Impulse!

Shabaka And The Ancestors ‎”We Are Sent Here By History” (Impulse!)

2020-05-07T20:40:32+00:00May 7th, 2020|

The project was formed in early 2016, leading to their debut album later that year Wisdom of Elders; a document of sessions combining Hutchings with a group of South African jazz musicians he’d long admired. His connection to the group was Mandla Mlangeni (bandleader of the Amandla Freedom Ensemble), whom he’d flown there to play with over the past few years.

We Are Sent Here by History is a meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning. A questioning of the steps to be taken in preparation for our transition individually and societally if the end is to be seen as anything but a tragic defeat. For those lives lost and cultures dismantled by centuries of western expansionism, capitalist thought and white supremist structural hegemony the end days have long been heralded as present with this world experienced as an embodiment of a living purgatory.

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John Coltrane “Blue World” (Impulse!)

2019-09-27T03:43:53+00:00September 27th, 2019|

Blue World, a new album by the legendary saxophonist. Recorded in 1964 and largely unreleased until now, the 37-minute session was intended as a soundtrack for Le chat dans le sac (“The Cat in the Bag”), a film by the Quebecois director Gilles Groulx. Only 10 minutes’ worth of the music actually appeared in the film, and none of it has appeared on any prior album.

Like Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, an unearthed mid-Sixties Coltrane LP released for the first time in 2018, Blue World features the saxophonist helming his so-called classic quartet with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones. The album was recorded in June 1964, in between two celebrated Coltrane masterworks: Crescent and A Love Supreme, tracked in April and December of that year, respectively.

The session stands out among those and many other Coltrane Impluse! dates: Typically the saxophonist used his studio visits to document new pieces, but Blue World consists of new takes of pieces he’d recorded before, including the classic ballad “Naima,” which debuted on 1960’s Giant Steps; “Village Blues” and “Like Sonny,” from 1961’s Coltrane Jazz; and “Traneing In” from 1958’s John Coltrane With the Red Garland Trio. The title track employs the chord changes from “Out of This World,” a Harold Arlen song that Coltrane had recorded for 1962’s Coltrane. A midtempo six-minute piece on which the saxophonist solos with slow-burning intensity over a hypnotic waltz-time vamp, it’s available to hear above.

The master tape eventually found its way to the National Film Board of Canada, and Impulse! received it early last year. Just as Both Directions at Once was released 55 years after its 1963 recording, Blue World is coming out this year, 55 years after the session, and the release of the film.

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Archie Shepp “Fire Music” (Impulse!)

2019-08-23T02:46:49+00:00August 23rd, 2019|

Vintage free-jazz from Archie Shepp and group, landing in the middle of heady times when it was initially released in 1965. The aptly titled Fire Music was Shepp’s second album on Impulse! and notably includes a track dedicated to Malcom X and a version of a Duke Ellington number. Reissued by Impulse! themselves.

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Mccoy Tyner “Inception” (Impulse!)

2019-08-23T02:46:48+00:00August 23rd, 2019|

The piano pioneer’s 1962 debut solo album was a groundbreaking trio date featuring Art Davis on bass and his John Coltrane Quartet bandmate Elvin Jones on drums. Concentrating mainly on original compositions, Inception also featured inspired takes on “Speak Low” and “There Is No Greater Love.”

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Dizzy Gillespie “Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac” (Impulse!)

2019-06-28T04:15:07+00:00June 28th, 2019|

Originally released in 1967, Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac is a live album by jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.
From AllMusic: “A strangely popular album for Dizzy Gillespie, Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac represents a period in his career where he was adapting to the times, keeping his goof factor on board, and individually playing as well as he ever had. This club date, recorded over two days circa May of 1967 from The Memory Lane in Los Angeles, has Gillespie with soon to be longtime partners James Moody and Mike Longo, joking and jiving with their audience, presenting a relatively short program of modified pop tunes and one of the trumpeter’s most revered compositions. Drummer Otis “Candy” Finch is more than up to the task, but electric bass guitarist Frank Schifano is the weak link, playing basic lines, or unfortunately out of tune. Longo moves from acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes, while Moody’s tenor or alto sax and flute are as distinctive as ever. Gillespie’s voice, inspired by Eddie Jefferson or perhaps Billy Eckstine, was never meant for singing, but is delightful in his attempt. “Kush” is the track that, over nearly 16 minutes, starts with Dizzy’s preachings about Mother Africa and Moody’s wavering flute, but Schifano’s insistently off-key ostinato mars what is otherwise Gillespie’s bright and fluid trumpet sparring with Moody’s alto in louder, then softened dynamics and Longo’s dainty piano chords. The band modifies Jorge Ben’s “Mas Que Nada,” made popular by Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, into a boppish swinging and swaying tune with Latin inferences. The title track, Gillespie’s singularly unique and famous adaptation of the gospel song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” has he and Moody chatting back and forth in campy ghetto and Afro-Cuban vocal antics gleaned from Chano Pozo, degenerating into nothing, then a modest vocal line. While somewhat disingenuous, Gillespie’s vocal attempt at being a romantic troubadour during “Something in Your Smile” cannot be taken seriously, but is somehow quaint and endearing.”

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Oliver Nelson “The Blues and the Abstract Truth” (Impulse!)

2019-05-31T19:20:51+00:00May 31st, 2019|

In February of 1961, the sessions that later constituted the album Blues and the Abstract Truth were recorded for a new jazz label distributed by ABC-Paramount, Impulse Records. The sessions were produced by Creed Taylor, who would go on to produce classic recordings on the Verve label, and his own CTI label.  Oliver Nelson had a career full of highlights by 1961. Originally from St Louis, Missouri, he had played in the bands of Louis Jordan, Louis Bellson, Erskine Hawkins, Wild Bill Davis and Quincy Jones. He had also been a house arranger at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem in New York City. Nelson had made some albums under his own name as well.

But it was this album that became his first masterpiece. An all-star ensemble was assembled: with Nelson were Freddie Hubbard, Eric Dolphy, George Barrow, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, and Roy Haynes. One of the compositions on the album became a standard: Stolen Moments. The album received ecstatic reviews from the jazz press and has rarely been out of print since its original release.  Nelson went from success to success, making big band and small group albums in a variety of settings under his own name and accompanying jazz and pop artists. He composed symphonic music as well, and toured extensively even after he moved to Los Angeles in 1967 and became established in the film and television world. He also gave workshops and seminars. He was only 43 when he died in 1975.

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Comet is Coming “Trust in the Lifeforce” (Impulse!)

2019-03-30T19:24:56+00:00March 30th, 2019|

Title may not arrive until April 1st. Feel free to email or call to check arrival date

On Trust In The Life Force Of The Deep Mystery, the Mercury Music Prize-shortlisted futurist jazz voyagers The Comet Is Coming are making music for these crisis times of chaos and mass meltdown. The title of the album, the band say, concerns “finding meaning in that which you cannot grasp”, it considers “truth in the existence of a primordial energy”. It asks “What does it mean to be human? The music on the trio’s second record, out on impulse!, fluctuates between pulsating, danceable, electronic groove-centric pieces and quieter, melodic jazz-infused compositions. The Comet Is Coming are: Danalogue (keyboards/electronics), Betamax (drums) and King Shabaka (saxophone).

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Pharoah Sanders “Thembi” (Impulse!)

2018-12-23T02:16:19+00:00December 23rd, 2018|

If you have to pick one Pharoah record, this is unquestionably that one, a textbook definition of spiritual jazz perfection, equal parts healing and challenging. I came to this album looking for a Photek sample and stuck around for the transcendental cosmic vibes, frolicking jazz-funk, stirring free jazz freakouts and thorny bass solo madness (Cecil McBee’s “Love”). This was supposedly Lonnie Liston Smith’s first time touching an electric piano, and that sense of awestruck realization beams through in the sublime Rhodes playing on “Astral Traveling,” the album’s opening track which Smith composed. Thembi has been in serious need of a reissue for a while now (30 years since the last pressing), and this one was well worth the wait, with clean replica gatefold artwork and gorgeous sound. After having to endure pointless, unwanted catalog drudges from the major labels year after year (we’ve increasingly had to rely on labels like Superior Viaduct, Be With, Light In The Attic et al for decent sounding reissues of no-brainer jazz essentials like this), it’s nice to see them come correct every so often. Recommended.

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John Coltrane “1963: New Directions” (Impulse!)

2018-12-14T15:50:14+00:00December 14th, 2018|

5LP Boxset. DEAR LORD!! The release of John Coltrane’s Both Directions At Once provided new insight into what was already thought to be the storied jazz saxophonist’s breakthrough year as a composer. This new 5xLP boxset further magnifies Trane’s genius by compiling all his Impulse! recordings from 1963 (that we know of) in one package. Includes (1) Both Directions At Once, (2) John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (recorded just one day after Both Directions), (3) Dear Old Stockholm, (4) Newport ’63 and (5) Live at Birdland.

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Sons Of Kemet “Your Queen Is A Reptile” (Impulse!)

2018-07-26T21:37:22+00:00July 26th, 2018|

Sons of Kemet will be releasing their hotly anticipated new album, ‘Your Queen Is A Reptile.

The LP will be released via seminal Jazz record label Impulse! Which has previously released records from legends of Jazz including Pharoahe Sanders, Alice Coltrane and John Coltrane. Something band leader Shabaka Hutchings has described as “an honour”.

Sons of Kemet are ready to make the next step in their evolution as one of the bands at the forefront of the UK Jazz revival. With appearances already scheduled for the summer festival season including at the Great Escape, Brainchild Festival and Field Day London.

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