Backing off a bit from the outright funky fusion of 1972's Gypsy Man, Terra Nova nonetheless finds saxophonist Robin Kenyatta still indulging his newfound love of electricity and rhythmically altered jazz-funk tempered by his newfound love of Caribbean music. This Michael Cuscuna-produced date showcases Kenyatta's alto in three different settings – though half of them feature him in an octet with a pair of electric guitarists and two pianists, an organist, bassist, drummer, and no less than Ralph MacDonald on percussion. The feel on most of these cuts is informed by bubbling funky reggae and calypso.
Paul Hillier and ArsNova Copenhagen continue their exploration of Danish vocal music. The main work here, Line Tjørnhøj’sVoxReportage, was composed in close cooperation with the artists, and weaves various sources together –including 1981 Nobel laureate Elias Canetti, Chelsea Manning, and Rabi’ahal Adawiyya(8th-century Iraq) –to create a ‘reportage’ on the nature of humanity over the past thousand years. In Carl Nielsen’s Three Motets, Renaissance polyphony and the composer’s more personal style are molded into something fresh and powerful; the Swedish Romantic composer Stenhammarsets Danish texts, while Holmboesets British border ballads. Everything about this album crosses borders of one kind or another!
Reissue with SHM-CD format and the latest 24bit remastering. Comes with a mini-description. An overlooked chapter in American bossa jazz of the 60s – recordings that weren't nearly as well-circulated as the Stan Getz bossa nova albums on Verve, but which have an equally special sort of sparkle! The arrangements here are by Manny Albam and Al Cohn – who both bring an earlier sense of large jazz charts into play with the tighter rhythms of the bossa – at a level that makes things explode nicely with a sense of color, while still keeping the groove light overall!
This Art Farmer studio session from 1971 has a slight contemporary flavor to it, due to the addition of conga player James "Mtume" Forman and percussionist Warren Smith, Jr. to a core group of collaborators including Jimmy Heath, Cedar Walton, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins. Unfortunately, the additional percussionists are too prominent in the mix, greatly distracting from the driving arrangements of Farmer's "Homecoming" and Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa" as well as a peppy bossa nova, "Cascavelo." Far better are the quintet tracks, including the laid-back and mellow interpretation of Leonard Bernstein's ballad "Some Other Time," featuring the leader's matchless flügelhorn and Heath's soprano sax, and an upbeat chart of "Here's That Rainy Day." Another annoying problem is the seemingly out of tune piano, though Walton makes the best of a bad instrument. Not an essential album in the vast Farmer discography, but worth acquiring if found at a reasonable price, though it will be difficult.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and the latest 24bit remastering. Comes with a mini-description. A great chapter in 60s bossa jazz – Zoot Sims "answer" to Stan Getz's bossa work on Verve – recorded in a similar jazz-meets-bossa style, with some great guitar work by Jim Hall! Zoot's solos are a bit tighter and not as laidback as Stan's – giving a more jazz-based sound to the work that makes for a nice change – and most of the tunes feature larger backings from Manny Albam and Al Cohn – never too over-arranged, but with enough of a full swinging sound to set things right. Hall's guitar works surprisingly well in the setting – and titles include "Barquinho De Papel", "Ciume", "Recado Bossa Nova (parts 1 & 2)", and "Cano Canoe".