Jun 03

Phronesis – Parallax (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 56:50 minutes | 1,04 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Artwork: Front cover | Label: Edition Records

A decade of performing, touring and recording has given the three players in Phronesis a matchless rapport. That inspires an ever-flowing fountain of new music, captured to perfection on this, the Anglo-Scandinavian trio’s sixth album…

Parallax (noun) “the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer.” This phenomenon is exactly how the listener new to Phronesis’ oeuvre would perceive this, their sixth album recorded within the last decade. “67000 MPH” for example, is a whistle stop tour of musically-defined gravitational resistance. The mad tempo changes and frequent erratic structural modulations characterise this frenetic opening number penned by Anton Eger. But in spite of this wild compositional metamorphosing the music is absolutely gripping. The initial fractured nature of Ivo Neame’s “Ok Chorale” is soon resolved with undulating waves of light and shade from all three musicians playing together almost telepathically. The tentative start to Jasper Hoiby’s “Stillness,” via sombre arco bass, belies its subsequent robustness propelled by Neame’s florid piano and Eger’s tumultuous rhythmic pulse. A breathing space is afforded in Neame’s delicate ballad, “Kite For Seamus” at odds with the ensuing juddering explosions of Høiby’s “Just 4 Now,” his bass lines vibrantly percolating through the morass of piano and drums. There is a considerable staccato element to Eger’s “Ayu,” emphasised by Eger’s driving percussion, but typically there are paradoxical passages of near-tranquillity too. In contrast to the melee, Høiby’s ballad “A Silver Moon” exudes sensitive fragility and a keen and haunting melody. The spaces here allow bass and piano in particular to interact magnificently. In sections of Ivo Neame’s aptly titled “Manioc Maniac” his rambunctious piano begins at times to channel Cecil Taylor whereas the concluding number, Eger’s “Rabat,” gradually resolves into a more coalescent form, centred around repeated chord patterns which permit some release to the built-up tension, finally drawing the piece to a relatively sedate close. In truth, Phronesis are one of the most exciting jazz trios around. Although initially bassist Høiby’s brainchild, the band is democratic both in terms of the prominence of all three musicians, each of whom are virtuosos in their own right, and also by the equal sharing of the composing duties. But crucially, the sheer energy that’s generated from this album is simply phenomenal.

Tracklist:
01 – 67000 mph
02 – Ok Chorale
03 – Stillness
04 – A Kite for Seamus
05 – Just 4 Now
06 – Ayu
07 – A Silver Moon
08 – Manioc Maniac
09 – Rabat

Recorded in a single day at London’s fabled Abbey Road studios.

Musicians:

Jasper Høiby – double bass
Ivo Neame – piano
Anton Eger – drums

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Jun 03

Jackie McLean – 4, 5 And 6 (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster) (1956/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 45:22 minutes | 542 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet | © Prestige Records
Recorded: July 13 (#1-3) & 20 (others), 1956 at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ
Remastered: 2006, Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

This album of ballads and burners features sax man Jackie McLean in various small-group combinations. He is joined on three numbers by Hank Mobley and on two numbers by Donald Byrd (one of those numbers also including Mobley). The other three cuts are jazz quartets. Thus, the album title refers to the three personnel configurations used over the two recording dates.

This was McLean’s third album as leader and second for Prestige. The LP at the time helped to establish McLean on the jazz scene. Writing in the original notes, Ira Gitler said, “Jackie McLean is musically coming of age. His playing, out of Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins, has become a personalized, more individual voice in 1956 and he has not lost any of the basic emotion, swinging qualities that help his style live up to the second syllable of his last name so well.”

In 1956 Jackie McLean was only beginning to assert himself as a true individualist on the alto saxophone, exploring the lime-flavored microtones of his instrument that purists or the misinformed perceived as being off-key or out of tune. 4, 5 and 6 presents McLean’s quartet on half the date, and tunes with an expanded quintet, and one sextet track — thus the title. Mal Waldron, himself an unconventional pianist willing to explore different sizings and shadings of progressive jazz, is a wonderful complement for McLean’s notions, with bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor the impervious team everyone wanted for his rhythm section at the time. The quartet versions of “Sentimental Journey,” “Why Was I Born?,” and “When I Fall in Love” range from totally bluesy, to hard bop ribald, to pensive and hopeful, respectively. These are three great examples of McLean attempting to make the tunes his own, adding a flattened, self-effaced, almost grainy-faced texture to the music without concern for the perfectness of the melody. Donald Byrd joins the fray on his easygoing bopper “Contour,” where complex is made simple and enjoyable, while Hank Mobley puts his tenor sax to the test on the lone and lengthy sextet track, a rousing version of Charlie Parker’s risk-laden “Confirmation.” It’s Waldron’s haunting ballad “Abstraction,” with Byrd and McLean’s quick replies, faint and dour, that somewhat illuminates the darker side. As a stand-alone recording, 4, 5 and 6 does not break barriers, but does foreshadow the future of McLean as an innovative musician in an all-too-purist mainstream jazz world. ~~ AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos

Tracklist:
1. Sentimental Journey 9:57
2. Why Was I Born? 5:13
3. Contour 4:58
4. Confirmation 11:25
5. When I Fall In Love 5:32
6. Abstraction 8:00

Personnel:
Jackie McLean, alto sax
Hank Mobley, tenor sax (#4)
Donald Byrd, trumpet (#3,4,6)
Mal Waldron, piano
Doug Watkins, bass
Art Taylor, drums

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Jun 03

Jackie McLean – Destination… Out! (1964/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 35:02 minutes | 1,38 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source: HDTracks | © Blue Note Records
Recorded on September 20, 1963 at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Recorded on September 20, 1963, Destination… Out! is one of saxophonist Jackie McLean’s best album, full of complexity that demonstrates the his ability as a writer, arranger, and instrumentalist.

Together with its predecessor, One Step Beyond, this 1963 session is considered one of Jackie McLean’s best, to a great extent due to the stellar quintet members joining him. Trombonist Grachan Moncur III and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson both played on One Step Beyond, their musical chemistry with McLean so strong he invited them back for this album. The quintet is rounded out by Larry Ridley on bass and drummer Roy Haynes. Moncur III also contributes three out of the four songs here while McLean wrote the fourth, Kahlil The Prophet.

Like Eric Dolphy before him, Jackie McLean sought to create a kind of vanguard “chamber jazz” that still had the blues feel and — occasionally — the groove of hard bop, though with rounded, moodier edges. Destination Out! was the album on which he found it. Still working with Grachan Moncur III and Bobby Hutcherson — his direct spiritual connection to Dolphy — McLean changed his rhythm section by employing drummer Roy Haynes and bassist Larry Ridley. This combination proved a perfect balance of the four elements. The program is four tunes, three of which were written by Moncur. If there was a perfect Blue Note session after John Coltrane’s Blue Train, this was it. Opening with a ballad was a novel idea in 1966, but McLean uses Moncur’s love and hate to reveal all the tonal possibilities within this group of musicians, and the textural interplay that exists in the heightened sense of form, time breaks, and rhythm changes. As begun on One Step Beyond, the notion of interval is key in this band, and an elemental part of Moncur’s composition. The horn lines are spare, haunting, warm, and treated as textural elements by Hutcherson’s vibes. On the tune “Esoteric,” Hutcherson and Haynes throw complex rhythmic figures into the mix. Moncur’s writing is angular, resembling Ornette’s early-’60s melodic notions more than Coltrane’s modal considerations. Hutcherson’s solo amid the complex, knotty melodic frame is just sublime. “Khalil the Prophet” is McLean’s only contribution compositionally to the album, but it’s a fine one. Using a hard bop lyric and a shape-shifting sense of harmonic interplay between the three front-line players, McLean moves deeply into a blues groove without giving into mere 4/4 time structures. The architecture of his solo is wonderfully obtuse, playing an alternating series of eighths, 12ths, and even 16ths against Hutcherson’s wide-open comping and arpeggio runs. The set ends with Moncur’s “Riff Raff,” a strolling blues that makes full use of counterpoint on the vibes. Moncur sets his solo against McLean’s melodic engagement of Hutcherson, forcing both men into opposition positions that get resolved in a sultry, funky, shimmering blues groove. Of all of McLean’s Blue Note dates, so many of which are classic jazz recordings, Destination Out! stands as the one that reveals the true soulfulness and complexity of his writing, arranging, and “singing” voice. –Thom Jurek

Tracklist:
1 Love And Hate 8:25
2 Esoteric 9:02
3 Kahlil The Prophet 10:23
4 Riff Raff 7:07

Personnel:
Jackie McLean, alto saxophone
Grachan Moncur III, trombone
Bobby Hutcherson, vibes
Larry Ridley, bass
Roy Haynes, drums

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Jun 03

Jackie McLean – One Step Beyond (1963/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 37:21 minutes | 1,47 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source: HDTracks | @ Blue Note Records

Originally released as Blue Note BLP 4137 (mono) and BST 84137 (stereo)

“In preparing these hi def remasters, we were very conscientious about maintaining the feel of the original releases while adding a previously unattainable transparency and depth. It now sounds like you’ve set up your chaise lounge right in the middle of Rudy Van Gelder’s studio!” – Blue Note President, Don Was.

One Step Beyond was recorded and released in 1963, and features Jackie McLean as a bandleader and alto sax player. It hints at his future movement towards “new jazz”, but is still firmly rooted in hard bop.

Tracklist:
01 – Saturday And Sunday
02 – Frankenstein
03 – Blue Rondo
04 – Ghost Town

Produced by Alfred Lion.
Recorded April 30, 1963 in Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Musicians:
Jackie McLean – alto saxophone
Bobby Hutcherson – vibraphone
Grachan Moncur III – trombone
Eddie Khan – bass
Anthony Williams – drums

In preparing these hi-def remasters, we were very conscientious about maintaining the feel of the original releases while adding a previously unattainable transparency and depth. It now sounds like you’ve set up your chaise lounge right in the middle of Rudy Van Gelder’s studio! — Blue Note President, Don Was.

Continue reading »

Jun 03

Jackie McLean – Let Freedom Ring (1962/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 38:10 minutes | 1,62 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source: HDTracks | @ Blue Note Records

Originally released as Blue Note BLP 4106 (mono) and BST 84106 (stereo)

“In preparing these hi def remasters, we were very conscientious about maintaining the feel of the original releases while adding a previously unattainable transparency and depth. It now sounds like you’ve set up your chaise lounge right in the middle of Rudy Van Gelder’s studio!” – Blue Note President, Don Was.

When Jackie McLean’s Let Freedom Ring was released in 1962, it was soon recognized as a landmark and masterpiece in McLean’s discography. A hard bop sax player, McLean explored new avenues in jazz’s avant-garde styles on the album, as well as experimenting with the tonal limits of his instrument.

Tracklist:
01 – Melody for Melonae
02 – I’ll Keep Loving You
03 – Rene
04 – Omega

Produced by Alfred Lion.
Recorded March 19, 1962 in Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Musicians:
Jackie McLean – alto saxophone
Walter Davis Jr. – piano
Herbie Lewis – bass
Billy Higgins – drums

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Jun 03

Jackie McLean – Capuchin Swing (1960/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 40:39 minutes | 1,65 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source: HDTracks | Label: Blue Note Records

Capuchin Swing is an album by American saxophonist Jackie McLean recorded in 1960 and released on the Blue Note label.

One of Jackie McLean’s more underrated albums from a plethora of Blue Note releases, 1960’s Capuchin Swing finds the bebop alto saxophonist in fine form on a mix of covers and originals. While his future fascination with Ornette Coleman’s free-form innovations can be sensed in some of the solos here, the majority of the album is in a classic hard bop vein. Like contemporaries Hank Mobley, Sonny Clark, and Lee Morgan, though, McLean doesn’t just churn out pat jam-session fare, but comes up with consistently provocative charts and solos. Eschewing ballads, McLean focuses on mid- to fast-tempo swingers and blues. Standouts include originals like “Francisco” and “Condition Blue” and choice renditions of “Just for Now” and “Don’t Blame Me.” McLean enlists a sparkling lineup of hard bop stars, including trumpeter Blue Mitchell, pianist Walter Bishop, Jr., bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Taylor. Mitchell particularly impresses, matching many of McLean’s own inspired flights with his supple and progressive playing. Along with other fine Blue Note titles like Jackie’s Bag and Bluesnik, Capuchin Swing makes for a great introduction to McLean’s extensive catalog.

Tracklist:
01 – Francisco
02 – Just For Now
03 – Don’t Blame Me
04 – Condition Blue
05 – Capuchin Swing
06 – On The Lion

Produced by Alfred Lion.
Recorded on April 17, 1960 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Musicians:
ackie McLean – alto saxophone
Blue Mitchell – trumpet
Walter Bishop, Jr. – piano
Paul Chambers – bass
Art Taylor – drums

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Jun 03

Jackie McLean – Capuchin Swing (1960) [Analogue Productions 2008]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 Stereo > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 40:43 minutes | Scans NOT included | 1,64 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | NO Scans | 763 MB
Genre: Jazz

One of Jackie McLean’s more underrated albums from a plethora of Blue Note releases, 1960’s Capuchin Swing finds the bebop alto saxophonist in fine form on a mix of covers and originals. While his future fascination with Ornette Coleman’s free-form innovations can be sensed in some of the solos here, the majority of the album is in a classic hard bop vein. Like contemporaries Hank Mobley, Sonny Clark, and Lee Morgan, though, McLean doesn’t just churn out pat jam-session fare, but comes up with consistently provocative charts and solos. Eschewing ballads, McLean focuses on mid- to fast-tempo swingers and blues. Standouts include originals like “Francisco” and “Condition Blue” and choice renditions of “Just for Now” and “Don’t Blame Me.” McLean enlists a sparkling lineup of hard bop stars, including trumpeter Blue Mitchell, pianist Walter Bishop, Jr., bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Taylor. Mitchell particularly impresses, matching many of McLean’s own inspired flights with his supple and progressive playing. Along with other fine Blue Note titles like Jackie’s Bag and Bluesnik, Capuchin Swing makes for a great introduction to McLean’s extensive catalog.

Tracklist:
01. Francisco
02. Just for Now
03. Don’t Blame Me
04. Condition Blue
05. Capuchin Swing
06. On the Lion

Personnel
Jackie McLean – alto saxophone
Blue Mitchell – trumpet
Walter Bishop, Jr. – piano
Paul Chambers – bass
Art Taylor – drums

Mastered for this SACD by Mastered by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman.

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Jun 03

Jackie McLean Quintet – Jackie’s Pal (1956) [APO Remaster 2013]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 41:57 minutes | Scans included | 1,70 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 757 MB
Genre: Jazz

Here was Bill Hardman, who he introduced into a quintet with Mal Waldron (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums). Hardman’s hot breaking tone sounds a bit less forceful than on his (soon-to-be) later work with The Messengers, but it was already identifiable…Chambers has some exciting bowed spots, Mal Waldron was a bit bland and while Jones’ drumming fills the role, it missed the push Art Taylor’s drumming seemed to invite so often with McLean.

Tracklist:
01. Sweet Doll
02. Just For Marty
03. Dee’s Dilemma
04. Sublues
05. Steeplechase
06. It Could Happen To You

Mastered for this reissue by Kevin Gray.

Personnel:
Jackie McLean – Alto Saxophone
Bill Hardman – Trumpet
Paul Chambers – Bass
Mal Waldron – Piano
Drums – “Philly” Joe Jones

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Jun 03

Jackie McLean – 4, 5 and 6 (1956) [Analogue Productions Remaster 2012]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 Stereo > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 45:16 minutes | Scans included | 1,90 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 963 MB
Genre: Jazz

In 1956 Jackie McLean was only beginning to assert himself as a true individualist on the alto saxophone, exploring the lime-flavored microtones of his instrument that purists or the misinformed perceived as being off-key or out of tune. 4, 5 and 6 presents McLean’s quartet on half the date, and tunes with an expanded quintet, and one sextet track — thus the title. Mal Waldron, himself an unconventional pianist willing to explore different sizings and shadings of progressive jazz, is a wonderful complement for McLean’s notions, with bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor the impervious team everyone wanted for his rhythm section at the time. The quartet versions of “Sentimental Journey,” “Why Was I Born?,” and “When I Fall in Love” range from totally bluesy, to hard bop ribald, to pensive and hopeful, respectively. These are three great examples of McLean attempting to make the tunes his own, adding a flattened, self-effaced, almost grainy-faced texture to the music without concern for the perfectness of the melody. Donald Byrd joins the fray on his easygoing bopper “Contour,” where complex is made simple and enjoyable, while Hank Mobley puts his tenor sax to the test on the lone and lengthy sextet track, a rousing version of Charlie Parker’s risk-laden “Confirmation.” It’s Waldron’s haunting ballad “Abstraction,” with Byrd and McLean’s quick replies, faint and dour, that somewhat illuminates the darker side. As a stand-alone recording, 4, 5 and 6 does not break barriers, but does foreshadow the future of McLean as an innovative musician in an all-too-purist mainstream jazz world.

Tracklist:
01. Sentimental Journey
02. Why Was I Born?
03. Contour
04. Confirmation
05. When I Fall in Love
06. Abstraction

Mastered for this SACD by Kevin Grey at Cohearent Audio.

Continue reading »

Jun 03

Jackie McLean – Lights Out (1956) [APO Remaster 2013]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 Stereo > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 46:07 minutes | Scans included | 1,87 GB
or FLAC 2.0 (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 904 MB
Genre: Jazz

Altoist Jackie McLean’s second session as a leader is reissued on this SACD. The music that he makes with trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Elmo Hope, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor is essentially hard bop with fairly simple (or in some cases nonexistent) melody statements preceding two romps through the “I Got Rhythm” chord changes, a pair of blues, a thinly disguised “Embraceable You” and a straightforward version of “A Foggy Day”. Enjoyable if not really essential music from the up-and-coming altoist.

A perpetual favorite among Jackie McLean’s earlier recordings, Lights Out finds the hard-swinging young alto saxophonist in 1956 still very much under the wing of Charlie Parker, who had died less than a year earlier. Yet McLean was beginning to find ways out of the seductive artistic security of Bird imitations. For one thing, he was experimenting with tonal variations. For another, he was working with Charles Mingus, and Mingus’s genius as a leader included forcing musicians to look deeply into their most cherished stylistic practices. The McLean of Lights Out is the hot young bebopper with a slightly acid edge to his sound and a solid blues foundation under everything he played. McLean and trumpeter Donald Byrd occasionally engage in the “pecking” technique of mutual improvisation they developed as members of the George Wallington Quintet.

Tracklist:
01. Lights Out
02. Up
03. Lorraine
04. A Foggy Day
05. Kerplunk
06. Inding

Personnel
Jackie McLean – alto saxophone
Donald Byrd – trumpet
Elmo Hope – piano
Doug Watkins – bass
Art Taylor – drums

Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.

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