Carmen McRae – Trouble Is A Man (1965)

Lights are turned down low, the drinks are chilling, and looking in those dreamy eyes that you’re madly in love with. Carmen is playing in the background. You hear her voice resonate as she navigates through each syllable. Carmen was so cool and mellow. This is vintage Carmen.

[Dedicated to Margo Guryan]


Gil Evans Dectet – Ella Speed (1957)

Recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ September 27, 1957

Louis Mucci – Trumpet
Jake Koven – Trumpet
Jimmy Cleveland – Trombone
Bart Varsalona – Bass Trombone
Willie Ruff – French Horn
Dave Kurtzer – Bassoon
Steve Lacy – Soprano Sax
Lee Konitz – Alto Sax
Gil Evans – Piano
Paul Chambers – Bass
Nick Stabulas – Drums

Chet Baker & Paul Bley – If I Should Lose You (1985)

This Album is an unusual collaboration for both musicians, Chet Baker & Paul Bley. “DIANE” is a set of slow, langorous ballads and one jazz original (Sonny Rollins’s “Pent-Up House”). Baker lends his wispy vocals to only “You Go To My Head,” but his trumpet sings satisfyingly throughout. Despite his well-known drug dependence, Baker continued to make good-to-great albums till the end of his life, and “DIANE” is no exception. But the revelation here is Paul Bley who studiously avoided recording jazz standards for nearly his whole career. Here, his stately tone and rich chordal work make an excellent foil for Baker’s nocturnal perambulations. A late-stage triumph for the two veterans. [Source]

Recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark, on February 28, 1985.

[via Gabriela Morera Rosenkilde]

Henry Grimes – Fish Story (1965)

It has occasionally been assumed that Henry Grimes got this recording date as a reward for his long service in the avant-garde of jazz. Having already honed his musical conception with a varied range of players, from Benny Goodman and Arnett Cobb to Lee Morgan, Gerry Mulligan, and Sonny Rollins to McCoy Tyner, Steve Lacy, Albert Ayler (including ESP 1020, Spirits Rejoice), Don Cherry, and Cecil Taylor (to name just a few), the service was certainly there, but he got this gig fully on his merits.

For The Call Grimes teamed with highly original clarinetist Perry Robinson (as label owner Bernard Stollman has noted, “a virtuoso who merits far wider recognition… and this recording reflects both of their contributions, in equal measure”) and stalwart drummer/ESP-Disk’ regular Tom Price. As a bassist, Grimes’s melodic style is well up to the task of being co-equal voice with a horn, resulting in a thoughtful and texturally rewarding LP with a level of quality far above the rote sideman session cliche, and far away from equally cliched ideas of unrelentingly full-bore free jazz. It offers the sound of three excellent musicians listening to each other and responding superbly.

The Juilliard-trained Grimes appeared on six other ESP LPs besides those already mentioned. He retired at some point after the last of them, 1967’s Marzette Watts LP, and went so far off the scene that it was rumored that he had died. Happily, that was not the case, and he reemerged in 2003, moved back to New York, and returned to his prolific ways. [Source]