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Showing posts with label CTI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CTI. Show all posts

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Retro Review - Freddie Hubbard "Straight Life"!

Freddie Hubbard - "Straight Life" CTI (Nov 11, 1970)

Pretty much everybody seems to know about "Red Clay"; but just in case you don't know about it's heavier, harder, funkier follow-up...this is "Straight Life". Switching out the CTI stable cats with tougher outsiders Joe Henderson and Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard reaches out further than Red Clay with 2 very long, very funky cuts along with an atmospheric closing cover of "Here's That Rainy Day". The title cut spans 17 minutes that you wish would never end: from the uplifting melodic head, to the soaring solos from Henderson, Hubbard, Hancock and Benson

over a simmering, relentless groove from Jack DeJohnette and Ron Carter. Weldon Irvine's "Mr. Clean" is darker, slightly slower and grooves just as hard; clocking in over 13 minutes with the composer driving the group on tambourine. Essential listening from the beginnings of a burgeoning era with all the right players. The cd issues from 1997 is one of the few CTI digital releases that gets it right form the original Rudy Van Gelder tapes, and there is also a 40th anniversary edition true to the original! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Update on Go-To Album No 1 - Joe Farrell Quartet

Wounded Bird Records comes through again! After spending a few years as a major rarity on cd, often over $100 for a copy; a very fine sounding & affordable version is now available; released in mid-July of this year (without even notifying me!). If you're unfamiliar, see this post; although the year (1970) and the lineup speak volumes. Wounded Bird stick to the original tapes & again, reproduce the artwork faithfully. This is the kind of surprise I like! - Kendo

below is a link to the album on Amazon:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Go-To Album 7

Astrud Gilberto's lone release on the CTI label, but a good one!

Astrud Gilberto - Gilberto with Turrentine

CTI 6008 - Audio sample below the review!

I'll be honest with you - I don't know much of Astrud Gilberto, musically (besides the famous collabs with former beau Getz) other than that her career was something of happenstance; a singer because Stan Getz said so. I was certainly not expecting to have my socks blown off sonically or emotionally when I acquired a vinyl copy a few months back.

Recorded in 1971 - this is CTI at the height of Creed Taylor's creative vision and strength; with chill, simplistic arrangements
ahead of their time by newcomer Deodato, extremely catchy and soothing Brazilian pop melodies wafting over sparkling guitars, triangle, electric piano & so-forth. Not to say the album doesn't have that dated, CTI sound; it does, but as in many of these recordings, the effect is not one of awkwardness, but of charm and enchantment. The luscious mixes are an aural delight, supporting and enhancing Gilberto's vocal assets. She sets the dreamy mood perfectly for "Brazilian Tapestry", caresses the lovely melodies of both "Zazueira" and especially "Ponteio", and is the perfect waif on 2 Bacharach/David numbers. Even "Solo e fine" ("For All We Know" of Carpenters fame) and "Theme from Love Story", both sung in Spanish, are surprisingly compelling, much less fluffy than you're imagining right now.

Astrud Gilberto circa 1964
The  addition of Stanley Turrentine was nothing short of genius. His engaged, soulful & expressive solos and interjections on some of the numbers make the recording wonderfully satisfying for jazz lovers. Obviously inspired by the arrangements, he lays down some of his best recorded work; even getting the haunting instrumental "Vera Cruz" to stretch out on. Also in the groove are Bob Mann on guitar, Airto on percussion, Ron Carter on bass, (Russell George takes the electric bass numbers) and even Toots Thielemans on harmonica!

Here is an important note, tho' - I am speaking about the mixes on the vinyl version, do not get the cd version! The cd has been remixed, much for the worse, with everything re-panned, reverb and delay removed, congas pulled way back and triangle pushed way up front - eek!! The remix leaves Astrud swinging in the breeze - way up front in the mix, with nothing to hide her frailties and occasional flatness. I am not overstating - it is like owning a different album - a very un-special one with little delight for your ears. If you have a turntable - don't even think twice. The vinyl is a highly rewarding experience.

Below I've posted my own gently remastered version of "Brazilian Tapestry" taken from the original vinyl. Enjoy! - DJ Kendo

Below is a link to some vinyl copies for sale on Amazon - when you use these links
to treat yourself, you also help support this blog! :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Go-To Album 5

Stanley Turrentine with Milt Jackson - Cherry

Rhythm section is just nuts: Billy Cobham, Ron Carter, Bob James, Cornell Dupree on guitar & of course Milt on vibes. The opening number, Lee Morgan's "Speedball" finds them completely in sync and swinging hard. Turrentine is all fire on the up tracks and in prime, inspired form for the whole album. The ballads are slow and gorgeous with Jackson taking the melodies. Two sweet treats are compositions by Weldon Irvine Jr: "Introspective" (hard-edged 12/8 minor blues romper) and especially the popular "Sister Sanctified"; sampled decades later for rap & hip-hop tracks. The real surprise on "Sister" is how well Bags hangs with the soul-funk (way better than on his own "Sunflower" album), his exquisite solo paired with a relaxed, sunny rhythm section help make for a highly memorable recording. The album boasts Stanley's fantastic tenor tone throughout, and he's wonderfully sensitive to what's going on around him. Between talent and variety - "Cherry" has everything! - DJ Kendo

Below is a link to this album sold on Amazon - usually some pretty sweet deals in the used section :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Go-To Album 3

Art Farmer - Something You Got
CTI 7080

I scored go-to albums 1-3 all during 2002, all at the same store. This particular one I didn't warm up to right away; I misinterpreted the intentions of Art & producer Creed Taylor. Indeed, if you don't have your ears on, track 1 sounds hokey. But there's some fine things going down on that one and throughout. It features two out-of-sight compositions by arranger David Matthews, "Flute Song" and "Hombre del Sol"; a good-time cover of "Sandu", as well as the title track. The emotional highlight comes on the amazing ballad "Saudhade". Wonderful performances from Farmer, Yusef Lateef, Hiram Bullock, Harvie Swartz on bass, Sue Evans on percussion and Jim Madison on drums.

The album definitely captures a moment in time (1977), but it captures it at it's finest - I never get tired of the buoyant mood! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Go-To Album 1

Joe Farrell Quartet - CTI 6003

1970, the fourth release on CTI, and a basic hijacking of Miles' early fusion group. The music is entirely different, though - from the tie-die groove of "Follow Your Heart" (in 11/8), to introspective freakouts like "Alter Ego" and then all-out psycho freakouts (thanks mostly to Chick) on "Motion". Everything else is rather pretty and memorable, and everyone's playing is prime. Chick plays on 9 of the tracks, McLaughlin on 2, and they're only on 1 together. Still - it's a startling release in every way. Grab it if you see it; and if you see the CD release, I will do your dishes for 3 months in exchange.

L-R ~ Chick & John, Jack De Johnette, Dave Holland, Chick Corea

Here's a taste from youtube: