Contacted by phone at his home just south of San Francisco, Chester Thompson is quick in his response to a question about a record he made in three hours on a Sunday afternoon fifty years ago, Powerhouse. 'I was a young man, and it was an opportunity to show people that I could play a Hammond B-3 organ.' Little did Thompson know then that he was showing people who would place him on an unexpected career path into the whirlwind of pop music.
This date followed Calvin Keys' first, Shawn Neeq, by about two years. Hazy, psychedelic, post-bop is the order of the day here as well, but as most soul-jazz collectors will tell you, there's always a chance for some monster funk on a Black Jazz record so, as predictable as these releases may be on the surface, you never really know until you hear them. In this case, the bomb drops at the beginning of Side Two with "Aunt Lovely." While probably a little too 'out there' for most dance floors, "Aunt Lovely" begins like some of the best funky Grant Green of the era. As the track progresses, though, it gets more than a little hectic – especially during Charles Owens' Pharoah Sanders-esque soprano solo. Kirk Lightsey's overdriven and distorted electric piano only serves to add to this tension later.
My absolute favorite Black Jazz album was Infant Eyes, by pianist Doug Carn and his wife, Jean Carn. The record had a sensual, powerful feel. What made the album a hit were the soulful lyrics the Carns crafted for jazz standards such as Bobby Hutcherson's Little B's Poem, Wayne Shorter's Infant Eyes, John Coltrane's Acknowledgment from A Love Supreme, and Horace Silver's Peace. Doug's arrangements and Jean's searing, passionate vocals gave the album a distinctly 1970s African-American feel.
After several years of few recordings, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers re-emerged with totally new personnel on this Prestige LP. The strongest performance is a quartet feature for the great trumpeter Woody Shaw on "I Can't Get Started," but the other three selections (which include such musicians as George Cables or John Hicks on keyboards, bassist Stanley Clarke and Ramon Morris on reeds) are also worth hearing and sound surprisingly "contemporary" for the time. An interesting set.
Awesome 100 CD set containing a plethora of classic Big Band sounds from the era when Benny Goodman's 'Let's Dance' became the motto of an entire country…in fact, the whole world! The Big Band Box takes you from the formation of the original Big Band of Fletcher Henderson to the 17-piece line-up of Stan Kenton's Progressive Jazz. This 100-CD set is a fantastic tour through almost all the big bands / directors of note from the 1930s to 1950.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. A really rare album from trumpeter Ted Curson – a unique 70s session recorded for Atlantic Records, but only ever issued overseas at the time! The date has Ted's trumpet coming into play with some of the electric touches of the 70s – not a full-on fusion record, but a really great session that updates some of his modern ideas with some of the fresher, younger elements of the underground – particularly keyboards, which are played here by Kenny Barron strongly – as he shifts effortlessly between electric and acoustic piano on the set.