The idea for reuniting this seminal '70s fusion group first came in 2015, when the lineup for a previously booked one-week engagement at New York's The Blue Note club unexpectedly fell through. Rather than cancel, Coryell suggested bringing most of the 11th House's original members back together—trumpeter Randy Brecker, drummer Alphonse Mouzon and bassist John Lee, who replaced founding bassist Danny Trifan for the group's second album, Level One (Arista, 1975)—along with, Coryell's son, guitarist Julian Coryell, replacing Mike Mandel due to the keyboardist's ill health.
ONE WAY GLASS is a very different kind of RPM compilation. Instead of the usual cross-section of Sixties collectables, this unique 3-CD set takes a fresh look at British music from the late 60s through to the mid-70s, with an eye on overlooked dancefloor-friendly finds. The rhythmic backbone of One Way Glass lies in Progressive Rock outfits who - every so often - would emulate their jazz heroes and record funky sides tucked away on albums or B-sides. Many of these tracks (Jonesy, Hardin & York) have been known to collectors of Funky Breaks for years.
Partly because of its Brazilian collaborators and partly because of "The Girl From Ipanema," Getz/Gilberto is nearly always acknowledged as the Stan Getz bossa nova LP. But Jazz Samba is just as crucial and groundbreaking; after all, it came first, and in fact was the first full-fledged bossa nova album ever recorded by American jazz musicians. And it was just as commercially successful, topping the LP charts and producing its own pop chart hit single in "Desafinado." It was the true beginning of the bossa nova craze, and introduced several standards of the genre (including Ary Barroso's "Bahia" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Desafinado" and "Samba de Uma Nota Só" [aka "One Note Samba"])…
Bob Brookmeyer pioneered playing jazz on the valve trombone, and employed an open-ended approach that embraced both cool and chamber jazz elements. This CD combines two of his finest early period albums from 1960 and 1961, playing standards and originals alongside a stock backup piano/bass/drums trio with Jimmy Rowles, and interpreting the music of Alec Wilder in tandem with guitarist Jim Hall. For the latter date, Brookmeyer goes back and forth between trombone and piano, with drummer Mel Lewis on both sessions.
Christophe Wallemme describes this effort as a "wink at the great standards of American jazz," a laudable objective but an affirmation that seems intended to confuse the listener. The explicit musical references on Start "So Many Ways…" point instead to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Miles Davis' Bitches Brew rather than "Body and Soul" or "My Funny Valentine." No matter.
The achievement of Namaste—and it is a genuine achievement—is also the achievement of Miles Davis's In a Silent Way (Columbia, 1969): namely, providing room to breathe in a crowded room of musicians—soloists all, not a big band. (On Miles's subsequent Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1969), in contrast, a crowded room of musicians was happy to sound like a hot and tumultuous marketplace.) Despite the carefully-crafted compositions and arrangements, it's that sumptuous but spacious sound fabric that is most remarkable about this record.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Guitarist Phil Upchurch is in great company here – a cool, back-to-basics sort of group that almost gives Phil a hardbop heritage he didn't have in his youth! The lineup features excellent work on a variety of reeds from Brandon Fields – alto, tenor, soprano sax, and flute – each handled deftly, with an especially nice edge on the alto and soprano! Bobby Lyle plays acoustic piano – and reminds us what a great straight player he can be, even though we love his electric work – and the group's got a great bottom groove from Brian Bromberg on bass and Harvey Mason on drums. Upchurch is the real star, though – and sometimes solos with the ferocity of a horn on his guitar – matching Fields at some moments in this really great way.
The studio sessions within this CD were produced by Charles Delauney in Paris during the late '30s, when a number of prominent Americans were either passing through or temporarily taking up residence in Europe. Django Reinhardt was a relative newcomer to jazz, but quickly became a leading player on the continent, and is present on four very different sessions in this collection. A quartet led by cornetist Rex Stewart includes fellow Ellington veterans Barney Bigard on clarinet and bassist Billy Taylor, though the Americans and their gypsy guitarist eschew the Ellington songbook and find their own sound in a date dominated by originals written by Stewart or Taylor. Reinhardt is prominently featured as a soloist and proves himself in ensembles as well as backing others' solos.