29 October 2006
More full on big band ball busting business with Herr Herbolzheimer's Rhythm Combination and Brass ripping it up at Ronnie Scotts in May 1974.
Art Farmer,Dieter Reith,Philip Catherine,Kenny Wheeler,Palle Mikkleborg and the late,very great Sabu Martinez all appear in this incarnation of The RCB and as always Herbolzheimer is at the controls producing,arranging and leading the band on trombone.
As usual this lp has a great set of covers which includes Weldon Irvine's"Mr Clean",Gillespie's "Con Alma"and Dieter Reith's Sidewinder inspired "Hoops".
Herbolzheimer knocked out the rest of the compositions which culminate in "Blues In MY Shoes"an archetypal walking blues that postively impels the foot to tap and the fingers to snap.It starts lightly and quietly with organ and bass generating a lift,then,with a powerfull press roll Kenny Clare moves in on the second chorus,on the third organ and electric piano swop fours,on the fourth the trombones roar in with the theme....and so it goes ,building relentlessly through seven choruses to a beautiful climax of shouting brass before Art Farmer enters with a coolly elegant four chorus solo.Ake Persson and Gunther Lenz follow then the band take the tune out over three choruses ,once again making exciting use of dynamics and providing a storming finish to a musically rewarding and exciting album.
Thanks to Magnum again for a nice bit of cropping on the cover photo-lovely job!
28 October 2006
A roaring monster of a big band set this is the MPS Rhythm section and Brass arranged ,conducted and featuring Peter Herbolzheimer.Recorded live at Domicile in Munich in 1973 this was released by MPS in the USA as a single lp set although the European issue was a double and called "My Kind Of Sunshine".It's never made a re-issue of any type and this post is ripped from the US issue.
Have a read of the sleeve notes and get Timbales Caliente,What'd I Say,Senor Blues or Wade in the Water on at full blast-but be prepared to be blown out of your seat!
'This is the kind of orchestra which used to be called a power house band-it radiates power and vitality!Roaring brass,thunderous rhythms,a whole lot of different sounds-a real power house full of music.And presiding over it all ,a man with a trombone,hair flowing over his collar-tough,sure of himself,a mountain of a man-PETER HERBOLZHEIMER.
He is the boss,principal composerand arranger for an ensemble which is unlike anything else in the world.Four trumpets,three trombones,one man on saxaphone and flute and a rhythm section normally consisting of six.They play a kind of jazz which makes virtually all other big bands sound old fashioned and a brand of rock which the specialist groups can only dream of.
The organ goes wild,the flute soars above the virtuoso accompaniment of the congas,the bongos,the rest of the percussion and the bass guitar;the ring of the trumpets carry the melody along-the overall effect is overwhelming.There are elements of rock and macumba,shades of gospel services and even voodoo rites ,but the real idols here are figures like Bird and Diz and all the other gods of jazz world.When the improvisation begins theres no pop - just bop!'
25 October 2006
Hip Walk was the ninth album from Peter Herbolzheimer's Rhythm Combination and Brass and recorded in 1976 and started a move into fusion territory .A stellar European line up featuring Kenny Wheeler,Eef Albers,Dieter Reith,Palle Mickleborg,Ack von Rooyen and the singer Ingar Rumpf (thankfully only on two tracks-Superstition and Spirit)and a great selection of tunes including Hancock's "Butterfly",Adderley's "Jive Samba" and Dieter Reith's "Nerve Wrecker".The album really comes into it's own with the superb Herbolzheimer compositions "Wheeler's Choice","Hip Walk"and "Neosho".
This was issued on Polydor Germany in 76 and then made a re-issue on cd in 1997 on Repertoire from Germany which has now dissapeared without trace.This post is ripped from the cd.
I'm going to wrap the Clarke Boland posts with another vinyl rarity from Francy Boland(two files to download here and here).This came out as the first double lp in the Jazz Joint series from Vogue (the second was Sahib Sihab-Companionship)and is Boland in a variety of settings from trio to piano and strings with four woodwinds.
The Trio consists of Boland with Jimmy Woode and Kenny Clarke recorded at Lindstrom studios Cologne.The Piano and Strings feature Boland on piano (also conducting and arranging)with The Berlin String Band ,Jean Warland on Bass,Tony Inzalaco on Drums and four woodwinds recorded at Teldec Studios Berlin.I believe the piano and strings session was re-issued at a later date as "Papillons Noir"on Freedom.
This is pretty hard to find and took me a few years of digging before I turned one up.It's also fairly hard to find anything much about it even with googling and going to my usual sources.So if anyone can shed any more light on this great music then please leave a comment in the box.
So in this case let's allow Francy Boland's wonderful music to speak for itself.
Ripped from the original vinyl-no cd or vinyl reissue.Many many thanks to Magnum over at Jazzheads for the lovely job he has done on the cover photo-a true pro !!!!
24 October 2006
One of the great latin jazz lps of the 60s and featuring who else but Sabu Martinez.
Latin Kaleidoscope is comprised of two suites, with the band swinging on well-written parts to a panoply of well-used percussion elements .Boland recruited drummers Kenny Clare, Al "Tootie" Heath" and Sabu Martinez to add their percussion talents.
Gary McFarland’s six-part "Latin Kaleidoscope" is a joy to discover – much as it was to first hear his solo creations and offers much evidence of his gifts. Boland, who added his own touches to this suite, never takes a solo throughout and is occasionally heard on harpsichord; a sensitive touch to sensitively considered music. And excellent solos are taken by Sahib Shihab ("Duas Rosas"), Ronnie Scott ("Uma Fita de Tres Cores") and Aki Persson ("Othos Negros")
Francy Boland’s "Cuban Fever" is like a musical postcard of Cuba: powerful, colorful, exciting, where the unexpected is approached at every corner. The innate skill of Boland’s craft is most apparent here. Like the great jazz arrangers, he’s a scenarist, a master painter. Here the brasses cover more of the thematic canvas. But it is often the reeds that take solo honors (a nice contrast) – with the exception of the beautiful finale, "Crepusculo y Aurora" that benefits by a resonant Benny Bailey trumpet solo (Clarke’s clever shifting patterns are much in evidence here too).
This is a repost from March 2006
Two downloads for Griff 'n' Bags as the Clarke Boland posts continue with these Gigi Campi produced small group sessions featuring Johnny Griffin and Milt Jackson backed by the usual suspects-Clarke,Boland,Woode,Shihab,Sulieman et al.Here's the sleeve notes written by Mike Hennessey:
The uninhibited, boisterously extrovert nature of the Clarke-Boland Big Band was in stark contrast to the personalities of its co-leaders. Both Kenny Clarke and Francy Boland were self-effacing, unassuming characters who were always modest about their own musical accomplishments. As I have observed in the past, neither Kenny nor Francy were ever in danger of engulfing one another in explicit mutual admiration. As Boland remarked to me on one occasion:
"Kenny was a very reserved person and he kept his thoughts to himself. He never expressed enthusiasm when I came in with a new arrangement; though he might give me a compliment - a small compliment - from time to time."
However, Gigi Campi remembers an incident which speaks eloquently of Clarke's high regard for his partner. The band was rehearsing on one occasion without Kenny - he was standing out in front, rolling a joint. Suddenly he looked up in mock disbelief and genuine joy and said, "This band doesn't need a drummer. That Belgian m-f swings it just with his writing, Goddam it!"
Boland's reputation as an outstanding arranger was well-earned. Not only was he a superb writer for big bands, but he was equally creative when arranging for small groups - as witness the sextet and octet tracks on this album.
However, he has had far less public recognition for his distinctive and elegant piano playing, although it earned great respect from his fellow musicians. Says Johnny Griffin: "He has a very delicate style of playing, reminiscent of Ahmad Jamal. He has a special touch - instead of hammering the piano like Bud Powell, he gets a bell-like sound from it. lt is a very distinctive approach." Francy's piano artistry is well in evidence on the first three tracks of this album, on which he is accompanied by the ever-supportive bass of Jimmy Woode and the inspired, immensely swinging drumming of Kenny Clarke.
"Gamal Sadyi'n'Em" is a modal composition by Jimmy Woode who tells me that "Gamal" is Swedish for "old" and is used here in the sense of "good old". The piece is dedicated to the trio's rhythm section colleague in the C-BBB, Fats Sadi - and the rest of the guys.
Woode opens the proceedings with some mellow ad-lib bass. Boland's refreshing solo makes use of some oblique lines based on a wholetone scale and Woode follows, first in tempo and then a cappella with Clarke laying out.
Neal Heftiis appealing minor-key composition, "Lonely Girl", is taken at a lively tempo and has a fine, free-wheeling solo from Boland, who clearly enjoys exploring the rich harmonic changes. And just note the tremendous lift imparted to the piece by Kenny Clarke's faultless brushwork.
"Gyson's Bag" is a Jimmy Woode blues in D minor. (Gyson was Kenny Clarke's nickname for Gigi Campi). Boland's solo has fine, flowing lines and there follows a two-chorus work-out on brushes by Clarke, the last four bars of which feature a typical Klook rhythmic pattern. Woode then solos against Clarke's brushes and light cymbal beat, finishing unaccompanied and out of tempo. The next three tracks are variations on a theme which was later recorded by the Clarke-Boland Big Band at Ronnie Scott's Club in London in February 1969 as "The Girl And The Turk". Here the trio is augmented by ldrees Sulieman on trumpet, Àke Persson on trombone and Sahib Shihab on baritone saxophone and flute. ldrees Sulieman, from St. Petersburg, Florida, is a highly articulate bop trumpeter whose credentials include work with Thelonious Monk, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie. He made his home in Stockholm in 1961 and joined the Clarke-Boland Band in 1963.
Àke Persson, from Hasselholm, Sweden, has been described by British writer Brian Priestley as "a brilliant improviser...with a melodic grace and fire all his own:" He worked in Sweden with Arne Domnerus, Harry Arnold and Lars Gullin and later recorded with George Wallington, Roy Haynes, Benny Bailey, Quincy Jones, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie.
From 1961 to 1975 he lived in Berlin and was a member of the RIAS Big Band. He was a founder member of the Clarke Boland Big Band in 1961 and was with the band until the end. He died in February 1 975.
Sahib Shihab was born Edmund Gregory in Savannah, Georgia, and played with Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk and Tadd Dameron in the forties. He later worked with Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Pettiford and, in 1959, was a member of the Quincy Jones orchestra which toured Europe. That orchestra included other future C-BBB members Benny Bailey, Àke Persson and Joe Harris. Shihab joined the C-BBB in 1961 and, like Persson, was with the band until it broke up. He was an irrepressible individualist whose solos on baritone and flute were always challenging and unpredictable and frequently quixotic. He died in October 1989.
What stands out when you listen to this "Turkish delight" section of the album is the superlative solo-work of Francy Boland and the horns and the consummate arranging craft of Boland, whose writing cleverly imparts a big band sound to the sextet. The excitement builds up as the suite proceeds, reaching a climax with "Muvaffak's Pad" (the title refers to Turkish trumpeter Ahmed Muvaffak Falay - a one-time member at the C-BBB) which opens in 5/4 time in Bb minor and then moves into 3/4 and and D minor for the solos.
The next five tracks, featuring Milt Jackson with Sahib Shihab on flute and the rhythm trio, represent an unexpected bonus because, with the exception of "I'm A FooI To Want You", they have not been issue before.
Milt Jackson had come to Cologne originally to record with the big band but somehow the plans did not materialize and this smali group session was arranged instead. For Milt it provided a happy reunion with Kenny Clarke with whom he had founded the Modem Jazz Quartet in 1952 after they had worked together in the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band.
Milt recalls, "Kenny was one of the all-time great drummers - one of the most swinging cats who ever sat behind a drum kit." From the first bars of "Just Friends", Jackson's verdict is endorsed. Kenny Clarke's light cymbal beat and his characteristic snare drum accents give the music a tremendous vitality. Jackson plays the theme with an obbligato from Shihab's flute and there follow fine solos by Milt, Shihab and Boland.
Jackson steps out from behind the vibraphone for the next track and takes the vocal mike for "I'm A Fool To Want You", a melancholy ballad of unrequited love. Milt, whose discography includes a couple of vocal albums - one, "Milt Jackson Sings", recorded in ltaly for Festival with the Enrico Intra group in July 1964 and the other for Pablo, "Soul Believer", made in 1978 - sings with what might be described as a musician's voice. The intonation is sometimes a little wobbly, but the feeling is there. "The Jumpin' Blues", a Jay McShann original which McShann first recorded in July i 942, follows. Milt solos with typical Elan, making much use of those trade-mark triplet quavers, Shihab follows with three choruses, the last featuring the flute and vocal unison effect and then Boland produces a solo which is most thoughtfully developed. Finally Shihab and Jackson swaps fours with klook before the theme is reprised.
The Jackson section concludes with two highly durable standards - "Like Someone In Love", taken at a good walking tempo, and "Just You, Just Me" which is a feature for Jackson, with Shihab laying out. The concluding five tracks of this fascinating collection find the Littie Giant, John Arnold Griffin III, in exuberant form - and once again the resourceful smali group writing of Boland is powerfully in evidence.
George Duvivieris easy-tempoed 12-bar blues, "Foot Patting" is first up and it has inspired solo work by the splintering trumpet of Benny Bailey, the laconic, lugubrious baritone saxophone of Shihab, Persson"s trombone, muted but powerfully expressive, the sprightly, sparkling Boland and the fiery, spirited Griffin who, true to character, manages to incorporate quotes from "Nobody Knows The Trouble l've Seen" and "Mairzy Doats And Dozy Doats" into his solo.
Griffin really preaches the gospel on Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone To Love", sharing solo honours with Àke Persson, who has the last word with a deep, sepulchural Ab at the end.
"Deep Eight" is a Boland original in 6/8 time which features more blistering trumpet from Bailey, some typical, honking, visceral note patterns from Shihab's baritone, Persson, authoritative as ever, and the unmistakably serpentine sounds of Griffin. There follow two unison riff choruses and then Boland takes the piece out with a vamp figure.
Johnny Griffin's powerful blues, "The JAMFs Are Coming" - which, as everybody knows, heralds the arrival of those Jolly American Musical Fellows - has fine solos by Bailey on flugelhorn, Shihab on baritone - generating a wonderful, blues-intlected sound and smearing notes magnificentiy - Boland's spare, elegant piano and then the mighty Persson - and note how the opening phrase of his solo is echoed by Kenny Clare.
Griffin is last to solo, beginning sweet and low, buiiding up the heat and the tension as he gets into his stride and offering two more excerpts from his almanac of quotes - "The Campbells Are Coming" (as a change from the JAMFs) and "Baa Baa Black Sheep."
The final track, "Lady Heavy Bottom's Waitz" - Griffin's tribute to an unspecified pear-shaped lady - is a showcase for the composer. It is an unusual 88-bar theme, the A section being a 24-bar blues and the B section a 16-bar bridge with some delightful changes. Boland's arrangement is superb, with Persson taking the lead voice backed by Shihab's baritone, Baiiey's flugelhorn and Griffin's tenor. It sets the seal on a collection of smali group jazz which, even three decades later, is still state of the art.
Players:Idrees Sulieman: trumpet; Ake Persson: trombone; Benny Bailey: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Johnny Griffin: tenor sax; Sahib Shihab: baritone sax, flute; Francy Boland: piano; Jimmy Woode Jr: bass; Kenny Clarke, Kenny Clare: drums; Milt Jackson: vibes, vocals.
23 October 2006
A fantastic session from the early days of the Clarke-Boland Big Band! The record was cut in 1961, under the aegis of Gigi Campi and it features a core group that would later grow into the much-respected CBBB unit during the MPS years. Players include Jimmy Woode, Derek Humble, Karl Drewo, and the fantastic Dusko Goykovich all very unusual musicians to be working on a Blue Note set, and some of the best European soloists at the time. Tracks are shorter than on later albums by the ensemble but no less filled with fire and imagination and the solos are all totally wonderful.
Ripped from the Toshiba EMI cd reissue from Japan.
This was originally posted back in May this year.
22 October 2006
As many of you will be no doubt aware Rapidshare are in transition moving from .de to .com .This has led to a few problems the main one for me being that all my links I had protected against timing out within my premium account did not move over to my new .com account.So you may find some of the older links on this blog will start to time out through inactivity.I will not be re-upping any of these nor will I be re-upping any links that are deleted because complaints have been received.The simple reason for this is I don't have the time.So grab everything when its posted 'cos when it's gone - it's gone!!!
This is a lovely piano trio lp from Francy Boland with the great Fats Sadi on bongos.Recorded for Saba in 1967 this one features the full tilt Expresso Loco and 5 more Boland penned compositions along with a couple of standards and Jimmy Woode's Rosa de Luxe.I'm a big fan of Boland and this album is a good opportunity to hear him stretching out away from his usual setting with the Clarke Boland Big Band.
It originally came out on Saba in 1967 and made a cd reissue in Japan a few years ago-this post is ripped from the cd.
Jean Warland Bass
Wolfgang Hirschmann Engineer
Gigi Campi Producer, Supervisor
Kenny Clarke Drums
Francy Boland Piano, Main Performer, Keyboards
Fats Sadi Bongos
Jimmy Woode Bass
If "Om Mani Padme Hum" from Sahib's "Companionship" had you spinning on your head on the kitchen table then check out the monsterous big band version on this Clarke Boland lp from 1962 on Atlantic.
This made a cd reissue from Koch which is still available.This post is ripped from the original vinyl.
Here's a review I lifted from the ever informative allaboutjazz:
There were two big bands that came out of the 1960s that were co-led by drummers and arrangers. One was the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and the other was the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band. A good case can be made for the assertion that Clarke and Lewis were the two best big band drummers of the 2nd half of the twentieth century. An equally valid claim can be made for Boland and Jones being the best arranger/composers of the same period.
This album comes from 1962 and was recorded not long after the C-BBB was organized as a permanent ensemble. Even though these recordings are 40 years old, they sound fresher than ever. Virtuosic straight ahead big band jazz of the type featured by the C-BBB sounds a hundred times more contemporary than the fusion and jazz-rock experiments from the same period. Therein lies the greatness of the C-BBB. Francy Boland, who did almost all of the writing for the band, was a highly adventurous arranger whose harmonic palette was extraordinarily sophisticated and modern; yet his arrangements always swang. Indeed, with sidemen the likes of Benny Bailey, Billy Mitchell, Sahib Shihab and Idrees Sulieman, it would have been almost impossible to do anything but swing.
In addition to its great soloists, the C-BBB featured ensemble work of unmatched quality. In this regard the late Derek Humble must be singled out as one of the greatest lead altos of all time.
Other outstanding performances are by Sahib Shihab on flute in "Long Note Blues" and "Om Mani Padme Hum." On the latter tune Benny Bailey displays his usual pyrotechnics and shows why he was always considered to be one of the most exciting trumpet players in the jazz scene.
But for its sheer hipness quotient, nothing can beat Francy Boland's arrangement of Kenny Clarke's tune, "Sonor." It has that rare quality of being simultaneously laid back and urgently pressing forward.
The C-BBB disbanded in 1973 after a 12-year run. Fortunately, we have recordings like this CD that allow us to hear what all the fuss was about.
Personnel: Benny Bailey, Roger Guerin, Jimmy Deuchar, Ahmed Muvaffak Falay, Idrees Sulieman, Edmund Falay, trumpets; Ake Persson, Nat Peck, Erich kleinschuster, Raymond Katarsynski, Frederic "Keg" Johnson, trombones; Derek Humble, Carl Drevo, Billy Mitchell, Ronnie Scott, Sahib Shihab, reeds; Francy Boland, pianist & arranger; Jimmy Woode, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums; Joe Harris, tympani; Sadi, bongos
21 October 2006
Back with a big band banger and its more from Messrs Clarke and Boland-TWO files to download for this swingin' re-issue from Schema records of Italy.Here's a couple of reviews the first from Doug Payne's terrific Soundinsights.
The jewel of Rearward’s current batch of issues is The Clarke-Boland Big Band’s Our Kinda Strauss, a collection of modally-oriented waltz themes recorded between 1966 and 1972. Ten of the disc’s 16 tracks come from the C-BBB’s 1966 Philips LP, Swing, Waltz, Swing. The remaining six titles are similarly inclined, but released here for the first time ever. Boland shows a great deal of his Ellington influence here (think Nutcracker), swinging the band -- featuring Americans Benny Bailey, Sahib Shihab, Johnny Griffin and Sal Nistico with European stalwarts Ake Persson, Derek Humble and Karl Drewo – through colorful, Ellingtonian passages. The program mixes some Strauss (R and J), Gershwin and Lehar with a hefty helping of Boland’s originals, two Coltrane trademarks ("Greensleeves" and "My Favorite Things") and a C-BBB favorite, Burt Bachrach’s "Wives and Lovers." The soloists are simply superb, with Drewo clearly out in front (the LP was originally devised as a feature for the tenor saxist). Overall, the outing offers an ideal example of this superb band’s individual and collective capabilities. The only unusual exception is Boland’s solos on a strangely tuned organ during "Lotus" and "Lobsang." Eventually, Boland’s writing became a bit more abstract (check out Verve’s Change of Scene, a not altogether successful pairing of Stan Getz with the C-BBB from 1971). But here, the C-BBB is at the peak of its powers and charm.
And another from Ken Dryden at All Music Guide:
Of all the big bands that flourished during the 1960s, none was an innovative and featured better sidemen than the Clarke-Boland Big Band. This album features a complete reissue of the 1966 C-BBB Swing, Waltz, Swing album as well as unreleased material from 1967 and 1972 recording sessions. This is a unique compilation in that it features big band arrangements of waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr. as well the the famous waltz from Richard Strauss' (no relation) opera Der Rosenkavalier. In addition to the jazz waltzes, there are also a number of compositions of Francy Boland's that were among the last to be recorded by the band before it disbanded for good in 1973.
Another unique feature of the album is that it is the only recording of the C-BBB to feature arrangements by someone other than Francy Boland. Bora Rokovich wrote the arrangments of the Strauss waltzes because Francy Boland didn't want to tamper with music he felt to be already in perfect form.
Special mention should be made of Boland's original compositions "Lotus" and "Lobsang." These works are daringly original and sound as fresh today as they did when they were originally recorded in 1972. Much of 1960s big band music sounds dated today, especially that of Don Ellis and even some of Buddy Rich and Stan Kenton, but Boland's arrangements and compositions have a timeless quality about them. Boland was also a gifted keyboardist and on these two compositions we get to hear him play organ. The flugelhorn solo by the legendary Benny Bailey on "Lobsang" is stratospheric in its tessitura and unlike any other flugelhorn solo in recorded jazz history. Herb Geller also contributes the best big band English horn work since Bob Cooper of Stan Kenton fame.
For those jazz fans who lived in Europe during the 1960s or who were lucky enough to have a short-wave radio and were able to listen in on C-BBB broadcasts on Willis Conover's Voice of America programs, this album will bring back a lot of great memories. For those who are discovering the C-BBB for the first time, Our Kinda Strauss will prove to be a revelation.
Personnel: Benny Bailey, Shake Keane, Jimmy Deuchar, Dusko Gojkovic, Ahmed Muvaffak Falay, Idrees Sulieman, Derek Watkins, Art Farmer, trumpets; Ake Persson, Nat Peck, Erik van Lier, trombones; Derek Humble, Karl Drewo, Sal Nistico, Sahib Shihab, Johnny Griffin, Ronnie Scott, Tony Coe, Herb Geller, Stan Robinson, saxophones; Jimmy Woode, Jr., bass; Kenny Clarke, Kenny Clare, drums; Fats Sadi, Tony Inzalaco, percussion; Francy Boland, piano and organ
6 October 2006
Heads up everybody-just back from Egypt and what better way to spotlight the Land of the Pharoahs than this murderous post from a great new blogspot at
If you grabbed my recent Salah Ragab post and enjoyed it you know that when you throw Sun Ra into the equation the results will be DYNAMITE !
How do we follow the great Sahib Shihab-of course you knew all along where this thread was going - The Clarke/Boland Big Band !!Sahib was a member of this progressive big band from the start and one of the main featured soloists.As you will have seen most of his solo recordings utilised the mainstays of the big band although in a small group format.To kick off this set of posts here's one of their later albums from 1970 and a personal favourite which includes the wonderful slow burning eastern influenced "Sakara".
Here's a great review of the lp from Bonsaimusic:
Myths take a long time dying, especially in jazz where the ability to confuse fact and fantasy has marked several generations of both critics and listeners. Perhaps the great Buddy Bolden could be heard for 14 miles on a clear night, but those who still believe that old one deserve to be interned in the same kind of institutions that housed Buddy in his latter days.
The European jazz musicians, despite years of recorded evidence stretching right back to the wonderful Django Reinhardt, is still considered by many who should now better to be inherently inferior to his American equivalent, whether white or black. This is one myth that seemingly refuses to die down, but organisations like the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band hammer a few more nails into its coffin every time they go on stage or into a recording studio.
Francy Boland has painfully won his way into critical fashion to the point where most observers of the scene feel no qualms about liking him with the Duke Ellingtons and the Gil Evanses. The fact that a band made up of several nationalities, and including such greats as Kenny Clarke and Benny Bailey, has insisted on playing almost nothing but Boland music for more than a decade should be proof enough for all but the deal and certifiably insane. But, like I’ve said, myths die hard.
Perhaps the sudden arrival of this acclaim has had something to do with the subtle and radical change which has come over Boland’s composing and arranging in the last couple of years. As the world discovers the skills of the man from Namur as the keeper of all that’s good in the wonderful big band jazz tradition, he has quietly expanded his musical thinking on the stage where the existence of the CBBB as an instrument for his imaginations is virtually comparable to that of the Ellington, has done with his men.
Like Ellington and unlike, say, Gil Evans, Francy Boland has the advantage of having an orchestra to write for. In the decade of the CBBB’s existence, he has had time to weight up and balances the massive resources within the band and every track abounds with examples of his judgement. By now he knows exactly when to call on the phenomenal lead trumpet playing of Benny Bailey as in “Osaka Calling” and the incredible rock finale of “Exorcisme”; where Tony Coe’s remarkable clarinet will add that touch of piquancy to an arrangement, as on “Endosmose”; when to use the beautiful sound of the three trombone section as a carpet for the soloist, as he does behind Billy Mitchell’s tenor on “Exorcisme” ; when to call on the immense firepower of the two drummers, Klook and Kenny Clarke, as on “Sakara”. The examples are plentiful on these seven cuts. Those who have just caught up with the continuing progress of Francy Boland, composer and arranger extraordinaire, may have to adjust their sights for “Off Limits”. For here Boland shows that as well as being an arranger who cherishes and uses all that’s best in the glorious big band tradition, he has expanded his sphere of operations considerably.
The four tracks on the first side are on of the rare occasions when Boland has gone to other composers for his raw material. And just in case that myth rears its ugly head again, it’s worth pointing out that the four composers whose work he uses are all European – John Surman (Great Britain), Albert Mangelsdorff (Germany), and Jean Luc Ponty and Eddie Louiss (France).
John Surman’s “Winter Song” shows that this phenomenally talented young British saxist has sound composing abilities, too. Boland takes the opportunity for a romp on his electric piano, an instrument which more and more jazz pianists are finding increasingly attractive and intractable. Boland’s clean, crisp lines have a guitar-like quality. The other attractions of this track are the graceful solo by Art Farmer, Bailey’s muted trumpet, Sahib Shihab’s amplified soprano (another device which most practitioners find a bit difficult to control) and, finally, Tony Coe’s tenor.
“Astrorama” is by the gifted French violinist Jean Luc Ponty and is well spaced out in Boland’s arrangement, with ample room for several orbits by Dusko Gojkovic (trumpet), Shihab on soprano again, and Åke Persson’s trombone.
“Osaka Calling” was written by Albert Mangelsdorff, an occasional member of the Band, and is certainly one of Boland’s most fascinating arrangements to date. The muted, chattering trumpets make an eerie backdrop for the arranger’s piano and Tony Coe’s tenor before Benny Bailey does his oxygen mask act the end atop the ensemble.
Organist Eddie Louiss “Our Kind Of Sabi” permits Boland to unfurl the glories of his saxophone-soloists, which Ronnie Scott breaking out for a few furlongs in winning style.
The second side showcases three of the “new” France Boland’s compositions and emphasises that he is not a man to indulge rashly in radical re-thinking. Judged by his previous work, with the exception of the tantalising “Fellini 712” album, these exercises in “progressive” writing should have been tentative, “experimental” affairs. But, again, Boland’s exquisite control of the resources at his fingertips is overwhelmingly impressive. Perhaps Francy was ready to go to the musical barricades a long time ago, but he had to wait till his associates were ready to move with him. The way in which the Band, as a whole and as individual soloist, respond to the fresh challenges and new roles which these three compositions demand, prove that Boland has timed his campaign perfectly. As Klook said after the CBBB had shared a concert in Palermo with the Duke in July 1970: “I think, Francy, we are ready to something else”.
There is an added poignancy to “Endosmose”. The searing alto on this track was the last that Derek Humble recorded with the Band before his death on the 23rd of February 1971. Humble was one of the pillars which sustained the CBBB organisation in its earliest days and, thankfully, lived to enjoy the international acclaim which the Band was accorded after many years of struggle. The sessions, both in the studio and in public that Derek made in his last year showed that he was on the verge of becoming as great and individual a soloist as he was a section leader. Derek Humble’s musical epitaph was the unique sound he gave to the CBBB sax section. His was as great a loss to Boland as Johnny Hodges was to Ellington. A refusal to play safe and give the public what it wants has marked the works of the finest jazz musicians. “Off Limits” shows that the CBBB has broken through to another era in its unique progress. If it’s anything like the one that went before, we can only rub our hand in anticipation.
Ripped from the Schema cd re-issue (which also got a limited vinyl run) in 2004.
5 October 2006
Another real rarity from Sahib Shihab recorded in Copenhagen where he had been a member of the Danish Radio Group since 1962.As an original pressing this is probably the rarest of all his albums and usually needs a re-mortgage to buy!
It was re-issued in 2001 (perfectly re-packaged and pressed by Octav-even down to the flip back cover)from which I have ripped this share.This has since dissapeared -(I think I read that there were only a few hundred copies pressed?) but comes up on Ebay from time to time.It has also just made a cd issue in Japan.
All the tunes were penned by Shihab during his extended stay in Copenhagen from 1962 and finally put on vinyl during two sessions in August 1965.THere are some big names here in the early stages of their careers-Niels Henning Orsted Pederson,Alan Botschinsky,Palle Mikkelborg and Bent Axen .Rather than waffle on about the music I think its easier just to say if you enjoyed the previous posts then you cannot go wrong with this-it's just superb throughout!
Another rarity from Sahib Shihab this time from 1964 and the Argo label featuring the usual suspects-Boland,Jimmy Woode,Kenny Clarke,Joe Harris et al.This features the much compiled Please Dont Leave Me but the rest of the lp is equally good if not better.Not a duff track amongst 'em-all killer no filler!For those of you who would like to know more about Shihab I have lifted the following write up from AllAboutJazz
Many thanks to Killer Groove Music Library for the cover photo.
Jazz music has more than its fair share of overshadowed figures that whilst contributing much to the music have little presence in its collective conscious. One such musician is the talented multi-reedist, Sahib Shihab, who despite emigrating from the United States in the early 1960s managed to have a significant impact on the scene. Recording with some of the legends of bop, before embarking on a European career in jazz as a soloist and member of the successful Clarke Boland Big Band.
He was born Edmond Gregory in Savannah, Georgia in 1925, his earliest professional experience playing alto with Luther Hendersons band, at the tender age of thirteen. After a period of study at the Boston Conservatory he went on to play with trumpet great Roy Eldridge and lead alto with Fletcher Henderson in the mid forties. Here he was still billed as Eddie Gregory but in 1947 he became an early jazz convert to Islam, rather quaintly referred to as Mohammedanism in the vernacular of the day.
The Bop explosion of the late 1940s that swept through jazz gripped Sahib Shihab, as many others and he quickly became one of the leading Parker influenced altoists of the day. Proving himself well equipped to deal with the complexities of the new music, he contributed to a series of classic sides with Theolonius Monk, between 1947-51 laying down some of the cornerstones of Bops recorded history, including the original version of Round About Midnight. The self styled eccentric genius was an influential figure both on and off the bandstand and Shihabs later work on Baritone owes a debt to Monks quirky and individual approach to the music.
During this period he also found time to appear on many recordings by popular jazz artists including Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Benny Golson, Tadd Dameron and on John Coltrane?s first full session as leader for Prestige, First Trane. The invitation to play with Dizzy Gillespies big band in the early fifties was of particular significance as it marked Sahib?s switch to Baritone, the instrument he became most readily associated with.
By the end of the fifties Sahib Shihab had become increasingly embittered by the position of the jazzman in the United States and in particular racial tension. " I was getting tired of the atmosphere around New York," he informed downbeat in 1963. "And I wanted to get away from some of the prejudice. I dont have time for this racial bit. It depletes my energies." So in 1959 he leapt at the chance to depart its shores and join Quincy Jones band, touring with the musical Free and Easy. He stayed with the band after the musical ended, travelling around Europe until engagements eventually ran out and the band was wound up. He decided to make Scandinavia his home and lived between Denmark and Sweden according to work permit allowances for the next twelve years. Here he found the "survival and peace of mind" he needed and was soon active writing scores for television, cinema and the theatre and secured work at Copenhagen Polytechnic.
In 1961 he joined the enduring big band of fellow ex-patriot Kenny Clarke and the unorthodox Belgian pianist/composer Francy Boland. Sahib Shihab remained a key figure in the band for its 12 year run. Contributing his gruff, fluent sound on baritone and his fluttering expressive flute to many recordings and live settings. His idiosyncratic and distinctive style was well suited to the unpredictable arrangements of the band.
His own work from the 1960s and early 70s provides a fascinating document of a man completely at home with the idea of individuality and self-expression. While his earlier influences of swing and his days with Monk are evident, he manages to define himself on a variety of standards, ballads, and his own unusual compositions, often featuring curious arrangements and tempo changes. His flute technique is highlighted on the roaring Om Mani Padme Hum where, over a driving minor Latin groove; he applies his rich full tone along with an array of vocal expressions not dissimilar to Roland Kirk or Yusef Lateef. In the percussive Seeds Sahib plays Baritone against a sparse conga rhythm to great effect, utilizing its hoarse, rasping sound and its guttural expressiveness. Deep-throated honks sharply punctuate his flowing lines as he soars into new passages of invention full of warmth and humour. His sometimes eccentric playing is always saying something fresh and his unorthodoxy is beguiling.
Despite Sahibs more relaxed environment, his marriage to a Danish lady and raising a family in Europe, he remained a resolutely conscious African-American, still sensitive to racial issues. Danish friends regarded him as a mild mannered gentle man, unless riled by the issues of racial inequality and injustice. On the evening of the death of Malcolm X Shihab played an engagement with the CBBB in Cologne. As his turn approached to solo he stood and fingered the notes as vigorously as ever but refrained from making a note with his horn. Producing only an angry hissing noise, for the duration of his chorus. Making his anger, frustration and bitterness abundantly clear.
In 1973 Sahib Shihab returned to the United States for a three-year hiatus, working as a session man for rock and pop artists and also doing some copywriting for local musicians. He spent his remaining years between New York and Europe and played in a successful partnership with Art Farmer. Sahib Shihab died in Tennessee in 1989.
A shadowy fugitive from his home in the land of jazz, Sahib Shihab remains a true unsung figure, worthy of more attention. With his equally expert technique on Baritone, Flute, Alto and Soprano saxophones and his capacity to adapt easily to a variety of musical settings. His warm, individual, singsong sound in improvisation and his unusual and interesting compositions mark him out as a hidden treasure in the dusty corners of jazz archive.
There's not a lot to be said about this lp other than ESSENTIAL !
The fact that a record is rare and sells for big money is often no guarantee of the most important thing - is it any good ?
On this occasion the answer is emphatically YES .Enough said.
Re-Posted from the early days of this blog
4 October 2006
Here's a real rarity and my number one desert island disc - it's this little beauty on German Vogue from Sahib Shihab.This also contains my favourite tune "Om Mani Padme Hum" penned by the wonderful Francy Boland.This double album has it all from frantic banging percussive workouts to modal numbers to beautiful ballads,all performed by Francy,Kenny Clarke,Jimmy Woode,Fats Sadi,Benny Bailey,Ake Persson and even Milt Jackson on vocal on one track.It's a staggeringly good piece of music and worth every penny of the HUGE price tag it commands.
Ripped @ 256 from vinyl-no reissue apart from the infamous late 80s bootleg which got pulped .
Had a few problems with this upload -namely trax 5 & 10 so there are now 3 files for you to download .
TRAX 5 & 10 ARE HERE
3 October 2006
Killer Groove Music Library has now started to post selected tracks from his incredible lp collection.Pick of the bunch for me has to be Joe Harriot's "Southern Horizons" featuring Frank Holder on bongos but there are so many other great tunes to choose from including Frank Hernandez'-Barloventeno Blues,Michael Garrick's-Second Coming and the super funky Cumulo Nimbus-March of the Goober Woobers to name but three .Don't forget to check through his archives for more music links.
Highly recommended-get a Killer Groove into your life!
2 October 2006
As you will know I very rarely post anything recently recorded on this blog but for the second time here's "Soil And Pimp Sessions" this time with their latest full on Death Jazz album "Pimp of the Year".Picked this up some time ago from Dusty Groove but I have only just worked out how to get around the Japanese copy control on the cd.
Any way its fantastic-here's the Dusty Groove review
Genius work from a group who just keeps getting better and better -- the mighty Soil & Pimp Sessions, easily one of the sharpest jazz combos on the planet! This second album by the group is a great summation of all their unique power -- a record that soars ahead with unbridled energy, tight horns climbing to the sky in formation, then breaking off in freely soulful solos while the piano, bass, and drums rip along at incredible speed. The Soil & Pimp sound is by now such a trademark groove that it's gotten way past the group's clunky name -- and this album's a beautiful demonstration of the live energy that's made S&P one of the key combos in the current club jazz revival. An instant classic from a group we'll be loving for years -- and a record that we'd gladly stack next to our favorites from the 60s on Impulse or Blue Note!
It's actually the third album plus an ep to boot but believe the hype-it's awesome !!!!
1 October 2006
Oh What the hell-let's make it six in a row from Blue Note.There's many more still to go.And this is where Donald Byrd finally crossed right over into funk.
Donald Byrd (tp) Thurman Green (tb) Harold Land (ts) Bobby Hutcherson (vib) Joe Sample (org) Bill Henderson III (el-p) Don Peake, Greg Poree (g) Wilton Felder (el-b) Ed Greene (d) Bobbye Porter Hall (cga, tamb)
Right from the stop-start bass groove that opens "The Emperor," it's immediately clear that Ethiopian Knights is more indebted to funk -- not just funky jazz, but the straight-up James Brown/Sly Stone variety -- than any previous Donald Byrd project. And, like a true funk band, Byrd and his group work the same driving, polyrhythmic grooves over and over, making rhythm the focal point of the music. Although the musicians do improvise, their main objective is to keep the grooves pumping, using their solos more to create texture than harmonic complexity. That's why jazz purists began to detest Byrd with this album (though the follow-ups certainly cinched it); in truth, even though Ethiopian Knights did move Byrd closer to R&B, it's still more jazz than funk, and didn't completely foreshadow his crossover. The dense arrangements and lo-o-o-ng workouts (two of the three tracks are over 15 minutes) are indicative of Byrd's continued debt to Miles Davis, in particular the bevy of live double LPs Davis issued in the early '70s. Byrd again leads a large ensemble, but with mostly different players than on his recent sessions; some come from the group assembled for Bobby Hutcherson's Head On album, others from the Jazz Crusaders. That's part of the reason there are fewer traces of hard bop here, but it's also clear from the title that Byrd's emerging Afrocentric consciousness was leading him -- like Davis -- to seek ways of renewing jazz's connection to the people who created it. Even if it isn't quite as consistent as Kofi and Electric Byrd, Ethiopian Knights is another intriguing transitional effort that deepens the portrait of Byrd the acid jazz legend. Steve Huey, All Music Guide