5

Harry Carney: La Plus Belle Africaine

Harry Carney not only was the first to make the baritone saxophone a viable solo voice in jazz but he had swagger and swing in his improvisations right from those first records in 1927 until his final performances with the Ellington band, just a few short months after Duke’s passing in 1974. As proved by all those Ellington performances captured on film and recordings, he was a sure-footed foundation and integral fiber of what Ellington strived for in his sax section.

-Scott Wenzel

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Sun Ra 171: Sun Ra’s UC Berkeley Lecture (sshh!) and Reading List

When Sun Ra served as artist-in-residence at the University of California Berkeley, he gave a lecture, in African American Studies 198  — variously also known as Sun Ra 171, The Black Man in the Universe and The Black Man in the Cosmos. Open Culture revives Sun Ra’s 1971 lecture, surreptitiously recorded, purportedly by a student, and Sun Ra’s reading list.  

-Nick Moy

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Sun Ra 171: Sun Ra’s UC Berkeley Lecture (sshh!) and Reading List

When Sun Ra served as artist-in-residence at the University of California Berkeley, he gave a lecture, in African American Studies 198 — variously also known as Sun Ra 171, The Black Man in the Universe and The Black Man in the Cosmos. Open Culture revives Sun Ra’s 1971 lecture, surreptitiously recorded, purportedly by a student, and Sun Ra’s reading list.

-Nick Moy
Read Article…

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Offering: Legendary John Coltrane Concert Recording

Here’s a documentary on the new release “Offering – John Coltrane Live At Temple University” from November 11, 1966. The original Temple University radio tapes of the concert were found and used. I remember this concert well because I did not attend. I’d just moved to Philly to go to college and I cannot for the life of me remember why I couldn’t go that night. I hadn’t seen Coltrane for 10 months at the point and would have been intensely curious about what he was up to. The next day, I bumped into my friend Steve Knoblauch, who lived in the next dormitory, and asked him how it was. He said, “Great and I sat in!!” It took him a year to convince me that he wasn’t full of it. Now he has the proof.

-Michael Cuscuna

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The Rolling Stones: Love in Vain Live

Some people get it, some don’t. This live 1972 performance of Robert Johnson’s Love In Vain is an example of how The Rolling Stones “got” American black music on a level that most others didn’t. They got the feel, the tempo, the emotional fabric and the dynamics that defined black music from Robert Johnson to Ray Charles to Muscle Shoals. Mick Taylor’s bottleneck guitar is absolutely angelic here.

-Michael Cuscuna

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5

Louis Armstrong Mickey Rooney: The Strip

Plenty of blowing on this 1950 clip from a rarely seen Mickey Rooney feature called The Strip. And quite bizarre to have William Demarest intro Louis Armstrong’s All Stars let alone for one of the featured numbers to be “Shadrack”! The band sounds good and we even get a chance to hear Cozy Cole ghost for Rooney and some of the first film captured of a brand new hit for Louis that he would keep in the books for years: A Kiss To Build A Dream On.

-Scott Wenzel

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Beethoven: Grappling with the Grosse Fuge

Beethoven’s epic late masterpiece for string quartet, his Opus 133, called the “Grosse Fuge,” (or, in English, “Grand Fugue”), met with nearly universal consternation upon its first performances in 1826: one critic called it “incomprehensible, like Chinese.” Hmm. Make no mistake, though: even today, like encounters with another great, Cecil Taylor, listening to this piece is nearly always at once challenging — maybe even at times perplexing — and exhilarating. I once read that if you run at a perfect pace, at the end you should feel “pleasantly exhausted.” So with Cecil — and this piece. The Brentano String Quartet performs.

-Nick Moy



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