Archive for john coltrane

My Best Jazz Albums of 2018 – The Complete List

Posted in Best Jazz Albums of 2018 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2018 by curtjazz

Yeah. I know. I’ve been away from the blog since, well, since my last year-end review.

It’s been quite a year folks. A lot of time on the road and a lot of “spare” time devoted to getting CurtJazz Radio back up, running and viable. But you didn’t come here to hear my problems. In the midst of it all, I did manage to hear a good amount of music. Some not so good and some that was very good, to excellent. Those in the latter category are included in the list below.

They are in alphabetical order, by album title. I’ve divided the projects into Instrumental and Vocal. I also wanted to recognize a couple of outstanding EPs, so I did. Each title includes a link that will take you to a place where you can purchase the music, if you feel so moved.

At the bottom of the post are three CD length Spotify playlists, which will give you a chance to sample a track from most of the albums/EPs on our list.

Tracks from all of these albums and EPs will be featured on CurtJazz Radio, from now, through the end of January 2019. CurtJazz Radio, on, is always on and always FREE. Click HERE to listen.

I will try to not be such a ghost in 2019.


Album Title Artist Label
All in My Mind Dr. Lonnie Smith Blue Note
Armor of Pride Black Art Jazz Collective HighNote
Both Directions at Once John Coltrane Impulse
Christian McBride’s New Jawn Christian McBride Mack Avenue
Concentric Circles Kenny Barron Quintet Blue Note
Diamond Cut Tia Fuller Mack Avenue
Exiled Thandi Ntuli Ndlela Music Co.
Future is Female Roxy Coss Posi-Tone
Get It How You Live Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra Ropeadope
Heaven and Earth Kamasi Washington Young Turks
In Common Walter Smith III; Matthew Stevens Whirlwind
In Real Time John Bailey Summit
In the Moment Pat Bianchi Savant
Interstellar Adventures Theo Hill Posi-Tone
Introspection Roni Ben-Hur and Harvie S Jazzheads
Jazzland Tim Warfield Criss Cross
Live from San Pedro Jeff Hamilton Trio Capri
Love Stone JD Allen Savant
Master’s Legacy Series; Vol. 2Emmet CohenCellar Live
Modern Flows; Vol. 2 Marquis Hill PR
Movement Kobie Watkins Grouptet Origin
Origami Harvest Ambrose Akinmusire Blue Note
Pardes (Orchard) Amos Hoffman & Noam Lemish CD Baby
Remember Love Houston Person and Ron Carter HighNote
Straight Forward New Faces Posi-Tone
Telepathy Christopher Hollyday CD Baby
Warriors for Peace E.J. Strickland Quintet JamminColorS


Album Title Artist Label
Art Market Sasha Masakowski Ropeadope
Genius of Eddie Jefferson Allan Harris Resilience
Looking at the Moon Allegra Levy Steeplechase
Math Camp Lorraine Feather CD Baby
My Mood is You Freddy Cole HighNote
Some of That Sunshine Karrin Allyson CD Baby
Sung with Words Helen Sung CD Baby
Unbroken Tiffany Austin Con Alma
Waiting for the Sunrise Camille Thurman Chesky
The Window Cecile McLorin Salvant Mack Avenue


Title Artist Label
Alfred Sergel IVtet Alfred Sergel Self-Release
G8S Giacomo Gates 9th Note

Best of the Carolinas

Title Artist Label
Cola Jazz II Cola Jazz Jangly
The SeekerThomas TaylorSelf Release
Shanghai Decade Sean Higgins Trio Self Release
Playlist #1
Playlist #2
Playlist #3

Album Review: Coltrane Rules (Tao of a Music Warrior) – Gary Bartz

Posted in CD Reviews with tags , , , , , , on February 1, 2014 by curtjazz

The following review first appeared in the December 2013 issue of Eric Nemeyer’s Jazz Inside Magazine.

Gary Bartz

gary bartz

COLTRANE RULES (Tao of a Music Warrior) – OYO Recordings  After the Rain; I Concentrate on You; Dear Lord; To Your Lady; Nita; Dahomey Dance/Tunji; Birdtrane; Vilia/Ole; Pristine; The Song of Loving/Kindness; After the Rain

PERSONNEL: Gary Bartz, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, vocals; Barney McAll, piano; James King, bass; Greg Bandy, drums; Andy Bey, vocals; Rene McLean, flute; Makea Keith, vocals; Eric Rose, vocals; Ommas Keith, vocals

By Curtis Davenport

Many times recordings are made, mastered and then shelved. Why? Sometimes it’s because all involved realize how bad the music is and for anyone to hear it would damage an artist’s reputation. Other times the music is good but there are financial squabbles between the artists and the producers/management/record company.  And other times the record company goes under and the recording is orphaned. Those are just a few of the many reasons that tapes can stay on the shelf for years. Sometimes this will deprive the listening public of the chance to hear some good music and sometimes keeping an album on the shelf is a great public service. Veteran saxophonist Gary Bartz’s most recent release Coltrane Rules (Tao of a Music Warrior) consists mostly of tracks that were recorded in 2000. Having now heard them, I can now say “what took you so long”.

Though he has never achieved wide acclaim, Gary Bartz has been on the jazz scene since the mid 60’s when he joined the Max Roach / Abbey Lincoln group. His career has been a series of up and downs and he has dabbled in just about every jazz related musical style from bop to modal to free jazz to jazz-rock fusion to funk/disco and then back to his roots. He made his recorded debut as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers on Soul Finger and he joined Miles Davis in 1970, right in the middle of Miles’ electric/fusion phase.  So when I heard that Mr. Bartz had recorded a Coltrane tribute, I thought that it had possibilities since he, unlike many others making similar projects, was an actual contemporary of Trane’s. It could also, given Bartz’s eclectic history, go in a number of different directions. What would Bartz do? Would he concentrate on the boppish Prestige/Atlantic years, would he use the avant-garde projects of the mid 60’s as a base or would it be a combination of both?

It turns out that Bartz and his quartet at that time chose to concentrate mostly on the mainstream side of Trane, which may disappoint fans of the latter years but it will please many others and probably garner this project a good share of airplay in the jazz radio world. Mr. Bartz was at the top of his game on these 13-year-old recordings, his vinegary tone on alto was strong and his sidemen were swinging like mad, which inspired the leader. He often plays here in the low-end of the alto’s register, which gives him a sound that at times is eerily Coltrane-like.  To his credit, Bartz avoided the over familiar Coltrane works for the most part and he even composed a couple of his own works that fit in so easily that I at first thought that they may have been “lost” Trane pieces.

Things start with a bit of the unexpected; an up-tempo, almost 15 minute take of “I Concentrate on You”. Bartz on starting out on alto, sounds great as he throws out inventive solo lines stretching at times to the boundaries of convention, while pianist Barney McAll is deep into a McCoy Tyner bag, comping behind Bartz with Tyner’s patented block chord figures. After McAll solos, Bartz returns on soprano swinging hard right down to the last minute of the piece, where they create a natural fade out. It’s good stuff. This is followed with a pleasant surprise, “Dear Lord” featuring vocals from the great Andy Bey, one of Bartz longtime musical partners. Mr. Bey’s rough-edged but still velvety baritone fits around the lyric perfectly. “Nita” a Coltrane rarity that he originally recorded on Paul Chambers’ Whims of Chambers sessions, is a hard swinging 4/4 flag-waver; as is “Birdtrane” a Bartz composition, with an arrangement reminiscent of “But Not for Me” on the My Favorite Things album. Also quite compelling are two medleys, where Bartz weaves together two similar compositions; one blends “Dahomey Dance” and “Tunji”, the other very effectively combines “Ole” with “Vilia” from the operetta The Merry Widow.

The name of Mr. Bartz’s new record company is OYO, which stands for “Own Your Own” (as well as being the name of a Nigerian tribe). It is through this type of self empowerment that we finally get to hear these first-rate recordings. Let’s hope that Gary Bartz has more like Coltrane Rules in the vaults.

Another Coltrane Birthday Video Tribute!

Posted in Video Vault with tags , on September 23, 2013 by curtjazz

coltrane - favorite thingsToday, September 23, 2013, marks another birth anniversary of John Coltrane (87, if you’re keeping track). I noticed that ALL of the videos in my prior birthday tribute to Trane have been deleted by copyright owners; anxious to protect whatever profits that they feel would be irreparably harmed by allowing the public to see the clips, without lining their pockets first.

So here I am again with another tribute to the Greatest Of All Time. Please enjoy these clips for as long as they are available.

Let’s start with a powerful albeit truncated live version of “Resolution” from A Love Supreme

“Equinox” from Coltrane’s Sound is one of my all time favorite Tranes. It was recorded in 1960 and remained in the Atlantic Records vaults until 1964.

“Afro Blue” in a clip from Ralph Gleason’s Jazz Casual TV Program. I love watching Gleason, watching Trane!

“Naima” from 1965. It was obviously cold wherever this was shot.

Finally, “Impressions”. The clip is blurry but man, the playing is explosive!!!

Unsung Saxophone Masters – The Introduction

Posted in Unsung Saxophone Masters with tags , , , , , , , on January 16, 2012 by curtjazz

John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Zoot Sims, Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Stan Getz, Branford Marsalis, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Parker… those are just the first ten names off the top of my head, but the list of well-known jazz saxophonists could go on for quite a while.

Because to many out there, the saxophone is jazz – its sounds and those who made them are the fuel of many a glorious legend.  But for every Dexter Gordon or Johnny Hodges, there are dozens more whose names can fuel another romantic legend – that of the talented, but obscure saxophonist.  Someone who had the chops to stand with those in the upper echelon, but who for some reason, was missed by the spotlight. 

Our first series of 2012 will touch briefly on the music, careers and lives of some of those less-heard cats. Though you may have heard some of their names, we hope that we can whet your appetite enough to send you out in search of their art. We’ll try, wherever possible to list a few available CDs, LPs and mp3s by each artist, to start you in the right direction.

Again, our mission is not to stump the scholars but to open the eyes of the masses.

They will appear in alphabetical order, unless someone comes along after I’ve passed that letter, to totally mess up my plans.

We’ll start later this week with Curtis Amy. Who comes after that…well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

We’ve dropped in a few clips by some of the legends to whet your appetite until the series starts.

Until then, the jazz continues and the BAM flows on!

A Birthday Video Tribute to John Coltrane

Posted in In Memoriam, The Jazz Continues..., Video Vault with tags , , , on September 23, 2011 by curtjazz

Today, John William Coltrane would have been 85 years old.

His face is on my personal “Mount Rushmore of Jazz”, so I admit to zero objectivity about him.

Like Miles, much has been written about him, but limited video footage exists. So here are a few fine examples of the art of “The Greatest of All Time”. I hope that you dig them as much as I do.

“Afro Blue” from Ralph J. Gleason’s legendary ‘Jazz Casual’ TV series

From the same program, the still haunting “Alabama”


“My Favorite Things” – 1965 on a cold August night in Belgium