Of all of organist Jimmy Smith's big-band albums recorded for Verve, this is one of the most imaginative ones. Oliver Nelson arranged a variety of themes from Prokofiev's Peter & the Wolf into a swinging suite featuring the great organist Jimmy Smith. Although there is no verbal narrative on this LP, Nelson's liner notes tell the story (which can actually be followed through the music) and Smith pays respect to the original melodies while making strong statements of his own. A classic of its kind.
Yak were a 4 piece instrumental progressive rock band who played between '82 & '84. The line up consisted of Robin Hodder (guitar), SySnell (bass), John Wynn (drums) & Martin Morgan (keyboards). The band stopped playing when jobs took the members to disperate parts of the UK. The material had only ever been recorded in Lo-Fi but Martin was determined that it should not be 'lost'. In 2003 he set about re-recording 8 of the YAK tracks which were released as the "Dark Side of the Duck" album in Feb '04. Following this and enthused with the response, the band re-formed - original line up, but now with Max Johnson on bass. A live EP, "Does Your Yak Bite ?" was released in 2005, and the same line-up released the jam collection "The Rutland Chronicles" the following year…
A modification of the 2-ton "deuce", the DUKW amphibious truck was designed in 1942 by a team that included a British sailor, an American yacht builder and an MIT engineer. Its official name was the DUKW Amphibious Vehicle but to the American G.I.s in World War Two, it was the "Duck". Over 21,000 DUKWs were built during WWII. The slowest and least lovely vessel ever to put to sea, the 'Duck' proved to be a vital machine in the Allied amphibious victories - from the D-Day beaches in Normandy to the Pacific Islands of Saipan and Iwo Jima.
The tracks that make up Straight Life had been sitting in the Blue Note vaults since they were recorded on June 22, 1961, representing the only recorded output that year by Jimmy Smith and his trio of the era, which included guitarist Quentin Warren and drummer Donald Bailey. Somehow these ten songs got lost in the shuffle between the 1960 Blue Note date Crazy! Baby and Smith's leap into the national spotlight with his first Verve release, Bashin', in 1962. The trio swings along on six standards and three originals "Straight Life," "Jimmy's Blues," and two versions of "Minor Fare." Although not in the same league as Midnight Special or Prayer Meetin', it's great to hear this long lost hard bop session from the master of the Hammond B-3.
Stingingly sweet slide guitar and barrelhouse piano come to life on this spontaneously authentic and passionate recording from these seasoned blues veterans. "This recording contains thirteen of those songs just as they sounded that Sunday when they were recorded live at Mojo Boneyard Studios. This is how the band sounds at any number of clubs in and around the Pittsburgh area. These are all first takes and a fair representation of the energy and spontaneous creativity that the band exhibits when we’re swinging out in the clubs. I had a good time making music with these fine musicians and I'm glad we captured some of it on this recording. It’s been a long time comin." ~ Jimmy Adler