This week’s CJ was scheduled for earlier this year – but thanks to Derek you can now hear these great tunes. As always, click on the link to the left to listen. We began with two vocalists – Sheila Simmenes and the excellent Love Exit Orchestra from Norway and legendary Shirley Horn. The track Don’t Get Me Wrong features singer Sheila Simmenes. We love her voice and the subtle interplay with the LEO band. Check out music from their new album Darling on the LEO site. Shirley Horn’s final studio album was May the Music End and we featured the lead off track, Forget Me. Horn’s slow smoky vocals with her under-rated piano playing make for memorable listening. In the middle was evergreen drummer Roy Haynes, one of the greatest drummers in jazz. He has played with everyone from Charlie Parker to Miles Davis and is still leading his Fountain of Youth band at the age of 91. We chose the track Equipoise from his Hip Ensemble album of 1971, newly reissued on Boplicity.
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry is another musical outsider who has ploughed his own furrow on the fringes of reggae and dub since beginning in the 1950s as a record seller. From his hundreds of recordings, we chose a track from one of his most consistent later albums, the excellent Time Boom X De Devil Dead, produced in collaboration with Adrian Sherwood for the On-U Sound label. If you’re new to the crazy world of Perry, watch this Channel 4 interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy for more craziness.
It was time for some latin jazz with Joe Bataan – probably the only Filipino African American to record for the influential Fania label. Bataan is also credited with inventing the term ‘salsoul’ to describe the unique musical marriage of latin and street soul that surfaced in New York in the 1970s. For an introduction to this music, we recommend the excellent Soul Jazz compilation Nu Yorica! Culture Clash in New York City – now available in a new expanded edition. We chose Bataan’s track Latin Strut, originally on his excellent but hard to find Salsoul album. You might be familiar with a more well known version called Super Strut by Brazilian musician and arranger Deodato.
We’ve played Stravinsky arrangements on Cosmic Jazz before but nothing quite like this: Dance of the Adolescents from Alan Lee. There are few Australian originals in jazz, though this little known vibes player must surely be one of the best. Through a long (and sometimes troubled career) Alan Lee has ploughed a uniquely emotional furrow. In this excellent Jazzman anthology, the range of his work is clear. Lee has said What I want is the fire! Whether it’s John Coltrane’s Blues Minor from Africa Brass or Backwater Blues by Leadbelly, I want the emotion, the gut wrenching pain, the cry from within! and we get that in some many of the tracks on this highly recommended collection. We followed this with another reissue from the excellent Boplicity series which has culled the Mainstream catalogue for some jazz which is – well – not always mainstream. And there’s no better example of this than the track we featured from Harold Land’s album Choma (Burn). It’s easy to think of Land as a straightahead small bandleader (check out the classic album The Fox) but he’s not on the featured Black Caucus where, with the help of extraordinary vibesman Bobby Hutcherson, the music fizzles and sparks with authority.
Snarky Puppy’s British keyboard player Bill Laurance latest solo release is Aftersun, and we played the beautiful track Madeleine. Laurance has stripped his group down to a trio with additional percussion and the result is a more succinct sound than his previous releases Swift and Flint. The wide range of Snarky Puppy-type influences are still there and with the same strong melodies and stylish arrangements. It could be Laurance’s best yet.
Long time CJ favourites The United Future Organization from Japan were up next with a funky reworking of Jon Hendricks’ great I Bet You Thought I’d Never Find You. Hendricks is the inventor of vocalese (adding lyrics to jazz improvisations) and he was a sprightly 72 when he recorded this with UFO for their 1994 album. J Dilla’s hip hop beats are a huge influence on many younger jazz artists, perhaps none more than Robert Glasper who has featured explicit tributes to the late producer on several of his albums. Here’s his J Dillalude from 2007 and – even better – a punchy live version from the Robert Glasper Experiment at the XOYO club. We ended the show with Herbie Hancock and his take on Prince’s Thieves in the Temple from The New Standards. This excellent release from 1996 features a top notch band with Hancock, who sticks to acoustic piano, Michael Brecker on tenor and surprisingly effective soprano, guitarist John Scofield, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and percussionist Don Alias (with an occasional horn or string section dubbed in post-production). The results are not uniformly excellent (the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood is a poor choice) but most cuts work really well and Hancock is on fiery form throughout.
- Love Exit Orchestra – Don’t Get Me Wrong (single)
- Roy Haynes – Equipoise from Hip Ensemble
- Shirley Horn – Forget Me from May the Music Never End
- Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – S.D.I from Time Boom X De Devil Dead
- Joe Bataan – Latin Strut from NuYorica! Culture Clash in New York City
- Alan Lee – Dance of the Adolescents from An Australian Jazz Anthology
- Harold Land – Black Caucus from Choma (Burn)
- Bill Laurance – Madeleine from Aftersun
- UFO (feat. Jon Henricks) – I Bet You Thought I’d Never Find You from United Future Organization
- J Dilla – So Far to Go from The Shining Instrumentals
- Herbie Hancock – Thieves in the Temple from The New Standards