Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
244

Various Artists: 55 Years Of Jazz

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count Views
Various Artists: 55 Years Of Jazz This isn't so much a compilation as it is a celebration of an American institution. As the title suggests, Delmark records has been around for over half a century and on the basis of the evidence offered here, it's not difficult to see why. The label has always been a broad church—how can that not be true with releases out by both Art Hodes and Roscoe Mitchell?—and the diversity presented in this release really brings the point home.

As the label is based in Chicago, it's perhaps unsurprising that the music scene in that city has been so closely documented. In that regard, this album is a celebration of diversity. Yves Francois' take on "Lester Leaps On" kicks things off almost literally, in a manner that's a testament to good programming and also perhaps emblematic of the diversity of Chicago's music.

King Curtis's "Dynamite At Midnight," first featured on one of the Honkers & Bar Walkers' compilations, is a searing slice of R&B through rock 'n roll from 1956 that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Federal or King label. While the clarinetist George Lewis' "Doctor Jazz" is more than sufficient evidence of how far back the label goes.

The contrast of Kalaparush's "In My Morning Song" couldn't be greater, consisting of unaccompanied tenor sax that owes little in the way of stylistic allegiance to anyone. In the same spirit of contrast, Coleman Hawkins, the man arguably upon whom the very position of the tenor sax in jazz rests, comes along a couple of tracks later on "Bu-De-Daht" in a hybrid swing/bop vein, the sheer force of his musicality and the virility of his sound carrying all before it. Sun Ra's "Brainville" changes the frame of reference in a manner less radical than many might imagine, although it still has the air of a certain impatience with established big band forms, even while there are passages where the music's right in keeping with that tradition.

Perhaps it's inevitable that the accompanying DVD is not as eclectic as the CD but it still manages to put across the impression of a label that is restless in the best sense of the term. The Jazz-O-Maniacs and Fred Anderson are, when all is said and done, not the likeliest of bedfellows, but that in itself is cause for celebration of a label that's done its own thing, regardless and indeed heedless of any commercial imperative.


Track Listing: CD: Lester Leaps In; Goin' To Town; Dynamite At Midnight; Saro-Wiwa; Equinox; It's Crazy; Doctor Jazz; Black Metropolis; In My Morning Song; Mode For Mabes; Bu-De-Daht; Brainville; Panama Rag. DVD: The Creator Has Other Plans For Me; Richard's Tune; My Baby; Flashback; Big M; Power (Excerpt).

Personnel: Yves Francois; Deep Blue Organ Trio; King Curtis; Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls; Curtis Fuller; Francine Griffin; George Lewis; Malachi Thompson; Kalaparush; Eric Alexander; Coleman Hawkins; Sun Ra; Art Hodes (CD); Nicole Mitchell; Ari Brown; Jazz-O-Maniacs; Fred Anderson; Ritual Trio; Chicago Underground Trio (DVD).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Delmark Records | Style: Modern Jazz


CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Tanbou Toujou Lou: Merengue, Kompa Kreyou, Vodou Jazz & Electric...
Tanbou Toujou Lou:...
Ostinato Records
2016
buy
The Boston Creative Jazz Scene 1970-1983
The Boston Creative...
Cultures Of Soul Records
2016
buy
Hungarian Noir
Hungarian Noir
Piranha
2016
buy
The New Basement Tapes: Lost on the River
The New Basement...
Harvest Records
2015
buy
I Never Meta Guitar Three
I Never Meta Guitar...
Clean Feed Records
2015
buy
Peru Boom: Bass, Bleeps & Bumps from Peru's Electronic Underground
Peru Boom: Bass,...
Tiger's Milk
2015
buy

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.