Woody Shaw: Ichi-Ban (1976) Timeless (and Master of Jazz Quiz)


Selection 1: Brothers and Sisters (Tex Allen)


Modal-funk, no less. What do the DJ Jazz Collective make of this?

Selection 2: Moontrane (Shaw)


Woody Shaw’s classic composition, one of the instantly recognisable great tunes of modern jazz (I’ll ask you to name a few others later) . It gets another spin around the LJC block.


Stafford James (bass) Louis Hayes (drums) Guilherme Franco (percussion) Ronnie Mathews (piano) Junior Cook (tenor saxophone) Woody Shaw (trumpet) recorded at Generation Sound Studio, NYC, May 5, 1976 engineer Tony May


 Ichiban (一番?) means ‘first’ in Japanese, the -ban extending the Japanese number “1” . Not a lot of people know that, apart from our friends in Tokyo.  Why a Japanese title? Well, why not?

The Cook-Hayes band with Woody Shaw brought together three alumni of the Horace Silver Quintet in a short-lived funky-modal bop unit in the mid ’70s. The addition of hard-swinging Ronnie Mathews piano and the less-well known Stafford James high-energy propulsion on bass adds up to a distinctive post-bop jazzy-groove outing.

“Brothers and Sisters” is an exuberant groove, whose snappy Latin pulse teases exciting solos from the front line, while Stafford James  bubbling bopping ostinatos keep the pace fast moving.

LJC-DunceOn first hearing I was in two minds about that bass, and initially, I hated it. The bass is… “pom” or in this case, “pom pom pom pom pom” and I was convinced it was electric bass, which is how it sounded to me, but apparently musician’s opinion is that it is an upright bass fitted with a pickup.  After a while  I decided it was trying to do something different, more percussive jazz fusion,  it grew on me, a reminder of Jaco Pastorious style, which is maybe what the recording engineer was thinking of, 1976, Weather Report, Black Market. Apples and Oranges.

Engineer Tony May recorded some work for Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman label and for Muse, so there are connections here. Wim Wigt Productions has a large catalogue of jazz, but it is slightly let down by the pressing, given the lovely sonic quality of Muse NY pressings. Holland, home of Philips. I might be tempted to go for the later 1979 NY release.

Vinyl: Timeless SJP 102, Netherlands

1976 original Dutch release, which went on to be reissued a few years later on the Timeless Muse label, a partnership between the NY Muse label and Dutch Timeless label, with the American release enjoying a more thematic cover: samurai-jazz .


The Dutch graphic design would have worked better as a gatefold, which it was probably intended to be, so I have “helped them out” with a little Photoshop trickery:


You also better pick up the “First” cue as the record title inches ahead of the running lanes/artists names either side. Neat, huh? Those Dutch fellas! Hey no thanks, just tobacco in mine. Now, where did I park my bike?



Collectors Corner

Classic jazz compositions are ones that you can identify within the first few notes, and Moontrane is definitely up with them.

I recall a TV panel game where people were given each of the first few notes and the one who guessed the tune first within the fewest notes won the point. It was either pop songs or classical, but I thought it would be nice to have a jazz quiz on the same lines. And as its my blog, it’s my call.

So You Think You Know Your Jazz?

Professor Jazz

Professor Jazz

Five samples, varying from two to four seconds, can you guess the tune, the artist and the album? In the event of a tie, the tie breaker – winner will be the first to also recall  the  matrix code – from memory

These are easy. If you like it, the next run will be more difficult!

Fiendish, eh?











Be awarded a Master-of-Jazz diploma: Submit your answers, in the same Sample  order. All entries automatically qualify for a MoJa,  Master of Jazz award. Get your MoJa workin’.

Note: as a Liberal Progressive site, cheating is positively encouraged.  Collusion,  copying an pasting other people’s answers (best journalistic practice) even sneak out to check the albums on your shelf, all shall win prizes.

You might want to suggest other some jazz anthems for future quiz? A tune recognisable from just its first few notes.




27 thoughts on “Woody Shaw: Ichi-Ban (1976) Timeless (and Master of Jazz Quiz)

  1. This is the same group on Dexter Gordon’s “Homecoming”, less Junior Cook. A recall a similar bass sound on that record. Regardless of the bass sound, these are excellent recording sessions with great band. I am also quite fond of Louis Hayes’ 1979 recording, “Variety is the Spice”.

  2. In the seventies the electric pick up was used instead the near-field microphone. I do prefer the old way of capuring the bass air-feeling. The results of this “new” technology are this “without bum bum soul sounds”
    Best regards
    Pierluigi piergj154 an ex-bassist

          • I’m a bass player as well and I’d say that is the pickup on an upright recorded direct with little or no mic. This was common during that era–think 70’s Ron Carter/CTI, even more straight ahead stuff like this. I often hear it on live recordings as well–there was no mic–just the “pickup/bass amp sound” going to the board/PA. Fortunately, favoring the pickup tone fell out of fashion in the 80’s.

            • i hadn’t even thought of that! it’s very uncommon these days and only one guy i ever knew did this any consistency. i only do it if i’m playing more funky stuff, which i don’t do too often. although, i would argue that modern pickups and amps make it pretty tough to distinguish the sound, though. on these recordings, you can tell that something is different, but it’s tough to say what.

              • Exactly–It’s much less common today for studio recording. If used at all, it would be more subtly and mixed with mic(s). There are certain situations–like pop or funk, or just a more dense mix–where a little more pickup tone could be used, but it would usually sound more natural than this.

                Check out some other 70’s stuff by people like Ron Carter and Buster Williams and you’ll hear more. We probably all have LPs from this era with similar bass tones.

  3. taking shots at liberal progressives, eh? naughty, naughty.

    being not as big a lover of blue train as the rest of you, i recognized it, but know not the track title.

    i also got pork pie hat, but am at a loss to say which of the there versions it is, same with monk’s straight no chaser. kind of blue (“so what”) is missing some bass in the beginning! and the only one i’m unsure of is possibly miles doing round about midnight?

    and i didn’t even do any liberal progressive cheating, like i’m apparently so won’t to do.

    now to submit and see how i did.

  4. Allmusic doesn’t have this listed as a Woody Shaw album, they suggest he is sideman to the Louis Haynes-Junior Cook Quintet. Some sideman. Some music.

  5. Another labour of love. As regards the sample of BROTHERS AND SISTERS… Hmm, I’m not sure. The bass is a bit pom-pom-pom, as you say, and personally I find the trumpet a bit too hot, a bit – what? – histrionic. I’m going through a phase at the moment — only the coolest and least showy and most restrained of trumpet playing hits the spot.

  6. you ask for suggestions with a “first few notes” That’s why I keep on searching for any occasion where Miles played – and recorded – round midnight without intro……I must admit I didn’t find it.
    but themes speak louder than intro’s perhaps?

    • Given that LJC seemed to have been picking his selections from iconic albums, I was very sure “Round Midnight” must be from the Columbia album, and it was. But honestly, it might have been from Prestige 7150 as well, and I didn’t even try to painstakingly compare both versions. I’m not saying 7150 is any less iconic, but it is not iconic because of its version of RM.

  7. If you had emailed me direct LJC, I would have knocked the answers back to you in under a minute! Strange to say, on “Pork Pie Hat” I instantly thought of Joni Mitchell and then back to Mingus – words speak louder than notes perhaps?

  8. 1 Blue Train
    2 Mingus Pork Pie Hat
    3 Miles Round Midnight
    4 Monk Straight No Chaser
    5 Miles So What
    So what? (Of course I know the matrix numbers…)

      • on kind of blue there are two bass notes befor these three piano seconds………….on sample five there’s only half a bass note……….but of course, so what?

        • Well spotted heup1! This was the only sample where I dug deeper for the headline statement of the tune rather than the hanging opening seconds. You found me out, a Master of Jazz indeed.

          Easter-egg, hidden prize, you get to date the Jazz College prom queen (if you have a suitable sports car, of course, and a quarterback physique. These chicks don’t put out for just anyone)

          • you make my night! 66 years I waited for her…..first thing in the morning I’ll get my old Thunderbird with the electric chairs (that can fold out all flat) out of the haystack

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s