Sunday, October 01, 2006

Cecil Taylor... Jason Moran... Sam Rivers...

After the marathon review – let's relax with some Cecil Taylor...

Or perhaps not... I jest... After the recent 'soft jazz' comments – some diamond hard playing...

Cecil Taylor recorded 'Unit Structures' in 1966. Cyrille's drums usher in the horns and keening arco bass over the other bass's low rumble -then Cecil spins out a motif to be answered by the ensemble. Brief pause – then into a mutated bebop line. And off it goes – a wild, yet not-unstructured piece that, with the other tracks from this album, still defiantly stands as an uncompromising masterpiece from the sixties. Taylor plays with a different intensity to the soul-searching of Coltrane, the refracted blues of Ornette or the swelling emotional vibrato-laden tenor of Ayler:

'Taylor's uniqueness: his "free jazz" was also "free" of the melodrama that permeated Coltrane's and Coleman's music. Despite all the furor, Taylor's music always sounded firmly under the control of a cold intelligence.' (From here... scroll down...)

I would dispute the adjective 'cold' – but certainly Taylor has always managed to keep a tricky balance between control and abandon – you can hear this on 'Unit Structures' which seems more chaotic and sprawling than it actually is – because the fiery brio with which it is played disguises, perhaps, the underpinnings:

'That album took us four months of rehearsal. We had to learn the music: me, Eddie Gale, Ken McIntyre, Jimmy [Lyons], Andrew [Cyrille], and Henry [Grimes]. That and "Conquistador" are well-structured pieces of music, not what people would normally think of as "free jazz". To this day people have yet to realise this.' (Interview with Alan Silva here...).


I first encountered Jason Moran's music when I bought one of his cd's a couple of years ago in a second hand shop – I vaguely knew the name but it was my first encounter with his music. Here, he is playing with veteran Sam Rivers, 'Earth Song' from that album, 'Black Star.' Moran's trio had already become a tight unit and the then 26-year old pianist does not sound ill at ease in the august presence of Rivers. Moran is a two-fisted, stomping piano player who knows his history. Rivers sounds a little overwhelmed about half way in – maybe this was the mix...

Sam Rivers was over here in the U.K. a while back presenting a big band, for which he has always had a fondness. Here's a track – 'Bursts' – from his 1974 album 'Crystals.' Blasting horns, soon going into a fleet bass-led walk as scalding tenor soars. Descending into a maelstrom of dense squalling sections. This is what the modern big band should sound like... Wahoo...


In the Videodrome...


Some Brit jazz – the Tubby Hayes Big Band... Suddenly Last Tuesday


Some Wes Montgomery... with a European/American line up... Blue Grass... Ronnie and the boys holding their own in the company of Wes and Johnny Griffin...

who play Blue Monk with the same rhythm section...

Note: most of my mp3 's will play on the Hype Machine mp3 aggregator site juke box – so you can listen without downloading. Longer files, however, such as the Cecil Taylor here (17 minutes) go on the Ezarchive site – which may not be picked up by Hype Machine as it only recognises certain download sites...



Cecil Taylor
(Cecil Taylor: piano; Eddie Gale Stevens: trumpet; Jimmy Lyons: Alto Saxophone; Ken McKyntyre: reeds; Henry Grimes, Alan Silva: basses; Andrew Cyrille: drums).
Download
Unit Structure/As of now/Section


or if a problem download here...

Buy

Jason Moran
(Jason Moran: piano; Sam Rivers: tenor saxophone: Nasheet Watts: bass; Taurus Mateen: drums).
Download
Earth Song

Buy

Sam Rivers
(Overall personell numbers 64 for this album – including Hamiet Bluiett, Richard Davis, Bob Stewart, John Stubblefield, Bill Barron, Robin Kenyatta, Julius Watkins, Norman Connors, Andrew Cyrille, Billy Hart, Ahmed Abdullah, Charles Sullivan, Clifford Thornton, Grachan Moncur, Ronnie Boykins, and Reggie Workman).
Download
Bursts

Buy

7 comments:

godoggo said...

The Cecil brings the following: "Error (500)
Sun Oct 01 16:18:09 EDT 2006 com.cincro.zanvas.www.NonFatalActionException: No login session has been established to get proxied content"

The others downloaded and played OK. Maybe I'll try again with the ones in that earlier post. I'm mainly using an old Imac with 0S9, which may be part of my problem, incidentally.

I hope comments like this are useful.

Rod... said...

...comments always useful as I like to keep people happy! A basic courtesy... I've had problems with big files and have started using different services...will check it out... it seemed ok earlier but given the last week of madness and gremlins in general nothing would surprise me... always happy to repost to a different uploader as I have several if needed... The Imac may make a difference - not sure...

Rod... said...

... added a link here http://savefile.com/projects/1022737

hope that may fix it for you... if not ... let me know...

godoggo said...

OK, that link plays OK. My computer apparently can't deal with the file formats used on some previous posts. Actually I do have this PC laptop I bought recently, but I haven't been using it for music out of a mixture of ennui and other reasons of varying nationality.

Anyways, I notice that Moran's playing on that cut seems very Andrew Hill influenced. I got one of them Artist in Residence CDs and hadn't noticed much Hill influence, but there it is. I'm still trying to think of something to say about the CD, which, frankly, I don't like so much for the most part. I'll listen to the mp3s on his site to at least get a better idea about his body of work as context.

godoggone said...

varying rationality

Rod... said...

Moran has claimed his influences were Monk first then Jaki Byard, Andrew Hill and Muhal Richard Abrams - and I think Herbie Nichols along the line. There's a solo track on the cd featured here which brings out the old stride roots - may post it. And some Andrew Hill etc - have a piano day. I see Andrew Hill as a big influence also in the sense of being radical but still keeping within certain boundaries - like Eric Dolphy as well - sort of inside and outside at the same time

Rod... said...

...and if there is anything you want reposting I'm happy to oblige... I don't do whole albums so its relatively easy to re up stuff onto another downloader if the original was causing problems.