Archive for the 33 rpm Category

Marshall Allen / Kash Killion: “Two Stars In The Universe”

Posted in 33 rpm, Free Jazz, jazz, Marshall Allen, Sun Ra with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by crownpropeller

As vaguely announced at the end of this post, my friend Hubi and me along with sound engineer Dario went to Poschiavo in summer 2012 to see the Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Maestro Marshall Allen and make a recording of  Allen to be released on a limited edition vinyl LP.

Crown Propeller’s blog announces that this record, “Two Stars in The Universe”, featuring duets by Marshall Allen with masterful cellist, bolon/bolong and sarangi player Kash Killion, will now be released as Little Rocket Records LP001 on May 22nd!

So what does it sound like? Have a glimpse at our little  promotion video to get an idea:

Note though, that the sound on all video clips in this blog post is directly from the camera’s microphone. The LP sounds much better. A short mp3 excerpt from the original master can be had on request.

cover-goldLittle Rocket LP 001 will be released on May 22nd, 2014

So how did this come to happen? My friend Hubi  and me are long time devotees of that cosmic being called Sun Ra. And we both developed a deep love for the idiosyncratic sound of  alto saxophonist and now Arkestra leader Marshall Allen.

So when in spring of 2012 we heard that the Arkestra will be accompanying two theatrical productions during three days at the Uncool Festival  in Poschiavo (at the the south-eastern end of Switzerland), we had the idea to record Allen playing solo, since we wanted  to capture his sound pure and unaccompanied. Since we both are also what you would call vinyl junkies it was decided there and then that we will be trying to release a limited edition vinyl LP and found a little record company that will exist until the copies are sold out.

allen:killion_black_gold

Marshall Allen and Kash Killion in Poschiavo, June 21, 2012

We decided to try to reach Marshall via Cornelia Müller who runs the Uncool Festival. Finally a week before the Poschiavo event,  Marshall let us know through Cornelia that he was ready and willing. Cornelia promised to get a room organized for thursday, June 21. So Hubi, me and our engineer Dario on wednesday made the six hour car ride to see the Arkestra’s evening show and record Marshall the next day.

road

On the way to Poschiavo in the beautiful Poschiavo valley

I had become sick a day right before our trip and had a bad fever when we arrived in Poschiavo and were told by Cornelia that it was hard to organize a room and that maybe we should ask around the small village for a room to record in on the next morning. I thought: ok, this is the end of our little adventure, as I could not imagine knocking at unsuspecting people’s doors and asking them if we could maybe record some free jazz in there barn or their living room. Nonetheless I managed to enjoy the three hour Arkestra gig that evening. Marshall – at that time 88 years old – was blowing, directing the band, singing, dancing all evening through without ever sitting down for a minute – clearly music is his fuel. Excerpts from that concert can be found here.

marshall_on_stageMarshall Allen fronting the Arkestra in Poschiavo, June 20, 2012.

marshall_on_stage_2Marshall Allen on stage in Poschiavo, June 20, 2012.

I had a sleepless, fevery night and on the next morning Dario, our italian speaking and good looking sound engineer, talked a hotel maid into letting us use the Hotel’s diner room. But then on our way to breakfast we met Cornelia again who told us that she managed to get a room anyway and Marshall would be ready to meet us at 12 o’ clock.

 

spazioLo Spazio in Poschiavo

The room turned out to be Cornelia’s living room in her house and artists’ space “Lo Spazio”. The room had very beautiful acoustics – so we were happy. But then Marshall appeared and told us he really was not in the mood for playing solo since he needs (an)other person(s) to react to: “I am a band musician”. So this again sounded like the end of it – but we had the  idea to ask Marshall if there is someone in the band he’d like to record in a duo context with. Marshall said that yes, he’d like to record with Kash Killion who is playing cello with the Arkestra on and off since 1991. This sounded very promising to us, so we gathered some more cash together to be able to pay Kash something as well.

dario_allen

Sound engineer “Il Nuovo Presidente” Dario and Marshall Allen

We phoned Kash who was ready to come over from his hotel at once and brought along his cello, a Sarangi – the queen of indian instruments because it is so close to the human voice (Killion has studied  the instrument with the great indian master Ali Akbar Khan) – as well as a Bolong (also spelled Bolon) – a harp from west africa that also functions as a percussive instrument when you hit the neck and the gourd.

setting_upSetting up: Dario, Marshall Allen and Kash Killion in Poschiavo, June 21, 2012.

Marshall and Kash played beautiful improvised music for two and a half hours without ever talking about what to play next and visibly having fun all the while. We just sat there in awe not daring to interfere or make any suggestions like true producers are supposed to do (or are they?).

sessionOff we go: Marshall Allen and Kash Killion at the Little Rocket Records
recording session, Poschiavo, June 21, 2012.

Here’s a little view into the recording session, Marshall Allen on flute and Kash Killion on Sarangi playing an improvisation they later titled “India Reflections”:

happyIt’s done: Marshall Allen, Armin Büttner, Hubi Horst and Kash Killion,
Poschiavo, June 21, 2012.

¨allenkilliondarioAfter the session: Marshall Allen, Dario and Kash Killion

 Apart from choosing the tracks for release we did not do any editing or massive post production. We just choose complete tracks as Dario recorded all of this so perfectly – standing in a half bowed, body devastating position in front of the musicians all this time, a little digital recorder in his hands.

“Two Stars in The Universe” as the LP was titled by Marshall and Kash is a beautiful, surprisingly quiet and moody but also very joyful record of many colors. Besides alto saxophone and flute Marshall also plays one of those old small Casio keyboards. I always think he is channeling messages from Sun Ra with it. If you listen to his Casio playing on “Cosmic Blues-Life Of Two”: Hearing the rattling sound of it’s keys struck by Marshall, you’ll notice that he uses the same fluttering up and down hand movements  that he uses when producing the freaky alto sounds he is known for. Here is an excerpt from “Cosmo Blues-Life of Two”:

 

I had to be back at the office the next day, so we had to return. But after I told my girlfriend about the experience, she went down to Poschiavo for the last Arkestra show a day later. After the – again very long concert – Marshall and Kash Killion sat down stage front after most people had already left and played kora and bolon for a while. You can see again that they really enjoy playing together:


(Video courtesy of The Sun Ra Arkestra)

All 250 copies of the 180 gram vinyl  LP  “Two Stars In The Universe” have handprinted (silk-screened) covers. Some are printed in gold on black, some in silver, blue, or white, we think it came out very nice. Here is a little clip from the silk-screening process. Music for this video is an excerpt from an unreleased track, recorded with a photo camera after session for the LP had already ended.

silk_screenBeautifully designed (thanks, M.!!!) and freshly silk-screened

Unfortunately this did not make the thing cheap. This beauty will cost 35 Dollars (postage – which is high – not included). This will hopefully allow us to get back our expenses if nothing more.

The record will be officially released at the Arkestra concert in Zurich on May 22nd, Sun Ra’s 100th Arrival-on-Earth-Jubilee. Since there is no real distribution, the way to go is contact me directly if one wants to obtain a copy. Please use the comment section of this post to get in contact.

Enjoy!

Johnnie Pate at the Blue Note overdub

Posted in 33 rpm, jazz, Johnny (Johnnie) Pate with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2012 by crownpropeller

Some of the early LPs of bassist and arranger Johnny Pate are quite rare because they appeared on small or tiny labels from Chicago (or in one case Evanston, Illinois) that did not last long. So some years ago I was quite happy to acquire a rather beaten up copy of “Johnnie Pate at the Blue Note” on the Stepheny label – so I was able to fill in the details into my discography of Johnny Pate’s early works as a leader.

Up to now, Stepheny MF4005 which was released in 1958 was supposed to be a straight reissue of Salem LP2, an LP probably recorded in 1956 but released only in 1957 on Salem. And in all standard discographies the personnel is given as : Johnnie Pate (b, ldr); Wilbur Wynne (g); Floyd Morris (p); Johnny Whited (dr). Since I really do love that LP (a lot of my friends say it’s too soft, I’d call it subtle), I was always hoping to acquire a better copy with enjoyable sound. So when the original Salem pressing turned up a few weeks ago on ebay, I managed to buy it for less than I had thought. Much to my surprise I found that the Stepheny LP is not quite a straight reissue of the Salem LP. Continue reading

Beautiful Django Reinhardt LP

Posted in 33 rpm, Django Reinhardt with tags , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by crownpropeller

As already mentioned I love those french 10 inch records from the fifties on the Vogue and Swing labels. Now two weeks ago I discovered this beauty in a local record store:

Swing M 33.330 was released sometime in the early fifties. Although I already have all the music on this LP (on a CD as well as on really badly stereofied LP on the Period label), i could not resist the beautiful design so I had to buy it. I wonder if Charles Delaunay designed this one? The owner of the Swing label was the son of artists, and some of the covers of Vogue and Swing 10 inch LPs were designed by him.

So here’s some some music to go with the art, taken directly from the above copy of M 33.330: “September Song” (yes, I know it’s May right now). And please excuse the rough start!


According to Tom Lord’s Jazz Discography, this was recorded at a”Surprise-Partie” at the Studio Montparnasse of the Radio Diffusion Francais in Paris, France, on November 8 or 13, 1947 with the following people involved:

Gerard Leveque (cl), Eugene Vees (g), Django Reinhardt (g) Emmanuel Soudieux (b) Andre Jourdan (d).

Enjoy!

An Earl Hines record from Agadir

Posted in 33 rpm, Earl Hines, jazz with tags , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by crownpropeller

When ever I enter a record shop the first thing I do, is to look if they might have any 10 inch LPs on the french labels Vogue and Swing. I simply love their charming design, especially if the covers were drawn by french artist Pierre Merlin. As a rule, the more “traditional” the music is on a given Vogue or Swing 10 inch LP (i.e. Sidney Bechet – obviously a good seller – or Willie “The Lion” Smith), the cheaper it will be. The more “modern”, the more you have to pay (like for Clifford Brown or James Moody).  A good overlook of Vogue record’s repertoire can be found here: http://jazzcollector.com/jazz-vinyl/a-comprehensive-guide-to-french-vogue/. And a nice collection of Pierre Merlin covers can be found here: https://picasaweb.google.com/pmeziatster/PochettesPierreMerlin.

Now two weeks ago on my monthly trip to the local record stores I happened to find this beauty – which was really just a little too expensive for my budget.

Nonetheless I decided to pull the record from it’s sleeve to check its condition when I saw this seal on the label of  Side 1 – my decision was made:

Continue reading

Milt Buckner News!

Posted in 33 rpm, jazz, Milt Buckner with tags , , , , , , , on June 18, 2011 by crownpropeller

I have added some information to all three parts of my Milt Buckner discography. There are some new photos, some old photos in better copies than before, as well as information about some previously known and some previously unknown recordings from broadcasts as well as from records or notes in Milt Buckner’s diaries. For example, there is this entry:

which led to this LP (details are in the discography):

I have also added an unreleased 1947 session for Don Gabor’s Continental Records, featuring a Lionel Hampton small group with Arnett Cobb and others, but without Hampton.

Does anyone have an idea who might have the masters for these Continental tracks– if any do still exist?

I have also made discographical – and photographical – additions to part 2 and part 3. So it’s worth having a look there. I have noted the last changes on top of each part.

Milt Buckner Acetate: “Hamp’ s Boogie”

Posted in 33 rpm, acetates, Milt Buckner with tags , , , , , , , on January 24, 2011 by crownpropeller

I made a little movie to the music of Milt Buckner playing “Hamp’s Boogie” at an unknown date. The music comes from a mysterious bunch of acetates from the Otto Flückiger collection.

Continue reading

Big Bob Dougherty

Posted in 33 rpm, documents, R'n'B with tags , , , , , on January 22, 2011 by crownpropeller

Big Bob Dougherty on Golden CrestThe sleeve of the above LP (Golden Crest LP CRSP 1000) carries what was supposed to be the only known photograph of Leavenworth KS R’n’B saxophonist Big Bob Dougherty, who was active in Leavenworth and Kansas City in the fifties and early sixties. Not much was known about Big Bob’s career after he had a small hit with “Big Bob’s Boogie” on Decca in 1952.

Last autumn though I went down to the Otto Flückiger archives where i found a file containing several letters from Otto to Big Bob and vice versa and some gorgeous photographs. This and some old newspaper clippings allowed me to write the “Big Bob Dougherty Story”. Unfortunately I cannot tell much more now, since I have to wait until Big Bob’s story will be published in “Blues & Rhythm” magazine sometime in summer 2011. Sometime after that, I will put the whole story up on the web. But to give you a little taste, here’s Big Bob playing and singing “Hot Foot” in 1959 or 1960, a track also featured on the above LP.

Hot Foot

Bill Harris (guitar) – the discography

Posted in 33 rpm with tags , , , , on January 7, 2011 by crownpropeller

Bill Harris: Rhythm

I finally reveived the last Bill Harris Lp I had missed up to now: “Rhythm” from 1973. The terribly underrated masterful Bill Harris (1925–1988) recorded the first jazz guitar solo-album ever on an acoustic (spanish) guitar  in 1956 while being a member of the R’n’B band The Clovers. During his career Harris released only a handful of records, first for Mercury, later for Jazz Guitar – his own label – and for the french imprint Black & Blue (“Down in the Alley” and “Rhythm”).  I have put up an illustrated discography of Harris’ work on the jazzdocumentation site which is opened by a nice little movie about Harris that I found on Youtube.

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