Guitarist Barney Kessel recorded regularly for the Contemporary label during 1953-1961, one gem after another. In 1969 he returned to Lester Koenig's label for this lone effort, a quartet set with vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Chuck Domanico, and drummer Elvin Jones. The music is fairly free, particularly Kessel's four originals (which include "Blues, Up, Down & All Around" and "Two Note Samba"). Even Paul Simon's "The Sounds of Silence" and "This Guy's in Love With You" are turned into reasonably creative jazz by the all-star group. Although none of the musicians was associated exclusively with the avant-garde (Elvin Jones came the closest but never quite embraced free jazz), they show the influence of the explorations of the era, using aspects of the innovations as a logical way to stretch the jazz mainstream. Fascinating music.
Whenever someone makes the transition from jazz instrumentalist to R&B singer, he/she is bound to be lambasted by jazz purists and denounced as a sellout. Roy Ayers was no exception – like George Benson, George Duke, and Patrice Rushen, Ayers was frequently attacked by jazz's hardcore in the late '70s for turning away from instrumental jazz and making vocal-oriented soul and funk his main focus. But what didn't interest jazz snobs excited R&B lovers, who found a lot to admire about Vibrations and other Ayers albums from that period. This 1976 LP boasted the moody hit "Searching," which has jazz overtones but is essentially an R&B song, and the title track which has become nothing less less than a funky soul classic…
A cool collection of work from one of our favorite artists ever – literally one of the guys whose music was so great. The package brings together a really hip assortment of Roy Ayers' best work for Polydor in the 70s – really incredible tracks that merge together jazz, soul, and funk at a level that nobody else can touch – not just the sum of the parts, but a sublime fusion that's completely Ayers-like, and which has gone onto inspire countless other folks over the years – even though nobody else can ever do it this well! The track selection is great – way hipper than the usual best-of on Roy – and titles include "And Don't You Say No", "Moving Grooving", "Come Out & Play", "Magic Lady", "Don't You Worry Bout A Thing", "Vibrations", "Tear To A Smile", "When Is Real Real", "Together", "He's A Superstar", and "He Gives Us All His Love".
Exhaustive 30 CD collection from the Jazz legend's short-lived label. Contains 44 original albums (421 tracks) plus booklet. Every record-collector has run across an album with the little sax-playing bird in it's label-logo, right next to the brand name Charlie Parker Records or CP Parker Records. Turning the sleeve over, especially if it was one of the non-Parker releases, and seeing a '60s release date under the header Stereo-pact! Was as exciting an experience as it was confusing. Was the claim Bird Lives meant more literally than previously thought?
Swedish trombonist Eje Thelin and French tenor saxophonist Barney Wilen were two of the top European jazz musicians for several decades before their deaths in the 1990s. They first joined forces briefly in Thelin's quartet in 1963. Based in bop and earlier forms of jazz, Thelin and Wilen were open to freer improvising and music from other countries. In 1966 they joined forces, and two sessions are included on the 1966 With Barney Wilen CD. The first one features a quintet with pianist Lars Sjösten, bassist Erik Lundborg, and drummer Rune Carlsson that is joined by eight brass, bass clarinet, and flute for four inventive Thelin originals. While those performances are excellent, it is the other five numbers (which include second versions of a pair of Thelin's tunes plus "It Could Happen to You" and "Dear Old Stockholm") that are of greatest interest.