|Global Standard Time
T &T Music
Global Standard Time evidences an exuberant musical scenarist in Washington, DC-area percussionist Tom Teasley. For his fourth disc (following last years word beat collaboration with poet-actor Charles Williams), the percussionist makes a case for himself as a highly imaginative conceptualist. Hes anything but a busy noise-maker anxious to play with all his toys. Rather, Teasley is a colorful, intellectual and surprisingly spare musician, employing his talents in the orchestration of sound.
Here, he covers ten rather too-familiar jazz standards: two by Monk, one each by Ellington, Coltrane, Luis Bonfa, McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane and a welcome oddity from Sonny Rollins ("No Moe"). But he renders them inventively -- with either attractively unusual instrumentation (in most cases buoyed by guitar, flute and trombone) or by reconsidering their familiar rhythms altogether.
For instance, Teasley redefines both "Straight No Chaser" and "Well You Neednt" by cutting them to half time, giving the former a Bayou party swagger and the latter (with the leader on electric piano) a quirky funk mannerism. He goes baroque on "Beautiful Love" (which, like "My Foolish Heart" reveals a highly creative voice on vibraphone) and by arranging "Manha de Carnaval" as a waltz for flute and Linda Teasleys wordless vocals, nearly achieves something ethereal.
The disc is especially highlighted by lovely readings of the lullaby "Alice in Wonderland" and the moody "Equinox" (both showcasing Teasleys less-is-more talents) and, most especially, the always too exotic "Caravan." On this evocative slice of Ellingtonia, Teasley lets the lightness of the acoustic guitar lead the procession, with ever-subtle punctuation from flute and trombone while the percussionist ingeniously deploys unusual uses of unusual percussion (in this case, an Irish bodran hand drum, a Middle Eastern rig and an African udu).
Global Standard Time offers much that is worth hearing: intriguing and appealing instrumental combinations, notable musicianship (Teasley especially, but also Rick Whiteheads guitar and John Jensens trombone) and an accomplished taste of Tom Teasleys unlimited talents.
Songs: Straight No Chaser; Caravan Manha de Carnaval; Beautiful Love; Alice in Wonderland; Passion Dance; Equinox; My Foolish Heart; No Moe; Well You Neednt.
Players: Tom Teasley: drums, percussion, vibes, keyboards; Rick Whitehead: guitar; John Previti: bass; John Jensen: trombone; John Wubbenhorst: flute; Linda Teasley: vocals on "Manha de Carnaval"
Composer and arranger Vince Mendoza has explored differing varieties of orchestral music over some half dozen discs since 1988. But its only for others (Clare Fischers recent Latin Side and his Grammy nominated work on Blue Notes recent Brian Wilson tribute) that the talented 38-year old has worked with a string orchestra.
With Epiphany, Mendoza gets the opportunity to pair his grand sensibilities (and sensitivities) with the London Symphony Orchestra, a distinctive aggregate familiar to many through its presence on lots of British pop records and a variety of film scores, notably those of John Williams.
While Epiphany isnt really a revelation, it is an easily enjoyable blend of interesting improvisation from jazzs most distinctive voices (many from the ECM roster) interacting with Mendozas gently careening string conceptions. Its probably worth nothing, too, that its not a jazz "with strings" record either. Its more like the strings-with-jazz flair of an elegant film soundtrack and more similar to what Claus Ogerman has done mixing jazz with classical music.
Mendozas melodies are impressively impressionistic. Unfortunately, theyre not as memorable as what his soloists offer. A shame too, because this composer is certainly up to the difficult task of composing for an 80-piece string orchestra. However, several notable performances are evident and make this attractive set well worth hearing. Trumpeter Kenny Wheeler is pristine and lyrical on "Wheaten Sky" and the beautiful "Sanctus." Guitarist John Abercrombie poetically glides through "Impromptu," "Wheaten Sky," "Esperança," "Epiphany" and "Barcelona." The marvelous and underrated pianist John Taylor is appropriately Evans-escent on "Esperança" and "Sanctus." Tenor man Michael Brecker, whos done this sort of thing before with Ogerman, is in perfect form for "Esperança" and "Barcelona." And Joe Lovano sounds positively romantic on "Ambivalence" and "Epiphany."
The production is a bit too crystalline (theres a digital echo that becomes a bit bothersome after several tracks). But its probably appropriate to the lush environs of what could well become Mendozas name-making project.
Songs: Impromptu; Wheaten Sky; Esperança; Ambivalence; Sanctus; Epiphany; Barcelona; Deep Song.
Players: Kenny Wheeler: trumpet; Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker: tenor sax; John Abercrombie: guitar; John Taylor: piano; Marc Johnson: bass; Peter Erskine: drums; London Symphony Orchestra.
Night of the Mark VII
Tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan (1931-93) recorded consistently excellent hard bop throughout his three and half decades in jazz. But he was arguably never better than when heard with pianist Cedar Waltons Magic Triangle (which also figures among Waltons best work too). The quartet, with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Billy Higgins, was recorded prolifically between 1973 and 1976 -- mostly for Steeplechase under Jordans name and Muse under Waltons name. Any one of these sets are highly recommended, offering some of the finest, most expressive hard bop ever made.
Night of The Mark VII, named for Jordans Selmer Mark VII horn, was originally released in 1975 on Muse Records then re-issued on a 1991 CD titled Highest Mountain. Its a sterling five-song set typical for the group and recorded live in Paris on March 26, 1975. Features include the Jordan chestnut, "Highest Mountain," the Walton classic, "Midnight Waltz," Sam Joness excellent "One For Amos," the jazz standard "Blue Monk" and the little-known Bill Lee tribute, "John Coltrane." It adds up to the pinnacle of bop music: memorably played by its most stalwart messengers. Timeless and easily recommended.
Songs: John Coltrane; Highest Mountain; Blue Monk; Blue Monk; Midnight Waltz; One For Amos.
Players: Clifford Jordan: tenor sax; Cedar Walton: piano; Sam Jones: bass; Billy Higgins: drums.
The Real Thing
Hard bop drummer Louis Hayes has often been heard in memorable encounters with Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson and McCoy Tyner (among many others). But he has an exceptional knack for assembling some of the tightest, most cohesive straight-ahead units under his own name.
Among Hayess best group was this hard-bop unit he co-led with trumpeter Woody Shaw in 1976-77. For this edition, Jackie McLeans son, Rene, replaced the departed Junior Cook (another co-leader) with a rhythm section featuring pianist Ronnie Matthews, bassist Stafford James and, on two tracks, special guest trombonist Slide Hampton.
The program duplicates the original 1977 Muse album with two of trumpeter Tex Allens fiery works ("St. Peters Walk," "Marilyns House), a long, lovely ballad by Hayes ("Nisha"), Matthewss "Loose Suite," Jamess "My Gift To You" and Jackie McLeans "Jacks Tune."
It is perhaps Shaw who makes the greatest impression throughout, offering many examples of his fine playing and sterling creativity. Hayess superlative drumming never interferes but is always out front. However, the program may have benefited by more memorable tunes (the kind Shaw was always able to contribute). But whats invested here by all involved makes this appropriately titled (but at 37 minutes, too brief) hard bop album quite worthwhile. New cover art is nice too.
Songs: St. Peters Walk; Nisha; Loose Suite; My Gift To You; Jacks Tune; Marilyns House.
Players: Louis Hayes: drums; Woody Shaw: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Rene McLean: soprano, alto and tenor sax; Ronnie Matthews: piano; Stafford James: bass; Slide Hampton: trombone.
Just Before Sunrise
After memorable time spent with Chico Hamilton and Cannonball Adderleys influential bands, reedman Charles Lloyd launched a solo career with several top-notch records on Columbia in 1964. But it wasnt until moving to Atlantic Records in 1966 and the formation of this defining quartet that the talented Coltrane disciple earned his own place in jazz and a remarkable degree of fame too.
By this time, Lloyds tone on tenor had become readily identifiable and his (still) too-rare flute work had a distinctive appeal all its own. However, the combination of Lloyds interesting, often catchy originals with such a superlative group of interpreters -- featuring the young Keith Jarrett on piano, Cecil McBee (and, later, Ron McClure) on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums seemed ideally suited to the tenor of the times. Lloyds quartet consistently played to large, enthusiastic audiences at landmark events (at San Franciscos legendary Fillmore and behind the Iron Curtain in Cold War Russia) and completely won over young rock listeners while maintaining a remarkable degree of creative jazz integrity.
The quartet was heard on eight Atlantic albums recorded between 1966 and 1969 and, though all are quite worthwhile, most remain unavailable on CD (even though Atlantic issued only a portion of what this highly prolific group recorded at the time). Just Before Sunrise is an attempt to fill the gap by combining the original contents of the groups March 1966 debut, Dream Weaver, with a Fillmore performance from ten months later, Love In (whose encore resulted in another full LP, Journey Within).
With the advantage of hindsight, its not too hard to hear why Lloyds quartet attained such success. Lloyd mixed engaging folk-like tunes ("Autumn Sequence," "Love-In," both featuring his lovely flute) with long, exploratory Trane-like modal workouts ("Dream Weaver," "Bird Flight," "Love Ship" and "Tribal Dance," all on tenor ). As the music alternates and the quartet interacts, its difficult to resist the true collective sorcery on display here whether coming from a rock or jazz perspective. Lloyd seasons the spell with his signature Memphis funk ("Sombrero Sam," "Is It Really The Same"), a winning pop cover ("Here, There and Everywhere") and a duly appropriate spotlight for Jarrett (the trio only "Sunday Morning"), whose early signature sound is often quite captivating.
Unfortunately, three unreleased titles from each of these two sessions on this two-disc set remain missing in action. But what is here is an outstanding, essential document of one of the periods most memorable groups.
Songs: Autumn Sequence: a. Autumn Prelude, b. Autumn Leaves, c. Autumn Echo; Dream Weaver: a. Meditation, b. Dervish Dance; Bird Flight; Love Ship; Sombrero Sam; Tribal Dance; Temple Bells; Is It Really The Same?; Here There And Everywhere; Love-In; Sunday Morining; Memphis Dues Again/Island Blues.
Players: Charles Lloyd: tenor sax, flute; Keith Jarrett: piano; Cecil McBee, Ron McClure: bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums.
Organist Charles Earland recorded nine albums for the Muse label between 1977 and 1995. None stand out particularly, but each had its share of solid, organ-combo swing and programs of mostly blues and ballads. Organomically Correct compiles some of the early highlights in Earlands Muse output: four of the six tracks from Mama Roots (1977), three of the five tracks from Pleasant Afternoon (1978) and all five tracks from Infant Eyes (1978). This music was all recorded between Earlands more commercial (and less memorable) outings on Mercury and Columbia and catch the organ grinder in a kind of Jimmy Smith bag (reinforced even more when paired with Wes-like guitarist Jimmy Ponder on half of the CDs tracks). While the funk and the fire in Earlands playing had been missing since at least his last Prestige record (1974), theres an insistently melodic and appealing groove throughout this set. Another advantage is that two thirds of the tunes here are Earland originals: slow burners that really let the organist cook nicely on a low flame. There are several nice features for George Coleman on tenor sax and Frank Wess on flute too. A surprisingly cohesive set with an enjoyable after-hours feel.
Songs: The Dozens; Red, Green & Black Blues; Undecided; Old Folks; A Prayer; Organic blues; Three Blind Mice; We Are Not Alone; Blues For Rudy; The Thang; Infant Eyes.
Players: Charles Earland: organ; George Coleman, Houston Person, Mack Goldsbury: tenor sax; Frank Wess: flute and tenor sax; Bill Hardman: trumpet; Jimmy Ponder, Melvin Sparks: guitar; Walter Perkins, Bobby Durham, Grady Tate: drums; Ralph Dorsey, Lawrence Killian: percussion.
20 Special Fingers
20 Special Fingers is an unusual two-disc combination of Les McCanns 1968 Atlantic debut, Much Les (already available on CD as a Rhino two-fer) with the Mitchell-Ruff Trios 1961 Atlantic debut, The Catbird Seat. Joel Dorn, producer of the McCann set and owner of the label that issued this set, explains this oddity by recalling in the discs notes a favorite McCann performance of "Yours Is My Heart Alone" (from 1964) that was evidently inspired by Dwike Mitchells earlier performance of the tune.
While inspiration and execution rarely sound the same, interesting pianism is certainly consistent among the two sets (and the meaning behind the discs awkward title).
McCanns set is filled with earthy, gospel tones of his well-known trio, supplemented by tasteful Latin percussion and William Fischers always subtle and warmly welcome command of a small string section. "Doin That Thing" is the discs simmering funk centerpiece, a sensual McCann-Fischer knockout. A blistering take on "Love For Sale" (like "Doin That Thing," also well featured on last years live set Hows Your Mother?) is another highlight. "Burning Coal," "Benjamin" and "Roberta" (for McCanns protégé, Roberta Flack) are familiar McCann staples and the set also features the first appearance of McCanns vocal ballad, "With These Hands."
The Mitchell-Ruff Trios set, on the other hand, seems stark and intellectual by comparison. But its an utter delight. The pianist, a synergy of the most notable aspects of both Lennie Tristano and Bill Evans, was often recorded with bassist Willie Ruff, who also doubled on French horn. The two met as part of Lionel Hamptons mid-1950s band and recorded together (notably with Dizzy Gillespie) into the 1980s. Here, they add drummer Charlie Smith to give this genuinely interesting and affecting program a familiar interpretation by a standard piano trio. Its anything but. Each of these half-dozen songs explores great depths and, ultimately, elicits fascinating logic and consideration. Mitchells title cut, a slow blues, and the ostensibly humorous "Gypsy in my Soul" engage head and heart. The standards "Street of Dreams" and "Ill Remember April" seem out of the ordinary, too, if not wholly extraordinary upon each return.
Both sets here are worthy of interest and attention, but in quite different ways and easily enjoyed but probably on separate occasions. Still worth checking out.
Songs: From Much Les: Doin That Thing; With These Hands; Burnin Coal; Benjamin; Love For Sale; Roberta. From The Catbird Seat: The Catbird Seat; Street of Dreams; So In Love; Con Alma; Gypsy in my Soul; Ill Remember April.
Players: From Much Les: Les McCann: piano; Leroy Vinnegar: bass; Donald Dean: drums; Willie Bobo; timabales; Victor Pantoja: conga; Ron Carter, Selwart Clarke, Winston Collymore, Noel DaCosta, Richard Elias, Emanuel Green, Theodore Israel, Warren Laffredo, Kermit Moore, Harvey Shapiro: strings; Willian Fischer: director. From The Catbird Seat: Dwike Mitchell: piano; Willie Ruff: bass; Charlie Smith: drums.
This 1981 session finds tenor sax giant Sonny Rollins breezing through a lively program with special guests Bobby Hutcherson on vibes and Tony Williams on drums. Neither Hutcherson nor Williams were actively leading their own sessions during this period, so its nice to hear them here with Rollins. However, once the tenor man is done expressing himself, it is guitarist Bobby Broom who most dominates the overall sound (longtime Rollins bassist, Bob Cranshaw, is the third Bob here, heard on electric bass). Surprisingly, Hutcherson solos only briefly and infrequently and he and Williams seem as if theyre only there for rhythmic coloration. Highlights include Rollinss typically bouncy title cut, his obligatory Calypso, "Coconut Bread," and a signature Hutcherson piece, "Jo Jo." I could live without Rollins imaginative take on Dolly Partons insufferable "Here You Come Again," and the Sadao Watanabe-like jazz pop of Rollinss "Joyous Lake." But, while No Problemis not the finest hour for any of the folks involved, Rollins still sounds strong, light-hearted (as the title implies) and interesting as he explores this rather unremarkable program.
Songs: No Problem; Here You Come Again; Jo Jo; Coconut Bread; Penny Save; Illusions; Joyous Lake.
Players: Sonny Rollins: tenor sax; Bobby Broom: electric guitar; Bobby Hutcherson: vibes; Bob Cranshaw: electric bass; Tony Williams: drums.
Although McCoy Tyner recorded with consistent excellence beyond his brilliant and definitive work with John Coltrane, the pianists Milestone legacy (1972-81) cemented his individual place in the jazz pantheon. Focal Point is a 1976 Milestone date now reissued on OJC that enhances Tyners then working trio of Charles Fambrough on bass and Eric Gravatt on drums with the commanding reeds of Gary Bartz, Joe Ford and Ron Bridgewater and Guilherme Francos colorful, exotic percussion. Here, Tyner explores a neat half dozen of his exceptional originals and elicits some of his most powerful, energetic personal pianism. Stand outs include "Mes Trois Fils," the very Tyneresque "Mode for Dulcimer" (with Tyner on the eponymous instrument and Franco subtly working the tabla), the Tyner-Gravatt duet of "Parody" and the Tyner-Ford-Fambrough-Gravatt-Franco "Theme For Nana." A little overdubbing occurs, but the result is still a tight, simpatico septet that understands and thrives on Tyners unique conceptions.
Songs: Mes Trois Fils; Parody; Indo-Serenade; Mode for Dulcimer; Departure; Departure; Theme for Nana.
Players: McCoy Tyner: piano, dulcimer; Gary Bartz: clarinet, sopranino, soprano sax, alto sax; Joe Ford: flutes, soprano sax, alto sax; Ron Bridgewater: soprano sax, tenor sax; Charles Fambrough: bass; Eric Kamau Gravatt: drums; Guilherme Franco: congas, percussion, tabla.
A lively, swinging date from 1957 that certainly lives up to its name. Guitarist Barney Kessel fits his perfect trio featuring bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Shelly Manne into one quintet with pianist Hampton Hawes and vibesman Victor Feldman and a sextet with tenor man Ben Webster, pianist Jimmy Rowles and trombonist Frank Rosolino. Over the course of five tunes, Kessel and company really stretch out nicely. Outstanding are Kessels 11-minute title cut, deftly handled by the quintet, and clocking in at over nine minutes each are the sextets imaginative takes on the Dixieland Jazz Bands "Tiger Rag" and "Jersey Bounce" (made famous earlier by Benny Goodman and here, a virtual showcase for Webster). Kessel shines on his speedy runs throughout, typically sounding like hes having the time of his life. He also yields nicely to his accomplished bandmates, who gel in a gently rocking groove thats quite easy to enjoy.
Songs: Lets Cook!; Time Remembered; Just In Time; Tiger Rag; Jersey Bounce.
Players: Barney Kessel: guitar; Leroy Vinnegar: bass; Shelly Manne: drums; Victor Feldman: vibes; Hampton Hawes, Jimmy Rowles: piano; Ben Webster: tenor sax; Frank Rosoloino: trombone.
Nice And Easy
Jazz was unfair to soulful vibist Johnny Lytle (1932-1996). He recorded frequently throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, often as part of producer Orrin Keepnewss label affiliations (Jazzland, Riverside, Tuba and Milestone). Lytle nearly scored a hit with 1963s "The Village Caller" (reissued on CD by OJC last year) and acquired belated fame when the acid-jazz crowd adopted his catchy, funky vibe to the dance floor (reference BGPs excellent compilation of Lytles mid-1960s classics The Loop/New and Groovy).
He always sounded savvy and soulful, whether playing fast or slow. But as consistently appealing, warm and distinctive as his sound was, his mannerisms often included a ringing alarm bell climax and a tendency to lay on the foot pedal for effect. This probably did little to get him accepted by the bop-n-blues swingers who embraced Milt Jackson as a role model, the Latin lovers that percussive Cal Tjader was wooing, or the new-thing crowd who adhered to the freer pianisms of Bobby Hutcherson.
Nice and Easy, a 1962 date that was Lytles third as a leader, contains none of these mannerisms and was, probably, as close to an all-star session as Lytle would ever lead. Its a solid swinger in the post-bop tradition of Milt Jacksons all-star sax-and-vibes sessions. Its also one of the few times Lytles vibes werent paired with an organ. The tenor sax of Johnny Griffin takes charge here; in fact, its as much the tenors date as Lytles. The two leaders are backed by Cannonball Adderleys rhythm section of the period: Bobby Timmons on piano, Sam Jones on bass and Louis Hayes on drums. The 40-minute program is easily satisfying and includes two Lytle originals, two standards, Griffins well-named title track, Roy Hayness "Thats All" and Timmonss "Soul Time." Lytle works well with Griffin and is especially well-suited to Timmonss equally soulful style (Lytle reunited with Timmons on the pianists wonderful Workin Out). Nice to have Fantasy returning Lytles records into circulation, and like so many other Lytle titles, quite easy to enjoy.
Songs: But Not For Me; Soul Time; Thats All; 322-WOW!; Coroners Blues; Nice and Easy; Old Folks.
Players: Johnny Lytle: vibes; Johhny Griffin: tenor sax; Bobby Timmons: piano; Sam Jones: bass; Louis Hayes: drums.
Ethnomusicology Volume I
Few attempts at a jazz and hip hop union have ever been successful or satisfying. Maybe its one schools inability to understand the other or the problematic potential of getting two such different audiences in the same room. But, somehow, the maverick 28-year-old trumpeter Russell Gunn has made it work with Ethnomusicology, one of the finest and most original jazz documents to come along in some time.
On this, his first Atlantic set, Gunn departs distinctively from his previous Muse and High Note releases, coupling his protean roar with hard-funk rhythms, electric instrumentation and even DJ Apollos turntables. Most startling of all, though, is how traditional and timeless it all sounds: like jazz modes and bop phrasing filtered through r & b rhythms and hip hop stylization (mercifully not the reverse, which ruins any good attempt). But consider that Gunns résumé includes contributions to both Wynton Marsaliss opera Blood On The Fields and the funk of brother Branfords diametrically opposed Buckshot LeFonque. And while hes held court (and his own) with legends like James Moody and Jimmy Heath, Gunn grew up idolizing L.L. Cool J and has gone on to record hits with Maxwell and Lou Reed.
So nothing about Ethnomusicology should surprise. Still, it does. Its thoroughly invigorating and inviting. Consistently, throughout, Gunn explores the jazz tradition with insight and reverence and through his masterful delivery comes up with something that has plenty of street credibility too.
Appropriately, Gunn introduces his concept with Joe Zawinuls "74 Miles Away" (originally performed by Cannonball Adderley, who, with Woody Shaw, seems to steer Gunns jazz approach here). Replete with a P-Funk-style helium sermonette ("all thats required is an open mind and two ears"), "74 Miles Away" is especially notable for a delicious taste of the trumpeters ever elegant phrasing. It is Gunns gift for melody which is often most memorable as the beats rescind or disappear altogether, as on the lovely and hit-worthy ballad "Doll," a feature for Gunns flugelhorn and Special EFX-man Chieli Minuccis guitar.
But it is the muscular rhythms and aggressive funk that most dominate Ethnomusicology. Sample the relentless ostinatos of the modal "Folkz" or the Indian drone of "Shiva," both fine features for the commanding horns of Gregory Tardy, Bruce Williams and Andre Heyward.
Gunns conceptions reach sonic perfection in no small measure to the awesome powers of his like-minded rhythm section: James Hurt on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass and, most especially, the diversely imaginative drummer Woody Williams. They are especially noteworthy on the discs best tracks: the razor-sharp Cannonball funk of "Sybils Blues" (featuring a brief chat on the blues from, of all people, Wynton Marsalis!), the surprisingly straight-forward yet danceable (!) cover of Woody Shaws "Woody 1: On The New Ark" (from Shaws neglected 1979 masterwork, Woody III) and Branford Marsaliss "The Blackwidow Blues," beautiful bop that would make Art Blakey proud (even as it samples Jeru the Damajas "Da Bichez"!).
Having just noticed all the exclamations used above, its worth noting that Ethnomusicology is brimming with such arresting punctuation. Gunn may have been intending dancefloor fluff or, more likely, an electric redux on straight-ahead jazz. But hes crafted something more substantial that might actually serve to bridge the gap between the old and the new as we transition into jazzs second century. Ethnomusicology is quite an achievement.
Songs: 74 Miles Away Intro; Shiva; Sybils Blues; DJ Apollo Interlude; Woody I: On The New Ark; The Blackwidow Blues; Doll; Folkz; Andre Heyward Interlude; Mr. Hurt.
Players: Russell Gunn: trumpet, flugelhorn, organ bass, Vox, Human Beatbox, tambourine; Gregory Tardy: tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet; Bruce Williams: alto sax, e flat clarinet, cowbell; Andre Heyward: trombone; Chieli Minucci: guitar; James Hurt: piano, Fender Rhodes, organ; Rodney Jordan: bass; Woody Williams: drums; Khalil Kwame Bell: percussion; DJ Apollo: turntables.