Tuesday, September 04, 2007

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
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Buy


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


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


Weldon 'Juke Boy' Bonner
I got my passport
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Buy

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

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

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