This 1974, 12-minute electric-jazz masterpiece starts with an attractively sexy, slinky soprano melody and sneakily mutates into blistering solo sections played at a blinding tempo. Recorded before the word "fusion" became a tag for a tired genre this track comes from the seminal album, Headhunters. If you have ears for Hancock's cool Fender-Rhodes shadings and the Headhunter's blazing rhythmic kinetics this could be the very strongest music of this period. Harvey Mason drums brilliantly, forging new rhythms that are peculiarly unique to this recording. I don't know where he comes up with this shit; brilliantly inventive, his energy is unflagging set amidst ascending levels of white hot, mercurial tempo. Paul Jackson plays electric bass with concentrate funk phrasing, his coolly repeated ostinato line is a satisfying compliment to the hyperactivity of the chattering drums and clavinet. The track builds and as it sheds its skins each level is slightly more intense. This is a great record, ignore all the amateur web critics and get this track now!
Note: Many people seem to prefer the sequel album THRUST with the decent Mike Clark on drums. I wish it was as good or better than HEADHUNTERS but it is not.
from Headhunters (Columbia refer to Amazon.com), available on CD
'Laura' has long been my favorite standard. The tune is elegant and haunting, and completely devoid of some of the schmaltzy feel that plagues many popular standards.
Written as an instrumental for the 1944 film of the same name, this was composed as a piano-based number, and so Julie's version is perhaps not the most orthodox recording. However, it's incredibly powerful and atmospheric, and I *think* it's my favorite version.
The entire track lasts just 1 minute and 40 seconds. The first verse is sung as a solo voice without any accompaniment other than the spooky reverberation effect. When the music does come in, it's provided by a small jazz trio led by Barney Kessel. Kessel's delicate jazz chords and picking complement Julie's voice beautifully.
Got a haircut today (short, choppy, fab). Getting a haircut often makes me think of June because she did have the greatest barnet ever - that fringe!
So I've pulled out my June collection - a paltry 4 LPs but growing - and am lovin' a bit of this tonight. The instrumentation here reminds me a lot of Ella Mae Morse's corner of the market, someone I should really get around to recommending on this site.
How High The Moon opens gentle as duck down, moving into a light finger snappin' mood then onto a heavy big band scat rhythm. Christy's technique is superlative and you can almost hear her intuitively measuring the band, taking each note perfectly.
This LP is a set of re-interpretations of songs June originally sang with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Being a June novice, I'm not aware of the original version but I doubt I could like it more.
from June Christy Recalls Those Kenton Days (Capitol ST 1202)