Category Archives: Jazz

CULT CLASSIC: DOUG CARN-INFANT EYES.

Cult Classic: Doug Carn-Infant Eyes. Although Gene Russell and Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in 1969, two years passed before the nascent label released its first album. This was Gene Russell’s sophomore album New Direction which was released in 1971. It was the first of twenty albums by a label that was very different …

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HARD BOP CLASSIC: ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS-THE WITCH DOCTOR.

Hard Bop Classic: Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers-The Witch Doctor. When The Jazz Messengers were formed in 1954, the collective was led by Horace Silver and Art Blakey when they played live. However, it wasn’t until November the ‘23rd’ 1955 when they recorded At the Cafe Bohemia, Volumes 1 and 2. That night, the …

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CULT CLASSIC: KOHSUKE MINE-FIRST.

Cult Classic: Kohsuke Mine-First. Nowadays, the most important period in the development of  J-Jazz is between late-sixties through to the early eighties. That’s regarded as a crucial period in the development of modern jazz in Japan. During that period, many Japanese composers and musicians and bands released ambitious and innovative music that astounded those who …

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CULT CLASSIC: IAN CARR-BELLADONNA.

Cult Classic: Ian Carr-Belladonna. In 1969, thirty-six year old Ian Carr who was born Dumfries, in the South West Scotland, formed Nucleus who would become one of the top British fusion groups. By then, the Scottish trumpeter was a familiar face on the London jazz scene. He had been member of the Emcee Five, co-led …

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CULT CLASSIC: KEITH MANSFIELD-VIVID UNDERSCORES.

Cult Classic: Keith Mansfield-Vivid Underscores. Composer, arranger and musician Keith Mansfield nowadays is recognised and regarded as one the doyens of library music and original copies of his albums are now highly collectable. This includes Vivid Underscores which was released in 1977, a year after his other genre classic Contempo. Both albums are now rarities …

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CULT CLASSIC: GEORGE OHTSUKA QUINTET-LOVING YOU GEORGE.

Cult Classic: George Ohtsuka Quintet-Loving You George. When the George Otsuka Quintet took to the stage at the Nemu Jazz Inn on the ‘19th’ of July 1975 the Japanese bandleader, composer and drummer was thirty-seven and about to record a live album. He was following in the footsteps of Norman Connors, Eddie Henderson and Gary …

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CULT CLASSIC: GENE RUSSELL-NEW DIRECTION.

Cult Classic: Gene Russell-New Direction. In 1969, pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in Oakland, California. The nascent label’s raison d’être was “to promote the talents of young African American jazz musicians and singers.” This was only part of their vision for their new label. They were determined that Black …

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CULT CLASSIC: HANK MOBLEY-SOUL STATION.

Cult Classic: Hank Mobley-Soul Station. It was Leonard Feather, the British-born jazz pianist, composer, producer and music writer who described Hank Mobley as the: “middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone.” This metaphor made sense to critics and connoisseurs of jazz.  His tone was neither as aggressive as John Coltrane nor as melodic as Stan Getz. …

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CULT CLASSIC: PIERRE MOERLEN’S GONG-DOWNWIND.

Cult Classic: Pierre Moerlen’s Gong-Downwind. In January 1973, Daevid Allen invited drummer and percussionist Pierre Moerlen to join Gong following the departure of Laurie Allan. He agreed and became the group’s new drummer.  However, in June 1973 he was asked by Virgin Records’ founder Richard Branson to play percussion at the premier of Mike Oldfield’s …

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JAZZ CLASSIC: ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS-MOANIN’.

Jazz Classic: Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers-Moanin’. Although Philly-born tenor saxophonist Benny Golson’s tenure with The Jazz Messengers was short-lived, he still played an important part in the development and history of the group. He joined in 1958, and during the summer, helped Art Blakey recruit three new Messengers. They were all from Philly, …

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LOST CULT CLASSIC FOUND: MIKE WESTBROOK-LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING: CITADEL/ROOM 315 SWEDEN 74.

Lost Cult Classic: Mike Westbrook-Love and Understanding: Citadel/Room 315 Sweden 74. By 1974, composer and pianist Mike Westbrook was thirty-eight and one of the leading lights of the British jazz scene. He had come a long way since he formed his first band in 1958 when he was an art student studying painting. That was how …

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CULT CLASSIC: JETHRO TULL-THIS WAS.

Cult Classic: Jethro Tull-This Was. The origins of Jethro Tull can be traced to Blackpool,  Lancashire,  in 1962, where Ian Anderson formed his first group Blades, which was originally a four piece, featuring Ian Anderson on vocals and harmonica. A year later in 1963, Blades was a quintet and in 1964 the group was a sextet who …

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CULT CLASSIC: KEITH MANSFIELD-CONTEMPO.

Cult Classic: Keith Mansfield-Contempo. Nowadays, Keith Mansfield is regarded as one the doyens of library music, and original copies of his 1976 album Contempo are now highly collectable. That’s the case with many other KPM Records’ releases. Everyone from sample-hungry hip hop producers and crate-digging DJs to film producers collect library music. They remember hearing …

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CULT CLASSIC: THE OHIO PLAYERS-ECSTASY.

Cult Classic: The Ohio Players-Ecstasy. It wasn’t until The Ohio Players signed with Westbound, and released their sophomore album Pain in 1972, that commercial success their way. The group  was founded in 1959 and originally was known as The Ohio Untouchables and had a chequered history. Initially, The Ohio Untouchables lineup featured drummer Cornelius Johnson, …

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CULT CLASSIC: LEE MORGAN-THE RAJAH.

Cult Classic: Lee Morgan-The Rajah. In 1964, twenty-six year old hard bop trumpeter Lee Morgan’s career was transformed when he enjoyed a crossover hit with The Sidewinder. Instantly recognisable and incredibly catchy, it became a jazz standard and nowadays, is regarded as Lee Morgan’s best known composition. Buoyed by the success of the single, Blue …

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CULT CLASSIC: DONALD BYRD-BYRD IN FLIGHT.

Cult Classic: Donald Byrd-Byrd In Flight. When Donald Byrd signed to Blue Note Records in 1958, he was twenty-five and had already recorded five solo albums and had collaborated on albums with Art Farmer, Phil Woods and Gigi Gryce.  The Detroit-born trumpeter was also in demand as a sideman and had already worked with some …

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CULT CLASSIC: GENE  RUSSELL-TALK TO MY LADY.

Cult Classic: Gene Russell-Talk To My Lady. As 1973 dawned, LA-based Black Jazz Records had already released nine albums since 1971. Its first release was Gene Russell’s critically acclaimed sophomore album New Direction. However, another two years passed before the LA-born pianist returned with the followup.  Gene Russell spent the spent the rest of 1971 …

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CULT CLASSIC: HERBIE HANCOCK-MY POINT OF VIEW.

Cult Classic: Herbie Hancock-My Point Of View. By the time Herbie Hancock signed to Blue Note Records, the Chicago-born pianist was just twenty-two, and had already worked with Donald Byrd and Coleman Hawkins. On May the ‘28th’ 1962, he recorded his debut solo album Takin’ Off which featured the jazz standard Watermelon Man. The album …

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CULT CLASSIC: PATCHWORK-MEAN AND DIRTY.

Cult Classic: Patchwork-Mean and Dirty. Nowadays, library music is highly collectable, especially the albums released by KPM, Amphonic, Conroy,  Sonoton and De Wolfe between the late-sixties and early eighties. That is regarded by many collectors as a golden age for library music. This is ironic as the albums of library music were never meant to fall into the …

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CULT CLASSIC: RUDOLPH JOHNSON-SPRING RAIN.

Cult Classic: Rudolph Johnson-Spring Rain. When pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in Oakland, California, in 1969, the nascent label’s raison d’être was “to promote the talents of young African American jazz musicians and singers.” This was only part of their vision for their new label. They were determined that …

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