Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Vinyl Coverings

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Vinyl Coverings

Article excerpt

I have just finished my second run through of Kamasi Washington's The Epic Brainfeeder BF050, a three LP Bravura box set. So this is being written with only the most cursory of impressions, but while further listening will reveal new subtleties, the overall first impression I believe, is accurate. I wanted to mention this record now rather than in three months because of the newness of the artist and the importance of this piece.

This is indeed an epic undertaking, timing out at close to three hours. The music sounds like what is now called "spiritual" jazz, first established in the late sixties and early seventies; however, while that music had an undertone of anger and political unrest, this is more sanguine and mystical and Mr. Washington's tone is light not harsh. However, there is plenty of power, politics and excitement in these grooves. All the musicians are new to me, but they are uniformly excellent, as is the music.

Unfortunately, the pressing has been a problem. I had to return my first copy because it was pressed with scratches imbedded in the grooves. My second copy, which I kept, has a noisy surface, audible between tracks and in the more quiet passages. I imagine this is due to the need to include almost one hour of music on each disc. The sound quality of the music itself is fine.

The core personnel include Kamasi Washington (tenor), Ryan Porter (trombone), Igmar Thomas (trumpet), Cameron Graves (piano), Brandon Coleman (keyboards), Miles Mosley (bass), Stephen Bruner (el. bass), Tony Austin, Ronald Bruner (drums), Patrice Quinn (vocal), augmented by strings and a vocal choir. The tunes are Change Of The Guard, Isabelle, Final Thought, The Next Step, Askim, The Rhythm Changes, Leroy And Lanisha, Re Run, Miss Understanding, Henrietta Our Hero, Seven Prayers, Cherokee, The Magnificent 7, Re Run Home, Malcolm's Theme, Clair De Lune, The Message, Los Angeles 2015. This is highly recommended @ $40.

Art Yard Records has been reissuing some of the rarest items from Sun Ra and the El Saturn label. I don't believe they have issued anything more obscure than Pat Patrick & The Baritone Saxophone Retinue, Sound Advice, Art Yard LP014, Pat Patrick, Rene Mclean, George Barrow, Reynold Scott, Charles Davis, Mario Rivera, Kenny Rogers James Ware (baritone Sax & flute), Hilton Ruiz (piano), Jon Hart (bass), Steve solder (drums), Babafemi Humphreys (conga), Stablemates (intro), Funny Time, Uptighttedness(sic), Eastern Vibrations, Sabia, East Of Uz, The Waltz, Stablemates, Chicago 1977. This one was so unknown that my Lord Discography version 11.0 does not list it.

This is a live recording of this bottom heavy ensemble. Unlike some Sun Ra related projects; this one is basically a modern mainstream blowing session with the baritone ensemble (and occasional flutes) quickly giving way to soloists. That is all well and good and all things being equal, the music would be recommended, but, like many El Saturn releases, the fidelity is quite challenging. The sound seems to come out of a long tunnel. With such a bottom heavy sound, that can be naturally muddy, there is an overwhelming tubbiness that is quite off putting. The music, however, is fine. Price $45.

Sam Records, out of France has a program of reissues from the Barclay label, using original master tapes, producing wonderful facsimile covers and excellent 180 gram pressings. I chose the Chet Baker Quartet Sam 84009, Chet Baker (trumpet), Dick Twardzik (piano), Jimmy Bond (bass), Peter Littman (drums), Rondette, Piece Caprice, Mid-Forte, Re-SSearch, Pomp, Sad Walk, Just Duo, The Girl From Greenland, Brash, Paris 10/55.

This is the only studio record of Baker with Twardzik, and it is a beauty (although some live broadcasts and concerts have recently surfaced on CD). They play a program of original compositions by Bob Zieff, an obscure and quirky composer whose compositions fit Twardzik (and Baker) to a tee. I just wish they would have recorded some of Twardzik's equally quirky and obtuse compositions. …

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