Monday, February 27, 2023

Ten Times Tenor: Dexter Gordon 100

Dexter Gordon Quartet - Jelly Jelly

I'm gonna close out February with the obvious choice.

I know I've covered him before, but when someone turns 100 I suspend the no-repetition rules a little.

Especially someone of this magnitude.

My friend Doug -- no small sax talent himself -- calls him The Quotemaster.

Which is accurate, especially when you play the show I am sharing and hear him work "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Hello Dolly" and "Summertime" into the same four bars of soloing.

One of the seminal Jazz cats that split the US for Europe rather than endure the primitive abuse of his inbred inferiors, and when he returned in the late 1970s it was the event of the decade in the music.

One of those guys that seemed to have access to the whole songbook of the world inside his horn, he is often thought of as one of the top 10 all-time on the tenor.

We'll voyage back 50 years to February of 1973, which finds our hero on the airwaves of the city with which he was perhaps most associated.

Dexter Gordon Quartet
Studio 104
Maison de la Radio
Paris, France

01 Fried Bananas
02 Days of Wine and Roses
03 Didn't We?
04 Some of the Blues
05 Jelly Jelly

Total time: 53:04

Dexter Gordon - tenor saxophone & vocals on Track 05
Georges Arvanitas - piano
Alby Cullaz - bass
Daniel Humair - drums

off-air digital capture of a mono 2017 France Musique rebroadcast
volume boosted +2.5dB throughout by EN, February 2023
257 MB FLAC/direct link

So Dexter Gordon -- born this day in 1923 -- is 100 today, and we'll use that occasion to wrap up another Black History Month on this page... not that every month isn't BHM on here.

I had a backup go bad, so I'm going to back up my big drive over the next few days, but I'll be back in March to help your music collection Spring forward and get all swollen like a mountain stream.

Don't sleep on this Dexentennial post, though... or Dexter will insert a mystery snippet of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" into every album on your shelf!--J.

2.27.1923 - 4.25.1990

Friday, February 24, 2023

Vendredi Gras: David "Fathead" Newman 90


David "Fathead" Newman - Pharaoh's Gold

I have returned with three more big ones for February, before the big redesign where I shift to all bootlegs of Hawai'ian Slack Key guitar artists.... no I am kidding. About the Slack Key guys. There's a big graphic redesign coming though, because 10 years is enough for this page to be this ugly.

For now we'll resume Black History Month postings with this milestone birthday celebration for a dearly departed and highly versatile pillar of the music of our age.

He began as Ray Charles' right hand man at the peak of Ray's powers in the mid 1950s.

The musical director of Ray's band during the heady years of the early 1960s, he went on to join Herbie Mann before settling into a long career on his own and as one of the most in-demand session players in the history of recorded music.

Known as a premier exponent of the soulful-toned tenor sax, like Mann his real weapon was always the flute, and his funky excursions on that instrument helped set the template for that sound.

He died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer, after making 40 albums solo and performing on so many records they may never all be counted.

So today we celebrate the legacy of David "Fathead" Newman, born this day in 1933 and still echoing across the collective soundscape of everything.

Billy Taylor Trio + David "Fathead" Newman
"Billy Taylor's Jazz!"
Terrace Theater
Kennedy Center
Washington, D.C. USA
taped Spring 1998
first aired 4.20.1998

01 Billy Taylor intro
02 Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise
03 interview
04 Cousin Esau
05 interview
06 Under a Woodstock Moon
07 interview
08 Prelude to a Kiss
09 interview
10 Cookin' At the Continental
11 Billy Taylor outro

Total time: 55:57

David "Fathead" Newman - tenor saxophone & flute
Billy Taylor - piano
Chip Jackson - bass
Steve Johns - drums

192/48k webstream from the NPR archives
converted to 16/44 CD audio and tracked -- with volume boosted throughout -- by EN, February 2023
278 MB FLAC/direct link

The Billy Taylor FM broadcast -- swinging as it is -- is really just a beard for the other item I placed in the folder, which is a jam-packed 2CD retrospective of all of Fathead's funkiest and filthiest tracks from his 1970s solo LPs, many of which have never seen the light of day as physical reissues in the digi-age.

I'm gonna finish out February after Fat Friday here with two more tasty treats, including a big super centennial soirée coming up on Monday.

I wouldn't go skinny on Mr. Fathead here though, especially with that compilation I made especially for the occasion lurking in that folder, ready to funk up your weekend as only he could!--J.

2.24.1933 - 1.20.2009

Monday, February 06, 2023

Capra Black History Month


Billy Harper Quintet - Soran Bushi B.H. (excerpt)

My internet is sucking its own cock as usual, because in the US $350 a month gets you dial-up speeds and the CEO gets a 45 billion dollar bonus. Exceptional!

Anyway it's February and that means it's Black History Month, so look out for a motherlode on that, beginning with this little anniversary missive.

Our honoree today first happened upon the scene at the start of the 1970s -- after a short stint in the Jazz Messengers -- in the group of Lee Morgan, who soon after sadly passed away.

This led our hero to bust out on his own, where he became a tenor sax superstar in his own right after a couple of high-temperature hard bop LPs.

He's been at it ever since, and since I missed his 80th birthday last month, I just had to get this show up on its 42nd anniversary.

The reality is I've wanted to cover Billy "Capra Black" Harper on here since this page's inception, and today I finally get to do it.

Billy Harper Quintet
Keystone Korner
San Francisco, CA

01 Croquet Ballet
02 Is It Not True, Simply Because You Cannot Believe It?
03 Soran Bushi B.H.

Total time: 53:29

Billy Harper - tenor saxophone
Chris Albert - trumpet
Armen Donelian - piano
Louis Spears - bass
Malcolm Pinson - drums

master cassette of the original NPR "Jazz Alive!" broadcast
slightly edited and remastered -- with tape flip gap in Track 03 joined -- by EN, February 2023
359 MB FLAC/direct link

I'll be back after the middle of the month, when what I have planned for BHM really kicks into gear.

This Billy Harper "Jazz Alive!" sure is a great port from which to shove off, though... trust me.--J.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Voice Over the Rainbow: Eva Cassidy 60

Eva Cassidy - Woodstock

I'm inaugurating February with this milestone birthday celebration of someone who left us far too soon, but who left quite a mark in their limited lifetime.
As well, another one of those superstars that never got much of anything in the way of recognition while they were alive, but once they were gone they became almost household nomenclature.

That someone with her prodigious talent played mostly to audiences of six people when she was around makes you scratch your head.... and wish you had been one of those six people.

I think she failed to get over initially due to the idea that she was a monumental interpreter of songs when that style was way out of vogue.

She died at 33 from cancer in 1996, just as she was beginning to take off careerwise.

I was introduced to her music by a neighbor next door in West Oakland about 20 years ago, and in that time she's only become more beloved in the wider world.
There are almost zero archival or unissued items relating to her, owing largely to the fact that she labored in near obscurity while alive so there are precious few tapes.

She did, however, frequently play this restaurant in her adopted home of Annapolis, Maryland.

Thankfully someone taped her, one time, as she delivered a powerful 90 minute set to an enraptured audience of roughly four patrons and the wait staff.

Even better, they did so from the mixing desk, resulting in a somewhat rough-sounding -- but highly representative -- full concert of the immaculate Eva Cassidy.

Eva Cassidy
Annapolis, Maryland USA

01 If I Give My Heart
02 Woodstock
03 Early Morning Rain
04 Imagine
05 Summertime
06 People Get Ready
07 American Tune
08 I Wish I Was a Single Girl
09 Wayfaring Stranger
10 Who Knows Where the Time Goes?
11 Kathy's Song

01 Autumn Leaves
02 Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain
03 Bold Young Farmer
04 Wade In the Water
05 Songbird
06 The Water Is Wide
07 Tennessee Waltz
08 Drown In My Own Tears
09 My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose
10 Bridge Over Troubled Water
11 Over the Rainbow

Total time: 1:27:23

Eva Cassidy - guitar & vocals

mono soundboard recording of indeterminate origin
retracked, slightly edited for dead air and denoised -- with dropouts repaired -- by EN, February 2023
266 MB FLAC/direct link

I worked on this show all day yesterday, removing tons of noises and digital pops and clicks along the way. No kind of treble-killing Noise Reduction was used because I hate it.

I might be back tomorrow with the first Black History Month post, if this show I'm about to deal with isn't a mess.

But I'd have been remiss if I'd missed Miss Eva's big 60th, so I'm posting this cleaned up version of her only real bootleg so all y'all will remember what it's like to hear someone sing that doesn't need Autotune!--J.

2.2.1963 - 11.2.1996