Gerald Garcia – Romantic Guitar Favourites (1992)

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Gerald Garcia (born 1949 in Hong Kong) is a classical guitarist and composer.

After studying chemistry at Oxford University, he became a professional musician, making his debut at the Wigmore Hall in London. His more than fifteen CDs have sold more than 30,000 copies worldwide. In addition, he has performed with other musicians including John Williams, Paco Peña and John Renbourn.

Garcia is also known as a composer, particularly for his Etudes Esquisses for guitar, GeraldGarciarecorded for Naxos Records by John Holmquist. He is musical director of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble.

Gerald Garcia lives in Oxford, where, according to his website, he enjoys “cooking, computer music, Taoist Yoga and conducting the odd chamber orchestra.”

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This beautifully studio-recorded disc from 1989 was, if I am correctly infomed, Gerald Garcia’s fifth CD for Naxos (following on from “Concierto de Aranjuez”, “Brazilian Portrait”, “Latin American Guitar Festival” and “Baroque Guitar Favourites”). It contains some of the “prettiest” music for classical guitar that I have ever heard, although I should add in the same breath that there is, in fact, no music for classical guitar at all on the disc – all the pieces here recorded are transcriptions of music for violin solo (Paganini’s Caprices), for violin and guitar (Paganini’s Grand Sonata), for piano (Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words) and for voice and piano (Schubert’s Lieder). The Paganini and Mendelssohn appear to have been transcribed by Garcia himself, whereas the Schubert was congenially adapted for the instrument by Johann Kaspar Mertz, a 19th century Bohemian guitarist. The title of the CD, “Romantic Guitar Favourites”, is therefore a complete misnomer, but that in no way affects the enjoyment to be had from listening to what, to my non-expert ears at any rate, is some excellent guitar-playing in first-rate audio quality. The notes, written by Gerald Garcia himself, are brief but informative. (Leslie Richfordon)

Gerald Garcia has made an estimable series of CDs for Naxos, and this one is no exception. He has a beautiful sound for Romantic guitar music. His tone is large, his passage work never becomes coarse or astringent, and his overall conceptions are lush sounding and warm. The Mendelssohn and Schubert transcriptions are preformed with a great deal of delicacy, almost dreamy. The two Paganini Caprices are brilliant display pieces that Garcia dispatches with style and ease. As for the Paganini Sonata, it is an engrossing work that Garcia never lets sound heavy. Add a full spectrumed sound engineering picture, and you have a very appealing album. (David Saemannon)

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Personnel:
Gerald Garcia (guitar)

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Tracklist:

Niccolò Paganini:
01 Caprice Nº91 + Caprice Nº9

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy:
02. Venetian Boat Song I (Song Without Words Op. 19 Nº 6)
03. Song Without Words, Op.19 Nº4
04. Song Without Words, Op.53 Nº4
05. Song Without Words, Op.85 Nº2
06. Song Without Words, Op.62 Nº4
07. Venetian Boat Song II (Song Without Words Op. 30 Nº 6)
08. Allegro Risoluto

Niccolò Paganini:
09. Romanza

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy:
10. Andantino Variato
11. Caprice Nº24

Franz Schubert:
12. Praise Of Tears
13. Love’s Messenger
14. Serenade
15. Delay
16. Fisher Maiden
17. The Post

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More Gerald Garcia:

 MoreGarcia

 

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Pete Haycock Band – Livin´ It (1992)

FrontCover1It´s time to celebrate the one and only Pete Haycock !!!

Peter John Haycock (4 March 1951 – 30 October 2013) was an English musician and film score composer. He began his career as lead guitarist, vocalist, and founding member of the Climax Blues Band.

Haycock was born in Stafford, and here he attended St. John’s Primary School and King Edward VI Boys Grammar School. As a child, he was impressed by the guitar solos of Hank Marvin of The Shadows. He played his first electric guitar at a miners club when he was 12. He then played guitar at school and college dances. Along with local boys, he formed a blues band, the Mason–Dixon Line.[3] In 1967, Haycock met Colin Cooper and joined his soul band The Gospel Truth.[2] In 1968, they founded a new band, the Climax Chicago Blues Band, and then they eventually changed its name to the Climax Blues Band, in 1970. The band’s original line-up consisted of Haycock (lead guitar, vocals), Cooper (harmonica, vocals), Derek Holt (guitar, vocals), Richard Jones (bass), Arthur Wood (keyboards), George Newsome (drums).

During the early 1970s, the Climax Blues Band went through a few personnel changes, before arriving at their most stable, creative, and successful line-up, which consisted of Haycock, Cooper, Holt (switched to bass guitar), and John Cuffley (drums). In 1976, the line-up with keyboardist Richard Jones wrote the band’s biggest hit “Couldn’t Get It Haycock02Right”. The song included the vocal harmonies of Haycock and Holt, behind Cooper’s lead. Haycock, an underrated vocalist, sang lead on several of the band’s tracks, particularly on the Sense of Direction (1974), Stamp Album (1975), Gold Plated (1976), Shine On (1978), and Flying The Flag (1980). albums. The band with the core line-up of Haycock, Cooper, Holt, and John Cuffley toured heavily in the 1970s and 1980s. During much of this period, Haycock played concerts with his rare trademark instrument, a gold-plated Veleno guitar, which was also on the cover of the album Gold Plated.

Holt and Cuffley left in 1983. Haycock and Cooper went their separate ways after their final Climax Blues Band album together, 1983’s Sample and Hold.

In May 2012, the Major League Productions Ltd record label released an until-then unknown vault recording of a 1976 live performance, featuring the Climax Blues Band at the top of their game: Climax Blues Band / World Tour 1976. Haycock provided some insightful liner notes for the CD’s insert, and the recording further demonstrates the tight musicianship that was found in the band’s line-up at that time.

In March 2015, a 4-CD retrospective was released entitled Live, Rare, and Raw 1973-1979, featuring the band at the height of their powers, in a variety of Live settings. This release would parallel the ferocity and acclaim of Climax Blues Band’s 1973 album, FM/Live. The band produced more than 15 successful albums in their heyday.

Though another group of musicians, which at one time was led by late former bandmate Colin Cooper, is currently calling themselves “Climax Blues Band”, their lineup does not consist of any founding members, and has not found the commercial success or following that the original, “true” Climax Blues Band enjoyed during Haycock’s years with the band. Cooper died in 2008.

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In 1984, the bandmembers went their separate ways, and Haycock went on to record several solo projects, the first of which was the album Total Climax (1986) recorded with his new band, Pete Haycock’s Climax. Pete Haycock’s Climax toured extensively in Europe, including Communist East Germany, as well as a well-received tour in Australia, also releasing The Soft Spot (1987). During this period, Haycock was asked by former Climax Blues Band manager, Miles Copeland, to record an instrumental album for I.R.S. No Speak, Guitar and Son, and Night of the Guitars, a live album from the tour of the same name.[9] After that tour, in 1989, Haycock teamed up with Holt and guitarist Steve Hunter to record an album under the name H Factor. The Pete Haycock Band consisted of the musicians from the Total Climax lineup, and went on to record a live album entitled Livin’ It in 1992. Copeland also signed Gary Numan to I.R.S. with whom Haycock collaborated with in the 1988 album Metal Rhythm.

Haycock was approached by Bev Bevan, formerly of Electric Light Orchestra, to join the newly formed Electric Light Orchestra Part II. The group toured and recorded with Haycock in the early 1990s, releasing both a live CD and video of their performance with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. They recorded and toured together until 1993.

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In the early 1990s, Haycock was asked by Hans Zimmer to collaborate on film scores for K2 (1991), and Toys (1992). Other film scores they worked on were for Drop Zone (1994), and The Dilemma (2011), among others. Haycock’s slide guitar contributed to Thunderbird, the theme music for the 1991 film, Thelma & Louise.[2] Haycock was asked by Zimmer to re-create his performance, with a live symphony orchestra for the recording of Wings of a Film, which was a compilation album of Zimmer’s successful film scores.[citation needed]

Haycock began composing music of his own for film and television. Along with Holt, he composed music for the 1992 film One False Move. More scores would follow, and Haycock helped produce recordings for other artists.

Haycock05.jpgIn 2005, Haycock supplied all the music for the Hollister Independence Motorcycle Rally DVD charity project, for producer Jeff Byler, with proceeds benefiting Emmaus House, a shelter for battered women and children. When the DVD’s producer suggested a follow-up soundtrack to the project, Haycock went back into the studio to complete the album that became Bikers’ Dozen, which featured a vocal performance by John Fiddler (Medicine Head).

Haycock signed on as a major contributor to the LovePower and Peace[ charity CD project in 2009, which was spearheaded by fellow musician Robin George, and was built around George’s hit song, “LovePower and Peace”. Haycock contributed many trademark slide guitar tracks and donated studio time to the project, a charity effort to benefit children with cancer and other terminal diseases.

This collaboration, which included the donated talents of scores of veteran musicians,[14] also resulted in the forming a “super group” called The LovePower Band, which landed a major record deal and completed its first album, which was released in 2011.

After an absence from the stage and live performances, Haycock formed a new band, Pete Haycock’s True Blues (featuring Glen Turner). In 2008, they toured Europe and released their first recording together: Pete Haycock’s True Blues Live (featuring Glen Turner).[16][17] In April 2009, Haycock, in an interview talked about the early days with the Climax Blues Band, the transition to studio work (with and without Hans Zimmer), and his return to the stage with his new band, after an absence from live performances of fourteen years.

Haycock continued to record, and perform live, and had been a featured guest performer with the Siggi Schwarz’ band, and was on the same bill with ZZ Top and Johnny Winter in 2012.

Haycock012013 found Haycock coming full-circle with the formation of a super-group recording and scheduled for touring as Pete Haycock’s Climax Blues Band featuring Robin George, with Haycock being joined by a lineup of musicians including George, with whom he had collaborated on the LovePower Band, and other projects. Haycock envisioned this project as a return to the “true” Climax Blues Band, and he had just completed the new album, Broke Heart Blues, before his death.

Haycock built a recording studio in Frankfurt, Germany where he lived for several years until his death. He died of a heart attack on 30 October 2013 in Frankfurt. The news was posted on the group’s official website. He was 62. (by wikipedia)

And this is one of his rarest album, only released in Germany. It was recorded live at a samll club called “Die Neue Kulisse”, Pirmasens / Germany in June 1992 and when I wrote it´s time to celebrate the one and only Pete Haycock … you will undertand me … after listening thiis album.

Pete Haycock … one of the most underrated musician in the history of Rock & Blues !

Listen and enjoy !

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Personnel:
Livingstone Brown (bass, keyboards, vocals on 5)
Pete Haycock (guitar, vocals)
Clive Mayuyu (drums)
Mike Stevens (saxophone, flute, keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Liberty (Haycock) 3.29
02. So Many Roads (Marshall) 11.11
03. Communication (Haycock) 6.47
04. Medley: 6.48
04.1. Come On In My Kitchen (Johnson)
04.2. Country Hat (Haycock)
05. The Thrill Is Gone /Hawkins/Darnell) 13.09
06. Lucienne (Haycock) 10.41
07. Dr. Brown, I Presume (Haycock) 6.00
08. Blackjack And Me (Haycock) 5.32

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Lonette McKee – Natural Love (1992)

FrontCover1An outstanding actress, Lonette McKee is also an accomplished vocalist and pianist. She sang with the Soul Sisters, who were featured on Jonathan Winters’ television show. But she is much better known for her appearances in such films as “Sparkle,” “Cotton Club,” and “Which Way Is Up.” She recorded briefly for Sussex in 1974, but had little luck. (by Ron Wynn)

Lonette McKee’s debut for film director Spike Lee’s Columbia-distributed 40 Acres and a Mule label picks up where her 1978 Johnny Pate-produced Warner Bros. LP, Words and Music, left off, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Issued on October 6, 1992, Natural Love shows that the singer/songwriter’s muse knows no stylistic bounds. As with her earlier effort, McKee co-writes all of the songs while sharing production credits with Bryant McNeil, Gene Lake Jr., and labelmate Raymond Jones of State of Art.

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The whimsical “Watch the Birds” was the lead single. McKee flirts with hip-hop on “Dream of You.” The lovely acoustic guitar-based ballad “Hiding Away” is a gem and the same form is used for the reflective and wise “Nothing Is As It Seems.” The longing “What About You” could have easily fit on Words and Music. Though she recorded during the ’60s in her native Detroit for Clarence Avant’s Sussex label, it’s on Words and Music and Natural Love that McKee comes into her own. (by Ed Hogan)

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Personnel:
Bilal Bashir (programming)
Alvino Bennett (drums)
Chris Durante (guitar)
Ju Ju House (drums)
Nathaniel T. Hughes (percussion)
Raymond Jones (keyboards, background vocals)
Gene Lake, Jr. (drums, percussion)
Daniel T. Le’melle (saxophone)
Lonette McKee (vocals, keyboards)
Bryant S. McNeil (bass)
Robert E. Palmer (guitar, programming)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Anthony Peterson (guitar)
Charles Q. Rubin (guitar)
Richard Tee (organ)
Nathan Watts (bass)
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strings:
Noel Pointer – Cecelia Hobbs Gardner – Sandra C. Park – Elliot Rosoff – Joyce Hammann – John Pintaville – Louann Montesi – Barry Finclair – Shelia Reinhold – Carol A. Pool – Stanley G. Hunte – Sandra N. Billingslea – Winterton Garvey – Ann Labin – Belinda Whitney Barrett – Cenovia N. Cummins – Jennie Hansen – Alfred Brown – John R. Dexter – Richard Brice – Juliet M. Haffner – Harry Zaratzian – Frederick Zlotkin – Alvin C. McCall – Bruce L. Wang – Erik Freidlander
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background vocals:
Audrey Wheeler – Armstead Christian – Will Downing – Brenda Nelson – Brenda White – Spike Lee, Joie Lee

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Tracklist:
01 Tell Me If This Is Love (McKee) 4.19
02. Watch The Birds (McKee) 4.14
03. Dream Of You (McKee/McNeil) 3.51
04. Sweeter & Sweeter (McKee) 4.31
05. Hiding Away (McNeil/Peterson) 4.08
06. What About You (McKee) 4.42
07. For Your Love (Lake/McNeil(Corbette) 4.08
08. Save This Precious Love (Our Precious Animals) (McKee) 3.24
09. Nothing Is As It Seems (McNeil/Peterson) 5.39
10. Don’t Wake Me Up (If I’m Dreamin’) (McKee) 4.58

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Al Ayre Español – A Century Of Spanish Baroque Music (1992)

FrontCover1In many works, Spanish Baroque music is a mixture of both school and popular music. Rhythms, color, instrumentation, melody and even the harmonic support have a little arabian touch. It developed mostly through popular music, not court music. Then, it was assimilated into the Spanish tradition. The 18th century Spanish were still impressed by the polyphony of the 16th century and continued to compose in that style.
Spanish composers such as Sebastián Durón (1660-1716), Antonio Literes (1673-1747) and José de Torres (c.1670-1738) used combined rhythms. Literes have a quartet of four voices, each singing a different rhythm with accents falling in different places. Many Spanish composers at that time were not satisfied with the rhythm of the bass and the voice, and added a lot of rhythms with the continuo and the percussion.
Complex rhythms which include a flamenco drum player, for example, recreate this atmosphere. The rythmic changes in Spanish baroque music are constant. The pizzicato string continuo played like guitars, the castanets, the descending tetrachords typical of the malagueña mixed with classic galant always excite the listener. (by geocities.ws)

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Al Ayre Español was founded in 1988 by Eduardo López Banzo with the objective of avoiding the mistaken clichés that often surrounded the performance of Spanish baroque music. The spirit of the ensemble made this possible thanks to musicological rigor, performance excellence and with the main purpose of giving new breath to music from the past, making them appear as recent compositions, and then offering them to the contemporary audience.

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Personnel:
Al Ayre Español conducted by Eduardo López Banzo

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Tracklist:

Antonio de Literes – Ha Del Rústico PastorAntonio de Literes:
01. Introducción 1.42
02. Recitado – Aria 3.56
03. Recitado – Aria 4.06
04. Recitado – Minuete – Grave 3.46

Anonymous:
05 Pascalles I-II 3.41

Joaquín Martínez de la Roca: Los Desagravios De Troya;
06 Despacio – Solo Con Violines – Recitado – Seguidillas 3.09
07 Recitado – Solo Con Violines – Seguidillas 2.20
08. Aria – Recitado – Solo Con Violines – Recitado – Seguidillas – Minue 5.29
09. Primera Jornada: Recitado – Aria 6.04
10. Segunda Jornado: Recitado – Coplas 4.28

Francisco José de Castro – Sonata Prima:
11. Preludio 2.10
12 Allemanda 1.46
13. Corrente 1.28
14 Giga 1.09
15. Minue 0.47

José de Torres Martínez Bravo – !O, Quién Pudiera Alcanzar!:
16. Aria 3.45
17. Recitado – Aria 3.13
18. Despacio 2.38
19. Fuga 1:17
20. Recitado – Aria 3.20
21. Grave 1.53

C'D

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Wolfgang Dauner, Charlie Mariano + Dino Saluzzi – Pas de trois (1992)

FrontCover1What a great trio !

Wolfgang Dauner (born 30 December 1935) is a German jazz fusion pianist, composer and keyboardist born in Stuttgart, Germany, probably best known for his work in the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble and with musicians such as Hans Koller, Albert Mangelsdorff, Volker Kriegel or Ack van Rooyen. Father of famous German drummer Florian Dauner, who is best known for his work with German hip-hop group Die Fantastischen Vier and electronic dance DJ Paul van Dyk, and is commonly referred to as Flo, the Flower, or the Fallopian.

Charlie Mariano (November 12, 1923 – June 16, 2009[1]) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and soprano saxophonist.

Mariano was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Italian immigrants, Giovanni Mariano and Maria Di Gironimo of Fallo, Italy. He grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, enlisting in the Army Air Corps after high school, during World War II. After his service in the Army, Mariano attended what was then known as Schillinger House of Music, now Berklee College of Music. He was among the faculty at CharlieMariano01Berklee from 1965–1971. Mariano moved to Europe in 1971, settling eventually in Köln (Cologne), Germany, with his third wife, Dorothee Zippel.

He played with one of the Stan Kenton big bands, Toshiko Akiyoshi (his then wife), Charles Mingus, Eberhard Weber, the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, Embryo and numerous other notable bands and musicians.

He was known for his use of the nadaswaram, a classical wind instrument from Tamil Nadu.

Mariano had six daughters, including four with his first wife, and musician Monday Michiru with his second wife. He had six grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. He died of cancer on June 16, 2009.

Dino Saluzzi (born May 20, 1935 Campo Santo, Salta Province, Argentina) is a Argentinian bandoneon player. He is the son of Cayetano Saluzzi and the father of guitarist José Maria Saluzzi.

Dino played the bandoneón since his childhood. Other than his father, he was influenced by Salta musicians such as Cuchi Leguizamón, and by the lyrical strain of the tango of Francisco de Caro and Agustin Bardi. Dino described the vividness of his musical sketches as “an imaginary return” to the little towns and villages of his childhood.

For much of his youth, Saluzzi lived in Buenos Aires, playing with the Radio El Mundo orchestra. He would play in orchestras for a living, while touring with smaller, sometimes jazz-oriented ensembles, developing a personal style that made him a leading bandoneonist in Argentine folklore and avant-garde music (especially since Ástor Piazzolla did not participate in projects other than his own). His record career doesn’t start until the 70s, along with Gato Barbieri, when he signed a couple of crazy lyricism albums under the name of Gaucho. Over this decade, he worked on many tours in South America and specially in Japan, but always associated to other names, as Mariano Mores or Enrique Mario Franchini.

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Through word-of mouth publicity (mostly from expatriate musicians) he was invited to several European music festivals, and landed a contract with the ECM label. Several records have resulted, including Kultrum, 1982. From the beginning of the 1980s onwards, there were collaborations with European and American jazz musicians including Charlie Haden, Tomasz Stanko, Charlie Mariano, Palle Danielsson, and Al Di Meola.

ECM brought Saluzzi together with Charlie Haden, Palle Mikkelborg and Pierre Favre for Once Upon A Time … Far Away In The South, and subsequently with Enrico Rava for Volver. Rava had worked extensively in Argentina, and Haden’s sympathy for Latin American music was well-known; furthermore Palle Mikkelborg and Dino Saluzzi had worked together productively in George Gruntz’s band: there was a common ground on which an artistic exchange of ideas could take place. Saluzzi later played with ‘Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra’, and the ‘Rava Saluzzi Quintet’ also toured.

In 1991, Saluzzi recorded an album with his brothers Felix and Celso and his son José María on guitar, kicking off his “family project”, which has since toured many countries. Mojotoro drew upon the full range of South American musics: tango, folk, candina music, candombe, the milonga music of the la Pampa province…

Anja Lechner and Dino have toured widely as a duo, too and US jazz magazine “Down Beat” declares the album that recorded together, Ojos Negros album of the year (best of 2007 list). (by wikipedia)

This is the second album of this trio (the first one is called “One Night in `88).

Dino Saluzzi whose musical antennae mtch the sensivities of Dauner and Mariano. The interplaya and sonorities sing out with brilliant consonance. Both albums are excellent with Pas De Trois having just the edge of focus and pith. (taken from “A Rough Guide To Jazz”)

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uncaPersonnel:
Wolfgang Dauner (piano)
Charlie Mariano (saxophone)
Dino Saluzzi (bandoneón)

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Tracklist:
01.Randy (Mariano) 8.10
02. Plum Island (Mariano) 6.04
03. Lucas (Salizzi) 5.33
04. Se Va La Murga (Ross) 2.25
05. Trans Tanz (Dauner) 6.29
06. Y Amo A Su Hermano Hasta El Final (Saluzzi) 9.10

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Giora Feidman – Feidman Plays Piazzolla (2002)

FrontCover1Argentinian born Feidman comes from a family of Klezmer musicians and is one himself; it shows in his treatment of these Piazzolla pieces. His clarinet soars and dives in a magical way that makes each track a real experience. I am not clear whether these particular pieces were written to be played this way. Was that what drew him to performing them or is it just his particular treatment of them? Whatever the answers this approach makes these pieces infinitely listenable.

Piazzolla was born near Buenos Aires, in 1921. He is the man responsible for dragging the tango out of the bordellos, having it accepted in the world’s concert halls and purging it of the watered down bastardised state it had fallen into in the years following the second world war. It was his father who set the young Piazzolla on his musical course by having him take piano lessons at ten and buying him his first instrument – a bandoneon. The bandoneon is a quintessentially Argentinian relative of the concertina – the ‘voice’ that makes the music of the tango so irresistible.

Seeing the great populariser of the tango Carlos Gardel in New York, where he was living, changed Piazzolla’s life. Gardel, who had already heard of the young and talented ex-pat, invited him to join his orchestra. Returning to Buenos Aires Piazzolla played with many tango bands and brought innovation to them all. He started his own orchestra in 1946 but was so frustrated by its reception that he left for Paris where, encouraged by such people as Nadia Boulanger, he set about introducing aspects of modern jazz, classical music and the music of Latin American folklore into his tango compositions.

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Piazzolla finally won the recognition he and his music deserved in Paris but it didn’t win acceptance in his homeland until the 1960s. It is hoped that someone else will take on his mantle so that this wonderfully evocative music does not slip back into stagnation and pastiche. Certainly such people as Feidman are making a major contribution towards ensuring that this does not happen.

This disc is a perfect example of all the influences Piazzolla brought to bear on tango; every track is a delight. Feidman is accompanied by Raul Jaurena on bandoneon and the South West German Chamber Orchestra of Pforzheim conducted with verve and commitment by Vladislav Czarnecki.

Thoroughly recommended! (by Steve Arloff)

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Personnel:
Giora Feidman (clarinet)
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Raul Jaurena (bandoneon on 03., 07. + 09.)
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Chamber Orchestra of Pforzheim  counducted by Vladislav Czarnecki

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Tracklist:
01. Moderato Tangabile 3.45
02. Chant Et Fugue 7.08
03. Preparense 5.05
04. Tristango 8.15
05. Lo Que Vendra 4:01
06. Milonga Del Angel 5.45
07. Fracanapa 3.58
08. Hommage 6.43
09. Marron Y Azul 4.39
10. Kicho 6.30
11. Tanti Anni Prima 5.51

Music composed by Astor Piazolla

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Astor Piazolla
Astor Piazolla

 

Mose Allison – Jazzfest Berlin (1992)

frontcover1 The musician Mose Allison, who has died aged 89, could count the Who, the Clash, Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison and Georgie Fame among the fans of his acerbic songs. His scalpel-sharp lyrics were underpinned by assiduous researches of a line that went all the way back to the earliest roots of the blues.

Allison always managed to sound cool and in a hurry at the same time. Needing nothing more than a piano, a microphone and a rhythm section to fire off his own biting updates on country-blues, he would hustle through his repertoire of laconic social commentary, and the classic songs of Tampa Red, Willie Dixon and many others, as if trying to squeeze a Delta discography into a single set.

Rarely pausing for banter or biographical musings about himself or his heroes, the spare, faintly donnish Allison would clatter into the opening of a song when the last syllable of its namecheck was barely out of his mouth. The restless urban urgency of his methods brought a modernity (via bebop) to the earthy materials of the Delta, and a sophisticated irony to the direct and often accusatory themes of the blues.

The pianist, singer and occasional trumpeter never adapted his light, southern-inflected conversational voice to the spine-tingling hollers or the muscular laments of traditional blues. He used it instead as an almost rap-like, rhythmic monotone – the dynamics sometimes varied by an explosive, sustained sound, but more usually echoing a drummer’s busy, preoccupied mutter.

In his early years, he was a piano accompanist and not a singer, working for various top saxophonists, and his keyboard playing retained a delightful eccentricity throughout his career, an uncategorisable style of whirling runs and marching left-hand countermelodies that was his alone.

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And though the lyrics of Allison’s best songs became well known, his performances could always produce freshly disconcerting versions of the devastating one-liners that included “your mind’s on vacation but your mouth’s working overtime”, “I’m nobody today but I was somebody last night” and “ever since the world ended, I don’t go out so much”. “Mose, you got a good thing goin’,” Sonny Boy Williamson said to him. Dixon called him “a beautiful musician”.

Allison was born on his grandfather’s farm, near the village of Tippo, just inside the eastern rim of the Mississippi Delta. His father took over the business, and his mother taught at the local school – a connection that gave the boy a lifelong love of literature that significantly influenced his resources as a songwriter. Allison’s father was a good stride-style pianist and, at the age of five, the boy was sent for formal piano lessons. But it was the blues, boogie-woogie music and jazz he heard on the jukeboxes that really turned his head.

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In a predominantly black corner of the US’s cotton-farming country in the 1930s, Allison recollected that 60% of the jukebox fare would be country blues, and the remainder the big-band bravura of Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey – and he loved both. A gifted natural improviser, he was also attracted to the trumpet by the music of Louis Armstrong, studying the instrument in high school and performing with it in local marching bands and dance bands.

But family caution rather than the lure of jazz and blues determined Allison’s next step and he went to the University of Mississippi to study chemical engineering. Army bands allowed him to return to the trumpet and piano during a year of military service, however, and in 1947 he returned to college (this time as an economics major) but also became the leader of a jazz trio and a composer/arranger for the college band. He pulled out of full-time education a second time, to take a six-nights-a-week job playing piano and singing in a cocktail lounge near Lake Charles, Indiana, then moved to Louisiana State University to study English and philosophy, graduating in 1952.

But Allison’s career was beginning to roll by now. He began working all over the south-east and as far north as Denver, then went to New York to sample the frenetic modern jazz and bebop scene in 1956. He played piano with the saxists Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Gerry Mulligan, but the invigorating New York scene encouraged him to draw together all the disparate influences in his musical sensibilities: the relaxed swing piano of Nat King Cole and Erroll Garner, the various angles on bebop adopted by Thelonious Monk, John Lewis and Al Haig, and, of course, the distant childhood sounds of the blues singers.

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Like Miles Davis in the same period, Allison was finding that bop could become a mechanical, formulaic exercise, and he was looking for something else. In 1957, Allison made Back Country Suite for the Prestige label, and, the following year, an Allison trio made its debut at the Café Bohemia in New York – with a young drummer, Paul Motian, who was later to become a star.

Allison’s interweaving of swing’s elegance and his own eccentrically bumpy, bop-influenced rhythmic sense marked the arrival of a significant new force. He brought together a mix of jazz and country sounds new to 50s east coast hipsters, and on a single sung track (simply called Blues) he seemed to be opening up possibilities for a white voice exploring black material creatively rather than as pastiche that anticipated the white R&B boom of the decade still to come.

Albums such as Local Color (1957) and Autumn Song (1959) followed, with the first briefly featuring Allison’s muted trumpet and a haunting examination of Duke Ellington’s Don’t Ever Say Goodbye, and the second including more vocals, and some straight bop piano on one of the idiom’s classics, Groovin’ High. But he still saw himself as a pianist at least as much as a singer in this period, continuing to work with Getz intermittently – including a month-long engagement at the Montmartre club, Copenhagen, where the two performed as a duo.

Allison’s best songs surfaced ever more prolifically in the period between 1960 and 1964, with I Don’t Worry About a Thing, Your Mind Is on Vacation and Don’t Forget to Smile appearing on an impeccable series of albums for Atlantic. He began to tour internationally through the 60s and 70s, and his bluesy vocals and the enthusiasm of such influential fans as Morrison helped him avoid the effects of the rock-driven downturn in jazz’s fortunes in that period.

Allison appeared in Jeff Stein’s 1979 rock documentary The Kids Are Alright, about the Who, who covered his Young Man Blues. Regularly working with the bassist Mel Graves and drummer George Marsh, Allison toured steadily, and moved to the Elektra and then Blue Note labels in the 80s. The latter company sought to rebrand him through collaborations with various guests – from the New Orleans band on My Backyard (1989) to contemporary jazz stars including the trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist John Scofield on The Earth Wants You in 1994.

But Allison never sounded better than when left to himself and he confirmed that the acuity of his observational powers was undimmed in beginning to turn his muse toward the insights and ironies of senior citizenship. The influence of long-gone southlands guitarists on his piano technique would always be audible under classic songs such as What’s Your Movie?, he would typically impart a defiant rather than romantic air to a standard ballad such as You Are My Sunshine, and the original How Much Truth (Can a Man Stand?), delivered without an iota of reproof, could always tingle the spine.

At the PizzaExpress jazz club in London, which he took to visiting twice a year in the 90s and early 2000s, Allison would sometimes seem to be in a fascinating private reverie, in which stomping bluesy figures would wrestle with swirling, wind-in-trees melodies, or turn into a jerky clatter like a silent-movie soundtrack. Ain’t Got Nothing But the Blues, Trouble in Mind and Knock on Wood might hurtle by in a blur.

The pungency and vigour of Allison’s work with local sidemen at the PizzaExpress was admirably caught on a fine collection by Blue Note Records in 2000 – The Mose Chronicles: Live in London Volumes 1 & 2. But after 1998, suspicious of studios and record companies, he avoided them until the producer Joe Henry tempted him back for the LA label Anti in 2008.

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The result, a mix of covers and originals entitled The Way of the World and featuring a duet with his daughter, Amy, revealed the octogenarian to be to be just as sardonic, incisive, and vocally and instrumentally quirky as ever. In 2013, Allison was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, and performed his song Was at the ceremony, with Amy accompanying him.

Back in the memorable days of Allison’s London visits, he would sometimes intone his 1982 album title “Just another middle-class white boy trying to have some fun,” as the piano notes flew by. That childhood pastime went on to work its inimitable magic for almost six decades.

Allison is survived by his wife, Audre Mae, and four children, Alissa, Amy, John and Janine. (by theguardian.com)

And this is a beautiful and rare concert recording … and you´ll hear the magic of good old Mose Allison !

Recorded live at the Jazzfest, Musik-Instrumenten-Museum
Berlin, Germany; November 27, 1992
Very good satellite radio show

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Personnel:
Mose Allison (piano, vocals)
Sigi Busch (bass)
Jerry Granelli (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Indian Love Call (Friml)/Power House (Allison)/City Home (Allison) 15.48
02. When You’re Going To The City (Allison) 3.03
03. Tell Me Something (Allison) 2.36
04. Your Molecular Structure (Allison) 3.29
05. Announcement 0.09
06. Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me (Ellington/Russell) 2.57
07. I Feel So Good (Allison) 3.26
08. Announcement 0.09
09. Trouble In Mind (Jones) 2.56
10. Gettin’ There (Allison) 3.03
11. I Don’t Want Much (Allison) 2.33
12. Ever Since The World Ended (Allison) 3.54
13. Announcement 0.06
14. I Love The Life I Live (Dixon) 4.45

*
**

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(11 November 1927 – November 2016)

REST IN PEACE !