Jan 26, 2021
It’s always a pleasure to have Zev Feldman on the show. Known as “the Jazz Detective,” Feldman has helped bring to light some of the finest unheard music played by jazz masters from John Coltrane to Bill Evans to Sonny Rollins. His projects can be found on a number of labels, but most often on Resonance Records, a division of Rising Jazz Stars, Inc. a California 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation created to discover the next jazz stars and advance the cause of jazz.
Record Store Day 2020 found the release of a series of albums that revival the best that Feldman has ever worked on. Drawn from Jack DeJohnette’s personal archives, Live at Ronnie Scott’s comprises 20 scintillating tracks captured during the Bill Evans Trio’s month-long 1968 residency at the eponymous saxophonist-impresario’s Soho club.
Recordings by the Evans-Eddie Gomez-DeJohnette lineup are as prized as they are rare. DeJohnette was an especially simpatico accompanist for Evans, for he had been a pianist before taking up the drums. Despite their chemistry, the trio played together for a mere six months. During their stay at Scott’s, Miles Davis stopped in to check out the band, and the trumpeter swiftly recruited DeJohnette for his new group. That group, of course, helped change the course of jazz by plugging in and becoming one of the great electric bands of all time. By the end of 1968, Marty Morell was hired by Evans as his replacement, and he drummed behind the pianist through 1974.
At the same time, Live at Ronnie Scott’s appeared, so did Rollins in Holland: The 1967 Studio & Live Recordings, a 3 LP-2 CD release from the legendary Sonny Rollins. The material is comprised of three different previously unissued performances with bassist Ruud Jacobs and drummer Han Bennink in May of 1967 at Vara Studio in Hilversum, the Arnhem Academy of Visual Arts in Arnhem, and a televised performance at the Go-Go Club in Loosdrecht. This represents a fallow period in Sonny’s career, as he did not record for years after his short stint at Impulse Records, so to find these performances is a real boon for jazz fans.
Completing the trifecta was Love You Madly: Live at Bubba’s from pianist Monty Alexander. Performing with an augmented trio of bassist Paul Berner, drummer Duffy Jackson, and percussionist Robert Thomas, Jr., Monty had been recorded by Mack Emerman, legendary founder of Miami’s Criteria Recording Studios on his mobile truck. The tapes were given to Alexander some time after the 1982 gig and had remained in his personal archives until now. We’ll hear more about that recording from Monty himself in a future podcast.
Podcast 790 is my conversation with Zev about these three releases, as well as a preview of some new material coming out this year. Musical selections include two songs from Live at Ronnie Scott's . the first of two versions of "You're Gonna Hear From Me" and "For Heaven's Sake;" from Rollins in Holland we hear Miles Davis' "Four" and from Love You Madly - Live at Bubba's comes Monty Alexander performing "Swamp Fire."