Cal Tjader Classic Albums.

Bobberman

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I Have enjoyed ( and still do) the Classic Latin jazz sounds of the Late Cal Tjader i was very lucky to have been introduced to 2 of his late 50s fantasy Lps ( thanks to my parents vinyl collection)" the Cal Tjader Quintet " which featured songs like " Philadelphia Mambo" Flamingo" Laura. "Lullabye of Birdland." And others . And his collaboration with Stan Getz " Cal Tjader and Stan Getz sextet". Which has my favorite version of " For all we know" ( not the carpenters version) as i have these two on cd and many others i am wondering how many of you fellow forum regulars . Listen to Cal Tjader and what are your favorite albums by Him? I was only in grade school when i got my first taste of jazz. And my parents had a good variety from the 50s onward.
 

Moritat

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I'm a huge Cal Tjader fan. I've always though Tjader would have been a perfect artist for A&M to sign, but it never happened. I'll give you several reviews of Tjader's lps on Verve. SEVERAL SHADES OF JADE is one of my favorites. The LP has a heavy eastern flavor to it. There are some beautiful cuts and some great upbeat tunes, but there is always an ambiance of the orient on every track. It was arranged by the great Lalo Schifrin. When Downbeat reviewed the lp in 1964, they said it is "commercial jazz at it's best". Highly recommended. Other Verve lps of note are SOUL SAUCE & SOUL BIRD/WHIFFENPOOF are fine straight ahead jazz albums with a latin touch. There is a great sampler on Verve called JAZZ MASTERS 39 / CAL TJADER. It's really a nice selection of cuts from various albums. I've seen it used on Ebay for $6. The one to avoid is BREEZE FROM THE EAST. The arranger Stan Applebaum went against Tjader's wishes with some poor arrangements. Tjader was furious after the session. When jazz DJ Herb Wong asked Tjader to tell him about the new BREEZE album, Tjader told him they should have called it "Breeze From The Men's Room." There's many other great lps by Cal on both Fantasy & Verve. You can always sample Tjader's various lps on Amazon before buying.
 

Mike

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I have several Cal Tjader CDs. One of my favorites is "Last Bolero In Berkeley". It's more of a pop album than jazz. One could subtitle it "Cal Tjader meets Michael Jackson". I was lucky enough to find this CD in a used record shop in Yokohama.

Regards,
Mike
 

Bobberman

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All great posts so far. I have soul sauce as well. ( one of his best on verve) i also have 2 of his skye albums " solar heat" and "Cal Tjader sounds out Burt Bacharach" ( probably like the aformentioned" Last Bolero in berkeley."more pop less jazz") some of his later Concord Picante releases are pretty good such as LA ONDA VA BIEN.which was more of a return to his regular style. And Mike i should probably hunt for the" Last bolero"cd. It sounds like a winner.
 

Bobberman

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The one to avoid is BREEZE FROM THE EAST. The arranger Stan Applebaum went against Tjader's wishes with some poor arrangements. Tjader was furious after the session. When jazz DJ Herb Wong asked Tjader to tell him about the new BREEZE album, Tjader told him they should have called it "Breeze From The Men's Room." There's many other great lps by Cal on both Fantasy & Verve. You can always sample Tjader's various lps on Amazon before buying.
Cal was very right in being ticked about Breeze from the East ( though i never heard it myself) the arranger obviously had his own agenda and just didn't care it seems. And i agree Amazon is great for letting you hear samples before you buy. Saves time and money and you know what you are getting.
 

Rudy

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Breeze from the East is indeed a turd. :laugh: Luckily they included it as a bonus album on the Several Shades of Jade CD. It does have one or two decent tracks, but the rest are more like bad Chinese muzak at times.

I guess I like Cal Tjader. Maybe a little. :laugh:

My mother listened to the records quite a bit. I ended up going beyond the dozen or so that she owned to find at least one copy of every LP he released under his name, except for one or two very early ones, like the 10" LP from the mid 50s. I actually owned quite a few (maybe 40-50?) when through my (now largely defunct) Tjader site, the widow of a lifelong Tjader fan got in touch to see if there were any titles I wanted. I checked, made note of a few I couldn't find, and sent the list over. She had asked for my shipping address, so I figured I'd get a couple records in the mail. She ended up shipping his entire collection to me. :wtf: I was floored.

The only bad thing was that all of the mono vinyl on Fantasy was quite worn. I could tell when he had upgraded to a newer system, as the albums from that point onward were suddenly all purchased in stereo. :D They fared better. Beside being worn to varying degrees, they are quite dusty. Yet, not scratched up.

Luckily one of those titles was the Verve album Saturday Night/Sunday Night at the Blackhawk, which I had only read about (at that point). I've still never seen a copy at a record store. And this one looked to be rarely played. Of course, I'm partial to most of the other Verve titles--Soul Sauce, Soul Burst, Along Comes Cal (features Chico O'Farrill arrangements), Several Shades of Jade and Sona Libre being favorites. Early Fantasy era, I have many favorites but I actually like playing the two "Best Of" albums from that era--they're a nice wrap-up of his best Fantasy work. There is also a straightahead jazz album on Fantasy that I really like: Jazz at the Blackhawk, which has Vince Guaraldi (piano), Al Torres (drums) and Eugene Wright (bass). The Tjader/Getz album is OK but not a favorite--not much of a Getz fan anymore. Of the second Fantasy era, Guarabe (featuring occasional collaborator Clare Fischer) was always a favorite. He had some nice albums on Concord, and luckily got the SACD of La Onda Va Bien before the price skyrocketed. Those three albums on Skye weren't very good--Sounds Out Burt Bacharach is probably the best of the bunch. The live Plugs In at the Lighthouse is poorly recorded but has a few good tunes on it, but heck if I can remember much of Solar Heat.

The Fantasy CDs are a mixed bag--many are two-fers under altered titles, and they often skip one or two tracks to fit the music on one CD. So for me, keeping original albums is an essential move. DCC was the first to reissue the Skye albums, but I had some insider info that these may have been done from needle drops. The only label still slacking in reissues is, yes, Universal--there are still a handful that have never seen a digital release, on CD or by download. So, some favorites like Along Comes Cal and In A Latin Bag have never been on CD.

I think Tjader has somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-80 albums...not counting the records he cut with George Shearing prior to striking out on his own, or other side gigs.
 

Rudy

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The one to avoid is BREEZE FROM THE EAST. The arranger Stan Applebaum went against Tjader's wishes with some poor arrangements. Tjader was furious after the session. When jazz DJ Herb Wong asked Tjader to tell him about the new BREEZE album, Tjader told him they should have called it "Breeze From The Men's Room."
... It's apparent that Tjader did not feel the "readjustments" were adequate. He confessed to a Downbeat interviewer (in the September 8, 1966 issue) that he thought Breeze was "a dumb album", adding that "Creed ... tried for a sound, and when I heard it, I went outside and vomited -- figuratively, not literally."​

Straight from the CD liner notes; that's too good to make up on my own. :D
 

Rudy

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I have several Cal Tjader CDs. One of my favorites is "Last Bolero In Berkeley". It's more of a pop album than jazz. One could subtitle it "Cal Tjader meets Michael Jackson". I was lucky enough to find this CD in a used record shop in Yokohama.

Regards,
Mike
Hey stranger! :wave:
 

Bobberman

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If the Skye albums are indeed needledrops i must say they sound very clean for a vinyl source. To my ears ( the bacharach one in particular.) I couldn't tell and i couldn't Hear any vinyl surface noise. But then again thats just me and i do own several of those early fantasy Cd two fers.and a few single cd album releases (another favorite of mine is Latin Kick.a good example of an early stereo mix from the Late 50s)
 

Mike

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Hey back at you, Rudy! I think I've been away far too long.

Another of my favorites is "Tjader". It's more of an easy listening pop album than jazz and that's fine with me.
Originally released in 1971 on Fantasy, I have it on a 1993 reissued digitally remastered Victor Entertainment (Tokyo, Japan) CD.
I don't remember where I found it but it sounds great to me.

Track list:
I Showed Them - Cal Tjader
Wear Your Love Like Heaven - Donovan
First There Is A Mountain - Donovan
What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life - Bergman, Bergman, LeGrand
Fresh Air - The one and only J. Wechter
You Keep Me Hangin' On - Holland, Dozier, Holland
She's Leaving Home - Lennon/McCartney
Evil Ways - Sonny Henry
Mambero - Cal Tjader

All the best,
Mike
 

Rudy

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Hey Mike! :wave: I know we've wondered where you've been hiding. :D

Another of my favorites is "Tjader". It's more of an easy listening pop album than jazz and that's fine with me.

I never had that reissue of Tjader on CD! But I have the vinyl. It was pressed by RCA during the dynaflex era, and it shows--when you hold it at the edges, the center of the record sags. I swear you can bend a dynaflex record into a taco and it would be none the worse for wear. :D If it was any thinner, they could have stuck it between the pages of a National Geographic like a sound sheet. But surprisingly my best copy plays back cleanly. I've always liked that one.

I will say he took more chances at Fantasy after he left Verve. Amazonas is one album in particular that is always held in high regard.

One album I've really liked is the Eddie Palmieri/Cal Tjader album Bamboleate. They recorded on Cal's Verve album El Sonido Nuevo -- The New Soul Sound, and Tjader returns the favor by guesting on this one. So it leans more towards Eddie Palmieri's style of salsa and Latin jazz. They do a good workup of Tjader's "Samba do Suenho" in a low key style. (And the album is a good introduction to Palmieri's work also; his Azucar Pa' Ti is a good follow-up to Bamboleate.)

To my ears ( the bacharach one in particular.) I couldn't tell and i couldn't Hear any vinyl surface noise.
I've never heard any either, which has always made me doubt the claim.

(another favorite of mine is Latin Kick.a good example of an early stereo mix from the Late 50s)
Los Ritmos Calientes I've liked also. I used to dig those Ed Renfro illustrations on his album covers, like the colliseum with the large audience on Cal Tjader's Latin Concert (which, yes, has a topless lady buried in there, although it's only visible on the vinyl copy :D ). Mambo With Tjader has some of his signature tunes. Latin Kick had an illustration by Arnold Roth, with the band sitting in the shadow of a cactus. (Sort of Renfro-like, but it wasn't his work.)
 

Bobberman

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I too like the Latin Kick cover. Too i also have the Los Ritmo caliente Cd as well as Mambo with tjader. Among others. I have the fantasy Greatest hits Cd ( combined volumes 1&2minus a couple songs) i notice a couple tracks from Mambo with tjader were in true stereo while the Cd album version were in mono im wondering whether the greatest hits versions were rerecorded in stereo ( since mambo with tjader was originally recorded before the advent of stereo recording.) I always wondered about the differences.
 

Rudy

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I believe they were recorded to 2-track originally, but were intended for mono release. An early form of multitrack, in other words. On those "stereo" tracks, you'll notice instruments are placed only in the left and right channels, with a lot of bleed-through due to two mics set up to record the group live in the studio.
 

Bobberman

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I believe they were recorded to 2-track originally, but were intended for mono release. An early form of multitrack, in other words. On those "stereo" tracks, you'll notice instruments are placed only in the left and right channels, with a lot of bleed-through due to two mics set up to record the group live in the studio.
I do notice that i had a feeling those " stereo" tracks were not all they seemed to be although they did sound good considering. And it seems the original mono album versions on cd are "the real deal".and there were several early Fantasy albums on cd which were in mono.( although later issues supposedly were in stereo which i never heard.) Such as the second half of the Black orchid cd which has the album " the Cal Tjader Quintet" only in mono although they list the stereo prefix. And before Black orchid's release i imagine the vinyl version was in two track intended for mono. (Or fake stereo?.Perhaps)
 
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Mike

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This thread has rekindled my interest in Cal so I dug out my Tjader CDs and have been playing them for the last couple of days. My Skye CDs "Sounds out Burt Bacharach" and "Solar Heat" are Japanese reissues (no big suprise on that since I've lived here so long) but the interesting thing is that they were reissued by Muzak Japan. You can see their website here MUZAK -good music from MUZAK- ». It's almost comical that Muzak would reissue Cal Tjader's music, but there it is. On my stereo these two CDs sound fantastic, quite vibrant. Muzak also reissued Cal Tjader's "Plugs In". A great album with probably the worst cover art in the history of cover art.

Also, I listened to Cal's "Extreams" CD and I was really quite taken with the last track "Goodbye"; kind of a melancholy tune that runs for 6:52. Hard to explain why it stood out for me but it did.

Well, back to listening - next up - "Cal Tjader Here and There".

All the best,
Mike
 

Bobberman

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Good choices indeed Mike. The only thing i always wondered is why and How Fantasy Records released their albums on Red Transparent vinyl.back in the 50s. I liked them don't get me wrong. And they were part of my childhood. But i always been curious about that.
 

Rudy

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Good choices indeed Mike. The only thing i always wondered is why and How Fantasy Records released their albums on Red Transparent vinyl.back in the 50s. I liked them don't get me wrong. And they were part of my childhood. But i always been curious about that.
I swore I'd replied to this, but maybe it got lost (never completed it, then closed up the browser). :doh:

In the early days, Fantasy release mono records on the red label and (when stereo came along) stereo on the blue label. The red vinyl I think was an early marketing feature--many early Fantasy LP records were pressed on red vinyl. The first one I had ever seen was a record we had in the basement at my parents house:

Pete Terrace Quintet - Invitation To The Mambo »

I don't even know if that was released in stereo.

The one OJC reissue copy of Tjader's Mambo with Tjader I have was released on red vinyl but they have some odd limiting or compression on the master used to make it, so I go back to my other OCJ reissue from the 80s that sounds right.

I cleaned up my Verve Saturday Night, Sunday Night at the Blackhawk last week and it sounds a lot better now. (Not that it was bad, but all of the low-level noise from dirt and dust is gone now.) I don't think it was played much in the past. Aside from a couple of minor ticks, it plays like new. Still looking for clean copies of a few of the Verve titles, except maybe Breeze From The East. :laugh: I listened to Hip Vibrations last week, not having heard it for many years, and it too comes across as a bit of an oddball. I forget who wrote the horn charts for it, but aside from Cal's playing it is a rather dated sounding album. The Prophet is one I never warmed to, yet was the one title I had seen on import CD for many years. That one I don't understand the fascination with. Tjader (on Fantasy) was similar to both of these and IMHO is a far better record.
 

Bobberman

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I swore I'd replied to this, but maybe it got lost (never completed it, then closed up the browser). :doh:

In the early days, Fantasy release mono records on the red label and (when stereo came along) stereo on the blue label. The red vinyl I think was an early marketing feature--many early Fantasy LP records were pressed on red vinyl. The first one I had ever seen was a record we had in the basement at my parents house:

Pete Terrace Quintet - Invitation To The Ma ymbo »

I don't even know if that was released in stereo.

The one OJC reissue copy of Tjader's Mambo with Tjader I have was released on red vinyl but they have some odd limiting or compression on the master used to make it, so I go back to my other OCJ reissue from the 80s that sounds right.

I cleaned up my Verve Saturday Night, Sunday Night at the Blackhawk last week and it sounds a lot better now. (Not that it was bad, but all of the low-level noise from dirt and dust is gone now.) I don't think it was played much in the past. Aside from a couple of minor ticks, it plays like new. Still looking for clean copies of a few of the Verve titles, except maybe Breeze From The East. :laugh: I listened to Hip Vibrations last week, not having heard it for many years, and it too comes across as a bit of an oddball. I forget who wrote the horn charts for it, but aside from Cal's playing it is a rather dated sounding album. The Prophet is one I never warmed to, yet was the one title I had seen on import CD for many years. That one I don't understand the fascination with. Tjader (on Fantasy) was similar to both of these and IMHO is a far better record.
I also heard that when stereo came the early fantasy stereo Lps were on BLUE vinyl. As well as a blue label ( i can't confirm that though as i never saw a blue vinyl stereo fantasy LP) i was lucky i got my reissues when i did they are rare now.
 

Rudy

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I think I'd heard about the blue vinyl also, but no, I've never seen one. If I poke around Discogs I could probably find one.
 

Bobberman

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I was listening to my Mambo with Tjader Cd just recently and im still very impressed by the balance of the instrumentation being a Mono album. Fantasy seems to have taken great care in presenting these classics in the best possible way ( of course this is just my opinion as i never heard the original vinyl version of many of these with the exception of " The Cal Tjader quintet" album which occupies the second half of the cd " Black Orchid" the first half of which features the album " Cal Tjader goes Latin". A Great two fer.)
 

Rudy

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If you heard how these really sound on the master tapes, you'd realize how these Tjader CDs sound in comparison. :wink: They are not known for using the best sources. I'm glad to have them, and I know that Tjader isn't popular enough that the titles will ever be remastered, so they are still essential to own. If anything, they sound like the original vinyl for the most part (except those two 80s OJC vinyl reissues that sounded "off").

I think they likely mastered these for LP release (using dubs, of course, that were EQ'ed to play back easily on record players of the 50s and 60s), and like many labels, don't bother to research the original tapes when going digital. (I must say Fantasy/OJC's own SACDs are underwhelming for that reason.)

Case in point is the Vince Guaraldi Black Orpheus album. If you play the Fantasy CD, you hear pretty much the same sound quality the other albums have, and the original LP is pretty much the same. Play the gold disc DCC version though, and it is drastically different. Nobody can mistake the difference between the two. :wink: If I can post a sample here somehow, I'll do it.

It makes me wonder how those albums really sound... :wink:
 

Bobberman

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If you heard how these really sound on the master tapes, you'd realize how these Tjader CDs sound in comparison. :wink: They are not known for using the best sources. I'm glad to have them, and I know that Tjader isn't popular enough that the titles will ever be remastered, so they are still essential to own. If anything, they sound like the original vinyl for the most part (except those two 80s OJC vinyl reissues that sounded "off").

I think they likely mastered these for LP release (using dubs, of course, that were EQ'ed to play back easily on record players of the 50s and 60s), and like many labels, don't bother to research the original tapes when going digital. (I must say Fantasy/OJC's own SACDs are underwhelming for that reason.)

Case in point is the Vince Guaraldi Black Orpheus album. If you play the Fantasy CD, you hear pretty much the same sound quality the other albums have, and the original LP is pretty much the same. Play the gold disc DCC version though, and it is drastically different. Nobody can mistake the difference between the two. :wink: If I can post a sample here somehow, I'll do it.

It makes me wonder how those albums really sound... :wink:
Rudy you make a very good point. I kind of wonder the same thing. I also have some of Vince Guaraldi's Albums on cd including Black orpheus. I also love "The Latin side of Vince guaraldi." Cd he does a great jazzy take on The Great Mancini's "Mr Lucky". ( and i grew up hearing Mancini on the radio as well as my mothers LPs and i own several of his albums on cd) i agree although the fantasy cd issues could be improved they are still Essential ( in the case of Tjader and Guaraldi especially. Because many of them are probably out of print by now.)
 

Rudy

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I notice some of the CDs are out of print, and the off-brand imports are starting to flood the marketplace. It would be hard for a casual listener to find the right recording with all of htose knock-offs out there!
 

Bobberman

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I notice some of the CDs are out of print, and the off-brand imports are starting to flood the marketplace. It would be hard for a casual listener to find the right recording with all of htose knock-offs out there!
Very true like all recordings that are 50 years old and more ( given in other countries they fall in public domain.) I noticed there are several Tjader comps out there that I know are Not official or authorized releases. ( Herb Alpert and Sergio mendes music are also in the same boat. as discussed elsewhere) that is Why i still advise Get the genuine article even if if costs a few dollars more. Its worth it.
 

Rudy

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True, we want to steer as many people away from the unauthorized releases. Quality on many is horrible. The cover art alone should be a clue. :wink:
 
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