Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Three for carnival... Steve Lacy/Marilyn Crispell... Archie Shepp... Charles Mingus...

Found on Limewire...

Steve Lacy made an album of duets in 1996. This track is 'The Crust,' with the soprano saxist accompanied by Marilyn Crispell. Piano states an ascending scale/melody as a vamp against which Lacy enters and plays the jaunty theme with its undertones of Monk. Lacy solos, nothing seemingly over-complicated – yet somehow just right. 'Taking the line for a walk,' as Lacy once summed up the art of improvisation. Crispell's solo starts in Mal Waldron territory over an insistent off-centre left hand vamp. It gets knottier...

Agit-prop seventies style. Archie Shepp and cohorts performing the 'African Drum Suite' from his album 'Cry of My People.' Drums, skirling horns, choir: 'African drums we love you so much.' This could be come across as a bit twee – but one remembers the temporal backdrop of turmoil, war, battles for racial identity and that counterbalances any over-reach, I would argue. Shepp blasts it out on soprano, the backing a little reminiscent in places of Coltrane's 'Africa Brass,' (plus shades of 'Kulu Sé Mama?') as the rhythm section patter away - rolling African-esque rhythms cross-fed into jazz. Again, a shadow of Coltrane over Shepp's soprano and the modal vamping piano - yet he has his own sound and the minimally-used strings give a unique texture. Ambitious...

'Johnny Coles's is present in spirit - in the piano, it seems...' The mighty Charles Mingus and a track from one of the great live albums, recorded in Paris 1964 – 'Fables of Faubus.' Militancy á la Mingus – dry, caustic, passionate and wild by turns. (Coles was taken ill prior to the gig...). A sing-song theme and off they go - Richmond's drums a skitter-skatter, howls, imprecations, imploring solos - abrupt tempo changes, accelerando/ritardando (I love those Italian terms rolling off the tongue to mimic the time-games - as if conventional notation could come near capturing music like this). Everyone on the top of their art - check that late section with Dolphy's amazing vocalised squawks and slurs and Mingus's bass mirror - an amazing conversation... 37 minutes and you still want more...

Update – I just noticed on a random flick through the blogs that Etnobofin has a post about Eric Dolphy in Europe which mentions this gig. Synchronicity... Worth checking out...

A short post – but exhaustion has taken its toll and I've run off the end of myself... more to come when I 've rested up...



In the Videodrome...


Jaco Pastorious with Gil Evans Ork in Japan...

...Archie Shepp on soprano

...and Steve Lacy...

...Soft Machine...

Steve Lacy/Marilyn Crispell
(Steve Lacy (ss); Marilyn Crispell (p) ).
The Crust
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Archie Shepp
(Archie Shepp (ts,ss); Peggie Blue, Joe Lee Wilson, Andre Franklin (vo); Charles McGhee (t); Charles Greenlee, Charles Stephens (trb); Leroy Jenkins, Lois Siessinger, Gayle Dixon, John Blake (v); Esther Mellon, Patrica Dixon (c); Harold Mabern, Jr., Dave Burrell (p); Cornell Dupree (g); Ron Carter, James Garrison (b); Bernard Purdie, Beaver Harris (d); Nene DeFense (tam, perc);Judith White, Mary Stephens, Barbara White, Mildren Lane (background voc) ).
African Drum Suite
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( Charles Mingus (b); Eric Dolphy (fl, b cl, as); Clifford Jordan (ts); Jaki Byard (p); Dannie Richmond (d) ).
Fables of Faubus
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2 comments:

etno said...

Synchronicity indeed! Thanks for the link :-) I was thinking about posting the April '64 version of Faubus too, 'cause it's such an epic, but seems it was good I left that job to you.

Rod... said...

...sorry! If I had checked quicker I would have left it off as I try not to conflict with other blogs!