Saturday, July 13, 2019

Evans Above

Let's resume with the guy who started it all on this page... he'll be 90 in a month, so I'll likely get to him again then as well.
He's worth it. Really he's one of my favorite players of all time, on any instrument and in any discipline.
People like him, they would never get their foot in the door these days. 
Record companies no longer need care about the subtleties of exploration and nuanced interpretation... no money for 13 year old prostitutes for the executives of record companies in that sort of thing.
There was a time when such a lofty quality of conception and expression were the norm, though. It wasn't even that long ago, really.
There was also a time I'd have said those times will come back and quality will out. 
Sadly, humans will likely be extinct within 100 years at this pace of depravity and its associated advertisements of altruism, and a species' full extinction rarely provides any big advances in Art AFAIK.
Before that inevitability happens, I promise to post as much Bill Evans as I can.
And whaddaya know? I got just the thing right here, record companies and their depravities be damned to Hades, ladies.
This one's been blowing my mind for a while, easily one of my all time favorite Bill boots. There's a reel-to-reel master around with the suave and insightful Billy Taylor "Jazz Alive!" commentary, but I recently figured out there's 2010 boot silver CDs of it -- minus the radio talk but still sourced from an off-air grab -- where the FM capture is a lot more dynamic and where the spectral analysis goes real strong all the way to 15kHz, whereas the reel master drops off precipitously on the way up there. 
So for its 41st anniversary this week, I decided to marry the two up, replacing just the music in the reel-to-reel tape with the tunes from the silver CDs. The boot had the interview with Leonard Feather as one track, but it sounded badly No-Noised to me, so I stuck with the original reel source for that.
The Bill Evans Trio + friends
Grande Parade du Jazz
Arènes et Jardins de Cimiez
Nice, France
7.6-15.1978

01 Nardis
02 Theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)
03 The Peacocks
04 In Your Own Sweet Way
05 On Green Dolphin Street
06 Billy Taylor radio commentary
07 Like Someone In Love
08 You Don't Know What Love Is
09 What Is This Thing Called Love?
10 Lover Man
11 Leonard Feather interviews Bill Evans
12 When I Fall In Love 
13 All the Things You Are/Billy Taylor outro

Total time: 1:30:23
disc break goes after Track 07

Bill Evans - piano
Marc Johnson - bass
Philly Joe Jones - drums
Lee Konitz - alto saxophone (Tracks 07-10)
Stan Getz - tenor saxophone (Track 13)
Curtis Fuller - trombone (Tracks 10 + 13)
Christian Escoudé - guitar (Tracks 10 + 13)

2010 boot silver CDs "Live In Nice 1978" on the Jazz Lips label; declipped by EN, July 2019
radio commentary taken from a master reel-to-reel capture of the original 1978 NPR "Jazz Alive!" broadcast
511 MB FLAC here
Here it is now, all crossfaded and retracked with Audacity.... I even meticulously declipped the silver CD source, which was living in downtown Clip City, right there by the big red Blast Station.
The date of this has always been amorphous, but based upon information uncovered on the internet -- this of course means it's 101% true, naturally -- we discover that the circulated dates of July 13th and 14th didn't have any Bill Evans performances at this particular festival. It would seem this was taped on several different nights of the thing, with cuts from the 6th, the 11th and the 15th, and with maybe some from the 7th as well. No matter, its anniversary is this week anyway.
Until the preFM surfaces or this gets an official release from the original NPR tapes, this might be as nice as Nice '78 is gonna get, so pull it down and dig the shimmering sounds of Bill and his guys jamming with those church bells filtering in from the neighborhood, as well as several superheavyweight champion guests. 
It'll keep the demons of extinction-by-predatory-Capitalism at bay for at least 90 minutes, I promise.--J.
8.16.1929 - 9.15.1980

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"Respect Yourself" Esteem: Mavis Staples 80

Let's take you there with the 2nd of these two missives honoring these two living deities of singing.
Today's legend is another astonishing performer, who's been vocalizing at the highest possible level since the 1950s, when she was part of one of the most treasured family ensembles ever to make sounds.
How people like her and Tony Bennett are not just still living to advanced ages, but still finding the energy to keep performing in front of adoring throngs is up for debate and may always shine with the dark light of eternal, infernal mystery.
I mean, after I write this I have to go to the supermarket, and I'm making up excuses not to bother. Yet these people are 80 and 90 and are like, I have to entertain a 5,000 seat hall, filled to capacity? No problem.
She's been meeting the challenge for along, long time, that's for sure. I think her first appearance singing professionally in front of people was before she was even a teen.
Perhaps the most famous person ever to turn down Bob Dylan's hand in marriage, she's managed to straddle the fine line between the music of Saturday night and Sunday morning for longer than most of us have been alive.
It started with pure Gospel, with a twist: the haunted guitar sound her dad perfected that resembled the bones of America's moribund conscience being rattled awake.
Once they signed to Stax in the mid-'60s and started to really cross over into the secular soundscape of the Sixties' cultural revolutionary maelstrom, things really got going.
A solo career, at first in parallel to her family's million-selling group, followed and continues to this day.
The Staple Singers effectively ended in the 1980s, as she came under the guidance of some guy with the one-word name of Prince, and were done forever once Pops passed in 2000.
Mavis Staples -- yes she is 80 today -- has continued, though. To an undeniable status as one of the undisputed, living treasures of American music as we know it.
Let's get the milestone birthday celebratories moving with a pretty sweet show from when she returned from a decade-long career hiatus in 2004, to drop the first in a succession of incredible records she's made in the 21st century.
Mavis Staples
Theater of Living Arts
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
11.4.2004

01 Oh La De Da
02 If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)
03 Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
04 The Weight
05 Have a Little Faith
06 God Is Not Sleeping
07 Respect Yourself
08 I'll Take You There
09 Touch a Hand, Make a Friend

Total time: 1:18:24

Mavis Staples - vocals
Yvonne Staples - vocals
Steve Fordham - keyboards
Tony Grady - bass & vocals
Will Crosby - guitar & vocals
Brian Parker - drums

master DAT straight from the desk
350 MB FLAC here
I'll be back on the weekend and beyond, right after I finish flipping coins and casting the I Ching to decide which incredible shows and artists to honor and share in the rest of July's festival season.
Be sure, though, to respect yourselves at least enough to get next to this lovely concert document of Miss Mavis -- born this day in 1939 and not in any apparent, immediate danger of closing her mouth and sealing in The Good News any time soon -- at the top of her game in the mid-Oughts.--J.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Molto Benedetto

We'll get back on the beam with two in a row featuring two absolute luminaries of the American songbook.
Let's begin with a 31st anniversary concert, which I view as little more than an excuse to share stellar shows featuring living deities of music anyway.
Today's NYC native is, arguably, the single greatest living music person of the pre-Rock era, and possibly the most beloved still breathing.
After Frank Sinatra, I'd go with this guy as the greatest exponent of the period of incredible songsmithing that led up to our modern era.
It's a comfort to know the songs of craftsmen such as the Gershwin brothers and Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer will never die, in no small part because our hero of the day has kept those tunes animated and a part of the living songbook since our parents were in knickers.
He will be 93 the first week in August, but why wait to celebrate?
It's never not time for the sumptuous sounds of Anthony Benedetto, the painter. Whom we call, for the purposes of his perpetual and heroic stewardship of The Great American Songbook, simply Tony Bennett.
The thing I think I love most about Tony Bennett is the way in the late 1980s and 1990s, he reinvented himself as... himself. No Rock posturing and easy pandering pop plays. No deviation from who he was. Complete career resurrection devoid of any hint of compromise.
And yes he's still out there. In his Nineties. He may outlive us all and end up with Keith Richards as his last possible candidate for a duets record.
Here he is out front of the legendarily cooking Ralph Sharon Trio, taking a big crowd at one of the largest outdoor concert venues in upstate New York into the palm of his hand and the center of the song, way back three decades and a year ago today.
Tony Bennett
Artpark
Lewiston, NY
7.9.1988

01 As Times Goes By
02 The Girl I Love
03 It Had to Be You
04 Yesterdays
05 I Got Lost In Her Arms
06 What Are You Afraid Of
07 Everybody Has the Blues
08 When Do the Bells Ring for Me
09 I Wish I Were In Love Again
10 When Joanna Loved Me
11 They Say It's Wonderful
12 Russian Lullaby
13 Let's Face the Music and Dance
14 Shakin' the Blues Away
15 Let Yourself Go
16 I Love a Piano
17 When I Lost You
18 Medley: Isn't This a Lovely Day?/Change Partners
19 Stranger In Paradise
20 Just In Time
21 Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)
22 I Left My Heart In San Francisco
23 encore interlude
24 They All Laughed
25 Fly Me to the Moon
26 From This Moment On
27 How Do You Keep the Music Playing
28 outro theme

Total time: 1:13:23

Tony Bennett - vocals
Ralph Sharon - piano
Joe LaBarbera - drums
Paul Langosch - bass

cassette master from the soundboard
slightly repaired and retracked by EN, June 2019
258 MB FLAC here
I will be back in less than 24 with the rejoinder to this post, featuring another galaxy class vocal star of the eternal firmament.
Enjoy this 73 minutes of heavenly artistry from today's Maestro, though... he's probably playing somewhere tonight and sending everyone home as happy as this Lewiston bunch were from this show, back 31 years ago.--J.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Wiska Way

We'll kick off July -- a month so dense with concert-a-versaries I could post three times a day for the duration and not run out of possible shows to share -- and festival season with someone most have likely never heard of, but since when did that ever deter us?
You know I have more than a soft spot for Turk Rock and Turkish funk-n-psych in general, so it shouldn't be all that shocking that I'd dig up some Alex Oriental Experience to lay on y'all.
AOE is just the brand name created by Alex Wiska, whose Seventies LPs form a great deal of the basis for and the best of this endless wellspring of Anatolian Rock that he helped birth.
Alex wasn't even born in Turkey; he began life in Germany. His first two LPs of the '70s were in fact produced and contributed to by several of the guys from Can.
A spiritual quest brought him onto the Anatoly Highway to Ankara in the late 1960s, and although he'd been a recording musician in various groups up to then, this journey would define everything he was to innovate along the subsequent path going forward.
Using a custom made merger of an electric guitar and an Eastern stringed instrument called a saz -- sometimes also referred to as a baglama -- he came up with a nearly seamless fusion of traditional Anatolian music and the Jimi Hendrix-style of psychedelic, guitar driven rock then exploding upon the world like a million burning Stratocasters in the Monterey haze.
Those first two records -- where it's just him and the Can dudes -- are absolute touchstones and I hope that someday they find the master tapes of the second one (That's the Deal) and it can be reissued from something other than a scratchy old LP.
As the '70s became the '80s, he formed a vehicle for his music, the band we feature here in a 20th anniversary fireworks spectacular of a performance that really showcases his skills as an improviser on the electric saz/baglama axe for which he was renowned.
Alex Oriental Experience
Immeldorf Open Air
Weisses Ross
Lichtenau, Germany
7.2.1999

01 introduction
02 Turkish and American Blend 
03 For Now and Forever
04 Sad and Lonely
05 Hit the Road jam incl. bass & drum solos
06 Show Me incl. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) jam
07 Ein Kleiner Boogie/Into the Sun
08 Yo Yo Yo

Total time: 1:42:25
disc break goes after Track 04

Alex Wiska -  guitar, baglama & vocals
Uwe Friedrich Otto 'Ufo' Walter - bass
Manfred von Bohr - drums & percussion

sounds like a DAT straight from the desk, master sbd
declipped by EN, June 2019
480 MB FLAC here
I took the time to remove the digital clipping issues this one had, and I also broke off the last tune into its own track, where before it had been part of the previous one.
There's all sorts of summer fever planned for July and beyond, so stay tuned and I shall return with the foo to get you through -- there are honestly so many great shoes, it's tough to choose -- super soon.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves... we need to get you availed of the AOE and Alex Wiska -- sadly, he passed away in 2011, but music like his can never really die as long as it gets passed along -- via this exemplary 102 minutes of maelstrom, taped on this day in 1999.--J.
11.12.1950 - 3.3.2011