From the very moment the needle drops on this LP you will be hooked to this album. It has everything from the shake-your-hips groove of Come Back Baby to the deeply soulful ballad that is (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. Aretha’s voice here is the soulful, raw powerhouse tone that reverberated and echoed through time to still reach us today. It seems that voice and talent runs deep in the Franklin blood, since Aretha is being backed by her sisters – Carolyn and Erna on this recording. The album is no stranger to critical acclaim, having peaked at numbers 1, 2 and 3 in Billboard’s Black Album, Pop Album and Jazz Album charts, respectively. This here is a must have for any vinyl collection by the Queen of Soul herself.
You know how nowadays people get annoyed about autotune in songs and about how tech is affecting music more generally? Well, back in 1963 a similar debate was sparked by overdubbing – the technique of combining multiple layers of recorded music into one piece. Bill being one of the most lyrical and gifted jazz pianists ever was the perfect artist to record this type of an album. The technique allowed him to add the kind of depth to his album that we haven’t heard on many others. At times, you even forget that the only thing playing on this album is a piano - not even a drummer or bassist. Maybe the album was the subject of debate back then and maybe not everyone loved it at first, but we hope you agree with us when we say that this is a truly special recording and worthy of regular play.
We love Stan Getz. There are few tenor players who have such a warm, musky and recognizable tone that he has. You could be out grabbing a drink at a bar, and the moment his cool sax comes on in the background, you’d immediately think “Ah, that’s Getz”. An artist who has explored just about every genre and sub-genre that there is, he was a gifted player with strong improvisational skills. Most people know Getz from his Bossa Nova recordings and collaborations in the 60s – but we’ll come to those in another release. This album features a variety of fantastic numbers recorded in the late 40s and early 50s and is proof that that he could play just about anything and without fail build a connection with the listener.
On October 16, 1957 one of the greatest jazz groups ever assembled got together and recorded a one of a kind masterpiece. The heavyweights on this are none other than Webster, Hawk and Oscar Peterson on piano whose "encounter" led to the merging of genius and recording of this fine record. Miles Davis once said "When I heard Hawk, I learned to play ballads”. Hawk and Webster take what seems like a common list of standards, but deliver the best performance of each and turn them into gold. The two are in absolute harmony with one another, creating a lyrical and warm sound which makes this album such a pleasure to listen to. Coleman and Hawk show us why they are the giants of the tenor saxophone, while Oscar shows us why he's Oscar. We truly hope you enjoy this one and fall in love with it as much as we have.
The first thing you need to realise about Booker T. & The M.G.’s is that they are more than just a band. These are the guys which were some of the first ones to really break down racial barriers within soul music, and were one of the cornerstone figures of their record label – the legendary Stax Records in Memphis. They were able to take influences from the more “black” soul genre, combine it with elements of what was seen at the time as “white” rock music and develop a style of their own which is timeless. This is the band’s sixth album, and what we really like about it is the diversity in styles from one song to the other.
We think that Red Garland has unfortunately been overlooked as the fantastic jazz pianist that he is. Sure – the piano isn’t the glitzy front-line sexy instrument that a saxophone or a trumpet is, but the role of the piano within jazz should not be overlooked - whether that’s in soloing or supporting the rhythm section. Make no mistake, Red Garland was the go-to piano player throughout the 50s, having recorded some of the finest of Miles Davis’ albums including Workin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet and ‘Round About Midnight.
Recorded live just two days into the Cuban Missile Crisis, Live at the Apollo was an equally sweat-inducing affair which turned out to be one of the greatest live soul albums ever recorded. Funny enough, the concept of the album was starkly opposed by Brown's label King Records who didn't believe a live record without any new songs on it could ever be profitable. Ultimately bankrolled by James Brown himself, you could say it was a gamble that certainly paid off.
There's very few albums which have the kind of infectious energy that this one has. Recorded in an era which was dominated by punk rock, no one really believed that a fusion of jazz and rock really had much of a future, but then came Heavy Weather. The album went on to be voted the jazz album of the year and "Birdland" remains to this day one of the greatest instrumental tracks ever recorded. The album oozes with energy, as if the very soul of every performer on it is just screaming out in the grooviest way possible.
Blue Train was recorded during Coltrane’s residency at the Five Spot as a member of the Thelonious Monk quartet. The personnel on the record are an all-star crew which would have much more to come in the coming years. These included Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, which would play with Miles Davis as well as Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller who would become members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers a few years later. A classic album which deserves a listen by any jazz lover.