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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Jack Ashby




Crotchet

Chris Potter - ‘Traveling Mercies’

Verve

018 243 - 2

 

 


Personnel Chris Potter - Saxophones, Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute, Sampler, Reed Organ & Vocal (track 3), Kevin Hays – Piano, Fender Rhodes & Clavinet, Scott Colley – Bass, Bill Stewart – Drums, John Schofield – Guitar (tracks 1&7), Adam Rogers – Guitar (tracks 3&8), Dave Binney – Waterfall sampler (track 2) and Elizabeth Dotson-Westphalen – Vocal sample (track 7).

1

Megalopolis

6

Any Moment Now

2

Snake Oil

7

Migrations

3

Invisible Man

8

Azalea

4

Washed Ashore

9

Highway One

5

Children Go

10

Just As I Am

Chris Potter is yet another name to emerge from the vast wealth of unknown, yet highly talented musicians, in the United States. Originally he went to New York to play with Red Rodney’s band and since then he has toured or recorded with the Mingus Big Band, Steely Dan, Jim Hall and James Moody to name but a few. Currently he is enjoying a European tour opening with the Dave Holland Band, with whom his playing is best known, and then giving a series of concerts with his own quartet.

‘Magalopolis’ is an ideal opener and typical of Potter’s musical composition. He is soon into an explosive solo full of riffs and runs across the whole range of the instrument. ‘Invisible Man’ introduces another facet of his work this time his flute playing is over-dubbed with his voice. The complete piece provides a plaintive and haunting atmosphere and again the saxophone playing is innovative to say the least. ‘Highway One’ is a track that specifically held my interest. Hays’ weaving piano solo is accompanied by some of the best backing rhythm on the disc and Potter’s soprano work completes a solid performance. It is difficult to envisage an assembly of better accompanists as he has here – they enthusiastically explore and work off each other.

His earlier album ‘Gratitude’ has been very well received and ‘Traveling Mercies’ I am sure will be as popular.

Chris Potter is at the forefront of the current generation of musicians who are already well advanced into moulding yet another shape to modern music both in terms of composition and performance.

Jack Ashby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Evans – ‘Alone’

Verve

589 319 – 2

Personnel Bill Evans – Solo Piano

1

Here’s That Rainy Day

7

Track 1 – Alternative Take

2

A Time for Love

8

Track 2 – Alternative Take

3

Midnight Mood

9

Track 3 – Alternative Take

4

On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)

10

Track 4 – Alternative Take

5

Never Let Me Go

11

Track 5 – Alternative Take

6

The Two Lonely People (aka The Man & The Woman)

12

Medley – All the Things You Are/ Midnight Mood

This is a re-issue of Bill Evan’s first solo album recorded in 1968 and contains seven bonus tracks, six being alternative takes, from the ‘Alone’ sessions – they were recently discovered and not previously issued. Here we have Evans at his best.

In the early 1950s Evans’ was beginning to be recognised as a pianist with great potential and in 1958 he joined Miles Davis. This was a period when Davis also employed John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley and his music was being diverted towards modal improvisation. By then Evans was regarded as an inspired and self-searching musician whose cleverly constituted solos, augmented by masterful harmony, exposed his extensive talent. Although he was only with Miles a very short time it proved to be a vital component in his development.

His next venture was trio work with bassist Scott La Faro and drummer Paul Motian and this together with duo work was the general format of his music until his death in 1980. However, it was inevitable he would make solo recordings and the ‘Alone’ sessions were the result. It would be wrong to say that they were made at the height of his career because his playing hardly ever varied in its high quality.

‘Alone’ is far from ‘easy listening’ – throughout it commands attention. Some fans steer clear of recordings that contain so many retakes and often that is justified but in this case the extra tracks provide evidence of his fresh approach to the repeated performance of a piece. His playing is distinctive but in the composition and length of some of his phrasing there is more than a hint of Lennie Tristano. On a general theme his qualities of performance vary between massive strength coupled with deep harmony to sensitive and delicate melodic lines. ‘Alone ‘ is one of those recordings that warrants listening to repeatedly – each time something new is revealed.

Jack Ashby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xavier Cugat

‘the original dance king’

Columbia/Legacy

508696 2

LC 00162

    1. Babalú
    2. Jamay
    3. Anana Boroco Tinde
    4. The Brand New Cha Cha
    5. Cuca
    6. Bim Bam Bum
    7. A Bailar Merengue
    8. Coco Seco
    9. Suavecito
    10. Miami Beach Rhumba
    11. Yo Quiero Un Mambo
    12. Son Los Dandis
    13. Mambo Jambo
    14. Ritmo Tropical
    15. (The Chi Chi) Cha Cha Cha
    16. Yo Ta Namora
    17. The Anything Can Happen Mambo
    18. Mambo Gordo
    19. Bésame Mucho
    20. Tumbao
    21. Bread, Love And Cha Cha
    22. La Murcura
    23. Cuban Mambo
    24. Mondonguero
    25. Mondongo
    26. Who Me?

The recent widespread interest in ballroom dancing has meant resurgence for one of its most popular components – ‘Latin dance.’ Originally the music became popular in the USA and Europe between the 1930s and mid-50s and then more or less disappeared with the demise of the big bands. Tito Puente was one exception and he continued to play Latin music but it soon became more allied to what is termed ‘Latin jazz.’

In the post-war era the one band whose name was on the top of the popularity list was Xavier Cugat. His first break came in 1928 when his band was booked at the New Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. This was followed by the band playing a major part in the popularity of the rhumba – Cugat was ‘The Rhumba King.’ After leading a number of groups another break came in the 1940s when Camel Cigarettes offered him the chance to make regular broadcasts from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The broadcasts had a massive audience and soon recording dates and film contracts followed – twenty-eight in all. That band was popularly know as the ‘The Camel Caravan.’

This CD follows Cugat’s music through its important years when rhumbas, merengues, mambos and cha cha chas were all the rage.

Jack Ashby



 



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