Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dizzy Gillespie... Derek Bailey... Andrew Hill... Gil Evans... Ahmad Jamal... John Zorn... Howling Wolf

Dizzy Gillespie came together with Machito, Mario Bauza and the composer/arranger Chico O' Farrill in 1975 to produce 'Afro-Cuban Moods.' Working off his career-long fascination and interaction with latin rhythms, 'Oro, Incienso y Mirra' is a long suite written by O' Farrill for the trumpet master. Starting on tightly muted bluesy figures, he progresses into open horn flourishes over a busy, bustling rhythm and stabbing orchestral sections. Electric bass and piano provide a dash of fusionish timbres – but more from Miles, perhaps, than the stagnant electro-jazz mainstream of the time. The slower sections have a touch of Gil Evans work with Miles in the voicings – but one remembers that O' Farrill has been around just as long if not longer, writing stirring and groundbreaking charts for the 1940's Gillespie big bands. An episodic, exciting piece... Diz lasts the pace well, demonstrating his considerable skills, fine-honed since before the birth of bop - of which he was one of the founding fathers. Yet: somehow I feel he is over-shadowed by the dark romance of Bird's tragically exotic life. Unfairly...

Some Derek Bailey, just a year after his untimely death... 'After Three Weeks' is taken from his late album 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome' the title referring explicitly to his then-recently diagnosed hand problem:

'Though advised to undergo minor surgery on the right hand, he chose to acknowledge the inevitability of this degeneration and use the disability as an innovation. Unable to use a pick, he began to rehearse odd fingerings and strumming effects in order to recreate the pioneering atonal investigations he first developed in the late 1960s. Carpal Tunnel, a document of his progress over the span of three months, is therefore an anomaly in an anomalous career, evading technical precision in favor of alarmingly personal affect. ' (From the review here...).

Thus, a somewhat macabre yet honest document of one of his last journeys, artistically. The precision and savage strumming are gone, leaving a sometimes fumbling yet always fascinating exploration of a new finger-style technique. Some of the chordal/string cluster sections sound like they are played at half the speed of the old Bailey, a slowed-down echo of the past... sad yet oddly beautiful...

Andrew Hill recorded 'Bayou Red' as part of the sessions for his album 'Grass Roots,' released in 1968 More in the house style of Blue Note than much of his other work (that was characterised by the tensions between bop and freer strategies), a slow burner that nevertheless is more than just a hard bop blowing session. Ron Carter's bass and Waits's drums bounce the piece along with good solos from Ervin and Morgan – and the leader...

Another big band... Gil Evans leading his own ensemble from the mid-sixties... commencing on a delicate flute over slow strummed bass and plungingly deep orchestral timbres before the drums tick in with a slow bluesy 12/8 – Evans piano getting (surprisingly) low down and greasy. Expansive colourations as ever, those trademark low end tuba and french horn additions as the track bumps and grinds along...

Miles always championed him while most dismissed him – yet Ahmad Jamal is one of those musicians who have lasted the trip well. Here, he is caught live in Paris in 1992... starting off slowly and thoughtfully before becoming more expressive. Light and shade... and subtle swing... Apparently one of his favourite quotes is "Don't worry 'bout the mule goin' blind, just sit tight and hold the line..." (From his web site here...). Quite...

'Janohah' opens on walking bass and drums before the theme stated by the horns. The bass ostinato will continue throughout relentlessly. This is John Zorn from Masada's first album. Welding folk melody and Ornette-ish jazz to produce an intriguing mix – almost in the mainstream - but these musicians can turn on a penny and rip off outwards whenever inspired to so do. Douglas is outstanding especially, a class act... yet unfair to single one out of the four – they all play to their considerable strengths. (And Joey Baron is one of my favourite drummers...). And... the interplay between sax and trumpet is dazzling... the long whole given an overall shape by Cohen's rock-solid bass.

Back to the blues... the mighty Howling Wolf, with 'Moaning at Midnight.' Rough, raw... and beautiful...

In the Videodrome...

Diz in 1947...dig the fancy footwork...

... Masada live...

...and Electric Masada...

... Dave Douglas with his quintet...

Dizzy Gillespie/Machito
(Dizzy Gillespie (tp) Manny Duran, Raul Gonzalez Jr., Paul Gonzalez, Victor Paz (tp, flh) Jerry Chamberlain, Jack Jeffers, Lewis Kahn, Barry Morrow (tb) Don Corrado, Brooks Tillotson (frh) Bob Stewart (tu) Mauricio Smith (as, fl, picc) Mario Bauza (as, cl) Mario Rivera (ts, afl) Jose Madera Sr. (ts, cl) Leslie Yahonikan (bars, bcl) Machito (mar, clav, ldr) Jorge Dalto (el-p) Dana McCurdy (syn) Carlos Castillo (el-b) Mickey Roker (d) Julito Grillo, Raymond Hernandez (African d) Pepin Pepin (cga) Mario Grillo (bgo, cowbell) Jose Madera Jr. (tim) Chico O'Farrill (arr, cond) ).
Oro, Incienso y Mirra


Derek Bailey
(Derek Bailey (eg) ).
After three weeks


Andrew Hill
( Andrew Hill (p); Lee Morgan (tp); Booker Ervin (ts); Ron Carter (b); Freddie Watts (d) ).
Bayou Red


Gil Evans
( Gil Evans (arranger, piano), Johnny Coles, Bernie Glow, Ernie Royal, Thad Jones (trumpet), Jimmy Cleveland, Tony Studd (trombone), Ray Alonge, Julius Watkins, Gil Cohen, Don Corado (French horn), Bill Barber (tuba), Eric Dolphy, Wayne Shorter, Al Block, Steve Lacy, Andy Fitzgerald, Jerome Richardson, Bob Tricarico (reeds, woodwinds), Bob Maxwell, Margaret Ross (harp), Harry Lookofsky (tenor violin), Kenny Burrell, Barry Galbraith (guitar), Ron Carter, Paul Chambers, Gary Peacock, Richard Davis, Ben Tucker (bass), Elvin Jones (drums) ).
Flute Song/Hotel Me


Ahmad Jamal
( Ahmad Jamal (p); James Cammack (b); Todd Coolman (b); Gordon Lane, David Bowler (d) ).
Easy Living


John Zorn
(John Zorn (as); Dave Douglas (tp); Greg Cohen (b); Joey Baron (d) ).


Howling Wolf
Moaning at Midnight



etnobofin said...

The Andrew Hill track is intriguing - like you suggest, it could almost sit on one of Lee Morgan's late 60s discs. And Ron Carter plays in 3 like no other bass player on the planet.

Rod... said...

... his bass playing is really good on this track, isn't it?

godoggo said...

I wonder whatever became of Molly. I just started reading this book about her. It's not bad.