Monday, September 1, 2008

Gene Perla's debut solo album

After a four-decade carrer, bassist Gene Perla, formerly with Elvin Jones, Nina Simone, Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughan and other jazz greats, is releasing his first CD as a leader, "Bill's Waltz", which features Elvin, Don Alias, and the NDR BigBand. Set to release on September 9 (Elvin's birthday), the album contains nine original compositions, arranged and orchestrated by Gene, and "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man," arranged by Bill Warfield.

As a founding member of the Stone Alliance band (along with Steve Grossman and Don Alias), Perla performed and recorded in Brazil with Marcio Montarroyos on their acclaimed 1977 album which also featured Hermeto Pascoal, Dom Bira, Carlos David Sion, and Erasto Vasconcellos (Naná Vasconcellos's low-profile brother). Produced by Gene Perla, that LP got a 4-star rave review in DownBeat magazine at the time of its original release in the USA. During a second tour with Marcio and Sergio Dias Baptista, Mark Gray joined the original Stone Alliance.

I also treasure my vinyl copy of Elvin Jones' "Live at the Town Hall" (issued on Stone Alliance's label, PM Records), with Gene, Chick Corea, Joe Farrell and Frank Foster. Recorded in 1971 during a "John Coltrane Memorial Concert", released in 1975, that album includes extended versions of only two pieces: Keiko Jones' "Shinjitu" and Frank Foster's lovely "Simone". I keep wondering how many unreleased tracks a CD reissue could reveal...

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