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Jazz Primer

Great, but obscure albums to purchase

By Published: December 9, 2004
Ram Narayan—recordings on Nonesuch, Amigo, and EMI-India

Arunachalam—nadaswaram(double reed-South Indian horn)If you can find anything by this guy, it rivals Coltrane—believe it! Coltrane's India


Date: 14-Dec-1998 23:40:00
From: Peter S. ( soks823@aol.com )
After reviewing other people's choices I thought I may have a few CD's that meant a lot to me that nobody else picked up on. 1. Lee Morgan Live At The Lighthouse (Blue Note)—This 3 CD set should have put the saxophonist Bennie Maupin right up there with Coltrane or Joe Henderson. There is non-stop blowing from beginning to end, and you can find everything from ballads to blast offs from this quintet. I'm a big fan of Lee Morgan and love all his hard bop, but this goes one step further. 2. Bobby Hutcherson Live at Montreaux (Blue Note)— It has the unusual front line of vibes and trumpet (Woody Shaw), but blows hard continuously. This is one of Mr. Hutcherson's best albums, which is something to say considering his previous 60's Blue Note LP's. 3. Phil Woods and the European Jazz Machine at the Frankfurt Jazz Festival (Atlantic)— I got this one for 25 cents used and it is worth 100x that. Phil takes off and gets as "out" as you will ever hear him. This is one tight unit. 4. Joe Henderson—Inner Urge (Blue Note) 5. McCoy Tyner—The Real McCoy (Blue Note) Both of these CD's utilize almost the same line-up but show the different writing styles of the two leaders. McCoy is more modal and Joe is darker, and playing never gets better than this. 6. Cannonball Adderly-Somethin' Else (Blue Note) This is a Miles Davis LP masquerading itself as a Cannonball LP. If you liked "Kind of Blue" then go right out and get this one, because they are like bookends. Here you don't get Coltrane, but so what? (no pun intended). The playing is phenomenal and there was nobody on the planet before or since who sounds like Miles. 7. Wayne Shorter—"Etc" (Blue Note) All of Wayne Shorter's 60's albums are great, but this one is certainly less well known (probably owing to the fact that it was released in 1980, 15 years after being recorded). I dare you to find a group that played tighter than this one on any jazz LP. It has a rythym section of Herbie Hancock, Cecil McBee, and the under-rated Joe Chambers. 8. Ralph Peterson—"Introduces the Fo'tet" or "Art" (Blue Note)—This is one incredible drummer and composer, and any of his CD's are worth picking up for the compositions and the group interplay. 9. Bill Stewart—"Telepathy" (Blue Note) Exactly what the title says; the group moves as one unit throughout the twists and turns of the leader's pieces. And as an added bonus you have Bill's drumming, which is to the 90's what Tony Williams was to the 60's. 10. Craig Handy—"3 for All + 1" (Arabesque) This is mostly a trio album with the tenor and Charles Fambrough and Ralph Peterson, and it is an amazing cooker. It is jazz and funk and avant-garde all rolled into one, and definitely one of the best sax/bass/drums albums since Sonny Rollins at the Village Vanguard.


Date: 17-Dec-1998 07:18:47
From: couw
hey, nice listing above! I do not have much to add I guess...

Good to see a lot of LEE MORGAN. I would add his "Search for the new land" as an absolutely brilliant obscurity with an impressive list of players: Lee Morgan (tp), Wayne Shorter (ts), Herbie Hancock (p), Grant Green (g), Reggie Workman (b), Billy Higgins (ds). The title theme gives me shivers...

I miss RAHSAAN ROLAND KIRK. The few entries in the list above are far from sufficient in relating his brilliancy (and obscurity). Albums like "We Free Kings," "Domino," "Reeds and Deeds," "Kirk In Copenhagen," "Rip, Rig, and Panic," "The Inflated Tear," and more 'straight' stuff deserve much more credit IMO. But also his 'weird' stuff ("3 sided Dream in Audio Color," "Prepare Thyself...," "Root strata") is among the absolute best. The box-set "Does Your House Have Lions" gives a very good introduction to the man and his music.

Then I would like to add FRANK ZAPPA to the list. The man made some weird stuff, amongst which some brilliant jazz. Most people know his album "Hot Rats," but there's also "Hot Rats 2: Waka Jawaka," the title song of which makes me cry everytime I hear it. Further jazz albums would be "The Grand Wazoo" and "Sleep Dirt" (the vinyl version w/o vocals.) All of them highly recommended!

Last but not least I would add SFeQ, a dutch modern day jazz band (talk about obscure...) that prefers weird rythms and catchy beats, combined with cool tunes and some rap like singsong. Their latest two albums "SFeQ Utd. Vols. 1 & 2" I can especially recommend. For those who like Dolphy's bas-clarinet on 'trane's Village Vanguard recordings: SFeQ has one too... most impressive. Also a Green-like guitar on some tracks. A bit of a Courtney Pine (Modern Day Jazz Stories, Underground) feeling, but maybe more 'modern day.'


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