...this blog captures in order the albums as I pull these gems off the shelf and groove to them .....

Monday, June 16, 2014

Stevie wonder - Innervisions (1973)

Stevie wonder - Innervisions 

  Following 1972's hugely successful "Talking Book" is a tall order and it is here that Stevie Wonder does the unexpected!   Instead of recording another of strong pop song Stevie turned his attention to making an album of social refute!  "Innervisions" lyrically deals with drugs, violence, prostitution and many of the elements of scoial discord all wrapped around some great songs.  

  This is really a concept album at its heart with a very urban subject matter !  

Stevie covers a nice wide spectrum of moods from pure soul to funk to ballads to synth pop with some great vocals and instrumentation!

My favourite Wonder tune is the hugely harmonic and melodic "He's Misstra know-it-all".

 Motown never sounded so groovy!

A work of art !

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Milt Jackson - Sunflower (1972)

Milt Jackson - Sunflower 

  "Sunflower" is one of the great jazz albums IMHO of our time........the perfect mix of jazz, exploration and progressive elements.   Milt Jackson was of course a vibraphonist and is joined by a huge cast of jazz greats including Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter and Billy Cobham.

  Sunflower was released in 1972 on Creed Taylor's CTI jazz label and stands as one of the best for Milt's career!   The album is made up of 4 longer songs and each one is a thing of beauty!

If you love the vibes then this is your album for sure!  Milt gets to windout with some cool controlled  improvisation.   The tune "People Make The World Go Round" is a funk jazz 9:00 minute masterpiece. 

Here is what Dusty Groove says about this album :  "Proof that Milt Jackson was easily the hippest member of the Modern Jazz Quartet – and one of the few who could really open up into different sounds away from that combo! This sweet 70s set for CTI is totally great – a whole new chapter for Jackson's vibes, and a real re-setting of the soulful modes he'd explored as a leader in the 60s. There's a wonderfully warm and chromatic feel to the set from the start – as Milt's vibes are set in fuller arrangements from Don Sebesky – with added instrumentation from Herbie Hancock on electric piano, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Phil Bodner on reeds. The highlight of the album is a nice long take on "People Make The World Go Round", but it's all pretty sweet, and other titles include nice versions of "Sunflower" and "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life" – and Jackson's own "SKJ" and "For Someone I Love"

Peggy Lee - Guitars ala Lee (1966)

Peggy Lee - Guitars ala Lee 

"Guitars ala Lee" was the second album released by Peggy Lee on her rebound take with Capitol Records.   Although the album does feature lots of fine guitars is also is filled with woodwinds, strings, bass and drums.

  This album contains a nice mix of songs ranging from pop to lullabys to Big Band genres all caressed by the soft vocals of Peggy Lee who I adore!   

. "Nice 'n' Easy" plays ode to Sinatra with a swing or two in there while on "Good Times," turns to the blues.  Billy May's "Call Me" and "Good Times" absoluetly sizzle wiith a huge Big  Band soundscape.

  My personal favourite track is the little unassuming track "Think Beautiful" which I think Peggy Lee nails !

Friday, June 13, 2014

Buddy Rich - Big Band Shout (1956)

Buddy Rich - Big Band Shout 

  The cover reads "electronically engineered for stereo effect" which always makes me a bit nervous........but in thid case the sound engineers did a pretty good job in stereo'ing this mono recording using state of the art equipment (circa 1956).

  Here Buddy Rich is joined by a great cast of musicians to create a BIG Band sound that never seems to stop.  "Jumpin at the Woodside" has a great drum solo that never seems to even take a breath.

  The sound IS actually reminiscent of Count Basie and his band with that special Buddy Rich touch!

Here is what Dusty Groove says:  A lively little set done strongly in a Basie mode – as you might guess from the title! Buddy's on drums, but the real maestro here is Marty Paich – who handled the arrangements, and most likely brought together the batch of west coast jazzers who inhabit the group – including Pete Condoli on trumpet, Frank Rosolino on trombone, Bob Enevoldsen on valve trombone, Bob Cooper on tenor, Buddy Collette on flute and baritone, and Jimmy Rowles on piano. The set's less Buddy-like than it is Marty-ish – and the grooves here have that very fluid Paich approach throughout – but recast slightly to reflect the strong Basie/
Hefti groove of the 50s. Titles include "Shorty George", "Ain't It The Truth", "9:20 Special", "Jump For Me", "Blues For Basie", and "Blue & Sentimental".

B.T. Express - Non-Stop (1975)

B.T. Express - Non-Stop 

  "Non-Stop" was the second album released by Brooklyn's disco funk masters "B.T. Express"!

This seven piece band really....really....really sound like the mid 70's disco-funk thing......with stringed backdrops and tons of rich groovin jams and beats.  This album tis' the happenin' thing man!!!

Lead vocalist Barbara Joyce has an amazing range and sounds great behind this backdrop of disco balls and purple flood pants.     My favourite song is the totally funk-a-fried " Discotizer" with is huge disco panoramic  soundscape.

Musically they sound like "War" meets "Boney M"

Monday, June 9, 2014

Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973)

Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans 

  When I was a young kiddy boo boo i fell under the spell of the music of YES.......the YES album.......Going For The One, Close To The Edge, Relayer, Drama.........and Tales From Topographic Oceans..........and my life was complete!!!!

  I used to listen to this album going to work in my Dodge Dart with my portable cassette machine strapped in the back cranking out these tunes!!!!

  Four epic long tracks with that creative progressive classic rock touch all the way through.....simply breathtaking music!

  Rick Wakeman, Chris White, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and the angelic voice of Jon Anderson!   By 1973 the progressive movement was well underway and this double album ushered in the two vinyl magnum opus thing !

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Buddy Miles - We Got To Live Together (1970)

Buddy Miles - We Got To Live Together 

  Released the same year as the classic vintage album "Them Changes" , " We Got To Live Together" was kind of a outshadowed beast.  However, behind this shroud is another fantastic album with some superb instrumentation and funk rock songs.  

This album features the standout drums and vocals by Buddy with a huge cast of top musicians and a big brass arsenal in support.    You can not listen to this album without stomping your toes and groovin to these guys.   

   A couple of moments to highlite ........."Easy Greasy" a five minute funked out psychfest with that early Chicago brass pumps and honks and the 12 minute title track "We Got To Live Together" with it's addictive hook and soul-funk grooves!

  My only complaint about this album is that it is super short clocking in around 30 mins.

During the recording of this album Buddy learned of the death of his bandmate Jimi Hendrix.