Sunday, March 31, 2019

Texas Cannonball Coming

We'll finish off March with a ten-alarm fire of a show from a long departed heavyweight player.
I wasn't going to post it, but it's just too good not to.
This one was taped on the home turf of its star, at the height of his immeasurable artistry. 
Hometown shows often bring out the very best in musicians, and this 65 minutes of blazing Blues battery is no exception to that axiom.
Born in Texas in 1934, by the mid 1970s Freddie King was a guitar destroyer at the peak of his powers.
No disrespect to Albert and Riley B., but Freddie was always my personal favorite of the Three Kings of The Blues.
He'd be gone less than two years after this was recorded, and this broadcast was replayed in the wake of his death at the end of 1976 by Dallas FM institution KZEW, The Zoo.
This is where our share today is sourced, taped as it was 44 years ago today in another Dallas institution -- this one a legendary recording studio -- January Sound Studios.
Look out for the (not awfully politically correct) beer ad at the end, featuring Freddie... it is truly something else.
Freddie King 
January Sound Studios 
Dallas, Texas

01 KZEW-FM intro by Ken Rundell
02 Big Legged Woman
03 Woman Across the River
04 The Moon Is Rising
05 Ain't Nobody's Business
06 Key to the Highway
07 Hide Away
08 Going Down
09 Early One Morning
10 Come On
11 Have You Ever Loved a Woman
12 KZEW-FM outro by Ken Rundell/Lone Star Beer commercial

Total time: 1:05:23

Freddie King - vocals & guitar
Benny Turner - bass & vocals
Melvyn "Deacon" Jones - keyboards
probably Charles “Sugar Boy” Myers - drums

seems like an off-air master cassette of a vintage Dec. 1976 KZEW-FM broadcast in memory of Freddie King
I repaired a small volume dip in one of the songs in this, and amended some of the incorrect band and title info, but otherwise it is here in its unaltered state.
We'll hit the ground running in April with two consecutive milestone birthday jams on behalf of two long gone legends, so stay tuned.
And do make sure you pick up on this shredding anniversary show from the mind-crushingly talented Mr. King... trust me, it's a Texas sized cannonball.--J.
9.3.1934 - 12.28.1976

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Joy of Sax: Michael Brecker 70

We'll start to wind down March with yet another milestone birthday for another departed, beloved player.
While he was alive, he played on over 700 (!!) records, and provided saxophone solos for some of the biggest hits of all time.
Often found in the company of his equally-as-talented and in-demand brother, the band they co-led was one of the more celebrated of those funky 1970s.
He was even the sax player in the Saturday Night Live band for a time in the early 1980s.
Beginning with the concert we're sharing today, he also led his own groups in the more straight-ahead, post-bop style.
Ah, this concert though. I know I tend to hyperbolize, but this one sounds a billion times better than 100 official live records I could name off the top of my head. 
In all honesty, this here is what what we do here is all about: an historical document, in official-release quality, of a seminal, beloved player's maiden voyage stepping out in front of people without his brother and a backbeat, and not saxophonizing as a sideguy or hit soloist in someone else's group either. 
I can find no reference to a session or live date with Michael Brecker as a bandleader before this, and Mike didn't make his first platter as a leader until fully nine years after this show, so this fascinating 80 minutes serves to fill a vital gap in the discography of a sorely missed musician who happens to be (woulda been) 70 years old today.
Michael Brecker Quartet+1
Berliner Jazztage
Berlin, Germany

01 Speak with a Single Voice
02 Michael Brecker announcement
03 Triple Play
04 Michael Brecker announcement
05 i'll Never Stop Loving You
06 Michael Brecker announcement
07 Hot-Diggi-Di-Dam (Ambrosetti)
08 Uptown End
09 Michael Brecker announcement
10 Eight Bar Song

Total time: 1:19:13

Michael Brecker - tenor saxophone
Hal Galper - piano
Chip Jackson - bass
Joe LaBarbera - drums
Franco Ambrosetti - trumpet

HQ 320/48 digital webstream capture from Kulturradio, made into 16/44 FLACs
spectral goes strong all the way to 20 kHz, so very nearly pre-FM quality
507 MB FLAC/March 2019 archive link
I may stroll back on Sunday with one last blast for the month, but I'm not sure yet.
Regardless of all that, we're here to commemorate the life of Mike Brecker, and fill in some history whilst we're tributing this mighty player, born this day in 1949 and still with a larger, deeper discography than most living musicians.--J.
3.29.1949 - 1.13.2007

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

One Tenor: Ben Webster 110

The third and final of these consecutive megabirthday shindigs is here, with the oldest of the three and one of the fathers of modern saxophonism.
When it comes to today's honoree, we enter into that territory where they blow one note -- not even a phrase, but one note -- and you know exactly who is playing, 100% of the time.
Tutored by the alto deity Johnny Hodges, he is thought of as one of the formative musicians of modern jazz, and -- with fellow deities Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins -- one of the three foundational "swinging tenors" that birthed what we now think of as the modern approach to the instrument.
Possessed of an abrasive, crosscut saw tone on Blues and shuffles and a warm, grainily woodsy tone on ballads, he is a preternatural influence on masters from Sonny Rollins to John Coltrane.
Ah, that tone. It's almost like his ballad tone was made for film noir or something... if there's a more evocative, emotionally transmittive player in Jazz lore, I'd like to know who it is, please.
No, for real: you could be walking down the street with him in the headphones, and a normal everyday street scene is transformed into the opening credits from some 1940s potboiler detective film.
He was born this day way back in 1909 and would be 110 today, if people lived that long.
The truth is when you play like Ben Webster did, the numbers cease to matter and you get to live forever.
To celebrate this tenor's tenor, we have a swinging set from France Musique of him leading a quartet towards the end of his tenure.
Ben Webster Quartet
Studio 105
Maison de la Radio
Paris, France

01 Pointing Blues
02 I Got Rhythm
03 Old Folks
04 In a Mellow Tone
05 My Romance
06 Perdido

Total time: 53:02

Ben Webster - tenor saxophone
Georges Arvanitas - piano
Jacky Samson - bass
Charles Saudrais - drums

digital capture of a 2018 France Musique rebroadcast
I'm back Friday with the deep funk for yet another maestro milestone, as soon as I get under these cans and get the thing thanging.
Today, however, we tribute the forever tenor of Ben Webster and wish him, wherever he may or may not be, the very best 110th birthday a guy could have.--J.
3.27.1909 - 9.20.1973

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Supreme, Being: Diana Ross 75

Day 2 of the milestone birthday mayhem commences with one of the first ladies of the music of our age.
Keep reading this post all the way through, too. There may be hidden secrets, hiding in plain sight.
Our heroine today is reaching the platinum 75 plateau, fitting for someone with so many platinum smash hits.
As everyone knows she started as the Supreme Queen of Motown in the Sixties, then went solo in 1970 and never looked back.
More zillion sellers and standard tunes followed. A reputation as the diva's diva grew.
A rare combination of paradigm-defining style and genre- and era-defining sounds, to say there will only ever be one Diana Ross is probably the most grotesque understatement you'll ever read on this page.
Never one to give all that many fucks what anyone thinks or says, she was just in the news last week defending Michael Jackson -- whom she helped to discover at age 9 -- against the allegations in that explosively lurid documentary.
We'll keep that out of it for today, with the caveat that the only people who'll ever really know were the people who were there.
Anyway it's her birthday, so I'm sharing this incredible French TV footage of The Supremes from 51 years ago, plus this other, even more spectacular thing after the break.
Diana Ross & The Supremes
ORTF Studios
Studio 102
Paris, France
likely 1.21.1968

01 Medley: Stop In the Name of Love/Come See About Me/My World Is Empty Without You/Baby Love
02 interview
03 The Lady Is a Tramp/Let's Get Away from It All
04 Reflections
05 Michelle
06 Medley: Mame/Thoroughly Modern Millie/Second Hand Rose
07 Somewhere
08 J'attendrai - Reach Out, I'll Be There (with Claude Fran├žois)

Total time: 26:41

Diana Ross - vocals
Cindy Birdsong - vocals
Mary Wilson - vocals
with elements of the Tamla Motown Orchestra -- incl., it seems, James Jamerson on bass -- and unidentified Parisian musicians
Claude Fran├žois - vocals on Track 08

PAL DVD of an ORTF-TV "Melody" rebroadcast from 2010

probably taped 1.21.1968 and first broadcast on 2.3.1968
1.21 GB PAL/March 2019 archive link
We'll finish out this trifecta of big birthday posts tomorrow with a real blast from the past, but before I go I'm going to Easter Egg something ridiculous.
There's this ultra-rare promo triple CDr of remixes of her solo stuff that gets up to five hundred dollars on, and I'm putting it here if anyone is interested. We're talking 15 minute versions of Love Hangover and whatnot.
Enjoy your early Easter, and see you tomorrow... and obviously a very excellent 75th birthday to Miss Diana Ross!--J.