shows). “Chicken Feathers” is a wonderful jazz collage of writing and performance.

It’s definitely worth seeking out, especially if you’re a Steve Kuhn fan. It was also beautifully recorded. A treasure. (by James K. Stewart)

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Personnel:
Lennart Åberg (saxophone, flute)
Jan Allan (trumpet)
Bosse Broberg (trumpet)
Arne Domnérus (saxophone, clarinet)
Rune Gustafsson (guitar)
Bengt Hallberg (piano)
Sven Larsson (trombone)
Bertil Lövgren (trumpet)
Erik Nilsson (saxophone, clarinet)
Håkan Nyqvist (french horn)
Georg Riedel (bass)
Alex Riel (drums)
Claes Rosendahl (saxophone, flute)
Monica Zetterlund (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Chicken Feathers (Kuhn) 2.23
02. The Baby (Kuhn) 2.19
03. The Saga Of Harrison Crabfeathers (Kuhn) 2.49
04. Raindrops Raindrops (Kuhn) 2.45
05. Silver (Kuhn) 2.16
06. Till Monica (Hallberg/Allan/Gustafsson) 3.08
07. The Thoughts Of A Gentleman (Kuhn) 2.44
08. The Real Guitarist Is In The House (Kuhn) 3.33
09. Pearlie’s Swine (Kuhn) 3.22
10. Ulla (Kuhn) 3.43
11. Till Steve (Hallberg/Kuhn) 2.18

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