Lately, I've been exploring some crime jazz and film noir soundtracks recorded outside Hollywood and New York during the early 60s, and found some interesting work being done in South America.
If you hear echoes of Lalo Schifrin in Sergio Mihanovich 's swinging 1962 score for Los Jóvenes Viejos recently reissued by Sony BMG Argentina there's good reason for it. Guitar-playing musical director Oscar López Ruiz assembled the combo for the session from the remnants of Schifrin's Buenos Aires-based jazz orchestra (including a young Gato Barbieri ), with the extremely capable Rubén López Furst taking over the piano chair when Schifrin split with Dizzy Gillespie. Listen to Mihanovich get nice on the mic with Ruiz and crew on the B.A. Jazz standards set tacked on gratis.
Peruvian jazz pianist Jaime Delgado Aparicio had a much larger group of musicians on hand to create the soundtrack to 1966 thriller El Embajador Y Yo (VampiSoul), which shifts smoothly from low-key lounge groovers to smoky ballads and on to the orchestral surf jams that betray his Berklee schooling. From the five 1964 recordings by Aparicio's jazz trio, you just know he was blowing all his lunch money on Horace Silver records. www.vampisoul.com
What happens when your favourite Dutch DIY thrashers the Ex and some of their horn-honking pals get down with Ethiopian saxophone colossus Getachew Mekuria in a north Holland studio? Naturally, you get a skronkingly brilliant cultural collision of cataclysmic proportions. The blast through the traditional Ethiopian war chants and songs of praise on Moa Anbessa (Terp) shows why Mekuria really deserves that "Albert Ayler of Ethio-jazz" handle and why the Ex are the greatest improv jazz combo ever to masquerade as a punk band for 28 years.
And check out Toronto's own Brodie West adding some alto saxophone heat. Don't miss the Ex when they make a rare local appearance at Lee's Palace June 23. www.terprecords.nl .
Virginia's soul secret
You couldn't really have an R&B band in the early 60s without trying to start at least one dance craze. Virginia's Little Wink and Eddie's 25th Century Band saw about a decade's worth before putting out the Peacock in 1972, in which our man Wink boldly claims, "That Funky Chicken will look like a cold duck when people start doing the peacock."
Unfortunately, it never caught on, likely because the groove was about five years out of date. That's true of many of the productions of writer/ arranger/entrepreneur Lenis Guess and sidekick saxophonist Dorsey Brockington compiled on the amazing 25-track Ol' Virginia Soul - Encore! (Arcania International) disc, which explains why they weren't knocking out hits. But there's lots to enjoy in misses like the brain-frying opener, Baco Walk - Part 2, by Ricky and the Impressionables Band , Alonzo Tucker 's cleverly penned Start All Over Again, a sweet response to Tyrone Davis's Can I Change My Mind courtesy of Ida Sands , and Barbara Stants 's marvellously arranged Shadow Of Your Footsteps that sounds like it was created with the RZA in mind. Get a deal on all three volumes of Ol' Virginia Soul at www.dcdrecords.com .