Curtis Counce "You Get More Bounce with Curtis Counce".
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Art Ensemble of Chicago: Les Stances A Sophie or A Jackson in Your House
Sun Ra: Other Voices, Other Blues
Evan Parker: Breaths and Hearbeats
All of the above are 'free improv' of one sort or another. This genre is pretty 'outside' (not a single mention in Ken Burns' "Jazz" on PBS) which is too bad. If you can handle mid to late Coltrane, these guys are well worth checking out. The Sun Ra one is very rare, but he was very prolific (had his own label) and uneven so try to listen to a bunch before deciding that you understand what he was up to. Evan Parker is technically astonishing sax player - he can play two melodies simultaneously on one instrument - who, after producing tons of unlistenable material in the 70's and 80's, is now making what I think is the most original music out there, jazz or otherwise; oddly beautiful.
I'll probably make a more extensive here later this evening, after I get home from work, but the first album that jumped to mind that fits the "best unknown jazz recording" is a duet by Bill Evans and Jim Hall titled "Undercurrent". One of my all-time faves that got a 5-star rating from Downbeat in the early 1960's. More suggestions later.......
Sugarbrie, the title is "Discovered Again" and yes it is wonderful. This album is one of Sheffield's finest. It is very dynamic and I have used it for years to do stress testing of systems. It can easily find the flaws in a system. Thank you for the reminder and the opportunity to second your selection.
I love Count Basie on "For The First Time", and with Oscar Peterson on "Satch And Josh". These guys are hardly unknown, but these efforts are way undervalued in their catalogues. Similarly Duke Ellington's album "For Blanton". Check out Jessica Williams "Jessica's Blues" - I defy anyone to dislike this album. For some relatively unknown Kiwi artists try pianist Mike Nock (I love "Ondas" on ECM), and an "acquired taste" jazz singer called Malcolm MacNeill "Skylark".
If anyone decides to look for that Grusin/Sheffield LP, be advised that around 1990 there was a copy made of this album. It was made from a copy of the master and not quite like the original sonically. Still pretty good sounding and nice to listen to. The original is a collectors item, so make sure the person selling it has the Sheffield original. I bought mine new in 1978 or about.
Anyone heard or listened to Julian Priester? I can't find the damn thing and can't remember the title -- I DO remember it is interesting. Talking about jazz obscurities, I picked up a Czech (Supraphon) LP by J. Stivin & Co Jazz System, "Five Hits in a Row". Dating back from 1973, it's a great piece!