Monday, October 8, 2018

Tom Waits - 1976-12-14, New York City (FM)

It's fall, and that means I'm listening to lots of country rock, jazz and, oddly enough, Tom Waits. Maybe it's because I snagged a copy of Frank's Wild Years at a thrift shop the other day, or maybe because I love bootlegs like this.

A pristine radio broadcast from early in his career, this is Waits at his beatnik best, live at a radio studio. "Step Right Up," is practically a poem, done with sparse accompaniment, while other tracks have Waits at the piano: "The Piano Has Been Drinking," "Jitterbug Boy," and "Tom Traubert's Blues." It's a great snapshot of him in the first act of his career (okay, maybe the second or third, but who's counting), before he grew wary of the jazz beatnik beat and really pushed into the wilderness, and there's moments where he talks with the radio DJ between songs.

  1. Emotional Weather Report
  2. A Sight For Sore Eyes
  3. Step Right Up
  4. Eggs and Sausage > Invitation to the Blues
  5. Jitterbug Boy
  6. Diamonds on my Windshield
  7. Tom Traubert's Blues
  8. New Coat of Paint
  9. The Piano Has Been Drinking
  10. I Can't Wait to Get off Work
  11. San Diego Seranade

Friday, October 5, 2018

Tony Williams - 1989-12-15, New York City

I've been listening to a lot of Tony Williams lately, mostly thanks to this video. During his run at Blue Note in the late 80s/early 90s, Williams released a tremendous string of albums and to help promote them, a video was shot in New York.

On the evening (I assume it was nighttime, anyway) of December 15, Tony Williams and his band - Ira Coleman on bass, Wallace Roney on trumpet, Bill Pierce on sax, and Mulgrew Miller on piano - played a set at Chelsea Studios in New York, and it was taped and released on laserdisc the next year. Like anything I've heard of him live, it blazes: the band is in good shape (Miller is especially fun to listen to), but it's Williams' drumming that takes the cake.

He'd taken some classes on composition and harmony earlier in the decade, and I think they'd shaped his drumming. His solos are more varied and exciting than anything he did with Lifetime in the 70s and honestly, sets like this help make the case he's one of the most exciting jazz drummers of his generation. He's certainly more interesting than DeJohnette's playing at the time, and while Cobham can blast the roof off any time he wants, I don't think his playing has the same nuances and subtlety.

Anyway, no download, just a one-hour video I've watched like four times this week and I hope you get as much enjoyment out of, too!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

John Coltrane - 1965-03-19, The Half Note, NYC

Today would've been John Coltrane's 92nd birthday. Instead of writing about his influence, or whatever, I'll just suggest you download this boot of him and his classic group live at the Half Note in early 1965.

1. Chim Chim Cheree
2.  Impressions

John Coltrane ts, Elvin Jones, dr, Jimmy Garrison b, McCoy Tyner p

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Procol Harum - 1971-04-12 - A&R Studios, NYC

AKA: Trower's last stand...
 Fall is in the air up here, and that means it's time to listen to some Procol Harum, a band I always associate with cool breezes, changing leaves and driving around aimlessly on my days off.

This share comes from late in Robin Trower's stint in the band, and in fact may represent his final gig with the band? I'm not sure about that, but it's gotten the bootleggy title of Robin's Last Stand which is too fun not to share. I am sure that it's a solid gig, performed live-to-air from New York's A&R Studios (where Pharoah Sanders would record Black Unity only a few months later!) and was broadcast on WPLJ, which sources tell me was in this case a radio station and not a song about mixing wine with lemon juice.

It opens with a rockin' "Memorial Drive," featuring Trower's chunky guitar and Gary Brooker busting out some boogie piano. From there, they launch into slower material: "Nothing That I Did," the driving blues of "Simple Sister," and the lengthy "Whaling Stories," which builds up like a storm and has a ton of energy. "A Salty Dog" has some of the same vibes, although at a slower tempo.

As noted, this was pretty close to the end of one phase of the band. From here, it wasn't far until they were playing with symphony orchestras and dabbling with roots-rock (roots prog?) on Exotic Birds and Fruit. Which Esoteric Records just released in a deluxe, 3CD set, and I reviewed it a while back for Live in Limbo. So do check that out, it's got the Replacement Programming seal of approval.

  1. Memorial Drive
  2. Still There'll Be More
  3. Nothing That I Didn't Know
  4. Simple Sister
  5. Luskus Delph
  6. Shine On Brightly
  7. Whaling Stories
  8. Broken Barricades
  9. Juicy John Pink
  10. A Salty Dog
  11. Whiskey Train
  12. Power Failure

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Steve Lacy - 1977-04-09 - Jazzbehne, East Berlin, GDR

Things have been a little busy with me lately - work stuff, transition stuff, etc etc - so I've been slacking in sharing, But not in listening, because god help me, I listen to way too much stuff. Lately, it's been Steve Lacy.
Straight horn, mostly straight posture

I don't know why, but I had this idea that Lacy was a free jazz type, a sort of peer to Anthony Braxton, and I avoided him for that reason. But after listening to Jane Bunnett's New York Duets, I went to Lacy, her main influence on the soprano, and found I was completely wrong about Lacy. Since then, I've been going hard on the records he made with Mal Waldron (indeed, Duets owes a debt to Waldron/Lacy's Sempre Amore), and the early stuff he did on Prestige records.

This share, however, comes from a different part of Lacy's career: the late 70s, when he was gigging around with a lineup including: Steve Potts on reeds, Irene Aebi on cello, violin and vocals, Kent Carter on bass and  Oliver Johnson on drums. This share came to me as one long file, but one site has the tracklisting as follows: "The Crust," "Papa's Midnight Hop," "The New Duck," and "Revolutionary Suicide." So, I suppose, no Monk staples like "Epistrophy," this time around. Still, I like this one a lot, hope you do, too! 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Richard and Linda Thompson - 05-01-1977, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London

Oh it's the madness of love...

I've been on a Richard Thompson kick lately, and thought I'd dig this tape out and give 'er another listen. What is it exactly? Well, it's a rough-yet-ready audience tape from May 1977, catching Richard and Linda Thompson working out some songs on the road, and has Richard's playing in fine form and both of them strong in voice.

But it's more than that, too: a lot of these songs never saw release. To the best of my knowledge, "The Madness of Love" is the only "new" one they released, and even then it was on the limited-edition Doom and Gloom From the Tomb cassette that went to fan club members, or something. It's too bad: the songs here are sharp, and I love the slow groove of "Madness..." and how RT turns in a slow, twisting solo. But there's more: the call and response chorus of "Rescue Me," and how it whips into the verses (there's an inspired RT solo, too), or the jazzy vibes of "Bird in God's Garden."

A few older songs are given a nice polish, too: "Night Comes In" builds in a slow burn, while "When I Get to the Border" has a ramshackle groove; sorta makes me wonder how Crazy Horse would cover it.

The sound's a little rough, but nothing a good pair of headphones (or just playing it really loud) won't fix. The music's great, however, and maybe someday Thompson will see fit to release these tunes. Until then, tho...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Charles Mingus - 1974-04-22 - Mackenzie Corner House, Toronto, ON

The 70s were not the strongest decade for Charles Mingus, but the peaks are quite good. For me, Changes One and Two are two very strong, overlooked records that feature a crack band of George Adams, Don Pullen, Dannie Richmond and Jack Walrath.

A few months before the Changes session, Mingus and his band - which also included Hamiet Bluiett on baritone sax for this date - rolled into Toronto. The gig was taped (by whom?), and part of it was broadcast on the radio. I don't have details, but I suspect Mingus' soundman taped the gig and it was broadcast over a NYC radio station. I can't imagine any station in Toronto playing this, except maybe the CBC, and this broadcast doesn't match their style (compare it to the Arthur Blythe or Bill Evans gigs they broadcast). 

 The set list? "Opus 3," which appeared on Mingus Moves. Yep. just one song, but it's a good one and a lengthy performance. It shows Pullen, Adams and everyone taking solos and stretching out; Mingus has a solo where he goofs around, drawing a few laughs from the crowd. It's a pretty compelling performance, and makes me wonder if there's more kicking around someplace. Hopefully! Maybe Sue Mingus has them in an archive, somewhere.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Jerry Garcia - 1982-11-09, E.M. Lowe's Theater, Worceste, MA (Early Show)

Jerry and Lisa

I'll be the first to admit it: I'm a lousy Deadhead. I like their shorter, more rockin' tunes than the lengthy, spaced-out jams. I liked those Road Trip releases where they'd have the best moments from a handful of shows. And when it comes to solo Jerry, I have a soft spot for the 80s.

These were not exactly great years for Garcia. Hooked on heroin and in poor health, he'd wind up in a diabetic coma before the decade was out. His marriage to Mountain Girl was in shambles and they didn't live together. And John Kahn was providing a notably bad influence on him when he was away from the band.

That said, when he was on in the 80s, he was really on. This show in Massachusetts is a great example, featuring him in prime form. I especially like this version of "Dear Prudence," which has his reedy voice full of emotion and some choice soloing: slow, deliberate and downright bluesy. There's more, of course: a jaunty "Tangled Up In Blue," and rockin' "Deal," and two sweet Motown covers. But if I'm being honest, I like to go back to this version of Prudence. Something about Melvin Seals' organ and the way Garcia's guitar licks mesh always does it for me. FWIW, the sound's great too: it's a soundboard, but not one where his guitar is buried in the mix. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Herbie Hancock - 1973-10-01 - Ultrasonic Studios, Hempstead, NY

From the Ultrasonic Archives....

"A concert that will certainly amaze you," says the DJ by way of introducing Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters band, and it's hard not to disagree. Indeed, by late 1973, Hancock had moved on from the Mwandishi band - although it'd still pop up on records now and then - for the slimmed down, harder-edged funk of the Headhunters lineup: Hancock on keyboards, Bennie Maupin on reeds, Paul Jackson on bass and Mike Clark on drums.

As I understand it, this is the first circulating Headhunters show. Which makes it interesting, especially since even right from the get-go, this was a tight, funky band who knew how to work a groove. Indeed, Clark's something of the MVP here, creating a pocket deep enough for everyone to groove into, while still working a few nice fills in here and there. It's also cool for featuring two tracks that would wind up on 1974's Thrust, and not leaning too heavily on either older material or stuff from Headhunters.

And finally, if that's not enough, it's a live broadcast from a predominately rock-focused FM station, too. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say a broadcast like this probably introduced Hancock to a wider audience than he'd been getting with any of his Mwandishi lineups. Which means, I think, it's as good as any place to start with this era of his band. Enjoy!

1. Actual Proof
2. Butterfly
3. Sly
4. Chameleon

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Thomas Bangalter - Spinal Scratch

Here's something a little different. In 1996, with Daft Punk breaking into the dance charts and people from around the world tuning into French house music, the boys at Daft Music started their own record label: Roulé Music. Essentially, it was a place for them to sneak out ideas and experiments, not to mention records from their friends and myriad side projects. Altogether, the label's output was something like 30 releases, almost all of them 12" singles.

Today's share is probably my favourite of them all, or at least in the top five. On "Spinal Scratch," Bangalter works a slight sample, thumb on the turntable style. He slows it down, scratches, breaks the music down to it's components and demonstrates a masterclass in how to stretch a drum machine, a sequencer and a turntable for over seven minutes, barely repeating an idea. It reminds me a little of minimalist classical, in how it's changing textures are the point, not the musical figure itself. But it's also got a hell of a groove.

The B-side, "Spinal Beats," is no slouch either, although with just a drum sample it's arguably even minimaler. More minimal? You know what I mean.

Anyway here's a free idea for Numero, Light in the Attic or whatever reissue label you love the most: release a Roule box set. All these singles had pretty minimal runs, I imagine, and they've been out of print for well over a decade. I do see Stardust's lone single Music Sounds Better With You occasionally, but have yet to run across one of their other releases in the flesh. So please, someone get the rights to this, even if it's just on Bandcamp! Until then, your best bet is Discogs where you can get a copy for about $10