Sam Rivers – Contours (1965)

Sam Rivers, a veteran jazz multi-instrumentalist, was forty-two years old when he assembled this Blue Note LP, only his second as leader. Unlike his debut Fuchsia Swing Song (1964) which, while adventurous, was unmistakably hard-bop, his approach on Contours is resolutely avant garde and informed by new ideas in jazz and influences absorbed during his … Continue reading Sam Rivers – Contours (1965)

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Charles Mingus – Oh Yeah (1962)

It's always an event when two mad geniuses come together to record an album. Multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk, young, blind and brilliant, performed with Charles Mingus for a mere three months. Oh Yeah (also featuring the very excellent Booker Ervin who is less prominent here) is the sole recorded chronicle of this brief union, and one … Continue reading Charles Mingus – Oh Yeah (1962)

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (1957)

Imagine rummaging through your junk drawer and finding high-def video footage of the actual Sermon on the Mount from back in the day complete with fluffed lines and coughing from within the congregation; it would be quite a thing. Well folks, this is even better than that! Discovered hiding in the vaults of the Library … Continue reading Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (1957)

Ronnie Foster – The Two-Headed Freap (1972)

I have no idea what a freap is, and a two-headed specimen is something I can't begin to imagine. Regardless, this sparkling slice of funked out soul jazz is a pure document of the times from which it emerged. Many jazz purists were dismayed that Blue Note would dare release anything so unashamedly contemporary, but … Continue reading Ronnie Foster – The Two-Headed Freap (1972)

Hubert Laws – The Laws Of Jazz (1964)

There are some jazz fans who find little to get excited about when it comes to certain instruments. The jazz bagpipes of Rufus Harley Jr. and Dorothy Ashby's harp are novel, but hardly enflame the passions and therefore have a limited following. Likewise, the flute was generally considered a second or third tier instrument in … Continue reading Hubert Laws – The Laws Of Jazz (1964)