Maurice André – Trompettissimo (1995)

FrontCover1Maurice André (born 21 May 1933 – 25 February 2012) was a French trumpeter, active in the classical music field.

He was professor of trumpet at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris where he introduced the teaching of the piccolo trumpet including the Baroque repertoire on trumpet. André has inspired many innovations on his instrument and he contributed to the popularization of the trumpet.

André was born in Alès in the Cévennes, into a mining family. His father was an amateur musician; André studied trumpet with a friend of his father, who suggested that André be sent to the conservatory. In order to gain free admission to the conservatory, he joined a military band. After only six months at the conservatory, he won his first prize.

At the conservatory, André’s professor, Raymond Sabarich, reprimanded him for not having worked hard enough and told him to return when he could excel in his playing. A few weeks later, he returned to play all fourteen etudes found in the back of Arban’s book to a very high standard. Sabarich later said that “it was then that Maurice Andre became Maurice Andre.” Maurice André won the Geneva International Music Competition in 1955, together with Theo Mertens, and the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in 1963. He was made an honorary member of the Delta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at Ithaca College in New York in 1970.

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André rose to international prominence in the 1960s and 1970s with a series of recordings of baroque works on piccolo trumpet for Erato and other labels. He also performed many transcriptions of works for oboe, flute, and even voice and string instruments. André had over 300 audio recordings to his name, from the mid-1950s to his death.

André had three children: Lionel (1959-1988) trumpeter and music teacher; Nicolas, who plays the trumpet; and Béatrice, who plays the oboe. All three performed with their father in concert. He also made several recordings with his brother Raymond (b. 1941).

One of André’s students, Guy Touvron, wrote a biography entitled Maurice André: Une trompette pour la renommée (Maurice André: A Trumpet for Fame), which was published in 2003.

André spent the last few years of his life in retirement in southern France. He died at the age of 78 in a hospital in Bayonne on 25 February 2012. He is buried in the cemetery of the village of Saint-André-Capcèze (in the Lozère). (by wikipedia)

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At the height of his career, the name of Maurice André was synonymous with the trumpet. Not only was he largely responsible for establishing the trumpet as a popular solo instrument, but he also dominated the scene in the 1960s and 70s with a punishing schedule of concerts (an average of 180 a year) and more than 300 recordings, many made on his trademark piccolo trumpet.

André’s eventual success was founded on a solid technique, superb breath control and seemingly inexhaustible stamina, attributed by him to his years in the coalmine: “I built myself up when working in the mine at 14 years old, when I was moving 17 tons of coal a day,” he once said.

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Certainly the technique was formidable. Playing a three-valve Selmer instrument (a fourth valve was added by the manufacturer in 1967 in collaboration with André to extend the register downwards), he effortlessly negotiated the stratospheric pitch range for which the Baroque repertoire was notorious. In the virtuoso faster movements, his tone sparkled brilliantly; in the slow movements it was creamy and seductive. As Karajan once opined: “He’s undoubtedly the best trumpet player, but he’s not from our world.” (theguardian.com)

So … it´s time to listen to Maurice Andrea again … and again … and again …. He was brilliant !

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Personnel:
Maurice Andre (trumpet)
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Wolfgang Karius (organ)
Guy Perdersen (bass)
Jean-Marc Pulfer (organ)
Gus Wallez (drums)
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Harmonia Nova (on 01.):
Jean-Francois Jenny-Clark (bass)
Niels Lan Doky (clavecin, harpsichord, cembalo)
Daniel Humair (drums)

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Tracklist:

Marc-Antoine Charpentier:
01. Te Deum – Introduction 4.44

Johann Sebastian Bach:
Suite/Ouverture N°3 BWV 1068:
02. Air 3.24
03. Gavotte 1.19

Kantate BWV 78:
04. Aria pour 2 Trompettes 2.23
05. Suite/Ouverture N°2 BWV 1067 – Badinerie 1.25
06. Kantate BWV 140 -Choral “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” 2.17
07. Suite/Ouverture N°2 BWV 1067 – Bourrées I & II 2.11

Antonio Vivaldi:
08. Le Quattro Stagioni – Largo 3.22

Johann Sebastian Bach:
09. Brandenburgisches Konzert – NR. 3 BWV 1048 – Allegro 2.15

Benedetto Marcello:
10. Adieu Venise 4.14

Arcangello Corelli:
11. Allemande 2.30

Jean-Michel Defaye:
12. Fugatissimo 2.21

Georg Friedrich Händel:
13. Allegro 2.40

Domenico Cimarosa:
14. Melodie 2.58

Georg Friedrich Händel:
15. Water Music – Aria 2.41

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Maurice André (21 May 1933 – 25 February 2012)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music composed by Kurt Weill

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Brandos – In Exile – Live (1995)

FrontCover1In Exile – Live is the first live album of THE BRANDOS from 1995, available for the first time as digipak edition! They owe their name to their love of Marlon Brando. Their fans know them as one of the most vital American live rock bands of the 20th century’s final decades. THE BRANDOS, known for timeless classics like “”The Solution”” and “”Gettysburg”” and their straight and true rock sound, were founded in 1986 with the line-up of David Kincaid (voc, g, mand, banjo), Ed Rupprecht (g), Larry Mason (dr) and Ernie Mendillo (b, voc) in New York City. The voice of Dan Kincaid was always compared to John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival and the catching live document In Exile – Live sounds exactly like one of the best American bands from the 60s. The album which contains 18 tracks was recorded with the line-up Dave Kincaid, Ernie Mendillo, Scott Kempner and Frank Funaro on December 20th and 21st, 1994 in Amsterdam and Utrecht (The Netherlands) and contains songs from the band’s studio albums plus the traditional “”The Recruiting Sergeant””.

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This is one of the best albums that The Brandos have yet to produce. There are very few rock bands today that demonstrate the versatility, musicianship, and song writing capabilities as The Brandos. This is a great first album for someone who is unfamiliar with their work to purchase since it demonstrates their creativity and original music. As I noted in a previous review of The Brandos, they are (for my money) the best group around. (Roger M. Longo)

One of the most underrated bands of all time !

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Personnel:
Frank Funaro (drums, vocals)
Scott Kempner (guitar, vocals)
Dave Kincaid (guitar, banjo, mandolin, vocals)
Ernie Mendillo (bass, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Hard Luck Runner (Kincaid) 4.08
02. Anna Lee (Funk/Kincaid) 3.42
03. The Solution (Kincaid) 4.21
04. Partners (Kincaid) 3.39
05. The Warrior’s Son (Kincaid) 5.09
06. The Light Of Day (Kincaid) 4.22
07. Come Home (Kincaid) 2.31
08. The Last Tambourine (Kincaid) 2.43
09. Hard Times Come Again No (Foster) 4.00
10. Skillet Good ‘N Greasy (Traditional) 2.35
11. Gettysburg (Funk/Kincaid) 4.35
12. Fight For Love (Kincaid) 3.55
13. Gunfire At Midnight (Kincaid) 4.24
14.  Strychnine (Roslie) 3.54
15. The Recruiting Sergeant (Kincaid) 3.26
16.  Get Tough (Kempner) 5.25
17. Fortunes Of War (Kincaid) 3.02
18. Psycho (Roslie) 3.58

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More from The Brandos:
More

Red Hot Chili Peppers – One Hot Minute (1995)

FrontCover1One Hot Minute is the sixth studio album by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, released on September 12, 1995 by Warner Bros. Records. The worldwide success of the band’s previous album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) caused guitarist John Frusciante to become uncomfortable with their status, eventually quitting mid-tour in 1992. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis, who had resumed addictions to cocaine and heroin in 1994 after being sober for more than five years, approached his lyricism with a reflective outlook on drugs and their harsh effects. It is the only studio album to feature Dave Navarro as the band’s lead guitarist, who had joined the band in 1993 after a series of short-term replacements for Frusciante. Drummer Chad Smith and founding bassist Flea round out the main band personnel. The album was produced by Rick Rubin, who also produced their prior album.

One Hot Minute was a commercial disappointment, despite producing three hit singles and reaching number four on the US Billboard 200. Although it sold over two million copies and was certified multi platinum, it nonetheless sold fewer than half as many copies as Blood Sugar Sex Magik and received much less critical acclaim. Navarro was ultimately fired from the band in 1998 due to his drug use.

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers had released Blood Sugar Sex Magik in 1991. The album was an instant hit, selling over seven million copies in the United States, and turned the band into an international sensation Guitarist John Frusciante was having difficulty coping with the band’s newfound fame and started to dislike it. Frusciante often argued with his bandmates, and sabotaged performances. He began taking heroin and steadily increased his usage of the drug over time. Frusciante quit the band in 1992, during its Japanese leg of the tour. He returned to his home in California and became a recluse.

Stunned, the remaining Chili Peppers, who had no suitable replacement for Frusciante, hired Arik Marshall to play the remaining dates after being forced to reschedule.[11][14] Upon returning to Hollywood, the band placed an ad in the L.A. Weekly for open guitar auditions, which Kiedis considered to be a waste of time.[15] After several months of unsuccessfully looking for a suitable guitarist, drummer Chad Smith suggested Dave Navarro. He had always been the band’s first choice, but had been too busy following the 1991 breakup of Jane’s Addiction. Navarro eventually accepted the position after productive jam sessions.

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Kiedis knew that the band’s sound would inevitably change when Navarro joined. In June 1994, the band entered The Sound Factory, a recording studio in Los Angeles, to record the album. The band completed a few basic tracks, when Kiedis began having difficulty singing. He had been through a dental procedure in which an addictive sedative, Valium, was used; this caused him to relapse, and he once again became dependent on drugs. Kiedis had slipped from five years of sobriety and began reusing narcotics he’d sworn never to use again. The band took a short break from recording to perform at Woodstock ’94, which was the first show Navarro played with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

One Hot Minute was released September 12, 1995. It was certified Gold just more than two months later on November 11; since then it has gone Double Platinum in the United States.[6] The album peaked at number four on the Billboard Top 200. “My Friends” peaked at number one on the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts. The song also peaked at number 29 on the UK Singles Chart, and “Aeroplane” at number 11. Several days following the album’s release, Kiedis continued to use drugs despite the numerous interviews he was scheduled to attend.

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One Hot Minute was not as universally well received as Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and was ultimately considered to be a poor follow-up. It did however receive mixed to positive reviews from critics. Daina Darzin of Rolling Stone said “One Hot Minute dives into the emotionally deep end of drug addiction and loss”, and that the album “is a ferociously eclectic and imaginative disc that also presents the band members as more thoughtful, spiritual—even grown-up. After a 10 plus-year career, they’re realizing their potential at last.”[39] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly said that “One Hot Minute wails and flails like a mosh-pit workout tape, but it also has moments of outright subtlety and maturity.” He goes on to praise Kiedis for “keeping his boorish tendencies under control.” Browne, however, criticizes the band for “attempts at cosmic philosophy which often trip up on hippie-dippie sentiments”, and some songs “fall back on tired frat-funk flop sweat.” “The Peppers work their own little patch with considerable expertise,” wrote Peter Kane in Q. “The incoming Navarro rarely fails to deliver the goods and upfront the taut ball of energy going by the name of Anthony Kiedis still makes for a suitably rubbery-lipped frontman, if not exactly a lovable one.” Q also included One Hot Minute in its ‘best of the year’ roundup: “A bulging, blistering blend of a skewed ballads and physically intimidating workouts that charge around like a bull on a promise.”

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AllMusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that “following up Blood Sugar Sex Magik proved to be a difficult task for the Red Hot Chili Peppers”, and “Navarro’s metallic guitar shredding should have added some weight to the Chili Peppers’ punk-inflected heavy-guitar funk, but tends to make it plodding.” Erlewine went on to add that “by emphasizing the metal, the funk is gradually phased out of the blend, as is melody.”Robert Christgau gave the album a rating of “dud”.

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“My Friends” was considered by Erlewine to be a blatant attempt to hold on to the mainstream audience gained by “Under the Bridge”, and that in contrast, “the melodies are weak and the lyrics are even more feeble.” The song also “tries to be a collective hug for all [of Kiedis’s] troubled pals.” Rolling Stone, on the other hand, said the song was “lovely”, and incorporated a “vaguely folky chorus, and sports the same sad wishfulness of ‘Under the Bridge’ and ‘Breaking the Girl’.” The article went on to praise “Warped” claiming it “mixes harrowing lyrics with a multi-toned, layered intro and a whirling dervish of noises and big-rock rhythms surfing through and over big, funky hooks. It’s like, well, a drug rush.” Rolling Stone went on to say that the title track was “funky and fun. It’s about love and sex. What the hell. Some things don’t have to change.” Entertainment Weekly said “some of these songs last a little too long and could have benefited from a trimming”, though they credited Kiedis for sounding “nearly spiritual” on “Falling into Grace”. (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Flea (bass guitar, background vocals, lead vocals on 03. +  06.)
Anthony Kiedis (vocals)
Dave Navarro (guitar, background vocals)
Chad Smith (drums, percussion)
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Keith “Tree” Barry (violin on 09.)
Lenny Castro (percussion on 03., 04., 08. – 10.)
Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa (chants on 11.)
John Lurie (harmonica on 10.)
Stephen Perkins (percussion on 01. + 07.)
Gabriel James Navarro (crying on 07.)
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background vocals:
Jimmy Boyle – Louis Mathieu – Aimee Echo – Kristen Vigard The Aeroplane Kids

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Tracklist:
01. Warped 5.05
02. Aeroplane 4.45
03. Deep Kick 6.34
04. My Friends 4.03
05. Coffee Shop 3.09
06. Pea 1.47
07. One Big Mob 6.02
08. Walkabout 5.07
09. Tearjerker 4.20
10. One Hot Minute 6.24
11. Falling Into Grace 3.48
12. Shallow Be Thy Game 4.34
13. Transcending 5.47

All songs written by Flea – Anthony Kiedis – Dave Navarro – Chad Smith

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Chicago – Night & Day – Big Band (1995)

FrontCover1Night & Day: Big Band is the eighteenth studio album by the American band Chicago, and twenty-second overall, released in 1995. It is a departure from Top 40 material for a more thematic project, with a focus on classic big band and swing music.

Chicago left Reprise Records and started their own imprint, Chicago Records, to re-distribute their music. This album was carried by Giant Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music, who also distributes Reprise.

With producer Bruce Fairbairn, Chicago recorded Night & Day: Big Band from late 1994 to early 1995 and released it that May. Although Bruce Gaitsch played guitar on the sessions, the guitar slot would eventually be filled that year by Keith Howland, who remains Chicago’s present guitarist. Joe Perry of Aerosmith was brought in to add a solo to “Blues in the Night.”

The album reached #90 in the US, on the Billboard 200 chart.

Chicago made its “television variety debut” in February 1973 on a television special honoring Duke Ellington, “Duke Ellington … We Love You Madly,” which aired on CBS. They performed the Ellington composition, “Jump for Joy.” They were the only rock musicians invited to appear on the show. Walter Parazaider cited the group’s participation in the television special, and Duke Ellington’s comments to them afterwards, as important factors in their decision to record this album (by wikipedia)

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Generally, when contemporary performers have taken on retro projects like this one, they have tended to emphasize their fidelity to the sources — consider Linda Ronstadt hiring arranger/conductor Nelson Riddle to recreate his string backgrounds for albums like What’s New. Chicago takes a different approach to the swing band classics it tackles here — it Chicago-izes them. The arrangements are by trombonist James Pankow, who manages to make everything from Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” to Glenn Miller’s theme “Moonlight Serenade” sound like a lost Chicago track. Those familiar with the originals, many of which were instrumental hits, may be surprised to hear the lyrics to songs like “Sing, Sing, Sing.” Clearly, the group is aiming more at pleasing contemporary fans than evoking nostalgia, and it succeeds in reinventing some well-established standards, even if older fans may find some of these versions radically altered. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Great production and very high musicianship. If you are of a certain age and don’t want to hear stylistically different versions of the classics then this is not for you. These are not covers, but rather they are versions of this great music. I had to listen a couple of times before I really started to appreciate these reimagined arrangements. Moonlight Serenade, Chicago, In The Mood, and Take The A Train are highlights. One of my very favorite Chicago recordings. It reminded me of when they were great once upon a time. Only thing that would have made this better is if Danny Seraphine with his jazz-fusion style were the drummer. Tris Imboden is a good drummer, but not suited to this type of music. The band swings, but Tris doesn’t. (Ralph Longo)

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Personnel:
Bill Champlin (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Bruce Gaitsch (guitar)
Tris Imboden (drums, harmonica)
Robert Lamm (keyboards, vocals)
Lee Loughnane (trumpet, flugelhorn)
James Pankow (trombone)
Walter Parazaider (woodwinds)
Jason Scheff (bass, vocals)
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Luis Conte (percussion)
Jack Duncan (percussion on 06.)
Sal Ferreras (percussion on 06.)
Jade (vocals on 03.)
Joe Perry (guitar on 07.)
Paul Shaffer (piano on 03.)
Bruce Fairbairn (trumpet solo on 01.)
Tonino Baliardo (guitar on 08.)
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The Gipsy Kings:
Nicolas Reyes and Patchai Reyes (vocals, rumba flamenco guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Chicago (Fisher/Lamm) 3.07
02. Caravan (Ellington/Mills/Tizol) 3.23
03. Dream A Little Dream Of Me (André/Kahn/Schwandt) 3.13
04. Goody Goody (Malneck/Mercer) 4.04
05. Moonlight Serenade (Miller/Parish) 4.26
06. Night And Day (Porter) 5.36
07. Blues In The Night (Arlen/Mercer) 6.05
08. Sing, Sing, Sing (Prima) 3.22
09. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington/Mills/Parish) 5.11
10. In The Mood (Garland/Razaf) 3.44
11. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington/Russell) 3.39
12. Take The “A” Train (Strayhorn) 5.36

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Afro Blue Band – Impressions (1995)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Afro Blue Band is actually a series of bands drawn from a pool of 15 musicians under the overall direction of saxophonist/Miami nightclub owner Arthur Barron, who has pulled a series of mostly hot Latin jazz performances out of the mix. Barron appears on most of the tracks, his workaday tenor and alto sharing the spotlight with the more coherent, impassioned work of Mario Rivera on soprano, tenor, flute, and cornet, Dave Liebman’s soprano, Melton Mustafa’s trumpet, Papo Vasquez’s trombone, and Mel Martin’s assortment of wind instruments. The only consistent anchors of these bands are Phoenix Rivera (Mario’s son) on drums and Steve Neil on bass, who cook throughout the frequent personnel changes. The pianist is usually Hilton Ruiz, spelled on a few tracks by Mark Levine — and the tough conga work is often in the hands of Jerry Gonzales. With a boiling clutter of Gonzales’ Afro-Cuban percussion work, the collection starts off on the right foot with a great rendition of the title track; it sounds a bit like what Coltrane might have done with the tune had he included it on his “Kulu Se Mama” session. The band’s inspiration, “Afro Blue,” is also very hot, with Mario reaching toward the edge at the close. Overall, the revolving personnel is this album’s strength; the frequent changes of texture and style keeps things fresh and unpredictable. (by by Richard S. Ginell)

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Quick and to the Point: Free range testosterone jazz high….

When it was released, much was expected from this album given the talent on the recording. Such prospects were understandably imposed on Impressions. Heavy expectations come with talent and fame. Surely, every fan can come up with examples of jazz notables who failed to deliver according to expectations. This compact disc did not fulfill its potential according to such forecasts. Can we dare, however, let it speak for itself? I believe we must listen.

“Impressions” comes forth as the opener with the most extensive expression in the date. Abstractions eased in free-flowness sail forth, dancing on the elastic guaguancó rhythmic bedrock with abandon. Swing comes over after the initial third of the tune to allow Hilton Ruiz to take off running, although his final effects might had outrun their usefulness. A vocal and violin bridge during the midst of the performance, featuring Nicole Yarling, proves to be the highlight. First impression seems fine: get into the closing groove and get a groove on…

Dave Liebman

Lovely sadness eases one into “Lonnie’s Lament.” Yarling sings fine and Mel Martin’s alto conveys the feeling and purpose of the moment at hand. Mark Levine’s piano touches drive the point home with great taste and timing, particularly when things begin swinging.

Mongo Santamaría’s classic “Afro Blue” appears yet again. A worthy rendition of this venerable tune enhances any recording or performance. This one is a contribution to the ongoing legacy of its reinterpretation. The mazacote seems fine to me. Mellow-free-relaxed-yellow saxophones overlay the percussive bottom heat.

Ruiz’s opening chord developments in “Tonesville” tip his hat to Eddie Palmieri a couple of times, opening and freeing the tune for the saxophone’s eventual take over. This is driven stuff as Barron and Dave Liebman trade around on tenor and soprano; Phoenix Rivera asserts himself with force on the drums; and Ruiz fingers scales at will. Let freedom rule until the restful release in the end…

More familiar, mainstreamed and restrained within better-known Hispanic musical tendencies is what we get in “Latin Jazzdance.” All three saxophonists trade their heated, abstract and screeching notes, with a piano transition from Ruiz delivering a beautiful flute-sweetened riff as background.

Jerry González

In Impressions, Horace Silver’s “Señor Blues” is a percussive piece in 6/8 with a scattered original sonic imprint. Perhaps Silver could asses its market capitalization value better than me, but I give it a hold rating. Trombonist “Papo” Vásquez appears briefly, although effectively, and the ensuing grooves are fine indeed. Ruiz’s piano playing had its best moment in the date at the hands of “Señor Blues.” Jerry González is the lead of the developmental flow of this reinterpretation.

The trio rendition of Ruiz’s “For Pearl,” featuring Mark Levine’s sense of significant economy in his piano playing, proves to be a delightful passage. Flashes and splashes from the percussive end enhance the aqueous delivery of the alto flute and bass clarinet. Imagine yourself fishing for pearls…

“The Phantom,” featuring Melton Mustafa in trumpet closes with mainstreamed musical market corrections dedicated to Joe Henderson. The language spoken here is clearly understood in all jazz dialects, modes and traditions. Soloists are warm, free, intelligent, ego-free and just fine, come on Mustafa baby, come on… Ruiz closes strong. (by Javier Aq Ortiz)

This is a real exciting album …

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Personnel:
Arthur Barron (saxophone, flute)
Steve Berrios (percussion)
Lionel Cole (synthesizer)
Glenn Cronkhite (percussion)
Jerry González (flugelhorn, percussion)
Mark Levine (piano)
David Liebman (saxophone)
Mel Martin (clarinet, flute, saxophone)
Melton Mustafa (trumpet)
Steve Neil (bass)
Mario Rivera (cornet, flute, saxophone, timbales)
Phoenix Rivera (drums)
Hilton Ruiz (piano)
Angel Papo Vasquez (trombone)
Nicole Yarling (violin, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Impressions (Coltrane) 10.10
02. Lonnie’s Lament (Coltrane) 5.35
03. Afro Blue (Santamaria) 9.28
04. Tonesville (Barron) 6.52
05. Latin Jazzdance (Barron/Ruiz) 6.14
06. Señor Blues (Silver) 6.10
07. For Pearl (Ruiz) 5.44
08. The Phantom (Barron) 4.49

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Joanna Connor – Rock And Roll Gypsy (1995)

FrontCover1.jpgWhat sets Joanna Connor apart from the rest of the pack of guitar-playing female blues singers is her skill on the instrument. Even though Connor has become an accomplished singer over time, her first love was guitar playing, and it shows in her live shows and on her recordings.

Brooklyn-born, Massachusetts-raised Joanna Connor was drawn to the Chicago blues scene like a bee to a half-full soda can. Connor, a fiery guitarist raised in the 1970s — when rock & roll was all over the mass media — just wanted to play blues. She was born August 31, 1962, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised by her mother in Worcester, MA. She benefitted from her mother’s huge collection of blues and jazz recordings, and a young Connor was taken to see people like Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder and Buddy Guy in concert.

Connor got her first guitar at age seven. When she was 16, she began singing in Worcester-area bands, and when she was 22, she moved to Chicago. Soon after her arrival in 1984, she began sitting in with Chicago regulars like James Cotton, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and A.C. Reed. She hooked up with Johnny Littlejohn’s group for a short time before being asked by Dion Payton to join his 43rd Street Blues Band. She performed with Payton at the 1987 Chicago Blues Festival. Later that year, she was ready to put her own band together.

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Her 1989 debut for the Blind Pig label, Believe It!, got her out of Chicago clubs and into clubs and festivals around the U.S., Canada and Europe. Her other albums include 1992’s Fight for Blind Pig (the title track a Luther Allison tune), Living on the Road (1993) and Rock and Roll Gypsy (1995), the latter two for the Ruf Records label. Slidetime on Blind Pig followed in 1998 and Nothing But the Blues, a live recording of a 1999 show in Germany, appeared on the German Inakustik label in 2001. Connor left Blind Pig and signed to small indie label M.C. in 2002. Her first release for her new label, The Joanna Connor Band, finds Connor expanding her sound a bit in an attempt to reach a more mainstream audience.

Connor has blossomed into a gifted blues songwriter. Her songwriting talents, strongly influenced by greats like Luther Allison, will insure that she stays in the blues spotlight for years to come. (by Richard Skelly)

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And here´s her second album for the German label Ruf Records and it´s a down to earth album, raw, old time blues with some fine Gospel and soul elements. Good for the soul and mind.

This album included a fine version of “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix and a guest appearance of Luther Allison.

And we can hear this superb slide-guitar by one of the finest Blues ladies from the last decades.

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Personnel:
Joanna Connor (guitar, slide-guitar, vocals)
Stan Mixon (bass)
Larry Ortega (drums, percussion)
Tony Palmer (guitar)
+

Luther Allison (guitar, vocals on 04.)
Johann Janssen (pedal steel-guitar)
Buzz Killman (harmonica)
Frank Niedlander (saxophone)
Roel Spanjers (keyboards)
+
background vocals:
Andrea Variames – Bertram Brown – William Brown

Booklet2A

Tracklist:
01. Never Been Rocked Enough (McClinton/Seals) 3.27
02. Rock & Roll Gypsy (Connor) 4.04
03. Howlin’ (Traditional) 3.55
04. Slipping Away (Allison) 5.26
05. Rain On My Window (Walker) 4.53
06. Think About Me (Seay/Derek) 5.13
07. Driving Wheel (Sykes) 3.47
08. You’re So Fine (Connor/Rogers) 5.08
09. Fire (Hendrix) 2.52
10. You’re Going With Me (Pomus) 5.04
11. Child Of Two Worlds (Connor) 3.29

CD1.jpg

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JoannaConnor01