Jef Lee Johnson – Jungle (2001)

It’s somewhat amazing that this bold, bizarrely eclectic CD by three guys from Minneapolis would come out on a French label. All three players on this CD are renowned session musicians who have played with everybody from Miles Davis to Billy Joel, but News From the Jungle is anything but the slick production you might expect from a trio of session men. The album starts … Continue reading Jef Lee Johnson – Jungle (2001)

Sonny Sharrock – Black Woman (1969)

What more can possibly be said about Sonny Sharrock? It is widely agreed upon that he is the greatest free jazz guitarist, period. He worked within the most important circles of the jazz world from the late ’60s until his death in 1994, playing with Dave Burrell, Norris Jones (a.k.a. Sirone), Milford Graves (all of whom appear on this record), as well as Peter Brötzman, … Continue reading Sonny Sharrock – Black Woman (1969)

Anthony Braxton – Black Monday (2000)

Drawing heavily on the post-bop songbooks of 60s icons Andrew Hill and George Coleman Braxton’s quartet almost approximates the sound of a forward thinking Blue Note era hard bop band. Programmatically speaking it has antecedents in earlier projects like his pair of In the Tradition albums for Steeplechase and later tribute vehicles like The Charlie Parker Project and Eight (+3) Tristano Compostions (both on Hat … Continue reading Anthony Braxton – Black Monday (2000)

Louis Armstrong – The Creator Has a Master Plan (1970)

In 1970, a year before he died, Louis Armstrong participated in this odd but ultimately winning crossover project, singing (but not playing) pop tunes, including “Everybody’s Talkin’” and “Give Peace a Chance,” spiritual uplifters such as “We Shall Overcome” (featuring an unlikely “We Are the World”-type vocal chorus that includes Ornette Coleman, Tony Bennett, and Miles Davis), and three different edits of “The Creator Has … Continue reading Louis Armstrong – The Creator Has a Master Plan (1970)

Toshiko Akiyoshi – Improvisation (1965)

Japanese jazz pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi improvises on the piano for the french TV in 1965. Toshiko Akiyoshi, (born December 12, 1929) is a Japanese American jazz pianist, composer/arranger and bandleader. Among a very few successful female instrumentalists of her generation in jazz, she is also recognized as a major figure in jazz composition. [source] Continue reading Toshiko Akiyoshi – Improvisation (1965)