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Jazz Primer

More Obscure Favorites

By Published: December 9, 2004
Date: 16-Oct-1998 14:27:21
From: dave wayne
great but obscure recordings are too often made by great but obscure artists: here are just a few... Joe Daley Trio: Live at Newport '63 John Carter & Bobby Bradford: "Self-Determination Music" and "Seeking" Horace Tapscott: "The Dark Tree, volumes 1 & 2" Noah Howard: "Schizophrenic Blues," "The Black Ark" Manfred Schoof Sextet: "Glockenbar" Frank Wright: "Kevin, My Dear Son" Wolfgang Dauner: "Free Action" etc., etc., etc.

great but obscure recordings are made by established artists trying to extend the possibilities of music in some way, but perhaps not in the way that people expect (...or even want to hear!). Here are a few of those: Tony Williams' Lifetime: "Turn it Over" and "Ego" Miles Davis: "Agartha," "On the Corner" Henry Threadgill: "Spirit of Nuff Nuff" Blood Ulmer & the Music Revelation Ensemble: pretty much everything! Shannon Jackson: "Eye on You" Tim Berne: "Fulton Street Maul" Max Roach—just about everything!! Red Allen—"World on a String" (glad to see someone else mentioned this as well!) etc., etc., etc.

great but obscure recordings may result from contractural difficulties, poor distribution (Europe-only), bad business practices, or changing record labels: Keith Jarrett "Expectations" Alan Silva & the Celestrial (sic) Communications Orch. "Seasons" Abdullah Ibrahim: "Ekaya," "Water from an Ancient Well" Randy Weston—"African Cookbook" etc., etc., etc. (...as well as some of the ones mentioned above)

....I just can't explain 'em all, though! Marion Brown—"Three for Shepp," "Porto Novo" Roswell Rudd—"Flexible Flyer," "Inside Job," "Everywhere" Anthony Braxton—"Creative Orchestra Music, 1976" Gil Evans: "Svengali" Ralph Towner—"Solstice" Sam Rivers—pretty much everything!

that's the view from here, anyway. dw


Date: 16-Oct-1998 15:06:40
From: jeff putterman ( jeff@limc.com )
Dave Holland's Conference of the Birds; Chico Freeman's Pied Piper and Sensitive; Cecil McBee's Unspoken; Betty Carter and Carmen McRae Live; John Hicks and Ray Drummond's Two of a Kind; Steve Slagle and Ryan Kisor on Steeplechase (can't remember the name). These are some of the cds I return to over and over and over. Along with all of the Mingus big Band cds.


Date: 16-Oct-1998 15:32:56
From: Reynolds Potter ( reynolds@dovebrothers.com )
I highly recommend THE PENGUIN GUIDE TO JAZZ ON CD as a source book of jazz information. I have seen nothing else in the marketplace that come close to the depth or breadth on coverage which it provides. It is a terrific way to prescreen potential purchases.


Date: 16-Oct-1998 21:31:01
From: John Barrett Jr. ( johnbarrettjr@yahoo.com )
My list of favorite obscurities is a bit short here; I know I'll return here later when I think of more.

VINCE GUARALDI TRIO (Fantasy). This might be of interest to the person looking for BLACK ORPHEUS. Marvelous soft introspective playing from Guaraldi before he developed the heavier "Charlie Brown" style he is best known for. Includes a swell version of "Django," the Guaraldi original "Fenwyck's Farfel," and the very underrated guitarist Eddie Duran, with whom Guaraldi made several other albums. NOEL JEWKES AND THE DR. LEGATO EXPRESS: JUST PASSIN' THRU (Revelation). Got this sealed in a used store several years ago, with no prior knowledge of the players. It's a nine- or ten-piece group with big band voicings, nifty charts, and most of the tunes are originals by Jewkes, who worked in Florida, if memory serves. I've seen Jewkes' name on one other record, but don't know if he or the Express made any records after this. TONE JANSA JAZZ KVARTET (RTB). Another used store find, from the same place I got the Jewkes. RTB was the state record label of Yugoslavia, and the late date cited on the liner notes is 1975; I guess this came out in the mid- to late-'Seventies. Jansa plays a trilling soprano sax (tenor too) and gets into four basic compositions, with Jansa and pianist Andre Jeanquartier standing out. The notes are mostly in a language I can't read (Serbo-Croatian?), so I don't know how or when this was recorded; at least half of the album is live. Would be very interested to know more about Jansa and what other records (if any) he made.

That's it for now; I'll think of more great obscurities later.


Date: 16-Oct-1998 21:32:45
From: Judson O. Maynard ( jazzbo112@aol.com )
Thought that I would add a couple of albums for consideration. Tal Farlow—This is Tal Farlow on the Verve label and Johnny Smith—Johnny Smith also on the Verve label. Both of these albums seem to have had an influence on guitar playaers that I have spoken to but seem to have been largely ignored by the jazz buyers. I had both of these on vinyl and recently picked up both of them on cd and realized again how beautifully played both of these albums are. Check them out if you get a chance.


Date: 17-Oct-1998 08:05:35
From: george massouris ( ms@gw.cranny.schnet.edu.au )
my current faves that i just keep playing:


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