Sunday, June 26, 2022

Bass, Jumping: Reggie Workman 85

Let's conclude the June swoonings with the promised rejoinder to yesterday's Chambers music.

Today we have a guy born exactly five years (minus one day) earlier, whose imprint upon the Jazz world is as indelible as so many of the recordings of which he was an integral part.
He has done and seen it all plus some, having started in the early 1960s and since first gaining notice in the band of John Coltrane.

One of those rarest-of-the-rare players who is identifiable by a single note or phrase on his instrument, the list of sessions he has participated in is as extensive as almost any musician of our lifetimes.

Like Joe Chambers, and so many Maestros of this music, he is also from Philadelphia.

I just took another look at his session discography just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating, and he's been on probably thousands of priceless records, from Search for the New Land (Lee Morgan) to Alice Coltrane's World Galaxy.

If there's an upright bass player of the last 60 years more prolific and essential than Reggie Workman -- born this day in 1937 -- I certainly can't name them.

Let's celebrate with two of his first three records as a leader, recorded in 1977 and 1978 and only ever released, and at that only on vinyl, in Japan back 45 years ago.

Reggie Workman First
Denon LP, 1977

01 Mark II
02 Deja Vu
03 Conversation

Total time: 40:36

Reggie Workman - bass
Michael Carvin - drums
Lawrence Killiam - percussion
Albert Dailey - piano
George Adams - tenor saxophone
Slide Hampton - trombone
Cecil Bridgewater - trumpet

16/44 transfer of the original Denon LP
recorded at Sound Ideas Studios, New York City NY 12.17.1977
produced by Yoshio Ozawa
slightly denoised and more optimally retracked by EN, June 2022

Reggie Workman
The Works of Workman
Denon LP, 1978

01 Visitation
02 I Can't Get Started
03 Take the "A" Train
04 Samba de Orfeu
05 Effie

Total time: 33:10

Reggie Workman - bass

16/44 transfer of the original Denon LP
recorded at Nippon Columbia's 1st studio, Tokyo JP 6.3,10+12.1978
produced by Yoshio Ozawa
slightly retracked by EN, June 2022
349 MB FLAC total/June 2022 archive link

These have never been reissued in the digital age, but here are some pretty astonishing, extra clean vinyl rips of distinction, which I have slightly denoised and optimized to be as tasty as they can be.

I will return for a steamy July, but I thought it would be the right thing to do to close out the month commemorating these two back-to-back badass birthday boys, both thankfully still hitting hard into their eighties.--J.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Chapter & Versatility: Joe Chambers 80

I'm gonna Jazz up your weekend something fierce to close out June with a double shot of birthday love right now, courtesy of two milestone birthdays for two super stalwart players who have, thankfully, made it into their 80s.

First up is #80 on the dot for one of those cats that just seems to have too much talent, and should have to give some up so those of us without any can see what it's like.

He first appeared in the mid-1960s, drumming for Freddie Hubbard and then in Wayne Shorter's bands.

He's behind the kit for all those classic Wayne LPs like The All Seeing Eye and Et Cetera.

During the second half of the Sixties he recorded a ton with Archie Shepp and Bobby Hutcherson, almost functioning as kind of an unofficial house drummer for the Blue Note label especially.

As the '60s turned into the '70s, he joined Max Roach's all-percussion ensemble M'Boom, branching out onto vibraphone, marimba, steel drums and whatever else you might have on hand.

In 1977 he even made a duo album with organ immolator Larry Young, on which he played mostly.... piano.

During his tenure in M'Boom, he almost became the star of the band, especially when he played the vibes.

In addition to the seven thousand billion seminal records he's guested on, he's also led all sorts of sessions.

He's got a record out right now, in fact, featuring Afro-Brazilian sounds and called Samba de Maracatu.

We'll venture back to the start of the 1980s, and his time in M'Boom, to honor the percussionary force of nature we know as Joe Chambers.

The World Saxophone Quartet
Max Roach & M'Boom
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Harlem, New York City USA

01 I Heard That
02 Funny Paper
03 Touchic
04 Fast Life
05 Onomatopoeia
06 Twinkle Toes
07 Epistrophy
08 Kujichaglia
09 Morning Midday
10 P.O. In Cairo
11 Baby I'm Back
12 Bordertown
13 Jihad
14 untitled percussion improvisation
15 Stick
16 interview with Max Roach

Total time: 1:45:29
disc break goes after Track 09

The World Saxophone Quartet: 
Hamiett Bluiett, Julius Hemphill, David Murray & Oliver Lake - reeds and flutes
Max Roach, Roy Brooks, Joe Chambers, Freddie Waits & Ray Mantilla - drums, steel drums, vibraphone, marimba & percussion

Tracks 01-04: WSQ & Max Roach
Tracks 05-09: M'Boom
Tracks 10-13: WSQ & M'Boom
Track 14: M'Boom
Track 15: WSQ
master off-air cassettes of an original "Jazz Alive!" NPR broadcast over WSKG-FM in Binghamton, NY
slightly retracked by EN, June 2022
541 MB FLAC/June 2022 archive link

This set is utterly exquisite -- as great as anything I've ever shared here, no joke -- and was captured so cleanly it makes me wish every FM tape was like this one.

The birthday guy absolutely takes over the middle section, where M'Boom play by themselves.

I'll be back in less than 24 with another Hall Of Famer, born exactly five years, minus one day, previous to Joe Chambers.

That's the criminally underappreciated Joe Chambers, born this day in 1942 and still vibing.--J.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Y'all MFs Need Jesus

Yes you do, as grandma didn't used to say... because we were Jews, for Chrissakes.

But we're dead set against religious dogma and the coercion that goes with it.

Our job is to lure you to come to Jesus, by showing you The Light and The Way.

Only then, once you've been enlightened by the manifest divinity on offer, will you willingly come to Him.

It can be a long, arduous road to get to Jesus. Often, you have to hit bottom before you can.

The truth is as plain as the nose on your face, or as the birds singing in the trees: once you find Jesus, your life can, and will never, be the same.

His sermons are the stuff of legend, and there are more than a few among us today who are but apostates to the real, living Jesus.

For verily I say unto thee, that first there was Rap, that doth begat Hip-Hop, that begat MCs who spake their braggadocio unto the land with great fury, and spat fire in rhyme upon the land and the waters.

These MCs hath bragged and boasted upon their poetic prowess, until Jesus came among them and hath made Holy Verses of humility and grace, about the Killer Inside Him and how Truth had gone Out Of Style.

And his words of self-effacement and pathos ne'er seen upon the land went out as a beacon, and doth begat the Loser "Beck," and the Mathers of the Marshall, and countless other prophets.

And so, we come unto thee now with the Joyous message of Jesus, that you might bask in the eternal glow of his wisdom and the boundlessness of his microphone-borne artistry.

MC 900 Ft. Jesus
Szene Wien
Vienna, Austria

01 FM interview & intro by Werner Geier
02 Falling Elevators
03 Adventures In Failure
04 I'm Going Straight to Heaven
05 The City Sleeps
06 Truth Is Out of Style
07 Killer Inside Me
08 O-Zone
09 Spaceman
10 FM outro by Werner Geier

Total time: 44:22

MC 900 Ft. Jesus (Mark Griffin) - vocals, percussion & trumpet
Mitch Marine - drums & percussion
Chris McGuire - saxophones, bass clarinet & percussion
Baby G - turntables & electronics

off-air master cassette of the original "Music Box Live" Austrian FM broadcast
DJ chatter edited -- with tape flip in Track 06 patched with extracted mono VHS audio taped in Moers, Germany on 6.7.1992 -- by EN, June 2022

And the tape did need Lo! The mightiest of necromancies to resurrect the missing gospels from the Sacred Texts contained therein, and thy humble servant did spendeth 11 hours on precisely sixteen seconds of audio to maketh the gospels whole again.

Now, let us pray.

As we lower our heads in humble meditation, let us reflect upon Our Lord's release of this tape -- minus thy servant's recent repairs -- on his Facebook page in mp3 form 10 years ago, and how this version is meant to losslessly supplant that now-long-gone Sacred Scroll of the Savior.

I shall return next weekend with music to cause riots and great conflagrations -- complete with the gnashing of teeth -- in the concert halls.

For this moment, my children, you need only kneel in genuflective adoration as the mighty MC 900 Ft. Jesus -- real name: Mark Griffin, real birthday not known... but he's 65 this year so we're using the 30th anniversary of this utterly ridiculous performance to honor him -- layeth his hands upon thee and sootheth thy brow with his articulations going straight to Heaven.-J.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Esteemed Rice

You're probably wondering what happened to me. The answer is I had (still healing) a wicked infection from an ingrown fingernail and I can't really type or use a mouse too good. Hence the hiatus.

I also got a 256GB SD card for my phone and I'm stocking it out with all the best FLACs, not easy when you have 14TB of music. It's slow going with just one hand, as any chronic masturbator will tell you.

I've got some pretty fucked up stuff lined up for June, though... starting with this guy here and a kind of music I never cover.

Today's 71st birthday boy split this plane a little while back, but whilst here and picking he was at the absolute forefront of the reinvention -- and repopularization -- of Bluegrass music.

Possibly the jazziest picker the genre will ever see, he pushed the music to embrace more open-ended improvisation and virtuosity, almost like Jazz played with instruments normally associated with Bluegrass.
This was called Newgrass, such was its evolution beyond the standard norms for the form.

Of course, to do this kind of exploration you'd have to be an eyepoppingly tasteful guitar player, with a command of music far beyond any single style or genre.

Which is precisely what Tony Rice -- born this day in 1951 -- was, and with ample brilliance to spare too.

To celebrate this mighty and (mighty underrated) axegrinder, we're gonna serve up one of his classic shows here, that's been around for years in kind of a flawed state, but which I've sort of cleaned up to make it the very best it can be.

Tony Rice Unit
McCabe's Guitar Shop 
Santa Monica, California USA

01 Brooks
02 Gypsy Swing 
03 My Favorite Things 
04 On Green Dolphin Street 
05 Old Gray Coat 
06 Night Coach 
07 Dead One 
08 4 On 6 
09 Common Ground

Total time: 51:25

Tony Rice - guitar 
John Reischman - mandolin 
Todd Phillips - bass 
Fred Carpenter - violin 

soundboard capture of indeterminate origin
sounds like a master reel
tape damage in Track 01 and clipping throughout repaired by EN, December 2020
295 MB FLAC/June 2022 archive link

My finger is almost better, so I will get after brewing up the next thing, which I've got scheduled for Saturday and which could not, were it to come from 344 light years away, be any more different than this Tony Rice show.

OK? See you then and a very happy 71st birthday in the firmament of departed stars to the esteemed Tony Rice, a visionary stringmaster if ever there was one.--J.

6.8.1951 - 12.25.2020