SINGLE SERVINGS: JOHN LEWIS, STRIPPED

Lewis

John Lewis: I Can’t Get Started
From 7″ (Pacific Jazz, 1950s). Also on Essential Jazz Masters

I don’t buy much jazz these days but I couldn’t pass this 7″ up when I came across it at the Groove Merchant. There are few things in the world I love better than a jazz ballad standard, stripped down to a couple of players. “I Can’t Get Started” is already a hauntingly gorgeous tune to begin with and Lewis – musical director for the MJQ – does a simply lovely job here on piano.

IT’S RAINING WHALES: RAY ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

Ray Alexander Technique: My Special One
I Don’t Bite
From Let’s Talk (Harlem Sound, 1970)

Arguably one of the best independent label soul releases of the early 1970s, the Ray Alexander Technique was lead by guitarist Alexander and despite being a solidly soul/funk album, most of the musicians who played on here seemed to come more from the jazz world including organist Billy Gardner and pianist George Stubbs. If the credits are to be believed, the vocalist isn’t Alexander but Chris Bartley, formerly of the Ad Libs and someone with a few 7″s to […]

Continue reading IT’S RAINING WHALES: RAY ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

IN THE JUNGLE, BABE

My latest KCET piece is on the new spate of record stores that have opened in L.A. over the last few years, many of which are out in my neck of the woods on the eastside. Of the batch, my favorite has been the Record Jungle, Andy Perez’s spot out in Montebello. As I suggest in the piece, it’s got an old mom-and-pop feel to it but Andy knows his soul, funk and Latin records on par with the best, upper-end boutiques. His is like the best of all worlds and over the last […]

Continue reading IN THE JUNGLE, BABE

U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY STAGE BAND: NOT YACHT ROCK

WindandSongAlbum small
Naval Academy Stage Band: Channels
Kool and the Gang
From Wind and Song (USNA, 1970)

Jazz purists may hate the late ’60s/early ’70s with a passion for all the funky big band that got recorded in that era…and they’d have a point insofar as a lot of crappy music was being made. But occasionally, you’ll come across something that now seems cool despite itself and while we may not consider – today – a military band being particularly funky, in 1970, it seems like the Navy […]

Continue reading U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY STAGE BAND: NOT YACHT ROCK

TRIBESMAN ASSAULT: DUB DRUBBING

Tribesman
Roots Underground: High Times
Makka Root
From Tribesman Assault (City Line, 1977)

It may seem ironic for someone nicknamed “O-Dub” but this is one of the first dub albums I’ve actually acquired. For whatever reason, despite my deep appreciation for Jamaican music and a particular love for rocksteady, I never really “got” dub. On paper, it doesn’t make sense why I wouldn’t be all up into it: deep basslines, atmospheric effects, stripped down rhythms. I can’t really explain it and maybe I simply decided, years ago, “I don’t […]

Continue reading TRIBESMAN ASSAULT: DUB DRUBBING

EVERYDAY I’M SHUFFLING: RON FORELLA…MOVES!

Thom Janusz: Memories of Georgia
Crystals
From Ronn Forella…Moves! (Hoctor/Luv N’ Haight, 1970s/2012)

One of the best reasons for seeking out original vinyl copies of old dance-instruction records has to be that they almost always have some kind of handwritten annotation on them, and when you’re far enough down the record-nerd rabbit hole to be buying old dance-instruction records, the realization that the heaviest track on the album—the facemelting breakbeat apocalypse with the acid-pitted wah-wah and the bass […]

Continue reading EVERYDAY I’M SHUFFLING: RON FORELLA…MOVES!

PRIVATE PILE: SHIRLEY NANETTE’S STYLES UPON STYLES

nanette.jpg
Shirley Nanette: Give and Take
Sometimes
Heaven on Earth
From Never Coming Back (Satara, 1973)

Nanette is a jazz vocalist, originally from Portland, OR, and though her own bio says she got her start in 1981, this album would seem to suggest otherwise. It is a most extraordinary LP, one that’s recently been getting heavier mention in select circles after a cache of sealed copies turned up and were quickly sold off (I received mine probably 3rd hand, via my last trip to the Groove Merchant). I’ll just say: […]

Continue reading PRIVATE PILE: SHIRLEY NANETTE’S STYLES UPON STYLES

RAYMOND WINNFIELD: WHEN LOVE GOES SOUTH

winnfield.jpg
Raymond Winnfield: Things Could Be Better
From 7″ (Fordom, 196?). Also on Funky Funky New Orleans 5.

I picked this up on my last trip to the Groove Merchant, in November. The track itself would have been enough to draw my attention…like Funky16Corners described it: “downtempo Crescent City funk.” Indeed, the instrumental version of this appears as the flipside to Ernie and the Top Notes’ funk classic, “Dap Walk” but to me, Winnfield’s vocal version is considerably superior (maybe I just have a bias against the overuse of sax-as-vocal-replacement). […]

Continue reading RAYMOND WINNFIELD: WHEN LOVE GOES SOUTH