In a review of Jason Stein's debut album, The Story This Time (Delmark 2013), JazzTimes said "This record kills. The double-horn frontline allows for torrid, bop-rooted synchronicity and numerous moments of unfettered exploration." Stein understands the bass clarinet's history and seeks to extend its comfort zone, and he's not prone to move into the stratosphere, staying in the natural range on his instrument, but picking up the pace manually, the overland route, through force of will. Add to a couple tracks the contrabass clarinet of Keefe Jackson, which ratchets the sound down into the substrata a few notches, and the uncanny play between the anchor and the waves is even more pronounced.
This December 1977 recording features two of the most prominent AACM musicians,
Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton. Mitchell's composition "run the gamut,
beginning with the darkly gorgeous opener that features Braxton's contrabass
clarinet nestling evocatively beneath the composer's earthy flute... Mitchell's
other pieces investigate the sparer, more abstract realm, as the duo's wide
variety of reeds populate the sonic environment with scattered moans, squeaks
and pops. Overall, this is a fine meeting between two of the most forward-looking
thinkers and players in the music. Recommended." -Brian Olewnick, allmusic.com
Anthony Braxton also contributes three compositions.
In the spring of 1965 pianist Don Ewell began his four-week engagement in Toronto that lasted seven months. David Gillman, a jazz fan and one-time promoter, started hanging at the Golden Nugget and was reminded of another stride legend Willie "The Lion" Smith who he had presented in the `40s. Fast forward to '66, Gillman brings Ewell and Smith together for a Canadian TV filming. While in town the two jam together often at the Nugget and informal, live recordings are made (issued as Stride Piano Duets, Delmark 249). The following year the two are brought together into a recording studio and this album is the astonishing result.
Jazz trombonist Joseph Bowie was 22 years young when this live album was recorded. It was his second album and he was establishing his own name - his brother Lester Bowie was already internationally renowned. Shortly after Joseph would form Defunkt. Co-leader Oliver Lake also heralded from BAG, the St. Louis music collective. The extraordinary flutist/saxophonist would co-found The World Saxophone Quartet the year following this Toronto concert. "What Bowie and Lake played was an impassioned and demanding music of the moment that responded as much to what was written on their lead sheets or to their spontaneous concepts as it did to the ambience of the moment." -Coda Magazine, June 1976.
Best remembered for his tenor saxophone playing with Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic from 1946 to 1957 Flip Phillips was a giant of a jazz artist. Phillips moved to Florida in 1954 where aside from occasional tours he was content to play locally in semi-retirement. This 1963 duet recording with guitarist Dell Staton was one of only 2 albums Phillips made in the almost 20 years period after JATP. Your Place Or Mine? "finds Phillips in excellent form playing a variety of his favorite standardsÉthe superior playing by Flip on such songs as 'Ja Da', 'Jazz Me Blues' and 'Gone With The Wind' makes this an album to look for". -Allmusic. To be available on compact disc for the first time.
This 1983 recording, originally issued on Sackville LP, features jazz trumpeter Leo Smith with the Bill Smith Ensemble. "The playing by these adventurous musicians is advanced ad quite free on the four group originals, and all five players share equally in the creation of these fresh explorations." -- Scott Yanow, Allmusic. "An inspired Leo Smith is to be heard throughout Rastafari, ruminating about the spaces of the title piece; singing in the shimmering light of Prentice's 'Madder Lake'; exhorting the madness of war in Bill Smith's anti-war statement, 'Rituals'; and bantering throughout 'Little Bits', the saxophonist's portrait of his daughters. In turn. Rastafari is an inspiring album. This should not be surprising, as inspiration is the function of the hero; and Leo Smith is a hero of American music." --Bill Shoemaker from the original LP descriptive notes.
This 1983 recording, originally issued on Sackville LP, features jazz trumpeter Joe McPhee with the Bill Smith Ensemble. " ...a stimulating set of avant-garde music. The interplay between these masterful improvisors on group originals and Albert Ayler's classic 'Ghosts' is consistently impressive and worthy of a close investigation by the more open-eared segment of the jazz audience." -- Scott Yanow, Allmusic "Vistation breathes as if it were music that was recorded yesterday. Joe McPhee and the Bill Smith Ensemble play music that has no history assigned to it that is evident in the listening. It is the underground vein of music that came up to visit its public." (5 stars) --Lyn Horton, Jazz Review.
Perhaps best known as a blues label Delmark Records actually has issued more jazz albums than blues and was the first label to record Chicago's AACM jazz collective. Founded in 1953 by Bob Koester, Delmark Records continues to record jazz and blues under Koester's leadership including today's cutting edge jazz scene in Chicago. Delmark 60th Anniversary: Jazz features Red Holloway, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis from masters originally recorded for the Apollo label but never issued on CD, Sonny Stitt, Nicole Mitchell, Corey Wilkes, Ernest Dawkins, Kahil El'Zabar, a sneak preview of the forthcoming new album from The Fat Babies, Ira Sullivan with the Jim Holman Trio, Keefe Jackson, Josh Berman and more.