Koch Jazz is beginning to release a good bit of the old Vee Jay catalog. Preceding this release was Bill Henderson's His Complete Vee Jay Recordings (Koch Jazz). Now it appears that Koch Jazz is to compete with the recent Mosaic box highlighting Wayne Shorter ( The Complete Vee Jay Lee Morgan - Wayne Shorter Sessions Mosaic 202). What is good about this is the Mosaic Box will not be around forever. It would be nice if the label releases Shorter's other Vee Jay releases ( Wayning Moments has already been released). Introducing Wayne Shorter, also released as Blues A La Carte, was Shorter's first release as a leader and shows off the saxophonist's considerable talent shortly before he joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
The disc contains five fine Shorter originals and a swinging version of "Mack the Knife." There are several alternate takes provided on this recording. Shorter is joined by perhaps the finest rhythm section that did not include Philly Joe Jones and Red Garland. Included are Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Cobb, joined by Paul Chambers. Sharing the front with Shorter is Lee Morgan, a Hard Bop standard bearer fitting to kick off this great career. This is rarified music that is immediately enjoyable. It illuminates the sheer talent and genius of Wayne Shorter, even so early in his playing career. He is definitely a tenor for our time.
Track Listing: Blues A La Carte; Harry's Last Stand; Down In The Depths; Pug Nose; Black Diamond; Mack The Knife; Blues A La Carte (Alt); Harry's Last Stand (Alt); Down In The Depths (Alt); Black Diamond (Alt) (Total Time: 53:44).
Personnel: Wayne Shorter: Tenor Saxophone; Lee Morgan: Trumpet; Wynton Kelly: Piano; Paul Chambers: Bass; Jimmy Cobb: Drums.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.