Wednesday, April 8, 2009

CD of the Day - "CTI All Stars: Live in Munich"

CD of the Day
CTI All-Stars: "Live in Munich" (CTI) 1972/2009

Produced by Creed Taylor
Featuring: Bob James, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Hubert Laws, Joe Farrell, Hank Crawford, Grover Washington, Jr., Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Esther Phillips, Jackie & Roy.
A stunning 3-CD set hosted by radio DJ Frankie Crocker, and recorded live at Munich's Kongresshalle on August 20, 1972, as part of the "Jazz Now! Festival" that took place in Germany, coordinated by Joachim Ernst Berendt, during four days as part of the art program of the Munich Olympic Games. Thus the title of the original (and unofficial) vinyl issue, "CTI Olympic Jazz."
Gabor Szabo and Airto Moreira were also scheduled to appear, but had to cancel because Gabor's father was dying in the hospital and Airto's daughter (with Flora) was borning that week in NY. Curiously, Bob James plays acoustic piano in several tracks, but also solos on Fender Rhodes sometimes, in tunes he had not recorded in their original studio versions ("Sugar," "Red Clay," "Impressions" etc). Anyway, I miss Hancock's heavier grooves. It's very interesting to listen to the original pre-Deodato version of "Zarathustra", arranged by Bob James with a different funky bass line, used as opening theme of the CTI All-Stars concerts since 1971 (for details, please refer to his interview to the October 11, 1973 issue of DownBeat scanned below).
There are many other surprises throughout the night, such as Turrentine and Hubbard soloing on Grover Washington's feature "Inner City Blues/Mercy Mercy Mercy" (it used to be a tour-de-force only for Grover, as documented on the "CTI Summer Jazz Live at Hollywood Bowl Vol.1" LP, captured less than three weeks earlier on July 30, 1972) and Bob James using the Hammond organ when backing Esther Phillips.
Also loved Jack DeJohnette's killer drum solo on a 25-minute massive version of Joe Farrell's "Sound Down", from "Outback". Hank Crawford plays a soulful rendition of Erroll Garner's "Misty", while Hubert Laws takes the spotlight on Chick Corea's "Windows." Grover plays his ass off on the above mentioned Marvin Gaye medley repeated as the concert outro. Two vocal numbers by Esther Phillips and three by Jackie Cain & Roy Kral are also brilliant, notwithstanding the negative audience reaction to Jackie & Roy's more conservative and non-funky approach.

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