Archive for the ‘Jazz’ Category

Funky16Corners Radio v.72 – The Pulse aka the ‘Marvin’ Mix

August 2, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.72 – The Pulse aka the ‘Marvin’ Mix

Playlist

Titanic – Sultana (CBS)
Santana – Jin-Go-La-Ba (CBS)
Simon Kenyatta Troupe – Soul Makossa (Avco)
Curtis Mayfield – Future Shock (Curtom)
Cymande – Bra (Janus)
Eddie Kendricks – Date With the Rain (Tamla)
Cold Blood – Valdez In the Country (WB)
Rufus – Half Moon (MCA)
Dexter Wansel – Life On Mars Part 1 (Philly Intl)
Hank Ballard & the Midnighters – Freak Your Boom Boom (LeJoint)
Kool & the Gang – More Funky Stuff (Dee Lite)
Disko Band – Pick Up the Pieces (Pickwick)
Gene Faith – Lowdown Melody (Virtue)
Barrett Strong – Stand Up and Cheer For the Preacher (Epic)
Gladys Knight & the Pips – Who Is She (And What Is She To You) (Motown)
Heatwave – Grooveline (Epic)
KC & the Sunshine Band – Get Down Tonight (LP Edit) (TK)
Sylvester – You Make Me Feel Mighty Real (Fantasy)

To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive
Greetings all.

I’m back from DC, and though I’m tired as hell (I feel like I was dragged home behind a truck belching oily smoke) I’d be a liar if I said that I had less than an absolutely amazing time in our nation’s capitol.
First and foremost I have to offer thanks to my gracious hosts DJ Birdman and his lovely wife, who gave me a comfortable bed in which to sleep in addition to all manner of great hospitality.
I spent the better part of Wednesday afternoon in the Funky16Corners-mobile, making extraordinarily good time and arriving in DC a little on the early side. Naturally I took advantage of the hole in my schedule to fall by Som Records on 14th St to say hi to my man DJ Neville C and pick up some fresh vinyl for the upcoming gigs. If you’re in DC and you need a vinyl fix make sure you stop by and tell the man behind the counter that Funky16Corners sent you.
After that it was a quick turnaround to drop off my stuff and head back out with Birdman for the Jazz Corner of the World 5th anniversary party at Cafe St Ex.
I have to take a moment to say that I have been extremely lucky in my DJ travels this year. All of the venues have been next level, and St Ex and Marvin (the places I spun at this week) were no exception. Wonderful spaces, great staff (outstanding cuisine) and all around chill environments made for great experiences.
The Jazz Corner party was a subdued spin on off-the-hook-ness, giving me a chance to DJ alongside Birdman, DC Digga, Fatback, Neville C and a the rest of the crew. The sounds included everything from old school New Orleans jazz, right on through to hard bop and jazz funk (breaks included, natch).
We headed out on Thursday for some Virginia digging, ending up in Richmond where I scored some very cool 45s.
Friday morning we were out digging again where I scored some cool stuff that I ended up taking with me to Marvin that night.
If you make it down to DC, you absolutely MUST make it over to Marvin. I had been to Marvin once before to see DJ Birdman spin but split for my own gig early on. This time out Birdman and I split the night (one hour on/one hour off from 6PM to 3AM), keeping it jazzy and mellow for the first half and then turning up the heat around 10. My first heavy set was mostly funk and breaks, with the later set including a healthy selection of disco.
I got to spin Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’ over of a club sound system for the first time and it was a transcendent experience. As stated in this space before it is a positively explosive record, and quite frankly, if you aren’t digging Sylvester you need to get your ass out of the club.
Other highlights of the evening were the sister who lost her mind (she reached into the booth, grabbed me and then screamed!) when I dropped ‘Hot Pants’ by James Brown, everyone who danced (and there WAS dancing!) and the cute girl who asked if there was any chance I would play some Vanilla Ice, to which I responded politely:

No.
Never, under any circumstances.

I was actually able to fulfill a couple of requests (it helps when people request cool songs) and had an absolute blast. Big ups to Sheldon, who runs an absolutely incredible place.
Saturday Birdman took me to some more digging spots and It turned up some excellent stuff, including a couple of soul 45s that I’ve been chasing for a long time.
In honor of the folks at Marvin, I’m dropping this edition of Funky16Corners Radio that includes some of the stuff I played on Friday, some new finds and a couple of old faves. There’s over an hour of funk, disco, funky disco and disco-y funk. I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back later in the week with some breaks and what not.

Peace

Larry

PS You can check out some pics from Marvin over at the Funky16Corners Facebook Group

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some sunshine pop

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners On the Road (Again)

July 23, 2009

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Greetings all.

The end of the week is here, and I am once again a free man. The tube has been removed from my kidney (not as painful as I thought it was going to be) and I am back on the street again.
I’m a little bit behind the eight ball – confinement in a hospital room for the better part of a week kind of takes it out of you – but I fully expect to be up to speed in a few days.
I come to you empty handed at the end of the week because the wife and I spent the entire day on the road retrieving the two smallest Corners from their grandparents who were kind enough to watch them while I was ill. We had to drive to upstate NY, and then took a route home that initially looked like a smart move but turned into a long string of traffic nightmares. We only just rolled through the door about an hour ago, so there wasn’t really time to prepare something (you can always hit the archives and check out a mix you may have missed the first time out).
However, I have some news…
Next week I’ll be packing up the heat (LPs as well as 45s) in the Funky16Corners-mobile and rolling down to Washington, DC for a couple of nights of vinyl goodness.
Next Wednesday, 7/29 I’ve been invited to spin as part of the crew at the 5th Anniversary of DJ Birdman and DC Digga’s night ‘Jazz Corner of the World’ at Café St Ex, 1847 14th St NW in DC. If you dig the sounds of jazz (all kinds, from hard bop to rare grooves) you need to fall by since Birdman and DC Digga know how to do it up right, and there will be other special guests bringing the heat including Richmond, VA’s own DJ Fatback (who knows him some jazz). Things get rolling at 7PM and go all night long.
Then – yes there’s more – on Friday night 7/31 yours truly, Larry Grogan aka Funky16Corners will be working in long form over at Marvin (a very cool place) a few blocks up at 2007 14th St NW (in DC, natch) where I’ll be manning the storied wheels of steel from 10PM all the way to closing time. You can expect the usual funk, soul and rare groove with bits of disco and jazz (anything that moves the dancers) mixed in.
I’m really looking forward to working up a nice, long groove, and I know the folks in DC like to dance, so we should all get along swimmingly.
If you’re in driving distance try to fall by and make the scene one of those nights, and be sure to stop by the booth and say howdy.
That said, have a groovy weekend, and I’ll see you all back here on Monday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for the Second Anniversary Mix! .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Grant Green – James Brown Medley

June 23, 2009

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Grant Green

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Listen – Grant Green – James Brown Medley- MP3″

Greetings all.

How’s by you?
I’d like to get things started by wishing my man DJ Prestige a happy birthday as he rolls over the odometer to the big 40!
The wife and I spent Monday evening at the party, which was held at the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, NJ. If you’re in the area you need to fall by the Museum, which houses an amazing collection of vintage pinball machines, almost all of which are active, i.e., you pay to get in and you can play the machine to your heart’s content, over and over again without ever having to pass a single coin through the slot. It was a mind boggling feast of classic pop culture and absolutely must be seen.
In other news it looks like I’ll be spinning a few different nights down in our nation’s capitol at the end of July, laying down a set as part of the Jazz Corner 5th anniversary party an the 29th (I’m going to have to break out some of my fave jazz funk LPs) and then again doing the main set on the 31st. If you’re in the area write this one on the calendar. The Jazz Corner’s crew (DJ Birdman and DC Digga) bring the serious heat. More details to follow as they become available.
The tune(s) I bring you today come to you courtesy of one of the true greats of the soul jazz guitar, Mr. Grant Green. I won’t belabor the biographical details, since a simple Google will bring you all the info you need. Suffice to say that through the 60s and 70s Green laid down his masterful playing on a grip of solo sessions, running the gamut from serious hard bop to funky grooves, as well as performing as one of the more prominent sidemen in the Blue Note stable.
Today’s selection hails from the 1971 Blue Note ‘Shades of Green’ session, which saw the master covering a fair amount of contemporary material including covers of Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5, as well as three James Brown tunes (two of which are included in today’s medley).
The tunes in question ‘I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up the Door I’ll Get It Myself)’ and ‘Cold Sweat’ clock in at just under six minutes of tasty, head nodding funk. The interesting thing – aside from the obvious quality – is that Green was covering ‘I Don’t Want…’ for the second time in two years, having laid it down on 1969s blindingly good ‘Carryin’ On’, also for Blue Note (which can be heard in Funky16Corners Radio v.53).
The 1971 take on the tune is a little less aggressive, with the added benefit of some clavinet. The incredibly funky bass and drums come from a couple of moonlighting Crusaders, Wilton Felder and Stix Hooper respectively, and Green (of course) is in fine form. Things are pretty stripped down until a brief burst of horns in the transition to ‘Cold Sweat’, and then again toward the end of the medley.
If you get a chance to pick up the album, there is yet another JB cover on the other side, with a nice take on ‘In the Middle’.
As always, I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Friday with something groovy.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Check out another Grant Green JB cover over at La Colmena de Huma (en Espanol)

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

The Crusaders – Put It Where You Want It

June 11, 2009

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The Crusaders

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Listen – The Crusaders – Put It Where You Want It – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope you’ve all weathered the week and are ready to dig in to the weekend.
I sure as hell am….

If you’re in the area, and feel like getting down to the sounds of soul and funk spun exclusively on the 7”/45RPM format, then you could do no better than to fall by the world famous Asbury Lanes for the latest installment of the legendary Asbury Park 45 Sessions. Now halfway through it’s third year, the AP45 Sessions have become a local institution, featuring the deepest crates in the area, including my own (natch), and those of DJ Prestige, DJ Prime Mundo, Jack the Ripper, MFasis, DJ Bluewater and an ever impressive revolving cast of guest selectors.
I spent some time this week pulling some heat from the crates, which mixed with several interesting recent acquisitions ought to make for a sweet set.

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The tune I bring you today is an old fave. Though the name of the Crusaders was very familiar when I was a kid, I cannot for the life of me remember where or when I first heard ‘Put It Where You Want It’. I have a vague recollection of it being used as incidental music by someone, perhaps on a TV or radio show back in the day, but I can’t be sure.
Truth be told, for a long time I knew it was a Crusaders’ song, but didn’t know the title, once buying the ‘Street Life’ CD from a record club because a friend had assured that that was their big hit, and probably what I was looking for. ‘Street Life’ was in fact the band’s biggest hit (in 1979), but as it turns out, the tune I was looking for may not have been their biggest hit, but it was indeed their first (in 1972).
The Crusaders started out in their hometown on Houston, TX (in the mid-50s) as the Swingsters, at one time including Hubert Laws in the line-up of their next incarnation, the Modern Jazz Sextet. The core of the group – keyboardist Joe Sample, saxophonist Wilton Felder, drummer Stix Hooper and trombonist Wayne Henderson – relocated to California in 1960 and started operating under the name Jazz Crusaders.
The Jazz Crusaders recorded 19 (?!?) albums between 1961 and 1971 for Pacific Jazz and Chisa, playing a soulful variation on hard bop, as well playing countless session dates individually and collectively. They dropped the “Jazz” from their name in 1971 and becoming simply the Crusaders. It was under the new, truncated moniker that the group took on a funkier edge.
The tune I bring you today, ‘Put It Where You Want It’ is from the 1972 LP ‘1’, and as I mentioned before was the very first hit for the Crusaders, making into the R&B Top 40 and falling just outside the Pop Top 50. Featuring Joe Sample’s rolling electric piano and the guitar of Larry Carlton, ‘Put It Where You Want It’ is a perfect, summertime head-nodder, as well as a fine example of certain jazzy style of West Coast R&B that wound its way into the sound of groups like Steely Dan, Stuff and the later Doobie Brothers.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Monday with something funky(er).

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Don’t forget to fall by Viva Internet Radio Tonight at 9PMEST for the latest edition of the Funky16Corners Radio Show. You can always check out the show (and many pastshows) in the archive.

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NOTE: If you haven’t yet checked out the new funk 45 mix I did for Galactic Fractures, head on over there and pull down the ones and zeros.

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some more pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Sam Butera RIP

June 9, 2009

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Mr. Sam Butera

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Listen – Sam Butera and the Witnesses – Ode To Billie Joe – MP3″

Listen – Sam Butera and the Witnesses – Symphony For the Devil – MP3″

Listen – Sam Butera and the Witnesses – Pick Up the Pieces- MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end.
I come to you mid-week (and a little late) with a tribute to one of the great swingers and sax-o-mo-phone slingers of all time, Mr. Sam Butera.
Last week I was browsing the New York Times obit page (a consistently interesting source of interesting reading) and was saddened to see that Mr. Butera had passed away at the age of 81.
If you’re unfamiliar with the man or his music (which has been featured here a number of times in the past), Sam Butera is best known as the bandleader and arranger for Louis Prima’s backing group the Witnesses. Butera, like Prima was a New Orleans native and brought a big helping of that city’s raucous energy to his playing.
Among other highlights in a stellar resume, Butera is the man who arranged the original ‘Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody’ medley that was a hit for Prima, and then again years later for David Lee Roth.
Butera was also largely responsible for making sure the Witnesses were always a smoking band (including players like unsung organ legend Little Richie Varola), and that their book was always current. Today I’m reposting three tracks by the 70s edition of the band that have been featured here over the years, including a wild reworking of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ and a funky take on the Average White Band’s ‘Pick Up the Pieces’.
A number of years ago, completely by chance my wife and I were lucky enough to see Butera and the Witnesses laying it down in the lounge at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City, NJ (the same place where we saw the Treniers a year later). Even then, when Butera had to be past 70 he was still killing it, leading the band as vocalist and with his horn. It was a sight to behold, and I consider myself lucky that we got to see him.
So, dig the tunes, remember Sam and I’ll be back on Friday with something funky.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: If you haven’t yet checked out the new funk 45 mix I did for Galactic Fractures, head on over there and pull down the ones and zeros.

In other important news, this Friday, June 12th sees the return of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions for the first, slamming all-45 banger of the summer. If you are in the vicinity, please fall by and say howdy.

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PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners Radio v.69 – Jazz Trance

May 12, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.69 – Jazz Trance

Playlist

Kool and the Gang – North East South West (Dee Lite)
Wes Montgomery – Up and At It (A&M)
Woody Herman – Light My Fire (Cadet)
Jay Jackson and the Heads of Our Time – Listen Here (Mr G)
Dorothy Ashby – Little Sunflower (Cadet)
Montreal – Summertime (Stormy Forest)
Junior Mance – Thank You Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin (Atlantic)
Peddlers – Impressions Pt1 (Philips)
Brother Jack McDuff – Mystic John (Blue Note)
Sonny Stitt – Heads or Tails (Enterprise)
Gabor Szabo – Fred and Betty (Blue Thumb)
Lonnie Smith – People Sure Act Funny (Blue Note)
Ramsey Lewis – Collage (CBS)
Doc Severinson – In the Court of the Crimson King (Command)
 
To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Greetings all.

I hope the middle of the week finds you well, and in the mood to open your ears to some downtempo grooves on a jazzy – and funky – tip.
I was going to drop this mix on Monday, but the 12” extended remix of post-op recovery got in the way, and was in a continuous loop (rocking doubles as it were). I don’t know how many among you have endured the wonders of anaesthesia and surgery (I just went through it for the sixth time in my life), but aside from the blissful ignorance of the operative pain (while the operation is happening, hopefully) the emergence from the experience takes a little while. That, and it always seems to take me a few days (often the better part of a week) to come out of the haze fully.
Good thing then that this is such a smooth, nighttime, get your head together as slowly as you like kind of mix. Aside from the banging soul party thing (prepare yourself for a killer coming soon) this might be my favorite kind of mix to put together, and yes, listen to.
Funky16Corners Radio v.69 is a counterpoint of sorts to v.68, with it’s downtempo yang grooving next to the uptempo yin of its predecessor. This is not to say that they should be listened to in sequence or anything like that, but rather a notification of sorts that they sprung from the same place in my fevered brain (and record collection).
Things get off to a moody start indeed with the electric piano, and sinuous groove of New Jersey’s own Kool and the Gang with ‘North, East, South, West’, sampled by none other than Quasimoto.
Next up is a track from an LP that I found when I was down in DC. I dig pretty much everything Wes Montgomery ever did. I love his guitar, but especially so in the many classy settings in which he played it during the 60s and early 70s. ‘Up and At It’ from his 1968 LP “Down Here On the Ground’ is a mellow killer, with a great arrangement by Eumir Deodato.
Woody Herman
has appeared in many a Funky16Corners Radio mix, due in large part to the excellence of the two LPs he recorded for Cadet in the late 60s. Herman was an authentic jazz master who did what he could to keep his band together during the lean times of the 60s. Though many a jazzy tried to stay contemporary, Herman excelled, with the help of Richard Evans. His choice of material was excellent (check out his take on Sly Stone’s ‘Sex Machine’), and the execution thereof as well. His take on the Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’ features excellent sax, trumpet and trombone solos.
I had never heard of Jay Jackson and the Heads of Our Time before I grabbed a copy of their 45 while I was down in Richmond, VA. Once I got it home I was glad I did, since both sides of the disc sport excellent cover versions. It turns out that the band on this 45 is the same group that recorded a couple of in demand funk/soul LPs under the name the Majestics. The hailed from Canada, and oddly enough, the group’s namesake, Jackson, was also its vocalist and does not appear on this most excellent version of the Eddie Harris soul jazz chestnut ‘Listen Here’.
The name Dorothy Ashby should be a familiar one to those who travel the back alleys of the universe searching  for grooves. The jazz harpist, whose Cadet albums are lost classics and worth every cent of their high prices (thanks in large part to the arrangements and production by the mighty Richard Evans), made some truly beautiful music in her day. One of my fave tracks by her is a cover of Freddie Hubbard’s ‘Little Sunflower’. Covered countless times by artists like Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell and Hank Crawford, it has a breezy feel and a beautiful melody.
Montreal were (big surprise) a Canadian group that recorded one album in 1969 for Richie Havens’ Stormy Forest label. Coveted by crate diggers for its folk-psych goodness, the album also has a jazzy side. The finest example of this is their version of George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’. If the flute sounds familiar, it’s because it was played by none other than Jeremy Steig (Buzzy Linhart and Havens himself also guest on the album).
I’d heard of pianist Junior Mance before, but never actually heard any of his music before I scored the 45 with his version of ‘Thank You (Felettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)’. Not only does it start with a sweet little breakbeat (courtesy of Billy Cobham) but there’s some wild, fuzzed out guitar, and of course Junior’s piano rolling through the whole affair.
We follow Mr. Mance with another taste of the mighty Peddlers, with yet another segment of the tune ‘Impressions’ from their ‘Suite London’ LP. Nice drums, and especially groovy electric piano on this one. Short but sweet.
You know I ride for Brother Jack McDuff, exalted master of the Hammond groove, but even he has b-sides that I hadn’t investigated thoroughly. Case in point, ‘Mystic John’, which resides on the reverse of one of the greatest of all breakbeats ‘Hunk of Funk’. Here we get to hear Brother Jack work it out on both piano and organ, with a taste of harp in the beginning, adding to the spiritual vibe of the tune. Things pick up a little, but the overall vibe is contemplative.
Sonny Stitt is one of the really interesting cases of a serious jazz head who was forced to go the pop route to keep his head above water. He started out playing blazing alto sax in a Charlie Parker stylee, but then came the 1960s, when very few jazzers were making real coin. Stitt tried to rework his sound in a variety of settings, including recording sax solos over existing tracks for a couple of Wingate 45s (‘Agent 00 Soul’ and ‘Marrs Groove’), and recording a wide range of pop material. Until I found his cover of Booker T and the MGs ‘Heads or Tails’ I had no idea that he had recorded for Stax’s Enterprise subsidiary. It sounds like Sonny’s working it out on the Varitone sax (he used it a lot in the late 60s), and while the recording’s not earth shattering, it’s a great song and he does it justice.
Anyone hip to the jazz grooves of the 60s already has an armload of Gabor Szabo albums on labels like Impulse and Skye. However, Szabo did at least one, very nice LP for the Blue Thumb imprint. I’ve already featured the break from his cover of Charles Lloyd’s ‘Sombrero Sam’, but dig (if you will) the mellow sounds of the tune ‘Fred and Betty’.
Back in the day, when Lonnie Smith was not yet bearing the honorarium of doctor, and without his signature turban, he was still a formidable wrangler of the mighty Hammond organ. He recorded some very tasty stuff, including a version of a tune featured here a short while ago, Titus Turner’s ‘People Sure Act Funny’. It is of course an instrumental, and quite the little head nodder.
‘Collage’ is the closing track from Ramsey Lewis’ fantastic ‘Upendo ni Pamoja’ LP, one from which we’ve drawn before. While not as incendiary as ‘Slipping Into Darkness’, ‘Collage’ rolls along at a nice, relaxed groove, and seriously, I could listen to Ramsey work that Rhodes all day long.
This edition of the Funky16Corners Radio podcast closes out with something a little bit over the top, bot of course every bit essential. I speak of Doc Severinson’s epic treatment of the King Crimson’s ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’. Doc manages to remove the song from it’s super heavy, glue sniffing prog bombast, and refit it with a snappy new set of threads, making it a lot less “arena full of stoned grad students”, and a lot more “slightly cheesy version of the Concierto di Aranjuez”. When I say slightly cheesy, I only do so because there’s a certain loss of, how do they say “authenticity” when the leader of the Tonight Show band decides to try on this kind of material. That said, it’s very groovy in an LA 1970 studio jazz kind of way, which isn’t surprising when you take a look at the serious players on the session. I’ve been picking up Doc’s late 60’s/early 70’s stuff when I find it, and I have to say that most of the records have something cool to offer.
Remember, if you haven’t yet checked out the Funky16Corners feature at Dust and Grooves, please do so. Also, the Funky16Corners Radio Show at Viva Internet Radio will return once again this Thursday evening at 9PM.
I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll be back on Monday with something cool.

Peace

Larry

PS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg

PSS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Leon Ferguson & the Groove Tones – Miss Dolores Funk

May 7, 2009

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Listen – Leon Ferguson & the Groove Tones – Miss Dolores Funk – MP3″

Greetings all.

The end of the week is nigh, and as usual, I hope all is well on your end.
I also hope all is well on my end, since by the time you read this I ought to be up on an operating table looking like and extra in ‘Fantastic Voyage’, as my trusted urologist travels into my lone kidney to laser some stones.
That’s right, laser, like Star Wars, except with kidneys.
This is the proverbial “routine procedure”, but like any such enterprise, routine barely enters into it. I suspect that I’ll be back to my old self in no time, but one never knows. I originally promised a new mix for Monday, but if I am indisposed that may in fact be postponed.
Just in case I’m not in posting form on Monday, I figured I’d close out the week with something extra greasy.
When we last met I promised you some Hammond, and I will not disappoint.
If you combine the web zine and both iterations of the Funky16Corners blog, I’ve been at this for almost a decade, and I’ve posted what the worlds greatest scientific minds would describe as a “buttload” of records. So many, and so obscure, that often when I set sail upon the interwebs in search of information about an artist, I often find myself confronted with….um…myself.
Such is the case with today’s selection by Leon Ferguson and the Groove Tones.
I whipped the band name into the Google-fi-cator, and the very first result was a 2005 blog post about the flipside of the very single, a little burner entitled ‘Stokin’. You can hit that post for what little background there is, but I assure you, as far as the internet is concerned, nothing new has popped up in the interim.
That said, the tune I bring you today, ‘Miss Dolores Funk’ is a slow burner, but make no mistake. Like several lethal creatures of the veldt, ‘Miss Dolores Funk’ may approach slowly, but once she has you in her jaws, it’s lights out brother.
The tune quite literally grinds up to speed, led by repeated organ and sax-o-mo-phone riffs, before a sax solo fall by. This is prime stuff, the kind of tune they might have played while an ecdysiast shed her plumage through a haze of cigarette smoke, but when the organ catches fire, look out! The volume seems to double, and while the rest of the band keeps their cool, Leon (I’m assuming it’s Leon on the organ) takes the opportunity to go – at least momentarily – buck wild.
‘Miss Dolores Funk’ – actually both sides of this killer – are prime examples of the kind of thing a Hammond nut like myself digs through dusty, decaying cardboard boxes (or the dusty corners of the interwebs) looking for.
I hope you dig it.
I’ll be back on Monday with something.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Don’t forget to check out the Funky16Corners feature over at the Dust and Grooves blog.

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some US Freakbeat.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Herbie Mann & Tamiko Jones – The Sidewinder

May 5, 2009

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Herbie Mann and Tamiko Jones

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Listen – Herbie Mann & Tamiko Jones – The Sidewinder – MP3″

Greetings all.

Here we are again, teetering on the fulcrum that divides the week into two, unevenly distributed halves (in which case they’re probably not technically “halves”, but whatever..)
Anyway, in furtherance of the idea that we need to keep things moving forward in a way that is both easy and breezy but never cheesy, I bring you something a little light, and very groovy.
Surely any crate digger worth his (or her, natch) salt is well acquainted by the long and hirsute discography of the flute-meister general, Mr. Herbie Mann.
Starting in the 50s, when he was working in a Latin bag, Herbie Mann was the most prominent representative of the flute and flute-related arts, at least on the jazz side of things. He recorded a grip of excellent albums for Atlantic in the 60s.
Of course, like any other jazz musician with even a passing interest in popular acceptance (i.e. “money”) which would be just about every recording jazz musician not deeply involved in the free or outside movement, Mann recorded a lot of pop-oriented material.
What he also did – and he rarely gets the credit he deserves in this respect – was record in a wide variety of very interesting, sometimes experimental settings. He may have made some poppy recordings, but he also recorded with jazz bagpipe wiz Rufus Harley, as well as making some excellent Brazilian and Middle Eastern sounding records.
As far as I can tell, in all of the dozens of records he recorded between 1954 and his death in 2003, Mann teamed up with a vocalist exactly once. That record, with the self-explanatory title of ‘Herbie Mann and Tamiko Jones: A Mann and a Woman’ was released on Atlantic in 1966.
Jones, originally from West Virginia recorded for a variety of labels (in a variety of styles, though mostly jazzy) through the 60s and 70s, including Checker, Golden World, A&M, 20th Century, Metromedia and Arista.
‘A Mann and a Woman’ is a swinging set, with Mann and Jones grooving on jazz, pop and standards. The highlight of the album (aside from a great version of ‘Day Tripper’ which I’m saving for an upcoming mix) is their vocalization of Lee Morgan’s hard bop classic ‘The Sidewinder’. The tune features a breezy vocal by Jones (sounding a lot like Brasil ‘66’s Lani Hall) and some very solid flute work by Herbie. I don’t know for sure, but I would guess that this is the kind of thing that’d be a big hit on UK dancefloors. If the piano on the track catches your ear, it might be because it’s none other than Joe Zawinul.
I hope you dig the track and I’ll be back on Friday with some more Hammond.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Don’t forget to check out the Funky16Corners feature over at the Dust and Grooves blog.

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some righteous garage folk.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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Funky16Corners Radio v.68 – A New Note

April 12, 2009

Example

Funky16Corners Radio v.68 – A New Note

Playlist

Blackbyrds – Spaced Out (Fantasy)
1972 Verona High School Jazz Ensemble – Synthesis (edit)
Woody Herman – Smiling Phases (Cadet)
Doc Severinson – Footprints of the Giant (edit) (Command)
Lou Donaldson – Caterpillar (Blue Note)
Grant Green – California Green (Blue Note)
Backyard Heavies – Soul Junction (Scepter)
Gene Harris – Don’t Call Me N*gger Whitey (Blue Note)
1970 Ohio State University Jazz Ensemble – Far West Suite Pt1
Ernie Wilkins Big Band – Big Foot Blues (Mainstream)
The Peddlers – Working Again (Philips)
Lou Donaldson – (Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Going to Go (Blue Note)

To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end.
If things have gone as planned, as you’re reading this I’m up in Maine, hunting lobsters and vinyl, with my wife joining me on the former and diverging on the latter in search of her own obsession, that being things yarn and yarn-related.
Despite the current life situation changing the digging situation (careful distribution of funds related), I have managed in the last few months to get some nice stuff. This had a lot to do with taking my DJ earnings and rolling them back into the crates (always groovy) combined with a couple of inexpensive finds.
When I was down in DC, my man DJ Birdman was kind enough to hep DJ Prestige and I to a couple of cool digging spots, and then we get to Richmond and our host Troy just happened to have a nice stack of 45s that he was willing to part with. In addition to a great couple of nights behind the turntables, we both came home with lots of new records.
The mixes that I will be bringing you today (and again in a couple of weeks) are two sides of that haul, both jazzy. The first you see before you leans a little on the heavier side, the second on the mellower tip.
Things get started with a great DC area (all members hailed from Howard University) band, the Blackbyrds. ‘Spaced Out’ is one of the funkier cuts from ‘Flying Start’, the album that featured their biggest hit ‘Walking In Rhythm’.
The next cut was from an NJ find. The crate diggers of the world are always on the lookout for high school/college band records (i.e. bands from their music programs), since in a certain era they often contain funky sounds. The cut ‘Synthesis’ is from the Verona, NJ High School Jazz Ensemble, which actually traveled to Montreaux in 1972 and recorded their performance. The tune starts off with a weird, avant garde interlude, before descending into something that sounds like it belongs on a Lalo Schifrin soundtrack.
Woody Herman’s work for Cadet records has appeared in this space before. Herman led one of the truly great big bands in jazz history. The 1960s were not a good time to keep a large band going, but Herman managed it, in part by staying current. The two albums he recorded for Cadet (with the help of Richard Evans among others) feature some very cool versions of contemporary material, including the track included here, a wailing, uptempo take on Traffic’s psychedelic tune ‘Smiling Phases’.
To paraphrase Robert Plant, “Does anybody remember Doc Severinson?” If you’re old enough, and remember the Tonight Show back in 70s, Doc was the trumpeter, and bandleader on the Tonight Show, as famous for his garish wardrobe as he was for his talents as a Maynard Ferguson-esque high-note artist. His 1970 album ‘Doc Severinson’s Closet’ – the cover of which features several of the aforementioned suits – features a great band, including many Tonight Show bandmates, as well as the mighty Ray Barretto. This excerpt from ‘Footprints of the Giant’ moves along at a brisk pace, with some wild Varitone sax solos and a fantastic percussion breakdown.
Lou Donaldson’s 1971 ‘Cosmos’ LP includes covers of both Bread and Curtis Mayfield (more on that later). The album includes a hot band, with Idris Muhammad, Melvin Sparks and Leon Spencer, and a number of tunes with vocals. The best of those is the extremely funky ‘Caterpillar’.
Grant Green’s 1971 ‘Shades of Green’ session sees him in the middle of his ‘funky’ period, covering (and re-covering) a lot of contemporary material with a band that included several members of the Crusaders. ‘California Green’ is a great slice of funky soul jazz, with lots of Green soloing and some grooving clavinet by Emmanuel Riggins.
You can read more about the Backyard Heavies here, but suffice to say, they weren’t exactly a jazz group. That said, ‘Soul Junction’ would not be out of place on a Brother Jack McDuff album from the same period, with its laid back groove, and organ lead.
Gene Harris is best known as the pianist with the Three Sounds. Though he recorded under that name into the mid-70s, he also released some albums under his own name, including 1974s ‘Astral Signals’. The album features a number of excellent tracks (including an unusual cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Green River’), but the best (and the funkiest, natch) is a P-Funk-ish take on Sly & the Family Stone’s ‘Don’t Call Me N*gger Whitey’.
Speaking of college jazz bands, the last time I was digging in Upstate NY, I grabbed an LP by the 1970 Ohio State University Jazz Band. ‘Far West Suite Pt1’ is yet another cut that sounds like it was lifted from a funky early-70s detective movie soundtrack.
Ernie Wilkins was a sax player and arranger who worked with a number of bands (mainly Count Basie) through the 50s and 60s. He also recorded under his own name, and the finest of those dates is the LP ‘Hard Mother Blues’, one of the funkiest big band dates on the Mainstream label. ‘Big Foot Blues’ features a blazing horn arrangement, as well as some very funky guitar.
We dip once again into the catalogue of the mighty Peddlers with a cut from their 1970 ‘Three For All’ LP. ‘Working Again’ is a kind of a jazz take on the storied “road song”, with a solid vocal by Roy Philips who also brings the Hammond heat.
Lou Donaldson is back to close out this edition of Funky16Corners Radio, with a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s epic ‘(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Going To Go’. This time, in addition to his duties on the sax, Lou falls by with some vocals.
I hope you dig the mix. I won’t be back until next Monday, but if you get bored you can always bore into the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive and see what you dig.
Until then, stay groovy and I’ll see you when I see you.

Peace

Larry

PS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for a swinging 60s mix.

PSS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Two Sides Of/By Ramsey Lewis

April 2, 2009

Example

Mr. Ramsey Lewis

Example

Listen – Ramsey Lewis – African Boogaloo Twist – MP3″

Listen – Ramsey Lewis – Ode – MP3″

Greetings all.

The week is done, and I don’t know about you cats, but I’m in the mood for some soul jazz.
Who better to bring the heat, than the mighty Ramsey Lewis.
The tendency among the crate digger types would tend toward taking Lewis for granted, since a lot of his records are incredibly common. Thanks to the success of his version of ‘The In Crowd’ he was a best selling artist for years. Thanks to his own prodigious talent – and an uncanny ability to stay ahead of the stylistic curve – he also produced a grip of high quality music, from swinging mid-period soul jazz like you’ll be hearing today, right on to visionary reimaginings of the Beatles on ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ and then onto the gritty breakbeats of
‘Them Changes’ and then on, and on and on.
‘African Boogaloo Twist’ and ‘Ode’ come from the 1968 LP ‘Maiden Voyage’, and display two sides of an artist in transition. The album includes a couple of pop and soul covers (Manfred Mann, Aretha Franklin) as well as some heavier jazz material, including the Herbie Hancock title cut and a cover of Mike Gibbs ‘Sweet Rain’, previously recorded by both Gary Burton and Stan Getz. Lewis collaborated on the LP with Cadet records visionary Charles Stepney and his touch is most evident on cuts like ‘Les Fleur’ and the mini-epic ‘Ode’.
‘African Boogaloo Twist’ (written by bassist Cleveland Eaton) is classic Lewis with enough heat for the dance floor from Lewis’ piano, some slamming drums and a backing chorus. ‘Ode’ is something else entirely.
The Stepney composition is the kind of lush departure that he and Richard Evans were creating so much of for Cadet in the late-60s. Built on a crystalline string and horn chart, the tune creeps eerily close to easy listening territory before taking a hard left turn into a soulful bit of boogaloo, and then turning yet again (in a wonderful minor chord transition) into a mixture of the two. ‘Ode’ is a great example of the direction Stepney was going in with Rotary Connection, melding soul, jazz and easy sounds into a sophisticated new alloy.
Juxtaposing the two songs you get a good look at how Lewis was able to keep making groove oriented crowd pleasers and still stretch out, and no matter how much of a spread that was, it was still all Ramsey Lewis music at the end of the day.
I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a taste of Freak-Canuck-Beat.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook