Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Ray Charles-Arbee Stidham-Lil Son Jackson-James Wayne


Ray Charles-Arbee Stidham-Lil Son Jackson-James Wayne

256+ VBR mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from MRL 310

Junco Partner

Shad made good use of his Sittin' In With catalogue both in the original Mainstream run and in the MRL series and this offering bears witness to two major aspects of Shad's career: his knack for "discovering" (or being one of the first to record) what would become well-known artists with an illustrious career and his questionable business practices regarding artists and ownership of their material.

Ray Charles needs no introduction and this compilation features some of the earliest recordings of his material, captured shortly after his return to the South from Seattle and ostensibly while he was a member of Lowell Fulsom's ensemble. These predate the Atlantic sessions that saw him start his meteoric rise and are much more on the "Blues" than the "Rhythm &" tip since the gospel inflection had yet to be injected into his work at this point. All of Charles' songs here, save for the instrumental "Back Home," also appeared on a 1960 compilation of Sittin' In With material called Riot In Blues released by Shad on his TIME imprint.

Original review in Billboard June 12, 1971

This record also features some of the first recordings by James Wayne, who was discovered by Shad in 1951 when his first session was taped in Houston. His second set recorded in Atlanta shortly after yielded five tracks and among them were the two on offer here. Shad first listed his name on the original 78s as "James Waynes" but later on he would also record under the moniker "Wee Willie" Wayne. It is with Wayne's version of the traditional Louisiana standard "Junco Partner" that the more questionable aspects of Shad's business practices become apparent.

"Wee Willie" - not the most advantageous nickname

Although the song was already a standard at the time, the songwriting credit is Shad's. Due to the vagaries of recording and publishing contracts, a savvy businessman could jot down the melody, make some minor changes to the lyrics and voila: a song firmly in the public domain was now the property of a record label owner. Another better-known example of that practice was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" originally written and performed by South African artist Solomon Linda.

On the other hand, many artists who were unaware of the rules regarding royalties were basically fleeced into selling their compositions (if not their performances) up-front for a pittance. In a 1973 interview for Jazz Journal magazine (available on the Blues Archaeology website), Candy Green alluded to Shad as one of the sharks that would try and secure a session for "a bottle of whiskey and a chick." That statement might help clarify exactly why some of the first Peppermint Harris recordings were infamously taped in a brothel!

There has been ample speculation on the history of the Junco Partner credit (it has its own Wikipedia entry and one discussion thread can be found here) but it's pretty telling of the industry's legal practices that, even though fully aware of the song's folk heritage, gris-gris mojo man Dr.John still attributes it to Shad on his releases. In fact, the liner notes to his classic Gumbo from 1972 go into detail on its pedigree:
The song was first made popular by James Wayne's hit on the "Sittin' In" (Bob Shad's) label. But it was a New Orleans classic; the anthem of the dopers, the whores, the pimps, the cons. It was a song they sang in Angola, the state prison fams and the rhythm was even known as the "jailbird beat". Dudes used to come back with all different verses. The hard-core dopers couldn't wait to hit the streets after their release so they could score again.
Such is the strength of a publishing contract that even though artists like Rebennack, Louis Jordan and Professor Longhair had an intimate knowledge of the song's source they were still required to give Bobby the nod knowing full well what the deal really was. While the credit for "Junco Partner" is under his own name, as mentioned in the previous Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee post, Shad also used the name "R. Ellen" or "Robert Ellen" and sometimes "Mack Ellen" or a combo thereof to register copyrights.

Jordan's Junco 78 with Shad-Ellen credit
c/o Boogie Woogie Flu

Some speculation has been made that Ellen was the name of Shad's wife but that was not her given name, which was Molly. However, her maiden name remains unknown and may indeed be Ellen so the theory can't be entirely discounted at this time. The wiki entry linked to above mentions Robert Ellen as a separate individual but no evidence is available to support this person's existence and Ellen also gets credit as arranger on some sessions where Shad was known to perform that duty. Regardless, the change in policy of using his own name was more than likely due to reducing taxes (as were most business decisions he made) and one way would be for Shad to give his wife the royalties for the music while he took the profits from the product, thus minimizing his personal taxable income.

1 Ray Charles - Why Did You Go
2 Ray Charles - Back Home
3 Ray Charles - I Found My Baby There
4 Ray Charles - Guitar Blues
5 James Wayne - Junco Partner
6 James Wayne - Please Baby Please
7 Arbee Stidham - I Want To Rock
8 Arbee Stidham - Feeling Blue & Low
9 Arbee Stidham - I'm In The Mood
10 Lil Son Jackson - Roberta
11 Lil Son Jackson - She's Gone

There's a riot in blues goin' on at Soundological HERE or HERE.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee with Peppermint Harris - Going Down Slow

Going Down Slow
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from MRL 407

Key To The Highway

Shad pulls out some old chestnuts
from his Sittin' In catalogue by premier bluesmen Sonny & Terry and slaps on some Peppermint Harris (whom he discovered) to round things out. No surprises here, just some juke-joint country blues from some of the best in the business. Most S&T fans more than likely have these versions on one of the many repackages of their Sittin' In material but for those unfamiliar with the duo it's a pretty good intro and features one of my favourite versions of "Key To The Highway." Mind you, that's a subjective assessment and not a judgment on the definitive version so Charlie Segar and Bill Broonzy fans don't need to get all defensive.

Speaking of which, you'll note Shad shadily cops the publishing rights to these tunes, likely bought from the artists for next-to-nothing. All songs are credited to "R. Ellen" which is a pseudonym Bobby used when trying to assert publishing rights, sometimes without consent of the performer. Considering both Broonzy and Segar versions of "Key" are traced back to at least 7 years prior, this is one of the best examples of the questionable practices label owners (not just Shad) pulled with Blues, R&B and Jazz artists over the years. More on that subject tomorrow...

Sonny Terry - Harmonica, Vocals
Brownie McGhee - Guitar, Vocals
Bob Gaddy - Piano, Vocals
Bobby Harris - Bass, Vocals
George Wood - Drums
Peppermint Harris - Vocals (10 & 11)

1 Key To The Highway
2 Goin' Down Slow
3 Pawn Shop Blues
4 Bulldog Blues
5 Bicycle Boogie
6 Ease My Worried Mind
7 I Believe
8 C.C.Rider - Where Did She Go
10 Lord Have Mercy
11 Sweet Happy Home

Recorded by Bob Shad 7/31/52 except 10 & 11 recorded 11/2/50

Soundological goes down on you slowly HERE or HERE.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Frank Turba - Frank Turba

Frank Turba
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from MRL 411


Frank Turba was an active participant in the heady German music scene during the 70s, mostly as a songwriter of pop songs. He has quite a few credits in the first half of the decade and a few of the earlier ones were collaborative efforts that included Giorgio Moroder prior to his breakthrough in global popularity with his pioneering take on electro-disco.

Turba also had a short-lived project at the start of the 80s called F.O.X.
on German disco label Teldec but around the same time he made a major impact singing the German version of the theme song to cartoon kingpins Rankin & Bass's The Last Unicorn. There are actually numerous YouTube videos dedicated to covering his take on the track but skip over the video below to spare yourself the pain of listening to 14-year old girls using crappy computer mics to squeek them out over slideshow pastiches of pink and purple unicorn paintings. The masochists among you need only press play to satiate your need for sonic self-flagellation.

WARNING: Not for the faint of heart

Since then he's better known for translating and dubbing English movies, video games and TV series into his native language (including one of my favourite shows The Wire). In fact, he's literally created a legacy in the niche since his children, David and Magdalena, are busy voice actors in their own right and highly sought-after in the German dubbing scene. By all appearances, Turba still keeps a finger in the musical-performer pie though and plays keys with what appears to be a popular cabaret cover band called Past Perfect.

In some places, this album is listed as "Krautrock" but that's a serious misnomer. Besides being rock performed by Germans, there is little connection to what most folks would actually consider part of the genre. In fact, the closest it comes to that classification is via the players Turba assembled for his sole album under his own name.

Foremost are duo Jackie & Frank Diez, who both lent their voices to one of Krautrock's masterpieces, the sophomore album by one of my favourite bands in the genre, Agitation Free's 2nd. Diez also played guitar with Emergency on both Entrance and No Compromise, and backed Frumpy's Ingrid Rumpf on a couple of her Atlantis records as well as stints with Armageddon, Karthago and Ihre Kinder. Frank's a genuine German guitar god and according to his website he played a large role in bringing the Blues and its heavy rock derivative to the country, kind of like a teutonic Jeff Beck or Eric Clapton.

For further fine fretwork from Frank

Another significant name associated with this project is Gary Unwin. Originally from the UK,
he was in the freakbeat combo The HiFis with legendary library music bigwig Brian Bennett and moved to Germany at the end of the 60s to cash in on his "British Invasion" rep. No matter where he would have emigrated, in those days that was good for quite a bit of mileage in the session business and he spent a few years as a hired hand, often uncredited. During this time he played on some Krautrock classics including Ralf Nowy's Lucifer's Dream with Diez and Niagara's S.U.B., the former being put out the same year as Turba's album.

Soon after this release, another of Unwin's projects, Silver Convention, blew up worldwide with their hit "Fly, Robin, Fly" and for a decade after he enjoyed a solid career in disco and funk as a writer and producer but he's perhaps better known as bassist on Munich Machine hits for the likes of Claudja Barry, Boney M, Dee D Jackson, Sister Sledge and Donna Summer.
Info on Martin Harrison is scarce but he appears to have worked closely with Unwin as a rhythm section and he appears on many of the same albums made in Europe. Both seem to have pretty much dropped out of the spotlight by the mid-80s.

Gary Unwin: From Herpetology to Handcuffs

As for the music itself, it's a hodge-podge of mostly pop and rock styles with little-to-no thematic congruity. Rambling from one end of the spectrum to another and back again, Turba takes a stab at a multiplicity of musical milieus, running through lighthearted Sgt. Pepper-ish pych ("Funny Song"), mediocre reggae ("Telephone Love"), raunchy riff rock ("Blue Jeans"), pale Elton John piano man imitations ("Alice Brown"), Brill-building blue-eyed soul ("Manhattan") and beer hall sing-song ("Bini") with varying degrees of success. The MPD nature of the album culminates on the schizophrenic "Tempest Storm" which shifts gears from reverb-laden 50s R&B to crunchin' southern-fried boogie à la Johnny Winters and then back again without any warning whatsoever.

The closest the album comes to an actual kosmische sound is Diez's
arpeggiated fretwork on opener "Stony Silence" and his criminally short acid-burned solo midway through "Duett." In fact, with a memorable melody, excellent musicianship and some soaring moments, that track pretty much encapsulates the potential the album has. It also highlights how Turba's obvious populist leanings detracted from what could have been a hell of an album. The deft touch of Deitz and the tight rhythm section are definite highlights throughout and enough to recommend this effort to pop and rock fans who might find a song or two very much to their liking.

Doing this record in English was a strategic misstep and the language factor goes a long way to giving the listener an impression of amateurism, albeit unfairly so. Had it been recorded in his native German, he may have had more success with its particular sensibilities but there's just too much disparity for consumption by a
post-Altamont North America's increasingly tribalized rock audience compounded by a total lack of the hipsterism required to make it in London.

Lack of Hipsterism Exhibit A: Turba today on keys w/ Past Perfect

Not sure how Shad got his hands on this one but being published by Brent it's clearly not licensed material. Either recorded specifically for Shad in Germany or done on spec and then shopped around to US labels afterwards, this attempt at breaking into the Anglo market falls short of the mark in many ways. However, if you can get past some of the lamer lyrics and are comfortable walking the fine line between eccentric eclecticism and chemical imbalance then you may enjoy this collection better than most so if you see it in the bins for a fin or less, you might want to grab it.

Frank Turba - Keyboards, Vocals, Arrangements
Frank Diez - Guitars
Gary Unwin - Bass
Martin Harrison - Drums
Jackie Diez - Vocals

1 Stony Silence
2 Bini
3 Telephone Love
4 Funny Song
5 Duett
6 Blue Jeans
7 Alice Brown
8 Manhattan
9 Tempest Storm
10 End Song

Turba charge your music collection with Soundological HERE or HERE.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Various Artists - The Guitar Players

The Guitar Players
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from MRL 410

Ernie Wilkins & His Orchestra - Thank You

Shad gets pretty desperate for product placement on this one, even more so than with some of the other compilations released at the tail-end of Mainstream's run. This one's culled haphazardly from previously available material (whereas Jazz and Booty featured session out-takes) with little regard to a genre-centred theme (whereas Yesterday=Bop, Get It Together=Funk & Soul, Billie Holiday Revisited=Billie Holiday). Running the
gamut from blues to bossa to bop with bits of funk and rock for good measure, there's a distinct lack of continuity in the programming. Not only that, he's fudged some of the artists' names, giving performance credit to whomever the guitar player was on the track in hopes that their current fortunes would inculcate success at the cashier's counter.

Ernie Wilkins' cover of Sly Stone's "Thank You (Fallettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" from Hard Mother Blues is credited entirely to David Spinozza (and spelled incorrectly to boot), who was only one of four guitarists for that session. However, Spinozza had grown in stature since this set, appearing on a multitude of classic albums and was dating Yoko Ono at the time while her and John Lennon were separated. In other words, besides being a hot property in the studio and on many charting albums, his newsworthy name was also popping up in gossip rags.

In much the same spirit David T. Walker and Arthur Wright, two indisputable dominators of the six-string domain, are named as the artists for Afrique's "Dueling Guitars" from the monster funk album Soul Makossa. At least there's some truth-in-advertising on this one and a close call for Shad to make: go with the names of the highly-respected session strummers or with the faceless studio creation who provided the label with a Top 40 R&B album the year before. Since Walker, who was highly prolific at this point in his career, remains a legend and Afrique was eventually forgotten by all but the most fanatic funksters, he probably made the proper strategic decision in this case.

Shad also wears his disdain for Paul Jeffrey's debut set on his sleeve as discussed previously in the post for Watershed. However, it's hard to wag the finger too vigorously in his direction for using Jack Wilkin's name since his fiery performance on the album is not only a show-stealer, it was also the impetus for Shad to extend a recording offer to the young guitarist.

More sensibly, Shad credited Ted Nugent for the cover of Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go" from his band's self-titled debut album The Amboy Dukes. While the Dukes were largely an outdated garage band clinging to past glories by this time, the Nooge's antics and knuckle-dragging guitar style was gathering steam and the Motor City Madman had yet to release his first album sans The Dukes. Another fine example of Shad's savvy marketing skills and crafty cash-in tactics.

Save for dropping Sonny Terry's name from the famous blues duo, t
he rest of the tracks are properly credited. In fact, Jim Raney is once again given the nod for "Move It," which originally appeared on his lovely album Two Jims and Zoot during Mainstream's first run in the 60s but was reissued under Zoot Sims' name as Otra Vez in the MRL series.

Ultimately, Shad simply slapped together an album with minimal musical cohesion to maintain maximum marketing impact. This doesn't preclude quality entirely and the Jay Berliner tracks - in addition to those of Afrique, Paul Jeffrey, Jim Raney and Ernie Wilkins - are highly recommended if you haven't already heard them on their respective releases. While actually a very good representative of the myriad flavours to be found in the MRL catalogue, it's much more likely to please all of the people some of the time than some of the people all of the time.

1 Afrique - Dueling Guitars [David T. Walker & Arthur Wright]
2 Amboy Dukes - Baby Please Don't Go [Ted Nugent]
3 Jay Berliner - Papa Was A Rolling Stone
4 Lightning Hopkins - Lightning's Blues
5 Jay Berliner - Getting The Message
6 Ernie Wilkins & His Orchestra - Thank You [David Spinozza]
7 Paul Jeffrey - Minor Scene [Jack Wilkins]
8 Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Man Ain't Nothing But A Fool
9 Jim Raney - Move It

Get your gitbox fix from Soundological HERE or HERE.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Joe Scott - A Symphony of Our Time


A Symphony of Our Time
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from MRL 307

Movement 1 (excerpt)

This is the second of two albums Joe Scott put together for Bob Shad's newly revamped Mainstream imprint, Mainstream Red Lion. The first, Motion Pictures: The NOW Generation, was a pretty straight-forward orchestral take on the hits of the day with some dope guitar fuzz by Jay Berliner (who would release one of the funkier albums on MRL, Bananas Are Not Created Equal) and some fine electric piano/organ/old skool analogue synth sounds from the keys of session man Frank Owens (check out his sole solo LP over at never enough rhodes) accentuating the arrangements. Personally, I very much enjoyed the set as it was anchored by some boffo bass from a youngish Chuck Rainey and provided a much meatier take on the "hip hits orchestra" meme that pervaded the sonic landscape from the mid-60s to mid-70s.

The line up for A Symphony of Our Time stayed much the same, with minor differences in the horn & string sections, with Romeo Penque added on flute while swapping Owens for Dick Hyman and Rainey for Joseph Macho (he previously played with Owens in support of Bob Dylan and in the group The Restless Feelin's and he would also go on to contribute to one of my all-time fave albums, Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece). Although the personnel changes were slight, the compositions took on a whole new level of complexity as Scott used the pop material as a spingboard to a true symphonic arrangement, rather than simply arrange the songs to be played by an orchestra.

In the intensely informative liner notes replete with massive music-geekery, Scott explains in detail his process and the manner in which he conceptualised the songs as themes to be developed in a classical mode. A case could be made for this recording to be considered as Third Stream, although academics would likely cringe at the thought since the improvisational aspect is hard to discern, the focus is much more on the "rock" than the "jazz" and the compositions do teeter on the precipice of being fugal. I would conjecture that the very act of melding the different themes together into a single movement would avoid its fall into the latter, but I'd have a hard time arguing the case in classicist court.

There are some surprisingly sublime moments here where Scott's gambit pays unexpected dividends. However, at times he overreaches (not necessarily a bad thing in itself) or keeps the structure too rigidly poppy or classical and winds up a bit too predictable or slightly cliché. However, you've gotta give the man an A+ for effort at connecting people with music from the other side of the fence and trying to create something new and completely different in an idiom that was all too often rife with ivory tower elitism, artistic laziness or outright crass opportunism. Years later this kind of treatment would be adopted by struggling symphony orchestras to get bums in the seats or by pretentious prog-rockers searching out a certificate of authenticity for their oeuvre.

I would love to have been able to provide some biographical info on Mr. Scott since the slightly generic name shows up in different roles from the 40s to the 00s and I wanted to get the facts straight. Was he the Trumpet player & arranger who worked with who worked closely with Bobby Blue Bland since the 40s? Was he the singer for mid-60s art rock act Ford Theatre as some claim? Was he the arranger & conductor for a plethora of rock and C&W acts in the late 60s and early 70s? Was he the bass player who worked with Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers and Curtis Mayfield? Is he the guy who fronts a popular wedding band on these days? All of the above? AMG lists no less than 15 artists with the same name or variations thereof and speaking to the man himself would help nail it down.

I was hoping to do so before posting because the fine Mr. Bostrom, who hosts the other Scott album linked to in the first paragraph, sent me Joe's email over a week ago but I haven't heard back from the man yet. Unfortunately, time is of the essence since I'm aiming to post the last five remaining MRLs yet to appear in the blogosphere before the 12th of the month - Bobby Shad's 90th birthday! Rest assured that if Mr. Scott does reach out, I'll update the post with any info he feels like sharing with us...

1 Movement 1 (Sonata Allegro) - Introduction: House of the Rising Sun; Theme I: Ruby Tuesday; Theme II: A Day in the Life
2 Movement 2 (Andante) - White Room
3 Movement 3 (Moderato) - America
4 Movement 4 (Finale) - Theme I: Dandelion; Theme II: We Can Work It Out; Theme III: Yellow Submarine

Savour Scott's symphonic sonics courtesy of Soundological HERE or HERE.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Paul Jeffrey - Watershed


256+ VBR mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from MRL 390

Paul Henley Jeffrey is one of post-war jazz's brighter flames, a light who remains burning and is widely regarded as a prime participant in passing the torch to younger generations. Although
he's better known for his stint as professor of Jazz Studies at Rutgers starting in 1977 then as Artist in Residence and Director of the Jazz Program at Duke University for 20 years until 2003, according to his entry in Feather & Gitler's Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz he also taught at Columbia University, Jersey State College and the University of Hartford in addition to hosting a show devoted to jazz on NYC's WFUV radio station during the 70s. As you see, the man was serious about bringing youth into the fold for 50-odd years and is still at it, continuing to tour and record at the age of 76.

By all accounts, even before he'd graduated from the music program at Ithaca College in '58, he was already another young buck with a sax for an axe working the late 50s R&B circuit as sideman with acts like Big Maybelle, Illinois Jacquet and BB King until settling in NYC in 1961. This move ultimately led to him blowing on the bandstands of D
izzy and Basie by the end of the decade. Although originally pegged as somewhat of another Bird disciple, a friendship with another saxophone colossus, Sonny Rollins, would open him up to further developing his own sound and soon he would find himself in the thick of it with Thelonious Monk and blowing for our man Mingus through the better part of the 70s.
1968 Sonny Rollins CBC Documentary -- 1968 with Dizzy "Things to Come"

Double click vids for full screen

Paul Jeffrey with Thelonious Monk Quartet

According to Jack Wilkins, although released in 1973 and bearing a copyright notice for 1972, Watershed was actually recorded in 1971 while PJ was a participating member of Monk's band (he would be the last sax player to work in his Quartet before it folded around '74). This rings true, not just because Jack is a stand-up guy who - like his guitar - don't lie, but also because Monk Jr. was a member of his dad's group around this period and he hits the skins for PJ on this hard-driving traditional bop session.

Jack's smoking performance on the album (he almost steals the show) prompted Shad to invite him to record his own LP, Windows, so chances are this watershed moment in Wilkins' life is pretty much indelibly etched in his memory. As Jack says:

"If it wasn't for my dear friend Paul, I never would have recorded that album. I had recorded his record called "Watershed" from a year earlier. After that the producer, Bob Shad, asked me to record my own record."
Getting inked for your first album is not exactly a forgettable event in one's life and an instant that most folk would remember down to the most minute detail. It obviously impressed Wilkins and in times such as those the psyche soaks up a lot of detail that can be consciously recalled later on. Considering Bobby's notoriously naff notation of details, I'll take Jack's recollection to be the more accurate retelling of events.

Paul visits Jack during the recording of Windows.

The traditional nature of this session was probably the main reason Shad shelved it for a couple years, seeing as his mission statement for the label was to highlight the new electronic sounds and focus on the now! sound of the times. Always on the cutting-edge of technological advances and with his finger forever on the pulse of the public, his philosophy was summed up in the April 29, 1970 issue of Billboard thusly:
Shad feels many of the younger players came out of the acid rock mould and brought into their jazz playing electronic accessories like echoplexes and echo delays. Shad's newest move to expand his jazz coverage is to develop a combination sound built on jazz, rock and blues.
When you contrast that statement with the following quote from the man himself printed a few months earlier in the June 19, 1971 issue under the headline Mainstream Shifts to Improvisational LP's, it becomes clear Jeffrey's straight-ahead session was likely much less "hip" (read "fusion") than Shad had bargained for:
"As an analogy, the word jazz is an old term. When people hear that word, nine times out of 10 they cringe. It almost connotes death. Personally, I would like to find a new term to use. A term that fits the time as well as the music."
Well, there's no dodging the term on this album. It's Jazz with a capital "J" followed by a squiggly exclamation mark with little jazzhands coming out the sides. That should come as no surprise since Jeffrey was a serious student, and soon to be professor, of jazz. His deep understanding of the form paired with sensibilities that were both intense (yet not brooding) and buoyant (but not bouncy) had already provided challenging compositions on his premiere release while his knack for writing open charts and keeping them tight had garnered him a degree of respect in musician circles.

Compound his challenging sound with its very nature as a traditional throwback played in a mainly acoustic setting and it's fairly easy to see why this piece would linger in Shad's library until MRL was sputtering its last breaths and he was desperately raiding his catalogue for "new" product to put on the shelves. As a result, the first of the three sessions PJ led for Mainstream was the second to be released, sandwiched between Family and Paul Jeffrey. The fact shameless hustler and savvy promoter Shad rarely mentioned or advertised Jeffrey's albums in print to the extent he did other members of his roster is partly responsible for their obscurity, and for him this one seemed an afterthought.

Ironically, a few years earlier PJ had recorded an album for Savoy (one of Shad's old stomping grounds as an A&R man) called Electrifying Sounds of The Paul Jeffrey Quintet, that was somewhat kinda more aligned to the Mainstream mission. On that debut, besides posing for what could well be the best ironic indie-hipster disco-synth-punk album cover ever, PJ does an Eddie Harris and runs his horn through a Gibson Maestro "not for amp, but for widening pitch range and producing an octave unison line on the single instrument" as the liner notes explain.

Speaking of liner notes, Bob Porter's essay for this release is pretty much spot-on, so rather than needlessly extend this post by reinventing his wheel with a play-by-play, click on the gatefold image at the top of the post or read it at your leisure once you've downloaded the file. This one will definitely please fans of Dizzy, Parker and bebop in general, and will prove entertaining for Wilkins afficianados since this is the first time he stepped into the studio to be waxed for posterity.
Paul Jeffrey - Sax
Thelonious Monk, Jr. - Drums
Richard Davis - Acoustic bass
Jack Wilkins - Electric Guitar

1 Minor Scene
2 Brand New Day
3 Love Letters
4 Moon Madness
5 Brand X
6 My Son
7 Geometric Blues
8 Serenity

Discography as leader

Electrifying Sounds Of The Paul Jeffrey Quintet [Savoy MG 12192] at Fat Toro

1971 Watershed
[Mainstream MRL-390] at Soundological

1972 Family
[Mainstream MRL-376] at Arkadin's Ark

1974 Paul Jeffrey
[Mainstream MRL-406] at the shad shack

1994 Tribute To Trane
[Duke University Jazz DUJ 94]
1996 Together In Monaco w/ Curtis Fuller
[Amosaya AM 2531]

2009 We See
[Imago] at israbox

Paul Jeffrey links:
MySpace page
Wiki entry
Imago page
Jazz Discography leader page

Experience your own watershed moment with Paul Jeffrey and Soundological HERE.