Friday, February 5, 2021

Little Freddie King - Going Upstairs (Newvelle Records)


Photo by Daymon Gardner

You’ve never met anyone quite like the charismatic Delta blues guitarist and vocalist Little Freddie King. Going Upstairs captures the authentic, incredibly raw style that King embodies, but it also expands on his forms of expression with solo, acoustic, and even gospel influence. Born in Mississippi, King rode the rails to New Orleans at the age of fourteen, began to study guitar, and soon found himself performing in juke joints across the city. King mastered his craft and recorded the first New Orleans electric blues album (Harmonica Williams and Little Freddie King) before setting off to tour with John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley. On Going Upstairs, King is backed by his longtime band members ‘Wacko’ Wade Wright on drums and Robert Louis diTullio, Jr. on harmonica. The album also features the playing of Nashville guitarist Stephen Daly and bassist Paul Defiglia.

Get exclusive access to Newvelle's first single release from The New Orleans Collection


Blue Note Records: 2021-2020 line-up announced for the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series

Blue Note Records has announced the upcoming 2021-2022 line-up for the acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series, which will kick off March 12 with Charles Lloyd & The Marvels’ new album Tone Poem, the first-ever new release to be included in the series. Fittingly, it was Lloyd who first dubbed Harley the “Tone Poet.”

Other highlights include a first-ever vinyl release of pianist Andrew Hill’s brilliant 1969 album Passing Ships, which was rediscovered in the vaults by producer Michael Cuscuna and first released in 2003, and will come out May 7 paired with tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon’s expansive 1964 album One Flight Up. Katanga!, a rare gem from the Pacific Jazz catalog by saxophonist Curtis Amy and trumpeter Dupree Bolton, comes out on June 4 along with a first-time digital release of the album. The Tone Poet Vinyl Edition of Katanga! will include a new essay by Thomas Conrad that elucidates the story behind the album.

The Tone Poet series is produced by Joe Harley and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, California, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” Gatefold Tip-On Jackets.

March 12, 2021
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels – Tone Poem (Blue Note, 2021) *mastered directly from the original 24/96 digital files*

May 7, 2021
Dexter Gordon – One Flight Up (Blue Note, 1964)
Andrew Hill – Passing Ships (Blue Note, 1969)

June 4, 2021
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – The Witch Doctor (Blue Note, 1961)
Curtis Amy & Dupree Bolton – Katanga! (Pacific Jazz, 1963)

July 9, 2021
Sonny Clark – My Conception (Blue Note, 1959)
McCoy Tyner – Expansions (Blue Note, 1968)

August 6, 2021
Lee Konitz & Gerry Mulligan – Lee Konitz Plays With The Gerry Mulligan Quartet (Pacific Jazz, 1953)
Wayne Shorter – The All Seeing Eye (Blue Note, 1965)

September 10, 2021
Joe Pass – For Django (Pacific Jazz, 1964)
Stanley Turrentine – Rough ‘N Tumble (Blue Note, 1966)

October 8, 2021
Sonny Red – Out of the Blue (Blue Note, 1959-60)
Grant Green – The Latin Bit (Blue Note, 1962)

November 5, 2021
Hank Mobley – Curtain Call (Blue Note, 1957)
Jackie McLean – Tippin’ The Scales (Blue Note, 1962

December 3, 2021
Gerald Wilson – Moment of Truth (Pacific Jazz, 1962)
Freddie Hubbard – Breaking Point! (Blue Note, 1964)

January 7, 2022
Kenny Burrell – Kenny Burrell (Blue Note, 1956)
Grant Green – Feelin’ The Spirit (Blue Note, 1962)

February 4, 2022
Harold Vick – Steppin’ Out (Blue Note, 1963)
Bobby Hutcherson – Stick Up! (Blue Note, 1966)

March 4, 2022
Chet Baker & Art Pepper – Picture of Heath (Pacific Jazz, 1956)
Blue Mitchell – Bring It Home To Me (Blue Note, 1966)

April 1, 2022
Donald Byrd – At The Half Note Cafe, Vol. 1 (Blue Note, 1960)
ScoLoHoFo (Scofield-Lovano-Holland-Foster) – Oh! (Blue Note, 2002)

Fred Hersch - Songs from Home (Palmetto Records)

Fred Hersch, who has calmly, sensibly, and passionately bequeathed us some of the most lyrical jazz of the past few decades, was lucky enough to have a house built around a piano. Specifically, a seven-foot Steinway B, with a certain percussive thunkiness to the D above middle C. The breezy way of describing Hersch’s solution to that thunk is that he turned a bug into a feature, as you can hear especially on this album’s versions of Cole Porter’s “Get Out of Town” and Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman.”

More elegantly, more emotionally, we could say Hersch’s found the best possible way to live with these times. Stuck at home because of the pandemic, alone for some of that time, he flipped over to playing one tune a day for his Facebook audience—solo piano, natch. That project eventually evolved into what’s here, although if I understand correctly, none of the Facebook outings made it onto the new set. “Wichita Lineman” sprints along, pulls back, and Hersch unassumingly (he’s always avoided flash) finds spaces between chords that lead to chord substitutions that lead to unexplored territory in the world-famous tune—Zeno’s infinities between two points, or even two measure markers.

He concludes by rolling out another famous tune, “When I’m Sixty-Four.” Stride piano transmutes into new shadings, new volleys, as if he’d collected every single rainstorm of his life, gathered choice raindrops varied by size, shape, color, tinge, velocity, and shade of overhead sky, then let only those fly. I know Hersch’s brilliance isn’t effortless; he’s spoken and written about what he had to go through to reach it. I’m grateful that he did, though, and that he’s here, free to thunk away for (let’s hope) another few decades. - Andrew Hamlin (

1. Wouldn't It Be Loverly 6:09
2. Wichita Lineman 5:50
3. After You've Gone 5:15
4. All I Want 7:16
5. Get Out Of Town 4:38
6. West Virginia Rose / The Water is Wide 5:47
7. Sarabande 5:57
8. Consolation (A Folk Song) 5:10
9. Solitude 6:04
10. When I'm Sixty Four 5:02

Fred Hersch: piano
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Dave Pietro - Hypersphere

Dave Pietro is an A-list reed player who works in the finest jazz orchestras (Maria Schneider, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Ryan Truesdell). He has released eight of his own albums since 1996. With the last two, New Road: Iowa Memoirs and Hypersphere, he has emerged as a leader of importance.

Both records feature trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, keyboardist Gary Versace, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller, drummer Johnathan Blake, and percussionist Rogério Bocatto. Hypersphere adds trombonist Ryan Keberle. Versace, Blake, and Keberle are Pietro's colleagues in Schneider's band. Like Schneider, he uses superior players to bring his inspired compositions and well-crafted arrangements to life.
Pietro's charts achieve remarkable breadth and depth from a three-horn front line. The three-part counterpoint of "Kakistocracy" crashes and careens. On the title track, shifting meters and key centers suggest how unsettled our present moment feels. But Pietro also blends melodic color and harmonic texture to make affirmations, like "Gina," a love song for his wife.

Once a composition has established its emotional domain, Pietro releases it for elaboration by the band's exceptional soloists, starting with himself. On his primary instrument, alto saxophone, his outbreaks of singing, piercing, passionate lyricism embody complex messages. On "Boulder Snowfall," inspired by a winter landscape, Pietro's enormous improvisation grows turbulent. Even if he had not told us in liner notes that he was thinking of modern man's precarious relationship to nature, we would have felt it. — Thomas Conrad (

1. Kakistocracy 07:45
2. Boulder Snowfall 07:00
3. Gina 06:02
4. Hypersphere 06:20
5. Incandescent 07:12
6. Quantum Entanglement 04:52
7. Tales of Mendacity 07:07
8. Orison 05:35

Dave Pietro: saxophones, flute, compositions, arrangements