Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Greece Is the Word: Vangelis 80

Vangelis - Chariots of Fire

Suddenly it's Wednesday, and time for a milestone birthday tribute to a recently-departed icon.

Is he the most visible and globally-beloved musician in the history of Greece? If there were ever a man to challenge Aristocleides (or Demis Roussos, or Nana Mouskouri), here he be.

To call his music Romantic with a capital R would be like referring to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as merely Tall.

Beginning musical life breaking through with a still-revered Greek Prog Rock band called Aphrodite's Child, if he'd have stopped there he might yet be a cult figure of significance.

Thankfully, he did not stop there.

Almost joining the even-more-legendary Yes in the mid-1970s, that close call led to a lifelong association with the primary singer of that band, and produced not a few huge smash hits.

But it was when he began to score films that he really exploded into nearly a cultural phenomenon in his own right.

Obviously his Oscar-winning music for Chariots of Fire is his most notorious single piece -- someone, somewhere, is running along a beach right now and humming it -- but he soundtracked so many movies and TV things, it's almost unquantifiably immense to keep track of it all.

Indeed, in the folder alongside today's concert I have placed one of his many unreleased scores, this one for a TV documentary from 1981 called L'Arbre de Vie.

If I had to describe the music of Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou -- known to us all simply as Vangelis -- I'd say it was somewhere in the lush, verdant imaginary landscape between the electronic tone-poetry of Cluster's Hans-Joachim Roedelius and the triumphant Romanticism of Benjamin Britten.

His career and works are the stuff of deserved legend, so I'll not say more. He almost made it 80, but passed away last May before he got there.

The 79 years that preceded his going were wrought of such sumptuous and unforgettable sounds, it seems clear he will never be forgotten.

Sounds of sumptuousness such as these, captured in an outdoor event in Holland at the start of the 1990s, and accompanied by some equally-as-gargantuan guests to boot.

Event of Excellence
De Maaskade
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

01 intro
02 fireworks opening
03 Chariots of Fire
04 Spiral
05 The Other Side of Antarctica
06 Chung Kuo
07 Glorianna (feat. Markella Hatziano)
08 Pulstar
09 Mask, Part 2 
10 Italian Song (feat. Jon Anderson)
11 Kinematic
12 Mask, Part 5
13 Hymne
14 outro

Total time: 54:56

Vangelis Papathanassiou - keyboards & tapes
Markella Hatziano - vocals on Track 07
Jon Anderson - vocals on Track 10

indeterminate transfer of the pre-broadcast audio from this legendary event, as shown live by Veronica TV in The Netherlands
reedited, retracked, repaired & remastered by EN, March 2023
378 MB FLAC/direct link

I've got one more memoriam planned for the end of March, and then it's on to the April, fools.

My personal oscillators would detune, I'm afraid, were I not to give honor to this most extraordinary figure on the day he'd have gone octogenarian, so get out on that sand and start sprinting, tracksters!! *hums*--J.

3.29.1943 - 5.17.2022

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Raise the Rufus: Chaka Khan 70

Chaka Khan - Tell Me Something Good

I'm still archiving the drive, but I'm stopping by to celebrate another birthday icon.

Surely one of the most identifiable and beloved female vocalists of this era, she's going septuagenarian today and I just had to put something up.

As everyone not living on Neptune knows, she first came to prominence in a popular 1970s funk band called Rufus, who had chart-topping smash hits with her out front.

At the close of that decade she went solo, and the hits came even more frequently... some even turned into generational anthems along the way.

This led to her ascent to the rarified icon status she still enjoys, decades later.

There isn't much else to say except that this woman is so deep, she had a #1 hit across all charts, where the hook was essentially a dude intoning -- not even singing! -- her name.
To honor the inimitable Chaka Khan, we're time machining it back to London's famed Hammersmith Odeon, at the start of 1985.

Chaka Khan
Hammersmith Odeon 
London, UK

01 What Cha' Gonna Do for Me
02 Everlasting Love
03 Tell Me Something Good
04 Through the Fire
05 Eye to Eye
06 A Night In Tunisia
07 We Can Work It Out
08 I'm a Woman (I'm a Backbone)
09 Ain't Nobody

Total time: 49:04

Chaka Khan - vocals & percussion
Jeffrey Johnson - guitar 
Snuffy Walden - guitar
Jimmy Haslip - bass
Lisa Fisher, Sandra St. Victor & Brenda White - vocals 
Armand Grimaldi - drums & percussion
Michael Ruff - keyboards & vocals
Tony Patler - keyboards

"7UP Music Machine" preFM reel
retracked & edited by EN, March 2023
297 MB FLAC/direct link

I have a couple more things planned for later this month as we move into Spring, after I finishing archiving.

But before I did that, I wanted to drop in and leave this show here, as a token of appreciation for our birthday lady's big 7-0, seeing as how she's every woman and all!--J.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Oh, How I Wish That It Would Wayne

Wayne Shorter - Dee

And now, the single greatest placeholder post I'll likely ever do.

The last 10 days have been very busy. My husband & I redesigned this place to look passably 21st century, retiring the "MySpace in the 19th Century" style of the old look from 10 years ago. We also made a merchandise line, kind of branded the page. Then, I spent the last week backfilling all 740 posts of this thing with valid links, based on the month they were published, and removing all the zillions of dead links from the past decade. I shifted it to direct links beginning in August of last year, and going forward it will stay that way.

In the middle of all this recalibration, we had a major transition in the world of the music, as everyone surely knows by now.

He almost made it to 90, so when he gets there posthumously in August, I will cover him again. But, for reasons which should become obvious, we're gonna commemorate his passing last week with something as special and as hard to come by as anything I may ever put up.

A figure of this magnitude, with this degree of a formative influence on the music of our age and all that will follow, demands and deserves that sort of respect.

It's been said that Wayne Shorter was the only person ever to bring music to Miles Davis that went unchanged. That's some pretty rarified Footprints in which to walk, if you ask me.

Perhaps less mundane and arcane is the ongoing, forever impact of Weather Report, which he co-founded with Joe Zawinul fresh off what I'm about to share today.

Appropriate that last picture there is the cover of Odyssey of Iska, which was his last issued platter for Blue Note before WR started. As it turns out, it wasn't the last session he laid down for the label during his initial stay there.

A couple of days after Wayne left us, a friend of mine in the ROIO Quality Control Contingent who shall remain nameless dropped something almost no one has heard on me, and I haven't stopped playing it since. He has most generously allowed me to furnish it here.

How do you sum up the career and the mission of someone of the monumental consequence and unquantifiable importance of a Wayne Shorter, the likes of whom we ought thank Providence for every day we get to spend with our lifetimes overlapping theirs?

Other than what are reported to be his last words -- "OK, it's time to go get a new body and continue the mission." -- I can't think of any better way to honor and commemorate him than with this.

So something of an exclusive, then: never issued and to be found precisely nowhere on the interwebs until right now, this is Wayne Shorter's last Blue Note album of his first (1964-1970) run there, recorded in October 1970 at A&R Studios in NYC and sourced from what sounds like the master reels.

Wayne Shorter Quintet
A&R Studios
New York City, NY USA

01 The Creation
02 B. Because
03 Cee
04 Dee
05 Effe

Total time: 42:05

Wayne Shorter - tenor & soprano saxophones
McCoy Tyner - piano
Miroslav Vitous - bass
Alphonse Mouzon - drums & percussion
Barbara Burton - vibraphone, marimba & percussion

unissued and uncirculated October 1970 session for Blue Note Records
sourced from what sounds like the original master tapes
slightly retracked -- as per the online Blue Note sessionography -- with volume increased by +1 dB throughout by EN, March 2023
270 MB FLAC/direct link

For the next week I will be backing up my big drive, so I may not be heard from until sometime next weekend. But I wanted to stop by here and let this stunning session loose, so folks are remembering Wayne in the best and freshest way, and one that does a little bit to expand upon the already gargantuan legacy he leaves us.

OK? Enjoy this very spectacular deluge of Wayne, and please let it help ensure you never forget about what Wayne Shorter -- as extraordinary a musical figure as any anyone could name -- did to enrich the life of this world forever.--J.

"Wayne tunes are great."
8.25.1933 - 3.2.2023

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Pocket Battery: Connors' Honors


Norman Connors Septet - Revelation

I'm popping this very brief post up to begin March, and then I am going to go dark for a minute to redesign all of this page, which now has a merchandise line, if you can believe that. But more on that at the bottom, after the music, which is always the point.

Yes, the music. For we have a birthday today, of someone who maybe has flown beneath the radar for a long time, yet who manifestly deserves mention and illustration.

So before I reinvent the page graphically, erase all the old, dead links and place the main archive link in each post, I started to look at the March b'days and the first one that popped up was this guy.

As I cracked open my 18TB drive to look, I loudly exclaimed "Oh, come on! There can't be any Norman Connors bootl....."

This is what happens when you have so much music. You forget about some of the outliers, where the person has only one show that circulates.

There was just one catch: the thing was broadcast in 320k/48 mp3 audio -- like so many modern digital broadcasts, there is lossy compression in lieu of that of the FM variety, but the 48k designation can mean things can go over the typical 15kHz FM cutoff for broadcast compression anyway and can often resemble a preFM source -- and I only had it in that lossy form, as the person who had captured it originally had elected to post it like that.

Then I discovered that another person had yakked it off the broadcast when it originally aired, but had chosen to share it completely losslessly in its original 320k/48 iteration, as FLAC files.

It was an old, dead seed from 2019, but someone on that tracker was kind enough to immediately respond to my begging for a seeder for it so things worked out... as it turns out this is one of those that goes all the way to 20kHz and may as well be preFM in origin.

So let's honor Connors with this utterly exquisite 45 minute set from the Berliner Jazztage way back when, when our hero -- who is 76 today -- was just starting to really make his reputation as one of the funkiest drummers of our epoch.

This is quite a band, with (among others) Carter Jefferson blowing saxes, trumpet deity Shunzo Ohno doubling on melodica (!), and the vocal stylings of the immortal Jean Carn in her first-ever European appearance.

Norman Connors Septet
Berliner Jazztage
Berlin, Germany

01 Bubbles
02 Mother of the Future
03 Revelation
04 Kumekucha
05 FM outro by Ulf Drechsel

Total time: 43:59

Norman Connors - drums
Shunzo Ohno - trumpet & melodica
Carter Randolph Jefferson - saxophones
Elmer Hubbard Gibson - electric piano
Larry Trent McRae - bass
Neil Clarke - percussion
Jean Carn - vocals

Lewojazz digital capture of a 2018 "Kulturradio" RBB 320/48k rebroadcast, recorded by him in 16/44 CD Audio
spectral analysis goes all the way to 20kHz, so this is almost equivalent to a preFM source
slightly edited and retracked by EN, February 2023
287 MB FLAC/direct link

So that will be it from me until we get this page all straightened out and looking good.... hopefully it won't take long. And do visit the merch outpost we have inaugurated for it, which can be found right here!!

And while you await my return, sweating anticipatorily at your terminal, please enjoy this magnificent Jazztage performance of the tremendous Norman Connors, born this day in 1947 and still hitting!--J.