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Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 03 Mar 2017, 14:45
by fange
NP
Image

Such a lovely record.

There aren’t many better feel-good tales in jazz than the story of pianist Horace Parlan, who had his right hand paralysed by polio at the age of 5. His parents thought learning the piano would be both therapeutic and a good way to lift his spirits, and they were doubly correct - Parlan fell in love with the instrument, and while he regained free movement in only his thumb and forefinger, he made his limitations an artistic signature, creating a percussive, rhythmic-based style of playing that saw him become a favourite of Charles Mingus, Lou Donaldson, Dexter Gordon and many others, as well as joining with bassist George Tucker and drummer Al Harewood to become the regular house band at the legendary jazz nightspot, Minton’s Playhouse. He made several trio albums with this group as well as with added players for Blue Note, ‘Happy Frame Of Mind’ being the last he recorded, in Feb. ’63 (though not released till ’76, making it a real lost gem in the BN catalogue), before an extended recording hiatus in which he moved to Europe and continued playing and recording later in the 70s.

Not surprisingly really then, Happy Frame Of Mind is quite a pivotal work really amongst Parlan’s LPs, a proud continuation of the styles in which he had made his name, but with a clear desire to experiment with some of the newer sounds growing across the jazz scene by ’63.

The latter approach is evident on the opening track 'Home Is Africa', a moody and exotic piece of writing and playing that highlights the wider directions and inspirations jazz musicians were drawing from by this time. Butch Warren’s growling bass lines lock in that funky groove with Higgins’ multi-layered sticks work perfectly, giving each of the soloists a tremendous amount of space to play with. Both Johnny C and Booker Ervin are guys who could play ‘straight’ or take the music to freer places, and each does just this, keeping the funky changes tight/loose as required, but pushing at the edges of the melody and harmonies just enough to give the tune that rougher, dirtier feel that lies at its heart, a great starter and my favourite tune on the record.


'A Tune For Richard' captures the group in tight hard bop mode, full of energy and zing, so that what the tune maybe lacks in a memorable head it makes up for in feel and tasty chops from all involved. Parlan in particular is a delight at this faster pace, as his style - which for me is a cross between Horace Silver and Monk – never sounds crowded and absolutely crackles with funky energy and air.
The more relaxed ‘Back From The Gig’ is also a fine vehicle for each of the players to strut their stuff, Billy’s lovely shuffling rhythms on the brushes always a delight, and keeps the happy mood going.

'Dexi' is an old-fashioned bop stomper in its mould, but what comes out is actually a perfect example of how the freer edges and modal styles were inspiring most of the young guys in jazz to break out. You can hear it in Coles’ solo, and even more so in Booker’s solo, where he pulls and stretches at the notes with a real joy, just like what Joe Henderson or Jackie Mc were really getting into around the same time too. And Green is a hellcat in these situations, his single note stinging sound bringing both the fire and beauty needed for this kind of tune. A class number.


Randy Weston’s 'Kuchenza Blues' is also a spot-on choice for the record, that mix of funky blues with a joyful streak fitting the mood right down to the ground. The under-appreciated Booker Ervin again impresses with his power and invention, and the signs of how good a player he would become are all here for me. And Butch Warren really was a fine bass player; it’s sad he faded from the scene so much after the mid-60s, especially after being a part of so many great albums in the previous years.

The closing title tune wraps the record up nicely in just the mood it needs – exultant, soul-inflected bop with plenty of funky blues added for flavour. The church really comes out in Parlan’s playing here, big bouncy chords that make you want to wave your arms and yell hallelujah, before Ervin’s tenor brings us back to the street corner with a growling, prowling energy that’s very much of this world. That gorgeous, melodic head is one the group really enjoy sinking their teeth into, as Coles and Higgins share some call-and-response joy and the group wind things up with a flourish. A happy frame of mind indeed.


Get happy.

RIP Mr. Parlan.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 03 Mar 2017, 22:43
by Fonz
fange wrote:Sadly, we have lost another jazz great, with the passing of pianist Horace Parlan.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/01/arts ... .html?_r=0

RIP and thank you, Mr. Parlan.









And a documentary for jazz and Parlan fans...



Thanks got posting.
The doc is really worth watching.
He came across as s really nice guy.

Yeah. RIP Horace.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 04 Mar 2017, 01:20
by Six String
I listened to Up & Down today while running errands and really enjoyed it. It reminded me that the album was one of my early experiences with Grant Green. He became a favorite along with the leader. Parlan's BN albums are superb. He really did a lot with what he had. Perseverence.

Thanks for posting the documentary. I've just heard about it and was going to look for it.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 04 Mar 2017, 02:58
by Six String
NP Miles Davis - On The Corner (MoFi) lp

I was a late bloomer for this one. I usually drew my line with electric Miles with Miles In The Sky. :oops: I have been exploring some of his 70s electric period and a few years ago bought the cd of this album. I liked it enough to invest in this lp. It's pretty cool. MoFi has done a terrific job at the Miles titles. Everyone has been an improvement on the original. Shooting fish n a barrel comes to mind.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 04 Mar 2017, 19:36
by Toby

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 05 Mar 2017, 03:56
by Six String
Miroslav Vitous - First Meeting (ECM)

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 05 Mar 2017, 04:32
by Six String
Oregon - Friends (Vanguard)
I used to think these guys were light weight.
I enjoy them a lot more today.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 06 Mar 2017, 04:14
by Six String
A rare jazz vocal for me....
Sheila Jordan - Portrait Of Sheila (Blue Note) mono NY pressing.
She's accompanied by guitar, bass and drums so she has a lot of space to work with and does. Amazing.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 22 Mar 2017, 20:12
by Six String
WP Ralph Towner - My Foolish Heart (ECM)
Solo six string guitar. No 12 string this time but beautiful playing and the title track is superb.

NP Enrico Pieranunz, Marc Johnson, Joey Baron and featuring Kenny Wheeler - As Never Before (CamJazz)

Lovely and delicate music played by some of the best in that style.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 22 Mar 2017, 21:09
by Six String
Carl Perkins - Introducing....(Boplicity) reissue of his only album as a leader on the Dootone label. I've never seen an original lp.
Recorded a year before he died at 29. :(

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 22 Mar 2017, 23:11
by Six String
Enrico Rava - The Words and the Days (ECM)
I really like Rava's style and skill, exquisite comes to mind.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 22 Mar 2017, 23:26
by clive gash
I dig this Rava, it was in the Black Saint Box a while back



Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 22 Mar 2017, 23:29
by clive gash

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 22 Mar 2017, 23:33
by clive gash

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 23 Mar 2017, 11:28
by fange

Really looking forward to seeing that.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 23 Mar 2017, 21:48
by clive gash

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 24 Mar 2017, 03:36
by fange


Damn, what a bunch of extraordinary musicians.

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 25 Mar 2017, 03:10
by Six String
NP Alice Coltrane - Ptah Tge El Dauod (Impulse)

Joe Henderson really outdoes even his usual stellar self on this set. Her best?

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 25 Mar 2017, 04:24
by Six String
George Coleman - Amsterdam After Dark (Timeless)
With Hilton Ruiz, Sam Jones and Billy Higgins. A superb and sympathetic rhythm section helps create one of my favorite albums by the great George Coleman. Hilton Ruiz is an underrated pianist who spent several years with Rhasan Roland Kirk and you have to know your shit to play with Kirk. By that I mean the history of jazz. Sam Jones and Billy Higgins are two of the finest musicians on their respective instruments and to have both on the same team?

Re: The Jazz Workshop #2

Posted: 27 Mar 2017, 04:52
by Six String
Don Friedman - My Favorite Things ( Eighty Eight's)