Nimbus West reached into the vault for Sharps and Flats to pull out sessions by Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra leader, composer, and reedist Jesse Sharps. The program features six tracks with quintet recorded in '85, followed by a warm chunk of '79 PAPA playing a Sharps composition live. The music is rich and urbane, unafraid of appealing melodies and varying time signatures.
Opening with "The Goat and the Ramjam, snaky bass and a light piña colada piano from Nate Morgan set the stage for Steve Smith and Sharps' scaling the arrangement veering in mood from sunny to exotic. Burnette rings the changes joyfully, Morgan's lyrical side goes for a ride preceding Sharps' solo, itself swinging between sweet and scorching. A gutsy baritone leads the charge on the insistent "Question, Morgan's chords hitting like distant thunder. Smith simmers and burns, Sharps sculpts craggy lines. Morgan plays a whirlwind break with minor Tynerisms, Carl Burnette hitting for melody and beat.
Burnette sets a brisk pace to open "Mike's Tune, and all players keep the pedal to the floor. Smith takes the first plunge, followed by Sharps, flying on soprano. Morgan lays out some trademark agility, followed by Ector's double-jointed bass run. Horace Tapscott takes over the piano stool on "As a Child, a slower piece with a wistful minor. Tapscott steals the take with a solo that includes smears and spidery articulation. Sharps spreads buttery soprano before taking it to the outro. Tapscott's inventive pianistics dominate McKowsky's First Fifth. Adele Sebastian plays an extended interlude on flute, and Tapscott returns with more ideas.
Nimbus West owns an archive of recordings by musicians that traveled in the orbit of the Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra. Their releases capture rarely recorded tributaries of the Los Angeles jazz stream.
Track Listing: The Goat and the Ramjam; Question; Macrame; Mike's Tune; As a Child; Carnival; McKowsky's First
Personnel: Jesse Sharps Quintet-Jesse Sharps reeds; Nate Morgan, piano; Steve Smith, trumpet; Joel Ector, bass;
Carl Burnette, drums
Pan Afrikan Peoples Orchestra-Aubry Hart, flute; Adele Sebastian, flute; Billie Harris, soprano
saxophone; Sabia Mateen, tenor saxophone; John Williams, baritone saxophone; David Bryant, bass;
Alan Hines, bass; Everett Brown, Jr., drums; Horace Tapscott, piano.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!