Jazz Dispensary – Haunted High – Craft Recordings

by | Dec 1, 2022 | Jazz CD Reviews, SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

This is another fine Jazz Dispensary anthology, just in time for Record Store Day 2022.

Jazz Dispensary – Haunted High – Craft Recordings CR00578 limited edition pink-splattered vinyl Record Store Day Release [11-25-2022], ****1/2: 

(Featuring the music of Cannonball Adderley; Mongo Santamaria; Barbara Lewis; Woody Herman; Cal Tjader; McCoy Tyner; Gene Ammons and Flora Purim)

The latest compilation from Jazz Dispensary, Haunted High will be available on Record Store Day 2022. This eye-popping pink-splattered vinyl features a variety of  artists delving into the physical and metaphysical cosmos. It is a collection of previously released material. Of course, the groove train is rolling down the track. Side A opens with jazz legend Cannonball Adderley and his quartet. With a customary hard-driving funk rhythm, “Phases” utilizes electric piano (Hal Galper), clavinet (George Duke), a thick bass, and drums to establish a relentless groove. Adderley (saxophone) and his brother Nat (cornet) lay down some rhythmic solos while Duke creates the spacey aesthetics. Big band leader Woody Herman puts together an interesting cover of Chick Corea’s Latin-infused “La Fiesta”  that adopts forceful exotic motifs in a rollicking style. The sonic attack includes three saxophones, flugelhorn, trombone and flute to frame the music. An electric piano solo (Andy Laverne) and heart-pounding bass (Wayne Darling) set the tone. Additionally, Herman is fluid on soprano saxophone. In a decidedly change of tempo, pianist McCoy Tyner creates a Middle Eastern/African musical landscape with the hypnotic “Desert Cry”. His cascading flourishes are countered by soprano saxophone (Azar Lawrence) in a dream-like swirling arrangement. Vocalist Flora Purim brings her ethereal fusion vision to “Silver Sword”. Carlos Santana’s crisp guitar is piercing and magnetic. The rhythm team of Airto (drums) and King Errisson (congas) keep the jam tight. Purim’s unique lilting vocalese and Miroslav Vitous’ airy synthesizer accents expand the aesthetics. 

The “m\ind travel” continues on Side 2 with Mongo Santamaria. “Los Indios” With typical assured funk generated by percussionist Santamaria, the inimitable Bernard Purdie and bassist Rosco Mackey, there is a soulful backdrop. A trumpet duo (Ray Maldonado, Victor Paz) punctuate the musical expression and Fender Rhodes (Armen Donelian) gives the number a very jazzy resonance. There are chord-changes with horn counterpoints. Cal Tjader unfurls multiple themes on “Mindoro”. He shines on vibraphone and Robertinho Silva unleashes fury on drums and percussion. Settling things down, Gene Ammons (tenor saxophone) evokes late night blues on “Strange Fruit”. This was a celebrated Billie Holiday recording. Ammons manages to capture the longing and sexual tension with his evocative vibrato-laced runs. His trio includes Ron Carter (double bass) and the feathery touch of Hank Jones (electric piano). A finale of “Windmills Of Your Mind” (The Thomas Crown Affair) showcases vocalist Barbara Lewis. There is a groove-oriented approach to the instrumentals. Lewis’ saucy vocals are phrased with jazzy sensibility. She fits in with the players.

The partnership of Craft Recordings and Jazz Dispensary has produced several accessible and thematic compilations. Haunted High is another successful release. The dazzling pink-splattered vinyl will thrill vinyl enthusiasts. The surreal album design (Leslie Saucer) is also compelling. 

Side A:
La Fiesta;
Desert Cry;
Silver Sword

Side B:
Los Indios;
Strange Fruit;
Windmills Of Your Mind

—Robbie Gerson

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Album Cover for Jazz Dispensary - Haunted High

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