The Finnish blues artist Pepe Ahlqvist will be known to many European blues lovers as he has been active since the early seventies and made some excellent records along the way! Though many will recall him as a singer and harmonica player, here he has dropped the harp and taken up his first instrument, the guitar – and how! Not that he is a flashy player – far from it, but the notes he chooses are just right – quality over quantity. The Umo Jazz Orchestra are the kind of outfit all too rarely heard these days, a big, swinging and genre hopping outfit, akin to the Ray Charles Orchestra at its best, or Gil Evans Band (think particularly when they worked with Cleanhead Vinson). Pepe sings well in a variety of styles, from the swinging jump-blues of the opener to the blues-rcoing cover of BB King’s ‘So Excited’ that closes the set – in between there are soul numbers, a variety of blues styles, some wonderful modern(ish) jazz with a cover of Horace Silver’s ‘Senor Blues’, funk via ‘Dancemaster’ and even the almost jazz-meets-rap of ‘T’s And B’s’. This kind of big band blues comes along all too rarely, which means it is invariably worth listening to – and this release is sheer class.
A compilation album from Naxos with 12 tracks, from the previously released Naxos albums of the artists. For listeners, both classical and modern tastes can be found on this album.
Features 24 bit digital remastering. Comes with a description. The Charles Lloyd Quartet was (along with Cannonball Adderley's band) the most popular group in jazz during the latter half of the 1960s. Lloyd somehow managed this feat without watering down his music or adopting a pop repertoire. A measure of the band's popularity is that Lloyd and his sidemen (pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Ron McClure and drummer Jack DeJohnette) were able to have a very successful tour of the Soviet Union during a period when jazz was still being discouraged by the communists. This well-received festival appearance has four lengthy performances including an 18-minute version of "Sweet Georgia Bright" and Lloyd (who has always had a soft-toned Coltrane influenced tenor style and a more distinctive voice on flute) is in top form.
This single CD contains 12 performances by pianist Russ Freeman (with either Joe Mondragon or Monty Budwig on bass and drummer Shelly Manne) plus the one regular studio session (eight songs) that illfated pianist Richard Twardzik led (in a trio with bassist Carson Smith and drummer Peter Littman). Due to its rarity, the Twardzik date is more important historically but actually Freeman generally takes solo honors. Fine, straight-ahead music from two of the mid-'50s' more promising pianists.
Mr. Bojangles pairs Sonny Stitt with arranger Don Sebesky for one of the smoothest and most mainstream-facing dates of the saxophonist's career. Sebesky's luminous treatments underscore the elegance of Stitt's soulful alto and tenor leads–Roland Hanna's graceful electric piano leads the music even closer to funk, but the overall emphasis is more on atmosphere than rhythm. The material likewise spotlights ballads and slow-burn groovers, borrowing liberally from the pop charts for tunes including "Killing Me Softly with His Song" and "Ben"–even War's "The World Is a Ghetto" simmers instead of boils.