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


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


Gigi Gryce – The Rat Race Blues (1960)

Titletrack on the album The Rat Race Blues by Gigi Gryce Featuring Richard Williams, recorded June 7th 1960. The next to last album before Gigi Gryce permanently dropped out of jazz.

The group swings its way through two of Gryce’s lesser-known originals and three then-recent obscurities. Interesting and generally fresh straight-ahead jazz. [source]

Lineup: Gigi Gryce – Alto Saxophone / Richard Williams – Trumpet / Richard Wyands – Piano / Julian Euell – Bass / Mickey Roker – Drums


Guy Warren – J.A.I.S.I (Jazz As I See It) (1954)

J.A.I.S.I (Jazz As I See It) is last track on side A of the album Africa Speaks America Answers by Guy Warren With The Red Saunders Orchestra.

Guy Warren of Ghana (or Kofi Ghanaba) (4 May 1923 – 22 December 2008) was a Ghanaian musician, best known as the inventor of Afro-jazz and as a member of The Tempos. His virtuosity on the African drums earned him the appellation “The Divine Drummer”.

Max Roach said in 1974: “Ghanaba was so far ahead of what we were all doing, that none of us understood what he was saying, that in order for Afro-American music to be stronger, it must cross-fertilise with its African origins. Ghanaba’s conception, like that of Marcus Garvey, George Washington Carver etc. was beyond our grasp. We ignored him. Seventeen years later, Black Music in America has turned to Africa for inspiration and rejuvenation, and the African soundz of Ghanaba is now being imitated all over the United States where Afro American music is played”. [source]

Line up: Guy Warren & Red Saunders & His Orchestra  (Red SaundersJimmy Richardson), under the direction of Gene Esposito.



John Coltrane – The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost (1965)

The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost is first track on the album Medtiations by John Coltrane, recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, on November 23, 1965.

The year 1965 was a turning point in the life of John Coltrane. It was at this point that he crossed the line into the free jazz arena that he had been approaching since the early ’60s. Besides his landmark Ascension, no album better illustrates this than the awe-inspiring Meditations. Coltrane’s regular quartet — McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), and Elvin Jones (drums) — is expanded here with second drummer Rashied Ali (who assumed Jones’ spot after this album) and saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. This conglomeration produces some dense textures, especially in the epic first track “The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.” This sonic hurricane is a 13-minute outpouring of spiritual emotion that is at once compelling and exhausting. [source]

John Coltrane – Tenor Saxophone / Rashied Ali – Drums / Jimmy Garrison – Double Bass / Elvin Jones – Drums / Pharoah Sanders – Tenor Saxophone / McCoy Tyner – Piano


Aldo Romano, Louis Sclavis, Henri Texier – Annobon (1994 – 1995)

From the album Le Querrec: Carnet de Routes by the trio of Romano/Sclavis/Texier, recorded and mixed from 1994 to 1995 at Studio de la Maison de la Culture d’Amiens.

This recording from the West African tours of the Romano/Sclavis/Texier trio in the early ’90s is one in a series of three. That this band played in Africa and was documented by photographer Guy LeQuerrec was remarkable in and of itself. These cats are all composers who know the strengths of each their band members. When melody lines come off Sclavis’ horn and are tied in separate octaves to Texier’s bass playing, creating a new chromatic color to the proceedings, such as on “Bororo Dance” and “Flash Memoire,” listeners get to hear music in the process of being created from nothing but the abilities of its makers. [source]

Louis Sclavis – Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone / Henri Texier -Double Bass / Aldo Romano -Drums / Guy Le Querrec – Photography

watch photos by Guy Le Querrec in Africa here