GEORGE DANQUAH/Hot and Jumpy: Gadzooks and foresooth! When you see this popping up on the Dusty Groove home page between now and the August 9th release date, get your order in before all these copies disappear. The gang at Secret Stash go the reissue route this time and come up with the funkiest island record you never heard. Recorded in the 70s in Ghana by a cat who left a legend of leaving one record behind and disappearing (although not really true), this is like Mighty Sparrow's band meets Maceo Parker and they explore all the jumping island sounds you love, with the sweat dripping freely. It's easy to call something a lost classic, but this is a lost masterpiece, way more advanced that you would expect from the third world 40 years ago. An absolute must for anyone with island fever but stuck in a staycation this year, the title doesn't go far enough in telling the whole story. This is simply a gasser throughout! Funky African reggae forever!
SONNY ROLLINS/On Impulse-There Will Never Be another You: Bouncing back from a transitional period on RCA, Rollins came to Impulse in the mid 60s with some sizzling sides that made it clear he was still the leader of the pack. Turning in a set of standards that are anything but, he either comes in with bar raising solos or strange diversions that show he was serious as a heart attack about keeping people from categorizing him. Some of it might seem like old man jazz now, but you wouldn't be listening and marveling at it over 40 years later if it didn't have a whole lot on the ball. Everyone here on both sets is on the ball and you will have a ball taking this journey through the past. It might not be from Impulse's initial year, which is being celebrated, but it's a strong non-Coltrane reason why Impulse is being celebrated. Hot stuff and essential for real jazzbos.
SHIRLEY SCOTT TRIO/For Members Only-Great Scott: A pair o f essential albums from an organ player that doesn't seem to be mentioned in the same breath as all the great organ players of the 60s----and apparently for no good reason. A pair of smoking sets, whether keeping it close or blowing the roof off the sucker with Oliver Nelson working up a sweat in the back ground, if this is looked at as a b release for the label, you feel inspired to see just what the c releases might be like. If you like your burners really smoking, this twofer holds some great listening that you might not have heard before, even this this twofer has been reissued in this particular configuration before. Well done.
MILT JACKSON/Statements-Jazz n Samba: Jackson always had enough to say that he was able to make a run of killer solo albums away from MJQ, even when he was using group members as sidemen. These two albums have been released in various linked combinations in the past, but here they are presented both in their entirety. Individually going for big bucks on the collectors market, even with fairly recent reissues commanding big bucks, "Jazz n Samba" is one of those sets that will make you a believer and "Statements' has it all on the ball as well. While Jackson was always a classy cat that was an expert at simmering heat, these sets have some extra special sauce that make them stand out as more than just up market cool. Sophisticated jazz doesn't come any better than this. Check it out.
McCOY TYNER TRIO/Inception-Reaching Fourth: Growing up in an incredibly jazz neighborhood and making his first real bones with Coltrane, Tyner has had a lot of room to expand into different modes over the years but here we find him in his auspicious solo debut on "Inception" leading a piano trio that had no problem delivering straight ahead jazz that gives mainstream a good name. Far from the way out sides Tyner would later do before returning to roots like these, surprise, he had these kind of chops all along. Clearly along the lines of top shelf sitting down jazz, this is a side of Tyner that's well worth getting reacquainted with.
GABOR SZABO/Sorcerer-More Sorcery: Szabo was a first rate guitar player who's main goal was to be a working musician. In the post Beatles, jazz is dead period, he shifted gears in the manner of these two live albums that find him jazzing up rock tunes and not at all being jive about it. When the time called for it, he could go out on the road backing Lena Horne or record as out there as you wanted causing Jimi Hendrix to cite him as an influence. Here we find him in a hippy/gypsy/space mode for a pop audience, and the crafty Hungarian pulls it off making these album you will go back to once you've discovered them. With picking that sounds like filigree, Szabo wears this musical skin well, at times feeling like the guitarist is taking his cues from the original Ramsey Lewis Trio's monster break out crossover hits. The perfect antidote to lite jazz for those who don't like their jazz too cerebral or too ephemeral.
ELVIN JONES/Illumination!-Dear John C.: Well rare groovers, "Illumination!" Is one of the oddest releases under the Impulse! Banner, simply because it was ahead of it's time and because it was kind of out of character for Jones and McCoy Tyner. It kicks off with Prince Lasha really getting down and that is a great find for rare groovers with the rest of the set measuring up as well. "Dear John C", from the mid 60s has Elvin's brother Hank dropping by on piano for half the album helping make this set recorded at the end of his tour with Coltrane something else. Recorded at the cusp of 60s free jazz kicking into gear, it has a foot in both jazz camps but it's main mission is to reward jazz ears. Solid stuff throughout that would resonate through the 70s by others, this trend setting stuff still holds it's own quite well. Check it out.
DUKE ELLINGTON/Meets Coleman Hawkins-And John Coltrane: Both of these sets are pretty fresh off individual reissues. The Hawk set finds these two old pals kicking it after hours style with some swinging, loose jams that go down real easy. The meeting with Coltrane feels like a passing of the jazz torch from one generation of innovator to another. The sets have very different but complimentary characters. Music really was built to last by people who cared back then. Here's your proof.
Volume 34/Number 267
July 27, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record