Thursday, November 16, 2006

Still in recovery... another holding pattern... Teddy Charles, Art Farmer/Jim Hall... Roland Kirk...

Slowly surfacing from illness... what a week... Hoping to get the promised reviews on track today or tomorrow at the's another few holding tracks... the usual disparate bunch...

First up: the Teddy Charles Quartet, from 1956 (the album says this and the larger band sessions that comprise it were recorded in 1957 but the Charles discography gives the earlier year). 'Just one of those things.' Bouncing, joyous and swinging, more straight ahead playing than the vibist is probably known for ( as a lost legend of the fifties experimental underground), yet splendidly oblique in the opening choruses, almost avoiding the theme. Although Charles made his bones early on in the mainstream, starting out with Chubby Jackson's band in the 40s (and within six months was playing with Max Roach)... Overton worked with Monk, arranging material famously for the Monk at Town Hall concert – here, he comps solidly in the background, nothing fancy. Mingus takes a flowing, fast solo and Shaughnessy holds the back line.

Art Farmer and Jim Hall recorded the classic 'Whisper Not' in 1978 . (Whose composer, Benny Golson, the trumpeter/flugelhornist had worked with so famously in the Jazztet). A longish track with plenty of space for the two men to stretch out – similar takes on improvisation... Farmer had worked in a variety of situations in the fifties from straight ahead blowing to experimental work – especially with the aforementioned Teddy Charles - always a fluent, intelligent player with a warmhearted style spiked with advanced harmonic knowledge – a good description maybe of Hall as well. Mainieri solos and points out the disparate timbres that had evolved between 1956 Charles and this session either by better instrumental amplification or recording technniques or a combination of both– the vibes seem warmer, less detached, more resonant.

Opening with a train whistle, that archetypal American aural signifier of movement, (in the African-American tradition, signifying an even more complex mixture of hope and loss, perhaps, with the great twentieth century movements/evacuations from the South), then brass whoops, strings and voice: kicking into rhythm as the Kirk tenor comes irrepressibly (a word coined for Roland) out of the traps – a tumultuous workout for 21 minutes of almost non-stop blowing – crashing cymbals like dustbin lids, orchestral interjections that he rides off and through... onwards, onwards – a mash-up of styles/genres that makes Third-Stream look and sound remarkably tame in comparison... a train steaming through breaks off the first section... slowing down in serpentine lines accompanied by sparse piano then a ridiculous oompah, Kletzmer-ish section – although Kirk breaks free soon enough of the four-square rhythm to fly over it every which way... wonder if John Zorn ever heard this? Third section: more conventional jazz as the band come back in – wild blowing – he's still going strong – a ripping trumpet heralds a free section where everything swirls like a dust cloud... everything but the kitchen sink thrown into the muddy mix – then his whistle signals a partial halt – train chugging back to finally steam to a finish... a wild ride...

Usual caveat - the Kirk track may not pick up on Hype Machine as it's very long and on another download to the other two...

Teddy Charles Quartet
(Teddy Charles: vibes; Hall Overton: piano; Charles Mingus: bass; Ed Shaughnessy: drums).
Just one of those things


Art Farmer/Jim Hall
(Art Farmer: flugelhorn; Jim Hall: guitar; Mike Mainieri: vibes; Mike Moore: bass; Stev Gadd: drums)
Whisper Not


Rahsaan Roland Kirk
(Charles McGhee (tp) Dick Griffin (tb) Harry Smiles (ehr, ob) Rahsaan Roland Kirk (ts, cl, fl, nose fl, pipes, E flat sax) Sanford Allen, Julien Barber, Selwart Clarke, Gayle Dixon (vln) Al Brown (vla) Kermit Moore (vlc) Ron Burton (p) Henry Mattathias Pearson (b) Robert Shy (d) Sonny Brown or Ralph MacDonald (per) Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jeanne Lee (vo) ).

Saxophone concerto


1 comment:

Molly Bloom said...

Hope you are feeling better soon Rodsterxx