September 2002


Gary Burton - "For Hamp, Red, Bags and Cal"

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Of the four vibe-masters paid tribute to on this recording, only "the original" Lionel Hampton is still with us and I might add, active into his 90's.

Burton has tried not to imitate Hampton, Norvo, Jackson or Tjader, but shows his respect for their various abilities.

Hampton, originally a drummer, recorded the first vibes solo seventy years before the present recording. Red Norvo followed shortly after playing xylophone and marimba. He didn't adopt the vibraphone until 1943. Milt Jackson starting in the 1940's, was the leading player in the 1050's. Most vibes recordings featured "Bags" (Milt Jackson) at that time. Cal Tjader established himself as a key player in the Latin styles of the 1950's and 1960's.

The music is made up of a dozen selections, five are Norvo staples, and three are Tjader's and only two each by Hamp and Bags, who to my ears each deserved more.

Various musicians lend their support, pianists Mulgrew Miller, Makoto Ozone and Danilo Perez, bassists Christian McBride and John Patitucci, guitarist Russell Malone, drummers Horacio Hernandez and Lewis Nash and percussionist Luis Quintero. RF

Concord CCD-4941-2

Various - "Sounds from Verve"

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Sounds from Verve Hi-Fi would be better titled Verve Bossa Nova or at least Latin Jazz. Stan Getz, Luis Bonfa, Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery, Cal Tjader, Lalo Schifrin, Astrud Gilberto, Jackie Cain and Roy Kral, Chico Hamilton and Wynton Kelly plus another half dozen musicians make up an easy on the ear compilation of fifteen selections. RF

Verve 3145841512

Paquito D'Rivera - "The Best Of Paquito D'Rivera"

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Paquito D'Rivera defected from Cuba over twenty years ago. He signed with Columbia Records after being seen performing with the group Irakere in Havana. This recording is a compilation of the best by the saxophonist with selections from seven of his albums including three from each of "Paquito Blown", "Why Not" and "Mariel" plus four others recorded between 1981 and 1988. A nice mix of music, several produced by the late Helen Keane.

Unfortunately the various personnel are not listed, however the liner notes have Mr. D'Rivera thanking Hubert Laws, Jorge Dalto, Claudio Roditi, Steve Gadd, McCoy Tyner, Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Franzetti, Daniel Ponce, MichelCamilo, Eddie Gomez, Hilton Ruiz, Toots Thielmans, Slide Hampton and Randy Brecker for the privilege of sharing the stage and recording studio, so we must assume that they show in the over 70 minutes of music including five originals and a couple of standards - "On Green Dolphin Street" and Gillespie's "Manteca". This disc should help to create many new fans for the multi reed talent of Paquito D'Rivera. RF

Columbia/Legacy CK 85342

Various - "Sounds from Verve"

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This is a strange album of some wonderful standards, including interpretations of "Summertime" by Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae's "How long Has This Been Going On", Dinah Washington's "Is you Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?", Ella Fitzgerald's "Wait Till You See Him" and "Don't Explain"/"Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday.

These are the original recordings by the Divas, but the slant is that some DJ's have obtained them and remixed to today's sound, Hip Hop and all.

I'm not familiar with Richard Dorfmeister, MJ Cole, Thievery Corporation, Rae and Christian, Joe Claussell, Mark De Clive, De Phazz, D Zihan & Kamien, Masters at work, UFO, Tricky/Tool and King Britt Funke, but these are the disc jockey engineers who have created a sound for a select group of today's listeners.

Willie Bobo. Astrud Gilberto, Nina Simone, Shirley Horn and Tony Scott also get the going over. Not my thing, but interesting. RF

Verve UMCF-047222

Son Seals - "Deluxe Edition"

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Yes his first name is Son, and he's been playing since growing up in his father's juke joint, The Dipsey Doodle Club in Osceola, Arkansas. Daddy turned him on to both drums and guitar.

He led his own band while still a teen and went on the road with Earl Hooker and Albert King, two great string players. He settled in Chicago's South Side about 30 years ago and sat in with Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Magic Slim and Alligator's first artist, Hound Dog Taylor.

This is Son's eighth recording for the Alligator label, and was recorded between 1972 and 1966, some cuts are studio and some live. Over thirty different musicians lend their support.

Any blues fan will enjoy the raw voice and enthusiastic guitar playing of Son Seals on the fifteen selections, eight of which are his own compositions. RF

Alligator ALCD 5611

Marcus Roberts Trio - "Cole After Midnight"

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On this 1998 CD, Roberts pays tribute to 2 Coles - pianist. /vocalist Nat Cole and songwriter Cole Porter. With excellent support from bassists Roland Guerin and Thaddeus Expose and drummers Jason Marsalis/Leon Anderson, the pianist captures the essence of Nat Cole's poignant delivery in 7 numbers, adding a rhythmic spice to reflect Nat's romantic lilt on "Unforgettable", offering spirited piano solos embedded in bass choruses to "It's Only a Paper Moon", or giving a bluesy interpretation of "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You". The time shifts from waltz to accelerated 4/4 on his original "Cole after Midnight", serve as a bridge to the 7 Porter songs that follow: a funky groove in 9/8 to Marsalis' stick work "What is This Thing Called Love", the Latin swing of "Ace in the Hole", a hard driving stride syncopation a la Erroll Garner with "It's All Right With Me". As Wynton Marsalis said of Roberts: "He is able to pull buried treasures out of well hidden places". It's a quality that adds the element of surprise to the familiar. Recommended. JS

Columbia CK 69781

Susie Ariole Band - "Pennies from Heaven"

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Indeed, this disc proved to be a most pleasant surprise. Vocalist Arioli and guitarist Jordan Officer are ideally attuned to each other and to the shifting demands dictated by the varied selections. Arioli's vocal stylings, though direct and unpretentious, readily capture the nuances of the moment - the ebullience of Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose", the underlying dark shadings to Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain", the infectious swing to "Pennies from Heaven", the romantic rendering accorded "Night and Day". The ubiquitous guitar of Jordan Officer sparkles, especially on the loose and bluesy "Having Fun", or in tandem with pianist Ralph Sutton on "Walter's Flat". This album is dedicated to Sutton on this, his last, recording. Highly recommended. JS

Justin Time JUST 181-2

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