Monthly Archives: November 2013

Mo’ Greens Please: Freddie Roach

Mo’ Greens Please is Freddie Roach’s second album. It is a little hard to come by, as the last CD issue was a Japan only limited edition but is well worth the effort, since it features an interesting and diverse set of songs with Freddie Roach at the top of his game.

Once again, if you know anything about what happened to Freddie Roach when he moved to France in to late 60’s, please let us know. It is a mystery!

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The self-penned opener, Googa Mooga is a driving blues based track, which harks back to the 50’s R&B with good interplay between Roach and Conrad Lester on tenor sax. This is followed By Baby Don’t You Cry, which has a very short solo from Kenny Burrell (this album was recorded exactly 2 weeks after KB was in the same studio for his fine Midnight Blue session). The sequencing of tracks is somewhat strange as this track really takes the pedal off the gas. Track three is a return to form with the sanctified beats of Party Time getting things back up to speed. Nada Bossa is a great shuffling cha cha cha beast with some languid sax from Conrad Lester while side one closes with the title track. Mo’ Greens is vaguely reminiscent of Green Onions, to my ears. Conrad Lester’s sax growls and purrs and it is a number that should be heard more.

My favourite track opens side 2. Blues In The Front Room on which Freddie Roach really works out. It features here with a visual accompaniment from YouTube, courtesy of bigjohnpatton’s channel

On I Know Roach dips into the set dances popular at the time. Would you dance The Bird or the Hully Gully to this? I don’t know, you tell me! Something like The Stroll would fit though. Is You is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby is the well-known Jordan-Austin standard which leads up to what is probably the smoochiest track ever released on Blue Note, a lush Unchained Melody, which is sure to have melted numerous erstwhile hearts of ice. The set closes with a disposable, Two Different Worlds, a much-covered tune which has passed me by (especially as I’ve never knowingly listened to Engelbert Humperdinck who visited it in 1967 apparently).

All in all a strongish set but with a couple of tracks that don’t appeal to me. Having bought it with the same artist’s later Soul Book as a makeweight, I have to say that is the set I would seek out first before getting this one.

My copy is an original Mono Blue Note first pressing (albeit in a bit tatty VG+ condition) and together with Soul Book and postage from the USA I paid well under $50, so I can’t complain.

I’m quite fond of the cover- love the colours and the graphic strength. Freddie Roach explained on his self-penned sleeve that the picture was taken at his favourite New York City cafe and that the woman filling his plate had been responsible for adding pounds to his weight.

The band etc:- Freddie Roach (Hammond organ); Conrad Lester (tenor sax); Kenny Burrell (guitar tracks 2-3 & 6-8) Eddie Wright (1,4,5); Clarence Johnson (drums). Recorded 21 January and 11 March 1963. Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Produced: Rudy Van Gelder Studio. Sleeve Notes: Freddie Roach. Cover photos: Ronnie Braithwaite. Cover Design: Reid Miles. Issued as Blue Note 4128.

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An impromptu virtual party for downwithit.info

It’s a special day for downwithit.info. The blog has had 500 visits. Not that many, but it’s a start and twice as good as 250!

I’m having a virtual party (followed by a visit to a real pub).

I’ve booked a very special band. Not Jazz, but the performer who first led me to love the tenor saxophone and who I was lucky to see live a couple of times before he went to the great gig in the sky.

Without further ado and courtesy of northernsoultrain on YouTube, It’s Junior Walker and his Allstars.

This one is for each and every visitor, but especially for John from Sheffield. John and I saw Junior and other Motown artists in Manchester and he had a copy of Junior’s Rainbow Funk (got my own now). Happy days!

Onwards to 1000 visits and beyond!

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downwithit November Quiz

Another quiz, for fun, edification and self-improvement.

Buy yourself a prize in proportion to your score.

My November Quiz. No prizes- just the joy of taking part- although if you get any answers right feel free to reward yourself.

I bought an interesting LP from Kingbee Records in the Deep South (of Manchester). The title is New Grass. It is by Albert…?

 
 
 
 

Discussions between John Coltrane and Blue Note label boss Alfred Lion ended before an agreement could be penned because…?
John Coltrane, however, returned to make the incredible Blue Train, so all was not lost.

 
 
 
 

Don Wilkerson’s first album was entitled?

 
 
 
 

I’m currently listening to an album by Pete La Roca. It is called…?

 
 
 
 

Pharoah Sanders is so called because?

 
 
 
 

How many hands on the clock face on the cover of Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch?

 
 
 
 

Joni Mitchell worked with and named an album after…?

 
 
 
 

Rudy Van Gelder’s studios where so many great jazz sessions were recorded were located in…?

 
 
 
 

The mighty B3 Hammond Organ is often teamed with …… speakers?

 
 
 
 

Which of the following has never released a version of Hi Heel Sneakers?

 
 
 
 

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Pablo Held Milton Court Concert Hall: 20 November 2013

One of this year’s great disappointments was obtaining tickets for Sonny Rollins appearing as part of the London Jazz Festival at The Royal Albert Hall, only to have this great performer cancel due to ill health. However, I did manage to get in an unexpected visit to a LJF event courtesy of Richard, a work colleague (take a bow when you visit here).

I went to see The Pablo Held Trio at a brand new concert venue in the heart of the city. The venue was so new that it was their first jazz performance…ever!

How did it go?

Can I compare a carrot with a kohlrabi? No!

Can I write knowledgeably and with ease about this strand of jazz? No!

Do I want to dismiss something that I don’t particularly get with spite and sarcasm? No!

Is this a reaction to the Leonard Feather school of jazz criticism? Yes!

So I won’t be dismissing music that I don’t feel particularly warm about.

Warmth? Perhaps that’s a useful metaphor. This felt like music to play in the Winter, albeit with the external elements viewed through double glazing from a centrally heated home. Perhaps somewhere with snow-capped mountains in sight.

After the warmth of Kenny Dorham’s Una Mas, this was a very different kind of creature.

It was abstract, though easy on the ear. Music for contemplation; music to drink spring water and detoxify to; not music for the heart or feet, but for the head on the right sort of day when all is tranquil and the spirit doesn’t need raising.

Have a listen courtesy of jazzaheadtradefair from three years ago (though what I perceived tonight was much the same).

Did I enjoy it? Well it’s not really for me, though I could appreciate that these were three very accomplished musicians who don’t really fit here at downwithit.

As for the venue, The Milton Court Concert Hall has great acoustics but it is as far from a sweaty club as I can imagine. I think I may know how Jimmy Smith might have reacted to it.

Live rating: I’ve promised to rate all live performances I comment on here. Sorry lads- you were good at what you did. Sadly, not my sort of stuff, so 3/10, though there were those who hooted approvingly at the end of the second set.

The band: Pablo Held (piano); Robert Landfermann (bass); Jonas Burgwinkel (drums)

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Nothing new to report about Freddie Roach…Yet!

Back on 13 October when writing about Soul Book, I asked if anybody could shine a light on what happened to Freddie Roach after he moved to France in the late 1960’s.

There’s no news so far, although I’m currently preparing to post about his earlier Mo’Greens Please Blue Note set.

Once again, if you can fill in the biographical gap, please do so. Despite the high volume of spam I get, mainly from retailers of high-end fashion goods, I am assuming he did not go down the haut-couture route- though given an allusion to a career in the movies, maybe that isn’t too far fetched as to be impossible.

I look forward to your answers.

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Una Mas: Kenny Dorham

Una Mas is another Blue Note treasure and one that I’ve been listening to for years, off and on. When he recorded this in 1963, Kenny Dorham was 39 and an established musician who had already released 15 albums as a leader. He’d recorded with most of the greats from the bebop era and beyond but for this session he turned to youth. It’s hard to believe that Tony Williams was only 17 when he played drums here and delivered the complexity of the title track, seemingly without difficulty. This was also the first session that featured Joe Henderson on tenor sax although at the age of 26 he was the second oldest in this company. Herbie Hancock was still only 22 but was making a name for himself as a relative newcomer on the New York jazz scene. Bassist Butch Warren was also in his early 20’s.

The title track which appears here from YouTube with thanks to 7lovejazz is a fine funky bossa nova based composition. Things were going so well that the track was allowed to run for over 15 minutes and was given the entire first side of the LP release. I don’t know if it is just me but I detect something of Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder– a track that also featured Joe Henderson. Its here- see what you think.

The aptly entitled Straight Ahead opens side 2. Kenny Dorham takes the first solo on this driving hard bop tune. The band are clearly loving it there’s some space for the drums, Joe Henderson’s solo is accompanied by soul clapping towards its end and Herbie Hancock gets some space to contribute.

The original LP closes with another great Latin influenced tune, Sao Paulo a tune which opens with a sense of anticipation and then hangs on.

The final number from the session was not part of the original LP and only appeared on CD many years later. If Ever I Would Leave You is a ‘show tune’ from Camelot. It was left off the original album as it didn’t fit with the adventurous nature of the first three tracks and it never will. It is very polite, very lounge and OK but lacking in fire.

So there you have it, Una Mas. A short Blue Note set at around 32 minutes for the original 3 track LP- but sometimes thats all that is needed.

The band etc:- Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Joe Henderson (tenor sax); Herbie Hancock (piano); Butch Warren (bass); Anthony Williams (drums). Recorded 1 April 1963 by Rudy Van Gelder at Rudy Van Gelder Studio. Produced by Alfred Lion. Sleeve Notes: Nat Hentoff. Cover photo: Reid Miles. Cover Design: Reid Miles. Released as BLP 4127.

xzy

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