OLD SCHOOL R&B LOVEFEST: EVENT IN SEARCH OF AN AUDIENCE


https://www.switchentertainmentworld.com/gallery

 Red Marine Entertainment Presents the OLD SCHOOL R&B LOVE FEST
SWITCH , SURFACE , GAP REVIEW  BALL HOOKER. (opening act..)
Real Old School Show: In Search of an audience.. I have been around or involved with the entertainment field for well over 50 years,music in particular. I know a good show when I hear or see one by individuals who really know what to to do with a chord or note. I was pleasantly surprised a few evenings ago as I sort of bumped into a great show. Just helping out my sister as a vendor at the California Education & Performing Arts Center in Ontario California,  11255 Central Avenue. Ontario,Calif.
RED Marine Entertainment recently presented an Old School R&B Lovefest… an evening of solid entertainment by classic Old School groups, Switch , Surface, The Gap Review(Tribute Band) along with opening act Kimball Hooker, male vocalist with some chops.. tagging and paying homage to artists like Keith Sweat.
DYNAMICALLY hosted by LA’s very own, ANGEL BABY – DJ Radio Host.
when you’re a vendor at these productions, you have to arrive early to load-in and get setup . get out of the way of artists moving in equipment, doing sound checks for next two hours. While I had lots of time on my hand, it also gave me an opportunity to move around , be curious as a journalist, as to who and what and why.
I chatted it up with some members of the various bands, production crews and VIP guests , who also arrived early for publicity pictures, video interviews and miscellaneous activities one does before show begins.
At first when my sister told me an old school show, my head automatically thought some mediocre wanna-bees. NOT!!
Listening to sound check of the various groups and singers/musicians, I quickly got a sense of “Oh Wow”, I just wish I had known about this show in advance.  I have my own opinions about that, but, leaving that to the side . Looking inside the cavernous hall with so many empty seats once the show began, I was shocked. Its like you and your lady or gent are all dressed up but no where to go. You just focused on how you looked and not how you were going to get there.
During the early to mid-’70s, Bobby DeBarge, Eddie Fluellen, Phillip Ingram (brother of James Ingram), Jody Sims, and Gregory Williams were in the Ohio-based White Heat, which subsequently morphed into Hot-Ice, an outfit that featured DeBarge, Sims, and Williams, as well as DeBarge’s brother Tommy. That band released an album on Polydor in 1977. Shortly thereafter, Jermaine Jackson helped them secure a contract with Motown offshoot Gordy. All of of this after a very awkward meeting in the Motown building in Hollywood.

As Switch, the band proved to be popular in clubs, as well as within the quiet storm radio format. Their singles There’ll Never Be” (1978), “I Call Your Name” (1979), and “Love Over and Over Again” (1981) reached the Top 10 of Billboard’s R&B chart. Throughout the 2000s, the band’s recordings were sampled by the likes of De La Soul (“A Brighter Tomorrow”), Ne-Yo (“It Just Ain’t Right”), Rich Boy (“Throw Some D’s”), and Erykah Badu (“That Hump”). Ingram, Williams, and Fluellen reunited, added new members, and have been bringing down the house ever since!

The Gap Band Review pays homage to The Gap Band, which is one of the most popular funk groups of the late ’70s, ‘80s to present time.  15 Top Ten R&B singles ranging from ferocious funk anthems to gorgeous slow jams. Many of their hits, such as “Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)” and “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” featured instantly memorable, rippling synthesizer bass-lines.

The Gap Band’s  run of hits spanned nearly 20 years, from 1977 through 1995. Their hits continued with “Shake”, “Open Up Your Mind”, “Don’t Stop the Music”, “Yearning for Your Love”, “Early in the Morning”, “Outstanding”, the title song to Keenan Ivory Wayans’ “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and more!

I wanted to catch the SURFACE show but was too busy by the time they were onstage. the little I did hear, was simply off the charts.. They performed without a band just DAT and  Flute with strong vocals.. my cut Get Closer ..The ’80s soft soul vocal trio known for such lush ballads as “Closer Than Friends” and the million-selling singles “Shower Me With Your Love” and the number one pop hit “The First Time” had one of its first charting records as artists signed to dance music pioneer Salsoul Records. “Falling in Love,” co-written by Surface member David Conley, doesn’t have much in common with the aforementioned titles other than the group name and a (presumably) Conley flute solo. The single made it to number 84 R&B in summer 1983 and the U.K. pop charts. Singer Bernard Jackson who grew up in Stamford, CT, got into the music business through his cousin who lived in New York.
Seizing the opportunity, he relocated to New York and began performing around the city. While doing a show in Stamford, his godfather suggested that he contact his nephew David Townsend who was also in the music business. Townsend, a former touring guitarist for the Isley Brothers, was the son of singer/songwriter/producer Ed Townsend who had a hit with “For Your Love” in summer 1958 and wrote the Impressions‘ “Finally Got Myself Together (I’m a Changed Man)” and co-wrote Marvin Gaye‘s “Let’s Get It On.” Around 1973, Townsend joined a band called the Port Authority where he met David “Pic” Conley. Townsend, whose father shared hit songwriting tips with him, began writing songs with Conley. After Townsend and Conley met Jackson it was decided that they’d write songs together. The trio became staff writers for EMI Music. Their songs were covered by New Edition (“Let’s Be Friends” from their 1985 MCA LP All for Love) and Sister Sledge (“You’re So Fine”). The trio became performers using the name Surface and moved to Los Angeles. An EMI Music executive brought one of their songs, “Let’s Try Again,” to the attention of Larkin Arnold of Columbia Records. Arnold‘s previous successes include Natalie Cole and Peabo Bryson. He signed the group to Columbia and their first single “Let’s Try Again” charted number 80 R&B in late 1986.
The debut album Surface included the smooth and sweet “Happy,” which hit number two R&B for two weeks in early 1987, “Lately” (number eight R&B), and the reissued “Let’s Try Again.” The next LP, 2nd Wave yielded “I Missed” (number three R&B), “Closer Than Friends” (number one R&B for two weeks in early 1989), the wedding standard “Shower Me With Your Love” (gold, number one R&B/number five pop), “You Are My Everything” (number one R&B for two weeks), and “Can We Spend Some Time” (number five R&B). Jackson brought the sheet music to a song he had written in 1986 to his friend, songwriter Brian Simpson, who had a recording studio in his garage. After listening to the finished demo tape, Jackson thought that he had a hit. Hiring a mobile 24-track recording studio truck to capture his vocal in the best professional conditions, Jackson sang “The First Time” in Simpson‘s house. “The First Time” was the first single from Surface’s 3 Deep album and went gold hitting number one R&B and holding the number one pop for two weeks in early 1991. While “The First Time” was topping the charts, Surface was one of the presenters at the American Music Awards and were enthusiastically congratulated. The hits continued with “All I Want Is You” (number eight R&B, early 1991) and “Never Gonna Let You Down.” “You’re the One” billed as Surface featuring Bernard Jackson made it to number 24 R&B, summer 1991. The group’s last charting single was “A Nice Time for Lovin'” included on their 1991 greatest hits LP The Best Surface: A Nice Time for Loving. Conley and Townsend also produced sides on Rebbie Jackson (“Reaction”) that are on The Rebbie Jackson Collection from U.K. label Expansion distributed by Sony/3MV. 

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NYC JAZZ GUITARIST RON JACKSON COLLABORATES WITH L.A. SAXOPHONIST TEODROSS AVERY:UPSTAIRS AT VITELLOS’S


posted by Kamaad Tauhid @blues2jazzguy

 

COMING TO LOS ANGELES UPSTAIRS AT VITELLO’S JAZZ SUPPER CLUB JANUARY 2019 !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Jazz Hipsters and Cool people who just love great music all agree, RON JACKSON is the TRUTH!” – Robert J. Carmack – Founder & Chief Editor HipsterSanctuary.com 

Coming January 22ndONE NIGHT ONLY- Upstairs at Vitello’s Supper Club , making his Los Angeles debut out of his West Coast Mini-Tour Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay area and San Diego California.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ron-jackson-with-special-guest-teodross-avery-tickets-52736162281

SAVE $10 at door on day of event when purchased in advance via Safe EVENTBRITE link above

The full dinner menu is available for purchase as soon as doors open. Your ticket purchase is the only reservation you need. A minimum of two items ($20.00) is required per person. $10 ticket INCREASE on day of show. Valet parking available with validation for $6. There is metered street parking as well but be sure to read the signs. Parking is NOT permitted on Woodbridge St. after 9:pm nightly.

Ron Jackson is a New York City 6 and 7-string guitar master, composer, arranger, producer, recording artist, educator, and actor. Considered one of the most versatile guitarists in the world, he is adept in styles such as Jazz, Folk, Latin, African, Rock, R&B, Brazilian, Pop, Country, Calypso, Reggae, Soul, Funk, and Classical. Ron has performed, recorded, and taught in over 30 countries with bands and artists such as Taj Mahal, Cecil Brooks III, Jimmy McGriff, Benny Golson, Randy Weston, Ron Carter, Valery Ponomarev, and Benny Green.

Joining him is L.A., tenor saxophonist Teodross Avery. Signed to GRP/Impulse Records at the age of 19, Teodross has performed with jazz greats on both coasts, East & West. Joining the late 3-time Grammy-winning Roy Hargrove Big Band, the Cedar Walton Sextet, and Hank Jones, vocalist Dwight Trible. He has performed also with Tony award-winning singer, Melba Moore and Phil Perry. Performs regularly with hip hop and rock icons such as Mos Def, Lauryn Hill, and Matchbox Twenty.

Coming!! Next Article written by Robert J. Carmack RON JACKSON – MUSIC MY WAY December 22,2018 @www.hipstersanctuary.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC PIANIST RUDI WONGOZI LAUNCHES LATEST RELEASE: JAZZ FOR R&B LOVERS


The word “Balance” has many definitions, especially as a verb or noun..the ones I chose to use here in speaking about Rudi Wongozi are; an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

OR, a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions , as in “Trying to keep a balance between work and relaxation.   There are remarkable and key points to realize when you talk about the artistry of Rudi Wongozi.

I was honored and elated to write about Rudi Wongozi’s latest CD; JAZZ FOR R&B LOVERS. “the album for After the After-Party”. You see I met Rudi over 12 years ago when I was living in the San Francisco Bay area as a journalist and jazz show producer. initially introduced by a longtime friend of Wongozi, Mr. Duane Deterville, artist, cultural archivist, author and an authority on the African Diaspora. Me being new to the S.F. Bay area then and needing to meet as many new performance artists as possible, I was immediately attracted to Rudi’s whole approach to the piano. even more important, was his attitude about NOT being cast inside the proverbial music box. “Is he Jazz or is he R&B or Pop”?? Neither, what I saw and heard was pure music knowledge , unabridged or, even tainted by labels or categories.

Inside the organization I helped to found, San Francisco Bay Area African-American Musicians Association, we collaborated on a show in Tribute to the great saxophonist Jackie McLean. Rudi tackled the very complex music of Mclean easily as I wanted it to be respectful of the artist, but also I wanted to have lots of creative license. To build upon the original foundation while re-creating new images and patterns through my poetry. And, through the band I assembled to bring the soul and heat.

Rudi Wongozi  has a long standing reputation in the East Bay(Oakland/Berkeley) area of California as a first call pianist and bandleader or recording session player in the genres of Jazz and Pop, Soul and R&B.

The Album for After the After Party

In a brief phone chat recently with the very busy pianist, as he is now living in New York city. We spoke about him being able to carve out himself a nice piece of the grass-roots and underground audiences that are hungry for new voices and sounds.

Wongonzi has valid and “legit” Jazz chops. He also has that eclectic voice that in a subtle kind of way reminds me a little of Gil Scott Heron. his original song lyrics are spot on and most relevant today. Hence, an album for after the After-party..that part of the early morning when no one is sleepy, and don’t want the groove to stop. Rudi Wongozi brings it all home in his new production, Jazz for R&B Lovers. 

Rudi has done a stellar job in marrying the different genres of music and placing it in a funnel and letting it blend to a honeycomb of soul and panache’. Still retaining his remarkable flair for the dramatic entrances.

On the song menu are classics by such notables as Denise Williams,Luther Vandross, Eric Clapton and the great Eddie Jefferson to name a few, plus unforgettable original gems written by Rudi , Precious: when the morning comes.

“Like some of my musical heroes, Nina Simone and Curtis Mayfield..they too were hard to put inside a musical label box because their talent was so expansive and universally appealed to multiple audiences” stated Wongozi.

12 tracks of sheer delight and memories, even a straight ahead version of “BAD HABITS” penned by Maxwell, the neo-soul artist.

You have to approach this album with an open mind and heart. then you will quickly get it. and then have a ball at the Party after the After-Party.

“I wanted to write a love song album, but I also wanted to blend in the social in-justice that’s currently happening in our country now. seasoning it with scat, rap and hip hop grooves beats on certain cuts. a recipe for success by artistically integrating multi-genre with the experience of a master musician/songwriter. This record drops NOVEMBER 11 2018… online purchases or at your favorite CD retail outlets

written by Robert J. Carmack, editor in chief, Hipster Sanctuary.com,actor,jazz poet and musician-@blues2jazzguy

press relations or more info regarding concerts or CD listening parties email us at; wongozi@yahoo.com

ZAR MAN: RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON @ L.A.C.M.A.


Azar Lawrence eclectic and powerful saxophonist brings his very hot music into his hometown LA on Friday 6pm at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Fresh off his African Tour, taking only a few hours to sleep and jump back into the frying pan making his large fan base and growing, happy. Angelenos will be happy to see some familiar faces inside Zar’s Band which includes, an all-star lineup.

Yayo Morales after spending many years of international acclaim, living and working in Europe, performing with top Jazz, Latin Jazz and Flamenco stars, moved and is now situated in L.A. Drummer, Composer, Producer, Arranger and Educator, Yayo has played with an array of talent, such as:, Jerry González, Chano Domínguez, “Tomatito”, Jorge Pardo, Carles Benavent, and many other artists including Rita Marley, La Barbería del Sur, Henry “The Skipper” Franklin, Azar Lawrence, Bobby Bradford, Steve Cotter, Theo Saunders, Benn Clatworthy and Ron Stout to mention a few.  His own project entitled “Los Andes Jazz Project” parts one and two, based on rhythms and folkloric styles from Bolivia and the Andes fused with jazz was awarded a diploma from the Honorable Alcaldía Municipal de La Paz (Bolivia) and the Oficialía Mayor de Culturas for his work, in recognition for his contribution to the development of Bolivian contemporary music.

Dale Williams was born and raised in Hyde Park, on the south side of Chicago. While still in Chicago, Williams performed with many other well-known acts such as the the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), Phil Coran, as well as the Pharaohs/aka Sky (just to name a few). From there, Williams toured the US with Little Milton, Oscar Brown Jr., the Sun-Ra Arkestra, and Jean Carn.

Williams eventually made his way to Los Angeles, where he would go on to tour with artists such as Watt’s 103rd st. Band, Rebbie Jackson, Otis Day & the Knights, Solomon Burke’s, Mighty Mo Rodgers, Tito Jackson, Dorothy Moore, LL Cool J, Ronnie Laws, Elosie Laws, and Tom Browne. Dale Williams began performing in the local blues, jazz, and R&B scene, where he played with Howard Hewitt, Al B Sure, Faith Evans, Eric Bennet, The Mary Jane Girls, Doug E Fresh, Brian McKnight, and Brandy.

Theo Saunders’ musical odyssey has taken him to Five continents and more than twenty-Five countries. He has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals, concert halls and night clubs, with distinguished jazz artists including: Freddie Hubbard, Carla Bley, Charles Lloyd, Bob Brookmeyer, Sonny Fortune, Buddy Collette, Eddie Harris,Ted Curson, James Moody, Bobby Hutcherson, Teddy Edwards, Jack Dejohnette, Joe Lovano, Jimmy Garrison, Pharoah Sanders, Harold Land, John Scofield, Slam Stewart, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims ,Reggie Workman, Curtis Fuller, Rashied Ali, Mike Stern, Benny Powell, Chris Conners, Morgana King & Roseanna Vitro,David “Fathead” Newman, J.R. Montrose, Brew Moore,Sonny Greenwich, John Klemmer, and Azar Lawrence, just to name a few.

 

Windy Barnes multi-octaves voice moves effortlessly from Jazz to Pop, to R&B and Gospel. It’s easy to see why she’s one of the most sought after singer around the globe. Windy has been featured extensively on tour with the highest grossing balladeers in world, Julio Iglesias. She has traveled the world many times over with one of the most imitated,  respected and endearing singer/songwriter/musician of the 21st century, Stevie Wonder. She has also performed with  Michael Bolton.  It stands to reason why the unique vocal styling’s of Windy is recognized all over the world.

Despite his youthful appearance, Munyungo is no newcomer: in his over thirty years of playing, he has developed an awesome versatility & became a well-respected & much requested session, concert & tour player. He has performed with Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Kenny Loggins, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, the Zawinul Syndicate, George Howard, Ronnie Laws, The Temptations, Four Tops, The Supremes, Bennie Maupin, Bill Summers, Marcus Miller, & dozens of others, including numerous ethnic music & dance troupes. 

 

 

Trumpeter Brian Swartz  has appeared on multiple Grammy nominated and winning recordings with artists including The Dixie Chicks, John Beasley’s Monk’estra , and Kim Richmond’s Concert Jazz Orchestra. He has also performed or recorded with Michael Bublé, Saint Motel, Patti Labelle, Natalie Cole,  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Luckman Jazz Orchestra, Jose Rizo’s Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars and many more. 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY YARD BIRD! CHARLIE PARKER 1920~1955


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Parker was born on August 29, 1920, in Kansas City, Kansas. From 1935 to 1939, he played the Missouri nightclub scene with local jazz and blues bands. In 1945 he led his own group while performing with Dizzy Gillespie on the side. 

 

 

 

 

 

CHARLES OWENS QUINTET! LIVE AT THE MERC!


The Charles Owens Quintet Live at The “MERC! “~ Temecula California.

In a recent concert in Temecula, California at the famous “Merc” performance venue, veteran Jazz artist and saxophonist, Charles Owens appeared with his Quintet.

Owens, a Los Angeles based musician performed two very stellar sets for a jazz hungry audience. Being familiar with that music space,  I was able to get there early before the first set to grab a quick chat with the quite humble saxophonist. He shared with me many anecdotes and road stories along with who played a major role in influencing his play,style and approach. “As far as influences, Charlie Yardbird Parker and Wardell Gray for sax. The Modern Jazz Quartet and Art Blakey Jazz messengers in how I approach the music as a player or bandleader.” said a relaxed Owens. “But, I enjoy leading my own bands,however, I really loved my experiences playing with two iconic big bands. Duke Ellington’s Orchestra under the direction of his son, Mercer Ellington and the great Count Basie band.”  

This particular evening’s affair was very special to him as he’s performing with some old friends and solid jazz musicians. On the bandstand with Charlie were bassist, Henry Franklin,friends for over 40 years, Pianist Theo Saunders,whom he met in L.A. in 1977, veteran drummer Don Littleton, over 30 year relationship and his old bandmate from the Basie band, trumpeter Scotty Barnhardt, current Director of the Count Basie Orchestra.  

The SRO crowd were treated to a plethora of popular compositions, all performed with Charles Owens unique touch. First set opened with a Owens original entitled Wild Fire , a fiery piece with a great melodic line and solid enriched harmonies. Charlie and Scotty took some blistering solos, especially Barnhardt who weaved webs of delightful, above the line flurries of notes on his custom built trumpet. That was followed up by a lovely version of the perennial fave, Embraceable You. Barnhardt offered great artistry and sublime technique on this classic ballad. The Quintet quickly moved on the moment by playing a Sonny Rollins tune, Airegin (Nigeria spelled backwards) In my opinion, Scotty conjured up memories of icon, Woody Shaw as he peppered a white-hot solo. That song’s conclusion morphed into Ellington’s Take the A-Train! which ended the first set.

Highlights of the second set included equally great compositions by legends like Freddie Hubbard, Billy Strayhorn,Dizzy Gillespie with a surprise finale of the rarely heard cut, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. This was quite the treat for me and the audience as Barnhardt reached into his magic bag of techniques and growled at the audience with his “Plunger” mute and choked notes..

Charlie Owens reputation as one of the most gifted and versatile musician in Los Angeles since 1972. Part of the attention had  to do with his craftsmanship with drummer Buddy Rich Big Band and latin great, Mongo Santamaria. In addition he added stints with English Blues King , John Mayall . Owens told me he was whisked-away from Mayall by music iconoclast, Frank Zappa.  Whether he’s asked to appear in a Oscar-winning film LA LA Land or staying fresh and current by working with young musicians on various bandstands, or teaching a weekly class at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music. “During the break of the second set, he told me the reason he chose Frank Zappa. “I found Frank’s music more challenging than Mayall’s,.. I could have easily made more dough, but the challenge was calling me, as Zappa’s music was unique and quite eclectic.

Charles Owens was born in Phoenix, Arizona, grew up in San Diego California. One of his closest friends growing up was ,the late saxophonist Arthur Blythe or AKA, Black Arthur.”

Throughout the course of the evening’s performances I witnessed what most people always conclude, this is a very passionate player and humble almost to a fault. at one point in the second set, Owens and Barnhardt engaged in old-fashioned BeBop playing, to a song by Dizzy entitled the same, BeBop. the tune showcases long arpeggios and multi-note phrasing on top of mercurial-chord changes, played at break-neck speed by the entire band. At times, the rhythm unit of Franklin, Littleton and Saunders were like a giant bellows machine, stoking the coals to unheard of Fahrenheit-levels to the soloists.

Today’s young players can learn a lot from Uncle Charlie Owens. Even saxophone sensation, Kamasi Washington took a class or two at UCLA with Charles while eventually tweaking his already big sound and approach on his horn.  Whether you experience Charles Owens in a Big Band setting or a small combo, one thing for sure is, You will never forget that moment in time.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/P3q81hJckFjAop648

JAZZTRACKS SERIES BY EDDIE CARTER ~ STANLEY TURRENTINE


 

 

 

 

Stanley Turrentine with the Three Sounds – Blue Hour

Music Matters Jazz

In the hands of Stanley Turrentine, the tenor saxophone was an instrument of soulful creativity and immense power.  From his 1960 Blue Note debut, Look Out (BLP 4039/BST 84039) through his biggest hit for CTI Records, Sugar (CTI 6005) in 1971, Turrentine’s credentials were second to none as a giant in the genres of Hard-Bop, Modal and Soul-Jazz.  The subject of this discussion places the tenor man in the company of Gene Harris on piano; Andrew Simpkins on bass and Bill Dowdy on drums who were collectively known as The Three Sounds for a program of the Blues.  Blue Hour (BLP 4057/BST 84057), originally released in 1961 is the second of only two records where The Three Sounds would back a saxophonist.  The first LP was 1959’s LD + 3 (BLP 4012/BST 84012) with alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson.  My copy used in this report is the 2015 Music Matters 33 1/3 Stereo reissue (MMBST-84057).  The 1930 song, I Want a Little Girl written by Murray Mencher and Billy Moll leads off the first side.  This infrequently heard ballad opens with an angelic introduction by the trio, exhibiting Harris’ attentiveness to the lyric and melody.  Stanley joins in for the theme with a quiet sincerity in his approach, then delivers a graceful performance which captures the essence of this standard on the initial solo.  Harris’ interlude is brief, but lovely and the closing by the quartet is especially beautiful.

Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You was written in 1929 by Don Redman and Andy Razaf.  The song became a jazz standard in 1943 after Nat King Cole recorded it with his trio.  The Three Sounds provide a nostalgic mood with a pensive introduction, allowing Stanley to deliver the melancholy melody with feeling.  Turrentine starts the solos tastefully, enhancing each verse with subtle lyricism which reaches a peak of sensitivity at its conclusion.  Harris instills the closing presentation of this standard with new life on an interpretation of intimate warmth which is a work of beauty.  The only original on the album ends the first side, Gene Harris’ Blue Riff takes the tempo to a medium beat during the opening chorus which moves with a finger-popping, toe-tapping groove.  The Sounds’ introduction sets the mood for Stanley to create some jubilant phrases on the opening statement with a vivacious spontaneity which builds to a successful summation.  Gene takes the next turn for a cheerful presentation of joyful swinging with a youthful spirit which is also delightful.  Stanley returns for a few final verses of soulful riffs, prior to Gene leading the trio into a fadeout.

The 1945 jazz and pop standard, Since I Fell For You by Buddy Johnson opens the second side.  Johnson wrote both the music and words of this very beautiful ballad, and first introduced that year it with his sister Ella on vocals.  This evergreen is one of the most recorded songs in jazz and pop and has been performed by many of the greatest musicians and vocalists in both genres.  The Three Sounds start the song with a stylishly soft, slow-paced introduction as natural as if the song was written for this album exclusively.  The trio segues into a soothing opening melody by Turrentine who solos twice, delivering tasteful and tranquil restraint on the first interpretation and closing chorus.  Harris contributes a luscious reading which is lovingly stated with tenderness.  Simpkins and Dowdy’s accompaniment is richly satisfying behind Gene as he performs each voluptuous verse.  One of my favorite standards, Willow Weep For Me, written by Ann Ronell in 1932 opens with the exquisitely mellow tone of Stanley’s tenor sax leading the quartet through the main theme for one of his definitive ballad performances on the LP.  Gene’s opening statement is a gorgeous, mid-tempo reading which compliments his colleague’s exceptional groundwork into an alluring culmination.  Stanley’s closing performance starts at a poignant pace with a firm introspective tone, followed by a graceful swing which takes the tune down smoothly into a luscious finale.

Pianist Gene Harris, who was known for his gospel jazz style formed The Three Sounds in 1956 with Andy Simpkins and Bill Dowdy.  The group became a hit with the public and by the time Blue Hour was recorded, the trio was amid a four-year run (1958-1962) recording a total of twelve albums for Blue Note including four in 1960 alone, which is why I believe Alfred Lion didn’t release the additional eight songs available on the 2000 two CD – album after this record hit the stores.  The Three Sounds’ would be together until 1970, when Harris would leave to embark on a successful solo career.  Stanley Turrentine was a veteran tenor saxophonist of the Soul-Jazz style since the fifties and he would record a total of seventeen LP’s for the label as a leader, plus several as a sideman including guitarist Kenny Burrell on Midnight Blue (BLP 4123/BST 84123); pianist Horace Parlan (1931-2017) on Spur of The Moment (BLP 4074/BST 84074).  Three with organist Shirley Scott (1934-2002) who he was married to at the time, Never Let Me Go (BLP 4129/BST 84129); A Chip Off The Old Block (BLP 4150/BST 84150) and Common Touch (BST 84135).  One with pianist Horace Silver (1928-2014), Serenade To a Soul Sister (BLP 4277/BST 84277) and three with organist Jimmy Smith (1928-2005), Midnight Special (BLP 4078/BST 84078); Back at The Chicken Shack (BLP 4117/BST 84117) and Prayer Meetin’ (BLP 4164/BST 84164).

In his liner notes, noted author, jazz historian and journalist Ira Gitler offers one definition of the Blue Hour as that early morning time “when you reach across the pillow where your Baby used to lay” and find to find him (or her) there.  The sound on this LP is stunning, the remastering of Rudy Van Gelder’s original tapes by Record Technology Incorporated is also superb and the gatefold photos of each musician during the session compliments the music marvelously.  What I’ve found the album to be is nearly thirty-eight minutes of blissful jazz by Stanley Turrentine and The Three Sounds that adds weight to any jazzy library and is an LP you can enjoy at any time of the day, the evening or the early morning during the Blue Hour.

I Want a Little Girl, Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You, Since I Fell For You, Willow Weep For Me – Source: Wikipedia.com

Pianist Gene Harris – Source: www.musicmattersjazz.com 

Continue to follow our Jazztracks series here at Hipster Sanctuary.com-  be sure to invite a friend to subscribe to us & its FREE!!