'Plagal Transitions.' Introduced by solo sax, before the funk groove starts up – with an echo of Ronald Shannon Jackson's electric lineups from way back... criss-crossing of lines by sax and trumpet before a trumpet solo joined by a harmonica and rippling keyboard who take over as the trumpet drops out – a latin-y groove overlaying in the back from the added percussion. Saxophone now overlapped by a sudden burst of vocalese, bwibbidy bee a roonie etc that subsides – then horns behind the sax. Some fascinating arranging going on here – the harmonica weaves in and out... An object lesson in combining 'jazz' (a word he would resist, but I use it here as convenient shorthand) and funk with a suppleness of rhythm usually lacking in these confrontations/combinations. An interesting tapestry ... shades of Ornette's linearity/harmolodics maybe, but Coleman has been an interesting figure in striking out into different territory – more concerned with harmony than Coleman, for example – a deep and fascinating theoretician. His web site here has much explication of his methods – and a stack of free music if you scroll through...
Dig infinity... as the late Lord Buckley once said... The late Alice Coltrane with her son Ravi and I noticed in checking the album details that on American Amazon one reviewer suggested that the album was 'good music for making sandwiches.' Very Zen – or just a put-down? Opening on piano, swirling through the treble and a deep bass note heralds the saxophone of Ravi...soulful meditation reminiscent of the father in ballad mood... the tempo firms up – her piano has quite a bit of bite... his soprano is intriguing, given the burden of history that is lashed to it... a welcome late return, but sadly, Alice died a couple of months ago...
Billy Bang from 1998, fronting a quartet. This is a burner – 'Bama Swing.' Bang always plays with a deep fire and intensity... this track is within conventional post-bop parameters and swings mightily - yet violin and D.D. Jackson's piano piano edge out into wilder territory here and there... Bang is an interesting representative of the 'loft jazz' era which he immersed himself in after his traumatic tour of duty in Vietnam – a driven man... here is a good interview with Fred Jung which explains more...
I mentioned Wally Shoup in a recent post – here he is with Nels Cline and flavour of the month drummer Chris Corsano – who gets around... from playing with Sunburned Hand of Man to free jazz wahooers like Paul Flaherty... this is short and fiery, the guitar tracking the alto's squeals on 'Lake of Fire Memories.' High frequency buzzing finally joined by Corsano's torrential drums underneath...
Some Ornette, from a more obscure album: 'Chappaqua Suite.' The music originally commissioned for Conrad Rooks' film that he never used in the end, preferring some Ravi Shankar. If I remember, he said that it was too good for his movie... about right. On a movie trivia note, according to the cast list, Ornette appeared in the film - as 'Peyote Eater.' Far out... This is track two, which would have been the complete second side of the first album in the original 2 lp set. Ornette bluesy across the steady bass and drums – and the vertical stripes of the ensemble that lay long-held dissonant chords behind him as he dances around and across... echoes of the third stream in this scoring (by Eric Dolphy – who also did similar work on John Coltrane's Africa/Brass sessions – which I must dig out again soon...), but the drums on the bottom and Ornette on the top with it all held together by David Izenson's bass give this music a pulse and vitality that much of the third stream lacked. A back-beat creeps in – to be turned round and about – as Ornette roams the wide open spaces – the ensemble are used very spartanly throughout, more brief punctuation than continual grammatical overlay... Moffett is especially good, booting it all along in grand style...
In the Videodrome...
Corsano with Sunburned...
...Patton and Zorn...
... a clip from 'Chappaqua' featuring the Fugs...
Steve Coleman (as) Ravi Coltrane (ts) Jonathan Finlayson, Ralph Alessi (t) Gregoire Maret (hca) Dana Leong (tr) Mat Maneri (vi) Craig Taborn (key) Anthony Tidd (el-b) Drew Gress (b) Dafnis Prieto (d) Ramon Garcia Perez (perc) Yosvany Terry (shekere) + various vocalists
Alice Coltrane (p) Ravi Coltrane (ts, ss) Charlie Haden (b) Jack DeJohnette (d)
Nels Cline (g) Wally Shoup (as) Chris Corsano (d)
Lake of Fire Memories
Billy Bang (v) D.D. Jackson (p) Akira Ando (b) Ronnie Burrage (d)
Ornette Coleman (as) David Izenson (b) Charles Moffett (d) Pharoah Sanders: tenor saxophone; 11 piece orchestra, arrangements by Eric Dolphy
Chappaqua Suite Part Two