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Tone Poet Blue Notes

Discussion in 'music' started by poco a poco, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    Picked up Katanga! and Witch Doctor today - will give them a spin tomorrow,
  2. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    My copy of Katanga arrived late yesterday and hopefully I will get to spin it today. Witch Doctor is still to follow.

    Here is a live version of Katanga from the period TV show Frankly Jazz so you can see the band in action:

    And below a bit about Dupree Bolton with some more clips. Unfortunately drugs and all his associated prison time prevented him reaching his full potential and getting the recognition he deserved.
  3. kjb

    kjb pfm Member

    ...and here's Curtis Amy in another West Coast setting ( skip to 2.25 if you want to avoid Morrison) - and I only mention this as there's something in piano vamp in Native Land that keeps reminding me of Ray Manzarek's organ line behind the guitar solo in Light My Fire. I know John Densmore and Robby Krieger were huge jazz fans.

    It doesn't quite make sense to my understanding of time that there's only 4 years between Katanga and The Doors

    How are people finding Witch Doctor? I don't get on with Art Blakey's music as a leader: I've got a few records ( Moanin', Indestructible, Free for All ) , but I tend to find they are more about drive and not subtlety or invention and they are rarely things I return to. Its sort of jazz turned up to 11 for me or the jazz equivalent of heavy rock. It's odd as I love most of the people who passed through the Jazz Messengers, espcially Wayne Shorter, Blakey plays on a lot of my favorite records and I can see what an important figure he was. Am I missing something? He feels like someone whose records I should really like.
    CTank likes this.
  4. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    You are not alone.

    Does anyone else hear shades of Rendell/Carr in Katanga!? ( Excuse the pun).
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
    Theo likes this.
  5. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I think that's a very fair description. The Jazz Messengers were one of the original proponents of hard bop after all with it's move to a simpler, more driving sound (I realise this is a very broad brush...). And Blakey never lets you forget that it's a band with a drummer as leader. But I rather like that!

    I guess you could say something similar about Messengers alumni Bobby Timmons whose music I love - when he's cranking it out it's joyous. When he goes for subtle I kind of lose interest a wee bit.
  6. Theo

    Theo pfm Member

    Agreed! That's probably why I warmed to 'Katanga' after hearing it on Spotify. Looking forward to my vinyl copy arriving...
    Graham H likes this.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    That’s how I look at it. Whatever hard-bop was they were pretty much the Stooges/Ramones of it. That is not a problem.
  8. kjb

    kjb pfm Member

    I've only got Dusk Fire but, alongside what I realise is a slightly left field suggestion of The Doors, I was also reminded of Dusk Fire.
    Graham H likes this.
  9. kjb

    kjb pfm Member

    I know this may be seen as heresy, but The Stooges and Ramones were always "OK in small doses" bands for me, so that's quite consistent at least.
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The Jazz Messengers launched so many amazing careers and in many ways that is the lasting legacy. Art Blakey gave so many future jazz legends their first big ticket recording gig, so I guess it is perfectly understandable they may not have found their own identity or peak creativity at that time. It was a fascinating band that seemed to operate under a different logic in many ways. I do tend to agree with the consensus here and don’t think anyone, including Art Blakey himself, did their finest work in the Jazz Messengers, but the impact they had as a career launch pad is simply astonishing.
  11. kjb

    kjb pfm Member

    Absolutely - they're completely central to so many stories and Blakey himself sounds like quite a character.
  12. RickyC6

    RickyC6 Infuriate the frog-men

    Katanga! sounds very special indeed. Loved it via streaming. Love it more via Tone Poet.
  13. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    A few domestic problems prevented me from playing the latest Tone Poets yesterday, but I caught up with them today and played a few related things alongside. I am, along with it seems just about everyone else, loving Katanga both for the music and the sound and I had picked up before the Tone Poet some of the similarities to some of the Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet albums mentioned by Graham, so I played some of these either side. I have all the Jazzman reissues that also sound excellent. You certainly notice it in their approach to the blues. Even down to some similarities between Colin Purbrook's piano playing, who is on Shades of Blue instead of Michael Garrick, and Jack Wilson on Katanga. Dupree Bolton really shines on this recording though and much as I love Ian Carr's playing when played one after the other you notice Bolton's greater technical control on trumpet. One wonders if they may have heard Katanga (recorded in 1963)? Shades of Blue was recorded in1965.

    I thought I would see (hear) what the Rendell Carr Quintet sounded like when under a real African influence so played Afro-Jazz that basically is the usual quintet, but adds Guy Warren of Ghana. They are playing Warren's compositions (Amanico D'Silva is also added on some tracks) and here in this later 1969 album they pretty much all manage to completely change their playing style. This and Warren's compositions gives a much more direct African feel to the album. They play 'freer' and simpler at the same time. Their ability to adapt like this is impressive.

    I bought and played Witch Doctor as well and yes I agree with what is said above about Blakey as well and to be honest I don't really need any more Blakey or him plus messengers albums as I have quite a lot. But I thought this and the Katanga sleeves would look great together :rolleyes: and expect that may have also influenced Joe Harley releasing them at the same time. I did pass on the earlier Roots & Herbs though :). I was also aware that Morgan is in excellent full hard Hard Bop mode on this so I wanted to hear what it sounded like a a Tone Poet. I'm not too disappointed it sounds great if somewhat full on.

    Van Gelder when recording Blakey once asked him to cut back a little on the dynamics as he was overloading everyone's mikes. The result apparently was that he played even harder and louder on the repeat. :eek: ;) The Stoughton covers are great on both of theses LP's, but all that black gloss shows every finger print. I think I may need cotton gloves to handle these in future. :cool:
    Graham H likes this.
  14. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    I'm now hope Joe Harley will give us a couple of more of these Curtis Amy Pacific Jazz Recordings. In particular this one that has Bobby Hutcherson on Vibes:
    Graham H and gavreid like this.
  15. RickyC6

    RickyC6 Infuriate the frog-men

    Here here to more Curtis Amy!
    I too have been a bit meh about some Art B albums but I really like this one. Nothing new but it does what they do very very well.
  16. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    Good luck to any recording engineer that tells the drummer to play more quietly.... :D
    poco a poco likes this.
  17. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    Interesting - I have a Guy Warren LP, must give it another go.

    Another album I could have quite easily misidentified as being 60s British jazz is Harold Vick’s Don’t Look Back. And nice to see Vick’s Steppin’ Out getting the TP treatment.

    I’m sure someone must have pointed out by now some similarities between the Heavenly Sweetness and Tone Poet reissue programs. If that is the case case we could be in for another treat if Donald Byrd’s Kofi and Grachan Moncur’s Some Other Stuff make the grade.
    poco a poco likes this.
  18. CTank

    CTank pfm Member

    I know the debate over whether an artist’s legacy, should be affected by their character, has been done to death. And I’m a Smiths fan…

    But I never felt the same about Blakey, after I read he told a clean Morgan, that he’d have him back on smack, within a week.

    Left a bad taste for me.

    That being said, his live version of ‘Only a Paper Moon’ was responsible for getting me into jazz. A girlfriend worked for an advertising company, whose Christmas card one year, was actually a jazz compilation cd. I can’t remember any other tracks on it, but that just jumped out at me.
  19. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    For those interested here is a fairly new interview with Joe Harley that contains a bit more interesting information about his background, his HiFi and the starting the Tone Poets and the low expectation of sales potential when they started. And a little on Blakey overloading Van Gelder's mikes. ;)
    kjb likes this.
  20. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    Certainly explains the general drum fuzz I hear on Roots and Herbs, and the splat, splat, splat from Idris Mohammad on parts Soul Liberation. Even so Van Gelder was great at capturing the energy and spontaneity of a session, (I love the way Van Gelder records drums), and a little distortion here and there is a small price to pay. Over engineering can kill a session, see LJC’s post on Charles Tolliver’s recent Gearbox title.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
    poco a poco likes this.

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