Alright! Time for a little modern stuff. Well, modern in my book, this album is from 1986. My listening advice (and trust my word): really loud.
John Scofield (1951) gained recognition from a broad audience when he joined Miles Davis’ band in 1982 and stayed for almost 4 years. In an interview, Scofield says: ”…I was basically a bebopper, something of a purist. But then Miles Davis turned me around, said I was bluesy and got me into wah-wah pedals, back-beats and heavy electronics…”
Since that time he has prominently led his own groups in the international Jazz scene, and recorded over 30 albums, punctuated his traditional jazz offerings with funk-oriented electric music. Touring the world approximately 200 days per year with his own groups, he is also an Adjunct Professor of Music at New York University.
Surrounded by a ridiculously tight band (I mean, Omar Hakim, ex-Weather Report and Darryl Jones, since 1993 a Rolling Stone), Scofield patiently makes his statement in pieces, keeping all three musicians front and center. Meanwhile, Grolnick’s synthesizers stay out of the way, providing just enough texture to paint a background against which the others fill the details.
John Scofield - Guitar Don Grolnick - Keyboards Darryl Jones - Bass Omar Hakim - Drums
As a drummer, Chico Hamilton probably never got the full recognition he deserved. However, his ability to recognize and hire young talent kept him in the limelight throughout much of the 50’s and ’60s
The most significant aspect of this 1966 release is the introduction of a 23-year-old Larry Coryell, who went on to become one of the foremost jazz guitarists in the world.
This is music that I find hard to categorize, but just listen to that beautiful, weird, almost abstract guitar, and it would be, again, a great film score. Not surprisingly, Chico Hamilton wrote the music for dozens of movies and hundreds of commercials for television and radio later on in his career.
Chico Hamilton - Drums Larry Coryell - Guitar Arnie Lawrence - Alto Saxophone Richard Davis - Bass
Around 1977, when I was about 7, I was allowed to stay up a little late on Saturday evenings to watch ‘Wie Van De Drie’, a Dutch version of the American quiz ‘To Tell The Truth’. This song was it’s openings tune, which I found extremely exciting and it still reminds me of shampooed hair, my pyjamas and tea. Plus the belief that if I sat really, really still, my parents would forget all about me and I could stay up really late.
'Caravan' was written in 1936 by Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol, a Puerto Rican trombonist and composer, who joined Ellington's band in 1929. The original song (which has a very different time signature, as you can see here) is considered by some to be the first real Latin jazz tune, although it owes as much to ‘Middle Eastern’ melodies. Tizol immediately sold the rights to the song to Irving Mills, Ellington’s publisher and publicist, for $25, but Mills agreed to give the rights and royalties back to Tizol after the song became a success. Nowadays, there are enough covers of ‘Caravan’ to play different versions for 24 hours straight.
Today’s version is from Wes Montgomery, from his album ‘Movin’ Wes’ (1964), his debut for Verve, after leaving Riverside Records. On Riverside he recorded mainly with small combo’s; on this record he is backed up by a superb, more than tight 12-piece, brass dominated mini big band consisting of multi-reed man Jerome Richardson, a trumpet section consisting of Clark Terry and Basie veterans Ernie Royal and Snooky Young, trombonists Urbie Green and Jimmy Cleveland and a rhythm section of pianist Bobby Scott, bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Grady Tate.
It was a bit of a commercial move by Montgomery, but then again: by then he had 6 kids to support.
The Keepnews Collection is a serie of reissues of classic Riverside jazzalbums. Mr. Keepnews was the co-founder and producer of Riverside Records and tells great anecdotes from that time. Every episode is a different album.
Today’s feature: Wes Montgomery with ‘The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery’.