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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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DELMARK: 55 YEARS OF JAZZ

Delmark DE 914

 

 

 

CD

1. Lester Leaps in - Yves Francois

2. Goin' to Town - Deep Blue Organ Trio

3. Dynamite at Midnight - King Curtis

4. Saro-Wiwa - Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls

5. Equinox - Curtis Fuller

6. It's Crazy - Francine Griffin

7. Doctor Jazz - George Lewis

8. Black Metropolis - Malachi Thompson

9. In My Morning Song - Kalaparush

10. Mode for Mabes - Eric Alexander

11. Bu-De-Daht - Coleman Hawkins

12. Brainville - Sun Ra

13. Panama Rag - Art Hodes

DVD

1. The Creator Has Other Plans for Me - Nicole Mitchell

2. Richard's Tune - Ari Brown

3. My Baby - Jazz O'Maniacs

4. Flashback - Fred Anderson

5. Big M - Ritual Trio

6. Power (excerpt) - Chicago Underground Trio

 

How many record labels can you name whose repertoire embraces Art Hodes and Sun Ra, Coleman Hawkins as well as King Curtis? Delmark is a remarkable label for the breadth of its releases, which include all kinds of jazz as well as various brands of the blues. The Chicago label is also remarkable in that it is celebrating its 55th anniversary. A third notable feature of this album is that it comprises a CD and a DVD - the former containing tracks recorded between 1944 and 2005; the latter consisting of live performances from Delmark's "Where the Music Lives" series of DVDs.

The oldest track on the CD is the Coleman Hawkins recording from the 1944 album Rainbow Mist, which includes such famous musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Don Byas, Oscar Pettiford and Max Roach. Hawkins is deservedly the featured artist, with his sinuous saxophone supported by the punchy brass and the groovy rhythm section. The bebop influence is clear. In complete contrast, George Lewis's Doctor Jazz from 1953 is genuine New Orleans jazz, with the famous line-up that included Kid Howard, Jim Robinson and Alton Purnell.

The most recent track is also one of my favourites: the Deep Blue Organ Trio's Goin' to Town, recorded live at the Green Mill three years ago. It might be called a typical organ trio, with Chris Foreman's Hammond B3 organ joined by Bobby Broom on guitar and Greg Rockingham at the drums. The trio swings like mad and, as I said in my review on this website of their album (which was also called Goin' to Town), they provide "no-nonsense jazz with hints of the blues and soul".

The other outstanding tracks include Curtis Fuller's interpretation of John Coltrane's Equinox, with magical trumpeter Brad Goode in the quintet; It's Crazy from vocalist Francine Griffin, who has some of Betty Carter's carefree way with a song; and Mode for Mabes featuring Eric Alexander's supple tenor sax and Harold Mabern's twinkling piano. The album closes with classic jazz from a sextet led by pianist Art Hodes, with a front line of Nappy Trottier, Volly Defaut and George Brunis.

The DVD is also a mixed bag, opening with the adventurous eclecticism of flautist Nicole Mitchell's band (with the drum solo mysteriously concealed by a montage of still photographs). Tenorist Ari Brown's group swings well in Jazz Messengers style, while the Jazz O'Maniacs play trad at a hardware store (see my review of their album and Nicole Mitchell's elsewhere on this website). I am less impressed by the free-form blowing of Fred Anderson and the Chicago Underground Trio but Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio conjures up some mystical African sounds complete with thumb piano and wild Stuff Smith-like violin.

Happy 55th birthday, Delmark! I eagerly await their 60th birthday compilation.

Tony Augarde

 

 

 



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