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    Martin Kratochvil’s Jazz Q, with ‘Epilog’ from the 1974 album ‘Symbiosis’. Kratochvil keyboards, Frantisek Franci guitar, Radek Poboril trumpet, Jan Kubik clarinet, Vladimir Padrunek bass and Michal Vrbovec drums.
     

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      ‘Precious Leaf’ from saxophonist John Klemmer’s 1971 album ‘Constant Throb’, showcases the long and complex lines that he was capable of playing through his mastery of the circular breathing technique (if my memory of some old JK liner notes is correct). At this point he was regarded as one of the finest young players on the scene but the switch to a more commercial sound in the mid-70's left many of his original fans behind and some have accused him of being the godfather of smooth jazz. That’s probably a little harsh, but if you compare his playing from those two periods you could be forgiven at times for thinking it was two different musicians.
       

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        This is ‘Children Of The Earth Flames’ from Klemmer’s 1969 album ‘Blowin’ Gold’ (complete with archetypal 60's cover), featuring Pete Cosey guitar, Phil Upchurch bass, Richard Thompson piano/organ and Morris Jennings drums. A high intensity workout with some fierce tenor sax from Klemmer and a reminder that he was an early adopter of electronic effects.
         

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          Hubert Laws is regarded as one of the finest flautists in jazz history, maybe rivalled only by Herbie Mann. Laws recorded his first album in 1964 and soon established himself as the guy to call if you thought that your album would benefit from the addition of a flute. He was particularly prolific for the CTI label and apart from the eight recordings made under his own name, it’s a fair bet that if you made a random selection from the albums released by CTI during its late-60's to mid-70's heyday, his name would appear in the credits. This is ‘Yoruba’ from his 1972 album ‘Wild Flower’, with Chick Corea piano, Gary Burton vibraphone, Richard Davis bass, Bernard Purdie drums, Mongo Santamaria congas, Airto Moreira percussion and Joe Chambers percussion.
           

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            Hubert’s younger brother Ronnie enjoyed some success in the 70’s and 80’s, although to be honest only his 1975 debut ‘Pressure Sensitive’ could properly be regarded as a jazz album, and subsequent releases increasingly tended towards the sort of competent but rather lightweight disco-soul-funk fare that generally shifted more units. Produced by Wayne Henderson of The Crusaders, it could almost be a Crusaders album from that period, so similar is the sound throughout. Incidentally, the opening track ‘Always There’ became something of a club classic in the UK during the early 80’s jazz-funk boom. This is ‘Tidal Wave’ with Laws on tenor sax, Roland Bautista guitar, Jerry Peters keyboards, Joe Sample (Crusaders) keyboards, Wilton Felder (Crusaders) bass and Michael Willars drums.
             

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              ‘Rivers Of Congo’ from The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble’s self-titled debut album from 2000, with Gideon Kiers programming/electronics, Jason Kohnen guitar/bass, Hilary Jeffries trombone and Nina Hitz cello.
               

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                The edited version of Ariwo’s ‘Planet Earth’ from their self-titled 2017 album, featuring Iranian Pouya Ehsaei programmimg/electronics, Canadian trumpeter Jay Phelps and Cuban percussionists Oreste Noda and Hammadi Valdes.
                 

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                  It was often said that membership of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers was the equivalent of a jazz apprenticeship, given the number of talented young players who passed through the ranks and went on to become major stars. Without having to think too hard about it the names of Chick Corea, Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Woody Shaw, Terence Blanchard, Keith Jarrett and Donald Byrd all come to mind, as well as the five who formed what may have been the best line up in the band’s long history. Here they are on ‘Ping Pong’ from the 1963 album ‘Ugetsu’. Art Blakey drums, Wayne Shorter tenor saxophone. Freddie Hubbard trumpet, Curtis Fuller trombone, Cedar Walton piano and Reggie Workman bass.
                   

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                    From Switzerland, the George Robert Jazztet with ‘In Step, Out Ahead’ from ‘Remember The Sound’, a 2008 tribute to the late Michael Brecker. George Robert alto sax, Randy Brecker trumpet, Vinz Vonlathen guitar, Emil Spanyi keyboards, Robert Bonisolo tenor sax, Rene Mosele trombone, Mathieu Schneider flute, Matthieu Michel flugelhorn, Laurent Wolf tenor/soprano/baritone saxophones, Marcel Papaux drums, Jean-Pierre Schaller bass.
                     

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                      I love "Ping Pong". Sensational tune. I don't think Art Blakey made that many strong, coherent albums, but each and every one has a banger on it.

                      gjw, I notice Lee Morgan's The Rajah is being reissued. I don't think I ever heard this archival session from the mid-60s. Pretty much everything Morgan did from that period is a thrill.

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                        Indeed. Blakey, although a superb drummer was no writer, and very dependant upon others to come up with the tunes. In that respect he benefited from Wayne Shorter's presence in The Jazz Messengers (as, for that matter, did Miles during the Second Great Quintet period, where Shorter provided a huge chunk of that band's repertoire). Shorter was always a fine and very prolific composer but I'm guessing that the need to keep the rest of the band happy meant that Blakey was forced to include their offerings as well.

                        I'll keep a look out for the Lee Morgan reissue. I've been listening to 1970's blazing 'Live At The Lighthouse' quite a bit recently (the expanded CD version) and that's still my favourite of his.

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                          Prompted by diggedy derek's mention of trumpeter Lee Morgan yesterday, I thought that I would post something from his penultimate album, the storming ‘Live At The Lighthouse’, released in 1970. Morgan was yet another of those bright young jazz musicians from the 50’s/60’s who passed away to soon, although unlike many who were brought low by heroin or alcohol abuse, he died at the age of just 33 after fate threw together a jazz club, a between sets argument, an angry wife, a revolver, a snow storm and a delayed ambulance. Although there were no real signs of him doing so, I like to think that if he had lived, Morgan might have followed Miles’ lead and pushed the boundaries of his music even further. Or maybe he would have been another Donald Byrd, making compromises for commercial success. Anyway, this is ‘Neophilia’, one of the four tunes on the remastered twelve-track CD that were on the original vinyl release. It features Bennie Maupin bass clarinet and tenor sax, Harold Mabern piano, Jymie Merritt bass and Mickey Roker drums.
                           

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                            Trumpeter Woody Shaw was one who managed to survive a long-standing heroin addiction although not surprisingly it eventually ruined his health. At his peak he was one of the finest players of his generation, and the albums that he recorded in the 70’s still sound fantastic. This is the title track from ‘The Moontrane’ (1975), with Azar Lawrence saxophones, Steve Turre trombone, Onaje Allan Gumbs piano, Buster Williams bass and Victor Lewis drums.
                             

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                              I absolutely adore Shaw's work with Horace Silver.

                              Have you seen the Lee Morgan film? imp was bigging it up. It's absolutely incredible. Must-watch doesn't even cover it.

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                                I had thought it had passed me by, but I've just found it on Netflix. The dog can wait for her walk.

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                                  What a great little film diggedy derek. It was really interesting to have the bones of the story that I was familiar with fleshed out so comprehensively - helped in no small measure by Helen Morgan's taped reminiscences, without which the film might have lost some of its impact. I almost wish that I had known less of Lee Morgan's life and death as the story played out with a looming sense of inevitability that took a little of the edge off. Nevertheless it was a huge treat to see the old footage of the Jazz Messengers and Morgan himself and the glorious photographs of the musicians from that period, not to mention the interviews with Wayne Shorter and Bennie Maupin who are my two favourite saxophonists of all time. The dog wasn't happy but such is life.

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                                    It’s often hard to fathom why some artists fail to achieve the recognition that they deserve. Catalyst recorded four superb albums between 1972 and 1975 but nowadays comparatively few people will be aware of them. Indeed, the 1999 CD that pulled together their back catalogue was titled ‘The Funkiest Band You Never Heard’. I’m not going to claim that I was already in on the secret as this CD was, appropriately enough, the first I’d heard of them too. How I wish I’d picked up the original albums at the time though. This is the title track from the 1973 album ‘Perception’ with the core band of Odean Pope tenor sax & flute, Eddie Green electric piano, Tyrone Brown bass and Sherman Ferguson drums aided by Norman Harris guitar, Billy Hart percussion and Patrick Gleeson synthesiser (adding his usual Mwandishi-style colourations).
                                     

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                                      Vibraphone player Johnny Lytle is another who seems to have fallen into relative obscurity. This is ‘Tawhid’ from his 1972 album ‘People & Love’, with Marvin Cabell tenor sax and flutes, Daahoud Hadi piano/organ, Bob Cranshaw bass, Jozell Carter drums and Arthur Jenkins percussion.
                                       

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                                        ‘Forces Of Nature’ from ‘Bridge Into The New Age’ (1974), saxophonist Azar Lawrence’s first album as leader. Featuring Lawrence on tenor saxophone, Arthur Blythe alto saxophone, Hadley Caliman flute, Julian Priester trombone, Joe Bonner piano, Ndugu Chancler drums, Mtume percussion and John Heard bass.
                                         

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                                          ‘Chants to Burn’ from Brazilian trombonist Raul De Souza’s 1975 album ‘Colors’, with Cannonball Adderley alto saxophone, Jack DeJohnette drums, Richard Davis bass, Ted Lo keyboards, Snooky Young trumpet, Oscar Brashear trumpet, Sahib Shihab saxophones, Jerome Richardson saxophones, George Bohannon baritone horn and Kenneth Nash percussion.
                                           

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                                            Chick Corea’s ‘Sundance’ was originally recorded in 1969 during the sessions for his second solo album ‘Is’, but didn’t make the final cut. It was subsequently put together with three other tracks from those sessions and released in 1972 as the album ‘Sundance’, which I bought unheard on the strength of Corea’s work with Return To Forever. It was, of course, nothing like Return To Forever. Unfortunately, at 14/15 my ‘ears’ weren’t quite ready for jazz of that nature, and after a couple of plays I wrote it off as a lesson learned. A few years later I gave it another spin and realised just how good it was (apart from ‘Converge’, which still sounds quite dreadful I’m afraid). Featuring Corea electric piano, Woody Shaw trumpet, Bennie Maupin tenor saxophone, Hubert Laws flute, Dave Holland bass, Jack DeJohnette drums and Horacee Arnold drums. As strong a line up as you could have found on any album of the period.
                                             

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                                              Saxophonist Archie Shepp is someone I’ve never been a huge fan of, although I do love the pair of albums that he released in 1972 - ‘Attica Blues’ and ‘The Cry Of My People’. This is ‘Blues For Brother George Jackson’ from the first of those, with Shepp on tenor sax, Marion Brown alto sax, Walter Davis electric piano, Roland Wilson bass and Beaver Harris drums plus a brass and string section.
                                               

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                                                As I found it hard to choose between those two albums, this is ‘Come Sunday’ from ‘Cry Of My People’, with Shepp on tenor sax, Joe Lee Wilson vocals, Charles McGhee trumpet, Charles Stephens trombone, Harold Mabern piano, Jimmy Garrison bass and Beaver Harris drums, plus backing vocalists, brass and string sections.
                                                 

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                                                  Multiple Grammy award-winning composer and arranger Maria Schneider learned her craft working with Gil Evans before forming her own Jazz Orchestra in 1992. This is her arrangement for David Bowie’s ‘Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)’, which first appeared as the only new song on Bowie’s 2015 ‘Nothing Has Changed’ compilation and was later re-recorded for the following year’s ‘Blackstar’. I’m probably a little biased, but I think this is the better version of the two.
                                                   

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                                                    This is jazz/blues guitarist/vocalist Robben Ford performing ‘Traveler’s Waltz’ in 2015 with Germany’s Hessischen Rundfunk (hr) Big Band.
                                                     

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