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AARON GOLDBERG The Now

Album · 2015 · Post Bop
Cover art 4.50 | 1 rating
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Matt
Aaron Goldberg first came to my attention in the year 2000 when he was supporting Joshua Redman on his current tour throughout that period. At that time Aaron had released his first album “Turning Point” with his follow up “Unfolding” having already been recorded and coming out within a few months. With another two albums that have since followed we have finally arrived at his fifth release “The Now” with his old cohorts in music Ruben Rogers on Bass and Eric Harland drumming who have both been with him since the beginning of his recorded output and comprise what basically could be termed as Aaron’s Trio these days. Post Bop, Brazilian, Haitian, a Charlie Parker cover with Aaron’s original compositions bring a wonderful diversity to the albums make up and content with plenty for the Trio to work around with a mix of tempos and melodies.

Aaron choose the Chico Buarque composition, “Trocando Em Miudos” for the album’s opening comprising a beautiful relaxed take with the number and less relaxation of course if you are Aaron who brings this up within his solo with that gradual increase in notes and speed to almost the highest point but that old Jazz art of landing back on that tunes theme is right there. We are heading to Haiti with the next “Yoyo” with Ruben and Eric opening the number with the rhythm and Aaron’s piano providing some wonderful input and lead over this lively number. Kudos must go the rhythm section of Ruben and Eric with both keeping the rhythm of the composition’s Haitian feel at the beginning and end when so often in other Jazz recordings the compositions can become lost of their original sound. The ballad, “The Wind In The Night” follows with plenty of space provided between each piano key and with the exquisite backing from Ruben and Eric you might be excused if one walked in to hear, “Bill Evans”? The diversity keeps coming throughout the ten album tracks with the short modern composition of Aaron’s named “E-Land”. That Charlie Parker sprite appears instantly with “Perhaps” and the lovely Brazilian ballad , “Triste Baia da Guanabara” follows. “Background Music” by Wayne Marsh must have originated from a very fast world with its great up tempo timing. “One’s A Crowd” as the notes’ state “Even when you’re alone you’re not. What is this you anyway”? with the band all having an input for solos within this contradictory set up at time within Aaron’s composition. The dedicated “One Life” closes the album with Kurt Rosenwinkel guesting on guitar and one could be excused if mistaken for a flute with the stunning sound he produces. The composition is dedicated to a married couple that Aaron met who had lost their teenage daughter, let’s hope that a small amount of relief is brought to them.

Gets better with every time I hear this and that old phrase that I have used so often applies, “something new to hear with each play” . Highly recommended new release. If you are interested Aaron signed the cover of Joshua Redman’s “Beyond” album on the 2/28/00 which he dated luckily for me on that wonderful evening of Jazz at the now defunct “Continental Club” in Melbourne Australia. Also got Ruben Roger’s whilst he was there.

WADADA LEO SMITH Wadada Leo Smith & Bill Laswell ‎: The Stone

Live album · 2014 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art 4.50 | 1 rating
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snobb
One of Chicago avant-garde jazz icon, Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) early member (from 1967),composer & musical theorist,trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith during last decade enjoys exclusive attention from advanced jazz and contemporary music fans. Only during last five years he released twelve new albums(including three double and one 4xCD set),all of good or excellent quality. His last year's "Great Lakes Suites"(TUM Records) is one of most often mentioned advanced albums in all possible 2014 year's top lists.

Bassist,sound experimenter and producer Bill Laswell is not less known person in the world of adventurous music. He is one of most respectable musicians in the field of jazz / improvisation related dub, has long lasting history collaborating with John Zorn and other New York down town leading artists.

Smith/Laswell live duo album, recorded during Laswell's residence in New York's The Stone in 2014,can easily slip unnoticed even by attentive fans since it's released as digital file only on Laswell's own M.O.D. Technologies label. It would be a real loss since it contains really great music.

Quite surprisingly for music,recorded and produced by Laswell, this one 38-minutes long composition doesn't contain many electronics and recording studio technological tricks.What we have here is liquid dark Laswell ambient bass pulsation and Wadada's fantastic trumpet piercing over it. Music is dark but far not depressive, even spacious, and all long musical piece somehow recalls Wadada's "The Great Lakes Suite". Same nature's monumental greatness, same almost pathetic simplicity,just in more minimalist form.For my great surprise two excellent but very different artists sound absolutely organic here presenting gorgeous music which is accessible and have a high lasting impact.

This release should not be missed by anyone who enjoyed Wadada's "Suites..." as well as anyone,interested in modern cross-genre advanced music.

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THELONIOUS MONK Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington

Album · 1956 · Bop
Cover art 4.07 | 3 ratings
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js
“Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington” is an album that comes early in Monk’s career. He had started out at the Prestige label, where he recorded a handful of albums that featured his original compositions that were on the cutting edge of modern be-bop. These albums did not sell well as many jazz fans felt Monk’s music was too ‘difficult’, and sometimes downright foreboding. Frustrations with Prestige finally reached a head and Monk was let go, which is when upstart label Riverside entered the picture. Eager to have a known artist on their roster, Riverside gladly took on Monk and began advising him on how to expand his audience. The whole idea behind ‘Monk Plays Ellington’ was to have Monk record some familiar tunes by a well known master, and then possibly a wider audience may come to appreciate him.

Many hardcore Monk fans are dismissive of ‘Plays Ellington’, and consider it somewhat of a commercial sellout with less than top notch playing. This harsh evaluation is hardly true, although this is not one of Monk’s more outside albums, he hardly plays it safe or checks his creativity at the door. Instead these tunes carry all the trademarks of Monk’s playing; the weird rhythmic juxtapositions, the jagged phrasing and the surprise note choices, its all here, plus Ellington too. Choosing Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clark as his backup also shows that Monk was striving for more credibility and acceptance by picking two of the top and best known performers of that time. Pettiford gets a couple short solos, and also engages in some interesting interplay with Thelonious.

Monk’s playing easily fits with Ellington’s music, as they both come from this sophisticated and abstract blues perspective. Monk’s playing on here may seem somewhat restrained compared to some of his other albums, but I doubt that was due to a lack of creativity or commercial concerns, instead it seems that Monk doesn’t want to take all the ‘Ellington’ out of the music and make it too much of a Monk joint. His perceived restraint probably has more to do with Monk’s integrity and artistic respect than anything else.

Monk does not perform any major transformations on any of these tunes, probably the only noticeable change comes when “Mood Indigo” is played like a blues, instead of the languid lounge number it usually is. Possibly top tune honors could go to “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart’ , which is given a joyous romp with a dissonant solo, and ends up sounding a bit like Monk’s “Let’s Cool One”. Also memorable are “Black and Tan Fantasy” and Monk’s moving solo work on “Solitude”. Overall this is a good album, but possibly more interesting to Ellington fans than Monk fans.

TAKEO MORIYAMA Bit (with Mal Waldron)

Live album · 1995 · Post Bop
Cover art 3.50 | 1 rating
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snobb
Drummer Takeo Moriyama came just a little bit late to be a part of Japanese free-jazz revolution in late 60s, but this fact probably influenced his all future career in music. Started as Yosuke Yamashita Trio's drummer in mid 70's, he played with some known Japanese and European avant-garde jazz artists (including German sax players Manfred Schoof and Peter Brotzmann)but never attracted much attention as leader. Even more, for bad or for good differently from all generation of Japanese advanced jazz musicians who made their names in 1969, his playing being quite free has been always bop-influenced. As a result, it looks his music just got stuck somewhere in between of mainstream jazz and avant-garde, never becoming part of one or the other.

Here on "Bit" he recorded one of his stronger session - as duo with great pianist Mal Waldron. By it's structure "Bit" recalls Waldron's very successful late 80s series released on Italian Soul Note label where each album (studio or live) as rule contains two or three longish advanced post-bop compositions only, each over 20 minutes long. Here, this time in mid 90s,it looks Maldron tries to repeat this formula, with partial success only though.

So,"Bit"(an album,recorded live in studio)contains two compositions only, with "Laud Suite" as opener,lasting longer than 48 minutes! And there is nothing about noodling,endless free improvs - no way."Suite..." is tuneful and well framed and structured composition quite similar to Waldron music from previous decade. Since this song is credited to both Moriyama and Waldron and it doesn't exist nowhere else on Waldron recordings, it looks that it have been written specially for this session. From very first sounds one has no doubt that here's Waldron playing his music - his style is easy recognizable. At the same time during all these minutes you can feel like listening to Mal playing medley of his old tunes: almost every catchy tune is already heard somewhere before.

Structurally "Suite..." is constructed as collection Waldron soulful piano parts and Moriyamac's groovy drums solo parts changing each other on very balanced manner. Takeo's drumming is a bit too heavyweight for Mal's dark and quite lyrical piano and in moments he sounds as gracious as dancing bear in the glass room. Still,deeply rooted in hard-bop, he doesn't sound out of place here.

Second and final album's composition is Waldron standard "Left Alone". Just seven minutes and less quirky structure - this composition sounds as typical Mal top song (with Takeo landed to just supporting drummer's chair). Less adventurous at the same time "Left Alone" placed everything on their right places.In reality very much an album of Mal Waldron,this release is one good album for his fans. Far not his best it still contains lot of elements Mal music is known and loved.

P.S. A year after same label, Tokuma,will release rest of the same session's material as next duo album "Dual" (seven shorter compositions this time)

SCOTT JOPLIN Elite Syncopations (vol.5)

Album · 1974 · Ragtime
Cover art 3.50 | 1 rating
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siLLy puPPy
Ragtime has the honor of being called the very first truly American musical genre and emerged in the 1890s by Ernest Hogan who traveled in minstrel shows as a dancer, musician and comedian. He was the first to add African polyrhythms to the popular march music that was popularized by John Philip Sousa. In 1895 Hogan released many published songs that he actually named ragtime. Perhaps forgotten in history due to the unsavory racial stereotypes that he used in his works and biggest hit “All Coons Look Alike To Me,” he nonetheless opened the doors to other artists who would evolve the syncopation in ragtime to the myriad forms of jazz that would emerge in the 20th century.

Although Hogan invented it, it was SCOTT JOPLIN who is indubitably the most widely known and crowned king of the ragtime sound and managed to write 44 original rags from 1899 to 1917 in his short life (born 1868 died 1917). JOPLIN hit the big time with one of his early pieces the “Maple Leaf Rag” which is perhaps the most popular rag in all of music history. JOPLIN didn’t just merely copy the form but earned his place in history by refining and elevating the style above the early forms that were associated with the vulgar and unsavory elements in the world of entertainment of the day. JOPLIN achieved this by his exposure to European polkas, 19th century European romanticism as well as the African-American styles ranging from work songs and gospels to spirituals and dances.

Out of the many compilations out that don the SCOTT JOPLIN moniker, most if not all are interpretations of his music by other artists with those by Joshua Rifkin perhaps being the most popular and widely available. On this compilation titled ELITE SYNCOPATIONS - CLASSIC RAGTIME FROM RARE PIANO ROLLS released on the Biograph label on vinyl in 1974 and then released in 1987 on CD with a different track order and four extra songs, we get one of the few releases where JOPLIN actually plays his own music, well at least on the three opening tracks “Maple Leaf Rag,” “Ole Miss Rag (written by W.C.Handy)” and “Magnetic Rag.” Unfortunately there is a huge gap because many of JOPLIN’s rags were not originally issued on piano rolls which was the storage medium of the day used to operate a player piano.

Unfortunately only about six of the original piano rolls from JOPLIN’s times survive and as a result the remaining rolls featured on this release were produced by the serious collector Hal Boulware all the way back in the 1960s who painstakingly reproduced the scores faithfully to original print with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed for authenticity’s sake. That is the purpose of this compilation - to faithfully restore the lost gaps in JOPLIN’s history and present them as originally intended. ELITE SYNCOPATIONS will not sound much different than any other compilation released by other musicians playing, but if one listens attentively there are subtle differences just as one would here in any piece of music interpreted by different performers. The main difference here is the inclusion of actually pieces by JOPLIN as well as the desire to be as faithful to the original written scores as possible. This is a perfect beginner’s album as well as one of the serious collector despite not being a fully comprehensive release of all 44 songs.

Personally i like this album as much as any JOPLIN release. It neither exceeds nor detracts from the many compilations released over the years. It simply clears the cobwebs out of the vaults and introduces the listener to some of the lesser known tracks of JOPLIN’s career. I am a fan of ragtime, but i have to admit that listening to an hour of it shows the limitations of its style and the inevitable need for its evolution into stride piano and beyond in the greater jazz world. Nevertheless a pretty good album that celebrates the very first American musical genre that took the world by storm at the dawn of the 20th century.

CHARLES MINGUS Mingus at the Bohemia (aka Chazz!)

Live album · 1956 · Hard Bop
Cover art 4.00 | 4 ratings
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js
“Mingus at the Bohemia” comes from a live concert early in Mingus' career and features some of his first originals in the avant-blues style that will come to be the hallmark of his career. Album opener, “Jump Monk”, is driving hard bop with a catchy and insistent arrangement that teeters on the verge of chaos. This tune would go on to be one of Mingus’ most played classics, and it sums up so much of what his career would be about. The other tunes on here are no slouches either, and they present the variety that Mingus was working with. “Serenade in Blue” and “Work Song” continue the hard bop wrapped in interesting arrangements initiated by “Jump Monk”, and “Septemberly” has Mingus combining “September in the Rain” with “Tenderly” in an odd arrangement that has the two horn players each playing one of the tunes simultaneously. Likewise, “All the Things You C Sharp Minor” is an unlikely mix of “All the Things You Are” with a theme from Rachmaninoff, and “Percussion Discussion” is avant-garde third stream chamber music with Mingus on bass and guest Max Roach on percussion. Apparently Charles added a piccolo bass part to this one in the studio. All combined, the tunes on this CD constitute a very imaginative collection of music that was well ahead of its time.

The music on here is great, but the recorded sound is not as great. The horns and drums come in loud and clear, but the bass and piano are low and can almost disappear if you don’t turn it up. This is unfortunate because the virtuoso piano playing of Mal Waldron is the star of the show here. Mal’s ability to fuse blues with humorous extravagances and deconstructionist blunt force mixes well with Mingus’ musical vision, as both seem to draw upon a combination of Ellington, Monk and the new avant-garde. Mal gets to show off his well developed classical chops when he combines the structures of the standard “All the Things You Are”, with a well known Rachmaninoff theme, its one of those typical musician rehearsal jokes that made it to the stage, and it’s a surprisingly clever trick when Mal pulls it off.

Conventional wisdom maintains that the two horn players on here were a bit old school for what Mingus and Waldron were up to, but they both do a great job playing Mingus’ unusual arrangements and plunge right into the spirit. Their solos, particularly trombonist Eddie Bert, are more conventional, but Eddie’s soft swinging style just adds to the interesting incongruities of the entire project. This isn’t Mingus’ best recording, the sound is uneven, his musical vision is not totally unified yet, and his ensemble is not exactly on his same beam, but this is still an interesting and eclectic album for any Mingus fan to own.

MAL WALDRON Mal Waldron-Steve Lacy : Journey Without End

Album · 1972 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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snobb
Even before one morning somewhere in mid 70's America woke up and decided that all that jazz is not what could be interesting any more (what initiated massive American jazzmen escape from there mostly to Europe),for many US artists European scenes(and atmosphere all around) often looked attractive.There are long list known musicians who spent part of their life in Europe, but probably two of most visible (if not influential) were pianist Mal Waldron and sax player Steve Lacy.

Them both started as hard-boppers, Waldron was Billie Holiday's regular accompanist from April 1957 until her death in July 1959.Steve Lacy after few early mainstream albums switched to his own kind of tuneful soprano sax soloing based avant-garde jazz,staying one of most prolific Monk legacy interpreter. Waldron moved to Paris in mid 60's,from 1967 stayed living in Munich for decades. Steve Lacy relocated to Paris in 1969 (so them both still caught these European arts capital golden age; staying there or around for more than four decades both evidenced Paris sinking to pitiable state what it is now as well though).

Both Waldron and Lacy after relocation to Europe released many albums, here and abroad - mostly in Japan and partially in States. Waldron collaborating with many European artists became one of most prolific post-bop pianist on continent,his once found still in early years piano playing manner didn't evolute a lot, but probably it became his fame main factor - his music stays easy recognizable. Similarly to Mal,Lacy released even more albums as leader, very often returning back to same dozen of tunes he played for decades. Still his each concert and each album is different, at least for those more familiar with his music.

During their European half of life both Waldron and Lacy ways crossed regularly, they have long history of collaborative works.Still "Journey Without End" recorded in Paris in 1971 and released in next year in Japan only is important as their first ever collaborative album as co-leaders. With excellent rhythm section (Kent Carter on bass and Noel McGhie on drums)quartet recorded five advanced compositions (two Waldron's on side A and three Lacy's on side B).

Many Waldron and Lacy music fans will agree that even if each of artists is great leader,their work as duo very often gives better result - clear straight and free Lacy's trumpet is perfectly earthed by Waldron moody,dark and dreamy and always more framed Waldron's piano. Starting from "Journey Without End", Wal-Steve duo will release thirteen more collaborative albums as co-leaders,but their few very first are very best as well.

By its atmosphere "Journey..." is more Lacy's album than Waldron's (two Lacy's compositions "I Feel A Draft" and "A Bone" are presented here for the first time and he will play them again and again for years ahead).Waldron piano with advanced rhythm section anchoring Lacy's free and flying sax soloings well, but still it's Lacy who pushes all the music ahead. His free improvs initiates Waldron's freer,sometimes funkier playing.Groovy rhythm section finishing that tasty mix to very accessible (for such kind of music) but advanced at the same time brew. It's interesting that side A (which contains Waldrons songs) sounds better than more abstract Lacy compositions on side B: Waldron's compositions are stronger here and shine brighter under Lacy more adventurous hand.

Same year duo will record (in Paris again) and release (this time on French America Records)their second collaborative album - just three originals even freer,more Lacy-influenced and equally great music.Their debut as duo isn't well known since it looks it has been never reissued and it's shame - it contains one of the best music recorded by them both.

LES MCCANN Invitation to Openness

Album · 1972 · Classic Fusion
Cover art 4.59 | 4 ratings
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I don't know a whole lot about Les McCann, apparently he's associated as a soul/R&B-influenced jazz musician, but 1972's Invitation to Openness is very much a straight-up fusion album, and a wonderful album. It's very much in the post-In a Silent Way/Bitches Brew type of fusion, and perhaps reminders of Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi Band-era albums. There's only a few faces I'm familiar with helping out on this album, including Alphonse Mouzon (who played on Weather Report's debut), Yusef Lateef, Bernard Purdie, and David Spinozza (who I was previously familiar with on Julian Priester's Love Love album). The others I am not as so familiar with.

The 26 minute "The Loves" is nothing else than the best of fusion. It starts off mellow so I get reminded of In a Silent Way-era Miles Davis, but then they really got going. I really dig the harp being used, played in a rather trippy manner. Soprano sax playing gets me thinking of Karl Jenkins' sax playing in Soft Machine. "Beaux J. Poo Poo" does show a bit of the soul influenced that McCann is known for, but it's still very much fusion, and is also another winner. "Poo Pye McGoochie (And His Friends)" starts off with a nice dreamy electric piano that makes me think of those Canterbury jazz rock albums, before the music takes off. Here McCann also includes a nice synth melody he repeats several times throughout, where in between is improvisation. This is simply fusion of the first order and any fusion fan needs this album!

QUINCY JONES I Dig Dancers

Album · 1960 · Big Band
Cover art 3.50 | 1 rating
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js
With “I Dig Dancers”, Quincy Jones continued his gradual shift from a pure jazz artist to a pop artist with a jazzy slant, but with no real drop off in quality or creativity. As the title suggests, this album is geared toward dancing, but not of the rockin RnB variety, instead this is more of a throwback to jazz’s ballroom dancing days in the heyday of the swing band, but the music isn’t particularly retro, its Quincy’s fresh 60s sound all the way. The band assembled here was an all-star aggregation that was put together to support a European tour of “Free and Easy”. When that show ended, Jones took this great band, that featured Benny Bailey, Clark Terry, Phil Woods and others, on a tour of Europe and also made many of these recordings. After returning to the states, Jones made some more recordings, this time with Freddie Hubbard and Oliver Nelson on board.

Along with Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones was inventing the soundtrack for life in the 60s and the new middle-class suburban hip. This is the sound of double martinis, James Bond movies, Playboy magazine and car commercials featuring Sting Rays and Thunderbirds. Some of this music might be a bit cute for the serious jazz fan, but for those who enjoy 60s soundtracks, albums like this are the pinnacle of a distinct sound and nuance. Although much of this music leans pop, there is no lack of artistry; Melba Liston’s “Tone Poem” is interesting in its 3rd stream abstractions, “The Midnight Sun Will Never Set” is a beautiful ballad featuring one of the best Phil Woods solos you will ever hear and “G’wan Train” has some nice driving RnB horn riffs. Its also interesting to note that the version of "Midnight Sun" on here is far jazzier than the straighter version that will appear on "Birth of a Band Vol 2".

Although this music is not as pure jazz as Jones’ early albums, such as “How I Feel About Jazz”, its not near as cute and corny as the pop tunes that will surface on “Birth of a Band Part 2” or the bonus tracks on “The Complete Birth of a Band”. Instead, the music on “I Dig Dancers” walks a fine line between big band jazz and artsy pop music. I think most Quincy Jones fans will find a lot to like here, the orchestrations and recorded sound are excellent.

THELONIOUS MONK Genius Of Modern Music Volume 2

Boxset / Compilation · 1956 · Bop
Cover art 4.95 | 2 ratings
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Matt
These were the last sessions that Thelonious Monk recorded during his tenure at Blue Note Records which lasted from 1947 to 1952 and they comprise as the previous Volume 1 edition the first incantations of so many of his classic compositions that he would record again throughout the later 1950’s and 60”s. If one looks at his recording dates whilst at Blue Note there is a four year gap and although he had lost his Cabaret License and was no longer able to play licensed venues and clubs, it was that his records did not sell being more the reason for his absents. Monk’s music was not the usual BeBop with its fast tempos and starring solos but more a collective with each musician required to interlink with each other to maintain those looping, jaunting, up and down notes that the majority of Thelonious Monk compositions contain. Nobody back then really got it apart from his fellow Jazz musicians and what other people termed as music odd balls. It was different music for that period in the History of Jazz and the other issue was getting fellow musicians who could grasp the times and structure that Monk used within his compositions which although the prior Volume 1 has so many of his original classic compositions contained and is a Jazz Classic in its own right due to this fact, it is just some of the musicians used in those first three sessions back in 1947, at times seemed to be out of sync with Monk. “Genius Of Modern Music Volume 2” seems to have remedied this problem with the only two musicians still included from those early sessions being Art Blakey drumming and Sahib Shihab on alto saxophone.

The album is divided into two sessions with alternate takes included with the first being a Quintet comprising Monk, piano, Sahib Shihab on alto saxophone, Milt Jackson on vibes, Al McKinnon, bass and Art Blakey is drumming. The first composition is “Four In One” with Monk opening and quickly inserting the compositions theme with Sahib on alto providing quite a distinct sound to accompany Monk’s piano, with a solo to follow each with Milt Jackson’s vibes included last. The alternate take which follows is the same for quality, as like true Jazz musicians the solos are not the same with Monks being a little longer and Sahib’s shorter. “Criss Cross” another Monk classic follows and Milt Jackson solos first on vibes in quite an up tempo composition with Sahib and Monk following. The alternate is again slightly different to the first. “Eronel” which follows has Sahib’s opening alto and the band interlinking for more wonderful original music. “Straight No Chaser” comes next, being superb in its original format and one can hear Monk playing a heavily influenced Stride piano during his solo. “Ask Me Now” has two takes included with the alternate running to 4 and a half minutes with a slightly slower tempo than the master which only ran to 3. This composition is only performed in a Trio setting with the rhythm section. I find the alternate more appealing as one can hear a 1920’s distinct touch of Stride and Dance Hall within Monk’s piano technique. “Willow Weep For Me” is the last for the session and the only Standard and is played superbly of course with Monk’s technique which brings this first session to an end.

The 2nd session contains a completely different line up and is a Sextet comprising Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Lou Donaldson, alto saxophone, Lucky Thompson, tenor saxophone, Nelson Boyd, bass and Max Roach on drums. The first three Monk compositions all have alternate or a 2nd take included and it is “Skippy” which comes first with a marvellous fast tempo including wonderful solos by the musicians on both takes. “Hornin’ In” which follows is pure Monk and why he never used this composition more is a mystery as it has the required kook inserted by the tunes theme. “Sixteen” another composition which he seemed to have left behind, as with the previous two compositions is pure Monk again with the structure and timing. A cover of “Carolina Moon” was also superbly done at this last session with the last Monk composition being his classic “Let’s Cool One”. The session finished recording that day playing the Standard “I’ll Follow You” in a Trio setting. A lot of the credit should go to a young Max Roach throughout the session for his superb take on the music with his drumming.

These first two Blue Note volumes contain the Exodus section from the Bible for Jazz as this where Thelonious Monk first presented his original Bop compositions which became the foundation for so many influences that permeate the music genre. Sure there has been better recordings of some of these numbers since but this is the original presentation. The inclusion of Milt Jackson on vibes laid a template for so many Avante Garde recordings which would follow in the future. The horn arrangements used more often than not as counters within his compositions themes are another influence that has forever left its mark on Jazz.

Twenty one days prior to recording the first session of “Volume 2” Monk recorded with Milt Jackson at Blue note with the material from that session appearing under Milt Jackson’s name as part of his release “Wizard Of The Vibes” with some of the material from this session recorded on July 23 1951 being also included. There also was a 10 inch (1952) and a 12 inch ( 1956) record issued under “Genius Of Modern Music Vol 2” with some of the material crossing over. Lucky for us the first cd issued in 1989 puts all of Monk’s music with his last session recorded approximately 10 months later in actual recording order. There are so many editions released since with an RVG (Rudy Van Gelder) remaster following this original cd release which I would also recommend or get the record as that is available as well these days.

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