Saturday, June 27, 2009

waxpoetics Magazine - Jazz-Soul-Hip Hop...

Since 2001, Wax Poetics has been hailed as no magazine’s equal in its fresh approach to independent music journalism. Staunchly unique in quality and focus, Wax Poetics is a classic in its own time, rigorously exploring the musical legacy of our past and revealing its relevance for today’s reader. Wax Poetics is a high-caliber music journal focusing on hip-hop’s brilliant evolution—from its birth as a collision of classic disco, soul, jazz, and funk, to its present domination of contemporary music culture and its limitless future as a popular art form. Wax Poetics delivers a unique mix of content that includes compelling interviews with famous and forgotten jazz, funk, and soul artists, as well as profiles of the most innovative and historically relevant hip-hop and dance producers, DJs, and artists worldwide.

Wax Poetics is 7"×10" and printed on a high-quality paper.

These perfect-bound editions are collectable reference books unlike any magazine of its kind being printed today.

Fast becoming the bible of today's Funk and Hip Hop scene

Covers numerous Genres from Jazz Hip Hop to Soul, Funk, Jazzfusion, Reggae etc…

Dedicated to highlighting lesser-known musicians and artists, primarily in the hip hop, jazz and blues fields, Wax Poetics magazine has gained a strong following among music obsessives for its in-depth interviews, informed writing and concern over musical minutiae. This compilation of "favorite" articles from the hard-to-find magazine's first five issues is a must-have for anyone with a deep interest in American music and the culture surrounding it. Interviews include two of James Brown's most famous drummers-Jab'O Starks and Clyde Stubblefield, the latter of whom is behind "Funky Drummer," one of the most-sampled pieces in hip-hop-as well as the the Beatminerz, who discuss their never-ending quest for new and groundbreaking samples, and more usual suspects like Prince Paul, Diamond D and RZA. Andrew Mason offers a detailed guide to the Ultimate Breaks and Beats series, a classic source for turntablists, and Karl Hagstrom Miller's story of stumbling across a rare Charles Mingus album ("Make Checks Payable to Charles Mingus") is alone worth the cover price. Though many of the figures and themes may be too obscure for casual listeners, vinyl collectors and OCD-style music fans will find an illuminating treasure trove in the first of what promises to be an essential series.Dedicated to highlighting lesser-known musicians and artists, primarily in the hip hop, jazz and blues fields, Wax Poetics magazine has gained a strong following among music obsessives for its in-depth interviews, informed writing and concern over musical minutiae. This compilation of "favorite" articles from the hard-to-find magazine's first five issues is a must-have for anyone with a deep interest in American music and the culture surrounding it. Interviews include two of James Brown's most famous drummers-Jab'O Starks and Clyde Stubblefield, the latter of whom is behind "Funky Drummer," one of the most-sampled pieces in hip-hop-as well as the the Beatminerz, who discuss their never-ending quest for new and groundbreaking samples, and more usual suspects like Prince Paul, Diamond D and RZA. Andrew Mason offers a detailed guide to the Ultimate Breaks and Beats series, a classic source for turntablists, and Karl Hagstrom Miller's story of stumbling across a rare Charles Mingus album ("Make Checks Payable to Charles Mingus") is alone worth the cover price. Though many of the figures and themes may be too obscure for casual listeners, vinyl collectors and OCD-style music fans will find an illuminating treasure trove in the first of what promises to be an essential series.The book is amazing, it chronicles a good deal of exquisite vinyl pieces showing the progression, variation, and the eclectically appealing array of music in existence. It's only a taste, and a delicious one at that. You're sure to enjoy.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Eric Dolphy - Something Sweet, Something Tender

An utterly inaccessible but extremely worthwhile jazz masterpiece. There's no piano here - Dolphy plays a variety of woodwinds (bass clarinet on "Hat and Beard" and "Something Sweet, Something Tender"; flute on "Gazzelloni"; alto sax on the title cut and "Straight Up and Down"); and the band includes other famous jazz figures such as Tony Williams (soon to join Miles Davis and form his own group, Tony Williams Lifetime) on drums and Freddie Hubbard (also of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage-era band, and the Coltrane group that made Ascension) playing trumpet. But the real star of the show is Dolphy, merging Monk's innovations in odd chord progression, Coleman's love of atypical harmonies, and Mingus' experiments with song structure - often, the themes are played in odd measures, giving them a tremendously off-kilter feel (the nervy "Straight Up and Down"; Monk tribute "Hat and Beard", with an insane vibraphone part from Bobby Hutcherson). The sole ballad of the set, "Something Sweet, Something Tender", mainly a duet between Dolph and bassist Ron Davis, is beautiful in a weird way, much like some of Coltrane's very last recordings. There's also a strange pseudo-classical experiment ("Gazzelloni") that's absolutely brilliant, because there is nothing else like it. And I do mean nothing - listen to Dolph's flute. It will dispel all notions of the instrument having a pleasant, easy-on-the-ears sound. It also will dispel all notions of vibes being pleasant and easy-on-the-ears, for those looking to see notions dispelled. It's an insane piece, which is precisely why I love it. That, and it has a bass solo. Those are always good. The amazing title track is probably the worst song here, but it would've been the best on any other album - again, the bass solo really is something. I gotta say, get this right now if you like Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, and/or Charles Mingus - especially if you, like me, like all three of 'em. It's not for everybody, but it's very much worth a buy.

If You Could See Me Now - Sonny Stitt

The most perfect saxophonist--ever. Tenor or, here, alto. The complete phrases, articulations, everything so clean. The tone as uncluttered, embodied, true as it gets. The melody's always there, plus countermelodies and intricate melodies between the main phrases--3 melodies at once. Stitt said he played "simple and to please the people, just like Art Tatum." That says it all about Sonny's musicianship. And the reason younger players and musicians can't "get" him.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Inside USA - Angela Davis - 03 Oct 08 - Part 1

Angela Davis, the daughter of an automobile mechanic and a school teacher, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on 26th January, 1944. The area where the family lived became known as Dynamite Hill because of the large number of African American homes bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. Her mother was a civil rights campaigner and had been active in the NAACP before the organization was outlawed in Birmingham.

Davis attended segregated schools in Birmingham before moving to New York with her mother who had decided to study for a M.A. at New York University. Davis attended a progressive school in Greenwich Village where several of the teachers had been blacklisted during the McCarthy Era.

In 1961 Davis went to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts to study French. Her course included a year at the Sorbonne in Paris. Soon after arriving back in the United States she was reminded of the civil rights struggle that was taking place in Birmingham when four girls that she knew were killed in the Baptist Church Bombing in September, 1963.

After graduating from Brandeis University she spent two years at the faculty of philosophy at Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University in Frankfurt, West Germany before studying under Herbert Marcuse at the University of California. Davis was greatly influenced by Marcuse, especially his idea that it was the duty of the individual to rebel against the system.

In 1967 Davis joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party. The following year she became involved with the American Communist Party.

Davis began working as a lecturer of philosophy at the University of California in Los Angeles. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1970 informed her employers, the California Board of Regents, that Davis was a member of the American Communist Party, they terminated her contract.

Davis was active in the campaign to improve prison conditions. She became particularly interested in the case of George Jackson and W. L. Nolen, two African Americans who had established a chapter of the Black Panthers in California's Soledad Prison. While in California's Soledad Prison Jackson and W. L. Nolen, established a chapter of the Black Panthers. On 13th January 1970, Nolan and two other black prisoners was killed by a prison guard. A few days later the Monterey County Grand Jury ruled that the guard had committed "justifiable homicide."

When a guard was later found murdered, Jackson and two other prisoners, John Cluchette and Fleeta Drumgo, were indicted for his murder. It was claimed that Jackson had sought revenge for the killing of his friend, W. L. Nolan.

On 7th August, 1970, George Jackson's seventeen year old brother, Jonathan, burst into a Marin County courtroom with a machine-gun and after taking Judge Harold Haley as a hostage, demanded that George Jackson, John Cluchette and Fleeta Drumgo, be released from prison. Jonathan Jackson was shot and killed while he was driving away from the courthouse.

Over the next few months Jackson published two books, Letters from Prison and Soledad Brother. On 21st August, 1971, George Jackson was gunned down in the prison yard at San Quentin. He was carrying a 9mm automatic pistol and officials argued he was trying to escape from prison. It was also claimed that the gun had been smuggled into the prison by Davis.

Davis went on the run and the Federal Bureau of Investigation named her as one of its "most wanted criminals". She was arrested two months later in a New York motel but at her trial she was acquitted of all charges. However, because of her militant activities, Ronald Reagan, the Governor of California, urged that Davis should never be allowed to teach in any of the state-supported universities.

Davis worked as a lecturer of African American studies at Claremont College (1975-77) before becoming a lecturer in women's and ethnic studies at San Francisco State University. In 1979 Davis visited the Soviet Union where she was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize and made a honorary professor at Moscow State University. In 1980 and 1984 Davis was the Communist Party's vice-presidential candidate.

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue 50th Anniversary

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue 50th Anniversary

The 50th Anniversary of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue is a very historic event. Legacy Recordings is releasing a Collector's Edition Box set on September 30 to celebrate this very important release. ...

Miles Davis (trumpet); Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (alto saxophone); John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans (piano); Paul Chambers (double bass); Jimmy Cobb (drums).

Liner Note Authors: Robert Palmer; Nat Hentoff.

Recording information: Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York, New York (03/02/1959); Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York, New York (04/22/1959).

With BIRTH OF THE COOL, Miles Davis distilled a new tonal palette for jazz. As early as 1954, Miles reacted to the escalating chordal complexity of hard bop by fashioning an evocative blues based on a simple scalar pattern ("Swing Spring"). KIND OF BLUE was the ultimate fulfillment of this approach, with Miles providing his collaborators little more than outlines for melodies and simple scales for improvisation. By emphasizing the blues and the improvisor's melodic gifts, KIND OF BLUE precipitated a major stylistic development--modal jazz.

Charles Mingus had experimented with pedal points throughout the 1950s, and the melodic freedom of Ornette Coleman's Atlantic sides was also predicated on freedom from chord changes. But KIND OF BLUE was to prove the most influential, enduring work of its kind. There was just such a vibe about these 1959 sessions--Miles' lyric genius and burgeoning stardom, the innovative voicings and rarefied touch of pianist Bill Evans, the electrifying presence of Coltrane and Cannonball--that some thirty-plus years after its initial release, KIND OF BLUE is still recognized as Davis' point of departure towards jazz's less-explored regions.

Bill Evans' translucent chords and Paul Chambers' famous bass line herald the revolution that is "So What": Davis and Evans' taut, coiled lyricism stands in sharp relief to the saxophonists' labyrinthine elation. The fat, shimmering beat of the classic Evans/Chambers/Cobb rhythm team is an oasis of calm throughout the childish blues "Freddie Freeloader." Often credited to Davis, "Blue In Green" is an Evans masterpiece, in which the rhythmic oasis becomes a smoky mirage for Davis' minor reveries on muted horn. The waltzing "All Blues" is one of the smoothest, most swinging grooves in the history of jazz, while "Flamenco Sketches" reflects Miles fascination with the earthy melodies and brooding metaphors of the Iberian peninsula...a harbinger of his next masterpiece, SKETCHES OF SPAIN. KIND OF BLUE remains Miles Davis' most evocative piece of musical haiku.

Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.94) - Ranked #13 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "This painterly masterpiece is one of the most important, influential and popular albums in jazz..."
Q (4/99, p.129) - Included in Q's list of "The Best Jazz Albums of All Time."
Q (3/95, p.116) - 5 Stars - Indispensable - "Widely considered the greatest album in jazz history, Miles Davis' 1959 masterpiece is a collection of exquisitely melodic and deceptively simple modern jazz..."
Down Beat (1959) - "This is a remarkable album. Using very simple but effective devices, Miles has constructed an album of extreme beauty and sensitivity. This is not to say that this LP is a simple one--far from it. What is remarkable is that the men have done so much with the stark, skeltal material.
JazzTimes (8/97, p.106) - "...The absolutely beautiful Coltrane solo on the `Flamenco Sketches' alternate is alone worth the price....The restoration of the sound to the correct pitch makes enough of a difference to recommend repurchasing this classic even without the jazz track of the year aboard..."
Vibe (12/99, p.158) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century
Blender (Magazine) (p.67) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "Its ageless cool now seems intertwined with its backstory: Just months after making the album, Davis and most of his sidemen would spin off in different directions, founding entire schools of jazz."
Paste (magazine) (p.61) - "[T]he music draws you in with seductively gentle restraint. It's a recording with a pristine elegance."

Much has been said about the Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue." The album is the subject of two books and any Miles Davis bio worth picking up devotes several pages to it's development and musical importance. The record is known for its simplicity and improvisation, as the sextet of jazz masters use a minimum amount of chords to create a mood that's profound, yet accessible. The original album consists of five tracks recorded in two days. Now, a half a century after its creation, there's a lot more.

The musical paleontologists at Epic/Legacy have given this superior work the full treatment, expanding the music onto two CDs, with more Miles on a DVD, which includes a documentary on album and a rare television appearance of Miles and his band, from 1960. The box set also includes four essays, session transcripts and a 60-page book.

The documentary, which is described as "newly produced," obviously isn't a recent as you might expect, as the late Ed Bradley comments on the influence of the album along with Bill Cosby, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santanna and Q-Tip. The late Jackie McClean also it appears, making this the only element of this reissue of a 1958 record that could be called dated. A rare television appearance of Miles and the band is also included, catching Miles in his prime, living up to his legend even when he's smoking cigarettes in the background as his band plays.

The songs on "Kind Of Blue" were believed by many to have been recorded in one take, but among the "new" music is an alternate take of "Flamenco Sketches," along with shorter versions of album's five tracks and one false start. Jazz nerds are given further insight into the recording process through the brief dialogues between Davis and the record's producer and engineer, between the takes. This banter is transcribed and followed by analysis in the accompanying book. On the second disc is another session with the same musicians, which were first released together in 2000, and a 17 minute live version of the album's opener "So What."

The voluminous criticism, discussion and the additions to this essential album threaten to overwhelm a work known for it's lack of complexity. The music authorities may have tried to drown the public with data and transcriptions, but they've provided the ultimate life preserver in the box set: A 180-gram blue vinyl version of the album.
If you would like to hear the spirit of jazz- then listen to Kind of Blue.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bobby Hutcherson Montara

From 1975's "Montara", here's vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson with the smooth title track. Sampled later for The Roots' "Montara" and remade/remixed by Madlib.

For sure, this is the strangest Bobby Hutcherson disc in his fine catalog: Electric piano, Latin percussion, a definite psychedelic/Latin/jazz/fusion vibe. Originally recorded in August of 1975, it is just now available on CD in a digitally remastered edition.

Can you dig it? Hey, it's the seventies. What else would you expect? Bobby probably wore some righteous bell bottoms and a tight-fitting polyester shirt to these sessions.

Called Hutcherson's first all Latin session, it lives up to its billing, and actually contains some very fine playing, once you get over the seventies weirdness. Since Bobby H is hands down my favorite vibes/marimba player (and he esp. shines on the latter instrument), I'd probably pick up anything and everything by him. And although I'm experiencing a kind of jazz/fusion personal renaissance, I still struggle a bit with the sensibility here--too much dated electronics for my taste. Which raises the question: Will Dave Douglas, Brad Mehldau, Matthew Shipp, et. al. sound this dated 25 years from now? Hmmmm.

Comprising an almost equal amount of driving Latin-rhythms and gorgeous ballads, this session does have some very special moments like the gorgeous ballad "Love Song" and the medium-tempo "Little Angel."

Probably not for everyone, but certainly all those who agree with me that BH is the reigning vibes meistro, as well as those stuck in a seventies fusion time-warp, will want to have it.

..As I wait for WHOEVER has the rights to the Blue Note catalogue to reissue Bobby Hutcherson's finest (IMO) recording, the unheralded and lost in the shuffle "Knucklebean"(w/ George Cables (p), Freddie Hubbard(tpt, flgl),and unsung Manny Boyd (ts) and Eddie Marshall(drs) ,
I see Blue Notes' keepers have reissued MR Hutcherson's LA 70s Latin Jazz set, Montara!

Well,as for my dos centavos (and yours, pun intended), costing the "supersaver" budget price,
grab it, for the recording features 2 lovely compositions, worth to shell out the $12 US for these alone!

Ay madre ,
if you are a cigarette smoker, this cd is costing but 2 package US cigarettes,
money better spent to hear the lovely ballade "Montara" , and George Cables composition the slow cha-cha ,"Love Song" and keep your lungs carcinogen free and breath kissin' sweet, hehe.

As usual, Mr Hutcherson, who, IMO, eclipses the legendary Milt Jackson as the world's finest mallets master (vibes and marimba), a genius of the mallets.
~ The solo work of Bobby Hutcherson appears to have been underappreciated by even the "jazz mafia",
as intricate snaking 8th & 16 note runs NEVER deteriorate into scalework, but caress the melody and , as cliche dictates, "tells a musical story".
(ahhh, but ohhh, scalework~~Oliver Nelson's book, "Patterns for Jazz, abused!)

The "contribution" of modern musics schools to the new neoclassical , Marsalis -inspired BIG MAC assembly line musicians (who have gotten so many undeserved recording contracts in the last 20 years),scales and patterns replace lyrical melodic soloing too often in today's jazz"scene", but I fall away from my message)

No, no scalework, but lyrical and melodic lines, beautifully conceived.

So with the more workman like post Tito Puente items, here a listener is better served to listen to the incendiary 70s recordings of Eddie Palmieri, but there is nothing unlistenable on this cd.

KEEP a lookout for "Knucklebean", and "til then", enjoy and mine the catalogue of Bobby Hutcherson's cd catalogue !

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Robert Glasper

It goes like this: Bill Evans,Corea, Jarrett, Mehldau,Hiromi Uehara and Robert Glasper.
This guy WILL be remembered for all time. A true visionary.
In My Element is a captivating example of the rudely healthy shape of US ‘boutique’ jazz. The 27-year old pianist Robert Glasper has reached his third release already - his 2005 set Canvas was immediately critically acclaimed. The reason for the fuss is that unmistakable Glaser touch: neither enigmatically original nor faultlessly derivative but, rather, tuneful, warm and intelligent.

It’s easy to hear why the best jazz today comes in threes. Beyond the simple advantage of low overhead, the sparseness of the instrumentation allows the harder rhythms of pop to shine while still being capable of the complex sonic texture necessary to pull off the odd Radiohead cover. Mehldau popularized the jazz-guy-does-Radiohead, offering up a pensive, wistful rendition of “Exit Music (For a Film)”; Glasper does his own inspired riff on the concept on In My Element.

For Glasper, the trio enables him to heighten the drama and sense of surprise in his playing. With a bare minimum of bandmates, he has total freedom. “It’s an intimate setting,” he explains over lunch on Park Avenue South. “There aren’t too many people in the band to communicate with, and my guys [bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid] know the direction I’m going without me having to speak it.”

In My Element showcases the degree to which Glasper has developed and refined his pop sensibility. Crossing music boundaries comes naturally to him, the way it does to many young jazz musicians these days. When Branford Marsalis began gigging with the Grateful Dead in the late eighties, purists bugged out. At the time, jazz was vying for highbrow status, for inclusion in the performing-arts institutions and academies. Now that it’s succeeded, Glasper and his contemporaries don’t have the snobs on their backs, or at least not as many of them. Kitsch remains a danger, though. Glasper escapes it because he unfailingly gets the feeling right. His music is guided by an elegant evocation of the emotion in the song—then his formidable chops muscle into the picture.

Robert Glasper

Album: In My Element (2007) Robert Glasper: Piano Vicente Archer: Bass Damion Reid: Drums

hile some jazz labels invest heavily in the remix phenomenon, pumping up the beats and turbocharging the tempo to make dance music for the coffee-bar crowd (as if Billie Holiday’s music needs more impact), piano trios, jazz’s most pristine and discreet setting, have quietly taken over the music. Top practitioners like Brad Mehldau, Jason Moran, and the Bad Plus sell out midsize rock venues these days, and the next wave is arriving quickly, led by 28-year-old Texas native Robert Glasper. His third and latest album, In My Element, is the first significant jazz disc of the year; the music is direct, forceful, inventive, and accessible without pandering.

The Texan-born and gospel-raised Glasper is clearly indebted to contemporary jazz piano greats Keith Jarrett – for muscular, passionate flourishes – and Brad Mehldau, for narrative density and introspective complexity. Like Jarrett, Glasper tries his hand ably at repertoire standards, and, like Mehldau, has a habit of dashing away from melody, dangling percussive suggestions, before deftly returning to the safe ground of the lyric.

In My Element balances these themes finely, yet the most satisfying tunes are the more firmly emphatic ones. On the opener, "G And B", there is a noticeable hip-hop swing, and Glasper’s choppy playing is fast and insistent, yet not over-intense. On "FTB", a choppy percussive break-beat from his drummer, Damion Reid, sets up a funky counterpoint for a romantic piano melody.

It is left to two later tracks, "One For ‘Grew" and "Tribute" for expressions of other strands of African American culture. Voice samples from revered pianist Mulgrew Miller give the former a bebop, smoky jazz club feel and the latter - a tribute to Glasper’s greatest influence, his gospel singing mother, who has now passed on – is soaked in church inspiration, passion, love and deliverance.

In My Element is a strong, refined work in the classic jazz trio tradition. On repeated hearing, early tonal repetition clears to reveal a formidable lyrical voice.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom

B-3 Blues and Grooves and Voodoo Boogaloo

Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom is an irrepressible group mixing jazz, blues, funk, Latin and soul music in a heady brew that really grooves. Multi-instrumentalist Levy, whose resume includes stints with Albert and BB King, Charles Brown, Roomful of Blues, ReBirth Brass Band, Lowell Fulsom, Ronnie Earl, Charles Earland, The Wild Magnolias and Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, brings all his experience to the fore on Voodoo Boogaloo, playing Hammond B-3 organ, piano, vibes, basses, and a variety of electronic keyboards, in addition to composing and arranging all the music on the date. Joined by long-time Wild Kingdom regulars Melvin Sparks, the father of acid jazz, and jam band master saxist Karl Denson. Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom lets loose with some of the most soulful music on the planet today.

The opening “Organ Colossus” is a funky jungle strutting feature for Levy's B-3, clavinet and electric bass and “Sax” Gordon's tenor with the Wild Kingdom percussion section of Adrome “Acidman” MacHine's drums, Yahuba Garcia's congas, and Russ Lawton's bells cooking up a storm. The music is reminiscent of the classic R & B of Booker T and the MG's, the sixties soul of Stevie Wonder, the electrifying black rock of Sly and the Family Stone and the AfroPop of Manu Dibango all at the same time.

“Voodoo Boogaloo” showcases Levy's vibes on a Latin line in the Cal Tjader tradition that's jazzed up with a swinging Milestones-inspired bridge. Garcia's timbales and congas and Lawton's percussion spice up the mix with some salsa Picante, while Karl Denson soars on flute over Gordon's beefy baritone sax. Melvin Sparks lets fly with a classic guitar solo, quoting “Moanin'”, “Tequila”, and “Softly As A Morning Sunrise”, backed by Levy's relentlessly grooving B-3.

Drum and bass open up the soulful ballad “Love Retoined” with Jeff Lockhart's guitar sharing the spotlight with Levy's organ and electric piano. Shades of Isaac Hayes meets Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echoes.

“Better Save Yo'seff” is jazzy New Orleans styled rhythm and blues with “Sax” Gordon blowing shotgun tenor over “Acidman” MacHine's funky beat, bolstered by Lawton's tambourine. Levy settles into a comfortable Big Easy groove and stays right there, allowing Lockhart to get down with some great guitar gumbo.

Levy's “Spy On The Fly” is his take off on sixties' Quincy Jones cop show soundtracks, complete with sirens, string synthesizers and smokin' Sax. The leader's busy hands stay full on this one, soloing on vibes and B-3 while wielding his full arsenal of keyboards in the background.

Garcia's congas and Lawton's tambourine set up Levy's organ and MacHine's traps for another Nawlins outing on the bluesy “Spank!” Denson and Gordon, on tenor and baritone, are one fierce horn section, riffing away the day, before Denson steps out front for a vicious solo. Levy mixes things up on organ, clavinet and the Korg MS-20 for a rockin' good time.

“Wes Side West” is a pretty jazz line executed with finesse by Denson on flute with Levy on bass and keys and Lawton's insistent tambourine pushing the percussion section. Sparks shows his stuff with a gutsy solo before Denson takes it to another level with an extended flute flight. Levy gets into the act with some jazzy organ licks before letting Sparks fade it out.

The date ends with “Memphis Mem'ries”. Levy puts his electric and acoustic pianos up front on this one with Denson backing him on alto and tenor in the sax section. Special guest Jerry Portnoy, veteran of the Muddy Waters Blues Band and sideman with guitar giant Eric Clapton blows some mean blues harmonica, at times sounding like a lazy Tennessee freight train, before Denson steps out front with some fat tenor. Levy winds the proceedings down with some mellow vibes and keyboards.

Voodoo Boogaloo is truly an exemplary excursion into Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom. It's a place where people can party on the timeless sounds of funky jazz and soulful blues as they groove into tomorrow.

If you're new to the B3 sound (and even if you're not) this is the album for you. From mellow to funky, Ron Levy puts the instrument through its paces in a sometimes playful and all-times soulful way. A little more to the acid side than some staunch B3 enthusiasts might like, because he doesn't keep it screamin' all the time, he actually plays it melodically. Check it out! Sweet.

1. Levtronic Blues - Ron Levy, Levy, Ron 2. Summertime - Ron Levy, Gershwin, George 3. Smoke N' Fire 4. Gimme a Break - Ron Levy, Levy, Ron 5. Prayin' the Blues, Pt. 1 6. Funk Finger 7. Eema's Song 8. 'Mo Chain Smokin' 9. Meter Made 10. Rooseveltin' 11. Prayin' the Blues, Pt. 2

blue note - herbie hancock - cantaloop island

A bright, powerful, timeless recording.,

Herbie Hancock is one of the most ingenious and excellent pianists of the twentieth century. He could compose entertaining, brightly done songs that would not only be a big hit on the charts but be great as well. All of the songs on Cantaloupe Island are filled with exotic, amazing solos and catchy compositions. Such tracks could only be done by Herbie Hancock; he creates a legendary album here. Most enjoyable to add are the great people in jazz who join him for this project: Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, George Coleman, and many others.

The whole album is just spectacular. The instant classic "Cantaloupe Island" features a little piano loop played over and over for a jazzy feeling. Freddie Hubbard's trumpet solo is perfect for the song. The way the loop and Herbie's solo go together is the greatest. The next single, "Watermelon Man", has a different piano loop and works in the same fasion. This time, Dexter Gordon joins the mix and turns in an incredible solo. Freddie Hubbard's solo is excellent, and Herbie's is a little short, but it works out brilliantly with the rest of the song. The slower but always exciting tropical sounds of "Driftin'" feature Donald Byrd on an excellent tune. Hank Mobley's solo is swinging and solid as usual, and Herbie steals the show by playing terrifically. The bouncy "Blind Man, Blind Man" is classic Herbie, featuring great solos over a great beat. The similiar "And What If I Don't" bounces as well, and has great trumpet and guitar solos. The third single, "Maiden Voyage" is a fantastic ballad, with its dreamy sounds and solos from Freddie and Herbie.