Pure Pleasure Archive

Harold Vick – Don’t Look Back – Strata East/PurePleasure 

Harold Vick – Don’t Look Back – Strata East/PurePleasure 

Continuing the Strata East tradition… Harold Vick – Don’t Look Back – Strata East/PurePleasure SES-7431 – audiophile 180 gm vinyl – 1974 – ****: (Harold Vick – tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet, soprano sax; Virgil Jones – trumpet and flugelhorn; George Davis – alto flute, guitar; Kiane Zawadi – euphonium; Joe Bonner – piano, Fender Rhodes, tuba, percussion; Sam Jones – bass; Billy Hart – drums, percussion; Jimmy Hops – percussion) Strata East was a black musician owned jazz label started by Charles Tolliver and Stanley Cowell in the 1970s. The label produced over fifty albums during this period. A unifying factor to most all of their issues was an assertive, spiritual, post bop modal African influence. There was a lot of percussion used, and the musicians were deeply involved with interplay, as opposed to comping behind the soloist. Standards were minimized, and the session leaders both composed and arranged their own material. Multi instrumentalist, Harold Vick, recorded for the label in 1974, after having been with Blue Note, Muse, and RCA. His first album from 1963, Steppin’ Out, was a classic Blue Note hard bop release and featured an all star line-up with Blue Mitchell, Grant Green, John Patton, […]

Norman Connors – Love From The Sun – Buddah Records 

Norman Connors – Love From The Sun – Buddah Records 

This vinyl upgrade of a 1973 under appreciate jazz album is wonderful! Norman Connors – Love From The Sun – Buddah Records BDS5142 (1973)/ Pure Pleasure Records PPAN BDS5142 180-gram stereo vinyl, 40:49 ****: Philadelphia drummer Norman Connors became aware of jazz at a very early age, elementary school. As a middle schooler he got to sit in for Elvin Jones with none other than John Coltrane. After studying music at Temple University and Julliard, Connors first recorded with Archie Shepp in 1967 (Magic Of JuJu). he played with Pharaoh Sanders for a few years and eventually signed with Cobblestone Records (a division of Buddha Records) in 1972. His traditional jazz roots became influenced by rhythm and blues during the 1970’s and beyond. In 1973, Connors released Love From The Sun on Buddha Records. The album served as a bridge between old school jazz and the emerging fusion movement. Featuring Herbie Hancock (with several of the musicians in his Mwandishi ensemble) and a pre-stardom Dee Dee Bridgewater, Connors established himself as a unique musician and arranger. Pure Pleasure Records has released an audiophile vinyl re-mastering of Love From The Sun. Somewhat overlooked in 1973, it seems appropriate to re-examine this […]

McRae – The Great American Songbook – Atlantic (1972)/ Pure Pleasure (2017) – double vinyl

McRae – The Great American Songbook – Atlantic (1972)/ Pure Pleasure (2017) – double vinyl

McRae – The Great American Songbook – Atlantic SD 2-904 (1972)/Pure Pleasure (2017) stereo double vinyl, 71:17 ****: Jazz chanteuse delivers a versatile set on a vinyl re-mastering of a 1972 concert. (Carmen McRae – vocals, piano; Joe Pass – guitar; Jimmy Rowles – piano; Chuck Domanico – doublebass; Chuck Flores – drums) Pure Pleasure Records has released a remastered 180-gram vinyl of Carmen McRae – The Great American Songbook. The album (Atlantic 1972) was recorded live at Dante’s restaurant/cafe/jazz club in Los Angeles over four nights. As described, McRae and a top-notch ensemble (Joe Pass/guitar; Chuck Domanico/double bass; Jimmy Rowles/piano; Chuck Flores/drums) deliver artistic jazz interpretations of diverse musical standards. After some glib band introductions, Domanico lays down a vampy double bass line to open Duke Ellington’s immortal “Satin Doll”. McRae joins in a duet for two verses with saucy phrasing. The band finishes as Pass executes a trademark fluid solo. Switching to finger-snapping medium swing, McRae loosens up on Cole Porter’s “At Long Last Love”. It is short and sweet (just under two-and-a-half minutes). McRae just gets better with each number. Her maturity and vibrato shine on the languid “If The Moon Turns Green”. She adapts to up […]

Leo Wright, sax – Blues Shout – Atlantic SD 1358 (1960)/ Pure Pleasure – vinyl

Leo Wright, sax – Blues Shout – Atlantic SD 1358 (1960)/ Pure Pleasure – vinyl

Leo Wright, sax – Blues Shout – Atlantic SD 1358 (1960)/ Pure Pleasure PPAN SD1358 (2017) stereo vinyl, 40:33 *****: Leo Wright’s auspicious debut is captured with a compelling vinyl re-mastering. (Leo Wright – alto saxophone, flute, arrangements; Harry Lookofsky – violin; Junior Nance – piano; Art Davis – doublebass; Charlie Persip – drums; Richard Williams – trumpet; Gigi Gryce – arrangements) Many jazz greats emerged from their days with Dizzy Gillespie. Charlie Parker, John Lewis, Milt Jackson, Percy Heath, Kenny Clarke, James Moody, Quincy Jones  and Les Spann all participated in various combos with Gillespie. In 1959 a young Texan named Leo Wright took over for Spain. In the Army, Wright had developed an assortment of musical skills, playing jazz, big band and was part of the symphony. He became proficient on alto saxophone, clarinet and flute. While attending San Francisco State, he got to sit in with Dizzy. After several recordings as a sideman, he was signed to Atlantic Records as a frontman. Here, Wright would develop as an arranger, composer and instrumentalist. Wright’s brilliant Atlantic debut, Blues Shout has been re-mastered to 180-gram vinyl by Pure Pleasure Records. And this analog upgrade is worth it. Both sides […]

Benson – In Flight – Warner Brothers

Benson – In Flight – Warner Brothers

Benson – In Flight – Warner Brothers 0798 (1977)/Pure Pleasure (2017) stereo vinyl, 37:56 ****: Jazz guitarist’s foray into pop sounds great on re-mastered vinyl. (George Benson – guitar, vocals; Phil Upchurch – rhythm guitar; Ronnie Foster – electric piano, Mini-Moog; Jorge Dalto – clavinet, acoustic piano; Stanley Banks – bass; Harvey Mason – drums; Ralph MacDonald – percussion; Claus Ogerman – orchestra arrangements/conductor) As the rock era waned in the seventies, many other genres were waiting in the wings. Funk, punk, reggae and heavy metal emerged with an unexpected return to elaborate studio production. A lot of the inspiration for this came from the renewed interest in dance, especially the disco phenomenon. Artists gleefully jumped on the bandwagon, including jazz artists like George Benson. Benson came to prominence as a twenty-one year old guitarist with Jack McDuff. He eventually fronted his own band and recorded for CTI. But when he signed with Warner Brothers, he released the Grammy-winning album, Breezin’ , that including the hit crossover single, “Masquerade”. Now the veteran guitarist was a bona fide popular singer. This transition defined his future career path.  Pure Pleasure Records has re-mastered Benson’s 1977 release In Flight to 180-gram vinyl. The […]

The Wonderful World of Jazz – John Lewis – mono Atlantic 1375 (1961)/ Pure Pleasure

The Wonderful World of Jazz – John Lewis – mono Atlantic 1375 (1961)/ Pure Pleasure

A fine John Lewis vinyl with Eric Dolphy, Gunther Schuller and Jim Hall! The Wonderful World of Jazz – John Lewis [TrackList follows] – mono Atlantic 1375 (1961)/ Pure Pleasure Records *****: This wonderful jazz mono vinyl has been reissued numerous times now (including Japanese pressings), but perhaps this version bests them all – though I haven’t heard all of them. With the original artwork on the front of the Atlantic release (including the photo of Lewis by Tom Dowd) and the complete notes by Ralph J. Gleason, plus the great sonics, this is a winner. Nesuhi Ertegun supervised the album. The 1960 personnel change around for the five tracks here on the two sides of the vinyl. It includes, besides Lewis on piano, Paul Gonsalves and Benny Golson on tenor sax, Jim Hall on guitar, Connie Kay on drums and Herb Pomeroy on trumpet. Lewis was for a time the director of the Monterey Jazz Festival, and he has a much more complex musical personality than just the pianist of the Modern Jazz Quartet. This album includes two of his original tunes: “Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West” and “Afternoon in Paris.” Their beauty is brought out more than […]

Aretha Franklin – Yeah!!! – Columbia LP /Pure Pleasure vinyl

Aretha Franklin – Yeah!!! – Columbia LP /Pure Pleasure vinyl

Aretha Franklin – Yeah!!! – Columbia CS 9151 (1965)/Pure Pleasure vinyl (2016) PPAN CS9151, 35:23 ****: This vinyl re-master captures the early career of an iconic artist! (Aretha Franklin – vocals, piano; Teddy Harris – piano; Kenny Burrell – guitar; James “Beans Richardson – doublebass; Hindell Butts – drums) She was known as The Queen Of Soul. But that moniker does not begin to assess the musical force that is Aretha Franklin. As a young girl, she became a gospel recording star with a traditional, limited audience. That changed when she was signed to Columbia Records by none other than John Hammond. The label attempted to find a way to market Franklin. Her versatility was unusual. The mezzo-soprano was comfortable singing rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, pop and soul. The Queen never hit her stride at Columbia. However, at Atlantic Records, she became the greatest singer of all time, winning 18 Grammys. Aretha was the first woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. A lot of the Columbia sessions are becoming available once again. Pure Pleasure Records has released a 180-gram vinyl reissue of Aretha Franklin – Yeah!!!. This album reflects the label’s attempt to showcase Aretha […]

Best of the Year Discs for 2016

Best of the Year Discs for 2016

      Best of the Year Discs for 2016 = The 12 Multichannel Hi-Res Discs of the Month for 2016  CLASSICAL (incl. HI-RES), CLASSICAL REISSUES, CLASSICAL VINYL & PURE AUDIO BLU-RAY KATI AGÓCS: The Debrecen Passion – BMOP Sound 1046 American First Piano Sonatas – Licad, p. – Danacord * ”For the Beauty of the Earth” – Celebrating Creation – Works of WIDOR, VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS and others – Gabriel V Brass Ensemble/Sharon Rose Pfeiffer, pipe organ/ percussion ens. – Arte/ Paraclete SACD GDCD 061 * BEETHOVEN: The Nine Symphonies (1963); Rehearsal of the Ninth Sym. – Berlin PO./ Herbert von Karajan – DGG Pure Audio Blu-ray stereo 00289 479 5977 Maya Beiser, “Transclassical” – Innova 952 Jussi Bjoerling in Copenhagen – JSP Records LUCIANO BERIO: Sinfonia & GUSTAV MAHLER: Ten Early Songs – HMC 902180 BRAHMS AND HINDEMITH Viola Sonatas Reisenberg/Doktor – Romeo Records * COUPERIN: Trois Lecons de Tenebres; SEBASTIEN DE BROSSARD: Trio Sonatas in c and a; Stabat Mater – La Nuova Musica/ David Bates – Harmonia mundi SACD HMU 807659 * Chick Corea (piano) & Bela Fleck (banjo) – Two – Concord Jazz CIA-37992-2 (2 CDs) * CORIGLIANO: The Ghosts of Versailles (complete opera) – Soloists/ LA   […]

Sidney Bechet – The Grand Master of the Soprano Saxophone – Columbia mono/ Pure Pleasure – vinyl

Sidney Bechet – The Grand Master of the Soprano Saxophone – Columbia mono/ Pure Pleasure – vinyl

Mono but a fantastic album from the master of the soprano sax, Sidney Bechet. Sidney Bechet – The Grand Master of the Soprano Saxophone – Columbia CL836 mono/ Pure Pleasure Records (11/16) – vinyl *****: (Bechet, soprano sax/ Leonard Ware guitar/ Henry Turner, doublebass/ Zutty Singleton, drums/Dave Bowman, piano/ Ernie Caceres, baritpne sax) There’s a lot of Sidney Bechet out there besides the sides he did for RCA Victor and Blue Note which have been reissued frequently. This vinyl from Columbia combines three separate sessions he made between 1938 and 1947. His strong vibrato on the soprano sax is in full audition thruout this wonderful album. Six of the tracks come from a 1947 quartet with Lloyd Phillips on piano and bassist Pops Foster. Another 1947 session heard here has a sextet led by Bechet’s star pupil, Bob Wilber, along with pianist Dick Wellstood – who would grow to be a major stride interpreter. On “Kansas City Man Blues” Wilber on clarinet switches with Bechet on soprano sax. Never mind that these are just mono – the sonics and playing are terrific! TrackList: A1 Love For Sale Written-By – Cole Porter A2 I Had It, But It’s All Gone Now […]

Yusef Lateef – The Doctor Is In…And Out – Atlantic (1976)/ Pure Pleasure – vinyl

Yusef Lateef – The Doctor Is In…And Out – Atlantic (1976)/ Pure Pleasure – vinyl

One of the best Lateef sessions. Yusef Lateef – The Doctor Is In…And Out – Atlantic SD 1685/ Pure Pleasure remastered vinyl (UK) [7/15/16] ****:  This 1976 original release was one of the best Lateef sessions by the jazz experimenter with many different styles, moods, instruments and vibes. On this session he plays both alto and tenor saxes, oboe, flute and bamboo flute. Other of the 13 contributing sidemen include Kenny Barron on keyboards and sometimes Ron Carter on bass. Background vocals on a few of the eight tracks are by Cissy Houston and Judy Clay. The one track I think I will skip on the next playing is the five-minute-long “Technological Homosapien” because it has a long narration by Robert Cunningham and I prefer straight instrumental jazz. There is a section of straight instrumental improvisation in the middle, but not enough to interest me. The second track on Side A, “Hellbound,” is most interesting with its percussion ostinato – used on several of the tracks. The main solos feature two reed instruments, but I was unable to define them.  The third track is mostly instrumental, but towards the end has some vocals in a foreign language – perhaps Spanish. […]