Thursday, 26 August 2010

postheadericon Woody Shaw – In The Beginning (Muse Records, 1965)

Now here’s obscurity for you…

I love it when i find an album that’s so clouded in the grinding wheels of time that it makes you wonder if it existed. Well this one apparently does. I admit freely and without hesitation that these days having an actual copy of a record rather than a digital copy is somewhat on the backburner, so what i write about this recording is based upon listening to it, and bits and pieces that the great Interweb throws up, added to the fact that I am no authority on Mr. Shaw by any stretch of the imagination.
In The Beginning‘In The Beginning’, as the name suggests, is Woody Shaw’s first recordings as a leader, towards the end of 1965, before that he spent time in Paris, and also recorded with Horace Silver. Apparently it was done as a record contract demo session, with Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Herbie Hancock and Larry Young on piano (you don’t hear Young on piano very often, nor Hancock on organ, but it did occur), Joe Chambers on battery and our man Paul and Ron Carter on Double Bass. This to me suggests that the session is split in two parts rather than one. The tracks ‘Baloo Baloo ’, ‘Tetragon’ and ‘Three Muses’ being one, with Hancock and Chambers present. ‘Cassandranite’ and ‘Obsequious’ (meaning servility or bootlicking) including Young and Carter the second.
The Chambers involvement is fairly straight forward hard bop as you would expect but he certainly holds his own here. It’s the first and only time with Shaw and Joe Chambers. Hearing Chambers outside of the Wynton Kelly setting is a treat, if you look at his other engagements around this time it’s predominantly with Kelly. I know very little about what live engagements Chambers had, if any, but the recording sessions had been on a downwards spiral throughout the 60’s. To illustrate this, to my knowledge the next recording Chambers did was Lee Morgan’s ‘Charisma’ nine-ten months later. Cassandranite
The two tracks with Ron Carter is more free flowing, with Henderson getting into his Coltraneish groove. On the whole though there’s ample space for all involved to be creative.
What with this album being a demo session it’s obscure almost by definition. Its only release as an LP came in 1983 (Muse 5298). It was put out as a cd called ‘Cassandranite’ (Muse MCD 6007) including the completely unrelated Joe Chambers track ‘Medina’. Since then the music from the original session has been released on a number of other Shaw records including ‘Last Of The Line’ from 1997.

  1. Cassandranite (Shaw) - 6:49
  2. Obsequious (Young) - 7:40
  3. Baloo Baloo (Johnson) - 6:05
  4. Three Muses (Shaw) - 6:26
  5. Tetragon (Henderson) - 6:40

Recorded in New York City late 1965

Woody Shaw, Trumpet
Joe Henderson, Tenor Sax
Larry Young, Piano (tr 1 and 2)
Herbie Hancock, Piano (tr 3-5)
Ron Carter, Bass (tr 1 and 2)
Paul Chambers, Bass (tr 3-5)
Joe Chambers, Drums

Be my guest and have a listen to Baloo Baloo in the player to the left.
Thursday, 12 August 2010

postheadericon Cannonball Adderley – Discoveries (Savoy Jazz, 1955)


This release in a way concludes Cannonball Adderley’s very swift rise from an unknown to recording artist in a matter of weeks during the summer of 1955.

Adderley came to New York initially to work on his graduation, went down to Cafe Bohemia one night for an Oscar Pettiford gig, was asked to lend his horn out but offered to sit in, and blew the room away.

‘Discoveries’ put together the alternate takes from Adderley’s two very first recording session in New York. The first was drummer Kenny Clarke’s ‘Bohemia After Dark’ session about two weeks after his first live appearance, later rebranded and released in Cannonball’s name because of his stature. The second is from Adderley’s debut as a leader from the 14. July 1955, resulting in the album ‘Presenting Cannonball Adderley’

The material on those sessions showcases Adderley’s writing skills as they are all his originals except of course Oscar Pettiford’s superb ‘Bohemia After Dark’, executed by Paul Chambers with a higher tempo but otherwise in the same style as Miles Davis’ ‘So What’. A coincidence? Certainly not.

There’s a ‘live’ feel to these tracks, and that’s why, to me, they sound very fresh, even today. It’s high tempo hard bop, utilised by a tight group of players, The Adderley Brothers, Kenny Clarke and Paul Chambers in particular. Definitely worth acquiring for its historical value.

  1. With Apologies to Oscar [Take 1] (Adderley, Adderley) 5:44
  2. Bohemia After Dark [Take 1] (Pettiford) 5:45
  3. Chasm [Take 3] (Adderley, Adderley) 4:09
  4. Late Entry [Take 4] (Adderley, Adderley) 3:15
  5. A Little Taste [Take 1] (Adderley, Adderley) 5:00
  6. Caribbean Cutie [Take 1] (Adderley) 5:18
  7. Spontaneous Combustion [Take 4]  0:39
  8. With Apologies to Oscar [Take 2] (Adderley, Adderley) 5:44

Recorded at the Van Gelder Recording Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on June 28 and July 14, 1955

Cannonball Adderley, Alto Sax
Nat Adderley, Cornet
Donald Byrd, Trumpet (tracks 1-3 & 8)
Jerome Richardson, Tenor Sax, Flute (tracks 1-4 & 8)
Horace Silver, Piano (tracks 1-4 & 8)
Hank Jones, Piano (tracks 5-7)
Kenny Clarke, Drums
Paul Chambers, Bass

I’ve included Bohemia After Dark (take 1) for your listening pleasure!
Sunday, 1 August 2010

postheadericon The Curtis Fuller Jazztet with Benny Golson (Savoy Jazz, 1959)

Curtis Fuller Jazztet

1959 was not a bad year for Curtis Fuller.

Meeting Benny Golson at the end of 1958 opened a few avenues for him, together they recorded around 8 albums in the span of a year, starting with ‘The Other Side of Benny Golson’ and culminating with Fuller’s ‘Sliding Easy’. Those two hit it off on more than one memorable album that year and laid the foundation for The Jazztet, commonly associated with Art Farmer and Benny Golson, but the title of this album suggests otherwise. His Savoy album Blues-ette is considered his masterpiece, and ‘The Curtis Fuller Jazztet with Benny Golson’ follows suit. It’s highly swinging hard bop with an on-fire Lee Morgan very aptly backed by Wynton Kelly, Chambers and Charlie Persip on drums. Chambers and Fuller knew each other very well, featuring on each others albums frequently.

I rate this on a par with ‘Blues-ette’, Fuller’s strength as a composer shows here, ‘Arabia’, which Fuller brought with him to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers two years later has quite a resemblance to Miles Davis’s ‘Freddie Freeloader’ recorded a few months earlier and featuring of course Kelly and Chambers.

  1. It's Alright With Me - 7:39 (Porter)
  2. Wheatleith Hall - 14:05 (Gillespie)
  3. I'll Walk Alone - 6:57 (Cahn, Styne)
  4. Arabia - 6:35 (Fuller)
  5. Judy's Dilemma - 5:51 (Fuller)

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs New Jersey on 25. August 1959

Lee Morgan, Trumpet
Curtis Fuller, Trombone
Benny Golson, Tenor Sax
Wynton Kelly, Piano
Paul Chambers, Bass
Charlie Persip, Drums

Please feast your ears on Arabia in the player.
Saturday, 31 July 2010

postheadericon Paul Chambers – Chambers’ Music (Jazz West, 1956)

Chambers Music

Paul Chambers album debut as a leader is subtitled ‘A Jazz Delegation from the East’, presumably because it was recorded in Los Angeles for the local label Jazz West by a group of jazzmen from the east coast. I wonder how that came about? I’m gonna hazard a guess at this; Chambers, Jones and Coltrane were employed in Miles Davis’ quintet at the time and they were probably gigging in California. The pianist Kenny Drew got wind of this and invited Chambers to play on an album he was doing with Jane Fielding for Jazz West. Jazz West gave Chambers the opportunity to cut an album, and asked Drew to join in on piano. Plausible, yeah why not:)
As we know Chambers had got the call from Miles Davis six months prior to join the new Quintet with Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones and Red Garland, all more or less established in their own right, and they had already recorded ‘Round About Midnight’ for Columbia and ‘Miles’ For Prestige Records. In addition Davis kept them busy playing shows in Baltimore, Detroit and Chicago to mention a few cities. Without a shadow of a doubt Chambers natural talent blossomed and his playing developed rapidly during 1955-56, and soon he was to become a very sought after session player in addition to his ‘day job’ in the quintet.
On ‘Chambers’ Music’ he is given plenty of room to stretch out on all the numbers. ‘Visitation’, his own composition, and ‘Easy To Love’ is all Chambers, the latter a perfect showcase for his splendid arco play. ‘Dexterity’ has a good Drew solo, ‘Stablemates’ is drawn from The Quintet repertoire and ‘John Paul Jones’ gets Coltrane going.
Jazz West was a short lived subsidiary of Aladdin Records that managed to get almost a dozen releases under their belt before they folded, among them the aforementioned Jane Fielding, a Kenny Drew session and an Art Pepper album. ‘Chambers’ Music’ was released in 1956 or 1957 as Jazz West LP 7 and presumably went out of print quickly.
High StepThen, in 1975 these six tracks plus four from Chambers’ album ‘Whims of Chambers’ and three obscure tunes from a Pepper Adam/Curtis Fuller session (more on that further down), are released by Blue Note as a double-billed, double LP; ‘High Step’ (BNLA 451-2).
The definitive edition of ‘Chambers’ Music’ has to be the CD. Remastered in 1989 and released several times by Blue Note it consists of the original session and three Curtis Fuller led tracks. As it turns out this was Fuller’s recording debut, recorded in April 1956 for another short-lived label, Transition, but only released in its entirety on ‘High Step’ and ‘Chambers’ Music’. They feature Pepper Adams and on ‘Trane’s Strain only, Roland Alexander on piano. A fine session, quite obscure, but included on the Chambers Mosaic box set for reference.
‘Chambers’ Music’ is an integral part of the Chambers catalogue soon to be followed by ‘Whims Of Chambers’

  1. Dexterity - 6:46 (Parker)
  2. Stablemates - 5:52 (Golson)
  3. Easy To Love - 3:52 (Porter)
  4. Visitation - 4:57 (Chambers)
  5. John Paul Jones (aka Trane's Blues) - 6:56 (Coltrane)
  6. Eastbound - 4:24 (Drew)
  7. Trane's Strain - 11:04 (improvisation)
  8. High Step - 8:12 (Harris)
  9. Nixon, Dixon And Yates Blues - 8:29 (improvisation)
Tracks 1-6 recorded at Western Recorders, Los Angeles 2. March 1956
John Coltrane, Tenor Sax
Kenny Drew, Piano
Paul Chambers, Bass
Philly Joe Jones, Drums

Tracks 7-9 recorded in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 20. April 1956

John Coltrane, Tenor Sax
Pepper Adams, Baritone Sax
Curtis Fuller, Trombone
Roland Alexander, Piano
Paul Chambers, Bass
Philly Joe Jones, Drums

And last, but not least, i bid you to listen to Visitation in the player.
Thursday, 29 July 2010

postheadericon Red Garland – Red Garland’s Piano (Prestige 1957)

Another trio recording eh, i can assure you that it’s a coincidence, but i guess it illustrates Paul Chambers’ preferred setting, if he had one. The trio recordings he participated in were numerous and frequent. Wynton Kelly used him from 1958 until a short time before his all too early death. At the time of this recording, Red Garland was starting out his own group. ‘Red Garland’s Piano’ is in fact his second album for Prestige Records, before the end of 1958 he would rack up another fifteen, and Chambers and Art Taylor would feature heavily.
You would be excused to think that with that kind of catalogue there’s bound to be some fillers and not all killers, but with Garland you get quality. His trio recordings are easy on the ear but not trivial. This one starts out sedate, with a blues, his trademark block chords and airy loping notes welcomes you gently before your foot gets stompin’ on the next one. ‘If I Were A Bell’ comes with an intro hinting of his choice before he sets off. Garland and Chambers are the soloists, Taylor is the pace keeper. This is a very groovy album, not bursting with raw energy but emotional enough to fall in love with.
  1. Please Send Me Someone To Love - 9:51 (Mayfield)
  2. Stompin’ At The Savoy - 3:12 (Goodman, Razaf, Sampson, Webb)
  3. The Very Thought Of You - 4:12 (Noble)
  4. Almost Like Being In Love - 4:52 (Lerner, Loewe)
  5. If I Were A Bell - 6:41 (Loesser)
  6. I Know Why (And So Do You) - 4:50 (Gordon, Warren)
  7. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love - 5:05 (Fields, McHugh)
  8. But Not For Me - 5:52 (Gershwin, Gershwin)
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack New Jersey on 14. December 1956 and 22. March 1957

Red Garland, Piano
Paul Chambers, Bass
Art Taylor, Drums

Go on, have a listen to If I Were A Bell in the player
Saturday, 24 July 2010

postheadericon Bill Evans - On Green Dolphin Street (Milestone Records)

I dig this album, a lot. Starting with the cover, fitting for a much more prominent release than what's the case here. Silvery and placed in a frame, invites you to step inside and doesn't reveal anything about the music if you take away the names. Majestic in its minimalism. The session in review was left on the shelves for 15 years after recording, as was the case with countless gems from jazz sessions at the time, even when, or because, Bill Evans was involved. There certainly wasn't a lack of recording sessions or creativity it seems, the problem was rather the format, you couldn't put out an LP every month, whereas nowadays you can, but the talent and artistic integrity is highly questionable. This event, five numbers and a retake clocks in at 35 minutes, that's more or less how long the this jam lasted on a late evening in 1959, on the heel of a Chet Baker recording session. In that light maybe it's understandable that Evans, as the leader, put the lid on the jar to let it mature a few years. Evans, Chambers and Jones knew each other well, having played as part of other groups and settings, prominently Miles Davis' Quintet, Chambers being the stayer in that respect. Jones had just left Miles and Evans was about to take over for Red Garland for the recording of Kind of Blue. As a trio however, this was a one off, and we might never have heard of it was it not for the Chet Baker producer Orrin Keepnews. he recorded it and remembered it one day in the mid 70's. He got Evans to listen to it again and Evans agreed to put it out, as a testament to Paul Chambers talents on the bass. The tunes are not performed in any way spectacularly, but this combo creates quality.
The initial release was part of the 1975 Bill Evans double LP 'Peace Piece and other Pieces' (Milestone Records M 47024), consisting of Evans' 1958 effort 'Everybody Digs Bill Evans', this session and the track 'Loose Bloose' from 1962. Then a few years after that, it's a mystery to me exactly when, the six tunes and 'Loose Bloose' was released as 'On Green Dolphin Street' In the mid eighties the set was released on cd, and finally in 1995 Milestone Records remastered the whole thing, changed the fillerr track and put it out again. With its story in mind, how can you not dig it? Give this album to any unassuming person and chances are high they will get something from its, on initial listening, inviting simplicity and charm, it takes skill to make us believe this music is easy.

  1. You And The Night And The Music - 7:20 (Getz, Schwartz)

  2. How Am I To Know? - 6:18 (King, Parker)

  3. Woody 'N You (Take 1) - 4:25 (Gillespie)

  4. Woody 'N You (Take 2) - 4:10

  5. My Heart Stood Still - 5:21 (Rodgers, Hart)

  6. On Green Dolphin Street - 8:09 (Kaper, Washington)

  7. All Of You (Take 1) - 8:07 (Cole Porter)

Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York City, 19. January 1959

Bill Evans, Piano
Paul Chambers, Bass
Philly Joe Jones, Drums

Track 7 recorded live at The Village Vanguard, New York City, 25. June 1961

Bill Evans, Piano
Scott LaFaro, Bass
Paul Motian, Drums

Treat yerself to a listen to You And The Night And The Music in the player!
Friday, 23 July 2010

postheadericon J.J. Johnson - The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson (Blue Note, 1955)

One of, to my knowledge, Chambers first ever recording sessions, Johnson and him had however recorded with King Pleasure the year before. A quintet setting with Jazz Messengers Hank Mobley and Horace Silver, plus Kenny Clarke on drums. Fine tempo throughout the session save for the ballad 'You're Mine, You'. Solid play by Chambers who had just turned 20 having spent the year leading up to this session touring and donning a role as a 'house bassist' at the Cafe Bohemia in New York. Three of the half dozen numbers are Johnson compositions and three alternate takes are thrown in on the CD release.
Doing research for this post i experienced the Blue Note release/re-release phenomenon, confusing stuff. The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson comprises three volumes, originally released in the Blue Note Modern Jazz series, or the '5000 series'. The first one came in 1953 (Vol 1, BLP 5028), the second in 1954 (Vol 2, BLP 5057) and the last in 1955 (Vol 3, BLP 5070, cover to the left). The latter is where Chambers came into the picture. In 1955 Blue Note abandoned the 10 inch 5000 series in favour of long play 12 inch records, in fact BLP 5070 was the very last. Cue the culturally defining Blue Note 1500 series.
The first 1500's were re-releases of successful 5000 releases. The three Eminent volumes were shrinked to a couple of Long Players, BLP 1505 and 1506 (green cover), but are a mix of sessions and dates. When CD came around they were re-released once again, this time cleaned up chronologically. The cd release of Volume 1 covers the 1953 session exclusively, and Volume 2 is a 15 track all inclusive of the '54 and '55 sessions, both cd's comes remastered and with unissued alternate takes. To round off the release bonanza, lists a 24 track 'Complete Eminent Jay Jay Johnson' CD, all the sessions in one package. Recommended!

  1. Too Marvelous For Words - 3:35 (Mercer, Whiting)
  2. Jay - 3:42 (J.J. Johnson)
  3. Old Devil Moon - 3:52 (Harburg, Lane)
  4. It's You Or No One - 4:06 (Cahn, Styne)
  5. Time After Time - 4:13 (Cahn, Styne)
  6. Coffee Pot - 4:08 (J.J. Johnson)
  7. Pennies From Heaven - 4:18 (Burke, Johnston)
  8. Viscosity - 4:21 (Johnson)
  9. You're Mine, You - 3:07 (Green, Heyman)
  10.  "Daylie" Double - 4:27 (J.J. Johnson)
  11.  Groovin' - 4:40 (J.J. Johnson)
  12.  Portrait Of Jennie - 2:56 (Burdge, Robinson)
  13.  Pennies From Heaven (Alternate Take) - 4:25
  14.  Viscosity (Alternate Take) - 4:21
  15.  "Daylie" Double (Alternate Take) - 4:38

Tracks 1-6 recorded at The Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey, September 24, 1954
J.J. Johnson, trombone
Wynton Kelly, piano
Charles Mingus, bass
Kenny Clarke, drums
Sabu, congas

Tracks 7-15 recorded at The Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey, June 6, 1955

J.J. Johnson, trombone
Hank Mobley, tenor sax
Horace Silver, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Kenny Clarke, drums

Treat yourself to a listen to You're Mine, You in the player.
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This is an attempt to shed some light on Mr. Chambers' endeavours as one of the top jazz bassmen. He was extremely sought after, and his sessions is a list of who is who in the hardbop era. I'm gonna put out on this blog some of the recordings i know of (210 and counting:), together with some doodle about them.

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Jazzfan with too much time on my hands:)
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