Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Don Ellis Orchestra - Electric Bath

An album that made headlines in its day and is virtually forgotten now. It came out in 1967, and truly stood out, even among the torrent of new, exciting, far-out music that was gushing forth in the late 60s. It earned top marks from many critics, a Grammy, and an "Album of the Year" from Down Beat magazine. It won fans both among the older jazzhead hipsters and the young rock crowd; many Amazon reviews start out with "I was fifteen in 1967, when I first heard this album".
Liner notes: Conceive, if you can, an aural collage created by the Beatles, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ravi Shankar and Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz. And then, imagine that creation churning through the high-powered talents of twenty-one young musicians, like a rumble before you open the door of a blast furnace.
The description may seem bloated, but is, in fact, quite true: the album combines many interests of the leader, trumpeter Don Ellis - free improv, indian music, odd time signatures, electronic effects, unusual instrumentation (like, for instance, three bass players and an array of percussion), and high-energy arena-rock-sized playing. All of these elements are fused into a coherent whole and applied to a set of tunes that, despite the avantgarde leanings and all the cerebrailty, retain enough pop edge for the radio. It's got something for everyone. The reviewers uniformly pronounce this album to be the music of the future. Now that the future is here, why is it so obscure? I don't understand.

Don Ellis Orchestra - Electric Bath
192kbps, 70mb on zippyshare or uloz.to
1. Indian Lady
2. Alone
3. Turkish Bath
4. Open Beauty
5. New Horizons
6. Turkish Bath (Single)
7. Indian Lady (Single)

Monday, January 12, 2009

John Surman - John Surman (Anglo-Sax)

A recent discovery: first album by a prominent british baritone saxophonist John Surman. Side B is a three-part suite by Surman and a large ensemble, strongly influenced by free-jazz. The reason I am posting this, though, is Side A, which is completely different: a small combo, with a pan player, is playing jazz covers of calypsos Obeah Wedding (Mighty Sparrow), My Pussin (Lord Kitch), Don't Stop The Carnival (which is here credited to Sonny Rollins, who, indeed, introduced it to jazz, but really is a traditional tune), and what I assume is an original by the piano player Russel Henderson, Good Times Will Come Again. This is calypso-jazz of the highest grade, highly recommended for the fans of caribbean music and for those interested in the jazz-ethno hybrids.
In UK this came out as John Surman, US edition was titled Anglo-Sax.

John Surman - John Surman
REUP: 320kbps, 105mb on 4shared
A1. Obeah Wedding
A2. My Pussin
A3. Good Times Will Come Again
A4. Carnival
B1. Incantation
B2. Episode
B3. Dance