everybodydigs#39 Etta Jones – Don’t Go To Strangers

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

Don’t Go to Strangers was Etta Jones’ first album for the independent jazz label Prestige when it was released in 1960 (having been recorded in a single session on June 21 of that year), and although Jones had been releasing records since 1944, including a dozen sides for RCA in 1946 and an album for King Records in 1957, she was treated as an overnight sensation when the title tune from the album went gold, hitting the Top 40 on the pop charts and reaching number five on the R&B charts. An elegant ballad on an album that had several of them, including the masterful “If I Had You” and a marvelous reading of “All the Way,” a song usually identified with Frank Sinatra, “Don’t Go to Strangers” featured Jones’ airy, bluesy phrasing and uncanny sense of spacing, and was very much a jazz performance, making its success on the pop charts all the more amazing. Listen to Jones’ restructuring of the melody to the opening track, the old chestnut “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby,” to hear a gifted jazz singer sliding and shifting the tone center of a song like a veteran horn player, all the while leaving the melody still recognizable, but refreshing it until it stands revealed anew. Apparently there were no additional tracks cut at the session, since bonus material has never surfaced on any of the album’s subsequent reissues, although that’s hardly a problem, because as is, Don’t Go to Strangers is a perfect gem of a recording. ~ Steve Leggett

Personnel: Etta Jones (vocals); Etta Jones; George Duvivier (upright bass); Skeeter Best (guitar); Frank Wess (flute, tenor saxophone); Richard Wyands (piano); Roy Haynes (drums).

Rappamelo’s favorite track:

everybodydigs#38 Jaco Pastorius – Jaco Pastorius

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

With one album, this self-titled first release, bass phenomenon Jaco Pastorius was catapulted into the position of the greatest electric bass player that ever lived. Officially discovered by Blood, Sweat & Tears drummer Bobby Colomby, Jaco’s revolutionary use of the bass as a solo instrument made him one of the most compelling instrumentalists of the electric era. Indeed, this record marked a turning point in the history of music–from the period before Jaco Pastorius and the period since.

Personnel includes: Jaco Pastorius (bass); Sam Moore, Dave Prater (vocals); Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone); David Sanborn (alto saxophone); Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone); Howard Johnson (baritone saxophone); Randy Brecker (trumpet); Peter Graves (bass trombone); Peter Gordon (French horn); Hubert Laws (piccolo); Max Pollikoff, Arnold Black (violin); Julian Barber, Al Brown (viola); Kermit Moore, Beverly Lauridsen (cello); Herbie Hancock (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, keyboards); Alex Darqui (Fender Rhodes piano); Homer Mensch (acoustic bass); Narada Michael Walden, Lenny White, Bobby Economou (drums); Othello Molineaux, Leroy Williams (steel drums); Don Alias (bongos, congas, bells, okonko y iya, afuche, percussion).

Rappamelo’s favorite track:

everybodydigs#37 Charles Mingus – Pithecanthropus Erectus

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

One of the great figures in modern jazz, bassist Charles Mingus was the ultimate triple threat: a master of his instrument, a jazz composer of the first rank, and an insightful leader of a series of extraordinary and incendiary bands. Raised in Los Angeles, Mingus was a devotee of Duke Ellington, whose compositional style had an unsurpassed effect on the young composer. As a player, however, Mingus was drawn to his contemporaries, who included Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, and Max Roach (indeed, Roach and Mingus co-owned their own Debut Records during the ’50s). Perhaps his greatest contribution was bridging the gap between those two generations: in Mingus’s music, one could always explicitly hear the continuity between the big bands and the bebop era, the affinity between the romantic and the modern. Although he had recorded extensively for numerous labels including his own Debut Records, Mingus’s relationship with Atlantic would yield many of his greatest recordings. Cut in 1956, Pithecanthropus Erectus was his first date for the label, and it provided something of a breakthrough for Mingus in his use of extended compositions: the 10-minute title track, and the lovely “Profile of Jackie,” are among the bassist’s finest recordings. The band is notable for the inclusion of the under-recorded tenor saxophonist J.R. Monterose.

Personnel: Charles Mingus (acoustic bass); Jackie McLean (alto saxophone); J.R. Montrose (tenor saxophone); Mal Waldron (piano); Willie Jones (drums).

Rappamelo’s favorite track:

everybodydigs#36 The Gil Evans Orchestra – Out of the Cool

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

A much admired and loved man, of all the many brilliant orchestration projects this was his finest in his own right. He teases us with the opening of ‘La Nevada’ until the gorgeous repeated four-bar riff finally bursts on our ears with orgasmic delight. There are wonderful brass solos from John Coles, Tony Studd and Budd Johnson and a bass showcase for Ron Carter. As the opening track peters out after 15 minutes the listener enjoys the smug realization that there are a further four outstanding pieces to come.

Gil Evans Orchestra: Gil Evans (arranger, conductor, piano); Budd Johnson (soprano & tenor saxophones); Eddie Caine, Ray Beckenstein (alto saxophone, flute, piccolo); Johnny Coles, Phil Sunkel (trumpet); Keg Johnson, Jimmy Knepper (trombone); Tony Studd (bass trombone); Bill Barber (tuba); Bob Tricarico (flute, piccolo, bassoon); Ray Crawford (guitar); Ron Carter (bass); Charlie Persip, Elvin Jones (drums, percussion).

Rappamelo’s favorite track:

everybodydigs#35 Hubert Laws – Morning Star

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

Flutist Hubert Laws is joined by a large string orchestra on this set, which was arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky. Keyboardist Bob James is in the supporting cast, and some unnecessary background vocalists (including Debra and Eloise Laws) are employed on some of the numbers, but the focus is mostly on Laws’ brilliant and appealing flute. Highlights include “Let Her Go,” “Where Is the Love,” and, particularly, “Amazing Grace.” The results are pleasing, if not quite essential.

Personnel: Hubert Laws (flute, alto flute, piccolo); Debra Laws, Eloise Laws, Lani Groves, Tasha Thomas (vocals); John Tropea (guitar); Gloria Agostini (harp); Elliot Rosoff, David Nadien, Gene Orloff, Irving Spice, Harry Cykman, Max Ellen, Paul Gershman, Emanuel Green, Harry Lookofsky (violin); Lucien Schmit, George Koutzen, Charles McCracken (cello); Romeo Penque (flute, alto flute, piccolo, English horn); Phil Bodner (flute, alto flute, clarinet); Jack Knitzer (bassoon); Alan Rubin, Marvin Stamm (trumpet, flugelhorn); James Buffington (French horn); Garnett Brown (trombone); Bob James (electric piano); Dave Friedman (vibraphone, percussion); Billy Cobham (drums); Ralph MacDonald (percussion)

Rappamelo’s favorite track:

everybodydigs#34 Chet Baker & Art Pepper – Playboys

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

These Halloween 1956 sides originally appeared as Playboys in 1961 on Pacific Jazz. Myth and rumor persist that, under legal advice from the publisher of a similarly named magazine, the collection would have to be retitled. When the CD version of the same material was issued in the early ’90s, it had been accurately christened Picture of Heath — as more than half of the tracks are Jimmy Heath compositions. Since then, a CD version sporting the original provocative ’50s pinup cover and the name Playboys has also surfaced. Regardless of title, however, the music is the absolute same. These are the third sessions to feature the dynamic duo of Art Pepper (alto sax) and Chet Baker (trumpet). Their other two meetings had produced unequivocal successes. The first was during a brief July 1956 session at the Forum Theater in L.A. Baker joined forces with Pepper’s sextet, ultimately netting material for the disc Route. Exactly three months to the day later, Pepper and Baker reconvened to record tracks for the Chet Baker Big Band album. The quartet supporting Baker and Pepper on Playboys includes Curtis Counce (bass), Phil Urso (tenor sax), Carl Perkins (piano), and Larance Marable (drums). Baker and Pepper have an instinctual rapport that yields outstanding interplay. The harmony constant throughout the practically inseparable lines that Baker weaves with Pepper drives the bop throughout the slinky “For Minors Only.” The soloists take subtle cues directly off each other, with considerable contributions from Perkins, Counce, and Marable. With the notorious track record both Baker and Pepper had regarding other decidedly less successful duets, it is unfortunate that more recordings do not exist that captured their special bond. These thoroughly enjoyable and often high-energy sides are perfect for bop connoisseurs as well as mainstream jazz listeners.

Personnel: Chet Baker (trumpet); Art Pepper (alto saxophone); Phil Urso (tenor saxophone); Carl Perkins (piano); Larance Marable (drums).

Rappamelo’s favorite track:

everybodydigs#33 Ennio Morricone – Le Foto Proibite Di Una Signora Per Bene

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

Ennio Morricone composed hundreds of original soundtracks for this style of low-budget thriller. The original soundtrack for this obscure Italian thriller from 1970 prominently features the voice of Edda Dell’Orso, who cropped up frequently in Morricone’s work during this period. Additionally, the Canori Moderni vocal ensemble features heavily in the evocative soundtrack. Most striking is the manner in which the composer uses repetition in an almost minimalist fashion. The unusual orchestrations of his work, which would later become a signature of his soundtrack compositions, are strikingly evident here. ~ Skip Jansen.

Rappamelo’s favorite track: