Kicking off this evening’s set with a high-octane crash through Mahavishnu Orchestra’s ‘Trilogy’ from 1972 was always going to be a crowd-pleaser – and this quartet of astonishing virtuosi are more than up to the job: John McLaughlin, at 77, still maintains a luxuriant silver mane and considerable chops; Anglo-Indian drummer Ranjit Barot has an extremely loud and belligerent attack clearly informed Billy Cobham’s world-shaking muscle; black-gloved Cameroonian bassist Étienne M’Bappe is precise and funky; and keyboardist Gary Husband revels in pitch-bent synth solo madness.
Surprisingly, though (and despite McLaughlin’s introductory promise of a few oldies), this opening salvo is tonight’s only track from the 1970s heydays – unless you include ‘Echoes From Then’ from the 4th Dimension’s 2012 album, Now Here This, which deliberately evokes the early days of jazz-rock and fusion. There are breezy versions of two different tracks by Pharoah Sanders – ‘Light At The Edge Of The World’ and ‘The Creator Has A Master Plan’, the latter providing a showcase for Barot’s soulful vocals – but other than that, the majority of tonight’s tunes are drawn from the 1990s onwards, with a healthy selection from the 4th Dimension’s own catalogue.
‘Abbaji’ (from 2008’s Floating Point), is dedicated to the great tabla player Alla Rakha, and highlights Barot’s ability to mix western jazz and rock stylings with complex traditional Indian rhythms, with the drummer engaging in lightning-tongued konnakol rhythmic vocals while Husband counts the complex tala with handclaps. Husband – who first came to McLaughlin’s attention as drummer for Allan Holdsworth – wastes little time getting behind the second kit and smashing out a heavy drum solo, later sending the energy rocketing with a furious drum battle with Barot.
Throughout all of the testosterone-drenched frenzy, McLaughlin remains calm and composed, a rather humble legend with nothing left to prove.
– Daniel Spicer
– Photo by Tatiana Gorilovsky (www.TatianaJazzPhoto.com)
Discogs is delighted to sponsor the annual dublab Record Fair on Saturday, April 27! Gearing up for the event, program host Dirty Dave shared 10 of his all time favorite records.
Dublab is an independent, non-profit internet radio station. This event is part of their spring membership drive. There will be thousands of records, DJs spinning all day, and brunch and drinks will be available for purchase. The dublab Record Fair goes down at Zebulon Café Concert in Los Angeles from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The song and dance of Dirty Dave begins in the mid ’80s, staying up late to watch and record (to VHS) NBC’s Friday Night Videos. No cable, no choice really.
He joins band wanting to play drums, but there are “already too many of those” and is steered by Maestro Zardis (seventh grade band director) to play the French horn, as this is his primary instrument and he’ll give Dave private lessons. Think Star Wars and Back To The Future he says. Two years later, Dave auditions and wins first chair in his high school band as a freshman…very unusual. The following year, 1994, he goes to his first techno/house club, Rise, in Baltimore (sorry Mom & Dad…he lied) and knows he’s found something truly special. While playing horn and DJing his way through college at The University of Arizona, Dave works at various record shops and mainly just tries to stay out of jail. A move to Los Angeles happens in 2006, as one by one all his friends are bailing on that desert lizard life.
Today you’ll find Dirty Dave playing most regularly at The Standard and warehouses around Downtown LA, as well as co-hosting Friday morning’s Things Of Life (10 a.m. to 12 p.m. PST) with Daddy Differently.
These are a few of his favorite things…
Bought this CD when it had just come out in 1985. My mom nearly lost her mind because this was clearly devil music from the cover art. At camp that year (Camp Adventure), I convinced some of the other outsiders to enter the talent show as a full band lip syncing / performing Smokin’ In The Boys Room. This was before the Internet, so I had typed out the lyrics and everyone memorized them. We made instruments out of cardboard boxes, painted them to look as cool as we could, dressed like the band as best as we could (still wish there was even one photo of this!) and then destroyed the stage and instruments at end of it! Needless to say, we won, and Mötley Crüe was set in stone as my first favorite band.
I have vivid memories of Dad coming home from work and putting this album (Watermark, 1988) on for the first time; sitting in his new recliner blowing smoke rings and having a cocktail while my mom made dinner. At first I hated it, but the next day it was stuck in my head at school. Decades later in 2011, there was the Rub & Tug party put on by Sarcastic. Thomas closed it out with this song around 7:30am and those still in the building lost it good! I still have and wear the shirt they made for that night. Sail away sail away sail away…
Three letters: LSD. It was 1994, and Golden Slumbers filled my eyes as I cried tears of joy for the first time. Obvious heroes, these guys. “And in the end…the love you take…is equal to…the love…you make.”
The first ever time I heard a “real DJ” was in Baltimore at Rise, same year, 1994. It was Ani (On-E) from Deee-Lite playing that night along with NYC DJ Dave Trance & resident DJ Who. Someone played this and I remember it like it was an hour ago. The entire room went absolutely mental when the piano came in. I asked everyone what this one was after, but no one knew, or maybe just wouldn’t tell dork ass young me. 20 years later, it revealed itself in some way I can’t exactly recall, but I completely FLIPPED OUT (pun & done) as memories of that night rushed back to me! Bought a copy on Discogs immediately.
I practiced this mofo for six months when I was 18 to make an audition tape (me playing horn with/ piano accompaniment) for scholarship consideration. My high school band director, Mr. Casagrande (aka MR. C) oversaw the operation, with Zardis’ daughter on piano. It went well enough, as every school I sent it to invited me to come their way. I especially like this particular video/performance because she’s dressed like a jack-o lantern! Wonderful stuff.
The first ballet I ever went to with my first true love affair. Incredibly inspiring/tragic story set to emotionally blindsiding music. 10/10 would do again and again. You’ve seen the movie Black Swan, right? Do yourself a favor and go see a strong ballet company perform the actual thing IN REAL LIFE.
This record came to me directly from Bob. A friend at the time was in touch with him, before the stock was found and copies were everywhere. Amazing private press one man band material here. At one of the last ever Harvey’s Sarcastic Disco parties (big warehouse in Burbank), he plays this monster around 4am. I literally left the ground when the synths go swirling around 6:40. Don’t waste your time with the reissue…ORIGINAL OR BUST.
Found this one for a dollar in 2016 at Counterpoint in Franklin Village. It was after about 5 hours of rummaging, and there was no trace of it online at the time. The title and sleeve were all it took for me to bring it home with me. Chances must be taken in life. No risk, no reward, yada yada. Also, get your damn hands dirty!
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Dirty Dave airs his weekly show Things of Life every Friday on dublab from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. PST.
Tomás Luis de Victoria, Tenebrae Responsories (from Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae)
Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) is known to a wider audience for his magnificent six-part Requiem. The Tenebrae responsories, eighteen motets for four voices a cappella, are not as relatively lush but they make for a sparse, serious late renaissance delight that
April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and Craft Recordings has given us a lot to appreciate as they celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Prestige label with a hefty reissue and playlist campaign. The cornerstone is Coltrane ’58: The Prestige Recordings (out April 26), an eight-LP set that presents John Coltrane’s 1958 sessions for the label in chronological order for the first time.
There’s a lot more though. Being a one-time home to other bonafide legends like Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, and many others, means that Bob Weinstock’s label has a deep and wide catalog to explore.
To help make sense of the wide array of sessions and albums, producer Nick Phillips sifted through the entire discography, selected titles for reissue (which will be announced soon), and curated several playlists. This includes an almost-eight-hour overview, Prestige 70: Jazz Classics.
During a recent phone conversation, Phillips discussed the birthday campaign, the Coltrane box, and some things he learned along the way.
When did you get involved in the conversation about celebrating the 70th of Prestige?
Pretty early on, because I suggested the whole Coltrane ’58 idea. The thinking there was that last year was the 60th anniversary of when that whole collection was recorded, so that idea was discussed a while ago because it takes a considerable amount of time for a box set like that with all the research and remastering, and everything with manufacturing.
When we were talking about the fact that it was also Prestige’s 70th anniversary, that seemed like a logical no-brainer cornerstone release to celebrate the anniversary.
One of the “problems” is that Prestige was an important label in the history of the genre, which means there’s a lot of good stuff to choose from and dig through. So how do you decide what makes it in and what doesn’t, whether that’s playlists or actual reissues?
One thing I look at in general is the impact of the artist in general historically, as well as looking at what albums are considered all-time classics. When you’re talking about the Prestige label, there are many artists and albums that fit in there. Miles Davis is obviously is one of those, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk. In terms of track selections of playlists, you have to include stuff that’s been a huge hit. You have to. Other than that, it really comes down to trying to put together a sequence that’s interesting.
There are certain objective factors you can use in terms of creating a playlist, but a lot of it comes down to using my experience as a producer. I’ve been a jazz record producer for over 30 years, and I’m also a musician. So creating a playlist for me is about finding something that flows and can be listened to over and over, just like I would if I were sequencing an album that I produced. There’s no way to separate subjectivity in a playlist, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I’m gonna put you on the spot: As far as records from the Prestige catalog, what’s number one for you?
That’s a tough question, but I’m a jazz trumpet player, so I always go back to Miles Davis’ Relaxin’ album as one of my all-time favorites from the Prestige catalog. In fact, the first track in the Prestige 70 playlist is If I Were A Bell from the Miles Davis Quintet.
The fortunate reality is that I don’t have to choose one album! There are just so many greats. Take the Sonny Rollins album Saxophone Colossus. That’s one of the greatest saxophone albums of all time.
What’s the most “important” record in the catalog then, whether that’s because of popularity or influence or some other intangible factor?
That I can’t narrow down. I just can’t. But I can point to a handful of super important records in the catalog. I can definitely mention Saxophone Colossus album for sure. Many would regard that as Sonny Rollins’ crowning achievement. You also look from a historical perspective, the title track from Rollins’ Tenor Madness is the only known recording of Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane together, so that is incredibly significant.
Looking at specific Coltrane albums in the catalog, Soultrane and Lush Life were particular standouts. Probably the best album Kenny Dorham was the one he made for Prestige, Quiet Kenny — and he made some great albums. And those are just a few of the many examples.
Going back through the catalog, was there anything that jumped out at your or presented itself to you in a new way?
You know, because the Prestige catalog from the ’50s and early ’60s is really that sweet spot of the classic hard bop, that it’s easy to overlook the funkier soul jazz stuff that came later. But there is some really cool funkier soul jazz stuff there. I put some of those selections at the end of the playlist, like Rusty Bryant’s Fire Eater or Boogaloo Joe Jones’ Brown Bag.
Another thing that struck me as I was going through and putting together the Gene Ammons playlist was that he was one of those guys whose style of playing really evolved and changed. He started as a bebop player, then got more into a hard bop/soul jazz thing, and in the late ’60s and early ’70s, he was being a really influential player in terms of R&B music. It’s interesting to look at his career from the early ’50s to the ’70s and see all the eras of his music — all represented on Prestige — and just look at how great he was all these different styles. That is especially interesting, because for many artists you only get a slice of what they did on one label, and then they were off recording for another label.
Is there anything else while going through this process that you’ve learned in general about what’s here and what makes it special?
In producing the Coltrane ’58 box set, I find that really fascinating because you might say, “Why focus on that one year?” But when you look at Coltrane in ’58 and see the way Prestige had released his albums, there’s something there. He might’ve recorded a session that year, but it wouldn’t come out until ’61, or Bob Weinstock tended to take tracks from multiple sessions and put them on one album. Even when Coltrane was on Atlantic in the early ’60s, Weinstock was still releasing Prestige Coltrane albums.
So when you take his material from 1958 and listen to it the way we’re presenting it in the box set from January all the way through, you really get a sense of how Coltrane’s style evolved — and how rapidly it evolved, even in the span of one year. That’s something you don’t get when you listen to the individual albums, because they’re combinations of a bunch of dates.
This article was produced in partnership with Craft Recordings.
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