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by Jack Bowers
Thirty years ago, saxophonist Frank Foster and drummer Elvin Jones escorted eighteen other musicians (whom Foster dubbed the Loud Minority Big Band) into a recording studio in New York City to tape an album, Well Water. The hope was that a label would be found and the music released for public consumption.
That never happened, and as the months and years went by, it was widely assumed that the master tapes had been irretrievably lost. But Foster's wife, Cecilia, remained ...read more
by Terrell Kent Holmes
Drummer, composer and bandleader Winard Harper brings his relentless exuberance to Make It Happen, where the seemingly disparate Afro-Caribbean and bebop styles stand shoulder to shoulder. The percussion-driven nature of the recording is evident from the top, with an energetic arrangement of Charlie Parker's Segment where Alione Faye's percussion binding the fabric of the two genres seamlessly, while Stacy Dillard and Josh Evans, on tenor and trumpet, handle the bebop chores. Harper's balafon play and Abdou Mboup's talking drum give ...read more
by John Kelman
Jazz records made in one day aren't particularly unique. But looking at the large cast of players on Make It Happen, one has to be impressed at the amount of planning that went into the session--an effort that, in the hands of lesser mortals, might suck the life out of such an ambitious outing. But drummer Winard Harper's disc is a lively if not slightly schizophrenic date that mixes up strong African and Afro-Cuban rhythms, mainstream swing, and even a ...read more
by Jeff Dayton-Johnson
Veteran drummer Winard Harper (who has played with Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Betty Carter, Ray Bryant, Abdullah Ibrahim, Pharoah Sanders, Clifford Jordan and others) gives us two albums in one on Make It Happen.
The first is percussion-heavy. The opening tracks, for example, present an approach to ensemble sound that recalls Mosaic-era Jazz Messengers (carefully arranged multiple-horn lines over a busy, insistent rhythm section). The best compositions echo episodes in the Mingus lineage (notably Dave Holland's excellent mid-'80s groups). These ...read more
by Ernest Barteldes
Every now and then a bassist emerges as a front man and the instrument takes a whole new personality. Such is the case on Internet, where Charnett Moffett wrote every tune but one, an effects-laden take on The Star Spangled Banner" obviously inspired by Jimi Hendrix. Moffett uses acoustic, electric, fretless and piccolo basses (often more than one at a time) and explores the limits as he goes along. Listen to the playfulness of Icon Blues," a ...read more
by AAJ Staff
The great Bud Powell casts a very long shadow over all jazz piano players, not to mention most melodic/harmonic improvisers, regardless of instrument. His best recordings are simply indispensable. However, it is also known to jazz fans that Powell's life unraveled, after what today would be called a hate crime brought on a crescendo of mental illness and physical damage. Those knowledgeable fans also know that there are quite a few records made from the later years of his life ...read more
by Jack Bowers
Let me begin by saying that I'm no Bud Powell aficionado. I understand there were undoubtedly times when he played far better than this, and times when he may have played even worse. All I can say with assurance is that had I not seen Powell's name and picture on this album, I never would have guessed it was him.
These unrehearsed sessions were taped in Paris between 1961-64, long after Powell's best days were behind him. This is Powell ...read more