Friday, February 13, 2009

Cool Jazz – The Cocktail Hour

Usually a collection with a title like Cool Jazz: The Cocktail Hour and a cover shot of upwardly mobile folks sipping martinis wouldn't raise eyebrows. Behind the deceptive cover, though, is a sampler from one of the more adventurous jazz labels in the U.S., Evidence. Packed in its 13 tracks are a handful of Sun Ra’s most swinging tunes, including "Plutonian Nights," "State Street," and the R&B burner "Great Balls of Fire" (sorry, no relation to Jerry Lee Lewis' tune). Ra alumni Michael Ray puts a New Orleans touch on his "Beans and Rice" while piano player Ed Kelly teams up with Pharoah Sanders for sophisticated soul-jazz on "Pippin'." Singer Carmen Bradford brightens the collection with sheer exuberance on two tunes, "Chicago Hello" and "Rough Ridin'." This is the hippest cocktail hour around and a great introduction to the Evidence roster.

1 Pippin' Ed Kelly, Pharoah Sanders 4:34 2 Plutonian Nights Sun Ra 3:35 3 Beans and Rice Michael Ray, Cosmic Krewe 5:47 4 Rough Ridin' Carmen Bradford 3:07 5 West Oakland Strut Ed Kelly, Pharoah Sanders 4:37 6 Great Balls of Fire Sun Ra 5:27 7 Samba Kelly, Ed Ensemble 4:31 8 Use Your Hands Babatunde Lea 3:43 9 Kingdom of Not Sun Ra 5:31 10 The Golden Lady Sun Ra 4:55 11 Chicago Hello Carmen Bradford 3:16 12 It'll Be Alright David Hardiman 6:48 13 State Street Sun Ra

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