Yusef Lateef plus

Lee Konitz (1927 – 2020) Brazilian Rhapsody (1995) focuses primarily on Brazilian standards. Konitz is a solid, lyrical sax player – inventive without being jarring. Here he does sweet work with some of my favourite Latino standards: Manha De Carnaval, A Felicidad – romantic without being cloying.

Yusef Lateef (1920 – 2013) Over a 2cd mp3 collection I have Lateef’s complete recordings from 1957-1963 – as well as Towards The Unknown with Adam Rudolph. Plus, in another collection, his later Eastern Sounds, Blue Yusef, Lateef’s Sound, In A Temple Garden & stand-alones Psychicemotus, Golden Flute. Also, in the mp3 collection, just for fun, is Logan’s Run (soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith.

I think In A Temple Garden was my introduction to Lateef – an impressionist mediation with temple bells that invokes quiet afternoons in another world – verging on new age but with real jazz underpinnings.  I picked it up as an lp & returned to it frequently. I picked up  Psychicemotus, Golden Flute two of his mid 60’s verve recordings as cd reissues with great liner notes. These are excellent with touches of world music & even a take on Gymnopedie #1.

The recordings from 1957-1963 are a more recent additions. I bought them from iTunes for under $10.00 – many of jazz recordings from the 50’s, 60’s are now public domain & you can find massive reissue collections like this to download cheaply. This one was sorted nicely into the individual releases with covers. Some are dumped with to regard to original lp order.

From 2010 is Towards The Unknown with Adam Rudolph. A fascinating collaboration that includes songs, orchestra & jazz combo – smart compelling modern music. He is a sensitive musician – sax, flute even keyboards – who explores with a lyrical sensibility that is always inviting & rarely dissonant.  If you are unfamiliar I would recommend starting with those Verve reissues.

Jerry Goldsmith’s Logan’s Run is a total delight. I watched the film, again, a few year ago & the synthesizer work is outstanding & totally captures the the early 70’s sound as well as the sense Hollywood had of what the future would be. Both are worth seeing/hearing.  

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Bright Moments

Rahsaan Roland Kirk can thank Jethro Tull for introducing him to me. I have in my collection: I Talk With The Spirits (1965) which includes “Serenade to a Cuckoo”; Blacknuss (1971); Prepare Thyself to Deal with a Miracle (1973); Bright Moments (1973). Each has a different jazz sensibility but all star Kirk’s amazing sax, flute & percussion. By amazing I mean he often played two reed instruments at the same time. That’s a lot of breath control & tongue work.

I had the double lp Bright Moments on vinyl, did an lp to cd transfer & finally a mp3 download. This is an excellent live lp that brilliantly captures a moment in jazz time. Kirk’s poetry, chat, rap are engaging & his urge for us to enjoy our bright moments is still relevant. Bursting with positive energy, great playing, amazing sidemen & vibrant songs this is a classic recording. You want jazz? This is a great starter or addition to a collection.

The other Kirk lps are bit more meditative as he explores African rhythms, current jazz standards & spiritual yearning. His sax work is restless at time, dissonant but never as challenging (to me) as Coltrane. There is some free jazz improvisation in sections. ‘Spirits’ is a good starter of his sweet studio work.

I made a copy of Muhal Richard Abrams: The Hearinga Suite (1989) when I borrowed the cd from the library. I loved his Big Band sound that combined African rhythms with nicely constrained free jazz. This is timeless jazz with a complex big band that explores while remaining accessible. Mama & Daddy (1980), The Hearinga Suite (1989). Try either of them if you want big band beyond Ellington.

Rounding out this mp3 collection are some works by Yusef Lateef – The Sounds of Yusef 1957, Eastern Sounds 1961, The Blue Yusef 1968. Primarily a sax player he is known for having been an innovator in the blending of jazz with “Eastern” music. All are excellent. More about Yusef when I get to ‘L.’

dipping into the archives for a story that goes back to 1970. Yes I am aware that the point-of-view shifts in a rather schizophrenic way. I had to resisted making it consistent – the italics appear in the original as well. 

Chopin

1

I think, David is safe, turn up the stereo to let music thicken & wrap me with its deeper protection. I am David. David is safe. What more can I be. I think of safeness frequently. Turn the phrase I am David. David is safe over & over with my mind’s tongue, look at them as if they were a Calder mobile, a möbius strop. David is as safe as rocks. Large, immobile, secure rocks. The music swell around me like sea around those rocks. David often finds his ‘I’ becomes an observer, becomes ‘I’ that am not always aware of & one which David never resists. 

David walks down the street, looks eagerly for my reflection in store-windows There I am. Safe as always. David watches people around him, watches their reflections beside him. Then I glance carefully at them to see how close their reflections are like them. Sometimes my eyes linger too long on the real, on the flesh, on the motion of muscle beneath cloth. A boy, about nineteen, returns David’s unseeing gaze with a deeper, threatening gaze of his own greeds.

I go into a store. My favorite record store. David looks at the other customers with smugness. He is safer than them. Here I know what I want. I go straight for it. There it is.

A girl watches me. I feel her eyes on David’s quickly moving hands. I glanced at her. Jean. She is a past lover of mine. One I haven’t seen for sometime. I haven’t quite given up my need for her.

“David? How are you?” She asks, moves closer, eyes brighten, hand reaches to touch David’s.

“Good. And you Jean?”

“Can’t complain. Still listening to the same?” Her voice eager, her perfume brings back morning memories.

“Nope,” I hold out the record. “I’m trying for a little more romance.”

“A little more! Out of Debussy & into Chopin. That’s quite a jump.” She smiles, takes the lp & turns it over, as if the cover, the change in direction, would betray something new to her, about this man. “I prefer his waltzes. These scherzos are little too … too …”

“Melodramatic?” I take the record from her. “Would you like to go for a coffee or maybe a drink? I’ve been wondering how you were.”

A pause. “Sure. I haven’t much to do till I go to work.”

David pays for the lp. Something new to look forward to when I get home. Out of the corner of my eye I see the same boy. Yes, nineteen, the firm age. The boy wears overalls with no shirt. The side-buttons are undone. Flesh shows. The boy is so well tanned a sharp break of white glares from the unbuttoned side. The overalls are tight around his thighs & calves. The hair on his chest thickly swirled.

Clumsily I put my change away David feels a strange urgency. A need to follow & question the boy, a need to look at something else. I turn abruptly to Jean. “Well, where would you like to go?”

“Any place quiet & cool.”

“I think there’s a lounge just across the street. A cold drink seems in order.”

“Oh, lovely.” She take his arm easily & guides him “I was hoping you would suggest something like that.”

“We still have the old ESP?” I laugh, cross the street, we must make a fine couple. Then see our reflection coming at us from the lounge window A fine couple indeed. How did we ever fall out of love?

Jean goes to the furniture store window next to the lounge. “Oh, Look!” She points past their refection at a living-room set. “Isn’t that pine fantastic.”

“Swedish-mod ripoff.” David dismisses while sees us married in the living-room, me lounging carelessly on the severe couch while she … Funny I see her there but not doing anything outside of completing the picture.

We moved on to the lounge. The Black Hat.

“I’ve never been in here,” I tell her, to avoid being blamed the place isn’t perfect. New places aren’t safe.

“I’ve been here a few times,” she reassures, knowing his dislike of new places. “It’s really very nice, quiet, especially this time of day.”

part 2 next week

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Francy Boland – Kenny Clarke Big Band Plus

Christy Doran: Red Twist & Turned Arrow – this is an ECM release that I bought in July 1994. I never heard of it but I was willing to buy anything on the ECM label because of the quality of their releases. It was probably on sale too 🙂 The music is anxious jazz. Busy without ever being disharmonious. Restless explorations with guitars, drums, synthesizers. If you come across it grab it.

Rounding out my Ellington mp3 collections are several great albums. Francy Boland-Kenny Clarke Big Band: Open Door – back in the 80’s, a good friend had this lps & I made a cassette dupe of it. This is excellent big band work in a muscular modern (even then) mode. In fact I love it so much that on listening to it last month I downloaded another 4 lps by this big band: Live recordings, Last Train From Berlin, Off Limits, Calypso Blues . Very satisfying jazz. check them out.

Buddy Rich: Big Swing Face – I had this double lp way back in the 70’s before I moved to Toronto from Cape Breton. Similar to Boland big band, this a live set driven by Rich’s drumming. I love several of these tracks & the ambient nightclub sound gives it a very summery feel. Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder – a dynamic trumpet player who worked with Coltrane, Davis amongst others. This was another first found in the 80’s my friend’s collection & replaced with mp3.

Booker Ervin: Structurally Sound – I have several of Erivn’s lps in my collection. I first found him at Cheapies – a double set. A bop sax player with a rich sound & a propulsive exploration of great material. Influenced by Coltrane but never as ‘daring.’  More about him when I get to ‘e.’ Yusef Lateef: In A Temple Garden – anther great sax player with a ear for world music sounds. This started as a Cheapie’s lp that I was happy to upgrade to mp3. More about him when I get to ‘l.’

Finally two by Bud Shank: In Africa, Sunshine Express. Another big band leader who recorded extensively, worked with world music before it became a genre. Better than easy listening but not as compelling as Francy Boland – Kenny Clarke Big Band. All worth tracking down.

Pain After Death

‘Is there pain after death?’ Tom looked over to Frank. ‘That’s what were here to find out, isn’t it?’

‘Not entirely. But that’s a good notion to work with. I doubt if there is pain after death, with no attachment to the nerve endings, no corporal presence to to be connected to, there is nothing to feel the pain.’

‘Physical pain but what about emotional pain, spiritual pain?’

‘Spiritual pain? When have you ever felt spiritual pain?’

‘Yeah. I have. It’s a restless emptiness that can’t be filled with people, places or things. When I use them to sooth that pain, it only gets worse. The spiritual remedy is the only one that has helped.’

‘Well, we are certainly in a philosophical frame of mind this morning.’

‘Must be my Season of Change. ‘What has been started, continues in each of us, even if we don’t know it.’ ’

‘That’s from Dr. Melburton’s book?’

‘I think so. It’s what made me come with you. To find out what there was to find out here.’

‘So you believe there is a power here.’

‘Here, there and everywhere. Hiding. Always hidden.’

‘Only we don’t know what we might find.’

‘We know what we hope to find. That’s a start isn’t it.’

‘And we hope to find out if there’s pain after death?’

‘Something like that. I’ve felt something around me since we heard that chant. You have too haven’t you Frank?’

‘I suppose. Seems the air is more humid today.’

‘Rainy season is creeping up.’

‘The dead are just hiding and we are seeking them.’

‘What?’

‘Something my Dad once told me. He said they have merely passed beyond mortal sight.’

‘As if life were hide and seek … I kind of like that image. They’ve merely hidden and we may never find them.’

‘Oh, we’ll find them. The harder we seek the sooner we’ll find them.’

‘Then perhaps we’d better stop looking so hard.’ Tom laughed uneasily. ‘I don’t think I’m ready to …’

A flash of lightening was followed by a nearby clap of thunder. The drinking glasses on the bathroom sink rattled.

‘Very close.’

‘I have come to protect you.’ a voice spoke froim behind them.

They turned and the leader of the boys they had seen two nights ago, was on the balcony of their room. His body streaked with raw, red paint, daubed with splotches of darker red, white and almost glowing yellow. He was naked.

There was another ground-shaking crash of thunder. The rain started. Heavy. Thick rain that darkened the room.

The boy stepped into the room and collapsed on the bed.

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

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June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) capfireslam.org 

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Jurassic Classics

25jul01Sax player James Carter is an astonishing musician. I first heard him on 1991’s Tough Young Tenors. Then I read a review of his cd Jurassic Classics & had to hunt it down. He powers his way thought great takes on jazz classic ‘ Take the A train’ etc. I have that & these as stand-alone’s:  The Real Quiet Storm (sweet sex music), Conversations, in carterian fashion, Chasin’ the Gypsy, layin’ in the cut, Lady Day, Live at Baker’s, Gold Sounds, Present Tense.25jul02You could say that I am a fan. His sax sound is fluid – he willing to squawk id that’s what the piece calls for, but can also be as smooth as silk. These cover his work in various combos, duets, strings & solo. Each cd has been a different concept including some surprising covers: Pavement on Gold Sounds – a rock band I’m not familiar with but which he clearly is. I was always eager for each new release.25jul03My most recent addition was After All: up to his high standard of taste, playing but challenging & interesting too. It’s an mp3 collection along with work by Tadd Dameron(w/Coltrane); Geza Music; Chaino; Donald Byrd; Yusef Lateef; Kabuki.

25jul04As you can tell this is one of my wide reaching cds. I love variety. The Dameron is Mating Call with John Coltrane (Coltrane is God); Yusef Lateef is a fine 50’s 60’s sex player who is clearly one of Carter’s inspirations. Chaino: a lounge jazz exotica staple – bingo driven instrumentals in this Best of Jungle Echoes collection. The Byrd is Black Bird – an lp I had back on the east coast of smooth propulsive pieces in the Weather Report style. With the Giza & Kabuki I’m indulging my love of Japan with more traditional music 0 lots of off-kilter percussion. I love it.

sample

Imagination

Brin was sure he could hear the voice of G’th, his nurseda. This was not one the the tricks his imagination would play on him nor an image seed planted by one of the El’rs. Over the past few months he had learned how to separate those seeds from reality. This was reality.

He peered out the casement window of his cell. Pushed it open as much as he could and poked his head out. There was drop of about 100 feet from his window to the ground. He shook his head. The drop vanished. The drop was one of those seeds, an image the El’rs used to keep the younger Br’thrs in line.

The ground about twenty feet below. Green stubble of the recent falfa crops had begun to turn brown in the fall sun. The voice came to him clearer. He saw two figures stand on the steps that lead to the young Br’thrs dormier.

One was El’r Ft’hr D’br and the other had to be his G’th. He wanted to call out, to make the large hulking figure turn around. It was such a rare site to see someone not dressed in the cassocks of the order, to see man with a full head of wild matted black and blond hair.

He stilled his breathing, his thoughts, to see if he could pick up what they were saying.

‘He has progressed very well indeed G’th. Very well.’

‘I am most humble El’r Ft’hr that one whom I nursed has proved to such a fortunate one. I only ask now for my promised reward.’

‘Reward?’

‘Is it not so that in the twenty-second year of the offered one he who has ˝made the offering receives a reward? It is spoken of amongst the village. Is it not so?’

‘Ah yes the reward. So few actually progress as far and as well as Brin we rarely have to grant such dispensation. Come, we will see the Most Venerable El’r  B’la. He will know more of this.’

‘Wait!’ Brin cried out.

The two men turned.

‘G’th I must speak to you. Wait just a moment and I will be down.’

‘That is not possible Br’thr Brin.’ the El’r Ft’hr peered up at him.

Brin was pushed back from the window. It slammed shut almost on his fingers. He turned to the door but there was no door. The El’r Ft’hr had planted that image in his mind. He knew there was a door. He couldn’t let his panic keep him from seeing his nurseda.

soon

cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)

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November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

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June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –

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check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

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