MUDDY WATERS - CAN'T GET NO GRINDIN'
Muddy Waters can't get no grinding – but that's hardly a problem, given the strength of this sweet early 70s set! The album marks Muddy's return to more basic Chicago blues after his funky electric period on Chess – but the set's still got some of the trippier touches of a few years before – laid out in a much more spare, basic way! The guitar has a weird quality at times – possibly from the way the electric piano comes across at points – almost a bit like Sun Ra's rocksichord, with all the freaky fuzz that might imply! The harmonica almost feels electric too – and all three instruments come together with a nicely offbeat quality that's really head and shoulders above the usual from the Chicago scene. Titles include "Funky Butt", "After Hours", "Garbage Man", "Love Weapon", "Muddy Waters' Shuffle", and "Mother's Bad Luck Child". ~ Dusty Groove
JOE MCPHEE - NATION TIME
A tremendous look at the early years of the legendary Joe McPhee – a set that's based around his classic Nation Time album, and which features other live material from the same time – including a Hat Hut album, and two CDs' worth of previously unissued work! The core album is legendary – a gritty set that features a mighty funky drummer, and some of the most soulful work that Joe ever recorded. Joe plays tenor and trumpet in sweet lineup that features bubbling organ, vamping rhythms, and some sweet modal elements mixed together in percussion, guitar, and Fender Rhodes. Titles include the hard wailing "Nation Time" – plus "Shakey Jake", an excellent 13 minute funk number – and the moodier "Scorpio's Dance". Next is the searing Black Magic Man album – an early release on the Hat Hut label, but recorded during the same December 1970 performance as Nation Time – almost showing the bolder, freer sound of the group – but still coming across with some surprising soulful elements too. The original album is expanded by the addition of the unreleased "Song For Lauren" alternate takes – and the core record includes "Black Magic Man", "Hymn Of The Dragon Kings", and "Song For Lauren". The next two CDs feature material recorded in 1969 and 1970 – at Vassar and in Poughkeepsie – with Joe and group working through some similar spiritual and soul jazz territory as on the Vassar CD issue from the same label. The music is heavy on elements you'd hear from the Nation Time album – Hammond, guitar, and even some electric bass and vibes – used in styles that run from soul jazz, to modal, to more experimental – all on very long tracks that have McPhee really stretching out on tenor and trumpet! Titles include "Cold Sweat", "Breakaway Theme", "Untitled", "Nation Time", "Sunshower", "Spring Street", and "Contemplation". All 4CDs come in very cool LP sleeves, in a slipcover box, aiwth a 60 page booklet of notes, photos, and information on the music! ~ Dusty Groove
MATS ALEKLINT QUARTET - MATS ALEKLINT QUARTET
A beautifully bold session from trombonist Mats Aleklint – a player we don't know well at all, but who really steps out on this set as a leader for Moserobie Records! The sound is a bit looser than most of the recent work on the label – not entirely free, but nicely without any strong structures – so that Mats can stretch out on these amazing lines on both slide and valve trombone, with a sense of voice and vision on the instrument that we haven't heard since Roswell Rudd! The rest of the lineup is great too – a quartet with mighty nice tenor and bass clarinet from Per Texas Johansson, bass from Joe Williamson, and drums and synth from Christopher Cantillo. Aleklint also plays a bit of thumb piano and pump organ too – and titles include "Nattbuss", "Hur Eller Dur", "Braxen", "Algskog", "Landet Runt", and "Snabbt In Snabb Tut". ~ Dusty Groove