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The Soulful Strings - The magic of Christmas

December 23rd, 2012

The Soulful Strings - The Magic of ChristmasTHE SOULFUL STRINGS

  • The magic of Christmas
  • Cadet Records
  • 1968
  • USA

Let’s start with Richard Evans. This 1976 deceased producer, arranger, bassist and songwriter was one of the key figures behind Cadet records in the 1960s. During his relatively short career he produced and arranged plenty of big names such as Marlena Shaw, Terry Callier, Dorothy Ashby and Woody Herman to name a few. Despite the wide range of music he produced, he is however best known for is his own band The Soulful Strings, and particularly his masterpiece of a song “Burning spear”, later covered by S.O.U.L., Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell and many others. The whole idea behind The Soulful Strings was to answer to the growing “beautiful music” boom that rose during the 1960s. Together with some pretty famous musicians of the time - Charles Stepney (vibraphone, organ), Billy Wooten (vibraphone), Phil Upchurch (guitar), Cash McCall (guitar) Cleveland Eaton (bass), Lennie Druss (flute) and Morris Jennings Jr. (drums) among others - they recorded seven albums in six years. Although the music was quite close to the easy listening stuff, it was still very different. The heavy feel of funky jazz was always there with their music.

One of the seven albums released was called The magic of Christmas. It was released in 1968 and as you can tell by the name, it was filled with covers of traditional Christmas standards. While half of the tracks are very mellow and occasionally hava a quite strong easy listening feel in them, there’s several funky and groovy takes too. The opening track “The little drummer boy” for example. It’s a track that for some reason is playing in my head every Christmas, but still I like it. And the version on this album is among the best released. The version of “Santa Claus is coming to town” is a pretty good one too. The cover of “Sleigh ride” has a nice funky beat in it and the “Jingle bells” take even has a fat break in the beginning. The last track “Parade of the wooden soldiers” is worth to mention as well. Along the Joulusoitto album by Esko Linnavalli, The magic of Christmas is clearly one of the best “traditional” Christmas albums ever made.


The little drummer boy


Santa Claus is coming to town


Sleigh Ride


Jingle bells


Parade of the wooden soldiers

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 20.00, filed under christmas, jazz, north america | No Comments »

Jimmy Takeuchi - White X’mas

December 22nd, 2012

Jimmy Takeuchi - White X'masJIMMY TAKEUCHI

  • White X’mas
  • Toshiba Records
  • 1970
  • Japan

1930 born Jimmy Takeuchi (real name Wasaburo Takeuchi, ジミー竹内) is no doubt one of the best known and most loved jazz drummers in Japan. In fact he’s often referred as the image of the jazz drumming in the post-war Japan. He started his drumming career as early as in 1948 and it continued over 50 years until his final retirement in 2002. Although he’s propably best known for his 12 years lasting Drum drum drum series that were usually about the cover versions of contemporary songs, he also played with a whole bunch of Japanese jazz cats including Nobuo Hara, Shigenori O’Hara, Shoji Suzuki, Susumu Watanabe, Yuzuru Sera, George Kawaguchi, Hideo Shiraki and many more. Since 1967 Takeuchi also had his own group called Jimmy Takeuchi & His Exciters.

In 1970 was released the album White X’mas - in the mentioned Drum drum drum series. It’s an album full of traditional Christmas songs with heavy arrangements by Kunihiro Suzuki. There’s tracks that appear on most of the Christmas song albums like “Jingle bells”, “Santa Claus is soming to town”, “White Christmas”, “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer”, “Here comes Santa Claus” and so on. Only this time they are not that traditionally arranged. The album is full of psychedelia, fuzz guitar, wailing organs and heavy drumming with breaks - and still with that certain Jimmy Takeuchi jazz feel. Even though the cover is bit cheesy I can humbly recommend this one to be a part of everyone’s Christmas soundtrack.


Jingle bells


Douce nuit


Joy to the world


Santa Claus is coming to town


Greensleeves


White Christmas


Blue Christmas


Winter wonderland


Auld lang syne

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under asia, christmas, jazz | No Comments »

Geza Vegh och Hans Musiker - Jazzbalettrytmer

August 15th, 2012

Geza Vegh och Hans Musiker - JazzbalettrytmerGEZA VEGH OCH HANS MUSIKER

  • Jazzbalettrytmer
  • TBV
  • 1970s
  • Sweden

There’s not much info about Geza Vegh nor his musicians, but we know that he did at least this one album, Jazzbalettrytmer (jazz ballet rhythms). It’s one of the several jazz ballet albums released in Sweden during the 1970s and 1980s. Since it’s strictly intended for jazz ballet, all the tracks are very danceable although they vary in pace. And they’re danceable not only in jazz ballet studios, but in bboy cyphers too. The monotonic tracks are great in rhythm although they mostly lack all the melodies and horn stabs that the regular funk music have.

Side a starts with a midtempo latin track and is followed by an uptempo drum frenzy one. Next up is two midtempo drum tracks, first jazzy one, then more funky with a good breakbeat and some piano works and then another jazzy one. Then comes a downtempo song before the last track on side a, which is another uptempo breakbeat drum frenzy. Side b opens with clearly the best track on the album. A strong bboy breakbeat track that actually is just one long three and half minute break. It’s followed by another mellow piano driven track and a latin flavored downtempo track. next is another long four minute midtempo drumbreak. then comes yet another piano track before the last track, a two minute jazzy one. There is no track names and it’s also hard to figure out the sides since Jazzbaletrytmer is a whitelabel. There’s BB and CC scratched on the dead wax and that’s how I choose what’s side a and what’s side b. Jazzbaletrytmer is an interesting album and pops up quite scarcely. Pick it up if you can.


A1


A2


A3


A4


A5


A6


A7


B1


B2


B3


B4


B5


B6

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under educational, europe, jazz | No Comments »

Raulzinho & Impacto 8 - International hot

August 9th, 2012

Raulzinho & Impacto 8 - International HotRAULZINHO & IMPACTO 8

  • International hot
  • Equipe
  • 1968
  • Brazil

1934 born Raul De Souza - actually his real name is João José Pereira De Souza - is a well known trombonist from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He started his career in the mid 1950s and has played with many of the key figures in the Brazilian music scene. In the mid 1960s he released his first solo album - using his pseudonym Raulzinho (little Raul) and the second album with his group Impacto 8 was released in 1968. Within his career, Raul De Souza has played with Sergio Mendez, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Milton Nascimento, Sonny Rollins, Cal Tjader among countless others. After spending great share of his career in United States he has returned to his home country Brazil. Not to rest though, as he’s still active composer and trombonist today.

The album starts and ends with the same song, a heavy latin take of Herb Alpert’s “Treasure of San Miguel” here named “Teasuro de Sao Miguel”. It’s very dancefloor friendly with banging breakbeat drums and catchy horns that follow quite strictly the original. The only minus is the length, it’s only one minute and fortyfive seconds long. The second song on side a is a heavy Portuguese version of “Spinning wheel” with nice organ work. Originally recorded by Blood, Sweat & Tears, it’s somehow similar to Doors hit “Light my fire”, almost all the versions are good. Then comes a funky uptempo boogaloo track called “Boogaloo Bill no. 2″ with two very short but really banging breaks that somehow remainds me of the legendary “Amen” break of The Winstons. Next up is the uptempo latin track “Two beat manchild” followed by uptempo breakbeat latin jazz take “Fried bananas” and a nice version of Brenda Holloway’s “You’ve made me so very happy”. B-side opens with heavy organ driven midtempo soul jazz version of Marvin Gaye hit “Mercy Mercy”. It’s followed by a mellow groover “Hello Monalisa”. Next is a heavy downtempo take of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe island”. Then comes another highlight of the album, an uptempo and funky take of “I’ve got the feelin’” with raw vocals of Raul De Souza. Needless to say it’s a very dancefloor friendly with tight breakbeats and catchy horn stabs. Finally comes uptempo “slick” before the replay of “Teasuro de Sao Miguel” ends the album.


Teasuro de Sao Miguel


Spinning wheel


Boogaloo Bill no. 2


Two beat manchild


Fried bananas


You’ve made me so very happy


Mercy Mercy


Hello Monalisa


Cantaloupe island


I’ve got the feelin’


Slick

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under funk, jazz, latin, south america | No Comments »

Merit Hemmingson - Plays

August 3rd, 2012

Merit Hemmingson - PlaysMERIT HEMMINGSON

  • Plays
  • RCA Camden
  • 1968
  • Sweden

In the mid and late 1960s there started to appear soul jazz recordings in Scandinavia. One of those was Merit Hemmingson’s Plays. 1940 born Merit Hemmingson is an organist, composer and arranger from Sweden, who started her career as a jazz pianist. In the early 1960s she had her own jazz group with four black American female jazz artists, the group was called Merit and her Girl Stars and they toured Sweden in the beginning of the 1960s. In the late 1960s she changed the jazz piano to Hammond B3 organ and started to tour with her newly reformed band The Meritones. In 1967 they recorded her first album with that group. Merit Hemmingson is propably better known for her early 1970s folk-funk albums Huvva, Trollskog or Bergtagen but this soul jazz album from 1968 is definitely worth to be brought up.

Album starts strongly with a good midtempo take of Beatles classic “Lady Madonna” followed by the mellow Louis Armstrong standard “What a wonderful world”. Next up are Cliff Richards‘ Eurovision song contest 1968 entry “Congratulations”, Bob Dylan’s “Too much of nothing” and the latin influenced Chico Buarque’s “A banda”. Then comes a midtempo take of the 5th Dimension hit “Up, up and away” followed by a pretty good downtempo version of Tim Hardin’s “If I were a carpenter”. B-side starts with more heat. First up is pretty funky version of Bar-Kays‘ hit “soul finger” followed by Evert Taube’s mellow tune “Så skimrande var aldrig havet”. Next is a another Bob Dylan song, “Mighty Quinn”. I have heard several better versions, but this ain’t that bad either with it’s tight funky drumming and grooving organ. Next is a banging uptempo breakbeat take of Miriam Makeba’s “Pata pata”. For me it’s clearly the best track of the album. Then comes another pretty good track, funky percussive uptempo groover “The letter” originally by The Box Tops. Last two tracks are heavy percussive take of Frankie Valli song “Can’t take my eyes off you” and a groovy take of “La la la”, which is a 1968 Eurovision song contest entry from Spanish singer Massiel.


Lady Madonna


A Banda


Up And Away


If I Were A Carpenter


Soul Finger


Mighty Quinn


Pata Pata


The Letter


Can’t Take My Eyes Off You


La La La

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe | No Comments »

Grupo Irakere - Chekere

July 31st, 2012

Grupo Irakere - ChekereGRUPO IRAKERE

  • Chekere
  • Cuba
  • 1976
  • Finland

1973 formed Irakere is no doubt one of the best known groups that ever came from Cuba and they’re one of the most influental bands too. They created their own style with mixing together almost everything rhythmic they heard; jazz, funk, rock and traditional Cuban rhythms. They were busy with album recordings and even more busy with travelling around the world. They also used to record albums wherever they were performing and that was the case in Finland too. Irakere visited Finland in 1976 to play at the Turku Jazz festival and at the same time they visited the Finnvox Studio in Helsinki to cut an album that was then released on Finnish Love Records‘ Cuban music oriented sublabel Cuba. Otto Donner produced the album by the way. The time they visited Finland they weren’t yet known in the United States and they were playing with their original tight line up with Oscar and Chucho Valdés, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Jorge Alfonso and Enrique Plá among others.

Album starts with one of the best version I have heard of their standard “Chekere son”, a great funky son track with tight start and a nice break. Then comes two mellow tracks “38½” and “En nosotros”. They’re followed by another funky uptempo one, the magnificent studio version of “Juana 1600″. Side b opens with similar sounding uptempo Cuban funk track “Moja el pan”. It’s followed by Chucho Valdes‘ piano track “Este camino largo”. Then comes “Xiomara” that starts with a heavy beat and continue as a groovy midtempo vocal number. Last track is the horn driven Cuban funk track “Illa” with some serious fuzz guitar, heavy percussion work and a sort of a break.


Chekere son


38½


En nosotros


Juana 1600


Moja el pan


Este camino largo


Xiomara


Illa

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under afro-cuban, caribbean, europe | No Comments »

Daniel Salinas - Atlantis

July 22nd, 2012

Daniel Salinas - AtlantisDANIEL SALINAS

  • Atlantis
  • Top Tape
  • 1973
  • Brazil

Daniel Salinas, a pianist, composer, arranger and conductor from Sao Paolo, Brazil, apparently released only two albums in the early 1970s. His debut was an album of Brazilian sambas called Paz amor e samba released in 1972. After that album he was heading more and more into the world of jazzfunk sounds and the second album of Salinas called Atlantis was released in 1974. It was totally different than the first album. Funky horns, strings, flutes and Rhodes sounds remind time to time of some great blaxploitation soundtracks.

There’s still plenty of variety on Atlantis. There’s mellow downtempo tracks like the opening title “Like a rainy night”. It’s acoustic guitar and percussion driven mellow start is actually quite nice before turning into an even nicer uptempo breakbeat groover in the middle and then again returning to it’s mellowness towards the end. The next one, “No broken heart”, is exactly what it sounds like, a melancholic and moody downtempo track. Then comes “Baiao”, an uptempo jazzy groover with a quite heavy strings. In my opinion it could’ve been a great track but the strings are occasionally way too disturbing for my taste. Next up is the best track on this album, a nice uptempo breakbeat driven version of Richard Strauss Jr.’s masterpiece “Also sprach Zarathustra” here renamed as “Straussmania”. With it’s guitar melodies (familiar from 2001 Space oddity), nice bassline and bboy friendly drums it belongs to my all time favorite takes of this much covered song. Remember the Deodato version? This one works even better for me. After that comes yet another cover, a slow and moody but at the same time very groovy seven minute version of Simon & Garfunkel’s hit “Bridge over troubled water”. “A song for a helping hand” is again a melancolic downtempo track similar to “No broken heart”. Last one, the title track “Atlantis” (a cover of a Donovan song) is again a downtempo song with a certain sadness in the beginning, but in the middle it changes into a nice groovy tun with quite a heavy drums.


Like a rainy night


Baiao


Straussmania


Bridge over troubled water


Atlantis

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under jazzfunk, south america | No Comments »

Eero Koivistoinen Music Society - Wahoo!

July 4th, 2012

Eero Koivistoinen Music Society - Wahoo!EERO KOIVISTOINEN MUSIC SOCIETY

  • Wahoo!
  • RCA Victor
  • 1973
  • Finland

1946 born saxophone player Eero Koivistoinen is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in Finnish jazz scene. He has done a long career as a musician, composer, arranger, conductor and producer. His career started in the mid 1960s in an orchestra playing experimental avant-garde jazz. The first solo album of Eero Koivistoinen was a concept album of poems by well known Finnish poets sung by well known Finnish singers Eero Raittinen, Vesa-Matti Loiri and Seija Simola. That album was called Valtakunta (The Kingdom in English) and it was released in 1968. In the beginning of 1070s Koivistoinen moved to the United States to study in the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston for three years. After almost 50 years and dozens of albums he’s still an active character playing with the next generation of Finnish jazz cats today.

In 1973 was released the album Wahoo! with a one-off group called Eero Koivistoinen Music Society. Involved in this sort of a supergroup was many of the very same musicians that were playing in most of the Finnish jazz records that time. And what a line-up that was; Eero Koivistoinen on saxophones (tenor, soprano, sopranino and electric soprano), Juhani Aalto on trombone, Kaj Backlund on trumpet, Juhani Aaltonen and Unto Haapa-aho on reeds, Esa Helasvuo, Esko Linnavalli and Olli Ahvenlahti on Fender Rhodes, Ilpo Saastamoinen and Ilkka Willman on electric guitar, Heikki Virtanen and Ilkka Willman on bass and Edward Vesala, Esko Rosnell, Reiska Laine and Sabu Martinez on drums and percussion. The album sounds exactly what you expect with a line-up like that. Syncopated funky jazz fusion with really tight rhythms by the set of two drummers, two bassists and two guitarists.

The album starts with the strong midtempo saxophone driven jazz groover “Hot c”. Almost eight minutes of action is what you get here. It’s followed by “7 up”, more jazzy but at least equally heavy track. Next up is “6 down”. With it’s eight minutes of some serious wah-wah, funky Rhodes and drums it’s among the best tracks on the album. B-side starts with the epic almost 11 minutes long “Suite 19”. It starts with an experimental sounding four minute intro before turning into an uptempo wah-wah driven, percussive, almost blaxploitation sounding track. Next track, “Bells” is the only mellow track on the album. Last but not least is the downtempo funky fusion title track “Wahoo!”. Overall this album is really great but not that magnificent it’s often praised. And in my opinion it’s not worth the 300-400 euros people ask for it. Luckily for all the non purists it was reissued in 2001. The reissue – both cd and vinyl – come with the cover coloring it should’ve been. Originally the print messed up the cover and it’s colors were a little different what they were intended to be.


Hot c


7 Up


6 Down


Suite 19


Bells


Wahoo!

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, jazzfunk | No Comments »

Perez Prado - Tequila!

June 28th, 2012

Perez Prado - TequilaPEREZ PRADO

  • Tequila
  • Cannon Records
  • 1974
  • Belgium

Everybody has heard about the king of mambo, Perez Prado. At least at some point. But most of the people don’t know that there was two of them. Brothers Damason Pérez Prado and his little brother, Pantaleón Pérez Prado both shared the same artist name. Neither of the Perez Prados used their first name, but only their last names and the confusion was quite obvious. While Damason Pérez Prado was mainly working on the States, his bass playing brother was in Europe acting as the “true king of mambo”. Even when Pantaleón Perez Prado died in 1983, the press announced the death of his brother as the news was only about the death of Perez Prado. In Spanish speaking countries people have two last names. First one is the paternal (father’s surname) and second is maternal (mother’s surname). That’s the reason for the name issue. So, Damason Pérez Prado was the more famous brother, the king of mambo, but his brother was the funkier one. Even though a lawsuit in 1956 eventually restrained Pantaleón from making further use of the name Perez Prado, there was still few of his albums released in the 1970s under that name. And they were pretty banging.

This album was most propably released originally in Italy, as it was licensed from Beat Records. I’m just not sure what the name of that version is. Tequila! was the name of the Belgian release and the album was also released in the UK by the name Now. Anyways, whatever the name is, it’s a very strong album. There’s no weak tracks, it’s just full of very funky afro-cuban groovers with a loads of breaks. Check for yourself.


Brazil


Tommy


El Manisero


Escandalo No 1


Chicago Banana


Tequila


Cangrejo


Smack!

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under afro-cuban, europe, funk | No Comments »

Combo Xingú - Xingú

June 13th, 2012

Combo Xingu - XinguCOMBO XINGÚ

  • Xingú
  • IRT Records
  • 1972
  • Peru

Combo Xingú was founded in 1971 and is widely concerned as one of the first Chilean bands to play western funk music. It was formed from the remains of disbanded Chilean group Beat Combo aswell as from the students and alumni of the Chile’s National Conservatory of Music. The heart of the band was the former Los Geminis and The Thunderbirds member, pianist Sergio Arellano who was leading them. Besides the bandleader Sergio Arellano on piano and organ, the key members were Raul on percussion, Gamboa Nelson on bass, Patrick Wolf on guitar, Manuel Muñoz on trumpet, Steve Moya on tenor saxophone, Luis Ortiz on drums and Fernando Fiori on vocals. Combo Xingú was disbanded after only two years of activity and two albums in 1973.

While the first album, the self-titled Combo Xingú, was more or less easy listening and local folk sounds, the second album, simply Xingú, was pretty much funk. And it’s sometimes incorrectly presented as a Chilean library music release. The album starts with an uptempo, flute driven jazzy breakbeat track “Baja a las chiquillas” - a cover of Herbie Hancock’s “Bring down the birds”. Then after the acoustic guitar driven vocal track “Puente sobre aquas turbulantas” (cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge over troubled water”) comes a funky version of The Nite-Liters song “Tanga boo gonk” followed by a midtempo psych funk take of Nina Simone song “Don’t let me be misunderstood” here named “No permites que me interpreten mal”. Next up is a heavy but funky version of the Led Zeppelin classic “Moby dick” with some psychedelic latin percussion work and some tangled drumming in the middle. Then comes three nice funk tracks. First an original composition by Sergio Arellano, jazzy uptempo “Black power”. Then a nice version of the James Brown classic “Hot pants” and finally another original composition by Arellano, an uptempo instrumental “493 west”. The last two tracks are downtempo “Luces brilliantes”, a cover of Jimmy Reed’s “Bright lights, big city” and a cover of Santana’s “Everybody’s everything”, an uptempo jazzy vocal funk track with some serious guitar works.


Baja a las chiquillas


Puente sobre aquas turbulantas


Tanga boo gonk


No permites que me interpreten mal


Moby dick


Black power


Hot pants


493 west


Luces brilliantes


Everybody’s everything

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under funk, south america | No Comments »
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