Wayne Shorter – Juju (1964)

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JuJu is the fifth album by Wayne Shorter, recorded and released on Blue Note in 1964, issued as BLP 4182 and BST 84182. The album shows the strong influence of John Coltrane, with whom Shorter had studied as an undergraduate, and whose style is reflected here both in performance and composition: Shorter’s timbre is rather astringent, and his phrases are long and volatile; neither quality is typical of his later work. “Yes or No” is reminiscent harmonically of Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice” from Blue Train; and “House of Jade”, like later Shorter ballads (including “Infant Eyes” from Speak No Evil) is similar in melody and structure to “Naima”. The personnel also reflects Coltrane’s influence, consisting essentially of a version of the latter’s classic quartet, with McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums, and Reggie Workman on bass (who is mixed very low on this album). The same rhythm section backed Coltrane on the 1961 album Africa/Brass, the title track of which anticipates the title track of this album. By Shorter’s next album, Speak No Evil, recorded later in 1964, the leader’s phrases became briefer, softer, and more rounded, under the influence of Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis, his employer at the time, and Tyner was replaced by Shorter’s Davis bandmate, Herbie Hancock.

Jeanne Lee & Ran Blake – Worry Now Later (1989)

From the CD You Stepped out of a Cloud by Jeanne Lee and Ran Blake, recorded, August the 11th, 1989. Originally Worry Now Later is composed by Thelonious Monk.

In 1961, both pianist Ran Blake and singer Jeanne Lee (helped out on two cuts by bassist George Duvivier) made their recording debut with a set of coolly emotional duets. Nearly 28 years later, they had a reunion for this Owl CD, showing the musical growth they had experienced while still sounding quite recognizable; both had found their own musical paths early on. Half of the numbers on the set are originals (including Lee’s “I Like Your Style”), but it is generally the fresh renditions of standards that are most memorable, including a haunting “You Stepped Out of a Dream,” “Where Are You,” “You Go to My Head” and “Alone Together.” Blake and Lee should work together more often. [source]

Ran Blake – Piano / Jeanne Lee – Vocals

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John Taylor, Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler – Azimuth (1977)

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In the late seventies vocalist Norma Winstone joined pianist John Taylor and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler to form the group AZIMUTH, which was described by Richard Williams of The Times as “one of the most imaginatively conceived and delicately balanced of all contemporary chamber jazz groups“.

In this setting she combines the instrumental use of the voice with words, most of which she writes herself. AZIMUTH has recorded several albums on the ECM label (the first three of which have been re-issued as a CD boxed set).

[In loving memory of Kenny Wheeler]

Roland Kirk Quartet featuring Elvin Jones – Rip, Rig and Panic (1965)

Title track from the album Rip, Rig & Panic by The Roland Kirk Quartet, Featuring Elvin Jones.

The title of the album was explained by Kirk in the liner notes as follows: “Rip means Rip Van Winkle (or Rest in Peace?); it’s the way people, even musicians are. They’re asleep. Rig means like rigor mortis. That’s where a lot of peoples mind are. When they hear me doing things they didn’t think I could do they panic in their minds”. Kirk made a lot of references to pioneers of jazz. “No Tonic Pres” is a reference to Lester Young; “From Bechet, Byas, and Fats” is a homage to Sidney Bechet, Don Byas, and Fats Waller; and “Once in a While” was inspired by Clifford Brown. Kirk also mentioned the work of Edgar Varese, the compositions Poeme electronique and Ionisation, as inspiration for the album. [source]

Roland Kirk – Tenor Saxophone, Stritch, Manzello, Flute, Siren, Oboe, Castanets / Jaki Byard – Piano / Richard Davis – Bass / Elvin Jones – Drums

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