Saturday, February 26, 2022

Captain Black History Month

Let's close out BHM with a post on a group that's equal parts four dudes, but who were more or less led by one guy whose birthday was a couple weeks ago, and whom I've always wanted to put on here anyway.

We'll get to his main partner in this band, perhaps in April on his next woulda-been birthday.

This set was mostly recorded 36 years ago today, but our mainman first came to prominence in the orbit of Ornette Coleman, and was an original figure in Ornette's seminal Prime Time period.

He's been in and led a whole bunch of groups since then -- he still plays at age 82! --  h
e even had his own label for a minute.

This band is one of his most majestic projects, if you ask me.

As for this concert, the main bulk of it was issued in a severely edited form on that label... or at least it was available at his shows and online for a time.

It's long gone now, but thankfully we have the pre-broadcast reel of it with the whole thing buzzing around the digital tradelands, plus another set from a few days previous I employed to optimize it all.

James "Blood" Ulmer -- as distinctive a guitar voice as exists in our world --  was 82 this past Feb. 8th, and can be found here leading his and George Adams' group Phalanx through a full 121 minutes of coruscating mayhem on tour in Germany in 1986.

German Tour 1986
Hamburg & Bremen

01 Rough Traders
02 Black Rock
03 House People
04 Recess
05 Where Did All the Girls Come From?
06 A Night Out
07 More Blood
08 Upside Down
09 I Belong In the USA
10 Nothing to Say
11 Pastime
12 Love and Two Faces
13 drum solo/drums+sax duet
14 Church
15 Funky Lover
16 "America" jam/Jazz Is the Teacher, Funk Is the Preacher

Total time: 2:01:49
Tracks 01 & 16: Funkhaus, Hamburg DE 2.22.1986 FM master reel
Tracks 02-15: Schauburg, Bremen DE 2.26.1986 preFM reels
disc break goes after Track 07

James "Blood" Ulmer - guitar & vocals
George Adams - tenor saxophone, flute & vocals
Amin Ali - bass
Grant Calvin Weston - drums

reconstruction of the full set from this tour, from two different performances four days apart
remastered by EN February 2022
734 MB FLAC/February 2022 archive link

I composited these two shows because the bass on the Bremen part didn't really get in the mix properly until the second song, so I subbed in the Hamburg performance that that begins the February 22nd set, even though the tapes sound very different from each other.

I did my best to bring them closer together sonically, but it makes little difference anyway, as once you're past the first track, the Hamburg tape doesn't resurface again until the very end of the two hours.

Additionally, this contains all the tracks from the aforementioned CD, plus the remainder of the complete 1986 Phalanx set that was not featured on that (super rare and now long out of print) single-disc release.

I'll try to do some stuff in March -- I already have a show I am working on -- but don't miss Blood Ulmer by any means... he and Phalanx turn the whole world Upside Down in these two kickass, powerful hours.--J.


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Get Yer Woyaya's Out!

I wanna use the wild card day of 2/22/22 to post a sizzling show -- thoroughly Black History Month-appropriate -- for which the exact date isn't certain, but that we at least know celebrates its 50th anniversary this month.

These guys are pretty beloved and should need little introduction.

When we were kids we called them the African Jethro Tull, because they had lotsa flute in their tunes.

Acknowledged pioneers of African Rock -- someday I will find a way to blog Count Buffalos, and give 'em company -- yet, for as long as they've been a thing, there are precious few live tapes of them in action.

Few, but thankfully not none.

Take this little 47 minutes of fun, broadcast once upon a time on the BBC around the time of their 2nd LP in early 1972.

Luckily Swiss Radio rebroadcast it in 2007, and someone was waiting with the knobs a-twiddling.

So, without further adieu, here comes Osibisa, from the Paris Theatre in London 50 years ago!

Paris Theatre
London, U.K.
February 1972

01 Beautiful Seven 
02 Spirits Up Above
03 Y Sharp 
04 The Dawn
05 Woyaya 
06 Survival 
07 Kokorokoo

Total time: 47:28 

Teddy Osei – tenor saxophone, flute, percussion & vocals
Sol Amarfio – drums, percussion & vocals
Mac Tontoh – trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion & vocals
Spartacus R (Roy Bedeau) – bass & percussion
Wendell Richardson – guitar & vocals
Robert Bailey – organ, piano, timbales, percussion & vocals
Loughty Lasisi Amao – tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, flute, congas & percussion

captured from a Swiss Radio DRS3 FM rebroadcast and edited by zingapoor, August 2007
transition between Tracks 06 & 07 smoothed by EN, February 2022
331 MB FLAC/February 2022 archive link

I will have one more BHM blast this weekend, so stay tuned. Now that it's all online I am trying to be a little more proactive about posting stuff.

For now, you'll all be Happy Children if you pop this slappin' Osibisa concert... and don't forget to thank the Spirits Up Above!!--J.

Friday, February 18, 2022

The Washington Post

So now that the new epoch is here, and all the music associated with this page is available in one place, we're gonna have a birthday bash for one of the newer jazz cats.

He is turning just 41 today!!!! Forty-one!!!!! I wanna be 41 for my next birthday, can I?

I've never covered him before, so he fits my new criteria of "haven't blogged them yet" and "isn't a here today, gone later today construct, manufactured by the forces of profit".

He's been a presence roughly since the beginning of Century 21 here, but didn't really record his first solo record proper until 2015.

I've heard him criticized for not being avant-garde enough (whatever the f that means), but I feel he transmits the whole history of African-American music through his stuff pretty effectively.

He may never play on a Super Bowl halftime show, but I dig the music of Kamasi Washington just the same, you know?

Take his first big record, The Epic. If there's a debut triple album that's more aptly titled, it doesn't come immediately to mind.

Kind of a cross between Max Roach's Lift Every Voice and Sing and Gary Bartz's Singerella -- with a side of Horace Silver-N-Voices tossed in for flavor -- this is that burning Pharoah Sanders kind of exalted feel, but with massed, wordless voices out of Judgment Day weaving through it throughout.

He debuted this record in 2015 at the Regent Theater in LA, and apparently the entire four-hour concert was recorded by the BBC. Only about 83 minutes of this incendiary history lesson has ever been broadcast, and that's what I've got for you all today, courtesy of a tremendous remaster by my friend Tom Phillips.

Kamasi Washington
Regent Theater
Los Angeles, California

01 KW announcement
02 Askim
03 Miss Understanding
04 Seven Prayers 
05 Changing of the Guard
06 The Magnificent 7 
07 FM announcement

Total time: 1:23:31
disc break goes after Track 04

Kamasi Washington - saxophones 
Ryan Porter - trombone 
Dontae Winslow - trumpet
Cameron Graves - piano
Brandon Coleman - keyboards & electronics
Miles Mosley - bass
Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner - bass
Tony Austin - drums 
Ronald Bruner - drums 
Leon Mobley - percussion
Patrice Quinn - vocals

String and Choir Conductor - Miguel Atwood-Ferguson

Paul Cartwright - violin 
Tylana Renga - violin
Jim Simone - violin
Molly Rogers - viola
Andrea Witt - viola
Ginger Murphy - cello 
Artyom Manukyan - cello

Charles Jones, Dawn Norsleet, Mashica Winslow, Nia Andrews, Steven Wayne, Taylor Graves, Thalma de Freitas - vocals

merge of two master captures of two BBC FM broadcasts
remastered by Tom Phillips, December 2015
(performance date corrected by EN)
566 MB FLAC/February 2022 archive link

That's my story for today, accompanied by the most auspicious birthday wishes for Kamasi Washington... as well as the hope that you won't go missin' and dare to take a listen!--J.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Gene Therapy

I'm dropping by with a birthday post I just can't resist sharing because it's that great, and also using that as an excuse to announce a new era for this page, beginning very soon.

We'll get to the details at the bottom of the page, but we'll reserve the top column inches for today's birthday guy, who's been dead more than a decade, yet whose influence is firmly established as immortal.

He only made a few records on his own, and several were in a more youthful-n-innocent incarnation as a kind of gospel-soul prototype.

Those were at the start of the 1960s. By that transformative decade's end, he had morphed entirely into something then-unprecedented: a leftist funk songwriter, like some sort of cross between Donnie Hathaway and Woody Guthrie.
He never had hits or made much of a dent with his own, uncompromising brand of it, but other artists had massive smashes with his songs.

His most famous song is considered one of the top 10 protest anthems of all time, and has been recorded countless times by countless artists -- almost 300 versions exist -- from Roberta Flack to John Legend... yet no recording by the man himself appears to have ever been released.

Some of the most legendary samples in Hip-Hop come from his records, and he is thought of as one of the antecedents or Godfathers of that form by most people who know the history.

I play his handful of 1970s albums all the time, and he's one of the people I go back to again and again, so it's a privilege to get to cover him on this page.

It's Black History Month too, so it's absolutely spot on time to wish a happy 87th birthday to Eugene McDaniels, one of the Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse.
It's too bad he ain't still around, because it'd be a hoot to hear what he'd be singing about the current crop of babbling, omnicidal fascists running the ship into the rocks.

To commemorate the man, we'll share this way-outta-print record that's (pitifully) never seen the light of day as per a digital reissue.

This is from 1972, when Gene formed a band with some other folks for a minute. All of the tunes, and most of the vocals, are his. Luckily there's a beautiful vinyl transfer of this all-killer, no-filler platter floating about, which I meticulously declicked a while back.

Universal Jones
"Universal Jones, Vol. 1"

01 We All Know a Lot of Things But It Don't Never Show
02 Takin' Care of Business
03 Feeling That Glow
04 Tuesday Morning
05 Good Love Man
06 Hello to the Wind
07 River
08 Sidewalk Man

Total time: 39:31

Eugene McDaniels - vocals & guitar
Sister Charlotte - vocals & percussion
Leon Pendarvis - bass, piano & vocals
Carol Kaye - bass
Milt Hinton - bass
Bob Woos - bass & guitars
Maurice McKinley - drums & percussion
Jerry Dodgion - alto saxophone
Pepper Adams - baritone saxophone
Andy Gadsden, Billy Harper - tenor saxophones
Bob Greivell, Garnett Brown - trombones
Joe Dupars, Joe Gardner, John Mosley, Thad Jones - trumpets
Alfred Brown, Bernard Eichen, Raoul Poliakin - violins
Allan Shulman, Ron Lipscomb - cellos
Barbara Massey, Carla Beckley, Jean Dushon - vocals

tremendous vinyl transfer of the 1972 MGM LP, denoised by EN a while back
213 MB FLAC/February 2022 archive link

Now, for the big announcement revelation!!!!!!!!!!

In just 8 days, if it all goes correctly, this entire blog -- all 669 posts of it -- will become available for download in the large Google Drive cloud space I purchased yesterday and which I have begun to fill with its eight years of contents.

This will be text-linked at the top of every page, and will take the reader to a date-navigable archive, set up chronologically by year and month, from which all the music I've ever posted can be accessed with ease.

OK? So no more re-ups ever needed again... anyone with a minimal amount of cognition, that can navigate a folder by year, will be able to grab any specific post. You'll even be able to get the whole thing with one click! If you're insane, that is.

I'll see y'all back here in a week, and don't sleep on Gene the Left Reverend McD either... his music is pretty birthday-suit radical, but Compared To What?--J.

2.12.1935 - 7.29.2011
left wing & right wing
political pawns in the master game
the player who controls the board sees them all as the same
basically, cannon fodder