I will be away from tonight until Tuesday July 9th. Hurrah! Goodbye, web!
I had a record-buying walk in the Manhattan heat on Saturday. More detailed reviews to come soon, but I can tell you that I did manage to score a reasonably cheap copy of Brother Jack McDuff’s ‘The Heatin’ System’, a funk-jazz double album from 1972. I also picked up a Gary McFarland LP (a posthumous compilation of tracks from his Skye and Buddha LPs), the Japanese Cast album of Hair (this was a gift for someone else actually), and a nice late 60s Milt Jackson album on Verve. Also, my sealed copy of Quincy Jones’s ‘Quincy plays for pussycats’ arrived today.
I should really stop all this…
Hoping Turkey and South Korea win…
Quincy Jones: 'Quincy Plays for Pussycats' (LP; Mercury; 1965)
This LP is sealed. I'll open it tonight and report back. The tracks are:
- What's New Pussycat
- The Gentle Rain
- Blues in the Night
- After Hours
- Blues For Trumpet & Koto
- (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
- A Walk in the Black Forest
- Non-Stop To Brazil
- The Hucklebuck
- Mack The Knife
- The "In" Crowd
Reporting back: It's a nice album, although the arrangements are slightly more brassy and less stringy than I woiuld have liked. Overall, it has a very mid-60s style sound, not unlike records I own by Les and Larry Elgart (that great 'gogo' record featuring 'St. James Infirmary') and Enoch Light (the discotheque albums). So, I like this, but it's not totally where I'm at right now.
I’m feeling remarkably alive, in view of the fact that I slept only between 11 and 2.30, and between 5 and 8 last night. I don’t recall sleeping much then, either. I had this weird dream in the last stretch that Esther and I were in this vast brownstone-style building that was the size of a cathedral. Across thousands of square feet, it had completely uniform wide wooden floorboards, and one vast bay window at the front. In the back was a big courtyard – kind of like an Oxford or Cambridge college, except bigger.
All of which is more interesting than the England vs. Brazil game turned out to be. The England goal was great, but it seemed to me that the game turned when David Seaman was winded after making a save. In hindsight, perhaps he should have come off. It’s easy to say that now, though! I’ve been predicting all along that Germany will win, and that’s still on. Really, I hope that it will be South Korea or Senegal, though.
So, tonight is the big moment for England vs. Brazil. I’ve really no idea what will happen. The same goes for the USA vs. Germany game. It should be interesting.
Willie Bobo: 'New Dimension' (CD; Verve; 1968)
I'm delighted with this item, which is a US domestic release, but packaged like those nice Japanese limited issue CDs, in a 5" record style sleeve, complete with spine print. There's also a foldout reproduction of the back of the original record cover. Very tasty - why don't they just make all CDs like this?
On to the album. Psychedelic Blues is a nice long latin instrumental with brass, percussion and piano. What surprised me about the album is how much I enjoyed the vocal tracks - the look of love, this guy's in love with you and Yellow Days are all great. 'Quieres volver' is also nice, although a little shmalzier to my ears. His vocal performance is improved from earlier Verve albums. There are some great string backgrounds on the slower numbers. Other catchy upbeat numbers are 'Grazin' in the Grass', 'Lisa' and, 'Sham Time', all with some great jazz-boogaloo beats. Overall, a very nice album with a great mix of songs on it.
I’m still mourning the death of audiogalaxy.The site’s enormous index of any track that has ever been on any users harddrive is still up on their site, but as far as I can see, all of the links are dead. What was great about AG? The interface really fostered communities, interaction, and discovery of new music. How else could it have come to be that I could turn on my AG satellite (the downloading application the site uses), and immediately see half a dozen obscure european gogo/freakbeat tracks filtering onto my computer, unrequested? This happened all the time, thanks to interest groups like ‘spanish kitsch’, ‘yeyeagogo’ and ‘loungexotica’, in which members sent items that were of interest to other members. The sad thing is this: AG, great as it was, didn’t even get to fulfill its potential. The interest groups mechanism was slow and unfriendly, and it was really word-of-mouth that introduced me to most of the groups I ended up in. I hope that if one thing comes out of this, it’s that a new service takes what AG did and improves it. I fear however that we will be left with the crap that is Musicnet. Apparently, the idea is that AG will be this new service, and that it will be legal. But there’s a long way to go – see this article.
I tried Filetopia. It was a Napster-style interface. I didn’t like it much. More on this soon.
As an experiment, I tried to restrict the songs in my DJ set on Thursday to tracks that could in some way be considered ‘jazz’. However, this was usually just down to the label they were released on; it occurred to me the other day that my musical taste could be described as a jazz purist’s nightmare. While I browse through jazz records all the time, I have a suspicion that the ones I like are among the most pop-oriented ones, and would probably be dismissed by many ‘serious’ jazz fans. Anyway, I carefully removed all Ronnie Aldrich, John Schroeder, Buddy Merrill, and other overtly ‘easy listening’ records from my bag this time.
This was my set:
- Maria – Lalo Schifrin (Verve)
~ I love the dense strings and percussive beat on this track from 1962.
- Gringo A-Go-Go – Al Hirt (RCA)
~ This isn’t actually the track I would have chosen to play from this album, but a friend requested it. Lalo Schifrin composed and conducted this, and you can hear his taste in jabbing brass and tight rhythms.
- Sambao – Walter Wanderley (Verve)
~ More hypnotic rhythms on this track. I absolutely love all Walter’s organ albums on Verve. The earlier LPs on Philips and later ones on A&M; don’t seem to do it for me as much.
- Samba de Duas Notas – Maria Toledo (UA)
~ I bought this record once for a dollar; apparently it’s very sought after. The arrangements are by Eumir Deodato, and Luiz Bonfa plays. It’s pleasant stuff, although I’m not quite as hypnotized by Maria’s voice as some other people seem to be. This track is great though – a simple, uplifting Bonfa composition with a nice beat and the kind of dense string/piano arrangement that you hear on my favorite Marcos Valle recordings.
- No more blues – Jon Hendricks with Joao Gilberto (Reprise)
~ I bought this LP just recently, realizing afterwards that it has just come out on CD in the UK. A very nice album. The English language lyrics to songs by Jobim, Gilberto et al. can sound awfully corny when sung by some people, but not the masterful Jon Hendricks, who manages to make them sound completely charming. The arrangement is also first class.
- So um amor – Shorty Rogers and his Giants (Reprise)
~ A short, but astoundingly catchy bossa nova instrumental. This is from an LP on reprise called simply ‘Bossa Nova’, with a generic looking sleeve that is also used for a much less bossa-inspired Barney Kessell LP.
- Passa Por Mim – Marcos Valle (Warner Brothers)
~ This is a lush masterpiece with strings and brass, from his US release ‘Braziliance’.
- Swallowtail – Tipsy (Asphodel CD)
~ This track might seem out of place here, but as soon as I heard the preceding Marcos Valle track, it popped into my head (I just typed ‘pooped into my head’). Alongside Tipsy’s trademark kooky effects, the track features a strikingly similar lush string sequence, with some cool brass stabs pasted in.
- Along Comes Mary – Cal Tjader (Verve)
~ This is quite a free interpretation of the Association classic. From Cal’s excellent ‘Along comes Cal’ album, which by some fluke I was able to buy on ebay for $1.25.
- Cuban Fantasy – Tito Puente (BMG CD reissue)
~ I struggle with a lot of the Puente I’ve heard, just because my tolerance for vocals is low. This is led by the vibes, and is a winner.
- Cattin’ Latin – Dave Pike (New Jazz)
~ Probably the most ‘jazz’ track I played. From his 1961 ‘Limbo Carnival’ album.
- Huh! – Freddie McCoy (Prestige)
~ The other end of jazz vibes: McCoy plays a simple, blues-pop-soul hybrid that is very appealing.
- Soul Sauce (Guacha Guaro) – Cal Tjader (Verve)
~ A famous track that probably needs no explanation here. I still love it. I read recently that it was also played in ‘northern soul’ clubs.
- California here I come – Gary McFarland (Verve)
~ A jaunty bossa style instrumental with whistling
- Cuchy Frito Man – Claus Ogerman (RCA)
~ Although Cal Tjader’s version is more famous, I like Claus Ogerman’s version very much as well. This is from ‘Latin Rock’, an album that actually sounds very Brazilian, in spite of its attempt to cash in on the Latin trend.
- Walk on By – Mongo Santamaria (Colombia)
~ This is fast becoming one of my favorite versions of what is my favorite Bacharach song. Tight piano and beat start it off. Very nice.
- Blues in the Closet – Willie Bobo (Verve)
~ A short instrumental from the ‘Spanish Grease’ album. I have 2 or 3 of Willie’s albums now. I like it when he doesn’t sing. Sometimes it’s ok when he sings as well.
- Reza – Chico O’Farrill (Verve)
~ Another famous Brazilian song, here done in a brassy Latin style. This track, and the whole album (‘Married Well’) combine brassy Latin sounds with contemporary hammond/drum sounds to great effect.
- 1-2-3 – Nancy Ames (Epic)
~ This one has been in my collection for a while now – a driving latin vocal version of this famous song.
- West Side Radio – Kenyon Hopkins (Verve)
~ A nice, moderately-paced jazzy instrumental with hammond organ. From the Mr Buddwing soundtrack.
- Burning Spear – Jimmy Smith (Verve)
~ From an album (‘Livin’ it up’) that I bought the day before. Jimmy Smith albums are hard to come across at a decent price in decent condition, so I was pleased to get this one. The track has heavy drums, without being funky at all. Very energetic and upbeat though.
- Win, Lose or Draw – Jack McDuff (Cadet)
~ Finding most of his Blue Note records too brassy or straight ahead, I started buying his Cadet albums. I think they’re better, but I still don’t like many of them all the way through. This is the pleasant opening track on ‘Gettin’ our thing together’. It’s slightly generic, but has a cool sound.
- Ducky – Odell Brown and the organ-izers (Cadet)
~ Another nice hammond organ track.
- Freddie’s Dead – Young-Holt Unlimited (Paula)
~ The former members of Ramsey Lewis’s band take on a track from Superfly. Kind of silly, but nice.
- The Moving Finger – Dorothy Ashby (Cadet reissue LP)
~ Probably the first time I’ve played something out completely ‘cold’ – that is, I’d never heard this track before playing it, since the reissue of the prized ‘rubiayat of dorothy ashby’ LP arrived that morning in the mail. This is a nice slow jazz breakbeat track. It goes on though; I ended up fading it out.
- Come Live with me – Dorothy Ashby (Cadet reissue LP)
~ Back on firmer ground here, with probably my favorite track from ‘Afro Harping’, a theme from the movie ‘Valley of the Dolls’.
- Call me – Freddie McCoy (Prestige)
~ An extremely simple, but effective jazz vibes version of the Tony Hatch-penned classic.
- Chain of Fools – Dick Hyman (Command)
~ From an album I bought not too long ago, ‘Sweet Sweet Soul’, it’s an upbeat small jazz combo version, with Dick leading on the piano.
- Music for Night People – Artie Butler (A&M;)
~ I love this track, which was apparently penned by UK session guru Alan Moorhouse. I once had a nice version of this by the Larry Page orchestra.
- Dear Prudence – Ramsey Lewis (Cadet)
~ From ‘Mother Nature’s Son’, which I believe I’ve already made it clear that I think is astounding. This is a slowly-brewed masterpiece, building up to an incredible climax.
- Ode to Billy Joe – Oscar Peterson (MPS)
~ I love almost every track on this album (Motions and Emotions), but I’ve been on an ‘ode to billy joe’ kick for some months now, so this seemed like the one to play.
Oh, and well done England. Thanks to them, I’ve had very little sleep this week.
The Nick Cave version of Pulp’s Disco 2000, featured on the B-side of their single, ‘Bad Cover Version’, is really quite remarkable. Particularly the bit when Nick sings ‘You were the first one in school to get breasts’. I don’t believe the Bad Seeds were involved, but the production—complete with ‘ahh’ing chorus—is spot on.
My pal Phil has an off-shoot from his regular band, The Coronets. They’re called ‘The Occidental Tourists’, and have made a world cup song, ‘Golden Goal (from Ipamena)’, a cool synthpop number that is most accurately be described as awesome. Download it at www.thecoro.net.
Yeah – pay, you bastards.