Friday, June 30, 2017

(Dance to) the Best of Bostic !!

Earl Bostic was the king of the King record label prior to the arrival of James Brown. As a disciple of Louis Jordan, Bostic's approach to the alto saxophone was a departure, straddling the line between bar walking honking and an out-and-out instrumental crooning style. This collection is a very good one in that it expresses the many types of jazz, blues and R&B Bostic embraced. And one has to remember when these tunes were recorded -- 1951 to 1956 -- years of transitions from swing and bop to race records where more sophisticated tastes were at odds with the putatively square music being presented on a new thing called television. Bostic's music, as the title suggests, was also danceable. His easy swinging big hit from 1951 "Flamingo" kicks off the set, defining smooth well before illegitimate "smooth jazz" was coined. A few jazz standards are included, with an interesting take of "Always" as Bostic comes in late, a rocking shuffle swing ideal for the normally rendered ballad "Deep Purple," a vibrato laden Bostic with shimmering vibraphone behind him during "I Cant Give You Anything but Love," and an outstanding, slow, heart melting rendition of "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." "Steam Whistle Jump" is clearly a knock-off of "Take the 'A' Train." Where Bostic expertly excels in a manner as potent as Gene Ammons is on the soul-jazz side of things. His energetic "What, No Pearls?" is a rocking time capsule for the era, and "Seven Steps" grooves with a Latin twist. Bostic's saxophone trades quick melody snippets with guitar on the most intriguing cut of the date, the jam "Don't You Do It." Not a definitive collection, but a fine cross-section of the meatier and substantive side of Earl Bostic, with no filler or the string dominated pop style music he eventually presented.

Earl Bostic

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Crime Scene !!

One of the kitschier installments in the Ultra Lounge series, Vol. 7,
Crime Scene features a cross-section of easy-listening and movie music
culled primarily from Capitol Records' vaults. All of the songs are
allegedly "about" or inspired by detective and crime novels and
films, so you have movie and television themes (Nelson Riddle's
"The Untouchables," "Peter Gunn Suite" as performed by
Ray Anthony), as well as songs whose titles imply a crime
connection of some sort. It's an enjoyable collection ...

Various Artists
1950 - 70's

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

And The "Cool" Sounds !!

Stan Getz plays with five different lineups on the recordings from 1954
and 1955 featured on Stan Getz and the Cool Sounds. The cool-toned,
mellow tenor saxophonist starts off with four tracks accompanied by
pianist Lou Levy, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Shelly Manne,
with the easygoing swinger "Our Love Is Here to Stay" taking top honors.
Valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer is added to the mix for two quintet
selections, both of which feature pianist John Williams anchoring two
different rhythm sections. The very hot "Flamingo" finds Getz and Brook-
meyer alternating choruses and engaging in intricate counterpoint, while
Brookmeyer's "Rustic Hop" cooks at an even higher temperature, with
both players inspiring one another to the top of their respective games.
Pianist Jimmy Rowles, drummer Max Roach, and bassist Bobby Whit-
lock back Getz in a swinging take of "Nobody Else But Me" and the
overlooked chestnut "Down by the Sycamore Tree." Trumpeter Tony
Fruscella, who died far too young, takes Brookmeyer's place in two
works written by the underrated trumpeter and composer Phil Sunkel,
the mid-tempo "Blue Bells" and the boogie-woogie-
flavored "Roundup Time."

Bass – Bill Anthony (tracks: A5 to B2), Bill Crow (tracks: B5), Bob Whitlock (tracks: B3, B4), Leroy Vinnegar (tracks: A1 to A4)
Drums – Al Levitt (tracks: B5), Frank Isola (tracks: A5 to B2), Max Roach (tracks: B3, B4), Shelly Manne (tracks: A1 to A4)
Piano – Jimmy Rowles (tracks: B3, B4), John Williams (5) (tracks: A5 to B2, B5), Lou Levy (tracks: A1 to A4)
Tenor Saxophone – Stan Getz (tracks: A1 to A5)
Trombone – Bob Brookmeyer (tracks: A5)
Trumpet – Tony Fruscella (tracks: B1, B2)
Valve Trombone – Bob Brookmeyer (tracks: B5)

Stan Getz


Big Bend photos: What a vacation! Big Bend is absolutely gorgeous! 
Underneath are photos of the National Park, if you're interested.
It was a cool 85°F in the heat of the day (very atypical for far
southern Texas in midsummer). And ...we had a bear visitor!
Of all the places I've been, this is one of the most beautiful,
and desolate. Thanks again for your kind words, and
patience while I was away :)  -Ed aka ETHICS

Friday, June 16, 2017


For the next two weeks I'll not be putting up any new
posts. My girlfriend and I are headed to Big Bend
National Park, in far mountainous west Texas. We
plan to camp, rock hunt, and check out some of the
oddball towns like Terlingua and Marfa. Once I re-
turn, I should be refreshed and ready to share some
more music with you all.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dry Your Eyes !!

As was the custom of the day, Brenda & the Tabulations' debut album
was overstuffed with familiar cover versions, which were done respect-
ably; actually, the sultry, drawn-out reading of "Summertime" is really
good, as is the calypso-ish take of the Marvelettes' "Forever." There are
also a few more originals by the Brenda Payton-Maurice Coates team
responsible for "Dry Your Eyes," including the low-charting single "Just
Once in a Lifetime"; this has a similar marriage of doo wop-type vocals
with the lush orchestration for which Philadelphia soul was famous.
The album had yet two more small soul hits in "Stay Together Young
Lovers" and Smokey Robinson's "Who's Loving You?"

This is yet another album which I scored this week,
while on the hunt in Montrose, Houston, TX.

Brenda & The Tabulations

Friday, June 9, 2017

I'm A Loser !!

I'm a Loser is the standout recording from Southern soul singer Doris Duke;
problem is, it's nearly impossible to find. Originally released on the Canyon
label in 1970, I'm a Loser found only intermittent life on small domestic and
Japanese labels. For fans of the gritty soul style of early Millie Jackson and
Denise La Salle recordings, this title is worth searching for. The 12 medium-
tempo tracks were mostly penned by fellow Southern singer Gary "U.S."
Bonds and producer Jerry Williams Jr. and are executed nicely by a crack
Capricorn Studio band. There's nothing here on the level of Aretha Franklin's
contemporary triumphs for Atlantic either in the quality of the vocals or
material, but Duke's own gospel-imbued voice, with its slightly hoarse
and urgent tone, finds its own niche. The lean, Stax-inspired numbers
also are very decent and even contain Duke's big hit "To the Other
Woman (I'm the Other Woman)." The fate of the love weary is the
main subject matter here and all its attendant drama is not only
captured well by Duke's pleading vocal delivery, but it is unobtru-
sively underscored by the minimal and tasteful string arrangements.
I'm a Loser may be a somewhat obscure title, but it is one that
would fit into any good soul collection.

Yesterday, I ran across a copy of this while on the search for
other records on my bucket-list. And so, here we are. As a
side note, I also found an original pressing of Out of Gas
"But Still Burning by Kashmere Stage Band, for a measly
$10! That's an ultra rare find of Houston funk. Yeesh!

Jesse Carr - Guitar
Doris Duke - Primary Artist (Vocals)
Paul Hornsby - Organ, Piano
Robert "Pops" Popwell - Bass
Richard Rome - String Arrangements
Johnny Sandlin - Drums
Jerry Williams, Jr. - Arranger, Composer, Piano, Producer

Doris Duke
1969 or 70

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Marvin Gaye and His Girls !!

Need I say anything about Marvin Gaye? There's much to read about this
veraciously talented man, so have at it, if you aren't familiar. The saddest
fact of his life is that he was murdered by his father:

At around 12:38 p.m. (PST) on April 1, 1984, while Gaye was in his
bedroom, his father Marvin Gay Sr. shot Gaye in the heart and then in
his left shoulder, the latter shot taken at point-blank range. Minutes
earlier, the two men had been involved in a physical altercation when
Gaye intervened in a fight between his parents. The first shot proved
to be fatal. Gaye was pronounced dead at 1:01 p.m. after his body
arrived at California Hospital Medical Center. -from Wikipedia

Marvin Gaye

Private Hell 36 & The Sweet Smell Of Success OST !!

Two more 1950's era soundtracks to complete my recent theme of posts.

Leith Stevens


The Chico Hamilton Quintet

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Man with the Golden Arm OST !!

One of the finest jazz soundtracks to come out of the '50s, The Man
with the Golden Arm is taken from the Otto Preminger film of the same
name. Preminger was always very jazz influenced, and on this film he
took his chances with Elmer Bernstein. Although the entire film is not
strictly jazz, the awesome dynamics and oddball structure of the music
is very based in the genre. Admittedly, the soundtrack works a little better
with knowledge of the film, but on its own it still shines as an excellent
example of how good film music can get. Bernstein's control over the
smallest details of the music is what gives it the energy it contains; his
blustery horns and deep percussion are only the front while some gorge-
ous orchestration happens almost unnoticed behind the music. Fans of
Bernstein should definitely give this a listen, as should any fans of
mainstream musicians' reaction to the post-bop era of jazz. This
is on par with Henry Mancini's brilliant Touch of Evil score and
Duke Ellington's strikingly similar Anatomy 
of a Murder soundtrack.

Elmer Bernstein

Anatomy of a Murder OST !!

This was Duke Ellington's first film score, undertaken at the urging
of Anatomy of a Murder's director, Otto Preminger. The full range of
the composer's previous work was brought to bear on this 1959 work.
Ellington was a natural choice to convey the rich and varied emotional
moods of this drama. Tension and release, danger and safety, movement
and stillness, darkness and light; the textural palette that was
Ellington's signature was always compellingly cinematic.

In these orchestral settings, Duke's soloists (Cat Anderson, Clark Terry,
Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, and others) shine, as their playing reflects
true variations on a theme in a classical sense. That's not to say that this
set doesn't swing, too -- "Happy Anatomy" is a short but fully cranked
gallop. This is an album of rich variety and evocative writing.

Duke Ellington

Friday, June 2, 2017

Touch Of Evil OST !!

Continuing with a 50's era movie soundtrack theme:
Unquestionably one of Mancini's greatest achievements, this score
to the classic 1958 Orson Welles film of scandal and intrigue along
the Mexican border used a lot of appropriate Latin accents: Afro-
Cuban percussion, smoky Tijuana jazz jive, and honky tonking
instrumental jump blues with a strong rock & roll flavor. Both
ominous and exuberant in its evocation of temptation and
deceit, it attracted the specific praise of no less a critic

Henry Mancini