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Archive for the ‘1960s’ Category

Bobby Hutcherson – Catta (1965)

May 18, 2018 Leave a comment

I’m having a bit of a jazz jag at the moment and am working my way through three enormous guides in alphabetical order. On the way, I’ve already bought up 20+ CDs and I’ll be posting highlights over the next few days.

Why not start here? I’m not generally a big fan of the vibes but Bobby Hutcherson does a great job of avoiding too much showboating and with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and the brilliant Andrew Hill on piano, the combination was always likely to be a winner.

Taken from the Dialogue LP released on Blue Note in 1965.

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Eric Dolphy – Bee Vamp (1961)

April 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Recorded live at the Five Spot in New York in July 1961, “Bee Vamp” is a wonderful track written by Booker Little who plays trumpet on the piece (and who died 4 months later at the age of 23).

The band is led by the wonderful Eric Dolphy on alto saxophone and bass clarinet. Ed Blackwell on the drum keeps an understated beat going but, for me, it is Mal Waldron on the piano who steals the show. From an insistent, metronomic pulse, he suddenly breaks out into a wonderful solo from 7:17 in. It will be the best thing you here today!

Booker T. and the M.G.’s – Time Is Tight (1969)

April 6, 2018 Leave a comment

Quite simply one of the best records ever made. The tension builds so slowly, the restraint is compelling, the command is complete!

I actually first heard this song as a cover version by The Clash on the superlative 10″ LP “Black Market Clash”,  almost 40 years ago (gulp!). In those days it was so difficult and expensive to find and hear the original versions of songs!

Featuring a staggering bassline; some of the most restrained percussion of all time; a classic, insistent, guitar riff from Steve Cropper, and; Booker T.’s perfectly timed keyboard strikes and washes, this is instrumental music of the highest precision!

Perfect popular music!

The single version then a great live cut!

 

John Coltrane – Alabama (1963)

April 6, 2018 Leave a comment

An extraordinary, brooding, spiritual, reflective and poignant piece by John Coltrane.

This track is taken from his Live in Birdland LP and was written in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing carried out on September 15th 1963 by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham, Alabama. Four African American girls were killed.

Despite the title of the album, “Alabama” was recorded in the studio and features a false start that almost makes the piece feel like two songs spliced back to back.

It gets no better than this.

The LP version then an extraordinary live version shown on the Jazz Casual TV programme back in 1963.

Brigitte Bardot Et Serge Gainsbourg – Bonnie and Clyde (1968)

March 24, 2018 Leave a comment

Wonderful duet from 1968 sees Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg telling the tale of the ill fated gangsters (and, indeed, murderers) Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow who were shot in a police ambush in 1934. Apparently, the lyrics are based on an English language poem written by Bonnie Parker herself a few weeks before her death.

It’s classic stuff, a churning instrumental is supplemented by a regular Morricone-esque yelp while Serge and Brigitte do their thing.

Perfect.

The Zombies – Care of Cell 44 (1967)

January 7, 2018 Leave a comment

One of Rod Argent’s finest hours 4 minutes; managing to “out Beach Boy”, Brian Wilson!

Taken from The Zombies masterpiece Odyssey and Oracle, ‘”Care of Cell 44″ tells the story of a person writing to their partner in prison and has been described as “the sunniest song ever written about the impending release of a prison inmate” – I haven’t heard the other contenders so am not qualified to support and deny this judgement …,

For reasons that aren’t completely clear, the 4 minute single was not a commercial success back in 1967 but, fortunately, Pitchfork have put things straight by including it in their “200 Greatest Songs of the 60’s”

Pop perfection!

Tesfa-Maryam Kidane – Heywete (late 1960s/early 1970s)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

From Senegal to Ethiopia.

Difficult to find out too much about this record. It appears on Volume 10 of the peerless Ethiopiques series of CDs (I’m almost a completist, though we are now up to 30 volumes!)

A wonderfully laid-back and evocative instrumental with Kidane’s saxophone holding the whole thing together – understated bass and percussion underpin the melody.  a piano fills in the spaces until a stunning guitar solo prompts the bass to move into Afro-funk perfection! Beautiful.

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