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MOODY BLUES/Icon 2: This double best of pack makes the 13th major repack of the band's career, That's one way to foster longevity when you hit geezerville and only come back with something new every 8 years or so. Everything you need to be up to date is on board here and the grandchildren of the original fans should have a great time if they want to go digging in the crates without getting spider bites digging up old vinyl that sounds like hell.

CURTIS FULLER/Soul Trombone-Cabin in the Sky: At least we've graduated from a&r via My Space hits to a&r via the price of things on the secondary market. Not only are these two great rare groove sessions from the early days of Impulse!, but even used, recent out of print reissues are changing hands for a fortune on line. Hard bop with a great backing crew in tow, these smoking dates have no dust on them at all as the cats on board were only recently out of their young lion phase. If you want to get down with some great blowing dates, this stuff has it pure and simple with as much as you could squeeze in to an lp on both dates. Great stuff that should not be lost to time.

COLEMAN HAWKINS/Today & Now-Desafinado: I don't know why I lump them together but I've always felt Hawkins and Ben Webster's albums were under valued. Hawkins delivers the goods on these two sessions, one a classic, off the cuff blowing date where the gang assembles in the Van Gelder living room, goes over some charts and wails on the fly, the other, his take on bossa nova, every bit as engaging and sometimes deeper than the classic work of Getz. A pair of sets that don't deliver a false note anywhere, if you dig real blowing, you will dig this.

ALBERT AYLER/Love Cry-The Last Album: A towering figure in contemporary free jazz, Ayler was a polarizing figure in the form and these two sets came from around the time moldy figs were hollering that Ayer was selling out. Betcha your ears won't know the difference. Free jazz in the 50s was a different animal than it was in the 60s and Ayler was there to bridge the years. Simply, hard working, left leaning blowing that just doesn't quit, you either love him or you hate him but you will have an opinion of him. These sides have the making of a perennial college, cut classic long after jazzbo debates have faded away.

ARCHIE SHEPP/For Losers-Kwanza: When a hell raiser like Shepp does his version of a mainstream album and calls it "For Losers", it has to make you think he's taking a dig at his handlers. Either that or his skronk was the real prelude to grunge. With a bunch of cats that would later embrace the mainstream, he's back in his form on "Kwanza" with his sonic impressions of Africa. Recorded around the turn of the 70s, drugs, space, and nose thumbing were in vogue and you can hear the honking glee of the times alive and well in Shepp's wind. Fun stuff, very much a product of it's times, that you really don't have to be on a retro kick to enjoy.

ALICE COLTRANE/Universal Consciousness-Lord of Lords: Guess what? Alice had a career before hooking up with John and she was into all this spiritualness long before new age and Oprah made it popular. Much like when these sides first came out, when you try to listen to it for the first time, it's so intense you just might give up. When you come back to it later, it suddenly makes sense and you can't take it off. A big step to take when she could have just cashed in on her name, this is music that springs from a very deep well---and takes you along with it. It has retained it's intensity over time and it's something wonderful for the real seeker. Another look at the hippie stuff that was in the air in the early 70s.
AHMAD JAMAL/Poinciana Revisited-Free Flight: A pair of live albums from the cat that pretty much started the commercial craze for jazz piano trios and had the respect of Miles Davis who loved the Jamal sound. Without a producer pointing to the clock on the wall and asking for ‘some of that you know, what you do', Jamal and pals deliver the goods in a free wheeling, swinging way that shows the fun side of jazz. Despite hits seminal hits and half century plus career, Jamal seems under valued, and while that situation may never be corrected, these two live albums show what a gasser he is. Must hearing for jazz piano fans that have never had the pleasure before now.

Volume 34/Number 268
July 28, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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