Tag Archives: jazz

MONSTER Soviet prog-jazz-funk with amazing breaks, killer grooves and all that good stuff

I’ll leave you to find the breaks yourselves, but let’s just say it’s worth listening close at around 9.12, 15.20, 22.13… JUST LISTEN TO IT ALL IT’S AWESOME.

RIP Terry Callier, Keep Your Heart Right

Soul and jazz singer Terry Callier has died. The 67-year-old songwriter experienced belated success in his career after working with acts including Massive Attack and Beth Orton.

Born in the Chicago projects, Callier was a childhood friend of Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler, and began singing in doo-wop groups in his teens. Later he became a fixture on the city’s coffee house scene, releasing a debut album titled The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier in 1968. In the early 70s he released three critically celebrated “jazz-folk” albums and toured with George Benson and Gil Scott-Heron, but he had abandoned music for a job as a computer programmer at the University of Chicago until a new generation rediscovered his work in the early 90s.

With the encouragement of the likes of Eddie Pillar of the Acid Jazz label in London, Callier started to gig again in the UK, and contributed to a Beth Orton EP in 1997. The following year he released his own album, Timepeace. It was only when that record won a United Nations award that his employers at the university discovered his new double life and dismissed him from his post.

“After all that had happened over the years, I wasn’t looking to be a musician again because I had got used to having that pay cheque every two weeks,” he told the Guardian in 2004.Five more albums followed, including 2009’s Hidden Conversations, written and produced with Massive Attack.

(words via The Guardian)

Youn Sun Nah – Calypso Blues

Saw one of the original versions of Calypso Blues on Zissou’s blog, reminded me of this bonkers one from 2009, Youn Sun Nah and her voicebox in Korea:

(she also did THIS version of Metallica’s Enter Sandman – not necessarily easy listening once she gets into it, but nonetheless impressive!)

I think it’s gonna rain today

Written by Randy Newman and covered by AT LEAST 60 major artists, from Nina Simone, Neil Diamond and Dusty Springfield to Peter Gabriel, Katy Melua and even Val Kilmer(?)

I like Norah’s version, but you’re spoilt for choice, so have a play and find your own favourite (Nina’s version is Jamie Cullum’s Desert Island disc – it’s the song his missus, Sophie Dahl, sang him the first time they met).

Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
With frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
Think I’ll kick it down the street
That’s the way to treat a friend

Bright before me the signs implore me
To help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

“I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” as written by Randy Newman
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Current theme tune

…the vocals aren’t that far off either.

Jimmy Smith (December 8, 1928 February 8, 2005) was a jazz musician whose performances on the Hammond B-3 electric organ helped to popularize this instrument. In 2005, Smith was awarded the NEA Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honors that the United States bestows upon jazz musicians.

While the electric organ was used in jazz by Fats Waller and Count Basie, Smith’s virtuoso improvisation technique on the Hammond helped to popularize the electric organ as a jazz and blues instrument. For ballads, he played walking bass lines on the bass pedals. For uptempo tunes, he would play the bass line on the lower manual and use the pedals for emphasis on the attack of certain notes, which helped to emulate the attack and sound of a string bass.

Okay, one more because he’s just TOO good:

Music break – Mardi Gras

Three tunes for fat Tuesday (which I completely missed)


Plus – BONUS! Colour footage of 1941 New Orleans parade:

Mulatu Astatke and the Ethio-jazz sound

Seen Broken Flowers? You’ve probably heard some of Mulatu Astatke’s music. Ethiopian composer and arranger (beautiful on vibrafone) he’s the don of dons when it comes to Ethio-jazz. He trained and lived mainly in the US, but bought back a lot of influences – Latin and so on – to the local scene in the early 70s when he moved back home to Ethiopia. The Ethio-jazz scene funked and rocked until 1975-7, when the Derg military junta replaced Haile Selassie I and chased the musicians out of the country. Only a few bods really remembered the Ethio-jazz scene – it stopped being made.

That was pretty much it for Ethio-jazz until the 90s, when record collectors suddenly picked up on it. Astatke was put on an Ethiopiques compilation in 1998, and then in 2005 was used as main soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’s film, Broken Flowers (Bill Murray etc etc). Astatke is still going, I think. If he is, I’d love to see him. His music creates such a lovely warm mood, sort of chaotic and yet muted, discordant and perfect.

Thinking of Broken Flowers always makes me want to wear tracksuits.