Pianist Bennie Moten led one of the finest jazz bands on record in the 1920s, a group that included many of the top musicians of the Midwest. On the first of four Classics CDs - all of which are recommended to vintage jazz collectors - that reissue the master takes of all of Moten's recordings, the band quickly evolves from a sextet in 1923 to a solid 11-piece orchestra. Despite a few novelty effects (including clarinetist Woody Walder occasionally getting weird sounds by playing only the mouthpiece of his horn), even the most primitive numbers on this set are quite enjoyable. Highlights include the original version of "South" (Moten's big hit), "Goofy Dust," "Thick Lip Blues" and "Sugar."
During the period covered by this second of four Classics CDs, Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra was at the peak of its powers, dominating the jazz scene of the Midwest. There were not a lot of famous names in the group yet, but the soloists were colorful, and the band's ensembles could really rock in a pre-swing manner. The main players at the time included cornetist Ed Lewis, Harlan Leonard on various reeds, baritonist Jack Washington and Moten himself on piano. Highlights include "Moten Stomp," "Kansas City Breakdown," "Get Low-Down Blues," "Terrific Blues" and the remake of the band's hit "South."
The final of the four "complete" Bennie Moten Classics CDs, which contain all of the orchestra's recordings except for a dozen alternate takes, has the band's final selections from 1930 (including some vocals by Jimmy Rushing) and then all of the music from Moten's classic final session of Dec. 13, 1932. With trumpeter Hot Lips Page, trombonist Dan Minor, Eddie Durham (the main arranger) on trombone and guitar, baritonist Jack Washington, Ben Webster on tenor, bassist Walter Page and pianist Count Basie, the orchestra at times almost sounds like the Count Basie big band of 1937. "Toby," the original version of "Moten Swing," "The Blue Room," "Milenberg Joys," "Lafayette" and "Prince of Wails" are among the many memorable selections.
After the successful World in Sound debut of Fred's first album of progressive/psychedelic rock, Fred returns with a second album featuring the continued growth of their original and innovative sound. Lots of heavy electric guitar, progressive electric violin with fusion/ classical overtones, massive rock drums and bass, swirling garage rock organ, funky/jazzy electric piano and heavenly vocal harmonies all mix together to create music that is uniquely Fred.
After the successful World in Sound debut of Fred's first album of progressive/psychedelic rock, Fred returns with a second album featuring the continued growth of their original and innovative sound. Lots of heavy electric guitar, progressive electric violin with fusion/ classical overtones, massive rock drums and bass, swirling garage rock organ, funky/jazzy electric piano and heavenly vocal harmonies all mix together to create music that is uniquely Fred. Influenced by Frank Zappa, King Crimson and Mahavishnu, with echoes of 70's rock bands like Traffic, Procol Harum, Jethro Tull and The Allman Brothers, these performances sound like something else entirely. The eight instrumental and three vocal tracks (2 with lyrics) are at the highest level of musical proficiency and creativity in the progressive rock genre…
"It began in Big Sur. Fred Frith and I, sitting naked on two small wooden blocks, legs crossed, hands resting on our knees. A small clearing on a rise above the Pacific Ocean, waves pounding a steady beat against the rocks far below. I had arrived at the Zen retreat the previous afternoon and Fred was one of the first people I ran into. I’d met him in more formal situations at Ralph Records, but we had not previously hung out socially. Fred was the current artist-in-residence at Esalen, and had been there nearly six weeks. He’d invited me to join him in an "air bath" the next morning and so here we sat, bathing in the morning sea air. The glow of Fred's skin made me sadly aware of how much time I spent in a windowless studio. I could easily pass for an albino. Fred was not big on talking, so we sat in quiet contemplation. But soon I became aware of a humming sound and realized Fred was singing quietly to himself accompanied by the rhythm of the waves."
Chapellier's personal tribute to the legendary Fleetwood Mac guitarist concentrates on his 1967-1970 period. Fred brings his own approach to the master's works, but tries to stay as close as possible to the sound of the time and the spirit of the original versions. With great success!
For many, the name Fred Neil will be familiar only as that belonging to the songwriter of the modern classic "Everybody's Talkin'," or perhaps "Candyman," "The Dolphins," or "Other Side of This Life," songs that Roy Orbison, Tim Buckley, and the Jefferson Airplane, respectively, recorded. However, Neil's influence extends much farther. John Sebastian, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Bob Dylan all claimed him as an influence, since he blended traditional and contemporary folk, blues, rock, gospel, Indian, and pop influences into a distinctive, idiosyncratic style. His music was not only influential, it was quite rich on its own terms and some of the best music of its era.
Hersch cites Monk’s “sense of structure, his sense of the beat and his sense of humor” as being influential. Hersch believes that making a solo Monk record, of which there are few, other than those by Monk himself, allowed him to be much more personal with the music.
The Greyboy AllStars debut album, West Coast Boogaloo, is a fresh reinvention of an old jazz theme - chill grooves fortified with killer musicianship make for great listening. in 2018, these guys are well known. In 1995, it was the presence of Fred Wesley of James Brown fame that lent name credibility to this project. It still went unnoticed, but is a terrific addition to those who like their jazz straight with a smooth chaser.