Legendary jazz guitarist Grant Green is one of the most phenomenal musicians in the idiom of jazz to us at SCV. His body of work translates the scriptures of foundations set forth by giants such as Charlie Parker and Charlie Christian. His technique and sense of soul is unmatched. The track we present today comes from a legendary outing for Grant Green in the mid 60′s with musicians he would rarely play with and in a hard bop setting that he also rarely revealed on his studio recordings. The spirit and energy is in flight through out, showing the commanding presence of musicians at the top of their game and in the midst of a spiritual reawakening brought largely on by John Coltrane. The inclusion of alumni from the Coltrane world in this track “Minor League” definitely contributes a large degree of weight to this connection.
Song from “Solid” album, 1964. Grant Green, guitar; Joe Henderson, sax; James Spaulding, alto sax; Mccoy Tyner, piano; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Elvin Jones, Drums. Rec. June 12, 1964.
Heavenly Sweetness opens up the Blue Note Records vault for more reissues including Elvin Jones, Herbie Hancock, Grant Green, Joe Henderson, Horace Silver and Lee Morgan | Music News
All of the following information was extracted directly from Light in the Attic Records, the label responsible for creating Heavenly Sweetness. The label has presented titles from the Blue Note Records vaults in recent years and this is the best collection that have amassed to date. This is some of the best 60′s and 70′s jazz every committed to tape in every pure form possible. These are the kind of titles that serve as perfect opening points for possible new fans and are vital reissues for those who have come to love these records like their own children.
Herbie Hancock is certainly Takin Off at this point in his career – stepping into the limelight with an excellent batch of soul jazz tunes, including the first recording of his classic “Watermelon Man”, the one track that probably put all his kids through school!
Although that one went on to become a standard within a few short years in 60s jazz, it still sounds great here in the original – a very fresh take on the sound of soul jazz in the 60s – offered up here in a 7 minute version that has more sharp soloing than most other takes on the tune!
The group here is great too – with Dexter Gordon on tenor, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Butch Warren on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – and the tracks are all also originals by a young Herbie – including “Watermelon Man”, “The Maze”, “Driftin”, “Three Bags Full”, “Alone & I”, and “Empty Pockets”
A brilliant album that proves that even at the height of his success, Lee Morgan was one of the freest thinkers on Blue Note! The first cut on the album is the title track – “Search For The New Land” – and it’s a beautiful 16 minute exploration of modal jazz themes, with an unusual stop/start device as a means of ushering solos by different bandmates, like Wayne Shorter, Grant Green, and Herbie Hancock.
All of the rest of the tracks are originals, too, and although they have a bit more of a conventional structure, they’re still pretty darn freewheeling, and display Morgan’s mid-period writing at its finest. Titles include “The Joker”, “Melancholee”, and “Mr. Kenyatta”.
Search For The New Land
A classic set from Horace Silver – one in which his quintet is expanded by some great guest work from trombonist JJ Johnson! Johnson’s at the height of his 60s powers here – blowing with that lean, soulful style that always made any record sparkle – and although he’s only on half of the tracks on the date, his presence is more than worth the heavy billing he gets on the cover!
Other great members of the group include Woody Shaw on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor, and rhythm from Bob Cranshaw on bass and Roger Humphries on drums – all coming together with that wonderful 60s Silver groove.
The set’s filled with sweetly grooving originals by Horace – a blueprint for the exotic style of soul jazz he helped to forge at the time – great writing all around, on titles that include “Mo Joe”, “Nutville”, “Bonita”, “The African Queen”, and “Pretty Eyes”.
The Cape Verdean Blues
Killer work from Joe Henderson – back when he was blowing with a fire that kind of died out in later years, working with a fierce young group that featured Kenny Dorham, McCoy Tyner, Richard Davis, and Elvin Jones.
Henderson’s tone is rough and young – but in a great way, one that’s perfect for the exploratory nature of his original tunes on the set, and which matches the mood of Dorham’s compositions as well.
Tracks include “In N Out”, “Short Story”, “Brown’s Town”, and “Punjab”. And if the title’s not enough of a hint – let us just tell you that the record goes in and out!
In ‘n out
A fantastic mid-60s album from Grant Green, but one that never got its due originally, because it was unreleased at the time – and didn’t come out until a Japanese issue during the 70s. The session’s a spare quartet one, with Green’s guitar playing modal grooves over rhythm by McCoy Tyner, Bob Cranshaw, and Elvin Jones.
Cuts are long, and there’s a freewheeling quality to the material that’s only ever matched by some of the Grant Green/Larry Young sessions from the same time. Titles include “Matador”, “Bedouin”, “Wives & Lovers”, and a killer version of “My Favorite Things”, done in a very Coltrane-esque style.
Matador (Grant Green)
A wonderful Elvin Jones session for Blue Note from 1970. On this one he deploys a double sax frontline of George Coleman and Frank Foster supported by Wilber Little on bass, Elvin on drums and the great Candido Camero on conga.Check out 5/4 Thing – as Leonard Feather puts it on the sleeve notes “A rhythmic circle of sound”.
Washington DC’s Hilton Felton is probably the regions greatest organ player of any period. Steeped in the soul drenched flavor of organ players like Jimmy Smith and Big John Patton, Hilton Felton grooves in a way nobody even touches these days with the exception of a few key players. His introduction into the touring and recording scene came with the legendary Fats Theus. In 1970, Fats picked him up for a tour and released one record with the CTI imprint, Black Out. The massively heavy drum section of Idris Muhammed was present along with one of the best guitar players of the time Grant Green. The groups take on ‘Stone Flower’ on that album is incredible with Hilton Felton doing some of the most impressive organ solo’ing I have ever heard. George Benson took immediate attention to Hilton and picked him up for a tour shortly after this release, which would prove to shape Hilton’s abilities even more.
A family man and one who loved his city of DC, Hilton Felton took the unusual route after two years on the road and recording with Fats Theus and George Benson to be closer with his loved ones, start his own imprint and record music on his own terms. Yearning to be a self made independent artist, Hilton Felton started his own imprint Hilton Concepts in 1971, predating Minor Threat and many of the punk rocks who would create the DIY culture in Washington DC by almost a decade. Hilton Felton made some of the most interesting and diverse music, tapping into jazz, gospel, latin, street music, funk, soul, pop, psych rock and many other sounds that were dominating America’s airwaves during the 60′s and 70′s. London based Jazzman Records has culminated all of this lineage into a highly anticipated Best Of collection that spans from 1970-74. Collecting five tracks that spans 35 minutes, Jazzman Records selected a world of music from Hilton Felton that is the best entry point for anyone who hasn’t heard him and even better for those of who have. Pressed on vinyl and CD, the packaging is as good as the music, with rare photos and liner notes that explain the origins of every track.
The first piece, ‘Bee Bop Boogie’, is a classic sounding Headhunters groove from Herbie Hancock’s mid 70′s period. With a latin jazz emphasis in the drums and percussion, the piece moves flawlessly through its drop out moments when the band lets the percussion and drum tandem breath by itself. Hilton’s organ sound is just as superb and brilliant, showing a very soulful and sophisticated sound that lets the guitar comping transition in and out of solo’s seamlessly. Felton always has the rhythm and embellishes the most tasteful additives under the guitar with rhythm and harmony always at his side. The bass is always moving but never moving away too far and keeping itself trapped inside the groove this piece has. The sax work is pristine and soaring, with a glossy feel that makes it as dreamy as it is poignant. Felton turns out a true Herbie Hancock style solo around the five minute mark, running down his keys without missing a note or a beat. Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and many others in the 70′s had been utilizing a lot of electronics and Felton was right in line with all these masters, blasting away at his own sound and scene in DC.
‘Spreading Fever’ sounds like the perfect street league basketball anthem with a really rustic guitar sound that is heightened by a sax section and head nodding drum break. The bass is bumpin and there’s some really wild angular solo work on the guitar, with jabs of rhythm and staccato runs that make your head spin. Felton rests in the pocket for awhile, creating a canvas of soul drenched harmony that is out of this world until his restrain leads to some really intense solo’ing. It really doesn’t get much better than this with organ based jazz. ‘Dream Come True’ is a really dreamy soul pop song and the first in the collection to contain vocals. The organ work is really dreamy on this piece as well and the tone Felton gets in the last few minutes of the song really hints towards his deep gospel and family background. Every track has these small moments where Felton selects a very special tone on his organ for the song and it always fits so well. ‘Your Analysis’ couldn’t be better placed in the collection, pushing the energy to a maximum level with this psych soul rocker. With gut bucket and really intense drumming, fuzzed out psych guitar solo’s and some manic style freight train organ that always follows the intensity of the guitar, this is a testament to how lively his performances must have been. If you have heard any of the chittlin’ circuit Jimi Hendrix material, pre Experience, you know exactly what kind of sound this is. Felton’s organ solo is probably one of the most charged, exuberant and exhilarating of the collection on ‘Your Analysis’, with an apex of energy that is jaw dropping.
Jazzman Records collected five songs that truly represent the integrity, passion and grace organist Hilton Felton exerted into the many forms of music he identified with and presented himself to the world with. Best of releases are always hit and miss and this one is definitely a best of collection worth owning.
The Best of Hilton Felton 1970-74
- Bee Bop Boogie
- Spreading Fever
- Dream Come True
- Your Analysis
- Tell Her Love Has Felt The Need
Kansas City’s Big John Patton is up next in our Blast From The Past series, highlighting some of the best music from the decades of time that began the age of recorded music. Big John Patton was one of the greatest organist alive, bringing a presence to the Hammon-B3 that solidified its importance in the fusion of jazz, soul, r&b and the advancing sounds that the 70′s were to bring. The piece we choose comes from a session Patton did with legendary guitarist Grant Green. With masterful interplay between the two, each of the pieces from the album Got a Good Thing Goin’ are some of the most superb from either two. ‘The Yodel’ from Got a Good Thing Goin’ is the track that makes me think of this record the most and we are very proud to present it as Volume 301 in Blast From The Past.
Photo credit: Francis Wolff / Blue Note Color Photography