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Columns > Dan Alford - Audio Files

Published: 2006/03/16
by Dan Alford

Single Tracks

Quick Picks:
Phil, 12/4/05- Phil with Scofield
Warren Haynes and Friends, 2/1/05- The best of the best
Dylan and The Band, Before the Flood- A phenomenal live album from all those involved
Soulive, 5/13/00- A true classic, the last Wetlands show
MMW, 1/24/04- Crazy, groovy Japanese music

_All the following are single tracks worth hearing for one reason or another. Some, like The Codetalkers, come from sets where every note is worthy; others, like the RatDog, maybe less so. _

Coltrane, Live Trane: The European Tours, Disc 7
Afro Blue

A short, tight Afro Blue from Paris, this one stems from McCoy Tyners fleet fingers. He spins and whirls into the first solo, charging up and falling back seemingly simultaneously. He works up a little left hand structure that sends Jones to pieces and calls in the horn- bold and direct. Trane begins to shift to hints of the self manufactured call and response that would become a hallmark of 1965, but instead toys with the theme and flutters to the bridge. Instead of plunging into the depths as one might expect, he pushes the movement higher, like blowing on a feather as the music grows quieter and then flares in a final moment. Sometimes Coltrane is best digested in small bites.

The Codetalkers featuring Jimmy Herring, Terra Alta, WV 8/6/05 Im So Glad

From the middle of The Codetalkers set at the Garcia Birthday Bash, Im So Glad. Jimmy Herring played the whole tour, and while the song is just a real fine song, Sunshine takes this version over the top. From his first notes over Bobby Lee Rogerss rhythm, the tune oozes emotion. Bruces vocals are strong, but restrained- drained and tired as the tune calls for. Jimmy snaps out a throaty solo after the first verse, polishes it and lets it shine, the whole band falling place behind him. Hes flying, just flying. Bruce growls out the second verse and the unit busts into the chorus en masse, the Col. Shredding the lead- Im so glad, Im glad, Im glad, Im glad.

SKB, _Eudemonic Sessions _ Jam

A studio jam from the Eudemonic sessions, this offering quickly establishes a low, gritty groove with Alphonso Johnson and Mitch Stein linked up and stretching notes down their necks- the pair always was a treat to behold. Rodney is pretty loose, knocking about while Kimock noodles and tests before picking a plan of attack. Eventually he settled into sharing fills between rhythmic cycles. Alphonso rumbles and grumbles here and there as Kimock retreats to the rhythm, setting Mitch free to stroll. Soon its a full band jam with everyone dancing around the theme. The music goes spacey, carried on the delicate back of Mitchs delicate fingering. Rodney fills out the space and calmly steers the quartet back to the theme where he can crash and roll before all the ideas are fully realized in a mighty final roar.

Garaj Mahal, San Francisco, CA 11/27/05
Make a Hippie Happy

What seems to be a pretty standard Hippie Happy opener takes a turn towards trance. Its usual effervescent self bubbles up on round keys and slick swinging guitar. Eric takes the first lead, with Fareed pushing him right up to the tumble back to the bridge. The guitar now opens into a quiet, wide space with echoy pauses that develop into a slight trancey break beat. Fareeds fingers feel the frets and Alan makes it solid. A garden of licks and defined ideas hangs above the movement and traces the path back to the finale.

Ratdog, Dead to the World, 3/1/06
Jack Straw

A pretty classic RD opening jam floats and ours down a sluice, hinting at Playing with licks and brightness, but after a minor sax/guitar swell, it eases into Jack Straw. After the first verses, the jam takes hold, confident and focused. The drawing is so varied in rhythm and textures, blocks and rims and Jays big swinging kick. Marc is racing at the apex when Bobby shouts, Pressure! Pressure drop! and the whole thing drops right down to a killer, subterranean reggae jam. Its long and deep and dubby. By the time the jam rises back to Jack Straw, youve long forgotten that was where you were headed. And from there on up to the hazy Bird Song space that lies expansively at the core of the band.

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