It seemed like a good idea in the meeting ...
73. Charlie Ventura
Gene Norman Presents a Charlie Ventura Concert / MCA, 1949
A fine swing-era tenor saxophonist who staked his claim to fame with Gene Krupa's big band, Charlie Ventura was a bold soul who attempted to popularize bebop after World War II, a task at which he failed miserably but for which he's remembered fondly. Gene Norman Presents matches Ventura's rough-hewn "bop for the people" approach with the more conservative styles of trombonist Bennie Green, trumpeter Conte Candoli and the popular vocal duo of Jackie Cain and Roy Kral. Their "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" is more successful than Ventura's savage "How High the Moon," but ya gotta give the man props for trying.
Left Above the Clouds / Nervous, 1996
Producer and DJ Josh Wink was internationally influential in Philadelphia in the mid-'90s, even when he was still working out of his bedroom. Suzann Vogel says: "His seminal moment, and a defining moment for electronic music in general, was a track called 'Higher State of Consciousness.' That single literally changed the entire direction of electronic music at that time. It's considered acid house, a category Wink has long been associated with, but its resounding effects made an impact on nearly every type of dance music genre. It can be found on dozens of compilations, but appeared first on this debut full-length album. Left Above the Clouds also contains the signature Wink tracks 'Don't Laugh' and 'How's the Music.'"
75. The Magnificent Men
The Magnificent Men Live! / Capitol, 1967
This seven-piece group from Harrisburg was known simply as the Mag Men by its many fans. The guys toured the toughest houses on the East Coast--the Uptown and the Apollo among them--and consistently won over demanding crowds. And here's the thing--they were white! When they played the Apollo, James Brown was so turned on by their performance that he jumped onstage and sang with them for 45 minutes. This album--recorded live at the old Uptown on North Broad--features a medley of "Sweet Soul Music" and a killer version of Shorty Long's gem "Function at the Junction." This LP has been long out of print. It shouldn't be.
76. Byard Lancaster
It's Not up to Us / Vortex, 1966
A longtime resident of Philadelphia's jazz scene, saxophonist Byard Lancaster's worked with free jazz legends like Sunny Murray as well as more conventional players like pianist McCoy Tyner (see No. 16) and the crazed Sun Ra (see No. 38). This early recording--his first solo effort, newly back in print--includes the avant-garde blend Lancaster's known for, as well as an interesting departure with an imaginative version of "Over the Rainbow"--not exactly familiar avant-garde fodder. He plays the flute on a couple tracks, but switches to sax for Erroll Garner's classic "Misty" and an assortment of his own compositions. His most recent album shows his commitment to his hometown roots. It's called Philadelphia Spirit in New York and is a collaboration with another longtime Philly reed man, Odean Pope.
77. Vikter Duplaix
DJ Kicks: Vikter Duplaix / K7, 2002
The theme is a DJ mix album, but that doesn't mean Vikter Duplaix's contribution to the DJ Kicks series isn't a hallmark of this former Philadelphia Boys Choir member's grander schemes. Like his earlier production work with DJ Jazzy Jeff, Duplaix's brilliant ear hems together an eclectic selection of samples to paint his groove. Inclusive of two-step garage, house and funk, Duplaix represents cuts from Bahamadia, 4Hero, P'Taah, Osunlade, Spacek and De La Soul in one smooth take and steps up as the next generation to carry the Philly's soul torch.
PW's 2015 Gift Guide
Calendar: Nov. 25-Dec. 2
Artie Lange knows the score
Calendar: November 18-25