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.
On 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?
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?
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!
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.