Sunday, June 30, 2024


Herbie Mann Octet - Push Push

I hope you're ready to toot your flutes as we close out the first half of 2024 on my continuing mission to slag every worthwhile, mostly-lossless jazz concert off Bill's Baffling Bootlegs and make each into something you could actually listen to all the way through.

Today we have someone I've for some strange reason never covered on here, but have been meaning to, and thanks to ol' Bill and his predilection to just surreptitiously record half the shows he promoted -- mostly unbeknownst to the artists -- I can!

Most people over a certain age -- say, 116 -- know this guy on the stool, and the tale of how he was central to bringing his instrument center stage into the Jazz world, whilst simultaneously helping usher in what came to be called World Music with his concept-LP explorations of different cultures in the 1960s.

People are often split on him, with some disparaging him as the Kenny G of his day, and others elevating him to Essential Legend and Soul-Jazz pioneer.

I'll say this, though: the Kenny G of his day wouldn't have had Sonny Sharrock in his band for several years. Really a whole host of heavyweights were members of Herbie Mann's family at one time or another, from Roy Ayers to Fathead Newman to Pat Rebillot.

Herbie's 95th b'day will be next April -- he passed in 2003, exactly 30 years after these performances -- and I have big plans for that on this page, but why wait? I'm so into these Newport tapes from the 1970s, there's Carnegie Hall ones and Apollo Theater ones and just an embarrassment of riches over there on Graham Cracker's Trove Of Dubiously Copyrighted Gems, and I have been going through them to determine which ones are lossless enough to reconstruct and share here.

Yesterday's maniac Urbaniak was 50, so let's time travel one year previous to 51 years ago today in the same, storied venue for today's exercise in Funkness.

Herbie Mann Octet
Newport Jazz Festival
Carnegie Hall
New York City, NY USA

01 Push Push
02 Never Can Say Goodbye
03 Turtle Bay
04 Nighttime Is the Right Time
05 Memphis Underground
06 Hold On, I'm Comin' (Apollo Theater, NYC 7.2.1973)

Total time: 56:15

Herbie Mann - flute
David "Fathead" Newman - tenor saxophone & flute
Pat Rebillot - keyboards
Bob Mann - guitar
Jerry Friedman - guitar
Carlos "Patato" Valdez - congas & percussion
Bob Babbitt - bass
Andrew Smith - drums

320/48k mono audio (Track 06 is stereo) streamed from Wolfgang's Vault
spectral analysis goes to 20 kHz, making this more or less equivalent to a preFM source
converted to 16/44 CD Audio, repaired, tracked & slightly remastered by EN, June 2024
286 MB FLAC/direct link

I even dared to include a bonus jam from a couple of days later in the aforementioned Apollo in Harlem, because what are the jams if they aren't kicked out to the waiting masses? Or at least the three people that read my blog, which gets the page traffic of a Lamppost Orchard.

The inclusion of the bonus track in this one led me immediately to what's gonna be the first post of July too, all about an exonerated flea and his tribe, of whom I never knew there were live tapes.

Does that owl look like Bill Graham scowling at me from the Great Beyond for looting his shameless Vault? Oooh, that reminds me, the second post of July is gonna be all about another Owl, and his obsessions in the Authentic.

Until then, keep your flutes polished and your family Manned with this hour of power from one of Herbie's great bands. Hold on, he's comin'!--J.

4.16.1930 - 7.1.2003

Saturday, June 29, 2024


Michal Urbaniak's Fusion - Ilex

We're counting down to the end of the 1st half of the year with some anniversaries, so get out your promise rings and those funny flat bladed things that cut the cake.

I've covered this guy once before a few years ago, but I like the idea of 50th anniversaries so we're highlighting him again.

This is another one of those where I cherrypick the most preFM-ish shows from Wolfgang's House Of Stolen Concerts -- most of them scan as hopelessly lossy, but a good decent few of the jazzy ones aren't -- and reassemble them from their garble into something worth listening to.

Recorded exactly five decades ago tonight in some podunk, backwaterily bumblefucked venue -- Carnegie something, I can't remember -- as part of 1974's incredible Newport Jazz Festival, I don't think this circulates anywhere but over there on Bill's Bootlegs, so I decided to change that.

Anyway look out in this one for Michal Urbaniak's then-wife -- yes, she deserves a day of her own on here -- Urszula Dudziak, who goes buckwild in this show, swooping and divebombing her vocals in ways that make Yoko Ono sound reserved.

Also of interest here is Urbaniak himself, who plays a good deal of horn as well as violin, which is somewhat unusual for him.

Michal Urbaniak's Fusion
Newport Jazz Festival
Carnegie Hall
New York City, NY USA

01 Hymn of the Uranian Sequels
02 New York Batsa
03 Butterfly
04 Ilex
05 band introductions/Seresta

Total time : 42:07

Michal Urbaniak - violin & saxophone
Czeslaw Bartkowski - drums
Pavel Jarzebski - bass
Wojciech Karolak - keyboards
Urszula Dudziak - vocals & percussion

320/48k audio streamed from Wolfgang's Vault
spectral analysis goes to 20 kHz, making this essentially equivalent to a preFM source
converted to 16/44 CD Audio, repaired, denoised, tracked & slightly remastered by EN, June 2024
244 MB FLAC/direct link

This is a severely funkafied 42 minutes of fun, and finds Urbaniak in between two of his greatest records: 1974's Fusion and Atma, also from then.

I'm tryna whip another soundaversary into shape for tomorrow to end the month, but no promises.... even with a promise ring.

Until then, wrap your ears around these Polish fusioneerings, coming to you live 50 years after the fact!--J.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Picker Perfect: Chet Atkins 100

Chet Atkins - Don't Monkey 'Round My Widder (with Doc Watson)

Would you just behold that? The Blogger code is apparently repaired, so let's get down to centennial time, wanna?

Today's happy hundred belongs to a guitar slinger for the epochs, imitated by all but equaled by few.

Heralded as the man who brought Travis picking into the pop and rock guitar vocabulary, this Country Gentleman from Clinch Mountain, Tennessee was a central luminary figure in the foundations of what we now call Americana.

Back in the day, at its infancy, it was called The Nashville Sound and it helped bring Country music into the modern communications age.

Idolized by innumerable guitarists of all genres, from Paul McCartney to Steve Howe to Danny Gatton, his relaxed yet devastatingly precise -- and always, always funky as a junebug's underwear -- playing defined a whole area of guitar for millions.

His whole life changed one night listening to the radio in 1939, when the budding guitarist heard Merle Travis and his then-revolutionary picking style, that became an essential approach across so many musical worlds.

He began his ascent on the radio dial in the early 1940s in Knoxville and then Cincinnati, eventually signing to RCA in 1946 after debuting on the Grand Ole Opry with The Carter Family.

Soon he was put in charge of the RCA Nashville studios and began a second career as a sought-after producer, in addition to the myriad hits he had on his own during the 1950s, when his star really took off.

One of the first musos to have his own studio in his home, his career exploded to the heavens after an appearance at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival, beginning to cross over into more than just Country climes.

As much a Jazz musician as a Country picker, his Django-inflected stylings affected a whole galaxy of players across the second half of the 20th Century as almost no other.

He passed in 2001 after a career spent seismically altering the fabric and the DNA of the sounds around us.

How do you properly honor a player as far-reaching as Chet Atkins? I've spent the last week working this thing up because 1) there's precious few unissued/archival recordings of him and 2) I remember watching these shows in the 1980s, when they aired.

Chet Atkins
Nashville Now
Gaslight Theater
Opryland, USA
Nashville, Tennessee USA

01 Ready for the Times to Get Better (with Paul Yandell)
02 Harlequin Romance
03 Rocky Top  (with Paul Yandell)
04 Don't Monkey 'Round My Widder (with Doc Watson)
05 Country Pickin' (with Doc Watson)
06 Gallopin' Guitar (with Mark O'Connor & Paul Yandell)
07 House of the Rising Sun (with Mark O'Connor & Paul Yandell)
08 Pickin' with the Wind (with Mark O'Connor & Paul Yandell)
09 Sweet Georgia Brown (with Paul Yandell & Jerry Douglas)
10 Help Me Make It Through the Night
11 Alabama Jubilee (with Bela Fleck & Jerry Douglas)
12 Wildwood Flower (with Steve Warner)
13 Yankee Doodle Dixie
14 Danny Boy
15 The Orange Blossom Special
16 Mr. Bojangles (with Mark O'Connor)
17 Birth of the Blues (with Bela Fleck & Jerry Douglas)
18 Classical Gas 
19 Sails (with Steve Warner)
20 Would Jesus Wear A Rolex?
21 In the Good Old Summertime
22 Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) (with Don McLean)
23 Steeplechase Lane
24 Meet Mister Callaghan
25 Jethro's Tune (with Paul Yandell)
Total time: 1:19:34

Chet Atkins - guitar & vocals throughout, with myriad guests on various stringed instruments and occasional vocals
announcer is Ralph Emery, who if I'm not mistaken was a drug store, truck drivin' man 

320/48k mono audio extracts, from an HD YouTube file, of Chet Atkins' 1980s "Nashville Now" appearances on The Nashville Network
converted to 16/44 CD Audio, compiled, tracked, denoised, repaired & remastered by EN, June 2024
I apologize, but the tape chew issues in a few of the tunes were essentially unfixable 
spectral analysis goes to 20 kHz, so this is more or less equivalent to a preFM source
352 MB FLAC/direct link

These suffer from occasional tape chew in a few places, for which I apologize, but overall the music is exquisitely gorgeous and elegantly rendered, so I strove to not let the perfect become the enemy of the good in this case. You'll note the MC is Ralph Emery, immortalized in song by The Byrds after a notorious 1968 Nashville run-in with the man.

More great than good, these performances illustrate as well as any just what sort of towering figure of the guitar Chet Atkins was and remains, even a quarter century gone. And remember, don't you monkey 'round his widder when he's gone, or he'll haunt your ass!--J.

6.20.1924 - 6.30.2001

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Praxis: Bold As Love

Praxis - Bent Light (The Interworld and the New Innocence)

Hello again and welcome to the June swoonings, whilst I try to navigate the broken Blogger code that has lost almost all normal functionality.

We'll keep this to the point, as this is a group I've covered both individually and collectively before.

This show was issued in 2007 in a completely transmutated, reimagined way, with roughly a third of the music retwisted into a totally different iteration by Bill Laswell, but the raw, 2 1/2 hour opus is so balls-deep intense that it needs to be heard IMO.

There's no need to introduce these four players; they're all galaxy-class voyagers in sound and the noise they make in consort is really like no other aggregation.

I mean Bernie (Worrell), Buckethead, Brain and Bill (Laswell), come on. I remember when the first Praxis record came out and it sounded like it was recorded 1000 years in the future.

If I had to describe this music in words, I'd say it was Miles On The Corner of Titan and Saturn's rings.

So without further adieu, let's cut the chatter and spin the platter of this bad boy's 20th anniversary.

Bonnaroo Festival
Manchester, TN 

01 Bernie Worrell intro
02 Seven Laws of Woo
03 Crash Victim
04 Bent Light (The Interworld and the New Innocence)
05 Spun
06 Magus
07 Buckethead's dance interlude
08 Broken/Fractal (drum solo)
09 Guitar Virus
10 Machine Gun
11 Bernie Worrell organ interlude
12 Maggot Brain
13 Chopper
14 Night of the Slunk
15 Haunted
16 Optic
17 Vertebrae

Total time: 2:26:38
disc break goes after Track 09

Buckethead - guitar
Bill Laswell - bass
Bernie Worrell - keyboards & throne
Brain - drums
Lili Haydn - violin

seems like an unknown gen DAT of the complete concert, recorded from the soundboard
edited for applause, retracked, denoised and remastered by EN, June 2024
858 MB FLAC/direct link
this show was available for a time as a FLAC download back in 2004 on the Bonnaroo website
in 2007, the tapes of this concert were reworked by Bill Laswell into a completely different, reconstructed version, 
which can (and should) be purchased here

I'll return with a wild centennial celebration in a little over a week, by which time I hope against hope this interface will be cured of its disease and I can post normally again. I won't hold my breath, but we can dream, right?

In the mean time, do digest and enjoy this 146 minutes of utter mayhem, courtesy of a truly superb supergroup, and remember: Praxis makes perfect!--J.