Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre: A Biography of the Doors – Mick Wall

      The life of Jim Morrison was extraordinary enough without the need for embellishment. The reality is that embellishment is part of his life story, propagated by his fans, friends and mostly, of course, Jim Morrison himself. Myth-making was part of the theatre of life he strove to create. Mick Wall attempts to … Continue reading Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre: A Biography of the Doors – Mick Wall

Two Riders Were Approaching: The Life & Death of Jimi Hendrix – Mick Wall

In presenting a non-linear retelling of the life story of Jimi Hendrix with a near impenetrable freeform 'creative non-fiction' aesthetic, biographer Mick Wall predictably misses the mark by a long way. The narrative momentum is repeatedly derailed by the jarring shifts of time and place, and there is no sense in the random interpolation of … Continue reading Two Riders Were Approaching: The Life & Death of Jimi Hendrix – Mick Wall

Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information (1974)

Possibly the greatest hidden treasure of them all. Equal parts groovy, dreamy, organically introspective and futuristic, Inspiration Information is the document of a young man who owns his inspired vision completely. Three years of seclusion was devoted to the formulation of this wondrous jazz-funk-soul artefact, barely noticed at the time of its release but now … Continue reading Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information (1974)

Ramon Morris – Sweet Sister Funk (1973)

How it comes to be that an album as faultlessly consummated as this can remain practically unknown, while similar albums of its era i.e. Stanley Turrentine’s Sugar (1970) or Freddie Hubbard’s Straight Life (1971) have become far more celebrated, can be mostly attributable to the amateurish packaging and promotional mismanagement by early 70s label Groove … Continue reading Ramon Morris – Sweet Sister Funk (1973)

Woody Shaw – Stepping Stones: Live at the Village Vanguard (1978)

August 1978, New York City. While the world was still half deranged from over-exposure to the falsetto squeals of The Bee Gees’ hits ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and ‘Saturday Night Fever’, and queues of eager movie-goers stretched around the streets of Manhattan waiting to get into screenings of the summer mega-hit musical ‘Grease’, there was still a … Continue reading Woody Shaw – Stepping Stones: Live at the Village Vanguard (1978)

John Handy – No Coast Jazz (1960)

Texas-born altoist John Handy moved to New York City in his mid-twenties and was promptly recruited by Charles Mingus, appearing on the classic LPs Mingus Ah-Um, Blues and Roots and Mingus Dynasty all recorded in 1959. Everything Handy thought he knew about theory and performance was challenged by the maverick composer whose adventurous and demanding … Continue reading John Handy – No Coast Jazz (1960)

Miles Davis – Sorcerer (1967)

  “Everything was worth a trial, just to see. Picasso had the curiosity of the juggler seeking the ball best suited to his hand.” Pierre Descargues   “You get the right guys to play the right thing at the right time and you got a motherfucker. You got everything you need.” Miles Davis   Drawing … Continue reading Miles Davis – Sorcerer (1967)

Boogaloo Joe Jones – Right On Brother (1970)

Blending a soul-jazz sensibility with driving funk-rock rhythms, guitarist Boogaloo Joe Jones (Ivan Joseph Jones to his parents) tapped into a style that may have been slightly out of step with popular tastes of the early 70s but has since found a new and enthusiastic online audience who find themselves exposed to an abundance of … Continue reading Boogaloo Joe Jones – Right On Brother (1970)

Sonny Criss – This Is Criss! (1966)

It was Charlie Parker who first unlocked the alto-saxophone, enabling it to mimic a musical ribbon that freely rippled and twirled in the thermal updraft created by the rapid-fire chord changes of late-40s bebop. Many imitators were swept along in his wake, but only those who successfully developed their own sound despite that irresistible influence … Continue reading Sonny Criss – This Is Criss! (1966)

Larry Young – Unity (1965)

Reid Miles’ cover designs for Blue Note were very often innovative and many are now regarded as iconic, but few are as striking and timeless as his artwork for Larry Young’s Unity, the organist’s second release for the label. Stacked bold black capitals in sans-serif type on a plain white background. Blood-orange circles bouncing inside … Continue reading Larry Young – Unity (1965)