Exfiltration Radio: new faces, new sounds

I’ve been listening to a lot of classic Blue Note recordings recently—thanks to a bad HDTracks habit—and what struck me the other day is how the composition of the recordings changes the further back you go. What had become a jazz-funk fusion label by the 1970s was principally a hard-bop label in the 1960s with an incredible stable of performers (even if you could expect to find some of them, like Bobby Hutcherson or Grant Green, on recording after recording during the period). But if you look even further back, the label was unearthing and recording new artists in the early to mid-1950s, like Jutta Hipp, Horace Silver, Gil Mellé, Kenny Drew, and others, on albums that bore the common title New Faces, New Sounds.

So this session of Exfiltration Radio digs into our current crop of new faces and new sounds, with a setlist that is heavy on the current crop of London jazz geniuses (Theon Cross, Nubya Garcia, Sarah Tandy), a few new faces from around the edges of Bandcamp (Joe Fiedler’s nutso take on Sesame Street, Chip Wickham’s meditative cuts from Qatar, the absolutely intense Damon Locks, the Lewis Express), the intense hard bop of Connie Han, the stretch music of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah—and a few old souls, including the drum-led trio of Jerry Granelli playing the music of his colleague Mose Allison, and the Afrofuturist spiritual excursions of Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids.

Do not attempt to adjust your set!

  1. X. Adjuah [I Own the Night]Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (Axiom)
  2. For the O.G.Connie Han (Iron Starlet)
  3. The Colors That You BringDamon Locks – Black Monument Ensemble (Where Future Unfolds)
  4. ActivateTheon Cross (Fyah)
  5. Tico TicoThe Lewis Express (Clap Your Hands)
  6. People In Your NeighborhoodJoe Fiedler (Open Sesame)
  7. Baby Please Don’t GoThe Jerry Granelli Trio (The Jerry Granelli Trio Plays Vince Guaraldi and Mose Allison)
  8. TimelordSarah Tandy (Infection In The Sentence)
  9. Dogon MysteriesIdris Ackamoor & The Pyramids (Shaman!)
  10. La cumbia me está llamando (featuring La Perla)Nubya Garcia (SOURCE)
  11. Blue to RedChip Wickham (Blue to Red)

Exfiltration Radio: À Paris en France comme dans la Rome antique

Guru and trumpeter Brownman

I had to do a presentation at work, and someone asked me the question I’ve been waiting for all my life: “What’s your walk-on music?”

I answered, immediately, without hesitation: “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” by Digable Planets.

See, the jazz-inflected hip-hop that was being made in the early 1990s, when I was in college, was the first hip-hop that I learned to appreciate. Before then I was as casually racist about “rap music” as any kid raised on classic rock radio in the South. But then began my great awakening. I don’t remember what the first thing was; probably Gangstarr’s “Jazz Thing” on the Mo Better Blues soundtrack. Eventually it completely got under my skin, with the result that this was a playlist that was a complete joy to put together.

Sure, a lot of it is the Native Tongues groups — Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest. There’s also a lot of groups influenced by the scene, like Us3 (the Blue Note hosted group that actually played their samples), the Roots (of course), the crazy MF Doom + Madlib collaboration Madvillain; and latter day follower Kero One. And off to the side stands Gangstarr and Guru, who arrived at the combination of jazz and hip-hop through their own path.

There’s also a lot of actual jazz in these tracks, whether sampled (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers on “Rebirth of Slick”, Lou Donaldson on “Le Bien, Le Mal”, Roy Ayers on “Borough Check”, Grant Green on “Vibes and Stuff,” Bill Evans on “Raid”, Jimmy McGriff on “God Lives Through”) or live: Ron Carter playing along with MC Solaar on “Un Ange en Danger” and Roy Ayers (again!) playing with the Roots on “Proceed II.” Both of the latter are on the fantastic compilation Red Hot and Cool, which I can’t recommend highly enough, especially for the tracks from the Pharcyde and the Last Poets, neither of which I can play on the radio.

Wherever the music comes from, that funky music will drive us til the dawn. Let’s go! Let’s boogaloo until…

Please do not attempt to adjust your set. There is nothing wrong. We have taken control as to bring you this special show, and we will return it to you as soon as you are groovy.

  • Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)Digable Planets (Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time & Space))
  • Proceed IIThe Roots with Roy Ayers (Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool)
  • Manifest (Alternate)Gang Starr (No More Mr. Nice Guy)
  • Because I Got It Like ThatJungle Brothers (Straight Out the Jungle)
  • I Got It Goin’ OnUs3 (Hand On The Torch)
  • Plug Tunin (Last Chance To Comprehend)De La Soul (3 Feet High And Rising)
  • Kool Accordin’ 2 a Jungle BrotherJungle Brothers (Done By the Forces of Nature)
  • Vibes And StuffA Tribe Called Quest (The Low End Theory)
  • Borough CheckDigable Planets (Blowout Comb)
  • Un Ange En DangerMC Solaar with Ron Carter (Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool)
  • Raid (Feat. MED)Madvillain (Madvillainy)
  • Give Thanks (feat. Niamaj)Kero One (Windmills of the Soul)
  • God Lives ThroughA Tribe Called Quest (Midnight Marauders)
  • Le Bien, Le MalGuru Featuring Mc Solaar (Jazzmatazz Volume 1)
  • Exfiltration Radio: jazz in inner space

    It’s that time again… time for the Godfather to grace you with an hour of weird music. Today’s playlist comes from the cusp of jazz’s transition into fusion and dives into the music that came around In a Silent Way, still one of the most revolutionary recordings in jazz.

    In this 1969 record, Miles had reached the end of standards, the end of modal changes, the end of the post-bop revolution he had led with his second great quintet. He was listening to other innovators, working beyond jazz, especially Jimi Hendrix. And most importantly, he was continuing to surround himself with musicians who innovated, listen to them, and push them to take their performances beyond where they could on their own. (He also sometimes claimed authorship of those songs, but that’s a different story.)

    The sound at the back of this new direction in jazz was the electric piano (usually a Fender Rhodes) fed into the echoplex and joined by musicians who were playing, as Miles said on the back cover of Zawinul, “cliché-free,” not relying on changes or modes but on rhythm and vamping and atmosphere and sometimes incredibly gorgeous scraps of melody that come and go in the middle of the track like smoke.

    One of the things that’s hard to appreciate just by looking at the track titles is how much of this music was made by the same handful of musicians. Let’s take a look:

    Herbie Hancock (electric and acoustic piano) plays on “Doctor Honoris Causa” (which Zawinul dedicated to him for his honorary doctorate from Grinnell), “Mountain in the Clouds,” “Opus One Point Five,” “Filles de Kilimajaro,” his own “You’ll Know When You Get There,” and “In a Silent Way.” Miroslav Vitouš (bass) is on “Causa,” “Mountain,” “Orange Lady,” and “Water Babies.” John McLaughlin (electric guitar) is on “Mountain” and “In a Silent Way.”

    Billy Hart is on “Causa” (percussion) and “You’ll Know” (drums). Joe Henderson (tenor sax) is on “Mountain” and his own “Opus One Point Five.” Jack DeJohnette (drums) is on “Mountain,” “Opus One Point Five,” and “Water Babies.” Chick Corea plays electric piano on “In a Silent Way” and drums and vibes on “Water Babies.”

    The great Wayne Shorter (tenor sax) is on “Orange Lady,” “Filles De Kilimanjaro,” his own “Water Babies,” and “In a Silent Way.” Airto Moreira plays percussion on “Orange Lady” and “Water Babies.” Ron Carter is on “Opus One Point Five” and “Filles.” Tony Williams plays drums on “Filles” and “In a Silent Way.” And Joe Zawinul plays on “Causa,” “Orange Lady,” and his composition “In a Silent Way.”

    It’s not surprising that some of the tracks seem to blend seamlessly into each other. It’s more surprising how distinctive the musical identity of each track is. Definitely worth an hour, and then many more checking out the albums these came from.

    Do not adjust your set; there is nothing wrong.

    1. Doctor Honoris CausaJoe Zawinul (Zawinul)
    2. Mountain In the CloudsMiroslav Vitous (Infinite Search)
    3. Orange LadyWeather Report (Weather Report)
    4. Opus One Point FiveJoe Henderson (Power To The People [Keepnews Collection] [ Remastered ])
    5. Filles De Kilimanjaro (Girls Of Kilimanjaro)Miles Davis (Filles De Kilimanjaro)
    6. Water BabiesWayne Shorter (Super Nova)
    7. You’ll Know When You Get ThereHerbie Hancock (Warner Archives)
    8. In A Silent WayMiles Davis (The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions)

    New Mix: Exfiltration Radio 13, Positive Vibrations

    Illustration credit: “Monty Stark/Stark Reality,” Espontaneo on Flickr.

    As I wrote last month, our twice-a-year Hackathon would have started yesterday, if not for the Current Unpleasantness, and this mix would have been on the “air” (or our virtual radio station) at 10am this morning. Following in the steps of previous volumes “The Low End Theory” and “The Mighty Hammond,” this is a jazz mix that focuses on the contribution of one instrument, the vibraphone.

    For me, the vibes are the instrument that makes midcentury jazz cool—not in the sense of Joe Cool but in the elegant, restrained tone they bring in the hands of a master like Milt Jackson. It was therefore a surprise a few years ago to find their avant-garde side, first in the hands of Bobby Hutcherson (who plays on four tracks in this set), then my more recent discovery, Walt Dickerson. I had to cut the set for time, but there are some pretty significant modern vibes players out there too who are well worth checking out, including Joel Ross.

    I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed putting it together, and remember, stay positive.

    1. Delilah (Take 3)Milt Jackson And Wes Montgomery (Bags Meets Wes!)
    2. First Things FirstRed Norvo (Hi Five)
    3. Wait Til You See HerGeorge Shearing Quintet (I Hear Music)
    4. MarsGil Melle (New Faces – New Sounds)
    5. Serves Me Right (Take 5)Cannonball Adderley (Things Are Getting Better)
    6. Death and TaxesWalt Dickerson (Spiritual Jazz 10: Prestige)
    7. Soul Sauce (Guachi Guaro)Cal Tjader (Talkin’ Verve)
    8. LatonaBig John Patton (Let ’Em Roll)
    9. Jean De FleurGrant Green (Idle Moments)
    10. Searchin’ the TraneBobby Hutcherson (Spiritual Jazz Vol. 9 – Blue Notes, Part One)
    11. The Original Mr. Sonny Boy WilliamsonArchie Shepp (On This Night)
    12. VisionsSun Ra and Walt Dickerson (Visions)

    Guide to the players:

    • Milt Jackson (tracks 1 and 5) — most famous as the longtime vibes player of the Modern Jazz Quartet, he appears to have played with everyone in the classic post-bop era.
    • Red Norvo (track 2) — 1950s bandleader, played with Frank Sinatra on a few tours
    • Marjorie Hyams (track 3) — American jazz vibraphonist who played with everyone from Woody Herman to Mary Lou Williams to George Shearing
    • Joe Manning (track 4) — not much is known. Recorded on Gil Mellé’s first Blue Note session.
    • Walt Dickerson (track 6, 12) — jazz post-bop and avant-garde player noted for his collaborations with Andrew Hill and Sun Ra
    • Cal Tjader (track 7) — probably the most famous non-Latino player of Latin jazz. Brought cool to soul jazz.
    • Bobby Hutcherson (tracks 8-11) — bandleader who guested on many 1960s Blue Note and some Impulse sessions, including these featuring Joe Henderson, Grant Green, and Archie Shepp

    New mix: The Low End Theory

    (No, it’s not a Tribe Called Quest mix.)

    Last Hackathon I made an hour long mix of Hammond organ centered jazz. In retrospect, while the listening was great, it felt like it didn’t go far enough into the different types of performance techniques on the organ, or different styles. So this time, I decided to do something a little more subtle, and focus on the bass.

    It can be hard to appreciate what a bass player brings to your typical small group performance. But you can start to dig in just by considering the different choices available to the bassist: acoustic or electric? Pizzicato (plucked) or arco (bowed)? Holding down the root of the chord, or playing a counter-melody? There are a bunch of different bass players on this mix, and each of them approaches their role very differently. Enjoy!

    1. Re: Person I KnewBill Evans Trio (Chuck Israels, bass) (Moon Beams [Original Jazz Classics Remasters])
    2. Tale of the FingersPaul Chambers (Whims Of Chambers)
    3. CaravanDuke Ellington With Charles Mingus (bass) & Max Roach (Money Jungle)
    4. Moment’s NoticeJohn Coltrane (Paul Chambers, bass) (Blue Train)
    5. EurydiceWeather Report (Miroslav Vitouš, bass) (Weather Report)
    6. Jimmy´s ModeJohn Coltrane (Jimmy Garrison, bass) (Stellar Regions)
    7. Red ClayFreddie Hubbard (Ron Carter, bass) (Red Clay)
    8. EpilogueMiroslav Vitouš (Infinite Search)
    9. Little SunflowerChristian McBride (Number Two Express)

    New Coltrane

    VinylFactory.com: Previously unheard 1964 John Coltrane album released for the first time.

    This is an even bigger deal, arguably, than last year’s Both Directions at Once, which I liked but which was ultimately a little … unmemorable? The title track of Blue World is a burner that reminds me of “Equinox” and other great John Coltrane Quartet classics. Listen now:

    Unmentioned in the coverage I’ve seen is that you can pre-order the vinyl version of the album in the uDiscover Music store, ahead of its September 27th release.

    Exfiltration Radio: the Holy Ghost

    It’s been a hard day for many folks, after a hard year and 259 days. But in these days you have to do what you can, and not worry about what you can’t.

    For me that translates to seeking out what’s important in music. Which is why the fifth volume in my series of one-hour Exfiltration Radio shows is about spiritual jazz. 

    (Why that name? The music takes some of the techniques of free jazz and infuses it with the searching, looking beyond that Coltrane brought to the table with A Love Supreme. It’s a broad banner, as the multiple volumes of the Spiritual Jazz compilation series show.)

    This one mixes up a track from one of my favorite McCoy Tyner albums, his Extensions, with other tracks from Alice Coltrane, Donald Byrd, Wayne Shorter, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the redoubtable Pharoah Sanders, and a few other goodies that I’ve found over the years on Bandcamp or other spots. It’s a good one-hour introduction if you’re feeling sinister—and it’s a good reminder that not everything that is in the world is of the world.

    Enjoy…

    1. Rainbow WarriorsAlan Braufman (Valley of Search (Reissue))
    2. Journey In SatchidanandaAlice Coltrane (The Impulse Story: Alice Coltrane)
    3. Message From The NileMcCoy Tyner (Extensions)
    4. Dance! Dance, Eternal SpiritsJoe Bonner with David Friesen, Billy Harper, Virgil Jones, M (Black Saint)
    5. ElijahDonald Byrd (A New Perspective)
    6. Ja MilHastings Street Jazz Experience (Spiritual Jazz)
    7. JuJuWayne Shorter (JuJu (Rudy Van Gelder Edition))
    8. Spirits Up AboveRahsaan Roland Kirk (Volunteered Slavery)
    9. ColorsPharoah Sanders (Karma)

    New mix: Exfiltration Radio – them Newport beats

    Still catching up from Hackathon. I put together a couple of hour-long radio shows that were a lot of fun to build. The first one is an hour of 1970s and 1970s-adjacent jazz. Lots of fun stuff in this, including some electric Vince Guaraldi, tasty jazz organ, some modern finds (Yussef Kamaal for the win), and a little Digable Planets. Enjoy!

    1. Birth Of A StruggleWax Tailor (Tales Of The Forgotten Melodies)
    2. OaxacaVince Guaraldi (Oaxaca)
    3. Red Sails In The SunsetJimmy McGriff (Groove Grease)
    4. Everybody Loves the SunshineRoy Ayers Ubiquity (The Best of Roy Ayers (The Best of Roy Ayers: Love Fantasy))
    5. Mystic BrewRonnie Foster (Jazz Dispensary: Cosmic Stash)
    6. Joint 17Yussef Kamaal (Black Focus)
    7. Jettin’Digable Planets (Blowout Comb)
    8. Ayo Ayo NeneMor Thiam (Spiritual Jazz)
    9. Superfluous (LP Version)Eddie Harris (Instant Death)
    10. Lady Day and John ColtraneGil Scott-Heron (Pieces of a Man)
    11. Early MinorMiles Davis (The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions)
    12. Black NarcissusJoe Henderson (The Milestone Years)
    13. Infinite SearchMiroslav Vitous (Infinite Search)

    Bandcamp find: Yussef Kamaal

    Increasingly my new music hunting has been on Bandcamp, where I’ve found some amazing music just by browsing and sampling. Other than Grand Banks (of course), it’s been fantastic for getting archival records, out-of-print Jim O’Rourke, and new jazz.

    An especially rich vein has been jazz from London groups. I first stumbled across Ill Considered, by saxophonist Idris Rahman, late last year. Last weekend I went back to the site and discovered Brownswood Recordings and Yussef Kamaal. The latter, a group featuring Kamaal Williams (aka Henry Wu) on keys and Yussef Dayes on drums along with an assortment of session musicians, make experimental groove-based jazz-funk that wouldn’t have been out of place in Herbie Hancock’s early to mid 1970s discography—except for the hip-hop inflected drums, a common thread in the Brownswood recordings I’ve heard, and in fact in most of the really exciting 21st century jazz I’ve found.

    Infuriatingly, Yussef Kamaal were one of the musical groups caught up in President Trump’s travel ban. Denied entry to the United States in March, they missed the opportunity to perform at this year’s SXSW.

    The debut album from Yussef Kamaal, Black Focus, is engaging and rewarding, and a fun listen on a snowy day like today. Recommended. I’m also enjoying the live sets by the group on Youtube, including the group’s very first show, the Boiler Room session.

    Linkblog for 8 Jan 2018

    Quirkspace: 78 RPM Records. One user’s tips for recording 78RPM records when your turntable only supports 33/45 RPM, including settings in Amadeus Pro.

    Stereophile: My Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2017. Fred Kaplan runs down a list of great jazz releases from last year, including both new and historical releases. Totally agree about the Cecile McLorin Salvant release.

    Gaffa: Lou Reed og Laurie Anderson: DR Koncerthuset, København. A review of late-period Lou Reed, from 2009, four years before his death, in concert with Laurie Anderson. From the review, this was a true collaborative show. There may be a bootleg of the performance floating around out there…

    Branford Marsalis Quartet, Cary Memorial Hall, April 28, 2017

    I saw Branford live for the first time with Sting, on January 29, 1988, and with his band in 1989 (if my notes are correct). Because of Branford, I started listening to jazz in earnest, first finding John Coltrane, then Miles Davis, Monk, and others. Last Friday I finally got to hear him live again.

    What struck me about the performance by the Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling was the high level of talent in all the musicians on stage, and the high level of generosity from the leader. Joey Calderazzo in particular stood out for his range, going from high volume warfare with Justin Faulkner to atmospheric washes generated by plucking the strings of the piano to some moments of Bill Evans/Erik Satié inspired playing. Faulkner himself was a force of nature, dropping bombs left and right over the stage and performing incredibly complex fills. And Eric Revis was a solid pivot who proved in the encore of “St. James Infirmary” that he could play a solo of high complexity and sensitivity. Branford himself blew my socks off in a few moments, but mostly stood out for how well he accompanied Elling.

    Elling is an astonishing vocalist who was not on my radar before his collaboration with this quartet, but whose other work I’ll be seeking out.

    From Dakar with love

    Doom and Gloom from the Tomb: Duke Ellington Orchestra – Festival Mondial d’Arts Nègres, Théâtre National Daniel Sorano, Dakar, Senegal, April 9, 1966. I’m so ambivalent about this. I mean, on the one hand, yes, every bootleg or live broadcast recording of a long-dead jazz artist makes it that much harder for live, working jazz artists to sell albums and earn coin. On the other: DUKE ELLINGTON. WITH PAUL GONSALVEZ, HARRY CARNEY, and JOHNNY FREAKIN’ HODGES. LIVE IN DAKAR.

    Rainy Wednesday blues

    R-793057-1335272012.jpeg

    It’s the middle of the week—a three-rehearsal week, two down—and it’s been overcast and rainy all day. Nothing but gray. Which is why all the caffeine in the world isn’t enough and I’m staring at gray skies, and listening to Charlie Haden.

    Ah, Charlie Haden. I’ve had the privilege of seeing both Haden and his son Josh Haden (with his band Spain) live. My experience with Charlie was in the context of his Liberation Music Orchestra, with Amina Claudine Meyers on piano and Makanda Ken McIntire, among others. I can’t say that I recall much of the show; I was unprepared to understand the complexities of what that band was playing and didn’t know much about Charlie at that time, including the fact that he had been the bassist with Ornette Coleman’s band featured on The Shape of Jazz To Come. But he made an impression on me for the serenity of his playing and the staggering complexity of some of the music.

    What I’m listening to this afternoon is something else entirely. Haden’s other group, Quartet West, performed simpler, melodic, and overwhelmingly romantic jazz, and his 1997 album Now Is The Hour features all of that plus a string orchestra section. The ballads are sentimental and enveloping, the fast tunes are bracing and the playing is absolutely impeccable. Highly recommended.