MARTIN FREEMAN AND EDDIE PILLER PRESENT JAZZ ON THE CORNER.

Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner. 

Label: Acid Jazz.

Eddie Piller has been a stalwart of the Acid Jazz scene for the best part of thirty years, and during that time, the fifty-four year old has been a DJ, promoter and founded the Acid Jazz record label in 1987. This was the start of new chapter in Eddie Piller’s career.

Over the next few years, the Acid Jazz scene blossomed, and Eddie Piller found himself writing, remixing and playing flute on Mother Earth’s 1992 album Stoned Woman which he also produced. By then, Eddie Piller was an experienced producer and his career continued apace. 

So would Eddie Piller’s career as a compiler, which began in 1989 when he and Giles Peterson compiled Totally Wired (A Collection From Acid Jazz Records). Since then, Eddie Piller has compiled numerous compilations for a variety of labels, including critically acclaimed compilations for Blue Note, BGP Records and Acid Jazz. Nearly thirty years later, and Eddie Piller is still compiling new compilations.

By 2016, Eddie Piller was about to add a new role to his impressive CV, when he asked his friend and fellow musical aficionado Martin Freeman to join him in hosting a jazz radio show. Little did they know how popular that show would when they started playing some of their favourite jazz cuts. It was a case of anything goes during On The Corner, with the hard bop of Lee Morgan and Art Blakey, following hard on the heels of soul-jazz, jazz-funk and the original acid jazz to the post modern spiritual jazz of Kasami Washington. The new radio show proved hugely popular, and week after week, the pair were inundated with emails and tweets. That was when they knew that they couldn’t leave things there, and began thinking of where they went next?

Eventually, the dynamic duo decided to release a compilation with each of them choosing eleven cuts each on Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner which was recently released by Acid Jazz. This lovingly curated compilation features Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Eddie Harris, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Smith, Blossom Dearie, Leon Thomas, Marlena Shaw, Les McCann, Blue Mitchell and Eugene McDaniels. Always, the emphasis is on quality on this latest complication of quality jazz, Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner.

Disc 1-Martin’s Side.

Mose Allison’s If You’re Going To The City opens disc one which is Martin’s side of Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner. If You’re Going To The City is a track from Mose Allison’s 1962 album Swingin’ Machine which was released on Atlantic Records. By then, Atlantic Records were still persisting in promoting Mose Allison as a blues singer. This was closer to the truth than Prestige, who had previously tried to promotive Mose Allison as a pop singer. However, If You’re Going To The City shows that Mose Allison’s music was an irresistible mixture of blues and jazz that is timeless. 

When Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers released their 1961 classic album A Night In Tunisia, on Blue Note Records, one of the album’s highlights was Kozo’s Waltz. It features bandleader and drummer Art Blakey and his Messengers at the peak of their powers. Everyone from bassist Jymie Merritt, pianist Bobby Timmons, trumpeter and tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter play their part in the sound and success of this hard bop classic.

In 1967, tenor saxophonist Eddie Harris released The Electrifying Eddie Harris on Atlantic Records and it became one of his most famous and important albums. Eddie Harris’ playing was innovative throughout an album where he used electronic varitone on his tenor saxophone. One of Eddie Harris’ finest moments on the album was his composition Listen Here. It finds Joe Wohletz and Ray Barretto adding Latin percussion to this slow-burning, hip-swaying slice of soul-jazz.

Lee Morgan led a multitalented and versatile sextet when he recorded his solo album The Sixth Sense in November 1967. However, it wasn’t until 1969 that Blue Note Records eventually released The Sixth Sense, which featured four Lee Morgan compositions. This included Psychedelic which is without doubt, one of the album’s highlights. Pianist Cedar Walton and saxophonist Jackie McLean join with bandleader and trumpeter to play leading roles on the sound and success of Psychedelic which is a memorable and melodic example of hard bop.

After spells with Prestige, Mercury and Barclay, thirty-four year old Blossom Dearie signed to Verve Records where she would record some of her finest music over the next five years. This began with the release of the album Blossom Dearie in 1957, which featured the beautiful, wistful ballad Now At Last. It’s a reminder of one of the greats of vocal jazz, at the peak of her powers.

After saxophonist Charles Williams signed to Bob Shad’s Mainstream Records, he released his debut solo album Trees and Grass and Things in 1971. It was produced by Bob Shad and opens with Don Pullen composition Trees And Grass And Things. It’s a truly irresistible as percussion, saxophones and a Hammond organ play starring roles as jazz-funk and soul-jazz are combined to create a truly irresistible dancefloor filler.

Disc 2-Eddie’s Side 

Opening disc two, which is Eddie’s side of Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner is Geoffrey Stoner’s Bend Your Head Down Low. It’s the track that closed his 1973 album Watch Out which was released on Dick Schory’s Ovation Records but wasn’t the commercial success that Geoffrey Stoner had hoped. One of Watch Out’s finest moments was Bend Your Head Down Low where Geoffrey Stoner delivers an impassioned and soulful vocal against an arrangement that is jazz-tinged and funky. When all this combined the result is a beautiful, powerful and poignant ballad.

During the time he spent signed to Bob Theil’s Flying Dutchman Productions, Leon Thomas released some of the best music of his career. This included his 1973 album Full Circle which he recorded with an all-star band. One of the highlights of the album was Just In Time To See The Sun, which is a glorious and joyous fusion of jazz, funk and soul.

By 1977, Marlena Shaw was signed to Columbia and released Sweet Beginnings which was produced by Bert DeCoteaux and featured Look At Me, Look At You. It features lush strings and backing vocals while Marlena Shaw delivers one of her most soulful vocals on Sweet Beginnings.

In 1966, pianist, songwriter and vocalist Les McCann released his album Les McCann Plays The Hits on the Limelight label. It featured Sad Little Girl which featured a hurt filled and emotive vocal that is one of the finest on this hugely underrated soul-jazz album.

When Eugene McDaniels released his album Outlaw on Atlantic Records, in 1970, he was already a vastly experienced and highly respected musician. Outlaw was a powerful album, with many of the tracks featuring lyrics that were full of social comment. These tracks were played by some top New York session players, and they accompany Eugene McDaniels on Cherrystones where he delivers a defiant vocal on this genre-melting track that features elements of soul, funk, psychedelia and rock. It’s one of the highlights of Outlaw which is one of the hidden gems in Eugene McDaniels’ back-catalogue.

Closing disc two and Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner is Ulf Sandberg’s Bolivia, which is taken from their 1993 album Ulf Sandberg Quartet which was released on the Acid Jazz label.  Although Bolivia was released in 1993, it sounds as if it was recorded a generation previously as then Ulf Sandberg Quartet create a track that is a mesmeric, melodic and memorable fusion of post bop and hard bop that closes the album on a high.

For all the listeners who have tuned in and enjoyed Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner over the past couple of years, will enjoy the compilations that they recently released on the Acid Jazz label. It’s entitled Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner and features music from twenty-two artists, including familiar faces and new names. 

There’s contributions from giants of jazz and soul including Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Eddie Harris, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Smith, Blossom Dearie, Leon Thomas, Marlena Shaw, Les McCann, Blue Mitchell and Eugene McDaniels. Sadly, many people won’t have heard of Joe Gordon, Charles Williams, the Ulf Sandberg Quartet or the wonderfully named Geoffrey Stoner until they’ve heard Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner, which is sure to further their musical education.

That is the beauty of compilations like Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner, as there’s always a new track that waiting to be discovered. Especially on lovingly curated compilations like Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner where the compilers dig deep and combine deep cuts and hidden gems with tracks from classic album to create what’s undoubtably one of the best jazz compilations of recent months.

Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner.

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