This LP has the debut of drummer Marty Morell with Bill Evans and bassist Eddie Gomez, and this particular trio would retain the same personnel for six productive years. Actually, this is a quartet set with guest flutist Jeremy Steig, whose playing recalls Herbie Mann's recording (Nirvana) with Evans back in the early '60s. Both flutists were always open to the influences of pop and rock, although in both of their collaborations with Evans, the music is very much on the pianist's turf. With the exception of Evans' "Time Out for Chris" and the "Spartacus Love Theme," the songs performed on this date would fit securely in the Miles Davis repertoire of the late '50s. Steig is in particularly fine form on the program which includes tunes such as "Straight No Chaser," "Autumn Leaves," and "So What."
Mama Kuku is the fifth and final Association P.C. recording (they were originally known as Association Earwax for two albums, and inexplicably changed their name). Led by guitarist Toto Blanke, this German supergroup stood outside the Krautrock and psychedelic camps and played their own fiery, non-academic brand of prog rock and jazz-rock fusion. The first half of this recording was performed at the Arkandenhof in June of 1973, and the final half, "Lausanne," at the Radio Suisse Romande during the same month.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. Fantastic early work from flautist Jeremy Steig – a 60s quartet session for Columbia that came several years before the funky style of some of his later work – and a damn great record, with lots of soulful touches! Part of this has to do with the rhythm section of Ben Tucker on bass and Ben Riley on drums – both of whom put a nice kick in the proceedings, and substantially ground and groove the solo work of Steig's flute and Denny Zeitlin's piano.
A flute-bass duo is not an everyday occurrence on CD, let alone making up an entire release. Yet the combination of Jeremy Steig and Eddie Gomez in this 1975 concert works extremely well because of the virtuoso talent of both musicians, along with their obviously compatibility. They previously had worked together on the Bill Evans' album What's New and Gomez had recently departed Evans at the time of this recording.
This long-out-of-print CD has finally been reissued and it's a must-have for Phil Woods fans, or for anyone interested in an excellent example of post-Parker be-bop saxophone. The sound quality is excellent, the rhythm section is very competent and Phil is at the top of his game on a nice mix of standards and originals. It's easy to see why he has been the benchmark for jazz alto for decades. His swing and inventiveness are nicely showcased as he eases his way through the list of tunes. If one were to buy one or two CD's that best show Phil Woods' ability to create meaningful jazz, this one would have to be high on the list for consideration. Don't miss it!
Reissue with the latest 2015 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Pianist Denny Zeitlin is sporting a beard on the cover of this fourth album for Columbia Records – and his music here definitely reflects a bit of a change from his earlier cleaner-cut image! Denny steps a bit outside at times – never to much so to make the album a session of avant jazz, but definitely showing the listener at the start that he's able to stretch out in the same way as some of the more adventurous pianists of his generation – yet really sound best as a master of lyrical understatement, as on his previous few records! Zeitlin's command of chords is wonderful – these blocks of color and subtle sound in his hands – inspired by Bill Evans, but taken in a whole new direction – and set up here in two different trios, with either Charlie Haden or Joe Halpin on bass, and Oliver Johnson or Jerry Granelli on drums. The real star of the show is always Denny.
Some of the finer CTI recordings of the late '70s were those led by flugelhornist Art Farmer. Although the emphasis was generally on obscure material (in this case Farmer plays one original, two songs by Dave Grusin and one piece by pianist Fritz Pauer) and often featured musicians who did not normally play together, the results were generally quite rewarding. For this CTI LP (long out-of-print), the focus is almost entirely on Farmer who is joined by keyboardist Grusin, guitarist Eric Gale, flutist Jeremy Steig, either Will Lee or George Mraz on bass and drummer Steve Gadd. The moody music holds one's interest throughout.
Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. Nicely sharp sounds from the great JJ Johnson – a set that has the trombonist really honing his edge on a host of tight, short tracks – with a vibe that almost recalls his initial bop recordings on Blue Note and Prestige! The style here is a bit more sophisticated – definitely with an ear towards the modern directions that JJ was exploring in the 50s – but the sound is also nicely spontaneous, with more focus on improvisation between group members than larger arrangements – quite nice, given that the group features excellent tenor from Bobby Jaspar on tenor – and either Tommy Flanagan or Hank Jones on piano, Percy Heath or Wilbur Little on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Tracks are short, and titles include "Overdrive", "Cube Steak", "Chasin The Bird", and "Solar".