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Drummer and Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen returns to his jazz roots for his first full-length Blue Note album, following the EP A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. The Art Blakey arrangements married hard bop with an Afrobeat rhythmic sensibility: here the same approach is taken with original material (most of it composed and arranged by Allen and saxophonist Yann Jankielewicz). It's a big sound: a rhythm section with drums, bass, keyboards and guitar joined by five horns.
There's a bit more Afrobeat feel to these arrangements, especially on the tracks with Cameroonian guitarist Indy Dibongue playing rhythm guitar. "Cruising" demonstrates this approach: it begins with a bass riff, joined by guitar, then piano (and of course the full drum kit). The horns come in full force, followed by the winds and brass playing a call and response pattern. It has the sound of a little big band. "On Fire" is built on a walking bass riff (again rock-solid playing by bassist Mathias Allamane), with a hard bop head. It's definitely a jazz tune, and elicits a jagged piano solo from Jean-Philippe Dary and a strong trumpet solo from Nicolas Giraud.
Dibongue gets a guitar solo on "Tony's Blues" (although it's still pretty rhythmic). "Push and Pull" has a contrapuntal horn introduction, showing that the horns are more than just an afterthought to the grooves. The closer "Life Is Beautiful" functions as the ballad of the set. It features Remi Sciuto's flute, and a guest clavinet solo from producer Vincent Taurelle (notable for using the instrument for something other than funk). African and French musicians playing American jazz, recorded on analog tape: this is fusion of a special kind.
Track Listing: 1-Moody Boy 6:34
2-Bad Roads 5:48
4-On Fire 6:17
5-Woro Dance 6:38
6-Tony's Blues 5:00
7-Wolf Eats Wolf 5:36
8-Cool Cats 4:23
9-Push and Pull 5:56
11-Life Is Beautiful 6:26
Personnel: Tony Allen : Drums
Mathias Allamane : Bass
Indy Dibongue : Guitar
Jean-Philippe Dary : Piano and Organ
Yann Jankielewicz : Soprano Sax
Nicolas Giraud : Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Jean-Jacques Elangue : Tenor Sax
Remi Sciuto : Baritone Sax, Alto Sax and Flute
Daniel Zimmermann : Trombone and Tuba
Damon Albarn : Piano on « Cool Cats »
Vincent Taurelle : Clavinet on « Life is Beautifull »
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!