Monday, April 10, 2006

New beginnings... widen the field... Ornette, Odd Nosdam and DJ Whitedog...

Late. Having problems sleeping but now that I have effectively baled out of the straight job again (for a while) it's not so urgent to get rest at conventional times. And deciding to reposition the blog - more writing, less jazz - for a while. Nothing is set. The freedom exists so use it...

I took a foray down to the Artists' Quarter - rather boring, to be honest. A pub quiz, but I felt distanced by my own pre-occupations - trying to finish a solo cd, planning the Club Sporadic May Festival, attempting to fix some kind of summer itinerary - if well enough, I want to get back to New York as Murray will be there for Jamie Shovlin's show and we had a loose plan to synchronise and maybe get to play a couple of places. The side I was loosely attached to would have won - if I had remembered the answer in time to the question - 'What was the book Greenmantle the sequel to?' 'The Thirty Nine Steps,' John Buchan - of course - but the synapses weren't firing and no one else knew it. Not surprisingly, come to think of it - who reads Buchan these days? All good fun, no doubt - but my time here is ticking away... done enough drinking and raking in my life for five people so alcohol is less and less an interest (especially with my present and no doubt future metabolism) - apart from a couple to make me sleep now and again.


This time – a long mix of various stuff including a couple of D J Whitedog's own tracks - (my worthy constituent, as Charlie Parker called Dizzie Gillespie on some long gone bop concert) – on one of his recent productions – which sounds very echoey and distorted in places (well – most of it, to be honest - I must find out if this was intentional), but I figure that adds to the overall ambiance. Jazz, rap, country, electro, rock, pop, latin – all in there somewhere – a bit of a mess – but like all Whitedog's stuff -a glorious mess. Sounds as if it was recorded in a corner of the Turbine Hall and played back from a pirate station somewhere in Wales (do they have pirate stations? A chilling thought, come to think of it... Must ask my daughter – who seems too young to be living out the sort of karma that situates you in a village somewhere near Aberystwyth) and picked up late one windy night in April.

The Ornette is from the album 'Art of the Improvisors,' and has the late great La Faro on bass and Ed Blackwell on drums. One of my favourite drummers behind the King of Harmolodics – there's a special bang and zip in his rhythms which I don't hear in Billy Higgins. One of those totally manic themes of Ornette's, a fast walk in on the bass, Ornette soloing, smearing notes together, single note stabs, always that cry in the tone (Bill Broonzy's 'rooster crow?') and a questioning edge. Keening spirals up into the high register. The man is telling you something... Blackwell with him all the way, New Orleans second line snare and surgingly smooth cymbals. Such an easy-sounding free-wheeling freedom that must have been hard won nevertheless. Cherry spurts his pocket trumpet lines, the smaller horn giving them a light airiness that the full-blooded conventional trumpet rarely has – especially in jazz with its tradition of flagwavers from Louis downwards. He always seems less anguished than Ornette... The bass and drums drop out as the two horns spar and cross and dive, call and answer. Straight back into the theme – to a dead stop. Empathy.

The Odd Nosdam is from 'Burner' which was my favourite album last year for a long time and which I wrote about (at tedious length) previously – something I love about where he takes hip-hop to and the way he instils a strange and affecting melancholy – especially on this track.

Adventurers in the American Sublime...

And - because I don't just listen to jazz... One of whitedog's long spacey soundscapes to round it all up - abstract, looping, rumbling bass notes, found noise, strange sampled voices, different to his more rhythmic stuff (a couple of which are on his mixtrack somewhere...)


AprilMix by Whitedog

Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman: alto;Don Cherry: pocket trumpet;Scott La Faro: bass; Ed Blackwell.

The Alchemy of Scott La Faro


Odd Nosdam


Untitled Three


DJ Whitedog

Calling out


Molly Bloom said...

I enjoyed reading this. Some great descriptions of the music again. I really enjoyed reading your comments on Anthony's blog too. Very interesting stuff. I put my views in, but as I said, I'm not as eloquent as you, Anthony and Paul. Still, I try my best! Keep up the great work! If you ever want anyone to have an improvise with, I'll be more than willing, although my jazz skills aren't that good I'm afraid, but I could try :)

St Anthony said...

Your piece on Ornette made me want to jump up and going listen to some of the good man’s stuff, so I did just that. Always the best idea.
Really liked it, and the DJ Whitedog stuff sounds good and interesting.

Don’t get me started on how your metabolism can let you down – you go along for years, eating and drinking whatever you want and retaining an attractive sylph-like figure, then you wake up one day having mutated overnight into the Goodyear blimp.

I really liked your post on my Eliot poem – I had what sound like very similar experiences as a mature student. What the academics seem to like best is getting a bunch of little nippers straight from sixth form and moulding them in their image. And there I was, a curmudgeonly old autodidact.
As you say, a poet you can keep coming back to, must have something to say.

However you reposition the blog, I’m sure it’ll stay interesting. I really like reading your posts.

Molly Bloom said...

I wonder where Rod is today. You haven't been back for ages. Where are you? Are you ok? Did you get sucked into the artist's quarter? C'mon pilgrim, strut your stuff.

Rod... said...

Always interested in playing with new musicians, Betty... I don't really play jazz (although my first instrument was piano - self taught in my early teens - playing jazz - but I graduated to guitar/vocals and travelled extensively so never kept up piano skills - just started playing keyboards again) - but can fit in with most stuff.

Rod... said...

back again - more or less - will be posting later and tomorrow spending all day catching up on some new stuff-it would take more fiendishly inventive person than I to get sucked into the AQ for any length of time! (And I am fiendishly inventive - on a good day). The local I use for my club is also one that people I know use and is not far from where I live - so use it more than necessary really - when I was convalescing originally it was also a place to sit and read the papers in the afternoon and rest after shopping and exercise etc. Almost outlived its usefulness though, as the gang of articulate reprobaates who I used to know have scattered - things move on and I hope to again soon - this place is too bloody parochial!

Molly Bloom said...

Great! Looking forward to your next post!

Molly Bloom said...

I like the phrase 'fiendishly inventive'.

Rod... said...

One plays to one's strengths...