File under: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (with some variations). Los Angeles trumpeter and bandleader Elliott Caine's fiery third album, Blues From Mars, features a combo that ranges from quartet to septet. At least half of the album reflects the musical world of Blakey: a leader who plays very much in the style of Lee Morgan, a tenor saxophonist who sounds like Benny Golson or a young Wayne Shorter, and catchy bebop tunes ripe with call and response melody lines. All in all, it's a '60s Blue Note time trip!
Caine has established his credentials as an exciting bandleader and soloist on his previous two albums, with leanings towards Afro-Cuban music. Originally from Indianapolis, Caine studied under the well regarded David Baker at Indiana University. His years in Los Angeles have been spent supported many well-known artists from the jazz, Latin and rock world.
The trumpeter's group is augmented by the presence of Brazilian saxophonist Justo Almario (who plays tenor on the opening track), percussionist Munyungo Jackson, and vibraphonist DJ Bonebrake (on three tracks). These additional musicians add musical texture to the group that extends beyond the aforementioned Jazz Messengers mode. In particular, Bonebrake's vibes provide a tasty sense of salsa on "Mambolishus," a tender ballad statement, "After Thought," and a bebop groove on the title tune. Almario's sole appearance on the hot bebop tune "Blues for the Revolution" is quite different from his usual cooler alto playing on previous albums. Caine slows the pace down on two ballads, "After Thought" and the standard "I Thought About You," which featurs a flugelhorn duet with bassist Bill Markus.
Of special note is the use of the theremin and tannerin on the title tune. Is this a first for a jazz recording? Special mention should also be made of the participation of tenor player Carl Randall, punchy pianist John Rangel, and Latin percussionists Inocente Alvarez and Antoine Lavito Dearborn.
Track Listing: Blues For The Revolution; Neuvo Dia; Peace and Love; La Verdad Es La Verdad; After Thought;
Blues From Mars; Mambolishus. Fields of Jazz; Outside In; I Thought About You.
Personnel: Elliott Caine: trumpet, flugelhorn; Justo Almario: tenor saxophone (1); Carl Randall: tenor
saxophone; Robert Rose: baritone saxophone; John Rangel: piano; Bill Markus: bass; DJ
Bonebrake: vibes (5-7); Kenny Elliott: drums; Munyungo Jackson (1,4), Antoine Lavito
Dearborn (3), Inocente Alvarez (7): congas; Probyn Gregory, thermin, tannerin (6).
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.