In the summer of 2016 I lived in Ibiza. I played 50 sunsets on the Spanish island and across the Mediterranean in Italy. When the season was over, reflecting on this busy time, I decided that my favourite place wasn’t so much one physical place, it was more a feeling that occurred at a certain time of day. My favourite place was anywhere, just before sunset, especially if there was a clear view of the sun setting into the sea.
For the second straight time (and for his second Astor Place release), pianist Cedar Walton sticks to his own compositions for this recording. What is different from his debut on the label is that, in this case, many of the songs have been around awhile, including his classic, "Boliva," "When Love Is New" and "Mode for Joe." Walton and his trio (bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lewis Nash) are joined by a five-man horn section (which includes trumpeter Don Sickler), percussionist Ray Mantilla and, on three songs apiece, a featured guest: tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and/or guitarist Mark Whitfield. Everyone plays up to par (Redman, in particular, is in fine form), and overall, this is a solid, modern hard bop date that reaches its potential.
It's hard to pick a favorite Curtis Mayfield album, and my judgment is surely clouded by the fact that this album was under-celebrated at the time and still often overlooked. But as speaking objectively as I can, this is surely Mayfield at the top of his game. And possibly my favorite album. Clive Anderson's liner notes on this Charly reissue may be a bit pretentious, opening up with a citation from Wordsworth, but they do pretty much nail the album and do it justice. The album is like an extended meditation on the American underclass, and particularly the despair in the Black communities in the mid-70s.
1100 Bel Air Place was designed as Julio Iglesias' breakthrough to the American audience, finding the Latin superstar recording with producer Richard Perry – the architect behind blockbusters by Barbra Streisand, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson – and duetting with such established American superstars as Diana Ross, Stan Getz, the Beach Boys and Willie Nelson…
A lost chapter of genius from vibes player Billy Wooten – and a great one too! The set's a rare outing with Hammond giant Groove Holmes – laid out nicely here in a quartet setting that offers up plenty of Billy's great vibes mixed with the organ – in a mode that's very different than anything else Wooten ever recorded, and which really takes us back to the best soul jazz years of 60s Prestige Records! The group also features great tenor from Jimmy Coe – a player we don't really know at all – and drums from Jozell Carter, who works nicely with the rhythms from Holmes' work on the Hammond. Titles include "Blue Bossa", "Bags", "Groove's Blues", "It's A Groove Thing", and "I Remember April."
The second (and arguably most fully realized) album from Texas psychedelic band Fever Tree, Another Time, Another Place owes less to the sound of roots-based contemporaries like the 13th Floor Elevators, Moving Sidewalks, or the Sir Douglas Quintet and more to heavier West Coast acid rock. One of the most underrated '60s psych bands, Fever Tree comes off like a coincidental midnight meeting of Jim Morrison, Steppenwolf, Jefferson Airplane, Iron Butterfly, and Jimi Hendrix at the tail end of a drug and whiskey binge…
Reissue with the latest 2015 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Not J.J. Johnson's initial public offering by any means, First Place was done with only a quartet in 1957 for Columbia Records, where other efforts by the legendary jazz trombonist were set in a larger ensemble format. Long out of print, this is now on CD with bonus tracks from 1954 featuring Charles Mingus. Playing standards and originals, Johnson assembled a mighty band with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, and especially on-fire drummer Max Roach, a group you'd be hard-pressed to top.