Tag: jazz

Album cover of the week: Mobius (Cedar Walton)

Album cover of the week: Mobius (Cedar Walton)

Album Cover of the Week, Music
The recent death of French artist Jean Giraud -- aka Moebius -- was the inspiration for this week's album cover selection. It's Cedar Walton's Mobius, released on RCA Records (APL1-1009) in 1975. The album notes pretty much give away the inspiration for the title: "Mobius, which is the theoretical shape of the infinite universe, makes use of the most modern recording techniques and synthesizers. We mastered and mixed so that it's hotter than the competition, which should help radio play and in-store demonstration." Technically the correct spelling would be Möbius, but I'm not sure how jazz/funk fans in 1975 would've reacted to seeing an umlaut in an album title. But they'd probably get past it hearing hot tracks like "Road Island Red." Unfortunately I do not know who illust
Sunday Jazz: First Cosins Jazz Ensemble, ‘For the Cos of Jazz’

Sunday Jazz: First Cosins Jazz Ensemble, ‘For the Cos of Jazz’

Music, Sunday Jazz
This album has been making the rounds on jazz .mp3 blogs for quite a few years, but I like it so much I feel compelled to share it myself. It's called For the Cos of Jazz, and it was recorded by a group called the First Cosins Jazz Ensemble. As far as I can tell the group was a one-off project put together just for this album. As the name of the group and album might hint, Bill Cosby was a major figure in putting this together -- which makes sense, as he was pretty involved in the music world in the '60s and '70s in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career. Indeed, Cosby is listed as a musical consultant and co-arranger on the record. Musically, For the Cos of Jazz is pretty typical of the jazz/funk that was popular in the mid-to-late '70s. It brings to mind one of my favori...
Sunday Jazz: Andy Summers, “The Three Marias”

Sunday Jazz: Andy Summers, “The Three Marias”

Music, Sunday Jazz
While Sting got all the attention (and record sales) after the Police broke up in the mid-1980s, I've always found guitarist Andy Summers' solo material to be more consistently satisfying. And the one album of his I love more than any other is 1997's The Last Dance of Mr. X. Summers is backed by a crack unit including Tony Levin on bass and Gregg Bissonette on drums. The trio crackles with energy on "The Three Marias," the second track on the album. Enjoy! (listen to "The Three Marias" by Andy Summers) And because I know you're curious, here's a live performance of "The Three Marias" by Wayne Shorter, recorded in 1995. The original version can be found on his 1985 solo LP, Atlantis. (Spotify users — you can listen to these and other featured Sunday Jazz songs by subscribing to
The Music Year That Was: The Best Albums of 2011

The Music Year That Was: The Best Albums of 2011

Music
The usual disclaimers about my year-end music lists still apply. I'm only one man and only have so much time to listen to new albums. So even if I hear an album and it's really good, if nothing about it grabs me right away I may end up forgetting it. Also, naturally I'm going to gravitate toward music either from acts I already know and like or that's recommended by friends and writers/critics I respect. These, then, are the ten albums that I have returned to more than any other in 2011 and probably will in 2012. Because at the end of the day, isn't that the only mark of a good record? #1. Mastodon, The Hunter As much as I was disappointed with Crack the Skye, I absolutely love The Hunter. I've read a lot of comparisons between it and Metallica's "Black Album," and I can see why. It's...
Album cover of the week: Blues for Dracula

Album cover of the week: Blues for Dracula

Album Cover of the Week, Music
A few weeks ago on the Halloween edition of my Sunday Jazz series I featured a track from Blues for Dracula (Riverside Records RLP 12-282), so today I'm sharing the rather campy but memorable album cover. Blah! That's Mr. Jones himself in full vampire regalia. Despite the rather jokey album cover, the music is fairly serious, straightforward jazz. Well, except for the rather comical Dracula-esque dialogue in the title cut. But elsewhere it's a solid set of straight bop. I don't have any information on who took the photo for Blues for Dracula, but the info from the recording session is well-known. All five songs from the album were recorded in New York City on September 17, 1958 with the following personnel: Nat Adderley, cornet Julian Priester, trombone Johnny Griffin, te
CD Giveaway: Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues

CD Giveaway: Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues

Music
So what happens when one of rock's most legendary figures -- that would be Eric Clapton -- teams with one of jazz's most prolific and controversial figures -- that would be Wynton Marsalis -- for an evening of vintage-style blues and jazz? Why you get the fantastic new CD/DVD Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues: Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center, that's what happens! And because I'm such a generous guy, I'm offering you the chance to win a copy of this excellent CD/DVD set, courtesy Rhino Records. Ain't I swell? To win your very own copy of Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play the Blues, all you need to do is send me an email with the subject line "Send Me the Blues!". I'll pick a winner at random some time in the near future. As long as the email link in this post is
Album cover of the week: Candygram for Mowo!

Album cover of the week: Candygram for Mowo!

Album Cover of the Week, Music
I knew nothing about Adam Dorn, aka Mocean Worker (pronounced Motion Worker) before last week, but one glance at the cover for his latest album -- Candygram for Mowo! -- was enough to make me want to check him out. It's been a long time since I decided to listen to an album just because of its cover, but this did the trick. Luckily for me, Candygram for Mowo! is actually a good album. Some of the songs evoke the Big Band/Swing era nicely, just like the repurposed photo on the cover. Witness the outstanding lead track, "Shooby Shooby Do Yah!" (linked below) and "Hoot and Hollah." "Shooby Shooby Do Yah!" | MOCEAN WORKER by Calabro Music Media
Sunday Jazz: “All the Things You Are” (feat. Slam Stewart)

Sunday Jazz: “All the Things You Are” (feat. Slam Stewart)

Music, Sunday Jazz
I first encountered the unique stylings of bassist Slam Stewart on the excellent Dizzy Gillespie album Groovin' High, which captures some of the earliest recordings of bebop ever heard. Stewart's solo, which combined his arco (bow) bass playing and singing, grabbed my attention right away. He typically sung his vocals an octave above his bass part, to great effect. Stewart was born in my home state of New Jersey -- Englewood to be precise -- 97 years ago this Wednesday, and died at the age of 73 in Binghamton, New York. He was never the most celebrated of bassists, although he did enjoy commercial success as one half -- along with Slim Gaillard -- of the Slim and Slam duo. The pair notched their biggest hit in 1938 with Gaillard's humorous "Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)." Toda...
Sunday Jazz: Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s ‘Race Riot Suite’

Sunday Jazz: Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s ‘Race Riot Suite’

Music, Sunday Jazz
I don't want to give away too much of the Best Music of 2011 list that will run in December, but I can say with confidence that the latest album from Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey -- Race Riot Suite -- will be included. Race Riot Suite -- composed by Chris Combs, the group's lap steel player -- draws deeply from the well of pre-Swing jazz, but incorporates it into a series of distinctly modern arrangements. It's a remarkable achievement in modern jazz, even without the tragic back story. But once you know the story behind the music, its power is increased tenfold. In 1921, Tulsa was home to a powerful and affluent African-American community. In one of the largest racial conflicts and cover-ups in American history, massive race riots resulted in the death of hundre...