Thursday, September 29, 2005

Chitlins con Carne

"Kenny Burrell is overall the greatest guitarist in the world and he's my favorite." - B.B. King

"Burrell is the grand master of jazz guitar." - Dizzy Gillespie

"Kenny Burrell that's the sound I'm looking for." - Jimi Hendrix

There's really nothing else I can say...

MP3: Chitlins con Carne by Kenny Burrell
from Midnight Blue (Blue Note, 1963)
MP3: Kenny's Sound by Kenny Burrell & Jimmy Smith
from Blue Bash! (Verve, 1963)

MP3: Chitlins con Carne by Stevie Ray Vaughan
from The Sky Is Crying (Epic, 1991)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"The Sound"

If I had to describe the music and playing of Stan Getz in one word, the first thing that comes to mind is tone. A tone so big and pure, even John Coltrane was envious of it. Getz was first associated with the "Cool" sound coming out of the west coast. But after personal problems put his career in temporary exile, Getz rejuvenated it by way of the Brazilian bossa nova rhythm. Never one to compromise professional integrity for commercial success, Getz left the widely popular bossa nova style that made him famous and returned to leading straight jazz groups. Leading groups up until his death in 1991, Stan Getz left his legacy as one of the most respected musicians in jazz history.

MP3: La Fiesta by Stan Getz from Captain Marvel (Columbia, 1972)
MP3: Saudade Vem Correndo from Jazz Samba Encore (Verve, 1963)
MP3: Night and Day from Stan Getz & Bill Evans (Verve, 1973)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Birk's Works

There is not much I can say about Dizzy Gillespie that has not been said before. Simply a true giant of jazz and probably the greatest ambassador this music has ever known. Heavily influenced by his idol, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy made his mark during his brief tenure in Cab Calloway’s orchestra. Calloway, however was not too fond of Dizzy and his approach to soloing. As a result of their strained relationship(and Diz using a knife to cut Calloway), Dizzy left the band. Soon after, Dizzy was experimenting with Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. Together they developed music that incorporated complex chord structures, complex progressions, and progressive soloing techniques. This style of music would eventually come to be known as Bebop. Easily identifiable because of his stage presence and his trademark bent trumpet, Dizzy combined technique, blistering range, and power into his playing. Truly one of the greates trumpet players of all-time. Perhaps my greatest influence, not just in jazz, but in music.

MP3: "Prelude" from Gillespiana (Verve, 1961)
Mp3: "Alligator" from The Real Thing (Breathless, 1970)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Que Bruto

This is perhaps a prequel to an upcoming Soul Sides post. Oliver was cool enough to let me do a write up on his site. The topic: Chicano Soul. Many of these soul songs are "hidden gems" for funk enthusiasts simply because the songs are sandwiched between classic Tejano tunes. The first track is from The Latin Breed. The Latin Breed were an offspring of Sunny and the Sunliners, another band responsible for some raw Texas funk. Latin Breed's version of Otis Redding's "Hard To Handle" opens with a wall of horns and wah wah guitar and features the raspy vocals of singer Jimmy Edwards.
The second track is a vinyl rip from Tejano legend Augustine Ramirez. His rendition of the Ides of March classic,"Vehicle" sounds very raw to say the least. The aggressive horns and dominant organ are no match to the raunchy sounding, in your face guitar solo. Excellent.

MP3: "Hard To Handle" by Latin Breed
MP3: "Vehicle" by Augustine Ramirez from Sangre de Indio lp(Zarape)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Soul Vaccination

I didn't want to leave this page with just a single post, so I have some classic Tower of Power. TOP have been making horn-driven funk and soul since the early 70's. Line-ups have inevitably changed throughout the years, but one constant has been TOP's leader from day one, Emilio Castillo. TOP never gained the popular mainstream attention as other horn driven bands of the day like Chicago, Earth, Wind, & Fire, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. One reason may be because Tower of Power were on a whole other level. They weren't playing mainstream rock or jazz-rock. They were playing greasy, East Bay funk with horn lines that were as thick as they were tight.
Both of these tracks display a killer rhythm section anchored by one of the most respected bassists around, Rocco Prestia and the pyrotechnic playing of a young Lenny Picket, long before his days leading the Saturday Night Live Band.

MP3: "Squib Cakes" from Back to Oakland(Warner Bros. 1974)

MP3:"Soul Vaccination" from Tower of Power (Warner Bros. 1973)

On a side note... Check out Soul Sides. It is a great audioblog and probably the reason I wanted to start this one.

Friday, September 16, 2005


I'll introduce my varied tastes, which are many, in this first post. Being the first, I really want to start out with a bang. So I'll start with some obscure quasi-jazz by Maynard Ferguson. Maynard is a trumpeter from Ontario, Canada who actually worked with a young trumpet prodigy named Clifford Brown in his early days. Unfortunately, Maynard strayed from the classic jazz sound and moved into his own version of Jazz-fusion. During this time period many established jazz musicians were experimenting with electronics and different sounds and combo arrangements. Hence the term Fusion. Miles Davis' Bitches Brew was the pinnacle of this movement. Not to be outdone, Maynard decided to fuse his supersonic, stratospheric trumpet playing with....Disco. As a result, Maynard lost all credibility with jazz purists. Always a popular listen for younger trumpet players, Maynard, who has returned to his big band roots, often displays power, range, and hypnotizing lip shakes that make his sound totally unique.

Stan Kenton was known to stretch the limits of trumpet range in his arrangements. "Screamin'" is a classic example.
(click on links for download prompt)

MP3: Screamin' - Stan Kenton ft. Maynard Ferguson
MF has always been at his finest with a big band. This is no exception.

MP3: "The Fly" is a classic example of Maynard's disco/funk fusion years. Can't you just picture John and Ponch riding their CHP bikes?