Monday, February 14, 2011

The Hyltonaires: Big Bamboo

Valentine's Day special! The Hiltonaires, who began as the house band of the Jamaica Hilton, bring us a great mento record full of good humor with hints of ska rhythms beginning to creep in at certain points. Many of the songs are covers of calypso and mento standards, although there are a couple that I was not familiar with. The instrumentals on this album are good and the vocal harmonies are a bigger focus here than in most mento music. The album was produced by Coxsone Dodd and released on his Coxsone label. I'd guess this was recorded in the late 50's. The record skips once on the track "Matilda".

Matilda by EasyJams

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jim Helms: Bossa Nova, 1961

Since his death late last year, I've been wanting to put up an album of reed/ flute player Buddy Collette, one of the all time greats of LA jazz. From his work with Chico Hamilton's Quintet in the 50's to his more recent recordings, Buddy's music has always inspired me. On this album, he joins a band directed by Jim Helms to play jazz songs based on Brazilian rhythms. As a soloist, Howard Roberts stands out as much as Collette on many of the tracks. Jim Helms wrote and arranged all the songs on the album. During his career, he mostly worked composing music for Hollywood soundtracks, including to 70's TV show Kung Fu, but also had at least one other title out on Crown Records, the label that released this album. The record wasn't in great condition, but the sound quality isn't too bad.

Buddy Collette: flute, reeds
Howard Roberts: guitar
Mel Pollan: bass
Leo Acosta and Darias: percussion

A Meia-Noite (At Midnight) by Easyjams