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)

Dr. Lonnie Smith – Drives (1970)

Before he started wearing a turban and styling himself as "Doctor", Lonnie Smith was a leading light among the many soul-jazz organ players that emerged in the late 60s. Signed to the Blue Note label he produced some of the more original and interesting albums of the genre and spun his sound on discs by … Continue reading Dr. Lonnie Smith – Drives (1970)

The New Mastersounds- The Nashville Session (2016)

True to their retro agenda, British four-piece funksters The New Mastersounds recorded this well honed set live in the studio in front of an audience made up of invited fans, whisked the tapes to the vinyl pressing plant with orders to punch out no more than one thousand copies and loaded their gear into the … Continue reading The New Mastersounds- The Nashville Session (2016)

Sonny Clark – Leapin’ And Lopin’ (1961)

In his excellent biography on Bill Evans titled How My Heart Sings, pianist/writer Peter Pettinger makes the following insightful observation about Sonny Clark: He was one of those pianists who feel, and show, respect for the instrument; one who collaborates with it rather than acts the aggressor upon it. Such a player is immediately in … Continue reading Sonny Clark – Leapin’ And Lopin’ (1961)

Booker Ervin – The Space Book (1964)

Any musician expecting to play for an extended period in Charles Mingus' band had to find his own voice quickly and learn to play at the peak of his abilities. Jackie McLean, who played several times with Mingus, said: "As far as sax was concerned, I was content to play what Bird played, or try … Continue reading Booker Ervin – The Space Book (1964)

Booker T & The MG’s – Melting Pot (1971)

With a cover that vaguely resembles The Doors L.A. Woman which was released only three months later, and a title track that channels 'Riders On The Storm' with a slightly less foreboding "killer on the road..." vibe about it, Booker T & The MG's were tuned in to a similar stream for their final group … Continue reading Booker T & The MG’s – Melting Pot (1971)

I Want To Hold Your Hand – Grant Green (1965)

Never known to be a particularly ardent fan of jazz or latin music, one wonders what John Lennon would have thought of the many lightweight jazzbo smooch covers of his tunes by piano lounge acts or TV variety show orchestras. If they are cringe-inducing for us, imagine the pains suffered by the leading Fab himself. … Continue reading I Want To Hold Your Hand – Grant Green (1965)

Herbie Hancock – Thrust (1974)

Realising his early '70s "space-albums" Mwandishi, Crossings and Sextant had hardly set the world on fire, Herbie Hancock was deeply conflicted. The man wanted to make audacious art but he also wanted to be loved. By wishing so much to be considered by the critics as a jazz-great alongside Coltrane and Miles Davis he forgot … Continue reading Herbie Hancock – Thrust (1974)