"CHARLIE PARKER, ARNE DOMNERUS IN SWEDEN 1950"
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The roots of bebop spring alive in this 1950 live audience recording. The first four tracks: "Anthropology," "Cheers," " Lover Man" and "Cool Blues" feature one of bop's Godfathers, alto saxophone legend Charlie Parker, accompanied by an excellent group of Swedish musicians. Trumpeter Rolf Ericson comes close to stealing the show with his solid bop chops.
The Parker standard, "Lover Man," although beautifully performed by Parker with rhythm section, is all too brief at 1:50. Domnerus, forever a Parker disciple, is not heard on any tracks with the master but is true to the Parker tradition on three cuts; "Fine and Dandy," "Out of Nowhere," and "All The Things You Are."
Again, Ericson's trumpet is an equal to the musicianship of Domnerus. Frankly, the average jazz fan would have trouble telling the difference between Parker and Domnerus. This re-released document is testimony to the universal appeal of American jazz.
"SAHIB SHIHAB AT THE DANISH RADIO JAZZ GROUP"
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In 1963, saxophonist Sahib Shihab became a resident of Copenhagen, Denmark and became a member of the Danish Radio Group band.
The band had recently increased from 10 to 12 members. Several had huge international jazz credentials, such as bassist Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen, trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and drummer Alex Riel. Those three worked and recorded with tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon during his many European forays.
"Not Yet" is a swinging up tempo piece allowing for brief but scintillating solos by tenorist Ben Jaedig, Mikkelborg and Shihab.
My personal favorite is the somber "Tenth Lament" which combines excellent unison horn work with a stirring Shihab bari solo and a fine arrangement.
"A GRAND NIGHT FOR SWINGING"
MARY LOU WILLIAMS
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Pianist-composer-arranger Mary Lou Williams is someone who every jazz fan should know about.
She was the most important female jazz musician to emerge in the first three decades of the music. She came to prominence in the early 1930s as a member of Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy. She composed and arranged for Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman.
This release, recorded in 1976, features her piano artistry in a trio setting with bassist Ronnie Boykins and drummer Roy Haynes. Even though she has written more than 400 tunes, her work here is composed by others including Juan Tizol, Milt Jackson, Vernon Duke and Rodgers and Hart.
She opens with Billy Taylor's title tune, "A Grand Night for Swinging," which she does complete with a boogie-woogie chorus. She is powerful on "Bag's Blues," playing strenuous chords with great intensity.
JUST A MEMORY
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It didn't take long for me to pick my favorite track from this dynamic 1983 recording by Hammond B-3 organist Big John Patton.
"Pinto" is a boppish tune with a funk groove giving space for solos by trombonist Grachan Moncur, guitarist Melvin Sparks, and gut-bucket offering by tenor man Grant Reed.
The longest cut at 12:45 is "The Coaster" written by Moncur who gets the jam underway with his ebullient solo and then setting the table for Sparks who also delivers. Moncur returns for a second effort. Drummer Alvin Queen is a consistent driving force and complementary presence. Reed's solo is big toned and lusty.
This is a small group with huge sound!
The Black United Fund of Oregon
The Black United Fund of Oregon will host its first benefit concert at Jimmy Mak's, July 25 at 7p.m. The concert will feature Mel Brown's Hammond B-3 organ group. More information is available at the fund's website www.bufor.org.