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Unity Returns

Kareem_unity_larry_young_2 It's always a pleasure to share something that you find thrilling. The possibility that others might be the thrilled makes sharing such a pleasure. I recently got a bunch of Blue Note discs for my birthday and inside the package was a flyer that advertised t-shirts that featured retro album covers and one of those albums featured is one of my all-time favorites, UNITY. 

The Unity disc came out in 1966 or so and was giant step forward for the post-bop tradition. It features Organist Larry Young who is backed by Joe Henderson tenor sax, Woody Shaw on trumpet and Elvin Jones on drums. For me this disc distills the post bop sound that Blue Note was known for. All of the musicians are in their own right -first rate performers. Joe Henderson and Woody Shaw had been featured with Horace Silver's band, and Elvin Jones was one of the key contributors in John Coltrane's rhythm section, while Larry Young was an emerging voice on the organ. Organ players were so confined by the Blues and music of the black religious experience that it seemed to the music loving public that the organ would never be heard in any other context. Larry Young blew down the borders that confined the sound of the organ and stretched it out to include the visions of Bud Powell, Tad Dameron and Thelonius Monk.

I have heard people who are not necessarily jazz band fans rave about this disc and I'm sure that those of you who have not heard it will be thrilled to add it to their collection. The t-shirt is neat too! Enjoy..K

p.s. I will be moving my blog within the next two weeks to my website www.kareemabduljabbar.com please follow me over to my site so you can continue sharing. 

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Rats, I don't have this record yet...another one to put on the to-buy list. I wonder if you've ever written about a musician I find myself increasingly fascinated with, Andrew Hill, who passed away about this time last year. A friend of mine wrote a review of Nels Cline's "New Monastery: A View Into the Music of Andrew Hill" and because I knew nothing about AH, I downloaded a couple of his albums from emusic just to check him out. At first I just didn't like them, didn't "get" them, but getting to know the two records has been wonderful, a rich experience...the more I listen, the more I hear, and the *harder* I listen, the more they give back. I'm on my 10th listen to "Black Fire" and 8th to "Blue Black." It's surprising how often I turn to them (I have lots of music to choose from), as well as how consistently and increasingly rewarding I find them to be. I've just decided I'd better acquire some more AH, as he is speaking to me....

(Sorry if this comment is a bit off-topic.)

Mike J.

Hi Kareem,
I'm a jazz fan and I have this record too. I agree that one the most beautiful and modern discs ever released in the 60's. Larry Young plays the organ like an acoustic piano: he dignified an instrument which seemed to be conceived just for the R&B and later for rock bands.The tune " Zoltan " from Woody Shaw is my favourite one and the Joe Henderson's solo is amazing. Kareem I have a very rare record from Larry and Jimy Hendrix playing togheter in 1969 and I would be pleased to post it for you if you are interested.
Kareem many thanks for your blog.
Achille Brunazzi

Hey Kareem -

It was good seeing you at last night's RTF show!

What a band, eh?

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