Monday, May 07, 2007

Oliver Nelson... John Coltrane... Peter Brotzmann... then off to London...

I am off to London today to grab some of the action at the 'Freedom of the City' festival – curated (I love that word) by Evan Parker, Eddie Prévost and Martin Davidson. Especially looking forward to seeing E.P... A strange succession of gigs recently – from playing with Damo Suzuki the other Saturday to an old-school folk night last Friday featuring Johnny Collins (with review to follow) - to today's line up of radical/improvising performers. Eclectic, mes braves... So a quick post as I have a train to catch from God's Little Acre to the big city – three tenor saxophonists...

Oliver Nelson was always a player I liked – no great technician but he had a special reedy/vibrato-y tone which was unique, a bluesy edge and some interesting ways of developing motifs. This is from 'Screamin' the Blues,' 'Drive.' Which does. Roy Haynes underneath keeping it pretty much beboppy, Duvivier – solid, I suppose. Wyands does what he is asked to do. Richard Williams is bright and vibrant, a flash solo. Nelson as above. The wild card is, of course, Dolphy – who just runs off the conventional edges of this music in joyous fashion.

Coltrane was always a superb ballad player – his more abrasive, violently questing edge subsumed into a tender, reflective approach. This is 'Too young to go steady,' from the 1962 album 'Ballads.' Slow and poignant – paying attention in a Lester Young manner, perhaps, to the lyrical theme of the song, evoking the gawky uncertainess of young love and playing it very straight... Tyner comes in for a flowing solo, Elvin Jones - on brushes throughout - crisply following his line. Coltrane returns, Jones doing some neat double-timing behind him. An odd track, compared to the usual firestorms – everyone hanging back.

Hellraiser of the tenor, Peter Brötzmann with a superb band, live from the Empty Bottle in Chicago, 1997. Wild and vibrant... For those obsessives who read the discographic details - a 'flup' is a flutophone... although it sounds like an interesting verb. I must flup off now...

Oliver Nelson
Oliver Nelson (ts) Richard Williams (t) Eric Dolphy (as) Richard Wyands (p) George Duvivier (b) Roy Haynes (d)


John Coltrane
John Coltrane (ts) McCoy Tyner (p) Jimmy Garrison (b) Elvin Jones (d)
Too young to go steady


Peter Brötzmann
Peter Brötzmann (ts,cl, tar) Mars Williams (ts, as, ss, cl) Ken Vandemark (ts, cl, b-cl) Mats Gustafsson (bs, flup) Joe McPhee (pc, v-tr ss) Jeb Bishop (tr) Fred Londberg-Hom (co) Kenty Kessler (b) Michael Zerang, Hamid Drake (d, perc)
Old Bottle, New Wine



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