Archive for piano

Randy Weston / Tommy Flanagan in Bern 1991

Posted in clips, jazz, Randy Weston, Tommy Flanagan with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by crownpropeller

Bildschirmfoto 2014-11-02 um 14.19.45Randy Weston in Bern, 1991

Of course the jazz world always knew what it had and has in composer and pianist Randy Weston. Many of his compositions have become standards. Weston’s deep undesrstanding of african music led him to an unique way of connecting african rhythms to modern US hard bop that has proved very influential.

In 1989 Weston became quite popular also amongst the non-afficianodos, when Verve took him under contract and released a series of CDs that were welcomed by the non-specialist press. As if Weston hadn’t been making fine music all the time.

Anyway his relative popularity at the beginning of the nineties led to Weston being invited onto the european festival circus. In the vast archives of Otto Flückiger I found some 18.30 minutes of Randy Weston’s African Spirits with Weston (p), Alex Blake (b), Idris Muhammad (dr) and Eric Asante (perc) filmed at the Jazzfestival Bern in 1991.

There is a second clip from that day featuring a duet of Weston and piano master Tommy Flanagan who apparently was also appearing at the festival in another cotext. Beware though that the first two minutes of this video are quite embarassing. Why would they do this to artists? Neither Flangan nor Weston seems to be very happy about what seems to have been the festival’s organiser’s idea. They both make the impression of having been pushed into this. But then there is the beauty of the musing emerging from the hands of these two greats:


Piano Lessons: Hines, Monk, Taylor

Posted in Cecil Taylor, clips, Earl Hines, jazz, Thelonious Monk with tags , , , , , , on November 17, 2012 by crownpropeller

As I keep on digitizing all of Otto Flückiger’s old VHS cassettes, I recently found some rare clips, which show some of my favourite piano players. I can really add nothing relevant to what has already been written about these masters. So let’s turn to the lessons they have to teach us right away.

First up is Earl Hines, captured in concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 2nd 1974  (parts of this concert were released on LP and CD as “West Side  Story”).

Clip  number two gives you nearly twenty minutes of the Thelonious Monk Quartet in Bussum, Netherlands on April 15 1961.Thelonious Monk,Charlie Rouse, John Ore and Frankie Dunlop are playing “Nutty”, “Bemsha Swing”, “Crepuscule With Nellie” and “I Mean You”. Parts of this video have been on (and still are) on youtube. But that is only a part of everything that was broadcast and it is vary faded and greenish. This version is reddish instead – but much clearer. Unfortunately there are two longer gaps in this video, I accidentally left them in. Also Monk is starting to play “Epistrophy” before “Crepuscule …” This footage is missing on the VHS cassette I have here.

The third and final clip was filmed on the same day and in the same location as the Hines track, Montreux July 2 1974 that is. Parts of  this concert by piano master Cecil Taylor were released on te LP and Cd under the title “Silent Tongues”. I can not tell you if the music from the LP is in this clip, since I do not have it at hand.


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

Matthew Shipp / Sabir Mateen, Zurich 2012

Posted in clips, Matthew Shipp with tags , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by crownpropeller

Althouh this blog is subtitled “Jump, Jazz, Jive, Vintage R’n’B”, from time to time what you get to see and hear here is some classic Free Jazz. After all this the music that I started out with when I became a jazz fanatic – working my way back in time (from Albert Ayler to Coleman Hawkins, from Sun Ra to Duke, Basie, Lunceford).

Now two weeks ago at the Taktlos Festival which is dedicated to improvised music they had pianist Matthew Shipp again (he was at the Taktlos in 1998). This time he was playing in a duo situation with clarinetist/saxophonist Sabir Mateen. I am offering you a fifteen minute excerpt here. The stupid split screen effect comes from a column in the room. What was I thinking when I placed myself there? A reviewer from one of the local newspapers called this “classic boring free jazz”. Well, classic, yes. Boring? Not for me, I enjoyed it very much. But decide for yourself:


Milt Buckner Acetate: Flying Home

Posted in acetates, jazz, Lionel Hampton, Milt Buckner with tags , , , , , , on March 11, 2012 by crownpropeller

Here is another track from the mysterious set of KAKE acetates featuring a 1953 Lionel Hampton concert as well as some solo piano tracks by Milt Buckner. Here you get Milt playing Lionel Hampton’s classic “Flyin’ Home” in a wonderfully agitated solo piano version. If anyone does know anything set about these mysterious acetates, do not hesitate and tell me!


Elmer Gill on 45rpm

Posted in 45 rpm, Elmer Gill, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2012 by crownpropeller

In the ususal discographical sources there are only very few entries for Canadian pianist and vibist Elmer Gill who used to play with Lionel Hampton for a while in the early fifties, in the period after Milt Buckner had left Hampton’s band. The listings of records under Gill’s name usually start with The Three Sides Of Elmer Gill, the rare LP Gill recorded with bassist David Friesen and drummer Al Johnson around 1968 in Vancouver for Canadian label Aragon (the third side of Elmer Gill is his singing).

Elmer Gill, 1995 probably
in Otto Flückiger’s garden

I met Elmer Gill when I portrayed him for the no longer existing swiss cultural magazine Stehplatz, that must have happened around 1997. Someday I will look up in the attic if I can find a copy to present it here.
I also witnessed Gill at some place in Switzerland, where he was playing with his son, drummer Donald Gill, and a bass player I cannot recall.
My friend Otto had befriended Elmer Gill who was splitting his life between Vancouver and a place in Switzerland, that I seem to have forgotten. Otto gathered a lot of material about Elmer Gill which I am going to present here sooner or later.
Meanwhile, while going through the 45 rpm records in the archives, I discovered two 45rpm records by the Elmer Gill Trio that were recorded much earlier than Gill’s earliest discographical entries– at least one of them. I present them here for your listening pleasure. Please excuse the slight hum, my amplifier is being revised, and it’s replacement – well it hums! The first record is an EP on Chet Noland’s Celestial label, based in Seattle.
Continue reading

Matthew Shipp Trio in Basel 1998

Posted in clips, jazz, Matthew Shipp with tags , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2011 by crownpropeller

Correction (12/22/2011): The date of this concert has been established as march 26th (Thanks, Hubi!).

Since 1984 the Taktlos Festival has been presenting “improvised and contemporary music” in several swiss cities, mostly offering formations from the european impro-music scene.  And from time to time they have groups in the program that could be defined as representatives of the Great Black Music continuum. One of the most impressive performances that I saw in this regard was the apperance of the Matthew Shipp Trio  featuring William Parker and Susie Ibarra in March 1998, a performance that kept me sitting on the edge of my chair. Luckily my friend Otto as always had a camera with him …

Continue reading

John Young Trio: You Go To My Head

Posted in 45 rpm, clips, jazz, John Young with tags , , , , , , , on December 11, 2011 by crownpropeller

I finally found the time to update my discography of Chicago pianist John Young. I added some sessions that I found in Tom Lords Jazz Discography as well as some scans of records and CDs I managed to acquire after the last update. Like for example the LP that trumpeter Bobby Bryant recorded for Vee Jay in 1961 (though it was only issued at some time in the 1970s):

or the Joe Venuti LP from 1976 (released in 1978) for Flying Fish:

or Eddie Johnson’s Nessa Lp which also has John Young on it:

And finally I have put up a video of my red wax copy of Chance 1144, featuring John Young’s interpretation of “You Go To My Head”:

Continue reading

Willie “The Lion” Smith (and Bill Coleman)

Posted in documents, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2011 by crownpropeller

While looking into some boxes in the Otto Flückiger collection that I had not opened before, i stumbled over a very nice program for a concert by Willie “The Lion” Smith, in Zürich, Switzerland, 1949. Let’s start with page 1:

(click to enlarge)

The concert took place on December 15, 1949 at the smaller of the two halls of Zurichs Tonhalle building. Now on page two we get to know the other musicians as well as their previous occupations: Continue reading

Another early Johnnie Pate 45

Posted in 45 rpm, jazz, Johnny (Johnnie) Pate with tags , , , , , , , on June 12, 2011 by crownpropeller

Dan Kochakian was so nice as to send me a scan of one side of a DJ copy of Johnnie Pate’s Gig 300 (Things Ain’t What They Used To Be b/w Will You Still Be Mine ) which was taken from Johnnie’s Subtle Sounds LP, (Gig GLP-100). Thanks, Dan!

from the collection of Dan Kochakian

I have added this scan to my discography of Johnnie Pate’s early works (Pate started to write his name “Johnny” instead of “Johnnie” at sometime in the early sixties). From the Delta numbers in the wax of Dan Kochakian’s copy (17356 / 17357) we know that this 45 rpm was pressed at the Monarch pressing plant in august or in september 1957.

Not much is known about the Gig label. It could well be that some of its 45s only ever saw the light as DJ copys. This might for example also be the case for Gig 375 by the Billy Wallace Trio, a 45rpm with two tracks from Wallace’s very rare LP B.W. (Gig GLP-100):

from the collection of Armin Büttner

Delta numbers in the wax of this beauty (17360/17361) again point to a pressing date in august or in september 1957 – possibly on the same day.

For those of you who like some very nice (and very rare) piano trio music from the Chicago of the fifties i have put up sound files of the Johnnie Pate track as well as the Billy Wallace track:

Johnnie Pate: Things Ain’t What They Used To Be (taken from Gig LP-100)

Billy Wallace Trio: Good Bait (Of course this was not composed by Count Basie but by Tadd Dameron!)