Currently reading 'No Beethoven' by drummer Peter Erskine which I will review later. But with Peter in mind I started to search YouTube and catched a video of him with Palle Danielsson and Rita Marcotulli (see below). The tune is 'Something I said' and was (first?) recorded on the Steps Ahead album 'Magnetic' back in 1985-86.

Steps Ahead was an all-star fusion band who had gained some popularity by then (I think especially in Europe). Originally started as an almost acoustic venture, they got more and more into synths. Some of the compositions are loaded with them, overloaded at times it seems. Even Mike Mainieri's vibes got midified over the years. Still there are a lot of highlights on this album. 'Trains' became a live hit during concerts and there's a retake of Ellington's 'In a sentimental mood' which features Michael Brecker on Steiner Ewi, a MIDI wind instrument.

The more acoustic version of Steps Ahead comes near the end of the album with the laidback and aforementioned 'Something I said' written by Erskine.

Elektra Records

A side:

  1. Trains
  2. Beirut
  3. Cajun
  4. In a sentimental mood

B side:

  1. Magnetic love
  2. Sumo
  3. All the tea in China
  4. Something I said
  5. Reprise (Magnetic love)

Steps Ahead Magnetic

This is a fascinating piece of art. Harold Budd and Eraldo Bernocchi's collaboration on Music for fragments from the inside is captured inside the atmosphere of Palazzo Delle Papesse, Siena, Italy before a live audience. Bernocchi lays down soundscapes, samples and rhythms over which Budd can improvise and move freely. I had't been exposed to the work of Harold Budd before but his piano style and timbre are quiet unique. Ambient comes to mind Budd doesn't agree to the fact of being related to the genre.

Recorded in 2003.

Sub Rosa SRV239

A side:

  1. Fragment 1
  2. Fragment 2

B side:

  1. Fragment 3
  2. Fragment 4

C side:

  1. Fragment 5
  2. Fragment 6

D side:

  1. Fragment 7
Harold Budd/Eraldo Bernocchi

Must have been 25 years ago when I stumbled upon this box in a record shop. It was heavily overpriced back then but I always wanted a copy. So I recently discovered one for sale on Discogs. This is the European version containing two compact discs: 5"CD album and 3"EP. The Japanese contained 3 discs if I am right.

The 5"CD album contains compositions from the Sakamoto catalogue arranged for orchestra, performed here by Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Of course there's material from The Last Emperor and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. The color all together is trademark Sakamoto, his signature is present throughout all tunes ranging from romantic to dark, sometimes with heavy Japanese percussion accents. The 3"EP is also orchestral but rather experimental in sound and feel.

Beautiful designed by Shinro Ohtake the package is a true beauty, holding the discs, a short playlist and a poem/tribute from Sakamoto. When one shakes the box there's a rattling noise. I once read that these are little stones originating from Mount Fuji, however there's no proof of that.

Sakamoto plays Sakamoto Box Set
Sakamoto plays Sakamoto Box Set
Sakamoto plays Sakamoto Box Set
Sakamoto plays Sakamoto Box Set
Sakamoto plays Sakamoto Box Set

Dick Hyman is one of those, may I say so, old school jazz players who can fit any situation. A man who knows his standards but is not afraid to stretch out either. I would imagine him accompanying a jazz vocalist or playing the classic jazz quartet.

But he has also a love for the Moog and moves back and forth between acoustic piano and synth in this clip. All together leaving us with a short but moodsetting (moogsetting?) improvisation.

Perfect for both the end of the day or just to get relaxed at the beginning of a new one. No hurry, the work can wait just a little bit longer.

This album covers very early Monk recordings from the mid to late Forties. Already there is significant proof of the groundbreaking role Monk would play in jazz development. Included are Monk classics as Round About Midnight, Ruby My Dear, I Mean You, Misterioso and Welll You Needn't. There is also a second volume but this one is a nice starter for Monk beginners. He is accompanied by Art Blakey, Milt Jackson, Gene Ramey, Sahib Shibab and others.

Thelonious Monk was a true genius of modern music and Blue Note makes us witness of that.

Blue Note 1510

A side:

  1. Round about midnight
  2. Off minor
  3. Ruby my dear
  4. I mean you
  5. April in Paris
  6. In walked Bud

B side:

  1. Thelonious
  2. Epistrophy
  3. Misterioso
  4. Well you needn't
  5. Introspection
  6. Humph
Thelonious Monk Genius of Modern Music vol 1 Blue Note 1510 front
Thelonious Monk Genius of Modern Music vol 1 Blue Note 1510 back

At the time of release this record may have come as a shock to most Arthur Blythe fans. Blythe was an (alto) saxophone player mainly associated with contemporary jazzmen as Chico Freeman, Jack DeJohnette and Art Ensemble of Chicago trumpeter Lester Bowie.

On this album however the music is composed/produced by Bruce Purse and Todd Cochran. The duo weaving an electronic carpet of keyboards, computer drums and synth bass on which Blythe can take a ride. Some people may consider this smooth jazz but the music is to intensive for that.

Fusion icons and stellar bass players Stanley Clarke and Alphonso Johnson join in, as do drummers Ndugu Chancelor, Gerry Brown and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa.  Closing piece is "Sentimental Walk" by Vladimir Cosma originally composed for the French movie "Diva". A very enjoyable album to my ears, all together showing the extraordinary sax playing of Blythe, no matter the setting.

Released in 1985 on CBS Records.

A side:

  1. Tumalumah
  2. Put sunshine in it
  3. Uptown strut

B side:

  1. Silhouette
  2. #5
  3. Sentimental walk (theme from "Diva")
Arthur Blythe - Put Sunshine In It - front cover
Arthur Blythe - Put Sunshine In It - back cover