“Best known for his “Mission: Impossible” theme song, Lalo Schifrin is an Argentinean-born composer, arranger, pianist, and conductor, whose jazz and classical training earned him tremendous success as a soundtrack composer. Born Boris Claudio Schifrin in Buenos Aires on June 21, 1932, his father was a symphonic violinist, and he began playing piano at age six. He enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire in 1952, hitting the jazz scene by night. After returning to Buenos Aires, Schifrin formed a 16-piece jazz orchestra, which helped him meet Dizzy Gillespie in 1956. Schifrin offered to write Gillespie an extended suite, completing the five-movement Gillespiana in 1958; the same year, he became an arranger for Xavier Cugat. In 1960, he moved to New York City and joined Gillespie’s quintet, which recorded “Gillespiana” to much general acclaim. Schifrin became Gillespie’s musical director until 1962, contributing another suite in “The New Continent”; he subsequently departed to concentrate on his writing. He also recorded as a leader, most often in Latin jazz and bossa nova settings, and accepted his first film-scoring assignment in 1963 (for Rhino!). Schifrin moved to Hollywood late that year, scoring major successes with his indelible themes to Mission: Impossible and Mannix. Over the next decade, Schifrin would score films like The Cincinnati Kid, Bullitt, Cool Hand Luke, Dirty Harry, and Enter the Dragon. As a jazzer, he wrote the well-received “Jazz Mass” suite in 1965, and delved into stylish jazz-funk with 1975’s CTI album Black Widow. Schifrin continued his film work all the way through the ’90s; during that decade, he recorded a series of orchestral jazz albums called Jazz Meets the Symphony, and became the principal arranger for the Three Tenors, which complemented his now-dominant interest in composing classical music.”
“Central Line in March 1978, and were signed to Mercury Records early in 1979 by John Stainze. The original founding members were Steve Salvari, Camelle Hinds, Lipson Francis and Henry Defoe. Hinds, Francis and Defoe were previously in a band called TFB (Typical Funk Band), which had contained members that would go on to formLight of the World. TFB also contained the drummer Errol Kennedy, who later joinedImagination. Salvari joined TFB after the departure of Kenny Wellington in late 1976, as their second keyboard player and the band members then stood at Salvari, Hinds, Francis, Defoe and Kennedy. The band gigged for about a year then broke up. Francis and Defoe went to work with a bass player who was inBoney M., and Salvari and Hinds staying together to work on various projects.
In early 1978, four of the TFB members got back together, and expanded the previous format by recruiting Linton Beckles and Jake Le Mesurier. The band decided they needed a new identity, and Defoe came up with the name Central Line, because the band were now running down a central line of funk and soul.
They toured with Roy Ayers, Grover Washington, Fat Larry’s Band and The Real Thing. Central Line released their first single, “Wot We Got Its Hot” to a good reception, but their second single “Sticks & Stones” did not fare so well. They finished the year appearing on BBC Television’s, Linda Lewis’ Roadshow.
Salvari left in early 1980. After working with Barry White, Robert Palmer and Sheena Easton, he continues in the music industry as a record producer. Hinds later formed Hindsight with Defoe, and also played bass in The Style Council. Francis and Beckles are now dedicated to the church, and Le Mesurier died in the 1990s.
Despite a club hit with “Walking into Sunshine” which sold well in the United States, and a UKTop 40hit with “Nature Boy”, consistent mainstream success eluded them, and they disbanded in August 1984.”
“A sorely underexposed figure and a major influence on Miles Davis, pianist Ahmad Jamal isn’t generally ranked among the all-time giants of jazz, but he impressed fellow musicians and record buyers alike with his innovative, minimalist approach. Jamal’s manipulations of space and silence, tension and release, and dynamics all broke new ground, and had an impact far beyond Jamal’s favored piano trio format. As an arranger, Jamal made the most of his small-group settings by thinking of them in orchestral terms: using his trademark devices to create contrast and dramatic effect, and allowing the rhythm section a great deal of independence in its interplay. Nonetheless, his ensembles were always tightly focused as well, following their leader through sudden changes in tempo or time signature, and often carrying the main riff of a tune.
Jamal’s own playing was a model of economy; because he didn’t overwhelm listeners with his technique, his flashes of virtuosity had significantly more impact. His lines were spare and light, yet melodically and harmonically inventive, and driven by complex left-hand chord voicings that broke with Bud Powell’s right-hand emphasis. A chamber-like sensibility and a classical formality permeated much of his playing, yet he swung like a jazzman without fail. Miles Davis greatly admired him, borrowing liberally from his repertoire and arrangements, and encouraging his pianist Red Garland to imitate Jamal’s playing as closely as possible; additionally, Jamal’s concepts of space and subtlety greatly affected Davis in his own right, both as a soloist and as a bandleader who (as it’s often put) let the music breathe.
Ahmad Jamal was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on July 2, 1930. He first started playing the piano at age three, began his formal training at age seven, and was performing professionally by 11. By his teenage years, he had completed studies equivalent to a master’s degree, and he had also taken up jazz, inspired by the likes of Erroll Garner, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Count Basie, and Nat King Cole. After graduating from high school, he toured in a supporting role, and caught on with George Hudson’s orchestra in 1949. Later that year, he joined swing violinist Joe Kennedy’s group the Four Strings, where he served as pianist and arranger.
In 1950, Jamal formed his own group, the Three Strings, which also included bassist Eddie Calhoun and the highly percussive guitarist Ray Crawford. They were discovered by Columbia executive and talent scout John Hammond in 1951, and signed to the label’s OKeh subsidiary. Calhoun was later replaced briefly by Richard Davis, and then by Israel Crosby in 1955. Over that period, the group — eventually renamed the Ahmad Jamal Trio — recorded two albums, which included the classic original “Ahmad’s Blues” and a version of “Pavanne” that likely provided the basis for Miles Davis’ legendary “So What,” not to mention the note-for-note melody of John Coltrane’s “Impressions” (years before either had composed those respective pieces).
Later in 1955, Jamal switched over to the Chess label’s Argo subsidiary, where his trio cut the groundbreaking Chamber Music of New Jazz. It was here that he first drew Davis’ enthusiastic approval, and over the next few years, arranger Gil Evans would base some of his seminal work for Davis on Jamal’s interpretations. In 1956, Jamal elected to replace guitarist Crawford with a drummer, Walter Perkins; he in turn was replaced by Vernell Fournier in 1958, which cemented the classic Jamal Trio lineup. The group took up residency in the lounge of the Pershing Hotel in Chicago, where its gigs were greeted with excitement and frequented by many local jazz musicians. These shows resulted in the classic live album Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing: But Not for Me, which became a left-field smash in 1958, climbing all the way to number three on the pop charts; its hit version of “Poinciana” remains Jamal’s signature tune. Some jazz critics never forgave Jamal for this crossover success, though his championing by other musicians has largely muted their derision over time.
In the wake of But Not for Me’s success, Jamal opened his own club, the Alhambra, and recorded prolifically for Argo during the ’60s. Some of his albums continued to enjoy crossover success, including 1958’s Ahmad Jamal Trio, Vol. 4 and 1960’s Ahmad Jamal at the Penthouse, the latter of which teamed the trio with a 15-piece string section masterminded by Joe Kennedy. Two live albums, Alhambra and All of You, documented the group’s 1961 performances at Jamal’s club, though unfortunately it would not exist for much longer. Neither would Jamal’s trio, which disbanded in 1962; Crosby joined George Shearing’s group, but was felled by a heart attack not long after. With arranger Richard Evans, Jamal recorded another jazz-with-strings session, Macanudo, that year, and subsequently formed a new trio with bassist Jamil Nasser (aka Jamil Sulieman) and drummer Chuck Lampkin. Lampkin departed in 1965 and was briefly replaced by Fournier (on the LP Extensions) before Frank Gant was brought in on a permanent basis the following year.
Jamal experienced a minor resurgence in popularity during the late ’60s thanks to albums like 1967’s Standard Eyes and 1968’s Cry Young, the latter of which returned him to the pop charts for the first time in eight years. Later that year, he moved from Cadet (the renamed Argo) to Impulse!, and recorded five albums over the next four years, including the live Montreux Jazz Festival set Freeflight (1971) and Outertimeinnerspace (1972), both of which found him experimenting with the Fender Rhodes electric piano in addition to his standard sound. Additionally, in 1970, he performed an oft-heard version of the theme from the film M.A.S.H. that was included on the soundtrack.
Jamal moved to 20th Century in 1973 for a series of decent-selling albums that kicked off with Ahmad Jamal ‘73, another session with arranger Richard Evans. Others included 1974’s Jamalca, 1975’s Jamal Plays Jamal, 1976’s Steppin’ Out with a Dream, 1979’s One, and 1980’s Intervals and Genetic Walk; of those, the former two and Intervals all made the R&B charts, while Genetic Walk was Jamal’s fifth and final album to reach the pop charts. Nasser left the trio in the mid-’70s and was replaced by John Hurd, and the lineup was also expanded to include guitarist Calvin Keys for the 1976 concert set Live at Oil Can Harry’s (a one-off for the short-lived Catalyst label).
Night Song, recorded for Motown and released in 1980, found Jamal working with an atypically large group; elsewhere, he assembled a new trio of bassist Sabu Adeyola and drummer Payton Crossley. In the early ’80s, Jamal toured and recorded in tandem with vibraphonist Gary Burton, and returned to a major label when he signed with Atlantic in 1985. Digital Works, Rossiter Road, Crystal, and Pittsburgh all made the jazz album charts over the next five years. He recorded for Telarc in the early ’90s, including the well-received Chicago Revisited: Live at Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase (1992) and I Remember Duke, Hoagy & Strayhorn (1994). Also in 1994, Jamal was awarded the American Jazz Master Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Jamal subsequently signed with the French Birdology label, signaling the start of a full creative renaissance; his recordings were initially distributed in the U.S. by Verve and Atlantic, and later by the smaller Dreyfus Jazz label. His first effort, The Essence of Ahmad Jamal, Pt. 1, was rapturously received in France, and marked the first time he’d recorded in a small-group format with a saxophonist (tenor man George Coleman). He followed it with Big Byrd: The Essence, Pt. 2 (1997) and Nature: The Essence, Pt. 3 (1998), as well as the acclaimed 70th-birthday concert L’Olympia 2000. The 2003 set In Search of Momentum was also critically well-received. The live trio session After Fair, which combined standards and Jamal originals, was released on Birdology/Dreyfus Jazz in 2005, one year after it was recorded in France.”
“Ukraine’s Vakula drops another mysterious 12” on an equally mysterious label. Rumored to be another Firecracker offshoot, SHEV001 comes with Vakula’s distinctive, warm analogue production and the minimal graphics remind us of his rework of a prolific composer a couple of months earlier. Pure Detroit beat-down but with that unique Soviet twist that has left Vakula peerless in his field. Essential, timeless and mastered strictly for vinyl. Tip! • Hand Stamped and strictly limited. • 180gm, 45rpm, clear vinyl in black sleeve • No repress.”
“Bearing traces of both Frankenstein and the 1959 Georges Franju horror classic Eyes without a Face, the Japanese The Face of Another is a disturbing Japanese drama featuring Tatsuya Nakadai. His face horribly disfigured in an accident, Nakadai, a wealthy industrialist, commissions a special mask from a renowned plastic surgeon. Nakadai’s wife fails to recognize her husband and makes advances to him, which effectively destroys their relationship. Driven insane, Nakadai turns to murder to compensate for the loss of his identity. The melodramatic elements of the film are neatly blended with moments of erotica and generous doses of existential philosophy. The Face of Another is another thought-provoking “documentary fantasy” from the director of the cult classic Woman in the Dunes.”
“28 year-old Parisian who grew up with the music of Stevie Wonder, Michel Polnareff, Prince and Michael Jackson, Michael Tordjman began by assimilating the music he loved with the sole aim of finding a way of combining the energetic rhythms of the dance floor with the universal harmonies through which we express emotion.
He then met Maxime Cohen, also passionate about music, and together, stimulated by the explosion of the house movement, they decided to compose their own music.
In 1998, Michaël and Maxime founded their own label, Basic Recordings, and named their creative duo Next Evidence. They quickly released several maxis which went straight onto the playlists of the biggest DJs around (Kerri Chandler, Kenny Dope, and Bob Sinclar), collaborated with such well-respected labels as Versatile, Yellow and Ibadan, produced remixes for Dimitri from Paris and King Britt as well as producing discs by other artists such as Julien Jabre, Soha, DJ Grégory, and Dennis Ferrer on Basic Recordings.
At the same time, they DJ-ed at many events and were approached by the major record company, EMI, who offered to produce their first album. In 2000 « Thrills » came out, comprising 13 highly personal tracks made in collaboration with M, Sinclair, Ndea Davenport (Brand New Heavies) and Phife Dawg (aka. A Tribe called Quest) and it was this album that made their reputation for once and for all.
Along the same artistic lines as their album, Next Evidence then decided to create « Sneakers Freaks Club », an electro soundtrack dedicated to the cult of the trainer and oscillating between the sweatiness of funk and the elegance of pop. The collective from the Basic label (Julien Jabre, DJ Grégory, Soha, Cutee B. and Mike R. Max) worked alongside them to produce a series of maxis in the same spirit. Between 2002 and 2004, a whole series of maxis linked to SFC hit the market.
In 2004, Basic brought out its first compilation, « Early Hours » and with it, Next Evidence came to the end of a collaboration, which had lasted more than 10 years. Maxime left the duo to work on projects of his own, and Michael carried on alone.
Today, Next Evidence continues its existence through the production of maxis intended primarily for the house scene, interspersed with evenings where Michael continues to mix (Maxims in Paris once a month, Favella Chic Free your funk in Paris).
In 2005, all the SFC maxis will be collected onto one album and at the same time, Michael is preparing a second, more personal album to be released under a new name.”
“Phyllis Hyman began her career as a silky voiced, jazz-influenced singer and gradually moved into slick, heavily produced urban contemporary ballads and light dance numbers. Hyman won a scholarship to music school and then began her professional career with the group New Directionin 1971. When they disbanded after a national tour, Hyman joined the Miami ensemble All the People. She also worked there with another local group, the Hondo Beat, and appeared in the filmLenny. That was followed by a two-year stint heading Phyllis Hyman & the P/H Factor, before relocating to New York. Hyman did background vocals on Jon Lucien’s Premonition LP and built her reputation performing in New York clubs. Norman Connors made her his featured vocalist in the mid-’70s, and she was highlighted on a cover of the Stylistics‘ “Betcha By Golly Wow,” which appeared on Connors’ You Are My Starship LP. Hyman also sang with Pharaoh Sanders & the Fatback Band while cutting two singles as a lead artist. Buddah released Phyllis Hymanin 1977, but she really began making an impression when she was signed by Arista the next year. The songs “Somewhere in My Lifetime” and “You Know How to Love Me” both made the R&B Top 20. Hyman got her lone Top Ten hit in 1981 with “Can’t We Fall in Love Again,” but her albums did consistently well through the ’80s. The production teams of Mtume/Reggie Lucas and Narada Michael Walden/Thom Bell gave her material that showcased her skill with sophisticated ballads. Hyman had more success when she left Arista for Philadelphia International in 1986, with the single “Living All Alone” putting her back in the R&B Top 20. She also sang on fusion and light jazz dates by Joe Sample, Ronnie Foster, and Grover Washington, Jr., a more conventional jazz session for McCoy Tyner, and a pop date with the Four Tops. Tragically, Hyman took her own life on June 30, 1995; Forever With You was issued posthumously.”
“Grauzone (German for grey area, was a band from Berne, Switzerland active in the early 80s.
At the end of 1979 Marco Repetto (drums) and GT (bass) left the punk band Glueams, to form together with Martin Eicher (guitar, vocals, synthesizer) a new band called Grauzone. Martin had already supported Glueams on their single mental. They gave their first concert in March 1980 at the club Spex in Berne. Martin’s brother Stephan Eicher (guitar, synthesizer) and Claudine Chirac (saxophone) supplemented the group temporarily in live appearances and recordings.
After ten concerts, four singles and an album the group split up at the end of 1982. GT and Marco Repetto formed together with the former Glueams guitarist Martin Pavlinec and the drummer Dominique Uldry, the band “Missing Link”, later “Eigernordwand”. GT supplemented the futurism oriented performance group “Red Catholic Orthodox Jewish Chorus” around performance artist Edy Marconi, in which occasionally Marco Repetto also played. Later the group changed their name to “I Suonatori”. Stephan Eicher started a successful solo career. 1988 published Martin Eicher his solo-EP “Spellbound Lovers”. Marco Repetto started in 1989 a new career as Techno and Ambient DJ, musician and producer (a.o. mittageisen v2). The band is most famous for their 1981 hit “Eisbär” (“Polar Bear”), which was later covered by the French band Nouvelle Vague. The single went to #12 in Germany and #6 in Austria. Another track that was played a lot in dance clubs in the eighties was the instrumental Film 2.”