Dienstag, 25. Februar 2014

Sun Ra - Supersonic Jazz (1956)

Sun Ra had only been heading his Arkestra for a couple of years when they recorded the 12 songs featured on this 1956 session. But while the arrangements, ensemble work, and solos are not as ambitious, expansive, or free-wheeling as they became on later outings, the groundwork was laid on such cuts as "India," "Sunology," and one of the first versions of "Blues at Midnight." Ra's band already had the essential swinging quality and first-class soloists, and he had gradually challenged them with compositions that did not rely on conventional hard bop riffs, chord changes, and structure but demanded a personalized approach and understanding of sound and rhythm far beyond standard thinking. You can hear in Ra's solos and those of John Gilmore, Pat Patrick, Charles Davis, and others an emerging freedom and looseness which would explode in the future.        

"This 1956 album was out of this world! Sun Ra, a super talented pianist/composer played a big role in the Avant-Garde movement and was right there with Mingus, thinking “outside of the box” and taking risky improvised chances. The Jazz Con Class Radio listeners who never heard of Sun Ra will enjoy this mostly Hard Bop album very much but should learn more of his Avant-Garde albums that later followed. The ones who are very familiar with Sun Ra would be totally surprise to hear such a “down to earth” album from this “out of space” innovator. “Super-Sonic Jazz” is a collector’s item and every Jazz lover should have it in their collection along with all his other works. In my next to last post, I mentioned John Gilmore, who gave Coltrane saxophone lessons, is brilliant in this album. But then again, the whole band is great. Sun Ra’s belief that he was in contact with aliens from Saturn should not throw anyone off at all (Read biography below). This album will be featured for a week or so, check the schedule link for play times." - Jazz Con Class Radio

Tracklist:

A1 India
A2 Sunology
A3 Advice To Medics
A4 Super Blonde
A5 Soft Talk
B1 Kingdom Of Not
B2 Portrait Of The Living Sky
B3 Blues At Midnight
B4 El Is A Sound Of Joy
B5 Springtime In Chicago
B6 Medicine For A Nightmare

Sun Ra - Supersonic Jazz (1956)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 24. Februar 2014

Oku Onuora & AK7‎– Pressure Drop (1984)

The name of Oku Onuora, Jamaica's best known dub poet, a notorious radical, criminal, and proud subversive, literally translates as fire in the desert and symbolizes the voice of the people.
Considered the father of dub poetry, a combination of haunting dub melodies and spoken word, Oku Onora was born Orlando Wong. During his youth, he joined the fight against the racist, oppressive policies of the post-colonialists. A disciple of Negus, young Wong was known for his many wall slogans and his demonstratinons against police violence. Eventually mere protest was not enough for Wong and so he decided that he must use force to help things change. After arming himself with a gun, Onuroa became a "revolutionary adventurer." After receiving a conviction for the armed robbery of a post office (he did this with the intent to use the money to help a struggling alternative school), Wong was sentenced to seven years in Jamaica's General Penitentiary in 1970. But before they could send him there, Wong escaped by leaping out of a second story window. As he fled, he was shot five times in the arms, legs and chest by the police. A few days later he was captured. While in prison, Wong began lobbying for prison reform and thereby earning the label of agitator and security risk. It was there he began writing his poetry, something the prison officials considered subversive. Though they tried to ban his writing, it leaked out and was published in 1977 as "Echo" by Sangster books. The book caused a stir and inspired Wong to change his name to Oku Onura.

His first dub-poetry album, "Reflection in Red" on 56 Hope Road, came out in 1979 and was the first LP of its kind. He followed this up in 1984 with "Pressure Drop", a full-length album that many consider a classic. It would be his last spoken-word album for nine years. In between then and 1993, he concentrated on writing plays and directing a drama company. He also performed live and toured. In 1990, Onura recorded "New Jerusalem Dub" a concept album that he called "poetry without words." It was a slickly produced, high-tech, and somewhat experimental work that sought to expand the bounds of what constitutes reggae music. With 1993's "Bus Out" Onuora returned to dub-poetry. This too was a themed work that decried racism and provided a strong call to immediate action against injustice and oppression. Though for him, it was a personally painful album to make, critics hailed it as revolutionary and one of his finest works.

Tracklist:

A Slum Dweller Declares
Dread Times
Sketches
Last Night
Pressure Drop
(Heathen) Let Wi Go
The Call
Beat Yuh Drums
Decolonization
Thinkin'
Change Yes Change

Oku Onuora & AK7 - Pressure Drop (1984)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 20. Februar 2014

Trio - Halt mich fest, ich werd verrückt (Single) - Gert "Kralle" Krawinkel R.I.P.


Gert Krawinkel (21 April 1947 – 16 February 2014) was a German musician and guitarist. He was better known as "Kralle". He died last sunday at the age of 66 in Cuxhaven.

Krawinkel's father was a sailor in his hometown of Wilhelmshaven. Krawinkel's music career started in the mid-1960s in nearby Bremerhaven, where he played the guitar in a band called "The Vampyr". He then teamed up with vocalist Stephan Remmler in a Rolling Stones-influenced band called MacBeats (later renamed Just Us). The band was successful in Northern Germany, during its existence, Just Us played a two-week engagement at Star-Club in Hamburg. In 1969, Just Us disbanded, and Krawinkel started a new band called Cravinkel with some of its former members, including Remmler. Cravinkel's folk and progressive rock influences did not break them into the mainstream, despite the release of two studio albums. In 1972, after only three years, Cravinkel disbanded.
Krawinkel subsequently got a teaching job, but still played guitar in several bands, including the Emsland Hillbillies and George Meyer & Company. In 1979, he teamed with his former bandmate Stephan Remmler in an attempt to get back into the commercial music business. After an intensive training phase, they formed the band Trio with drummer Peter Behrens.

Trio was a German band, formed in the small German town of Großenkneten in 1980. The band is most noted for the song "Da da da, ich lieb dich nicht, du liebst mich nicht, aha aha aha" (usually simply "Da Da Da") which was a hit in 30 countries worldwide. Trio was part of the Neue Deutsche Welle (or NDW); however, the band preferred the name "Neue Deutsche Fröhlichkeit", which means "New German Cheerfulness", to describe their music. At that time, as now, popular songs were based on extremely simple structures that were ornately produced. Trio's main principle was to remove almost all the ornamentation and polish from their songs, and to use the simplest practical structures (most of their songs were three-chord songs). For this reason, many of their songs are restricted to drums, guitar, vocals, and just one or maybe two other instruments, if any at all. Bass was used very infrequently until their later songs, and live shows often saw Remmler playing some simple pre-programmed rhythms and melodies on his small Casio VL-1 keyboard while Behrens played his drums single-handedly while eating an apple.




When Trio was on a creative break in 1984, he collaborated with Marius Müller-Westernhagen, playing lead guitar in his band. He was featured on his album "Die Sonne so rot" (The Sun is so Red) and went on his "Westernhagen" album tour in Germany. In 1985, Trio broke up.
In 1989 Krawinkel moved from Großenkneten to Berlin. In 1993, he worked with a friend Wilfried Szyslo who was a musician, on a solo album called "Kralle". Krawinkel had written the lyrics for the album entirely in English, but allowed another friend, Rio Reiser to translate them into German. He sang a duet with Nena on the single "’N Zentimeter Liebe".

From an article in a german newspaper about Trio: "Unter den Avantgardisten des westdeutschen Postpunk gehörten sie zu den wagemutigsten, formstrengsten und schönsten. Niemand sonst reduzierte das Format des romantischen Liebeslieds so erbarmungs- und scheinbar emotionslos auf sein Gerüst wie die niedersächsiche Band Trio. Niemand sonst – außer eventuell D.A.F. – machte so früh so radikalen Gebrauch von minimalistischen elektronischen Beats.   (...) Die Haltung dieser Band, ihre schwer zu entwirrende Verbindung von Ernsthaftigkeit und Witz, ihr genialer Dilettantismus – all das ist aber bis heute ein Maßstab geblieben."

Thank you, Kralle. Thanks for the unique music. New, oblique, anarchic, funny - your music was something very special. You brought - together with the Trio - a lot of fun to the days of my youth!

Here´s their wonderful single "Halt mich fest ich werd verrückt" ("Stop Me Before I Go Crazy") (Germany only) with the flip-side "Lady-O-Lady".

Trio - Halt mich fest, ich werd verrückt (Single)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Donnerstag, 13. Februar 2014

Sun Ra And His Arkestra - Jazz In Silhouette (1959)

Throughout their mid-to-late-'50s stay in Chicago, Sun Ra (piano) and his Arkestra established themselves as formidable purveyors of a new strain or sub-genre of jazz. Having evolved from elaborate reworkings of familiar standards, "Jazz in Silhouette" (1959) presents a collection of originals, building upon Ra's abilities as a consummate multi-tasker - writing, arranging, scoring parts for his band, in addition to performing.

He stretches the boundaries of the music to suit the Arkestra, simultaneously progressing his distinct sound. Seminal readings of the quick and complex "Saturn" and "Velvet" are offered with unmatchable dexterity and precision. The latter title comes off like a confused version of "Jeepers Creepers" as Hobart Dotson (trumpet) prominently displays his unquestionable tonality. "Ancient Aiethopia" is one of the more involved works, both in terms of length - running over nine minutes - and the Arkestra's capacity for Ra's compositions. "Blues at Midnight" is another expansive (nearly 12 minutes) outing that, by contrast, is for the soloists rather than full ensemble. John Gilmore (tenor sax), Ronnie Boykins (bass), Pat Patrick (baritone sax), and Marshall Allen (alto sax) all shine behind William Cochran's (drums) solid contributions.

Equally significant is the running dialogue Ra maintains during other musicians' leads, directing the ebb and flow with an uncanny fusion of melody and rhythm. Undoubtedly, this is a factor in the freshness the material retains. It is also a prime example of Ra and company in a transitional phase, prior to their full-fledged explorations into the avant-garde.   


  

Recorded in 1959 at El Saturn Studio, Chicago, the album is one of three records that the Arkestra released in the 1950s - the other two being Jazz by Sun Ra and Super-Sonic Jazz. Originally released in a simple silk-screened cover credited to HP Corbissero, the album had gained its sci-fi cover, 'of half-naked women teleporting themselves over one of the moons of Saturn', credited to 'Evans'  by the early 1960s. The album was reissued by Impulse in 1974, and released on CD by Evidence in 1992.

When originally released, the album's sides were reversed, starting with Hours After at the beginning of side one, and ending side two with Ancient Aiethopia. Enlightenment in particular was to become a staple of the Arkestra's concerts, often featuring chanted lyrics. 

Tracklist:

Enlightenment
Saturn
Velvet
Ancient Aiethopia
Hours After
Horoscope
Images
Blues at Midnight

Sun Ra And His Arkestra - Jazz In Silhouette (1959)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Samstag, 1. Februar 2014

Sun Ra - Jazz By Sun Ra (1956)

This essential title is also available under the moniker of "Sun Song" (1956). Regardless of name, this long-player contains some of Sun Ra's most complex, yet accessible efforts. Ra had been an active performer since the late 1940s, recording with his various combos or "Arkestra(s)" as Ra dubbed them. Since this was the first widely distributed platter that the artist cut, it is often erroneously referred to as his debut.

The tracks were documented by then-unknown Tom Wilson. If the name rings a bell, it may be because Wilson would go on to produce such rock luminaries as Frank Zappa, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, and the Velvet Underground, among others.

Ra's highly arithmetical approach to bop was initially discounted by noted jazz critic Nat Hentoff as "repetitious," with phrases "built merely on riffs with little development." In retrospect, however, it is obvious there is much more going on here. Among the musical innovations woven into the up-tempo "Brainville" and "Transition," are advanced time signatures coupled with harmonic scales based on Ra's mathematical equations. Not to be missed is the lush elegance within the delicate, if not intricate arrangements heard on "Possession," as well as the equally involved "Sun Song" - both of which take on an air of sophistication in their deceptive simplicity.

Ra's original LP jacket comments can be found within the liner notes of the Sun Song compact disc. This is noteworthy as one of the rare occasions that Sun Ra sought to explain not only his influences, but his methods of composition and modes of execution as well. As referred to above, "Jazz by Sun Ra" is arguably the most accessible work in the Sun Ra catalog, as well as one of the most thoroughly and repeatedly listenable.          

Tracklist:
  1. "Brainville" (Sun Ra) 4:29
  2. "Call for all Demons" (Sun Ra) 4:30
  3. "Transition" (Sun Ra) 3:40
  4. "Possession" (Harry Revel) 5:00
  5. "Street Named Hell" (Sun Ra) 3:55
  6. "Lullaby for Realville" (Richard Evans) 4:40
  7. "Future" (Sun Ra) 3:15
  8. "Swing a Little Taste" (Sun Ra) 4:25
  9. "New Horizons" (Sun Ra) 3:05
  10. "Fall off the Log" (Sun Ra) 4:00
  11. "Sun Song" (Sun Ra) 3:40
Sun Ra - Jazz By Sun Ra (1956)
(256 kbps, cover art included)