Along with Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Clark, Lee Morgan was one of the jazz musicians from the sixties who could often be relied upon for a strong melodic root. His albums ‘The Sidewinder’ and ‘The Rumproller’ are considered classics for a reason, and even when digging a little further into his work, ‘Candy’ (1957) and ‘Lee-Way’ (1960) are just as chock-full of great and accessible material. Miles Davis might get most of the credit when it comes to classic jazz trumpeters, but most of Morgan’s albums are just as rich. The bulk of his studio work is terrific, very much something jazz novices should gravitate towards after exhausting the usual routes.
In September 2020, Greek musician James Basdanis released his ‘Diddycoy’ EP. The short release was a welcome piece of jazz fusion that also took in elements of rock and funk to give it occasional prog leanings. [You can read a full review here.]
For this Bandcamp Friday, James has a gift for a lucky few. He’s shared a few download codes for a free copy.
A rattle; a cranking sound that suggests revving; muted guitar sounds set against an ominous quiet… At the outset of this EP from fusion musician James Basdanis, things start so disjointedly they give no obvious clue as to where the music will go. After a little more gearing up, Basdanis turns out a few jazzy guitar notes in a melody that strongly suggests a Mediterranean slant, but this isn’t obviously something a world music buff might gravitate towards. Nor is it especially “jazz” in the most traditional sense, but certainly takes in elements of both. Hearing it for the first time, the slow, unfolding melody suggests something from the Frank Gambale back-cat mangled with glee by a Les Claypool project.
Randy and Michael Brecker: legends of jazz fusion, both together and apart. Often called upon for individual session work throughout the 70s and 80s, the brothers appeared on albums by Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Dire Straits. Both were among the most gifted players in their prime: separately, they were great, but together, they could be an absolute powerhouse. This is something that comes across with abundance throughout the archive double live disc ‘Live And Unreleased’. A show newly released in 2020 that captures the second Brecker Brothers Band with bassist Neil Jason partway through a European tour in 1980, the Breckers are on fire.
Led by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Matt Cahill, Evoletah began life as a guitar driven rock band. Their first two albums were enjoyable to a point, but didn’t really do anything that would make them stand out in a world of other similar bands. In 2013, their ‘We Ache For The Moon’ presented something of a rebirth, with the band exploring jazz, rock and pop in a fusion that sounded almost cinematic. It had almost nothing to connect it to anything that’d come before, but it was superb and found a place as one of the year’s best albums. It was, and remains, a record that showcased a lot of musical talent, a broad musical imagination and a willingness to cut the strings of expectation. By doing what came naturally rather than trying to craft a broadly appealing alt-rock hit, the Australian band created an underground masterpiece.