Friday, May 29, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - May 27/09

Taking a break from the latest and greatest releases, I'd like to go back 25 years to the late great Sweet Basil in NYC. This was the recording locale of Urban Blues by Leroy Jenkins' (no affiliation with World Of Warcraft!) funky, crowd-seeking Sting.

I figure I brought it with me because of a conversation I had with Torontonian culture maven El Machetero last week about the decline and fall of soul jazz clubs. I'm not talking about the many DJs who still play it, but situations like the one which produced this Lonnie Smith album - where an inner-city bar which catered to many generations of patrons required its bands to know jazz standards, blues dirges, new R & B joints and pop songs to entertain a crowd. The Trane Studio in Toronto comes closest to that vibe... Yonge St. used to be full of such places.

This superb appreciation of Jenkins' album on Bagatellen describes how 'of its time' it is, and that Jenkins was trying to reach into that bag to draw an African American crowd to his edgy music. He wasn't alone - in my early days of jazz appreciation, I remember seeing guys like Jean Paul Bourelly and even James Blood Ulmer to an extent doing similar things - melding avant and popular forms for broad appeal. But the mix of this album, Alonzo Gardner's popping bass style and Brandon Ross' guitar treatments situate this recording firmly in the 80s - and not the kind of arpeggiated-synth, TR-808/909/303 kinda 80s that have been so revived so thoroughly that I wish that page would turn again. I don't know if this sound is ever coming back; I don't know if the social conditions that produced it are coming back. But after that Wicked Witch reissue earlier this year, maybe anything is possible...

One thing is for sure, multi-generational music events are almost always a good time and we're heading into the right season to celebrate en famille, however you define your family.


tubarao de bacia - buguinha dub (les cristaux liquides)
rothaus - lindstrom & prins thomas (eskimo)
love in harar - invisible system & yeteleye fikir (harper diabate)
sarama - vieux farka toure (six degrees)
field trip - shuta hasunuma (western vinyl)
keet - icarus rmx by badun (rump)
the return of chickchi - loop 2.4.3. (music starts from silence)
l'ecole penetencier - torngat (alien 8)
sahara - justin adams & juldeh camara (real world)
leo - respect sextet (avant)
lapis blue - nostalgia 77 feat. keith & julie tippet (tru thoughts)
looking for the blues - leroy jenkins sting (black saint)
play fool get wise - johnnie clarke (justice)
dub is the time - namo jama (ja-maker)
strictly rockers - big youth (geggie)
jah is the maker - jah woosh (original)
dread lion - kenny knotts/hydroponics (hydroponics)
look to the east - bush chemists (conscious sounds)
jah disciple - daweh congo (sip a cup)
seal 2 - meditative sounds (meditative sounds)

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