Saturday, September 29, 2007

Antics with the A Band/Johnny Scarr/Filthy Turd - plus mp3s from Bird, Diz and Monk/James Blood Ulmer/Lord Buckley

The A Band gig (with Johnny Scarr - and Filthy Turd – I kid you not)last night at the Art Organisation in Nottingham was a blast... review to follow when the notes have been deciphered etc -here's a couple of photos as a taster...

And a couple of mp3s that bear no direct relation, but so what... 'Revelation March' from James 'Blood' Ulmer's (love that Blood in inverted commas) album 'Tales of Captain Black.' A bit late for the Pirate Day, perhaps. A fast harmolodic scrabble with Blood's – or should that be 'Blood's' – old guvnor in the alto chair -Ornette Coleman. Whose shadow hangs heavy over this session... Ulmer plays some great flailing guitar...

The Fountainhead – or one of them – Bird and Diz with Thelonious Monk in 1950. This is an alternat take of 'Mohawk,' a loping 12 bar. Bird takes a couple of choruses, playing within himself, Diz tightly muted, fires off some pyrotechnical runs. Monk performs his off-kilter scamper for a quick chorus followed by bass. An odd session, you feel something didn't quite gell – could be the choice of drummer, Buddy Rich – a bit of a four-square thumper in general (although somewhat muted on this track), despite his technique – all that 'Traps the Boy Wonder' stuff. Max or Klook would have fit in better, maybe...

Saturday Morning – just edged into the afternoon. I must go boldly soon into God's Little Acre – here's something to bring a smile – of the hip variety, of course, Mildred... A bit of Shakespeare, 'Mark Anthony's Funeral Oration' as interpreted by the immortal Lord Buckley: 'The bad jazz that a cat blows wails long after he's cut out. The groovy is often stashed with their frames.'

In the Videodrome...

His Lordship circa 1949...

...with Groucho...

... and a smallextract of the Lord live telling the story of the Carpenter Kiddy

James Blood Ulmer
James Blood Ulmer (g) Ornette Coleman (as) Jaamaladeen Tacuma (b) Denardo Coleman (d)
Revelation march


Charlie Parker (as) Dizzy Gillespie (t) Thelonious Monk (p) Curley Russell (b) Buddy Rich (d)
Mohawk alternate take


Lord Buckley
Mark Anthony's funeral oration


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Miles Davis... Lennie Tristano... Lee Morgan/HankMobley... Captain Beefheart... Funkadelic...

I return – eventually... had to take a couple of days out to rest up as my brain forgets that my body can't keep up so well any more. A drag, but there you go...

Carrying on from the sad news about Mike Osborne, I don't really want to get into an ongoing obituary scenario – but this year has been pretty savage with regard to jazz/improvised musics. I was going to post a track from the Ric Colbeck album but Destination Out has already done so, plus some other tracks and provided a good write-up – I'll leave it there, for now...

Leading in on dreamy vibes before Miles takes the melody – from the album 'Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants,' the second take of 'The Man I love.' Miles in high romantic mode – burnished and darkly blue trumpet, echoed by Milt Jackson and some subdued comping from Monk - this is a track from the famous Xmas Eve session when tempers apparently flared between the trumpeter and the pianist. Miles respected Monk's music but hated his accompaniments. Then the vibes up the tempo with a short break before taking a solo, fleet and superbly inventive rolling lines from Jackson. Monk enters, with an almost absurdly stretched phrase – maybe some joke going on here – and he seems to disappear altogether as the bass keeps going, then Miles enters tentatively – to be edged out by Monk suddenly splurging a burst of notes. He returns after the pianist's brief amended solo, picking up Monk's last phrase – then swaps to muted trumpet. The tempo drops back to the original speed, then Jackson has another eight bars before Miles takes it out, ending on an open horn coda before they briefly finish it off together... Masters at work, 1954... sprung on the tensions between Monk and Miles, who were both on the cusp of greater recognition. But I reckon Milt wins it on points, here and throughout the session...

'You don't know what love is.' Lennie Tristano in solo mode, a sombre reading that goes into time with a walking left hand line imitating bass before heady chording deepens the line. Unusual, perhaps, if you are more used to Tristano's long complicated weavings of single notes. On the faster tracks, he uses the walking bass to buttress these in an odd mixture that seems to combine Bach with boogie. As on this other selection from the same session 'C Minor Complex.' Some dazzling stuff here – that even four maybe offering an elastic rhythmic freedom to bounce off in a longish exploration...

One is tempted to say this is early Lee Morgan, but in a tragic sense - as all of his recordings are early Lee Morgan, due to his death at the age of 24. This Savoy session, from November 5, 1956, was billed as the Hank Mobley Quintet, introducing Lee Morgan – but he had actually made his first recording for Blue Note the day before. (Just me and my discographies here tonight...). The trumpeter was 18... Jesus... or whatever expletive you think appropriate... Art Taylor leads them in briefly on drums – an uppish riff blues called 'Hank's Shout.' Mobley takes the first solo – an underrated player these days, he has an interesting melodic conception, supple and swinging, a hard bopper supreme yet with a softer tone on tenor than Coltrane, say, or Sonny Rollins. Somewhat like a bluesier version of Warne Marsh? Fast, yet light on his feet, Leonard Feather described him as the 'middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone.' (Quoted in here... ). Morgan struts in, biting hard on a surging repeated note before he takes off on a dazzling display of trumpet playing young turkery. Hank Jones takes a rippling, sprightly solo, bebop piano from the day, letting Doug Watkins in for a quick taste before they go into a round of fours – baton handed back and forth in good order. A gem...

Blues and jazz have sent many a ripple through the musics, high and low. Captain - my Captain Beefheart, the great and inscrutable one, recorded 'Trout Mask Replica' in 1969. One of the great albums of all time, across all genres. This is 'Pachuco Cadaver.' Channelling the Delta Blues with a dash of free jazz to collide into sixties avant rock with a vengeance. A freewheeling freedom to the continually shifting melting rhythms, weirdo lyrics and a splash of the Captain's soprano sax. Vocals on a mainline that stretches back to Howling Wolf... Never surpassed, really...

'A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous. Got

Uh, yes, sort of...

'Standing on the verge of getting it on.' This is Funkadelic from their 1974 album called... 'Standing on the verge of getting it on.' (I'm bored with the word 'eponymous'). Clamourous electric guitars and a wild rhythm section with call and response vocals. Colliding the other way back from psychedelic/hard rock into funk – except funnier than the white genre which took itself a wee bit too seriously – no pun intended – given the subject of the spoken high giggly voiced intro, which sounds like the helium tank had been handed round, if it wasn't speeded up:

'Hey lady, won't you be my dog
And I'll be your tree
And you can pee on me!

We will do you no harm
Other than pee in your afro

Hey lady, won't you be my dog
And I'll be your tree
And you can pee on me!'

Gloriously un-PC... But a democratic offer, I would submit. (Although: I've been around, but I've never understood the attraction of golden showers). Some of the breaks recall/reflect prog-rock – which might be the back-door to jazz, in an odd way, as all those earnest groups of the hour wanted to bring the sort of chops you found in jazz into rock (boy, did they mess that one up) – at a time when fusion was da rage also, (boy, did THEY mess that one up) to mix things even more – trying to cross back via rock from jazz. I was listening to some of Miles' electric jazz today and realised that no one else really came close... But this album works very well in its tight, clenched marriage of genres. A reclamation job, perhaps, on one subversive level... and fun... These separated genres often the convenient fictions of critics... cue Joe Turner, not Bill Hayley... Eddie Hazel is soaringly brilliant throughout... George Clinton for President...

'Even if you don't dig it
Don't mean it's not the thing or thing to do
Could be just for you.'

As Wittgenstein might have said... if he was cool...

In the Videodrome...

The Captain...

Derek Bailey with Michael Welch here...

... and more Derek...

... a long look at the most interesting Clinton...

Miles Davis
Miles Davis (t) Milt Jackson (vib) Thelonious Monk (p) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (d)
The man I love take 2


Lennie Tristano (p)
You don't know what love is

C minor complex


Lee Morgan/Hank Mobley
Lee Morgan (t) Hank Mobley (ts) Hank Jones (p) Doug Watkins (b) Art Taylor (d)
Hank's Shout


Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
Captain Beefheart (v, ss) Zoot Horn Rollo (g, f) Victor Hayden (b-cl, v) Mark Boston (bg) John French (d)
Pachuco Cadaver


Spaced Viking; Keyboards & Vocals: Bernard (Bernie) Worrell
Tenor Vocals, Congas and Suave Personality: Calvin Simon
A Prototype Werewolf; Berserker Octave Vocals: Clarence 'Fuzzy' Haskins
World's Only Black Leprechaun; Bass & Vocals: Cordell 'Boogie' Mosson
Maggoteer Lead/Solo Guitar & Vocals: Eddie 'Smedley Smorganoff' Hazel
Rhythm/Lead Guitar, Doowop Vocals, Sinister Grin: Gary Shider
Supreme Maggot Minister of Funkadelia; Vocals, Maniac Froth and Spit;
Behaviour Illegal In Several States: George Clinton
Percussion & Vocals; Equipped with stereo armpits: Ramon 'Tiki' Fulwood
Rhythm/Lead Guitar; polyester soul-powered token white devil: Ron Bykowski
Registered and Licensced Genie; Vocals: 'Shady' Grady Thomas
Subterranean Bass Vocals, Supercool and Stinky Fingers: Ray (Stingray) Davis
(given as cut and pasted
from here... ).
Standing on the verge of getting it on


Saturday, September 22, 2007


Exhaustion is going to get me for a day or so - maybe less, but it's always unpredictable... just done too much, on top of still settling in to the new house. Murray (fresh from his Lustfaust exertions in Berlin - although Van Baelen was missing apparently) and I went to Derby on Thursday to catch Charles Gayle/Mark Sanders/William Parker again - well, when they are practically on your doorstep, it would be uncivil not to turn up... They were brilliant - again - and how fascinating to catch this band twice in a week to see how they operate under different conditions. Two sets again, in the more austere premises of a lecture theatre at Derby University - but again, improvised music of the highest order, passion and power. Whoo hooooo... etc... I had a plan to go to London and catch them again at the Red Rose but my body was sending out its signals to override any more jaunts for a few days - Mapsadaisical has a good review of the gig and some cool photographs - Monday night my camera fucked up and Thursday I got a couple but they are not as good as these...

And Mike Osborne has passed away as well - this is turning into a heavy year - maybe a track by him tomorrow...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Review: Charles Gayle/William Parker/Mark Sanders at the Everyman Bistro, Liverpool, September 17th 2007...

The gig venue is beneath the Everyman theatre in Liverpool, part of the Bistro complex of three rooms. Passing through the other two, you come to the performance space – oblong, with table seating. People fill the place up, with quite a few latecomers (what's new there?) but a creditable crowd. Frakture obviously know how to get the vote out, as it were... They got their money's worth...

The musicians take their places at the end of the room – no stage. No P.A. - which wouldn't be needed in this space anyway, a small amp for the bass the only added electricity. These three will generate plenty of their own over the next two sets... Mark Sanders, almost boyish in comparison to his two cohorts tonight on this tour – Charles Gayle and William Parker, stalwarts of the vibrant New York 'free jazz' scene -and beyond. Both striking figures yet contrasted – Parker, a large bear of a man as befits a bass player, maybe, of his power, smiling, almost avuncular. Gayle, a ramrod thin tall man, with a serious face that has a clouded, mysteriously inward look to it (although I saw him in the interval in conversation and he smiled frequently, displaying a completely different facet to his character). They start up, Gayle floating lines across a quickly busy backdrop from bass and drums – although this is no sax plus rhythm show – each part of the trio is integral to the sound. Gayle is playing a white plastic alto rather than his usual tenor – an iconic instrument. And you can trace the lineage from Bird – blindingly fast playing - to Ornette – a strong melodic freedom and a way of floating across a busy rhythm before locking back in with a vengeance – via Eric Dolphy (to my ears) in some of the skittering intervallic jumps. Yet Gayle is manifestly his own man, a veteran whose mysterious roots go back to the free jazz days of the sixties – he is older than Parker and the younger Sanders - a superior technique fine-honed down the years that may pay homage where applicable but flows free with his own strong voice. Gayle is renowned for his squalling, screaming intensity yet held back some of this tonight to concentrate on spirals of fast-moving melody – laced with a fair share of vocal inflection and high-register playing yet these all seemed integrated into his overall style – moving effortlessly and at a dizzying speed between what effect he feels necessary to enhance the proceeding line. Parker takes a bass solo which is muddied a little by the room's acoustic but still displays his warm virtuosity. Sanders takes his moment, a hard-hitting solo, rhythmic density and movement effortlessly slapped out - he more than holds his own in this company throughout. Towards the end of the set Parker hits a walk a couple of times to balance and colour the intensity – because this is high-octane stuff – answered by the others as they move into more conventional swinging patterns. At the end, the place is rapturous – you are aware that you have witnessed something special – yoo hoo! Wild music that hits the head, heart and feet...

Second set. After all that preceding fire, one wonders, can they hold that level throughout? To which the answer is: YES! A similar easy-going start before Gayle hits his declamatory phrases – Parker using arco bass a couple of times to saw out jagged lines at a higher volume, at one point chasing a motif he dropped in and out of throughout across the registers, coming off with an amazing slithering glissando up and down the neck executed with virtuosic control, essaying swooning vocalised figures that seemed to be telling a joke of some kind. Gayle blows wild and free, then drops back to play a frail melody that opens up the space and lets the drums through, emphasizing the equality of this band. The music becomes more pointillistic to contrast with the overall multi-noted density, Gayle fragmenting his line. Deep into the set Parker is swaying at his bass with a joy that comes across vividly. Towards the end they just lift off to stunning levels of wild intoxication – Sanders takes another solo, smacking high harmonics off his cymbals, stick between teeth as he used a hand to hammer his drums – truly music of the body as well as the mind. Coming in to the end you realise that these guys just do not FALTER. Gayle lets rip, fast and hard in a ferocious interlocking dance with bass and drums to produce music that reaches deep down into my soul and rips it AWAKE.


William Parker:

" is the role of the artist to incite political, social, and spiritual revolution, to awaken us from our sleep and never let us forget our obligations as human beings, to light the fire of human compassion. Sounds that enlighten are infinite. We can put no limit to joy, or on our capacity for love."

(From here... ).

Finally: thanks to Frakture for providing such a great gig – I know only too well what a hassle and sometimes thankless task organising these occasions can be. Applause all round... And I had a great time in Liverpool – looking forward to the next visit...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back from Liverpool...

Returned in reasonable order - last night's gig put on by Frakture was phenomenal... Gayle/Parker/Sanders blew the place up - review to follow when I've had some rest and I can decipher the notes...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Off to Liverpool...

Well, I'm off to Liverpool this morning - Charles Gayle/William Parker/Mark Sanders tonight. And the mistake on the previous post/download has now been amended - Joe Albany and Warne Marsh are again operational on 'Daahoud.'

Sunday, September 16, 2007

William Parker... Mal Waldron/Marion Brown... Joe Albany/Warne Marsh... The Number: Keith Tippett/Gary Curson/John Edwards/Mark Sanders

With that Charles Gayle gig pending (I'm off to Liverpool tomorrow) – here's something from the mighty William Parker who will be appearing with the saxophonist (plus our own Marc Sanders). From the 2005 album, 'Sound Unity,' this is 'Wood flute song.' A booting track – Hamid Drake flashes throughout and Parker anchors down deep – to let the two horns flow. Rob Brown is becoming a favourite of mine, a fluent and exciting alto player. I don't know the trumpeter Lewis Barnes but he's damn good. Drake takes a busy solo, yet has plenty of space to explore – a clear recording, live from the Vancouver International jazz festival in 2004. There is something delightfully infectious and warming about Parker's music, as is his contribution to the myriad of bands he leads/plays in. 'This album is of the God-Head; enough said.'

Mal Waldron covered a lot of ground... here he is in a duo with Marion Brown on the old ballad 'I can't get started' run together with 'Now's the Time.' Brown leads in on solo alto – a heartfelt purity here, one of those performances where you feel as if you are listening over someone's shoulder. Then a bounce into the old riff blues, joined by Waldron in a dance across time – in several senses.

Another duo, sax and piano, from some time back. Joe Albany and Warne Marsh recorded together in 1957, an informal session at the home of recording engineer Ralf Garretson. I upped a track from this album a few months ago and mentioned Albany's daughter, Amy - who has written a fascinating book about her father. This is the Clifford Brown line 'Daahoud,' given an elegant and sprightly reading that has plenty of sinew underneath... Masterful...

Mark Sanders is the third member of the trio, with Charles Gayle and William Parker, who are imminently touring in the U.K. Here he is with The Number – Keith Tippett, Gary Curson and John Edwards. 'Collective 2' is the first,long track from their album 'The making of quiet things.' Curson blows some wide-ranging alto as the group wrap round each other - Tippett is a fiery battering pianist with a large sonic range but he leaves plenty of space here when the flow demands. Edwards is an amazing player -I've seen him several times over the last couple of years in varying situations and he is always breathtaking. Sanders displays his range throughout - I'm looking forward to seeing him up close with the two guv'nors from New York tomorrow night...

Note: there is a replay of selections from this year's Vision Festival on BBC Radio 3/Jazz on Three here... Available for a week - and a great program - cured my hangover yesterday morning...

And a brief mention of the passing of Joe Zawinul and the English writer/critic Richard Cook. Darcy has a very good post here....
Etnobofin has some further thoughts and good links here...

Richard Cook was one of our best music journalists – here's the Independent obit - as well as co-editor of the jazz recordings bible with Brian Morton - always at my side when writing this blog...

In the Videodrome...

Warne Marsh with Tristano et al New York 1964

Joe Morris
in Toronto

Roy Campbell does the Fire Waltz

Keith and Julie Tippett a couple of months ago...

Fascinating video of Keith Rowe...

Mark Wastell et al at the Termite...

William Parker
William Parker (b) Rob Brown (as) Lewis Barnes (t) Hamid Drake (d)
Wood flute song


Mal Waldron (p) Marion Brown (as)
I can't get started


Joe Albany/Warne Marsh
Joe Albany (p) Warne Marsh (ts) Bob Whitlock (b)


The Number
Keith Tippett (p) Gary Curson (as) John Edwards (b) Mark Sanders (d)
Collective 2


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Charles Mingus... Charles Gayle... Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton...

Internet service has finally been restored... But other complications – my rackety health mainly... So a quick post – but hoping to get back to some regularity soon. I keep saying this – hi ho. The toll of blogging for some time now. But the taste for it is still there... Honest...

There is always a sprawling, unruly joy to Mingus's music.... This is 'No Private Income Blues' from the album 'Mingus in Wonderland,' recorded live in 1959. Speeding in with virtuoso bass, a romping blues that looks backwards and forwards - and sideways. Booker Ervin blasts out some muscular choruses, Wyands takes a sparkle of a solo, Handy shows his class. A life- affirming and glorious splatter across the old 12 bar form. Richmond is all over it, the boss – well, what can you say? A great two sax trade of fours collapsing to twos and collective/overlaps at the end as the rhythm section sporadically stop time – this must have a been a wonderful night to have been in attendance... Blowing the blues indeed...

While we are in the mood for wild – Charles Gayle is about to arrive/has already arrived in the U.K. for a short tour. I've booked a hotel and tickets to see him in Liverpool next monday night, courtesy of the Frakture crew. He's got William Parker and the local boy Mark Sanders in tow. Much anticipation...

A taster, then, for next week: here's Charles with William Parker and Rashied Ali from his rather superb album 'Touchin' on Trane.' This is 'Part A,' showing the influence but contributing his own imagination and technique to taking the lineage further. A homage born out of affection and acceptance of what went before - yet Gayle doesn't copy or retread - he sounds totally different to Coltrane, for starters. The tenor playing is superb but the interplay between the trio overall is stunning. Freewheeling stuff that repays close attention.

Some late Ferdinand Morton, from a 1939 session. Some details about which you can find here... (scroll down). This is the classic New Orleans tune, 'High Society,' with Albert Nicholas and Sidney Bechet on board to add extra class, as it were, for the clarinet extravaganza (with the soprano sax added here). One of the first jazz records I ever bought had a version of this by Kid Ory's band that I almost wore out as a kid. This is the late flowering of the New Orleans style, with a dash of swing era – the bass seems very modern and supple alternating between two and four beat. The ride out is great, a warm weaving of lines... Thinking back to the Mingus track, you can really see Morton as precursor of the bassist/composer – something I intend to elucidate further on in a later post.

And so to bed – exhaustion takes it toll. But the move to the new house is almost complete...

In the Videodrome...

A Gayle blows through Brugges (you think I can resist such a terrible pun?)

Guy Van Duser does Jelly Roll M - 'Wolverine Blues.'

Wilbur De Paris plays 'The Pearls' (1960) A nice mute trumpet solo from Sidney - who played on the 1939 session above...

Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus (b) John Handy (as) Booker Ervin (ts) Richard Wyands (p) Dannie Richmond (d)
No private income blues


Charles Gayle (ts) William Parker (b) Rashied Ali (d)
Part A


Jelly Roll Morton
Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton (p) Sidney De Paris (t) Claude Jones (tr) Albert Nicholas (cl) Sidney Bechet (ss) Happy Cauldwell (ts) Lawrence Lucie (g) Wellman Braud (b) Zutty Singleton (d)
High Society


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Louis Armstrong... Bobby Blues Bland... Miles Davis...

A couple of tracks to keep it rolling - the sublime Louis Armstrong and 'Potato Head Blues' and Bobby Blues Bland - one of my favourite songs: 'Ain't no love in the heat of the city.' Plus Miles... 'Milestones.'

Done on the run from my laptop hard drive and the battery is running out so no details... may amend later...

Louis Armstrong
Potato Head Blues

Bobby Blues Bland
Ain't no love in the heart of the city

Miles Davis

Bah! Still no internet connections...

We moved last tuesday (still ongoing ferrying stuff across to the new place) and I had arranged for the internet connection to be put in on friday. Usual story: the engineer came, put in the wiring etc - but when I tried to get online - no dice. Apparently - after the usual battery of phone calls - the address hasn't been transferred yet. So watch this space - hopefully sorted soon. In the mean time - sat in my local boozer on their free wifi network typing this in. More music asap...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Vision Festival...

Just received a message from the Vision Festival crew about their new blog:

Hello Folks:

We are proud to announce the Vision Blog on our website Under the "Blog" tab.

The first post on the blog, entitled "Blueprint for a Cultural
Revolution," was co-authored by William and Patricia Parker. It is
intended to kick off an exchange of ideas on the state of the
creative music and arts scene in New York City. It is a call to action.

As many of you are aware, we have been busy organizing RUCMA (Rise Up
Creative Music and Art), a group of artists and arts organizers, the
intention of which is to raise awareness and support for the issues
that face artists living in New York: performance and rehearsal
space, housing, and education.

Please check it out and contribute your ideas to this ongoing

Thank you,

Patricia Parker

Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker... Gene Ammons/Richard Holmes... Johnny Griffin/Eddie Davis... Juke Boy Bonner... DJ Screw

Today we move to a new house, made slightly easier by the fact that it is in the same street as the old one. But things may well be interrupted for a while as I get internet connections sorted out. Maybe it will go smoothly...

Gerry Mulligan with Chet – the famous quartet. 'I'm beginning to see the light.' Bounced in on bass, then a strangely truncated theme statement – like someone talking through a mouthful of marbles. Mulligan rolls with a fairly foursquare solo – yet consciously it seems – there are acres of space to run over the turnarounds if required. Chet overlaps on his entrance for a brief solo, shadowed by Mulligan's sparse baritone. Bass fleetly takes the bridge – then ensemble back on to the theme – then a two-bar question and answer between bass and sax before an almost dixieland ride out. Muggsy Spanier's Ragtimers were recording only a few years before, a band that bizarrely springs to mind... Although Chet even when whacked was always a better trumpeter than Muggsy, bless him, and playing off a much more complicated rhythmic/harmonic base. Odd – yet charming. One of those tracks that recapitulates the history of the music - which at that time, measured in the years from the first records was – thirty plus a couple? Maybe that accounted for some of the popularity of the Mulligan Quartet, that easy swing? Yet at a distance – one observes the freedoms as well as the homages (intentional or otherwise). It's not all skronk and fire music... Wheew... cryptic...

Let us get down – should that be git down? Rattle the patois from a long cultural distance. Meat and potatoes jazz – 'Jugging Around.' A fast blast of Gene Ammons before essaying the perfunctory riff theme – a jump-off point. Then he goes – blowing hard and fast and bluesy... A live session from the golden days of organ/tenor combos. And no better exponents of the game... (For an experiment – try putting the phrase 'organ and tenor combos' into Google). Richard Holmes (on the organ – mainly backup here as most of the track is taken with Jug soloing then sparring with the drummer – fun and games and rabble-rousing of the highest order. Fade out on that old bop... fade out... dadadadada etc (five da's I think – such musical erudition... well, it's in a flat, if anyone's interested). 'Modern jazz.' With a hard yet joyful bluesy edge. R and B with technique – don't that sound like a jazz critic... Ammons, son of the famous boogie piano player, came up sparring with Dexter Gordon among others... Some heritage... enjoy...

That Google entry – also gives someone called Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis. Who teamed up with Johnny Griffin for a couple of years at the beginning of the sixties in a two tenor partnership that was all about alpha male sax blowing of the wildest and highest orders. Within the tradition, coming off bop's speed and aggression. This is the old Basie tune 'Tickle Toe.' What's interesting is that Davis never seems overawed by the ferocious velocity of Griffin... one of my favourite bands from way back.

We seem to be into the bluesier end of the spectrum... down South one should go, following the conventional critical maps...

Weldon Bonner – and the archetypal blues title for an album: 'Life gave me a dirty deal.' Dreams of leaving: 'I got my passport.' Raw and driving – A Texas poet.

Down a few years – the late DJ Screw. A scratchy, grainy slowed down dopesucking track from the Texas frontiers of sonic exploration. Takes rap back to those blues roots – taking the The Click: 'I'm tired of being stepped on' into a slow dance. (Go here for YouTube original). Ancient and modern... more explicit than the obviously necessary coding of the blues... but channelling the proud defiance of those who went before... Bending sound into strange curves... I'll reel and I'll fall and I'll rise on codine...

And now it's time to go...

In the Videodrome...

Eddie Davis... in Nice, 1977...

His old partner...

Little Giant again – with the young Han Bennink, among others, Europe 1964.

Sam Hopkins sings of old hurricanes and plays the bejasus out of an amplified acoustic guitar...

... and one more – because he's so good... Going down slow...

Mulligan at Newport 1958 - with the sublime Art Farmer...

Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker
Chet Baker (tp) Gerry Mulligan (bars) Carson Smith (b) Larry Bunker (d)
I'm beginning to see the light


Gene Ammons/Richard Groove Holmes
Gene Ammons (ts) Richard Holmes (org) Gene Edwards (g) Leroy Henderson (d)
Jugging around


Johnny Griffin/Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Johnny Griffin (ts) Junior Mance (p) Larry Gales (b) Ben Riley (d)
Tickle Toe


Weldon 'Juke Boy' Bonner
I got my passport


DJ Screw/The Click
I'm tired of being stepped on

Buy – No idea – a search would be needed...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Tom Kitching and Gren Bartley at the Phoenix... Alternative Medicine at the Criterion... Saturday afternoon in Leicester

And two went to Leicester seeking fun and music. Which we found in anarchic abundance...
Firstly, to the lunchtime session at the Phoenix to see the boys: Tom Kitching and Gren Bartley. Since we stopped doing the Nottingham gig a while back I haven't seen much of them - as rising stars on the folk/acoustic scene they have been busy throughout the festival season. The venue is a smallish room upstairs but with plenty of light via the glass walls/windows to look out over at Newarke Street and beyond. A family gig, parents and children having lunch in among the music crowd. Tom and Gren played with fire and surety, a different set to the usual one I know and better for it, the pacing tighter. Tom is an alpha male fiddler who takes no prisoners but Gren's voice was up to the task – it seems to grow stronger every time I hear it. His guitar playing as dazzling as ever... You can almost measure the rise in their confidence and maturity earned on the road these last months (starting from an admittedly pretty high base). Some new songs and tunes – an assured set in a venue which can be distracting – they rode it out in style. What they need now to pull out ahead of the pack are a couple of 'bangers' – anthems to define their sound like Pete Morton's 'Another Train.' In my opinion...

On another level -we had had a rough day previously, catching up on gossip after various returns – so the (albeit) brief curative powers of alcohol were sought out. After a brief word with Gren and with the bar soon shutting - off to the Criterion to seek more music.

A pleasant surprise – it's a nice pub but sometimes the Saturday afternoon music can be be a bit deadly. Earnest and dull singer-songwriters... Today – the redoubtable Bob Dayfield was present with a band of guys whom I didn't know, going under the collective umbrella of Alternative Medicine. A line-up of front man on hand drum buttressed by electric keyboard and bass and acoustic/electric guitars – swopped round liberally during the set between them. Bob is a wonderful guitarist who can switch from slide to fingerpicking and back in a variety of Americana/blues styles. And did. Perfect music for the day and time – light but with a tough enough core, the keyboard giving out bluesy washes to add timbral and harmonic diversity. The material – covers from the r and b/blues book – Sam Cooke to Jimmy Reed, lightly channelled rather than blackface (my new measure of white blues, to be elaborated on elsewhere). The hand drum – because of drink taken I had a sudden giggle to myself when I saw it as a flash of Stan Freberg's gleeful destruction of the 'Banana Boat Song' crossed my synapses. 'Too piercing, man.' I've never taken bongos/hand drums very seriously since. But forget that irrelevant and unkind thought – he sang well, as did all the four and added some rhythmic variety which held the performance together – a full kit would have been 'Too loud, man,' in this relatively small space room. The room filled up gradually but we had to go before they ended... apologies to all whom we know but didn't talk to – but we were on a different mission. Just to mention, belatedly, I saw Bob D the other week play a masterful solo gig at the Acoustic Club in Loughborough. Meant to write a review but have just not had time recently. So here's a photo instead – of a better quality than yesterdays selection here (I forgot my camera and relied on my mobile phone – a bit blurry, but that could have been hand-shake...).

Today – the suffering, of course. If poetry is 'Emotion recollected in tranquility,' (via William W), I wonder if gig reviews are sounds recollected in pain. We certainly had the spontaneous overflow of powerful drink, to loot and bend from the poet yet again. Aspirins, nurse...