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Jazz Gumbo
A Fusion of Flavors for the Ear!
Category: Jazz
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by Kirby Obsidian
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October 17, 2017 10:53 PM PDT
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Artist - Tune - Album
Jaco Pastorius - Chromatic Fantasy/Blackbird - Word of Mouth
Eddie Harris - Don’t You Know Your Future’s In Space - Come On Down!
Ray Charles & Cleo Laine - Bess, You Is My Woman Now - Porgy & Bess
John T. Davis - Last of the Blues - Last of the Blues
Pat Metheny - Have You Heard - Letter From Home
Aretha Franklin - Call Me - Aretha’s Greatest Hits
Joe Bonner - Celebration - Angel Eyes
Jimmy Smith - The Sermon - The Sermon
Wayne Shorter - Endangered Species - Atlantis
Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio - Black Radio
Billy Cobham - Lunarputians - Total Eclipse
Dianne Reeves - Afro Blue - I Remember
Tower of Power - What is Hip? - Tower of Power
Billy Cobham - To the Women in My Life / Le Lis - Spectrum
Tony Williams - Geo Rose - Civilization
Vital Information - Lorenzo’s Soul - Ray of Hope
Buckshot Lefonque - Weary with Toil - Music Evolution

The great piece used to open each Set of Jazz Gumbo is “Music Evolution” by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot Lefonque.

This was my tenth Set ever, and before I did any editing of the Sets. I’m amazed that there are so few technical glitches and patches of dead air. You’d be amazed at how much of that I edit out of most Sets these days. I guess this means that I’ve regressed on the technical end. Oh well!

Re-listening to this Set reminds me of how excited I was each week to play so many favorites I’d never shared before, that I guessed many listeners would be hearing for the first time.

Have you heard Jimmy Smith’s “The Sermon”? That’s one that takes me back to my childhood, soaking in the music my parents brought into the house. It’s a piece that really speaks to the era, in urban Black America. I think you’ll soak it in too.

How about Ray Charles and Cleo Laine? What amazing, soulful singing! Cleo, who comes from a totally different musical tradition than Charles, really keeps up on this one.

Give it to John T. for his gorgeous melody. He’s an artist originally from the US who we get to hear around Toronto now and then.

Another new Set will be posted in just a few days.


October 10, 2017 10:33 PM PDT

Artists - Tune - Album
McCoy Tyner - Departure - Focal Point
Stephane Grappelli & Gary Burton - Daphne - Paris Encounter
Tower Of Power - You Got To Funkifize - Bump City
Oscar Peterson - Reunion Blues - The Peterson Big 6 at Montreux 1975
Herbie Hancock - Steppin’ In It - Man-Child
Fats Waller - Ain’t Misbehavin’ - Giants of Jazz
Sarah Vaughan - In A Sentimental Mood - After Hours
Art Tatum - Stardust - The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, vol. 4
Return to Forever - Where Have I Known You Before - Where Have I Known You Before
Return to Forever - Song to the Pharoah Kings - Where Have I Known You Before
Sweet Honey in the Rock - Dream Variations - Sweet Honey In The Rock

The song that introduces Jazz Gumbo is “Music Evolution” by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot LeFonque.

Without intending to, this became an all-vinyl Set, so that it’s all pretty old music, in fact it’s all music from 1976 and earlier. But that doesn’t keep this Set from covering a pretty fair range, from as traditional as you can get, with Grappelli, Tatum and Vaughan, to high powered funk – Tower of Power, and shape-shifting fusion – Return to Forever, and a slice of socio-political gospel for the finish.

The, there’s the interesting juxtaposition of Herbie Hancock’s “Steppin’ In It” and Oscar Peterson’s “Reunion Blues”. They are both upbeat, rousing numbers. I refer to them during the Set as ‘party jams’. They are both led by pianists with excellent supporting casts, including harmonicas, wielded by Toots Thielemans in Peterson’s ensemble, and by Stevie Wonder in Hancock’s.

Yet, their styles are so different. They emerge from different eras, different landscapes. Try imagining the 1950’s jazz club you might’ve heard an ensemble like Peterson’s: a tight little spot on a neon lit street, all in brown and gray, with clinking glasses and smoke in the air. Then transport yourself to the 70’s, to a club all glistening with flashing light and color, the embroidered bell-bottoms and thin rolled joints. And yet, they were both recorded in 1975!

… And Yes, I admit I’d like more follows. So I’m repeating the invitation: sign on and I’ll make available files of my older sets, which you’ll find at jazzgumbo.blogspot.ca . And, of course you’ll be notified of each new Set as I post it.

Thanks as always for lending your ears. And nice hearing from you!

Kirby Obsidian

October 06, 2017 02:49 PM PDT
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Artist - Tune - Album
The Jazztet featuring
Art Farmer & Benny Golson - Farmer’s Market - The Jazztet at Birdhouse
La’Porsha Renae - Breathe - Already All Ready
Bob James - Farandole - Two
Toshiko Akiyoshi - Pagliacci - Interlude
Molly Johnson - Summertime - Live – Montreal 2008
Horace Silver - Calcutta Cutie - Song For My Father
Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabate - Catfish Blues - Kulanjan
Cassandra Wilson - Blue In Green - Point Of View
Miles Davis - Blues For Pablo - Miles Ahead
Eddie Harris - Really - Come On Down!
Eddie Jefferson - Parker’s Mood - Golden Essentials
Sarah Vaughan - Stardust - No Count Sarah

The song used very appreciatively as the Theme for Jazz Gumbo is “Music Evolution” by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot LeFonque.

In my humble opinion, Sarah Vaughan has one of the greatest voices of all time! And La’Porsha Renae has one of the great voices of this time. In both cases, it isn’t just the voice itself, but what they do with it. Molly Johnson and Cassandra Wilson ain’t no slouches neither! And where voices are concerned, let’s not forget Eddie Jefferson. The members of Manhattan Transfer, in liner notes to one of their albums, call him the greatest jazz singer of all time. I don’t disagree. He was the absolute best at singing his way. There’s no one quite like him. The same can be said of Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Bobby McFerrin, Aretha, Al Green…and on and on. They were/are each the greatest at doing their thing.

So, what’s the point of superlatives, of G.O.A.T. labels? (greatest of all time). Maybe there isn’t one. I don’t think that jazz has ever been about climbing a mountain, about ascending over rivals. If anything, it’s more about carving out a little hill – or valley – that’s unlike any other, that gives a fresh perspective.

I once had an English teacher who liked to say that every word you learned gave you the ability to think a new thought. And there’s something to that. Every new jazz artist – or every creative musician, period – gives you a new way to hear music. Which is one of the reasons that standard tunes are such a staple in jazz. They provide context and contrast. “Summertime”, “Blue in Green” and “Stardust” are as standard as standard can be. You‘ve heard them all before. But you’ve never heard any of them quite like this before. Molly Johnson, Cassandra Wilson and Sassy Sarah make them fresh and sparkly new.

Long live Jazz! Long live Creative Expression!

An Appreciation Bonus to Followers of this Jazz Gumbo:

If any of you are ever interested in listening to earlier Sets of Jazz Gumbo that are no longer available for streaming or download from Podomatic, I will be glad to send them to you via an internet file-sharing service. I’d like to limit this to 3 Sets at a time, for now anyway.

You will find a complete playlist of all Jazz Gumbo Sets at jazzgumbo.blogspot.ca
You can request the Sets you want by sending me an email to kobsidian@hotmail.com or by leaving a comment on this site.

I’ll warn you that very early Sets were unedited, and were posted exactly as they streamed originally from Radio Regent. And since learning the technology of online broadcasting has been an on-going learning experience for me, you will experience a few more glitches. In other words, an even purer experience. winking (Which reminds me, I’ve decided to finally invest in some record-cleaning technology. I’ve been watching youTube videos about them, and them seem to do wonders with old vinyl. Any recommendations out there?)

Kirby Obsidian

September 30, 2017 10:54 PM PDT
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Artists - Tune - Album
Roberta Flack - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow - Quiet Fire
Stephane Grappelli & Gary Burton - Blue In Green - Paris Encounter
Charlie Haden & Quartet West - Bay City - Quartet West
Diana Krall - Body & Soul - Steppin’ Out
e.s.t. (Esbjörn Svensson Trio) - Tide of Trepidation - Viaticum - Live in Berlin
Billy Cobham - Balancing Act - The Traveller
Chick Corea’s Akoustic Band - Sophisticated Lady - Akoustic Band
Jazzmeia Horn - Afro Blue / I See You /
Wade in the Water - A Social Call
Pat Martino - Masquerada - Starbright
Keith Jarrett - In Front - Facing You
Vital Information - Sixth Sense - Ray Of Hope

The song used very appreciatively as the Theme for Jazz Gumbo is “Music Evolution” by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot LeFonque.

You will find a complete playlist of all Jazz Gumbo Sets at jazzgumbo.blogspot.ca

I recorded this Set fresh from seeing the stage production “Beautiful: the Carol King Story”, and full up of the magic of the wonderful songs written by the teenage song-writer. The opener is one of King’s compositions, as I first heard and fell in love with it.

There are a number of other great covers of frequently interpreted classics in this Set: “Blue in Green”, “Body & Soul”, “Sophisticated Lady” and “Afro Blue” have each been performed countless times. It’s one of the things I love about jazz, that great songs are constantly re-invented, given fresh expression, often bringing to them elements I imagine the original composers never themselves imagined.

I guess we might say that the essence of creativity is that it’s self-perpetuating. Every creative act gives rise to others, sometimes opens the way for others. Isn’t it fascinating that Thomas Edison, one of the world’s greatest inventors, had no idea that his phonograph would lead to the recorded music industry. Apparently, he thought he’d invented a handy gadget for keeping business records.

Kirby Obsidian

August 23, 2017 01:11 AM PDT
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Artists - Tune - Album
Bobby McFerrin - Good Lovin’ - Simple Pleasures
Pat Metheny - 80/81 - 80/81
Woody Shaw - Seventh Avenue - Stepping Stones
Shirley Horn - My Funny Valentine - I Remember Miles
Charlie Haden & The Liberation Music Orchestra - Silent Spring - Time/Life
Mahavishnu Orchestra - Miles Beyond - Birds of Fire
Eddie Gomez - Amethyst - Power Play
Stanley Clarke - Hello Jeff - Journey To Love
Louis Armstrong - Heebie Jeebies - The Louis Armstrong Story, vol. 1
Santana - Jingo - Santana
Stephane Grappelli - Lover Man - Satin Doll
Jean-Luc Ponty - Aurora – Part II - Jean-Luc Ponty: Live
Amina Claudine Myers - Louisville - The Circle Of Time
George Benson - Cast Your Fate to the Winds - The George Benson Collection
Kevin Eubanks - The Gloaming - The Messenger

The song used very appreciatively as the Theme for Jazz Gumbo is “Music Evolution” by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot LeFonque.

You will find a complete playlist of all Jazz Gumbo Sets at jazzgumbo.blogspot.ca

We have lots of strings leading the way throughout this set: guitars, violins, basses. It wasn’t by design, but the contrasts of styles, as well as the flow of rhythm and melody felt right. Listen for those strings. Lots of masters represented here.

I must say that one of the standouts is Stephane Grappelli. That’s in part because his classical style is so different than most of the other offerings. But his virtuosity always catches my attention. What beautiful lyricism!

Not much in the mood for words, so I’ll just let you get to the music.

Kirby Obsidian

August 03, 2017 09:40 PM PDT
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Artists - Tune - Album
Arthur Blythe - Down San Diego Way - Lennox Avenue Breakdown
Vital Information - Mr. T.C. - Live From Mars
Pharoah Sanders - Think About The One - Journey To The One
Erykah Badu - What’s Yo Phone Number /Telephone - But You Caint Use My Phone
Medeski, Martin & Wood - House Mop - Friday Afternoon in the Universe
John Surman - On The Wing Again - Such Winters of Memory
Laurie Anderson - O Superman - Big Science
Joe Bonner - Celebration - Angel Eyes
Pocketwatch - Intimacy - It’s About Time
Joshua Redman - Soul Dance - Wish
David Murray - Djolla Feeling - Gwotet
Andy Narrell - Another Drum For Oskar - Slow Motion
Ibrahim Maalouf - Illusions - Illusions
Ibrahim Maalouf - Conspiracy Generation - Illusions
Taj Mahal - Johnny Too Bad - The Best Of Taj Mahal

The amazing tune that opens Jazz Gumbo week after week is “Music Evolution” by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot LeFonque.

You will find a complete playlist of all Jazz Gumbo Sets at jazzgumbo.blogspot.ca

Please give a good listen to Joe Bonner’s “Celebration”.
This set is full of the human voice, and Linda Sharrock’s is one of them, dancing in among the wood and ivory, brass and skins and gut. It’s a tune I know will lose listeners in its middle, where it gets sharp and raucous, but if you allow your ears to bend with the sounds, they won’t be offended. It’s a beautifully moving piece.

I also love my friend Gerry Bryant’s song “Intimacy”. Great to hear him with such a strong piece of music, and a strong group of musicians.

And you know, otherwise, I spoke enough about the music though the Set. And I think it contains some interesting contrasts. I hope you will all enjoy!


July 29, 2017 11:27 PM PDT
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Artist - Tune - Album
Buckshot Lefonque - Music Evolution - Music Evolution
John Coltrane - Lush Life - Lush Life
Esperanza Spalding - Can’t Help It - Radio Music Society
Roberta Flack - Gone Away - Chapter Two
Pat Metheny - 5-5-7 - Letter From Home
Joanne Brackeen - C-SRI - Snooze
Billy Cobham - To The Women in My Life - Spectrum
Billy Cobham - Le Lis - Spectrum
Pharoah Sanders - Farah - Rejoice
Billie Holiday - Yesterdays - Giants of Jazz – Billie Holiday
Wes Montgomery - Four On Six - Willow Weep For Me
Freddie Hubbard - Sweet Return - Sweet Return
Roberto Fonseca - Yeyeo - Temperamento
Norman Connors - Dreams - Slewfoot
Aretha Franklin - Wholy Holy - Amazing Grace
Sekoya - Bill - Dalawa
George Benson - Moody’s Mood - The George Benson Collection

While I continue to work on editing the latest Set, I thought it would be good to re-post a really fine old one. I played Roberta Flack's "Gone Away" just a few weeks ago, but otherwise I haven't played any of these tunes in a long time. And I believe I combined them quite well back then.

Enjoy! And I'll have the 17 July 2017 Set up soon.


July 20, 2017 09:48 PM PDT
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Artists - Tune - Album
Chick Corea - Return To Forever - Return To Forever
Russell Gunn - Neo – So - Krunk Jazz
Sekoya - Heavenly City - Sekoya
Charles Mingus - Devil Woman - Me, Myself An Eye
Bill Frisell - Cadillac 1959 - Good Dog, Happy Man
Headhunters - Ms. Yum Yum - Straight From The Gate
Brian Blade - He Died Fighting - Landmarks
Blood, Sweat & Tears - Smiling Phases - Blood, Sweat & Tears
Al Di Meola - Race With Devil On Spanish Highway - Elegant Gypsy
Jack DeJohnette - Steppin’ Thru - Directions
The Ink Spots - If I Didn’t Care - The Best Of The Ink Spots
Billy Cobham - Dippin’ The Biscuits In the Soup - The Traveller
Baaba Maal - Koni - Nomad Soul
Lou Donaldson - South Of The Border - Gravy Train
Art Farmer - So Beats My Heart For You - Art

The song used very appreciatively as the Theme for Jazz Gumbo is “Music Evolution” by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot LeFonque.

You will find a complete playlist of all Jazz Gumbo Sets at jazzgumbo.blogspot.ca

Sometimes, I don’t have a thing to say about the Set. It is what it is; words can seem superfluous. Kinda like the naming of tracks. But so many of the tracks in this Set bear names that fit.

My favorite is “Dippin’ the Biscuits in the Soup”. Though what the track signifies to me corresponds more closely to the title of the album: “the Traveller”. For me, it’s a road tune, for sure. As a matter of fact, I first listened to it extensively during a road trip from Toronto to Atlanta, to deliver my elderly father into my brother’s care, then back again, solo. Listening to this music while the highway unwound beneath me and the day shifted through its phases was perfectly fitting. Music for the occasion.

Interestingly, the compositions by the other two master drummers in this set – Brian Blade and Jack DeJohnette – might each be better matched to the title of the other. Does “Steppin’ Thru” refer to death? That tune certainly has more of the feel of struggle than Blade’s, which to my ear suggests a more self-determined transition.

Other titles here that I appreciate are “Cadillac 1959” and “Race with Devil on Spanish Highway”. I guess these are all somewhat literary titles. And it’s also fair to say that I can only really love a title if I love the music. “Devil Woman”. It that one politically incorrect? That may depend on how you interpret Devil. The music suggests sensuality and seduction more than outright evil. Yes, maybe there’s an element of ‘Beware’ there. How about “Ms Yum Yum”? The ‘Ms’ puts forward one attitude – a somewhat respectful one, while the ‘Yum Yum’ goes in an entirely different direction, doesn’t it? I love the easy flow of the rhythm, the lilt in the slight melody.

‘Jazz’ and ‘Gumbo’ are both words I really like. It occurs to me that putting them together is almost redundant. They both speak to an intuitive randomness of combination, aiming for maximum flavor. Like starting with a general idea and riffing on it, never knowing exactly what you’ll come up with.

Yeah…I like that. Jazz Gumbo – creating flavors for your ears.

Thrive, Good People!

July 13, 2017 10:20 PM PDT
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Artists - Tune - Album
Kamasi Washington - The Magnificent 7 - The Epic
George Duke - Uncle Remus - The Aura Will Prevail
Hugh Masekela - Night In Tunisia - I Am Not Afraid
Cannonball Adderley & Nancy Wilson - The Old Country - Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley
Bill Frisell - The Godfather - When You Wish Upon A Star
Thelonious “Sphere” Monk - Light Blue - Thelonious In Action
Linda Lewis - What Are You Asking Me For - Lark
Tony Williams - The Slump - Civilization
Joni Mitchell - Help Me - Court and Spark
The Bad Plus Joshua Redman - As This Moment Slips Away - Joshua Redman & The Bad Plus
Wynton Marsalis - Twilight - Wynton Marsalis
Horace Silver - All In Time - Silver ‘N Voices
Clifford Brown & Max Roach - Joy Spring - Jordu
Derrick Gardner & The Jazz Prophets - Just A Touch - A Ride To The Other Side
Carolina Chocolate Drops - Trampled Rose - Genuine Negro Jig
Kenny Garrett - November 15 - Songbook

The song used very appreciatively as the Theme for Jazz Gumbo is “Music Evolution” by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot LeFonque.
You will find a complete playlist of all Jazz Gumbo Sets at jazzgumbo.blogspot.ca

Nancy Wilson’s voice is stunning.

Monk has a style like no other. It’s like he lives in another world, and translates what we know as music into the music of his world…for our enlightenment.

Sometimes, it’s a single song that makes me an artist’s fan for life. “Help Me” is what did it to me for Joni, though, in truth, it was “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” that pulled me in deeper, and the “Mingus” album, deeper still. But this is where the love affair started.

Wynton is not my favorite Marsalis. That would be brother Branford. But his skill and talent are so dazzling that they transcend whatever he happens to be playing. Here, what he’s playing is pretty stellar, too.

Horace Silver album “Silver ‘n Voices” struck me as pretty gimmicky at first – like “Silver ‘n Brass”, “Silver ‘n Percussion”, etc. The thing is, when you’re really good, even the gimmicks work. And I’m so in love with this album. The chorus of voices just sets of that sweet, melodic style of his. What a mood. What a feel. It just hums along.


…and just where are those requests and recommendations? Hmmm?

July 03, 2017 10:55 PM PDT
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Artist - Tune - Album
Airto Moreira - O Galho Da Roseira - Seeds On The Ground
Charlie Parker - Scrapple From The Apple - Charlie Parker Anthology
Al Green - I Can’t Get Next To You - Greatest Hits
Dave Liebman - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Quest
Jowee Omicil - Morais Spirit - Let’s Bash!
Cleo Laine - What You Want Wid Bess? - Porgy & Bess
Keith Jarrett - Great Bird - Death And The Flower
Ray Charles - What’d I Say - The Greatest
Janne Schaffer - Dimbaa Jullow - Katharsis
Hermeto Pascoal - Hermeto - Hermeto
The Isleys - Brother, Brother - Brother, Brother, Brother
Robert Glasper featuring Mos Def - Black Radio - Black Radio
Joanne Brackeen - Beagle’s Boogie - Ancient Dynasty
Ramsey Lewis - Party Time - Up Pops Ramsey Lewis
Mahalia Jackson - Move On Up A Little Higher - Great Songs Of Love And Faith
Aretha Franklin - I Say A Little Prayer - 30 Greatest Hits
Sly & Robbie & Amp Fiddler - Serious - Inspiration Information
Dave Holland - Breathe - Prism

The song used very appreciatively as the Theme for Jazz Gumbo is “Music Evolution” by Branford Marsalis and Buckshot LeFonque.

You will find a complete playlist of all Jazz Gumbo Sets at jazzgumbo.blogspot.ca

There are so many kinds of fusion. All music is fusion in the sense that it’s all a coming together of traditions and influences. I don’t think any of the music in this set, nor most of what we listen to anywhere these days, resembles music of a hundred years ago, let alone a thousand. Which is why it makes sense to go along with music’s constant morphing into new and different music.

What is some of my favorite fusion from this Set? No doubt that Airto’s opening number is one of them. Such a traditional sound and feel to it. It owed a lot to the instrumentation, which includes an accordion, Japanese Sapho, Cellocoustic guitar, cello, bass, violao, and lots of Airto’s percussion. Omicil, Sly & Robbie and Amp Fiddler, and Jarrett also include “folk” sounds in their offerings.

Glasper presents a fusion of jazz and Hip Hop that is in some instances funky, and elegant in others. Listen to his glistening piano work toward the end, layered over a back rhythm. Holland and Schaffer have some very different musical blends. But even the most “conservative” work here, you might think Cleo’s bit of Gershwin, or Mahalia Jackson, or Charlie Parker… what? Charlie “Bird” Parker conservative? Well it depends on the vantage point we see it from, right. It all certainly exists within the turbulent flow of music through time.

Be Well and enjoy the Summer!

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