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On this day in jazz (June 25)

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On this day in 1964, pianist Andrew Hill recorded the album Andrew!!! at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Hackensack,NJ. Also appearing on the album were John Gilmore on the tenor saxophone, the great Bobby Hutcherson on vibraphone, Richard Davis on bass and Joe Chambers on the drums. This was Andrew's sixth album and features six songs of avant-garde & modal post-bop and is one of his least accessible albums for most casual jazz fans.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine reviewed the album for, saying: "Andrew!!! is just as adventurous and challenging as any of his other albums, which is to Hill's credit.... Often, the music has a floating, hypnotic quality, which only makes Hill's dissonance, unusual voicings, and complex arrangements more compelling than usual."

If this album seems to be a little too much for you, then check out some of his other more accessible recordings such as So In Love, Smoke Stack or Judgement!

Here's Andrew with "Black Monday":

Track listing:

  1. "The Groits" - 6:04
  2. "Black Monday" - 8:55
  3. "Duplicity" - 6:11
  4. "Le Serpent Qui Danse" - 6:55
  5. "No Doubt" - 4:23
  6. "Symmetry" - 7:08
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:35

On this day in jazz (June 24)

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On this day in 1972, Rahsaan Roland Kirk was recorded in concert for the album I, Eye, Aye: Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, 1972. During the concert, you can hear Rahsaan playing the tenor saxophone, manzello, stritch, clarinet and flute. His rhythm section was composed of Ron Burton at the piano, Henry "Pete" Pearson on bass, Robert Shy on the drums and Joe Habad Texidor with additional percussion.

Continuing with the avant-garde theme from yesterday, I thought that Rahsaan was a perfect follow up--plus I think that I have only featured him one other time on my blog. Like several other jazz giants of the 60s and 70s, Kirk was outspoken when it cam to both black history and civil rights--often breaking into monologue between songs. Jay Leno who opened for Rahsaan on one of his tours said that Kirk would introduce him by saying, "I want to introduce a young brother who knows the black experience and knows all about the white devils .... Please welcome Jay Leno!". I wonder who was the better comedian? One other bit of trivia: Jimi Hendrix, arguably the greatest rock guitarist of all time, had hoped to record with Rahsaan but unfortunately would die before that could happen.

Thom Jurek in his review for said the following about the album:

This live recording is a companion to a documentary called The One Man Twins...The set is absolutely electrifying. From the few short raps Kirk offers the crowd, one cannot be prepared for the honking, shouting, funky, gritty sets that follow... This is a hell of an introduction to one of the least-understood figures in jazz history, and an absolute necessity for fans.

Here's Rahsaan with "Volunteered Slavery":

Track listing:


  1. "Rahsaantalk, No. 1" - 0:38
  2. "Seasons" - 6:00
  3. "Rahsaantalk, No. 2" - 1:12
  4. "Balm in Gilead" (Traditional) - 7:05
  5. "Volunteered Slavery" - 10:20
  6. "Rahsaantalk, No. 3" - 0:24
  7. "Blue Rol, No. 2" - 9:04
  8. "Solo Piece: Satin Doll/Improvisation" (Duke Ellington/Kirk) - 4:19
  9. "Serenade to a Cuckoo" - 3:28
  10. "Pedal Up" - 6:11


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:35

On this day in jazz (June 23)

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On this day in 1969, the Art Ensemble of Chicago recorded the studio album A Jackson in Your House for the French label BYG Actuel. The personnel that played on the album were Lester Bowie on trumpet, Malachi Favors Maghostut on bass and vocals, Joseph Jarman on saxophones, and clarinets and Roscoe Mitchell on saxophones, clarinets, and flute. Oh, by the way, they ALL played percussion also.

If you are not familiar with The Art Ensemble of Chicago, here is a little bit about them. They were an avant-garde jazz ensemble that formed from out of Chicago's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) in the late 1960s from members of the Roscoe Mitchell Sextet which had formed in 1966. The Sextet included saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, trumpeter Lester Bowie and bassist Malachi Favors Maghostut, who (over the next year) became the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble. It was in 1967 they were joined by fellow AACM members Joseph Jarman and Phillip Wilson and began to record as the Chicago Art Ensemble. The group continued to record through 2006 when their last album Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City was recorded for Pi Recordings. They are well known for integrating the musical styles across jazz's entire history into their recordings and also for each of them being multi-instrumentalists. They were never afraid to pull in any kind of instrument that could produce the sound that they needed and have used bicycle horns, bells, birthday party noisemakers, wind chimes, and even "found objects"--in fact, for their European tour to support this album they had over 500 instruments at their disposal.

Here's the Art Ensemble of Chicago with "A Jackson In Your House":

Track listing:


  1. "A Jackson In Your House" – 5:40
  2. "Get In Line" – 5:45
  3. "The Waltz" – 1:15
  4. "Ericka" (Jarman) – 3:33
  5. "Song For Charles" – 17:30


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:35

On this day in jazz (June 22)

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On this day in 1956, jazz legend Sonny Rollins (who will celebrate his 85th birthday on September 7, 2015) recorded the magnificent album Saxophone Colossus at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Hackensack, NJ. The rhythm section supporting Sonny's tenor were Tommy Flanagan on piano, Doug Watkins on bass and the wonderful Max Roach on the drums. The album is a real treat to listen to and is currently rated the eighth best jazz album of all time at Check out their list--I have a hard time disagreeing with the first 50 or so--it's a good place to go to in order to start building your jazz collection.

The album consists of five songs including three originals written by Sonny. Probably the most famous of the songs on the album is "St. Thomas" which is truly one of the best played tunes in jazz history. I think the second best song on the album is "Moritat" which is from Weill & Brecht's The Threepenny Opera. You probably know the song by its English name: "Mack the Knife". Another interesting song is "Blue 7" which is an 11+ minute song that was completely improvised during the recording.

Here's Sonny with "St. Thomas":

Track listing:


  1. "St. Thomas" Sonny Rollins 6:49
  2. "You Don't Know What Love Is" Gene de Paul, Don Raye 6:30
  3. "Strode Rode" Sonny Rollins 5:17
  4. "Moritat" Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht 10:05
  5. "Blue 7" Sonny Rollins 11:17


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:34

On this day in jazz (June 21)

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On this day in 2000, Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd began recording the studio album Monk's Dream for Verve Records in Paris. On the record, Steve plays the soprano saxophone, Roswell plays the trombone, Jean-Jacques Avenel is on bass and John Betsch plays the drums. Singer Irene Aebi provides vocals on two of the tracks: "A Bright Pearl" and "Traces".

The album is composed of only two songs written by Thelonious Monk (of course, one of them is "Monk's Dream"). Filling out the rest of the material is Duke Ellington's "Koko" and six songs written by Steve. In his review, William Ruhlmann notes that the two had played together over the past 40 years and had very good chemistry; however, he would also add:

they sound comfortable with each other, but also, given their long association and the mostly familiar material, they don't seem to have been greatly challenged. They sound most comfortable with the Monk tunes and take some chances with the Ellington, but on Lacy's tunes they sometimes stretch out pointlessly.

Despite the harsh criticism in that sentence, he gives the album four out of five stars--so it's definitely worth a listen.

Here's Steve and Roswell with "Monk's Dream":

Track listing:


  1. "Monk's Dream" (Monk) - 7:35
  2. "The Bath" - 11:43
  3. "The Rent" - 10:45
  4. "Pannonica" (Monk) - 9:26
  5. "A Bright Pearl" - 5:55
  6. "Traces" (text by Ry?kan) - 8:03
  7. "Koko" (Ellington) - 5:21
  8. "Grey Blue" - 10:08
  9. "The Door" - 7:05


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:34

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