Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stanley Clarke Trio: Live at Catalina's

Last December, when Stanley Clarke gathered drummer Lenny White and piano phenom Hiromi together to do his first-ever trio album, Jazz In The Garden (Telarc, 2009), no one knew quite what to expect.

Hiromi was clearly the new kid on the block, at least in this straight-ahead context. Clarke and White were both veterans who had made their marks before she was born.

The question was whether a fusionista like Hiromi could be brought successfully into a musical world that would measure her not simply by her ability to flash a fancy solo, but her ability to speak the language of an idiom and swing on a groove. Testing her mettle with such high profile players was risking a lot.

After the show at Catalina’s in Hollywood Wednesday, October 7th, she had something to say about that, as she addressed the comment that she had come out swinging with very intense, aggressive energy on the first number of the set. “Three Wrong Notes” is an infectiously melodious bop tune penned by Clarke for his recent CD. It swings fast and hard right from the opening notes. A Monk-like time signature at the break surrounded on all sides by Brubeck-ian bounce. Responding to the comment on her energy level, she smiled and said: “I had to, just to keep up with these two.”

That is the truth. But while she’s got a ways to go before she catches up with “these two”, she’s catching up pretty damned fast.

In fact, she came out hitting so hard on “Three Wrong Notes”, that at times Clarke and White were keeping up with her. And the capacity crowd at Catalina’s went nuts for it. Clearly, the majority had come to see the legendary bassist and drummer, but it was the brilliant young Japanese prodigy who stole their thunder with her rambunctious blues figures and glistening arpeggios. Playing with a ferocity usually reserved for later in a performance, if not the encore, Hiromi tore into her solos with such intensity that it immediately engaged the crowd and fired up Clarke, whose own solo went places the studio recording never would have predicted. Near the end of the tune White traded a series of fours with Hiromi, snappy little snare rolls that kept it jumping. Both were smiling by the end. It was a perfect tune to open the set.

The next number was also from Clarke’s CD, “Sakura, Sakura”, which stands as Japan’s best known folk music in the West. Too well known, perhaps, because pretty as the melody is, by dint of being included on the soundtrack of nearly every Western film ever made about Japanese culture, this low-energy ditty about blossoming cherry trees has become a tiresome cliché. But they were able to pull it off, the clash of Hiromi’s angular, urban-sounding improvisation rescuing it from toxic sweetness.

Just as familiar to the audience was a composition borrowed from the set list for Clarke’s and White’s current world tour with Chick Corea. “No Mystery”, which both have played (and Hiromi has undoubtedly heard) hundreds of times, took off like a shot from the opening unison phrases. In this case, familiarity has bred perfection, not contempt. When the inevitable live CD is released, the first track to hear will be this one. As she took up the melody, her soaring solo lines broke it out into strangely new and beautiful territory. Late in the tune, as a run-up to the composition’s breathtaking coda, Stanley indulged his new fascination with hand drumming on the body and neck of his big upright in an explosive, hammering display that no one who saw and heard will ever forget. Corea will undoubtedly grin widely when he hears it.

After only a few bars of Joe Henderson’s “Black Narcissus”, it was plain that Hiromi was not only keeping up with “these two”, she was stealing the show.

Not that Clarke and White were trying to stop her.

The piano-bass-drums trio configuration by its nature results in a timbral spectrum. The high frequency sounds, naturally, are more audible than the lower frequencies and jump out at the listener. But even if the arrangements gave Clarke plenty of opportunities to play higher on the strings, and White used a lot of snare and cymbal, the trio’s orchestrational design put the solo spotlight on the piano whenever a main theme or melody needed to be stated. By design.

Stanley Clarke’s soloing abilities have been unquestioned for 30 some years. Shortly after he first gained worldwide recognition playing with the early edition of Return to Forever, he set the gold standard for every electric bass player in the world with solo recordings like “Silly Putty” and “School Days”. So when he pulled out his bow and caressed those fat strings on the next number, it was not to tease, but only to please the audience. The tune, unnamed, with the only commentary from Clarke coming at the song’s conclusion when he turned to Hiromi and said “crazy!”, turned into a pleasantly frenzied free-for-all jam that built to a three-way duel between them. The Cheshire grin on Hiromi’s face was evidence of who had won.

White is the kind of timekeeper only an attentive listener will ever notice. Put another way, he’s noticed when he wants to be noticed. He gets the train to run on time, and makes sure the locomotive pulls into the station. At the end of the intro to “Paradigm Shift (Election Day 2008)”, he does both with a startling rimshot. Partisan politics aside, when a black man was elected President of the United States last November 4th, racism was officially rescinded as a national policy. This is a piece of music which calls for the dramatic, and delivers. White, who seldom takes a real solo (he has certainly avoided gratuitous displays in his career, just to show off his chops) took a solo that was mesmerizing. Not the machine-gun barrage of notes that often passes for a performance, but a musical interlude that was as notable for what it didn’t do as what it did. Reminiscent of Max Roach on an introspective evening, he played different parts of the kit in an organically developed melody, with the rhythmic qualities of echoing counterpoint, like water condensing and splashing inside an underground cave.

At the end of White’s solo, a young man’s voice from the back of the room began shouting enthusiastically, “Lenny White! Lenny White! Lenny White! Lenny White!” in a kind of Tarzan-esque bellow. Embarrassing though it may have been for White, one and all of the assembled understood completely. No question.

When the musicians returned for their encore, they did yet another tune from Clarke’s trio CD, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ crooner’s ballad “Under the Bridge”, a big radio hit that had always seemed like a terrible mistake. His arrangement is a curious one, not a deconstruction at all, but a re-interpretation. The familiar piano intro is kept intact while he plays a faithful rendition of the vocal melody line on a fretted Fender Victor Bailey Acoustic/Electric Bass, a sweet-toned guitar that looks like an oversized version of what Gene Autry used to strum on horseback, but which Clarke was able to pop and pluck vigorously. In Clarke’s hands the tune is stripped clean of the ironically lilting but deeply morose pathos of the original’s lyrics, turned inside out and transformed from a junkie’s lament into a swinging, upbeat song of redemption. Here the City of Angels becomes, for a moment, that glittering, mythic sanctuary called Hollywood where a lost soul can find succor for his artistic dreams. Passionately playing his axe like a lead guitarist, Clarke burned. Which of course prompted Hiromi to tear apart the piano line. The abstracted chords she pounded out on the big Yamaha grand were jarring, sometimes harshly voiced as she seemed to utilize all 88 keys in an embrace of a wide spectrum of emotional contradictions as she went further and further outside the boundaries of the compositon, over and over skirting dissonance and disaster, but always returning safely and staying just this side of chaos.

And then White brought the train into the station. Clouds of steam plumed as the brakes hissed and coughed, and the tracks trembled. One by one the three of them stood up, walked forward to stand on the platform and take a bow.

Later, backstage, Hiromi came up to White to say good night and ask if they had recorded the show, and White told her yes, the first set. She had clearly preferred the second, the one that had just concluded, but there would be other shows. White rearranged himself on the comfortable couch and returned to the conversation he had been having. Leaning forward, he tried to respond to a friend’s comment about what Miles Davis had supposedly once said about jazz, that “sometimes mistakes are the baddest shit that happens.” “Music,” White said in correcting him, “is how you get out of your mistakes, how you get from the point where you’re lost… finding your way back from that lost point.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

INTERVIEW - Tierney Sutton: Not A Material Girl

Vocalist Tierney Sutton discovered jazz while immersed in Russian language and literature studies at Wesleyan University. During her college years she also abandoned her earlier atheism and became engaged in a lifelong study of Man's spiritual nature. She has adopted no halfway measures in any of these pursuits. Though she hasn't yet written lyrics, she brings the passion of a poet to the use of language and lyricism in her singing. Her religious devotion is Dostoevskian in its upright clarity of purpose. And what she does as a jazz singer with the Tierney Sutton Band--pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Trey Henry, bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Ray Brinker, who have been playing together since 1994--is entirely unique on the jazz landscape. As a result she is one of the brightest and fastest-rising stars in the jazz firmament.

Describing her friend and collaborator, lyricist/singer Lorraine Feather said: "Tierney (with her unbelievable band) manages to create something really thought-provoking and original out of material we have heard hundreds of times. Her sense of rhythm was the first thing that electrified me when I heard a cut of hers on the radio one day; it was 'Squeeze Me.' [Pianist] Shelly Berg once described her as a great intellect and I agree. Not many of those around."

Earlier this year the Tierney Sutton Band released the breakthrough recording, Desire (Telarc, 2009).

Jazz (Jazzers Jazzing): I want to start with a discussion of your most recent recording, Desire. It's sort of a departure. You've traditionally been using a spiritual approach to your music, but this one is a bit of a departure, because the theme is a very pronounced and explicit theme. It's hung on a hook, and says: This is a concept. Was there something in particular that inspired this?

Tierney Sutton: I think it's something that's been coming for 15 years in terms of the process of the band, to a certain degree. I've been a practicing Baha'i for over 25 years and definitely approached my work and my singing from a spiritual perspective. But as a band leader, and as a band partner, as the years went on--because my band are now legal partners--it's all [been] done by a collaborative process. This is our eighth album where we collaborate on the concepts, the arrangements--the whole thing.

So that being the case, I would never have imposed my own personal spiritual beliefs and any particular outlook on a project, unless it emerged from the band process. And so, 15 years in, that's what started to happen. Over the last three years, more and more conversations within the band were about how, when we take to the stage, we're basically engaging in a spiritual process. We're meditating. Sometimes at the end of a set we can't remember consciously what happened. And the goal of any performance that we do, or any time we play together, is basically to have a transcendent experience. I mean, that sounds kind of high falutin' but that's really what we're going for all the time. So it kind of became logical to kind of be out with it a little bit. As we started putting a collection of songs together, there were certain songs I really liked, because of what they said.

One is a brilliant Dave Frishberg song that he wrote with Blossom Dearie, called "Long Daddy Green," which Blossom used to say was about the almighty dollar. But I think it's much more than that. The first part of the lyric says "Long Daddy Green is an old, old friend/He hangs around the rainbow's end/dealing out dreams from a potful of fortune and fame/fanning the flame/Hear him calling your name." Now if that doesn't basically nail what's going on in American culture right now, I don't know what does. Even though the song's probably 25 years old, or whatever it is. I just think it's brilliant, and it's completely timely in terms of materialism in western culture. Period. End of story. So I heard that song and I said "I want to record this song."

And that got me thinking. We were experimenting as a band with me doing some spoken word and improvised praying, basically, over some grooves that bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker had put together with a guitarist friend of ours. We really liked the results, and we thought we'd like to integrate something of that into our work.

I had this idea that there was this one song that was, to me, about materialism and really brilliant. Then we had this idea that maybe we should bring the spiritual element that we're always talking about, which is in the background of what we do, and put it in the foreground. And so, that's how that began.

J(JJ): I've got to tell you my experience listening to this, because this is... Honestly, I haven't been this bowled over by a recording in awhile. I always look forward to this experience, because when I listen to a recording, I'm always anticipating hearing something that'll just, you know, just rock my world, and this one did.

TS: That's great.

J(JJ): I actually stopped it at the half-way point and walked into the living room, because I was sitting in my office. I told my wife, "I'm just freaked out... I haven't heard anything like this in so long."

TS: Oh, wow!

J(JJ): It's just changing, as I go. It's changing the way I'm looking at things.

TS: That's the nicest thing you could say, that it changes the way you look at things. Because for me, if I really get into a great song... I mean, this is why it's really hard for me to turn away from the great American songbook, and the few songs that stand next to it, which are Frishberg and a few other people that can stand in there.

When you find material that's so pregnant that every time you sing it, there's something else that you see that you didn't see before, that's what you want. Anything that's monochromatic or one-dimensional isn't good enough anymore. And the way that the band plays; when I listen to our recordings I'm always hearing this little counter-thing that Ray is doing on drums that I never realized before. Or some brilliant piano fill that Christian did here or there that actually echoes the lyric I was singing without him even being conscious that he was doing it.

Those layers are the things that keep us interested in what we're doing. So for us, we want to be changed, even if we've played it eighty-seven times. We want this time to be different than any other time, and we want to say "Oh, I just realized here..." Like, for example, on "Cry Me a River," which I'm really proud of in terms of the arrangement. Arthur Hamilton, who wrote it, has heard us perform it and really likes the arrangement, too.

That bridge... the guys come up with this thing where, to me, it's like insomnia and a migraine headache where you're playing the story of this romance gone bad. "You drove me, nearly drove me out of my head/while you never shed a tear/Remember? I remember all that you said.../told me love was too plebian/told me you were through with me, and/now you say you love me." Now, that bridge, everybody's heard it a million times. But to me, that is a really well-crafted lyric in terms of the truth of what you go through in that situation. In real life when someone messes you up, you're awake at night and you replay every conversation that you had. That is the truth.

And some of it is ridiculous. So even the word "plebian" doesn't bother me at all--there was this one strange conversation you had where he said this to you, and you're replaying it, and you're thinking "what did that mean?" So, to have this kind of pulsing, migraine headache kind of vibe going on behind that, it's like they took the emotion that I was feeling singing the lyric and singing the melody, and put it into their part of the arrangement.

J(JJ): I was thinking about that same thing. Somebody else did that--Joe Cocker. The arrangement had that kind of pulsing bass line in it and, you're right, that the sort of discomfort is exactly right. It's not supposed to be a real comfortable thing to listen to, because you're describing something very painful.

TS: Exactly, yeah. And so it's supposed to change us. It's supposed to change us, even in the time that we're doing it. And a lot of times in our arrangements, if they work well, there are things I see in them after playing them for several years, that I didn't see in the beginning. So I'm hoping that that's the way it is.

J(JJ): Well, it sure did it for me.

TS: Well, good! We're delighted. I will pass it along to the Crust Brothers, as I like to call them.

J(JJ): Please do. At the beginning and end of the recording you quote from Baha'u'llah. I've gone back and studied this, but I'm not a student of Baha'i teachings, so I'm not completely clear on it. I think it would be interesting to just kind of sort it out, because it's part of the recording. Could you help me understand a little bit, what those lines are about?

TS: It's really interesting, because the central tenet of the Baha'i religion is the oneness of all religions, and the oneness of all people. So our basic belief is that, you know, the un-knowable essence that is God has expressed himself/herself to humanity through a series of messengers throughout history. So we affirm the holiness of Jesus Christ, of Mohammed, of the Buddha, of Krishna, and Baha'u'llah says he's just the most recent of these same beings, the same spirit expressed to humanity throughout the ages.

Now, because of that, when I was first looking for writings about materialism, I knew that the Baha'i writings were not the only source of those things, so I quite literally read through the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, cover-to-cover several times, and the Koran, and the Old and New Testament. My son and I, for many years, have been doing a multi-faith Sunday school, so I have this big bag that one of the mothers that does it with me, and I, call the Big Bag of God because it's just all these different holy books. We would get writings to share with the kids about different virtues... truthfulness; stuff that everybody agrees on. We try not to get into the big, controversial stuff, but there's a lot that isn't controversial between the religions--you're not supposed to lie, you're supposed to be nice; this kind of thing.

So, my original was not necessarily to use Baha'i writings. I just wanted very pithy, focused statements that would frame the songs in terms of materialism and the soul's nature. And what I found was that the Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah, which is a book that he says he's taken the essence of the spiritual writings of the religions of the past and cloaked them in a garment of brevity. I found that he wasn't kidding, because I really tried to find little, pithy things in all the different holy books. I found the essence there, but they didn't necessarily fit poetically as a short statement that then I could sing "Paper Moon" after. And then, once I had one, there's a rhythm to the hidden words. "O! Son of..." something. "O! Son of Being." Several of the Hidden Words start "O! Son of Desire," and I had already decided to call the album Desire. So I thought, 'Okay, I'm trying to be very ecumenical here, and I don't want to be, in any way, shoving my own faith down anybody's throat, but if these are the writings that actually work, then that's what I've got to use.'

And I was trying different things with the guys on the road. I would read something from the Bhagavad Gita. Sometimes a lot of the holy writings that are from deep in the past might use imagery like... you know, there's oxen and there's yokes, and things that sort of take you out of the moment for a second, even though the essence of what's being said spiritually is exactly the same and equally profound, and all the rest of it. So in the end, I settled on these writings. You know, Hidden Words is a very short book. It's not that long and there are I don't know how many of them, maybe eighty, of these little writings. I realized that the essence of this book is materialism.

The hidden word that I read on the record says, "O! Son of Being. Busy not thyself with this world. For with fire we test the gold, and with gold we test our servants." Then you think of the New Testament, it says it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get to heaven. This idea that wealth and things--material things that we desire--keep us from our true nature. And so, the essence of The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah, as I see it right now--which may change as the years go by--is that our time here on earth is a kind of spiritual obstacle course, that we're constantly being sucked into desiring things and some of those things are just flat-out bad for us. Sometimes it's really obvious that they're bad for us, and then other times it's not so obvious. In the personal relationship category, that's when it gets really mysterious, because you can really desire a person and it can seem perfect and lofty. But it's never perfect and lofty; it always goes somewhere else.

J(JJ): Which is the theme, at least part of it, in...

TS: "Then I'll Be Tired of You."

J(JJ): Yeah, there's another one, it's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." It's like this strange dichotomy of what you want, and what you need, something like that.

TS: I think of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"-- there are different ways to look at it, but I think of it pretty much as a woman who is materialistic and is with a man because he's got money. And she actually is more interested in other men, but she's not going anywhere because he treats her so well. I always thought of it as kind of a tongue-in-cheek, happy little song. But then I thought, 'This isn't really funny.' If you think of the fact that every spiritual tradition seems to affirm that there's more than this, and that this is a finite thing, and the other part is bigger. But what we do here really has a big effect on what's going to happen after, whatever tradition you follow.

Maybe it's reincarnation, maybe it's Heaven and Hell, maybe it's whatever it is. There's some sense of that. So, we live in a world where the society sucks us into basically selling our souls on a daily basis, and it is just not easy to fight that. So, to me, that's what the record is about. We know, we get glimpses. We get glimpses of a higher desire, we get glimpses of something really beautiful, something that is more than just being rich or just being famous. We get little glimmers of it, and that's what "Skylark" is about: "Can you tell me where my love can be?" And then you think of the idea of a skylark as a Christ figure: "In your lonely flight/haven't you heard the music in the night/wonderful music." The people that really represent the pure in this society, suffer. It's just not the place where it's easy to do that.

J(JJ): The rules are set up for the one whose heart belongs to daddy, because that's the paycheck. And speaking of that, this album has got the greatest opening I've heard in years. "It's Only A Paper Moon" has got a set of lyrics that are just mind-blowing. These were great songwriters, but...

TS: It was a long time ago.

J(JJ): ...they weren't essentially philosophers, right? They were songwriters, and they made their livings writing hit tunes. And this song--there's a line that I'm going to quote, because it just knocks me out. You were talking about Baha'u'llah being "clothed in brevity," something like that?

TS: Clothed in a garment of brevity

J(JJ): These little stanzas are like microcosms of the entire album. Like, "It's a Barnum & Bailey world."

TS: "Just as phony as it can be." Think about that; turn on the TV for five minutes. And if you're spending time with an art form that's not phony--that is deep, of someone that is really engaged in craft and process and taking time--and then you see what's prevalent in the world, it's alarming. I mean it's just stunning, and crazy and weird, once you're sensitized to it. But it's very easy to get desensitized to it. Really easy, because it's so prevalent. But it is, it's a Barnum & Bailey world, just as phony as it can be.

J(JJ): But then the resolution is...

TS: "But it wouldn't be make-believe..."

J(JJ): "if you believed in me." That's working on several levels at one time. Because it could be between two people who, if they would just gain some trust and believe in each other, then they could make all this sham and phoniness go away. And it's also that spiritual thing of "Skylark," where it's a person talking to a deity, a soul seeking God, "if you believe in me."

TS: I think ultimately it's always that. I grew up an atheist, basically, and I was an atheist until I was about 18. And even when I first became a Baha'i, I couldn't use the word "God" for the first two-and-a-half-to-three years. And even now, it's hard for me to use it because it's so badly used in the culture, and I think it's cheapened.

The Baha'i definition of God is the unknowable essence, so that right now, right away it takes it out of that "some guy with a beard, and he makes the rules, and smites you, and is nice to you"; whatever. I think when we look at anything that is transcendent--and sometimes, the way that you feel about a person can be transcendent--when it's right, you see the God that's within them, you see the nobility within them. You see something of them that is not phony, and is not part of the Barnum & Bailey world, and you get that glimpse. And you crave it.

Often the attachments that we have, really that's what we're looking for; and we get it in different ways. I've often said that I think that the reason that a lot of the great heroes of jazz fell into drugs is that the transcendence that you get to feel when you're inspired is so intoxicating, so powerful, that you want to have it, you want to have it at all costs. And you can't always have it, night-after-night. So, they would try things, because the pain of separation from that inspiration was so great.

It's a mystical pain, and we have that. We are mystically separated from God, and trying to move toward God, and doing the best we can in this society that has no clue and is telling us the exact wrong things to do. And so we're trying to find it and we attach ourselves to a person, or to a thing, or to money, or to a career; but all of it is our soul trying to get to a better place, trying to get to a higher place, trying to desire something good.

J(JJ): Miles Davis has a night off, and he's missing this transcendent experience from the night before, and there he is, and what's he going to do? What's he going to do? He wants to transcend it, he wants that again, only the culture says well, what you do is load up a syringe and stick it in your arm.

TS: Or even if the culture doesn't say that, the pain, you want to deaden the pain of that separation, of not feeling oneness. We often say a prayer before we perform in the band, and the prayer says: "Oh God, maketh me a hollow reed from which the pith of self hath been blown, so that I may be a clear channel through which thy love may flow to others." I've never said that to a musician that didn't get the concept right off the bat, because what you feel when it's going right is lack of your self. You don't feel your self. You feel one with the other musicians, with the music, with something other than your self. You feel hollow, and free.

Selected Discography

Tierney Sutton Band, Desire (Telarc, 2009)
Lorraine Feather,
Language (Jazzed Media, 2008)
Trish Oney, Dear Peg (Rhombus, 2008)
Tierney Sutton Band,
On the Other Side (Telarc, 2007)
Grant Geissman,
Say That! (Futurism, 2006)
Tierney Sutton Band,
I'm With the Band (Telarc, 2005)
Tierney Sutton Band,
Dancing in the Dark (Telarc, 2004)
Mark Isham, The Cooler (Commotion/Koch, 2003)
Tierney Sutton Band,
Something Cool (Telarc, 2002)
Tierney Sutton Band,
Blue in Green (Telarc, 2001)
Tierney Sutton Band,
Unsung Heroes (Telarc, 2000)
Tierney Sutton Band,
Introducing Tierney Sutton (Challenge, 1998)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bill Connors Returns to Play with Corea, Clarke & White

A few hours ago Chick Corea tweeted and facebooked an announcement that he and friends Lenny White and Stanley Clarke will be joined September 2nd at the Hollywood Bowl kick-off gig of their fall tour by Jean-Luc Ponty, Chaka Khan and Bill Connors.

That's right. Jean-Luc Ponty, the great violinist.

Chaka Khan, the wonderful song stylist.

And Bill Connors. The preeminent guitarist Corea originally chose to bring into the band in 1973 so that Return To Forever could "make your hair move" musically like his friend John McLaughlin was doing with Mahavishnu Orchestra. Connors will join his former band mates when they open their tour at the storied Highland Ave. venue in Los Angeles.

At least for one night. When pressed for details of whether he would join them for what has recently grown into a world tour, a man-sized little birdie told me it isn't known yet. Implying that if everything clicked, it could happen.

It could also not happen. It's been 35 years since they last played together. That plus the fact that Connors has made a career out of never making a predictable career move, beginning with leaving Return To Forever just as their stars were rising. They had recently recorded what is arguably their finest electric album, Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (Polydor, 1973) and were engaged on a successful worldwide tour when he announced he was going to depart. He may well have harbored various disagreements with the direction the band was taking, but his immediate immersion in an intensive study of classical guitar was far and away his aim and the most significant clue to how he conducted himself over the next decade, as he literally re-trained himself to use all his fingers in ways utterly alien to the picking methods used with an electric guitar. Other jazz guitarists like John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia and Al Di Meola have all advanced their technique and stretched and extended their stylistic limitations over the years, but Bill Connors stands alone in his tireless pursuit of greater and greater skill. Over the course of his career his constant determination has taken him through technical realms most guitarists never imagine. Celebrity and its accompanying paycheck have not so much eluded him as they have been ignored by him; artistic growth has been his raison d' etre.

So this is good news, very good news.

If you live in Los Angeles, treat yourself and see Bill Connors perform with Corea, Clarke and White on September 2nd. It may well be your only chance to see this most lyrical and soulful guitarist play again with these fine musicians, but no matter what actually happens after September 2nd, it will certainly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Get your tickets soon.

09/02 - Hollywood Bowl - Los Angeles, CA

09/04 - Detroit International Jazz Festival - Detroit, MI

09/05 - Lehigh University - Zoellner Arts Center - Bethlehem, PA

09/07 - Dakota Jazz Club - Minneapolis, MN

09/08 - Dakota Jazz Club - Minneapolis, MN

09/10 - Anthology - San Diego, CA

09/11 - Anthology - San Diego, CA

09/12 - Anthology - San Diego, CA

09/15 - Yoshi's - Oakland, CA

09/16 - Yoshi's - Oakland, CA

09/17 - Yoshi's - Oakland, CA

09/18 - Yoshi's - Oakland, CA

09/20 - Monterey Jazz Festival - Monterey, CA

09/22 - Humboldt State University - Van Duzer Theater - Arcata, CA

09/25 - University at Buffalo - Center for the Arts Mainstage - Buffalo, NY

09/26 - The Royal Conservatory Telus Centre for Performance and Learning Koerner Hall -Toronto, Ontario CANADA

09/29 - Bergen Performing Arts Center - Englewood, NJ

10/22 - Turcoing Jazz Festival - Turcoing, FRANCE

10/24 - Palace Hall - Bucharest, ROMANIA

10/26 - Skopje Jazz Festival 2009 - Skopje, MACEDONIA

10/27 - 50! Jazz Festival Ljubljana - Ljubljana, SLOVENIA

10/31 - Theaterhaus Gessnerallee - Zurich, Switzerland

11/13 - Oosterpoort Main Hall - Groningen, NETHERLANDS

11/27 - Blue Note Tokyo - Tokyo, JAPAN

11/28 - Blue Note Tokyo - Tokyo, JAPAN

11/29 - Blue Note Tokyo - Tokyo, JAPAN

11/30 - Blue Note Tokyo - Tokyo, JAPAN

12/01 - Blue Note Tokyo - Tokyo, JAPAN

12/02 - Blue Note Tokyo - Tokyo, JAPAN

12/05 - Esplanade Concert Hall - Singapore, SINGAPORE

Saturday, May 30, 2009

REVIEW: Hubbard / Henderson / Corea / Clarke / White: Echoes of A Hard Bop Era

(This review will run on beginning June 2nd, 2009, and will also be archived separately with my other reviews at

Wolf & Rissmiller's Country Club, April 7, 1982. Walking forward to the front of the stage, producer/drummer Lenny White held a microphone to his lips to announce the members of the band, beginning with "I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the world's greatest musicians..." A subjective statement, yes, but he had a point.

Four days earlier this same mutually evolved, once-in-a-lifetime band--trumpeter/ flugelhornist Freddie Hubbard, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke, and White himself--had brought down the house with their show at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California, now reissued on the 2-disc Griffith Park Collection 2--In Concert (Wounded Bird, 2008). This after having recorded two studio albums with the same personnel in the eight preceding days.

A man with a mission, White had selected these veteran players from his own experiences playing alongside them. Not only had he performed with each in a multitude of settings, but each of them had also played with each of the others in various groupings over the years. All were itching to play again in a straight-ahead hard bop context. This was no hastily assembled all-star band. Instead, it was a gathering of five star-crossed collaborators capable of supporting each other so well that they anticipated producing some of the hottest work any of them had ever done. They did not disappoint.

Echoes Of An Era
Rhino Records

First up was a studio album, Echoes Of An Era, a selection of well-chosen standards done the old-fashioned way with mics on everybody, no more than two takes of anything, no overdubs--but departing from the norm by featuring the vocals of R&B siren Chaka Khan. To many in the jazz world's amazement (and delight, for it earned the singer a Grammy nomination) Khan skillfully runs through the paces on a series of Corea's athletically demanding arrangements. First, the Pinkard/Tracy/Tauber standard "Them There Eyes," then the Ella Fitzgerald-esque swoop-and-scat "All Of Me," followed by a galloping romp through Thelonious Monk's "I Mean You" that is full of unison jumps and masterful comping and soloing from Corea, as he does some of the best interpreting of Monk since Monk. The titles are all familiar--George Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy," Billy Strayhorn's "Take The 'A' Train," Frank Loesser's "I Hear Music"--but Khan's fresh approach is anything but familiar.

Griffith Park Collection
Wounded Bird Records

Realizing the wealth of talent that had assembled, Bruce Lundvall at Elektra/Musician asked for an album featuring just the instrumentalists. The reissued Griffith Park Collection opens with White's "L's Bop," a 60's Blue Note paean showcasing some vintage Hubbard hornwork that evokes those sunny days when Blue Note producer Alfred Lion was repeatedly capturing the blinding brilliance of an era. Clarke's "Why Wait" is a blues that sneaks up barefooted as the bassist strums a slow amble of a walking rhythm, White riding a cymbal step-for-step, Hubbard and Henderson blowing sweet unison notes and somehow managing to create the additional harmonic of a trombone between them, when Corea's aggressive comping style finally gives the meter a push and Henderson punches a full-throated solo with his thick, unmistakable copper-and-zinc tone. A little over a minute into it when White bounces a snare roll that introduces the chorus' arrival like the low roar of an incoming tide, the boys are swinging so hard that you can feel it in your body.

Griffith Park Collection 2: In Concert
Wounded Bird Records

This is a stunning live recording of these same tunes. Magically resurrected from a soundboard cassette of one of the shows during the group's five day California tour, Griffith Park Collection 2: In Concert starts with "Why Wait," this time at a slightly slower tempo that seems to open up the arrangement and allow the soloists room to swing even harder. Like wanderers returning to their home hearth, they play with a mounting sense of urgency and passion as the night wears on, pursuing the music like it was the source of life itself.

Stalwart rhythm aces White and Clarke could both have turned in longer and more frequent solos, but this particular night they were largely content to lay down strong-shouldered support for the incendiary energies of Hubbard, Henderson and Corea--three players bursting with energy and clearly in a mood to solo on some unrestrained bop. Especially Hubbard. (In January 2009, multi-reedist Bennie Maupin got a roar of laughter from a church full of mourners with the opening line of his eulogy for the departed legend. With his trademark Cheshire grin, Maupin said: "Every musician knew that if you were going to play with Freddie Hubbard, you had to be ready to be humbled.")

These guys were certainly ready for something. Without preamble Hubbard starts by blowing a series of runs that sound like cascades of sparks sprayed from an arc welder's torch (it's tempting to imagine the other players wearing protective goggles as they watch him intently.) No question, Hubbard's unbridled, over-the-ramparts approach might have had a daunting effect on another stage, but on this spring evening it leads the charge and sets a standard. Each player's solo invites the next until it is clear that each is ready to take full advantage of this rare opportunity. White's "Guernica" is an unforgettable, hair-raising blowing session that evokes the passionate emotional landscape of that war-torn Spanish city. Hubbard's flashy, headlong bopper "Happy Times" is followed by Corea's tone poem "October Ballade," and then it's back to the races with a hard-driving "I Mean You," and finally a gently swaying "Here's That Rainy Day" with a handful of lyrical flourishes from Hubbard to close things out.

Chick Corea - A Very Special Concert
Image Entertainment

The laudatory band introduction from Lenny White, quoted earlier, was occasioned by their spectacular last performance. Good mobile recording equipment and several cameras recorded the evening's events, so although record company politics/economics have kept Echoes of An Era 2: the Concert (Elektra Musician, 1982) from being reissued on CD, rights acquired from Sony have resulted in two DVDs: Chick Corea--A Very Special Concert and Chick Corea Band with Nancy Wilson--A Very Special Concert (available only as a Japanese import). Re-packaged or hard-to-find imports, oddly titled by front-running labels in pursuit of sales though they may be, these are treasures worth digging for.

In place of Hubbard's horn, singer Nancy Wilson's elastic vocals are added to the mix on six of these tunes. A mature stylist who had sung with everyone from Cannonball Adderley's quintet to the Billy May Orchestra, Wilson's doing tunes so familiar to her that she is able deconstruct and improvise new renditions of them on the spot, achieving a level of slippery bop intensity only possible with musicians of this caliber behind her. Working with the same book of material as they had used with Chaka Khan, these journeymen deftly adapt the songs to Wilson's broader approach and pull them off as self-contained performances.

But as good as they are with Wilson, their fiery explosiveness engages on an entirely new level when these four, limber and lathered as cheetahs chasing a gazelle, tear after a tune at hard bop speed. Henderson comes out of the gate so fast and pours such ferocity into White's "L's Bop" that the pace pulls it out of the station at top speed. Shortly after Corea takes the solo duties from the saxophonist at the half-way point, a camera comes in for a shot over his right shoulder and catches Clarke nimbly flying along the neck while staring across at the pianist, doing a double-take as Corea furiously pummels the keys with an awe-inspiring musicality that is guiding the rhythm section until the moment he can let the drummer take his solo. And what a solo--if White's mentor, Tony Williams, had been in the crowd that evening, he might well have been on his feet. These are monster musicians who had been playing together every day for a month. On this last recorded-and-filmed gig they are pouring everything they have experienced together into a bravura performance that probably could never happen again. And if Flora Purim's 6-octave skydiving on Return to Forever (ECM, 1972) is the definitive vocal version of "500 Miles High," the trio version that Corea, Clarke and White do here could well be the definitive instrumental rendition.

The world's greatest musicians? Who knows... What is certain is that the kind of mastery and dynamic synergism on display in these performances comes from musicians who possess that exceedingly rare ability to listen as well as they blow. As Lenny White said when asked about his composition "Guernica": "When you write for musicians like this, all you need to do is give them a few notes and let them play."

Tracks and Personnel

Echoes Of An Era

Tracks: Them There Eyes; All Of Me; I Mean You; I Love You Porgy; Take The A Train; I Hear Music; High Wire/The Aerialist; All Of Me; Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.

Personnel: Chaka Khan: vocals; Freddie Hubbard: flugelhorn, trumpet; Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone; Chick Corea: piano; Stanley Clarke: acoustic bass; Lenny White: drums.

Griffith Park Collection

Tracks: L's Bop; Why Wait; October Ballade; Happy Times; Remember; Guernica.

Personnel: Freddie Hubbard: flugelhorn, trumpet; Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone; Chick Corea: piano; Stanley Clarke: acoustic bass; Lenny White: drums.

Griffith Park Collection 2: In Concert

Tracks: Why Wait; Guernica; Happy Times; October Ballade; I Mean You; Here's That Rainy Day.

Personnel: Freddie Hubbard: flugelhorn, trumpet; Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone; Chick Corea: piano; Stanley Clarke: acoustic bass; Lenny White: drums.

Chick Corea - A Very Special Concert

Tracks: L's Bop; Why Wait; 500 Miles High; Guernica.

Personnel: Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone; Chick Corea: piano; Stanley Clarke: bass; Lenny White: drums.

Chick Corea Band with Nancy Wilson - A Very Special Concert

Tracks: I Want To Be Happy; I Get A Kick Out Of You; 'Round Midnight; But Not For Me; Yesterday; Them There Eyes; Take The "A" Train.

Personnel: Nancy Wilson: vocals; Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone; Chick Corea: piano; Stanley Clarke: bass; Lenny White: drums.

Visit Lenny White, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Nancy Wilson and Chaka Khan on the web.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Richard Bailey: Credit Where Credit is Due

I received an email a few days ago from Richard Bailey, requesting that the record be set straight re: who did the drumming on Jeff Beck's seminal jazz/rock fusion album, Blow by Blow (1975, Epic/Sony Japan). Simple. It was Richard Bailey. Seems that a rumor has been making the rounds on various blogs and print outlets that the wonderfully intricate, high-octane work on tunes like "Scatterbrain" was actually done by another great drummer from that period, Billy Cobham. This is patently untrue. As Bailey said in his email, he was "the one and only drummer on Blow by Blow", that esteemed work that influenced so much of the rock, jazz and jazz/rock fusion that followed, as well as two other tracks for Beck's subsequent jazz/rock monster, Wired(1976, Epic/Sony Japan) -- the Mingus tune "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" and "Head for Backstage Pass".

Bailey's versatility has made him a first-call kitman for four decades. In addition to the work he did with Beck, he's recorded with ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, Steve Roach and Brian Eno. More recently he has been an integral part of Steve Winwood's two important return-to-form recordings, 2003's About Time (Wincraft) and last year's Nine Lives (Columbia), and he regularly performs and records with the excellent acid jazz/rock/soul fusion collective Incognito.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Corea, Clarke and White to open a fall tour at the Hollywood Bowl Sept. 2

Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White have booked a handful of engagements for later this year, commencing Sept. 2 at the Hollywood Bowl. No, it isn't the Return To Forever Returns II that we were all anticipating. The initial agreement to play together this year was apparently consummated last summer while they were touring as Return To Forever, but their agent Ted Kurland Associates has recently begun to book them aggressively. Guitarist Al Di Meola, who publicly claimed to take severe umbrage at the idea that he hadn't been included, has hopefully moved on. Hell hath no fury like a guitar god scorned.

Note on Corea, Clarke and White's Hollywood Bowl show here in Los Angeles: the Hollywood Bowl was selling subscription tickets only until last week, but single tickets are now available. John Scofield and his Piety Street Band will join them on the bill. Reasonably priced, I might add.

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA

Detroit International Jazz Festival - Chase Main Stage
Detroit, MI

Monterey Jazz Festival - Lyon's Stage
Monterey, CA

The Royal Conservatory - Telus Centre for Performance and Learning - Koerner Hall
Toronto, Ontario CANADA

Palace Hall
Bucharest, ROMANIA

Skopje Jazz Festival 2009 - Universal Hall

50! Jazz Festival Ljubljana - Cankarjev Dom, Cultural & Congress Centre
Ljubljana, SLOVENIA

Oosterpoort Main Hall

11/27/2009 to 12/02/2009
Blue Note Tokyo
Tokyo, JAPAN

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Duly Noted

L.A.'s Jazz Bakery closing May 31, to reopen soon... Godspeed!

I read the news today, oh boy. The Jazz Bakery, one of the few places in Los Angeles that features national jazz acts, has lost its lease. Not figuratively, as in the landlord has raised the rent to an intolerable price, but literally, as in... the landlord wants to turn the old building into a furniture store? Well, that's what L.A. Times writer Yvonne Villarreal says.

I'm no economics professor, but I'd be shocked down to the ground if anyone in their right mind started investing money in a furniture store. I know people over there on the west side who like to display their wealth and/or earning power by getting themselves a little new furniture something-something, but even they are inclined to sit on their hands in this economy. At any rate, Godspeed to you, Jazz Bakery. For you Angelenos who want a place to see inexpensive live jazz, minus drunks, the non-profit club's proprietor, Ruth Price, says she will sponsor gigs throughout the summer to keep the name alive until she gets new digs. Keep on top of the calendar and go see some jazz this summer!

Speaking of inexpensive live jazz...

If you haven't heard of Goldstar, these guys could double the amount of live jazz you hear this year. For taking five minutes of your time to register your email address, you can start getting your live jazz tickets at HALF PRICE. Goldstar appears to be some kind of promotional service that a venue can use to pump up flagging ticket sales. I recently used them to see jazz at Cal State L.A.'s Luckman Theater, and am planning to use them to buy tickets to see more jazz there and at local places like Catalina Bar & Grill, Jazz Bakery and UCLA's Royce Hall. It looks like they have deals with these venues to post a notice on a particular engagement starting about a month before the calendar date. The idea, like I said, is to pump up the advance sales, so their deal expires the day before the performance. You have to not wait until the last minute, but make up your mind to go. And it isn't just jazz tickets. Theater tickets, too. And all the sporting events, the Dodgers and Angels, Clippers, Kings... or in New York, the Yankees and Mets, Knicks and Islanders... or in Chicago, the Cubs and Sox, the Bulls and Blackhawks...

Did I say the tickets are HALF PRICE?

Saturday, April 4, 2009


[NOTE: This and my other reviews are archived separately at The first four paragraphs of this review of Duet will appear April 6, 2009 in]

Combined with his abilities as a soloist, Chick Corea's uncanny accompanist's instinct for supporting and focusing the spotlight on another player's efforts has produced celebrated duets with everyone from Gary Burton and Herbie Hancock to John McLaughlin and Bela Fleck. With Hiromi Uehara he has done it again.

Duet captures the two pianists in an engagement at Tokyo's Blue Note club in September of 2007, and finds them repeatedly achieving ecstatic heights of ingenuity and inventiveness. At first blush the opening tracks might feel too quiet as an introduction to the Sturm und Drang of this dynamic pairing, but if the anticipated energy, the bounding, rampaging, red-eyed thunder-and-lightning this partnership promises to deliver is not immediately evident as the first of two discs opens with Bill Evans' "Very Early" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "How Insensitive," don't touch that dial...

Once these two get their hands warm on "Déjà Vu," the first of Hiromi's contributed compositions, they ignite things with a respectfully deconstructed version of "Fool on the Hill" that hews neatly to the lilting Lennon/McCartney melody line and harmonies right up until the closing three bars, when Corea unexpectedly plucks a few portentous notes inside the piano. The cubist conflagration long-time Corea fans perennially yearn for then flares dramatically on a joyful, abstracted version of his enduring "Humpty Dumpty," ending with his throwing down fistfuls of Cecil Taylor-esque tennis-ball chords, and his protégé enthusiastically throwing them right back. When he next engages Hiromi in some gravity-defying rhythmning on Thelonious Monk's "Bolivar Blues," the first disc's final track, it is plain she's in a mood to play.

A meandering "Windows" opens the second disc, but then it's off again on a stunning steeplechase of a composition, Hiromi's "Old Castle, by the River, in the Middle of a Forest," featuring some vintage unison dressage. By the time the last notes are sounded they are both energized and ready for a quirkily non-traditional distillation of "Summertime," using the Gershwin standard to continue widening the degree of abstraction as they travel through a sublimely ordered track sequence (a good argument in favor of albums, and against selective MP3 downloads). Musically, the end of "Summertime" dovetails into Hiromi's evanescent "Place to Be," which manages to slow the heart rate a few more beats per second before the disc concludes with a free-playing romp on Corea's "Children's Song #12," re-titled "Do Mo," and finally, an off-kilter rendition of "Concierto de Aranjuez/Spain" to provide an insouciantly perfect coda.

In the interests of honesty and total disclosure, I have a small quibble with this album (which may require a couple paragraphs to express): if I had produced it I would have trimmed it to a single CD and kept only the heart-pounding fireworks. There's more than one reason I'd have done it.

One, I think the markets for this U.S. release are the jazz-rockers who have been listening to Hiromi and her band Sonicbloom or have heard about them, plus a smaller secondary market consisting of Corea fans who have heard the buzz about how wild these gigs got. The first group are the same crowd who packed a couple dozen large venues for the Return To Forever Returns tour last summer, the ones who turned out to see Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Vic Wooten last Fall and who at this very moment are packing large venues for Chick Corea and John McLaughlin's Five Peace Band tour. The second group have been listening to Corea since his early recordings, and can be won only through word-of-mouth buzz generated by stellar performances. Neither are the same kind of adoring audiences who filled the Budokan in 2007 to see Chick and Hiromi perform this material - the major difference being that those people in Tokyo were devoted Hiromi (and Corea) fans who didn't need to be introduced. Chick's considerable drawing power notwithstanding, they throng to any performance she gives. American fans do need an introduction to her. You know the old saying, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Why would a producer select Bill Evans' "Very Early" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "How Insensitive" to open the first CD?

The second point is related to the first. The more I listen to the slower material like the Evans and Jobim tunes, and even Corea's "Windows" (which, once again, ill-advisedly opens the second disc) the more dispensible it sounds. These tunes have the feel of warm-up material, the kind of crowd-control music played to settle down the diners and get them involved with the music as the tables are cleared. Even the faithful who have packed the Blue Note can only manage polite applause. Whether it is Chick's restraint or Hiromi's still-developing sense of swing that keeps these tunes from bursting into flame, really doesn't matter. They are pleasant enough and were probably exactly right for the occasion. But why include them on the CD? Trim one more track, say Hiromi's "Déjà Vu," and the remaining 8 tracks would fit nicely on a single CD that would tear along like Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

All that said, I cannot recommend this recording highly enough. My tastes have undergone several overhauls and re-orientations listening to Chick Corea's many musical phases and faces over the years. As he moved through Blue Note bopper, Miles Davis' Rhodes scholar, and Circular logician into the engineer who drove the Return To Forever locomotive, he never strayed too far from being the intellectually curious composer and improvisational pianist who can out-think any harmony and out-play any composition. Through the Elektric Band and Akoustic Band, Origin and the Remembering Bud Powell band, and right up through his current Five Peace Band collaboration with John McLaughlin, he's always kept me listening for those moments of predictability when he changes direction. Tweaking the time-space continuum, he switches directions harmonically and rhythmically from wherever he was apparently going to somewhere else entirely. He has remained faithful to a social contract that only a few jazzers are able to adhere to, the one that promises me that I'll always be surprized. I'll always hear something new and fresh.

This recording with Hiromi lands right in the middle of a 3-day binge of newness. When he invited Hiromi to join him at the Blue Note he knew he was setting up two of those screaming-ass high-speed Japanese trains on the same track, not really knowing what would come of it, whether they would collide head-on or launch each other into space. But he knew it would be new. No matter how may times you have heard Bitches Brew or Circle - Paris Concert or An Evening with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, you are not prepared for what Chick does with Hiromi on this recording. You most emphatically have not heard it before. This is new.

Visit Chick Corea and Hiromi on the web.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Return To Forever "Returns" 2CD set release date(s)

There has been some confusion about the release date for Return To Forever's 2CD set of material, Returns, recorded during last summer's reunion tour. I just received an email from Chris Hewlett, whose London firm is handling PR and publicity for the release. Here is what he said:

"The CD will be released in the UK on 2 March. The date for the US seems to be the 17th."

There you have it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

POLL: the 5 best Jazz/Rock Fusion recordings of all time

I have been researching the history of what is called Jazz/Rock Fusion for many years. I believe the legacy of this music needs to be preserved, documented and forwarded. Toward that end I am researching and writing a book in conjunction with a documentary film that is being done on the subject. You can help with this effort by answering the following poll.

[Note: Sorry about the confusing earlier edition of the poll, done with software - it didn't have the capability for others to nominate and add new items to the list, which is the basis of how this poll is being conducted.]

POLL: On the following list please select what you consider the 5 best Jazz/Rock Fusion albums of all time. If there is a recording(s) that you believe should be included, you can nominate it and I will add it to the list. In-print or out-of-print, old or new, email me at (if you don't want further emails from me, just say so) or post a comment on this blog entry. Simply go to the bottom of the article and click on the link that says "3 comments"... once you leave a comment, it will say "4 comments" or "5 comments" or whatever the count is. If you do, I can add the album(s) you suggest, count your vote(s) and add them to the list.

Here are some albums to start off the discussion:

6 - Supersilent (1)
8:30 - Weather Report (1)
Adventures of Astral Pirates - Lenny White (1)
Agharta/Pangaea – Miles Davis (1)
A Go Go - John Scofield (1)
Alivemutherforya - Billy Cobham (1)
All Kooked Out - Stanton Moore, Charlie Hunter (1)
American Garage - Pat Metheny (1)
An Evening of Magic, Live at the Hollywood Bowl – Chuck Mangione (1)
Anti-Social Club, The - Alan Pasqua (1)
Arbeit Macht Frei - Area (1)
As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls - Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays (1)
Assembler - Bill Connors (1)
Atavachron - Allan Holdsworth (1)
At Fillmore - Miles Davis (1)
At Fillmore East - Allman Brothers Band (1)
At the Mountains of Madness - John Zorn & Electric Masada (1)
Awakening - Pharaohs (1)
Badfoot Brown and the Bunions Bradford Funeral & Marching Band - Bill Cosby (1)
Believe It - Tony Williams Lifetime (9)
Beneath the Mask - Chick Corea Elektric Band (1)
Best Laid Plans - David Torn (1)
Belladonna - Ian Carr & Nucleus (1)
Big City – Lenny White (1)
Big Picture, The - Adam Holzman and Brave New World (1)
Birds of Fire – Mahavishnu Orchestra (5)
Bitches Brew – Miles Davis (16)
Black Sheep - Jan Hammer (1)
Black Market - Weather Report (3)
Black Rock - James Blood Ulmer (1)
Blow by Blow – Jeff Beck (4)
Blue Nights - Bill Bruford, Tony Levin, David Torn (1)
Blue Train - John Coltrane (1)
Breezin' - George Benson (1)
Bright Size Life - Pat Metheny (1)
Buena - Morphine (1)
Burnt Weeny Sandwich - Frank Zappa (1)
CAB - CAB (1)
CAB 4 - CAB (1)
Captain Marvel - Stan Getz (1)
Caravanserei - Carlos Santana (1)
Casino - Al Di Meola (1)
Cellar Door Sessions, The - Miles Davis (1)
Chasing Shadows - Tony Grey (1)
Chicago Transit Authority - Chicago (1)
Chicago (AKA Chicago II) - Chicago (1)
Chicago III - Chicago (1)
Chicago VII - Chicago (1)
Chick Corea Electric Band - Chick Corea Electric Band (1)
Children of Forever - Stanley Clarke (1)
Chinese, The - Janne Shaffer (1)
Close to the Edge - Yes (1)
Consequence of Chaos - Al Di Meola (1)
Cosmic Messenger - Jean-Luc Ponty (2)
Coup de Tete - Kip Hanrahan (1)
Court & Spark - Joni Mitchell (1)
Crossings - Herbie Hancock (1)
Crossings - Steve Khan (1)
Crosswinds - Billy Cobham (1)
Dancing In Your Head - Ornettte Coleman (1)
Devotion - John McLaughlin (2)
Dinosaur Swamps - Flock (1)
Double Nickels on the Dime - Minutemen (1)
Double Up - Bill Connors (1)
Dr. Hee - Scott Henderson and Tribal Tech (1)
Dragon's Head - Mary Halvorson (1)
Dropper, The - Medeski, Martin and Wood (1)
Dry Humping the American Dream - Gutbucket (1)
Eat A Peach - Allman Brothers (1)
Elastic Rock - Nucleus (1)
Electric Rendezvous - Al Di Meola (1)
Electric Bath - Don Ellis (1)
Electric Byrd - Donald Byrd (1)
Electric Guitarist - John McLaughlin (1)
Elegant Gypsy - Al Di Meola (4)
Emergency! - Tony Williams Lifetime (1)
Enigmatic Ocean – Jean Luc Ponty (3)
Escalator Over the Hill - Carla Bley (1)
Evolution - Tony MacAlpine (1)
Expresso - Gong (1)
Extrapolation – John McLaughlin (1)
Farewell Shows - Seattle, WA - Zony Mash (1)
Feels Good to Me - Bill Bruford (1)
Filles de Kilimanjaro - Miles Davis (1)
First Album, The - Ella Guru (1)
First Light – Freddie Hubbard (1)
First Seven Days, The - Jan Hammer (1)
Five Hundred Miles High/Live at Montreux – Flora Purim (1)
Flesh on Flesh - Al Di Meola (1)
Floating Point - John McLaughlin (1)
Flock, The - Flock (1)
Focus - Jan Ǻkerman (1)
Fourth - Soft Machine (1)
Free – Airto Moreira (1)
Freefall - Dixie Dregs (1)
Full Circle (Coming Home) - Bon (1)
Funky Serenity - Ramsey Lewis (1)
Gary Burton and Keith Jarrett - Gary Burton, Keith Jarrett (1)
Gazeuse! - Gong (1)
Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix, The - Gil Evans Orchestra (1)
Good - Morphine (1)
Grand Wazoo, The - Frank Zappa (1)
GSM3 - Frank Gambale, Steve Smith, Stuart Hamm (1)
Hatfield and North - Hatfield and North (1)
Hapless Child, The - Michael Mantler (1)
Hard Normal Daddy - Squarepusher (1)
Head Hunters – Herbie Hancock (5)
Heaven and Hell - Shin e (1)
Heavy Metal Be-Bop - Brecker Brothers (1)
Heavy Weather – Weather Report (11)
Hejira - Joni Mitchell (1)
Hot Rats – Frank Zappa (3)
Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy – Return To Forever (3)
Imaginary Day - Pat Metheny (1)
Improvision - Alex Machacek, Jeff Sipe, Matthew Garrison (1)
In A Silent Way – Miles Davis (5)
Industrial Zen - John McLaughlin (1)
Infinite Desire - Al Di Meola (1)
Inner Mounting Flame, The – Mahavishnu Orchestra (17)
Innervisions - Stevie Wonder (1)
Introducing the Eleventh House – Larry Coryell (1)
Inside Out - Chick Corea Elektric Band (2)
I Sing the Body Electric - Weather Report (1)
It's A Beautiful Day - It's A Beautiful Day (1)
Jaco Pastorius - Jaco Pastorius (2)
James White and the Blacks - James White and the Blacks (1)
Jazz from Hell - Frank Zappa (1)
Jewel in the Lotus - Bennie Maupin (1)
Jing Chi - Robben Ford, Vinnie Colaiuta, Jimmy Haslip (1)
Journey to Love – Stanley Clarke (2)
Juju Street Songs - Gary Bartz (1)
Kamakiriad - Donald Fagen (1)
Kinesthetics - Scott Kinsey (1)
King Kong- Jean Luc Ponty (1)
Kiss My Axe - Al Di Meola (1)
Land of the Midnight Sun - Al Di Meola (1)
Last Train to Hicksville - Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks (1)
Larry Carlton - Larry Carlton (1)
Lawrence of Newark - Larry Young (1)
Light As A Feather – Return To Forever (2)
Light Years - Shin e (1)
Like Children - Jan Hammer/Jerry Goodman (1)
Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time – Miles Davis (1)
Live at the Greek - Stanley Clarke (1)
Live at the Baked Potato - Greg Mathieson, Abe Laboriel, Michael Landau and Vinnie Colaiuta (1)
Live at the Rainbow - Focus (1)
Live from Elario's (the First Gig) - Chick Corea Electric Band (1)
Live In Tokyo - Weather Report (2)
Live On Tour In Europe - Billy Cobham - George Duke Band (1)
Love Devotion Surrender - Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin (1)
Mad Hatter - Chick Corea (1)
Man-Child - Herbie Hancock (1)
Masques - Brand X (1)
Merry-Go-Round - Elvin Jones (1)
Metal Fatigue - Allan Holdsworth (3)
Michael Brecker - Michael Brecker (1)
Miles in the Sky - Miles Davis (1)
Milestones - Miles Davis (1)
Mind Transplant - Alphonse Mouzon (1)
Mint Jam - Yellowjackets (1)
Modern Man - Stanley Clarke (1)
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Moroccan Roll - Brand X (1)
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Mysterious Traveller – Weather Report (2)
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Native Dancer - Wayne Shorter (1)
New Grass - Albert Ayler (1)
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No Mystery – Return To Forever (4)
Elastic Rock - Nucleus (1)
Octave of the Holy Innocents - Jonas Hellborg, Buckethead and Michael Shrieve (1)
Of Human Feelings - Ornette Coleman (1)
Oh Yeah? - Jan Hammer (1)
One of a Kind - Bill Bruford (3)
One Size Fits All - Frank Zappa (1)
On the Corner - Miles Davis (3)
Out of the Woods - Oregon (1)
Overtime - Lee Ritenour (1)
Pachuco Cadaver - Captain Beefheart (1)
Panthalassa - Bill Laswell (1)
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Pat Metheny Group, The - Pat Metheny (1)
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Picchio dal Pozzo - Picchio dal Pozzo (1)
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Planet End - Larry Coryell (1)
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Powers of Ten - Shawn Lane (1)
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Present Tense - Lenny White (1)
Primal Scream - Maynard Ferguson (1)
Progressivity - Tunnels (1)
Pyramid - Eef Albers (1)
Red Clay – Freddie Hubbard
Return to Forever ­– Return To Forever (2) 
Return of the Brecker Brothers - Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker (1)
Return to the Emerald Beyond - The Mahavishnu Project (1)
Rip, Rig & Panic - Rashaan Roland Kirk (1)
Road Games - Alan Holdsworth (1)
Rocks, Pebbles and Sand - Stanley Clarke (1)
Romantic Warrior – Return To Forever (20)
Rotters' Club, The - Hatfield and North (1)
Sad and Tragic Demise of Big Fine Hot Salty Black Wind, The - Universal Congress Of (1)
Safe As Milk - Captain Beefheart (1)
Sand - Allan Holdsworth (1)
Save the Robots - Conrad Shrenk and Extravaganza (1)
School Days - Stanley Clarke (3)
Secrets - Allan Holdsworth (1)
Seven Songs - Fredy Studer (1)
Sextant - Herbie Hancock (1)
Shack Man - Medeski, Martin and Wood (1)
Shangrenade - Harvey Mandel (1)
(sic) - Alex Machacek (1)
She's Too Much for My Mirror - Captain Beefheart (1)
Sky Train - Barry Miles (1)
Smokin' in the Pit - Mike Mainieri and Steps Ahead (2)
Soft Machine, The - Soft Machine (1)
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Song X - Pat Metheny (1)
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Splendido Hotel - Al Di Meola (1)
Staircase - Keith Jarrett (1)
Stanley Clarke - Stanley Clarke (1)
Step It - Bill Connors (1)
Still Warm - John Scofield (1)
Super Nova – Wayne Shorter (1)
Sweetnighter – Weather Report (2)
Tales from the Acoustic Planet - Bela Fleck (1)
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Tauhid - Pharoah Sanders (1)
Temporal Analogues of Paradise - Shawn Lane, Jonas Hellborg and Jeff Sipe (2)
Tennessee 2004 - Praxis (1)
Then! Live - Allan Holdsworth (1)
There and Back - Jeff Beck (1)
Third - Soft Machine (1)
Thrust - Herbie Hancock (2)
Thunder - Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Vic Wooten (1)
Time Control – Hiromi (2)
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Tolonen - Jukka Tolonen (1)
Total Eclipse - Billy Cobham (1)
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Touchstone - Chick Corea (1)
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Toys of Men - Stanley Clarke (1)
Tribute to Jack Johnson, A - Miles Davis (3)
Trio of Doom, The - John McLaughlin, Jaco Pastorius, Tony Williams (1)
Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart (3)
True Stories - David Sancious (1)
Turn It Over – Tony Williams Lifetime (2)
Tutu - Miles Davis (1)
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Vertú - Lenny White (1)
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Vitalization - Steve Smith (1)
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Volume Two - Soft Machine (1)
Waka/Jawaka - Frank Zappa (1)
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Warszawa - Praxis (1)
Way Up, The - Pat Metheny (1)
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What If – Dixie Dregs (3)
 Where Have I Known You Before – Return To Forever (4)
Wired – Jeff Beck (6)
Yes - Morphine (1)
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Zurich - Praxis (1)