Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Aaron Neville

aaron orchid
It was impossible to pick the right tracks from this CD.

Everyone knows that Aaron can sing the phone book and make it sounds good, but some say this session is his best ever. All I know is it's my favorite Aaron record, no other even close.

The producer was the legendary Joel Dorn. He told me that hanging outside the studio during a 1983 Neville Brothers record, Aaron was just messing around doo-wopping and casually mentioned it was his favorite music. Quickly, Joel rounded up a small group and another New Orleans legend, arranger Wardell Quezergue, and recorded this awesome EP. It was released on an independent New Jersey label, Rhino picked it up in the early 90s, and now Joel has released it himself with a lot of bonus material that rounds it out to LP length.

If you like these, I'll post the whole EP, I love it that much.

Aaron Neville >For Your Precious Love

Aaron Neville >Warm Your Heart

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Mable John & Wendy Rene

My friend Dennis asked to send him these two tracks from The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968.

I lent Dennis the 9-CD Stax collection 7 or 8 years ago. As is his way, he listened to each disc dozens of times, until he knew what he wanted to know, and then onto the next CD. We hadn't talked about it for years, but Dennis knows that I'm a big soul fan, so the other day he mentioned that he'd like to hear these two tracks again. Big a buff as I am, I'm really a fairweather friend, and I only pay attention to my favorite hits, so I had no idea what or whom he was talking about.

Sad truth to be told, I still don't.

I just ripped these tracks and posted them. (My quick look for links embarrassed me that I didn't know that Mable John led the Raelettes, and relieved me that there's almost no info about Wendy Rene.) I know Dennis is right, and I can't wait to make a couple of discoveries.

Mable John >Don't Hit Me No More

Wendy Rene >Bar-B-Q

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Fourth Way

The Fourth Way were like superstars to me and my friends in the early 70s. Then, somehow, for no real good reason I think, we forgot about them.

[Mike Nock, electric piano and composer; Michael White, electric violin; Ron McClure, bass; Eddie Marshall, drums]

They were the rhythm section on John Handy's awesome live set at Monterey (on Columbia). They picked up on 'Miles in the Sky', 'In a Silent Way', that kind of thing, and they helped lubricate the rock influence in jazz. This album on Capitol kicked it off, there was a peak record on Capitol's UK sub Harvest (which I can't locate yet). I seem to remember the follow-up was really disappointing, so I guess that was the end.

Mike Nock is a wonderful composer, but I never checked out any of his solo recordings (maybe now I'll track some down.) Michael White was a fairly useless early fusion star. Ron McClure's a teacher at NYU. Eddie Marshall's still got a good rep in SF.

This groovy track's from an LP dub Alan ripped. Nothing's on CD. Virtually nothing's on the web. They're almost completely lost in the vapor. It's too bad.

The Fourth Way >Everyman's Your Brother

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Joe Lee Wilson

joe lee wilson
This guy sings like a motherfucker.

I would say that even if I hadn't produced the record more than 30 years ago. It's a from a live 1972 radio broadcast on WKCR-FM. I wasn't there at the time, I didn't really give a hoot about straight jazz singers, but the buzz was on after this session and it wouldn't stop. But I still avoided it for a year until someone put this Sammy Cahn & Jules Styne track on.

(The LP was a big jazz hit in NY in 1974. At least on the radio where they couldn't stop playing it. However, our company was broke and until my great friend loaned me his last dollar money from a meager inheritance we couldn't get albums into the stores. As is often the case, by then it was too late. It's been out of print for almost thirty years.)

This performance is how I became hooked on standards forever.

Joe Lee Wilson >It's You Or No One

Dan Penn

dan penn
It's not like Dan Penn can sing, but here he's singing his own songs (from "Do Right Man" on Warner Bros.). Anyone that can write songs this great can sing them any way he wants. And I'll love it.

Dan Penn > Do Right Man, Do Right Woman

Dan Penn > I'm Your Puppet

Dan Penn > The Dark End of the Street

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy

lester bowie
I realized this would be perfect for you. (You'll probably find it geeky, so I used the version from the avant garde trumpeter Lester Bowie).

Lester Bowie >Don't Worry Be Happy

John Scofield

I bought this CD because I liked the cover (one day I'll figure out how to post covers), and because I was sick of ignoring jazz guitarists. I loved it because finally there was someone my age with a rock and soul and jazz background putting it all together in a groovy, funky, tuneful, almost pop-y kind of way. I didn't know anything about the rhythm section -Medesky, Martin & Wood- until years later.

(So then I buy every solo Scofield, every MMW, and I'm completely bored silly by almost every track on every one of their CDs. God, I hate the jam bands.)

If anyone could come up with CDs full of tracks like this, actual songs rather than funky noodling, I'll be your fan for life. So will everyone else.

John Scofield >A Go Go

Reuben Wilson, Teddy Wilson, Four Freshman

While i was on a conference call i searched my library and came up with some Paris tracks (though a couple have that Parisian heartbreak theme, I left out the really dreary ones).

Reuben Wilson >The Last Tango in Paris

Teddy Wilson >April in Paris

The Four Freshman >Lonely Night in Paris

And also, here's a fitting Isley's track for your trip.

The Isley Bros >Live It Up Pts 1 & 2

Monday, November 01, 2004

Hank Jones, Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny

So here's some great music:

Hank Jones is one of the considerable jazz pianists. (His brother was Elvin Jones, the drummer in John Coltrane's great band. His other brother was Thad Jones, a respected trumpter, composer & bandleader). Hank was one of the most dependable pianists of the 40s, he spent 25 years in the CBS studios, and I produced his comeback record in 1977, Bop Redux, which got us my only Grammy nomination.
bop redux
Bloomdido is one of my favorite tracks from that LP.

Anyhow, he made this amazing duet CD about ten years ago with bassist Charlie Haden. It's called Steal Away: Spirituals, Hymns, and Folk Songs. It is truly sublime. I was raised as a
Presbytarian so I recognize a bunch of the hymns (don't know if the Catholics share them), but whether you know them or not, you can't miss with these tracks.
haden jones
Charlie Haden & Hank Jones >It's Me, O Lord (Standin' In The Need Of Prayer)

Charlie Haden & Hank Jones >Hymn Medley

Charlie Haden Hank's duet partner, got famous in the 60s as an avant-garde bassist with Ornette Coleman, and then his Liberation Music Orchestra that played Spanish and Cuban revolutionary songs (arranged by Carla Bley, by the way). After he quit heroin, he's become one of the most reliable, interesting guys around. Each of his records has a brand new look at how to play music (fitting, I think, since he started as a country musician and singer as a five year old with his family's country act before becoming a jazzman). He's done a series of duet records over the last 30 years, with the Hank one being my favorite. But close behind...

I generally am completely bored by Pat Metheny (jazz guitars are not my faves). But this duet record with Charlie is totally wonderful. The track I picked is from 'Two for the Road' the great romantic movie by Stanley Donen and the beautifully melodic title song was written by Henry Mancini (who, weirdly enough, has become one of my raves of the last 6 or 7 years, but more on that another time).
haden metheny
Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny >Two for the Road