There are so many genres in Jazz, I think that’s what drew me to the music in the first place (besides the Hip Hop sampling aspect). Since I got into Jazz, I’ve moved from Blue Note artists specializing in Jazz Funk to Soul Jazz organs to Hard Bop and Be-Bop to straight ahead Jazz, and finally found a huge fascination with Free Jazz. It really interests me how these musicians always start out with the straight ahead stuff, then as their careers progress always seem to be searching for something spiritually, which comes out through their free exploration and interpretation of Jazz music. For this mix, I chose 13 sides from records I have dug up in the field over the course of the last 10 years or so. They move around with different genres of Jazz, and that’s what I think makes this mix so important. It’s not your typical Flea Market Funk mix, but rather a detour from the norm. Nonetheless, this music is powerful and moving. The mix is great for a weekend hang, a long drive, or just walking around your city with headphones doing your thing. Here’s a bit of info about each track.
1) The Afro Blues Quintet Plus One were a mid 60’s New/Hard Bop group that had some Latin influences. Led by vibes player Joe De Aguere, this sextet leads off the mix with “Liberation”, a great blend of Afro-Cuban Jazz and what they called an interpretation of “other thing” standards. This young group of performers includes Jack Faulks on alto/ flute, Bill Henderson on piano, Michael Davis on drums and timbales, Norm Johnson on bass, and Moses Obligacion on congas. They describe the relationship of each instrument on this record as cosa nostra, or “our thing”. A decent release from the Mira label.
2) I’ve been getting into a lot of Jackie McLean lately, specifically Freedom Sounds, Jacknife, and this record I bought off The Old Man before he died, Lights Out on Prestige. This was McLean’s second output as a band leader. Enlisting the help of Donald Byrd on trumpet, Elmo Hope on piano, Doug Watkins on bass, and Art Taylor on drums, this Prestige line up was a big deal at the time. McLean studied with Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and Andy Kirk, Jr. growing up in Harlem. If you’re not familiar with Jackie, I’d encourage you to grab some titles when you see them. This tune, “Up”, starts with a fast rhythm section before giving each of the players a solo chance to flex their chops. The tune is described perfectly in the title, and the tempo follows suit.
3) Yusef Lateef is another artist I always grab when I see out in the field. Eastern Sounds has eluded me, but this 1961 LP lost in sound, has not. This Tennessee sax player is known for his use of unconventional instruments (balloon, soda bottle, earthboard etc.). On this Charlie Parker Records recording, Lateef sticks to the sax. This record is said to be his break away from Hard Bop and the tune “Soul Blues” is quite solid.
4) Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers were still reeling from Blakey’s 2 year stint in Africa, and Drum Suite doesn’t get a pass. Chock full of African drum patterns, Latin influences, and Hard Bop, this style was a good 10 years before Afro-beat started to drop in Jazz. This Columbia LP has the original Art Blakey Percussion Ensemble on one side, and the Jazz Messengers (Bill Hardman, Jackie McLean, Sam Dockery, and Spanky DeBrest) doing three tracks from Art’s first Columbia output Hard Bop on the other side. “Just for Marty” is one of those tunes.
5) One time underground Jazz genius Anthony Braxton gives us his composition “New York City” from a 1974 Arista promo Jazz sampler called Free and Easy. A little out there, I couldn’t leave this beautiful piece of Avant Garde/ Free Jazz off of this mix. Separated from Jazz musicians who dismissed his music as “not Jazz”, Braxton led a successful career in Europe and Japan, and after moving to NYC in 1970, finally landed on a major label. A true innovator of Jazz (however unconventional), Anthony Braxton is a musician who blazed a lot of different trails in Jazz music.
6) Guitarist Cliff Coulter’s “Worry ‘Bout It Later” was included on an odd Impulse sampler Irrepressible Impulses from 1972. With artwork from The Overland Vegetable Stagecoach, the underground look and feel of the entire LP screamed FREE JAZZ. Including artists such as Alice and John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Chico Hamilton, Ahmad Jamal and John Klemmer among others, this was a taste of what Impulse! had in it’s bag at the time. Coulter’s contribution is way different than the others, combining a fuzzy guitar with Varitone trumpet, French Horn, and drums to give it almost a psychedelic Jazz feel.
7) In one of the most interesting records I have picked up in a while, Mainstream Records artist and saxophone player Hadley Caliman offers up “Watercress” from his iapetus record. Known as “Little Dex” when he was younger (as in Dexter Gordon), Caliman leads a nice group of West Coast musicians on this track. This record is soon after John Coltrane influenced him and touches on that spiritual Jazz I spoke of artists turning too later in their career. Caliman went on to have great success as a Jazz musician, passing away in his late 70’s in 2010.
8) Sticking with a guy who can be spiritual and most definitely free, “Round Trip” is a piece from Ornette Coleman’s 1968 Blue Note release New York Is Now!. Essentially recorded in the same session as his Love Call record, Ornette enlisted some ex-Coltrane side men: Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones, plus tenor sax Dewey Redmon to be on this record. Sometimes a bit complicated, sometime a bit confusing, the listener is definitely taken on a round trip through the workings of the mind of Ornette Coleman, which is a bit complex to say the least.
9) The Art Farmer Quartet featuring guitarist Jim Hall pays tribute to Charlie Parker’s My Little Suede Shoes” off of his 1963 Atlantic Records release Interpretation. A straight forward, upbeat track, Farmer and company let it swing. I always liked the Jazz guitar greats, but Jim Hall wasn’t a cat who I had heard of when I bought this record. I love how he’s featured and how this record (and the ending percussion on the track)breaks up the mix.
10) I never find Sun Ra records, so when I grabbed this Savoy Jazz release We Are the Future, I was pretty excited, even for an 80’s repressing and retrospective LP. A short track (just over 2 minutes), “What’s That”, originally off of his 1962 release The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra , definitely touches me. I was turned on to the man by a DJ and collector friend, and have always looked out for this kind of music. Thank You Rick McMorrow for showing me the Sun Ra catalog.
11) Them Adderlys, with brothers Cannonball and Nat Adderly, have an all star line up on this Limelight LP. If Horace Silver, Paul Chambers, and Roy Haynes don’t ring a bell, then get out that Jazz guide immediately and read up. All the tracks on this record were written by both the Adderlys, and this was originally released on Emarcy in 1955 as the Introducing Nat Adderly record. Definitely upbeat and par for the course in the mid ’50’s, it was really what to do on a Friday night: jam.
12) This cool Jazz track from Mundell Lowe came of the $1.98 Riverside Modern Jazz sampler. Featuring Monk, Randy Weston, and Matthew Gee among others, I took a liking once again to this guitar track. I felt that “Far Fron Vanilla” spoke on so many levels from his 1955 Lowell Mundell Quartet record. Whether he had a point to prove (Check out The short film The Cry of Jazz which debates Jazz race issues and you may get it) or not, whatever he was saying was made loud and clear through this track. This side features a young (and a favorite here at FMF) Dick Hyman on piano and organ, “creating swinging Jazz”.
13) The mix ends with Bobby Hutcherson’s “Matrix” originally from his 1968 Blue Note record Total Eclipse, but taken from a Blue Note 40 Years of Jazz LP box set I scored on Haight Street almost 20 years ago. Hutcherson puts out some Post Bop on this Chick Corea side and introduces tenor sax player Harold Land for the first time to Hutcherson’s band. The two would go on to record and play much in the future.
I’m hoping you enjoyed this mix. Like I said, it’s a bit different than what goes on here at FMF, but it’s really great music that I wanted to share. I have a few other mixes I’ll be working on, specifically a Latin Mix, as well as a few guest mixes, so stay tuned for more great music. Thanks as always for the support, and I’ll see you in the crates.
A Jazz Hat: A Journey Through Dusty Jazz Vinyl Track List
The Afro Blues Quintet Plus One – Liberation/ Mira Records
The Jackie McLean Quintet – Up/ Prestige Records
Yusef Lateef – Soul Blues/ Charlie Parker Records
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – Just For Marty/ Columbia
Anthony Braxton – New York City/ Arista
Cliff Coulter – Worry ‘Bout It Later/ Impulse!
Hadley Caliman – Watercress/ Mainstream
Ornette Coleman – Round Trip/ Blue Note
The Art farmer Quintet featuring Jim Hall – My Little Suede Shoes/ Atlantic
Cannonball and Nat Adderly – Friday Nite/ Limelight
Sun Ra – What’s That/ Savoy Jazz
Mundell Lowe – Far From Vanilla/ Riverside
Bobby Hutcherson – Matrix/ Blue Note