Eric Dolphy – Out To Lunch! (1964)

In the days before I listened to lots of jazz, I listened to lots of Frank Zappa. Like everyone else I had a copy of Kind Of Blue but had no real idea of what I was listening to. Apart from Miles Davis, the musicians names listed on the cover were anonymous to me although … Continue reading Eric Dolphy – Out To Lunch! (1964)

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Stanley Turrentine – Hustlin’ (1964)

Having hustled his way onto over two dozen Blue Note recording sessions in just five years as a leader or sideman prior to this release, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine's presence was increasingly getting on the nerves of Blue Note boss Alfred Lion, who was known to lock himself in his office to avoid the perpetually … Continue reading Stanley Turrentine – Hustlin’ (1964)

Jackie McLean – Right Now! (1965)

Stark, vital and insistent, Jackie McLean's corrosive tone and strong bop roots fed into his questing musical character which authored some of the most inventive jazz records of the 60's such as the essential Destination Out and One Step Beyond. Even his more straight-ahead albums of the era are consistently excellent, and he found himself much … Continue reading Jackie McLean – Right Now! (1965)

Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Prepare Thyself To Deal With A Miracle (1973)

Many Of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's albums may well resemble a crazed carnival ride, but inspired artistry is ever-present. As a soloist on sax, clarinet, flute, manzello (a customised soprano sax actually called a saxello), or stritch (an alto sax with a French-horn bell) he could play with explosive outrageousness or with incredible poise and grace. … Continue reading Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Prepare Thyself To Deal With A Miracle (1973)

Bobby Hutcherson – San Francisco (1970)

From the debris of late 60's post free-jazz apocalypse emerged a recumbent souljazzfunk-hybrid like a misty new dawn, a gentler, more welcoming alternative to the ascendant Miles-offshoot fusion of Mahavishnu, Weather Report, Return To Forever et al. which now sounds rather more dated. Even the shape-shifting genius of Frank Zappa drifted into these murky waters … Continue reading Bobby Hutcherson – San Francisco (1970)

Kamasi Washington – The Epic (2015)

This bombastic 172-minute, 3-CD debut by Kamasi Washington was highly praised upon its release as no less than the new centre of the earth, making it onto many end-of-year Best Of lists. Disappointingly it is not the future of jazz but I agree that here is an impressive achievement wherein the high points are truly … Continue reading Kamasi Washington – The Epic (2015)

Hank Crawford – Double Cross (1968)

This fine soul-jazz/R&B release is a real showcase for Hank Crawford's talents as alto sax soloist and arranger for horns (featuring David Newman on tenor and Pepper Adams on baritone). The skills he learned as musical director for Ray Charles in the early 60's are used to full effect here. This is an album of … Continue reading Hank Crawford – Double Cross (1968)

Miles Davis Quintet In Copenhagen (1960)

When Miles Davis undertook a Norman Granz organized tour of Europe during March and April of 1960, his famous 'first great quintet' was pretty much a done deal. Of that ground-breaking combo only Paul Chambers on bass and a reluctant John Coltrane (now playing soprano as well as tenor sax) remained, accompanied by pianist Wynton … Continue reading Miles Davis Quintet In Copenhagen (1960)

Lou Donaldson -Everything I Play Is Funky (1970)

Amidst a handful of LPs that individually were a jumble of mod-groovy and commercial cornball, Lou Donaldson and his happy gang truly click on this good natured album from 1970. Cultural revolution dominated the thinking of black and white America at the time, but you wouldn't know it by listening to this upbeat Blue Note … Continue reading Lou Donaldson -Everything I Play Is Funky (1970)

Dr. Lonnie Smith – Live at Club Mozambique (1970)

Another great recording that Blue Note sat on for decades before it was retrieved from the vaults and finally released on CD in 1995, this is pre-turban Dr. Lonnie Smith in prime form. There is more vitality on this live set than his 1969 LP Move Your Hand, especially the explosive cover of Coltrane's 'Expressions', … Continue reading Dr. Lonnie Smith – Live at Club Mozambique (1970)