Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Harold Land... Sonny Rollins... Stan Getz...

Three tenors...

I first heard Harold Land on an e.p. I bought when I was a kid, playing with the Curtis Counce group. Another link to that session is the drummer, Frank Butler, who underpins 'The Fox,' Land's famous album from 1959 from which I have extracted the track 'Little Chris.' Land, and to a certain extent, Butler, had long and distinguished careers – Elmo Hope and Dupree Bolton did not. Bolton, a fiery talent with the usual unfortunate bad habits that plagued bop, is (unfortunately) equally famous for being a member of the San Quentin prison band along with Frank Morgan, when Art Pepper dropped in for a brief sojourn in 1961. (There is a fascinating interview with Morgan here...). Hope was another veteran from early bop who never got any later breaks – an interesting overview here...). Land was an interesting composer - this is a stop-start theme, made up of six bars over a bouncing bass pedal followed by twelve in a straight swinging four, the interestingly lopsided pattern recurring throughout. Land takes the first solo – there is a tough edge to his playing that I find appealing – although seen as a West-Coaster, he was born in Houston – did some of that hardball Texas tenor get assimilated early on? (Although – the West Coast was where a lot of Texans ended up – think Ornette, from Fort Worth, for example. Too simplistic to label always as 'Cool School'). Butler is an underrated talent – busy here all the way – prodding and poking. Hope is interestingly elliptical – more towards the Monk side of the spectrum here than Bud, say, for someone with such strong bebop roots. Butler has his place in the sun before they go back to the theme and out... This is where a large area of modern jazz had been staked out by the late fifties... an interesting consolidation...

Sonny Rollins – playing an uppish blues, 'Solid,' from his 'Moving Out' album. He solos first, spinning his craggy full-throated lines with authority. Kenny Dorham follows, a typically bright performance, some nice floating games with time here, classy bop flurries scattered among the blues phrases from the common motival gene pool. Hope again, more linear here than on the above track, a sparkling demonstration of bop piano crosswired into the blues. The front line exchange some energetic fours before coming back for the theme. The whole tied up together by Percy Heath and Art Blakey. Recorded in 1954, on the cusp of the symbolic watershed of the fifties - the death of Bird in 1955. An good example of Rollins before he really started to stretch out... another interesting consolidation...

A session under Stan Getz's name, a live recording from the Shrine auditorium in 1954. The tenor man is partnered up with Bob Brookmeyer and here they are playing 'Flamingo.' One of the defining strands of so-called 'West-Coast' jazz was the fascination with counterpoint. Perhaps as an early melt-down of a perceived cluttered harmony which paved the way to greater freedoms? (Although Bill Evans somewhere says that one should consider harmony as counterpoint which implies a more elastic freedom available within the canon). I have always figured Ornette's break from orthodox bop was influenced by the earlier experiments without pianos such as Gerry Mulligan's recordings with Chet Baker, for example – or Jimmy Giuffre's various groups. You could run the line back from counterpoint to classical training, I suppose - and end in Bach and there were fascinating if not always successful attempts throughout this period to graft 'serious' music onto jazz. Here - slap bang in the tradition: relaxed - but intense - swinging music. With a piano - but Williams stays out the way of the front line who dance around each other in a light-footed weaving, seat of the pants improvising - as Getz admits at the end in his remarks to the audience.

Harold Land
Harold Land (ts) Dupree Bolton (t) Elmo Hope (p) Herbie Lewis (b) Frank Butler (d)
Little Chris


Sonny Rollins
Kenny Dorham (tp) Sonny Rollins (ts) Elmo Hope (p) Percy Heath (b) Art Blakey (d)


Stan Getz/Bob Brookmeyer
Bob Brookmeyer (vtb) Stan Getz (ts) John Williams (p) Bill Anthony (b) Art Mardigan (d)


Monday, May 28, 2007

Northern Celts at the Swan in the Rushes... God's Little Acre rocks... briefly...

I had forgotten it was Bank Holiday - the rain should have provided a clue... but after a somewhat boozy weekend, the social calendar for God's Little Acre ( a slim document) was not at the forefront of a slightly addled memory. But shopping was necessary so a venture outdoors was required - and Mr Marmion rang, spluttering expletives about a lost chisel which was necessary to do some mundane but urgent household task - so he was out to play after securing this vital implement... we arranged (as ever) to meet at the Swan in the Rushes in the Artists' Quarter... the cure was jointly taken - and we noticed a gang of people with instruments - obviously part of the local street festival planned for today - which I assumed had been hit by the monsoon season. Not sure how they were lured into playing - Frank may have had words - but they did. And craic was had... the congregation of worthy constituents (as Charlie Parker might have said) essaying forth on guitar, whistles, mandolin, bodhran (someone who could actually play that maligned of instruments - an unusual occurrence, it has to be said), violin and vocals plus some dude who played the spoons before exiting. You can spot professionals - or at least those who have experience of playing in public - by the way they pace the show. The instrumental diddle de dee of reels, jig, etc was broken up with songs and varieties of tempo - rather than the hours-long slam down tedium in D major that usually passes for an 'Oirish' session round here. And a weird sense of déjà vu - I can't sing anymore so now operate in purely instrumental areas, acoustic and electric - but several of the songs were from one of my old acoustic repertoires - especially 'Pancho and Leftie' and 'Leaving Louisiana.' Mr Marmion managed to join the proceedings and play and sing his composition 'Doolin.' Some (a small sour bunch) of the locals didn't like it and decamped to the other bar. What dull people... But everyone else enjoyed it - and a pleasant surprise on a cold, wet Bank Holiday. In this burg of few surprises, especially musical. The impromptu muse not too welcome round here, despite the efforts of the improvisational few... A cool bunch... based in London, they are the Northern Celts and run a session down Camden Town way at the Constitution ('predominantly a geezers' pub' - swelp me, guv'nor)- worth a visit - every second thursday...

The photos are rudimentary, to say the least - from my mobile phone camera and the light was tricky- but somewhat arty, in a smoky, blurred (and cheap) manner... perhaps...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

John Carisi... Jimmy Giuffre... Booker Ervin... David S. Ware... Joe Morris...

Sometime back I posted a Cecil Taylor track from the album released under Gil Evan's name ('Into the Hot'), but featuring on the original LP a side each by Taylor and John Carisi. To redress the balance, here is 'Ankgor Wat.' A sound world away from Taylor, Carisi had been around – a self-taught trumpeter he is mainly known for his writing and arranging skills – and most notably for the tune 'Israel,' recorded by the Miles Davis Birth of the Cool band in 1949. There is little of his work available – this track shows a hint of his lineage to Claude Thornhill, who stands behind both the Davis recordings via Gil Evans in the velvety sonorities of french horn and tuba... all these interesting trajectories... No doubt an attempt at invoking the mystery and grandeur of the site in Cambodia via an extended composition... some bluesy lines by Costa and Galbraith across some near-gospelly cadences that hints at hard bop's forays into 'soul jazz.'

Jimmy Giuffre, another Texas jazz maverick... originally finding success as composer/arranger with the Woody Herman band, then with his own small groups – before his plunge into the early avant-garde secured for him many years of unjust neglect. This is 'Chirpin' Time,' from his album 'Tangents in Jazz.'

'Giuffre's career has always been a matter of plotting a trajectory, but then the same could be said of Coltrane. The degree of exclusivity between the two men is pronounced, and according to a glib interpretation, it could be said that one moved towards Africa, musically speaking, whilst the other moved towards Europe. In both cases, their efforts expanded the jazz vocabulary, and Giuffre's music as it was caught here amounts to the formative work of a singular intelligence.' (From here...).

'[G]lib'- yes – but interesting, in a (very) broad brush sense. Perhaps it might be instructive to also consider the influence of folk forms on his music and map this onto the cultural bi-polar chart – the blues (Africa) and folk/country (Europe)... This track demonstrates that straight away – the woody clarinet playing a line at once bucolic and bluesy followed by the contrapuntal blend of the trumpet. The drums are held back – brushes used, employed more melodically than rhythmically, the bass plays an integral role in the composition- proceeding melodically rather than via the standard walk. Call and response... Acres of space... blues and the abstract truth, anyone? How one reacts to this music may depend for some on how much one feels that the 'jazz' component has been retained... For my part, alongside the European drift, at the back of it always I seem to hear Lester Young – and the blues... Giuffre was to move into more abstract areas but the seeds of his later strategies can all be found here...

Another Texas horn – the mighty Booker Ervin. 'Deed ah do,' as basic a blues as you can get – a repeated riff spread across its first eight bars before a small elaboration to round it off in the final four. Ervin takes the first solo at full throttle – the backing an almost four-square stomp that reminds of the Art Blakey classic 'Blues March.' Richard Williams next, a sparkling solo moving between the usual fleet bop lines to invoke earlier trumpet styles in places with figures drawn from yesteryear. George Tucker's bass comes up for a sparse but effective couple of choruses. Parlan was always a bluesman, moving into a block chordal section before the riff returns...

More mighty tenor – David S Ware and his group playing 'Quadrahex.' Starting down low, slow, ominous and brooding. Susy Ibarra brought a different range of textures to the drum chair during her tenure with the quartet - her cymbals introduce the next section after a brief pause. Then Ware goes for a high squall... a track from one of the best groups in contemporary jazz... Parker as always granite-like in underpinning and Shipp suprememely resonant - battering dark chords and probing lines.

Another member of the same loose grouping of contemporary free jazzers– the guitarist Joe Morris (who has switched predominantly to acoustic bass atterly. A solo acoustic outing on steel string guitar, here's Joe playing 'Light,' from the album 'Singularity.' An austere sound - but Morris doesn't go in for much sonic frippery on electric either, leaving his lines very clean in the tradition of jazz guitar, however busy they get. Chasing, scurrying, dense and thoughtful here... there is an appealing purity to Morris's work...

I found this article about the recent memorial to Alice Coltrane performed by her son Ravi – stumbled on it here...

In the videodrome..

Jimmy Guiffre and trio playing 'Train and the River.'

Ravi Coltrane with Elvin Jones...

More Elvin...

Cannonball Adderley playing an uppish 'Straight no Chaser' from 1974 with brother Nat...

a long clip of Cannonball's sextet from 1963...

Herbie Hancock and co – 'So What'

Gil Evans/John Carisi
John Carisi, Johnny Glasel, Doc Severinsen (tp) Urbie Green (tb) Jim Buffington (frh) Harvey Phillips (tu) Phil Woods (as) Gene Quill (as, ts) Eddie Costa (vib, p) Barry Galbraith (g) Milt Hinton (b) Osie Johnson (d) Gil Evans (arr, cond)
Angkor Wat


Jimmy Giuffre
Jimmy Giuffre (cl) Jack Sheldon (t) Ralph Pena (b) Artie Anton (d)
Chirpin' Time


Booker Ervin
Booker Ervin (ts) Richard Williams (t) Horace Parlan (p) George Tucker (b) Danny Richmond (d)
Deed ah do


David S Ware
David S Ware (ts) Matthew Shipp (p) William Parker (b) Susie Ibarra (d)


Joe Morris (g)


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bill Dixon... Archie Shepp... Bill Evans/Lee Konitz/Warne Marsh... David S. Ware... Lennie Tristano/Lee Konitz... Lennie Tristano/Charlie Parker

Bill Dixon co-led a band from 1961 to 1963 with Archie Shepp but they had gone their separate ways by 1964 when this album was recorded, each having a side to feature their now separate talents. The first track is Dixon and his 7 Tette, playing the previously unreleased 'Alternate take Section III, “F” ' from 'Winter Song.' Counted in with traditional manner- 'One two, one two three four.' Borrow leads off briefly, followed by McIntyre on oboe. McRae keeps it busy behind him. Dixon solos in spartan fashion (According to the sleeve notes for the CD, he had been having embouchure problems not so long before). Similarities to the spurting asymmetries of Don Cherry, perhaps... Howard Johnson essays a gruff baritone section followed by a two bass lead out that terminates when someone (Dixon?) says, 'We've got to do that again.' Work in progress, recorded a few months before the famous October Revolution...

Archie Shepp and the New York Contemporary Five, playing the leader's composition 'Like a Blessed Baby Lamb.' Oddly enough, the drummer, Sunny Murray, sounds almost conservative by comparison to Howard McRae on the previous track. Shepp growls in after the theme, spindly phrasing with mucho cymbals behind from Murray. Cherry takes over with Murray a little more in evidence on his snare, throwing in a sporadic roll. Oceans of space for the pocket trumpet to sail through. Tchicai next, angular, worrying and fluttering at phrases, joined by spiky accents from the other horns. Boykins on more or less straight walking throughout holds it all together. An odd theme, like a cross between Ornette laced with a stabbing phrase straight out of Monk...

Run forward – to 1977. Bill Evans had recorded with Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh before – a live session in 1959, under Konitz's leadership. This later studio bash sees everyone on fine form. Evans sounds more extrovert than usual and the date has an easy-going feel to it throughout. Modern jazz at the highest level...

David S Ware on 'Sweet Georgia Bright.' His bleary tenor states the theme and you hear Sonny Rollins somewhere in the background – whom he practised with as a young apprentice. Ware is a consummate original though, let us be clear on that. Fireball trails of notes spin off as the rhythm stops and starts under him, Shipp uncharacteristically reticent – sparse chords on the comp. Parker fires off a fast line, followed by Shipp suddenly opening up with a dancing ripple alongside him. An interesting exercise from the cream of the contemporary free jazz lineage in a more orthodox setting. The album title – which could be miscontrued as suggesting 'Surrendered' to the orthodoxies of the market place - is more likely referring to Ware's spirituality... which is reflected in the sense of ego surrendering to the music, perhaps... I like his playing very much – just bought a couple more CD's in fact which I will extract the odd morsel from at some point... so much music, so little time...

Another taste of Konitz – playing with his mentor, Lennie Tristano. Drumming is quite stroppy, going against the usual accepted wisdoms that the pianist required time to be kept neatly and no fancy stuff. Tristano marks out the changes as Konitz dances elegantly over the top. One of the true greats still blowing strong – a survivor who was always determined to mark out his own track apart from the gravity pull of Bird. Tristano takes a restrained solo. Towards the end he suddenly breaks out to play a contrapuntal line that moves up alongside Konitz. Stunning... A live date – I think this is from 1955, the gloriously named 'Sing-Song Room, Confucius Restaurant' in New York being the venue. Bass and drums then would be Gene Ramey and Art Taylor, which makes sense. Tristano once said : 'Vitality arises from an emotion that is free.' (Quoted from here...). Quite...

To end: the immortal Bird, in an impromptu session with Tristano. Kenny Clarke is listed as the drummer but apparently he played a phone book with brushes - as you can hear. This was a private recording – as you can hear! Hissy, rough – but it is like suddenly stepping into a tunnel that connects back over the years to the glory days of bop. Bird is superb, Tristano here just content to lay out the chords behind. Possibly a practice session? The Tristano discography lists it as 1951, but it possibly was recorded earlier in 1947, according to this review of the album containing this track by Greg Thomas here...

In the Videodrome...

Sonny Rollins and Don Cherry here...

the Great Clifford – on T.V....

... have we done this before? Trane on My Favourite etc...

...some Miles

... and some more Coltrane...

Bill Dixon
Bill Dixon (t) George Borrow (ts) Ken McKintyre (as, ob) Howard Johnson (tuba, bs) Dave Izenson, Hal Dodson (b) Howard McRae (d)
Alternate take Section III 'F' from 'Winter Song.'

Archie Shepp
Archie Shepp (ts) Don Cherry (pc) John Tchicai (as) Ronnie Boykins (b) Sunny Murray (d)
Like a Blessed Baby Lamb


Bill Evans/Lee Konitz/Warne Marsh
Bill Evans (p) Lee Konitz (as) Warne Marshe (ts) Eddie Gomez (b) Eliot Zigmund (d)


David S. Ware (ts) Matthew Shipp (p) William Parker (b) Guillermo Brown (d)
Sweet Georgia Bright


Lennie Tristano (p) Lee Konitz (as) Gene Ramey (b) Art Taylor (d)
All the things you are


Charlie Parker (as) Lennie Tristano (p) Kenny Clarke (d)
All of Me



Just checked and I've run out of bandwidth - this will be rectified asap... more music on its way today...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rod Poole 1962-2007...

I came across the very sad news while randomly surfing tonight that Rod Poole had been killed in some altercation in Hollywood, Sunday last.. More details here...
Rod was born in England and moved to the U.S.A. in 1989. He started off as an acoustic guitarist with an interest in free improvisation and after his move to America studied 'just intonation' with Ervin Wilson. The application of which was to take his guitar playing into new and fascinating directions... As someone who splits his guitar playing between electric and the acoustic where I started from and still have a deep affection for, the adventure of his playing is a bright inspiration... Condolences to his wife and family...

As a small tribute I have taken a couple of extracts from his long piece 'The Death Adder' – the first fairly brief, the latter consisting of the last six minutes or so...

... and there is a Quicktime stream here of Rod Poole doing some mesmeric bowed guitar (scroll down)...

Rod Poole (g)
Extract from 'The Death Adder'

Extract from 'The Death Adder.' (Last Section)


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thomas Chapin... Art Tatum... Mal Waldron/Marion Brown... Hampton Hawes... Billy Bang...

The music called 'jazz' has moved at an incredible speed of development since its murky beginnings, sometime in the early years of the last century. I use the brackets intentionally, as I often do, because so many strands have split off from the origins that it can be difficult sometimes to define what is and what isn't 'jazz.' Many famous musicians have been unhappy with the word, seeing it as either a form of defamation, intentional or otherwise, that links their artistic endeavours to the whorehouses of New Orleans via one of the etymological meanings of the word and some of the social uses of the early music – or, in an expanded point from this argument, as a limiting term that binds into formal constrictions and punishes innovation. Further, there is probably a resentment by often (but not exclusively) African-Americans at the trivialising and misunderstanding of their art by critics, however well-intentioned – or just plain hostile. Leaving this debate aside, what I find fascinating is the variety achieved in what can be very loosely grouped within the common understood parameters – in the contemporary world where New Orleans/Dixieland styles co-exist with retro swing bands, where the mainstream has shifted to bebop, where the neocons of the Lincoln Center bunker glower across at the antics of those who continue their explorations in the 'free jazz' lineage. And vice versa, no doubt... A world where the benefit of some hindsight and temporal distance now enables the listener to track the continuities that were not always so evident in earlier days – especially from bop onwards, perhaps the first great perceived rupture. With some generosity of spirit, one could (should?) widen the field (in an Olsonian sense) to include rather than exclude...

To start – the traditional count – 'One two three four' – and a bouncing vamp on tuba buttressed by the brass section introduces 'Golgotham' by the Thomas Chapin Trio, playing with an expanded line up (that calls to mind Coltrane's 'Africa Brass,' perhaps). The bright, searing sonorities of the trumpets blended into the trombones giving more than a hint of past big band glories. The tuba – a link back to the twenties... but here taking a ride through the expanded timbral palette of splutter, spit and odd phonics, in an interlude that bridges the opening and Chapin coming in to solo over the heavy backbeat – he sails effortlessly over the ensemble, a squalling, bluesy smeary honking performance from his wide range of stylistic devices. A track that collides many years of the music into a glorious live performance that you could dance to. Continuing with growling and unmuted brass call and response and simultaneous lines, emphasizing the timbres acquired early on in the 'jazz' sound world. Stop time breaks as bass and brass duel... drum solo that flows over the implicitness of the rock vamp rhythm that underpins the track – followed by chants from the band. Ensemble through-composed for a section that then falls into a free for all as the track drops out of the rhythm and the band are name-checked by the leader (?)to the audience, picking up the beat again to suddenly end. Inside and outside... a sprawling riffingly joyous track big-hearted as the city it was conceived in, almost at odds with the punning title – 'Place of skulls?' Sardonic...

Marion Brown in a duo with Mal Waldron – a pianist who moved easily across the piano styles. Slow resonating chords, the overtones ringing in the spaces between the phrases, going subtly into a rocking rhythm as Brown enters on ruminative alto – a touch of Johnny Hodges in his tone, the swooping bend round the long-held notes. Sweet and sour... A track that uses space intriguingly, unhurried in its movement. Waldron takes a solo, a sparse melody twisting in interesting directions. Brown rejoins, playing off a repeated note. Two musicians moving through the tradition – this could have been recorded anytime within quite a large abitrarily agreed timeframe...

Art Tatum made a slew of recordings before his untimely death that document his supreme virtuosity and stature in the canon. This selection is a trio playing 'Hallelujah' - Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich – the latter having the sense to pull back from his usual 'Traps the boy wonder' pyrotechnics by switching to brushes. Bubbling virtuosity from two timeless players as Hampton matches the pianist's speed of thought. Tatum steps up for a solo, stride piano figures disrupted by those tumbling moves up and down the keyboard. Hampton back for some stunning interplay – Rich comes through strongly here. Anyway you slice it, collective improvisation of the highest order. Hot jazz...

Hampton Hawes, playing 'What is this thing called love.' Arpeggiated chords and a ripple of Tatum almost in the introduction (I also hear a distant echo of Erroll Garner) before it picks up tempo and the bass and drums enter. Hawes was self-taught, but acquired the technique necessary to play bop – as evidenced here. Fleet and powerfully swinging, well-supported by Red Callender on bass and Chuck Thompson on drums. He acknowledged a great debt to Charlie Parker who "influenced me more than anybody, even more than piano players." (quoted from here – a very good review of Hawe's autobiography that gives an extensive overview of his career).

Billy Bang would usually be associated with the more radical end of contemporary jazz. Here he is leading a quartet through a swaying swinging version of 'Willow weep for me.' Cutting violin, an instrument that can veer into the lachrymose (I've never liked Grappelli for that reason, undoubtedly fine musician that he was). Swarming bluesy piano- two handed testifying... Bang takes a solo – fire and soul, trenchant bowing... pretty mainstream, if you ask me...

In the Videodrome...

Art Tatum on T.V....

Thomas Chapin at Newport...

Late Billy Holiday swinging out – with Mal Waldron on piano...

The Duke...

... can't leave out the Count – here with a late incarnation of the Kansas City Five...

John Kirby plays for dancers...

... more dancing and playing from a great movie (Slim Gaillard in there somewhere)... a sadly missed old friend of mine was in the English stage show of Hellzappopin'...

... Billy Bang et al in Antwerp

Thomas Chapin
Thomas Chapin (as, f) Mario Pavone (b) Michael Sarin (d) Al Bryant, Frank London (t)
Curtis Fowlkes, Peter McEachern (tr)Marcus Rojas (tuba)


Art Tatum
Art Tatum (p) Lionel Hampton (vi) Buddy Rich (d)


Mal Waldron/Marion Brown
Mal Waldron (p) Marion Brown (as)
Soul Mates


Hampton Hawes
Hampton Hawes (p) Red Callender (b) Chuck Thompson (d)
What is this thing called love


Billy Bang
Billy Bang (v) D.D. Jackson (p) Akira Ando (b) Ronnie Burrage (d)
Willow weep for me


Friday, May 11, 2007

Four Tet/Joe Henderson... Albert Ayler... Kidd Jordan... Kid Parker... Annette Peacock...

Keiran Hebden in his guise as Four Tet brought out a succession of re-mixes – here's one of them, his take on Joe Henderson's 'Earth.' Not everyone's cup of meat, to be sure... perhaps a sonic cross between electric Miles and Alice Coltrane -who plays on the original album, 'The Elements.' Some nice Charlie Haden solo bass...

'N Y E&E C is, simply put, one of the most boring, annoying and completely insulting films I've ever had the displeasure to watch. Improper exposures, lack of composition (both within the film frame and structurally), empty subject matter, run-on scene-takes, and a soul-strangling "freestyle" Jazz soundtrack (imagine bleating goats, whinnying horses and trumpeting elephants all thrown in a blender and set on "Mince") only begin to exemplify what this film pushed out on the audience like so much afterbirth. It became clear quickly that Snow really didn't have much of a plan going into the shooting or editing of the work, and throwing in his famous Walking Woman cut-outs seemed like a weak attempt to legitimize whatever artistic leanings the piece might be able to scrape by on. Once again, the Avant-Garde inherits another legacy of half-baked, infantile, self-satisfying palp.'
(From here...).

... always character-building to consult opposing views... 'self-satisfying palp'... interesting... here's something from the soundtrack to that film 'New York Eye and Ear Control.'

'...imagine bleating goats, whinnying horses and trumpeting elephants...'


Reviews of this album were/are mixed and comparisons always made, understandably, with 'Free Jazz' and 'Ascension.' I think it holds up well, given the different underpinning that Sunny Murray especially gives compared to its illustrious predecessors... Discography details: the group were assembled by film maker Michael Snow and the collective improvisation that forms the soundtrack to the movie was recorded July 17, 1964. This is track two: 'AY.' The track starts at a fast lick, Ayler hurling his enormous saxophone blast into the ensuing mêlée... jumpcuts in tempo to a slower crawl... Cherry skids in and out and Tchicai sounds interesting. Rudd mournful and reticent, emerging occasionally as if peeping out from behind a bush. Upping his game with blats and roars in his solo section, a long way from J.J.'s conception of bebop trombone. Peacock puts in some abrasive arco and fast moving pizzicato – Murray as mentioned above giving the ensemble a rolling rhythmic freedom – that must - at this time - have taken some getting used to. Cherry solos over chattering bass and Murray's sudden lurching rolls. Tchicai picks up a motif from him and throws it at the ensemble as they re-gather. A good front line balance overall in a somewhat muddy recording between the high Cherry and low Rudd with Ayler going from gruff to squeal as the spirit moves him and Tchicai high and fluid. Runs out a steam a little towards the end – but a late rally... Albert takes it on points, I think... A further thought: any long, improvised performance will have inconsistencies – that, surely, is the nature of the high-wire act ongoing... further, that the finished performance is enhanced by the inconsistencies if it can both enfold them – and transcend them... Hegelian free jazz criticism what?

Kidd Jordan is one of those underground jazz legends, a man from New Orleans who chose a quieter road perhaps as teacher and educator, better known among his peers than the wider public. (Whose house was sadly devastated during the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina). From 'Palm of Soul,' here's 'Resolution.' When I think of what 'world music' could be – rather than the often-produced banalities it became – this, perhaps, would figure strongly as a contending voice – although the urgency of Jordan's tenor roots it firmly in jazz. A long introductory roll of drums - the track proceeds with incantory vocal over bass and percussion. Jordan weaves his saxophone lines around the mournful voice. Conjuring up a distant memory of Coltrane's 'Kule Se Mama,' which I must get out again soon... The tempo settles into a bass-led groove as voice and tenor follow each other round and round. Mesmeric...

'Asked to define his work, Jordan calls it "creative improvisational music." ' (From here...)

Here's one of my appalling links, spinning on Kid... a track from the even more obscure Delta Blues singer, Kid Parker. 'Mississippi Bottom Blues.' Taken fom an old 78 and released on a Delta Blues compilation, its scratchy distance eery and atmospheric. Blues from another time...

Another singer – a bit more contemporary. Annette Peacock performing 'Gesture without plot,' from her album 'I'm the One.' Another underground cult hero, romantically involved with Gary Peacock (playing on the Albert Ayler track above) and later Paul Bley. Pioneer of synths in live shows... After an arctic winds intro, slow, strange vocal bends and turns over spartan piano. Pretty weird for 1972, given the market it was aimed at... Peacock's voice is bluesy yet distanced:

'this music comes from the same what-the-FUCK universe as Buckley's Starsailor and Nico's Marble Index .' (Extracted from a good review here...). As icily brilliant as the latter-mentioned track...

In the Videodrome...

Annette Peacock in the 1970's

Kidd Jordan with William Parker – a brief clip from New Orleans but a few weeks ago...

...More Parker with his traps buddy, Hamid Drake – and Anthony Braxton...

I found this on Carrot RopeSonny Rollins and Leonard Cohen (have a feeling I've posted it way back but too pushed for time to check...)

Four Tet remix/Joe Henderson


New York Eye and Ear Control
Albert Ayler (ts) Don Cherry (pt) Roswell Rudd (tr) John Tchicai (as) Gary Peacock (b) Sunny Murray (d)


Kidd Jordan
Kidd Jordan (ts) William Parker (b, guimbre, gongs, bowls, talking drum) Hamid Drake (d, tablas, frame drum, voice).


Kid Bailey (g, v)
Mississippi Bottom Blues


Annette Peacock
Collective personnel for album
Annette Peacock (v, key) Tom Cosgrove (g) Stu Woods (b) Rick Morotta (d) Paul Bley (key) Michael Moss (ts) Barry Altschul, Airto Moreira (perc) Michael Garson (p, org)
Gesture without plot

Hard to obtain – try second hand...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Review: Freedom of the City, Red Rose Club, London... Nine... Weston/Rutherford/Mattos... Edwards/Parker/Fernandez/Russell... Monday 7 May 2007

The Red Rose in Finsbury Park, London is a comedy club, tonight (and over the previous weekend) dedicated to the Freedom of the City Festival, organised by Evan Parker, Eddie Prévost and Martin Davidson. Through the bar area and into the performance space which is a large square-ish room with a broad stage – must require some interesting stage-craft from single stand-ups. With a cluster of musicians on it who would eventually coalesce into the first band of the night: Nine! Consisting of twelve musicians(?), they played a fascinating set. With all those bodies, one could imagine much sonic clutter arising, but this was avoided in a performance that built from (necessary?) small gestures and nuances into the larger whole. The instrumentation: guitars, harmonica, piano, saxophones, clarinet, flute, violin, various percussion and what appeared to be a banjo-uke or some similar instrument. Subverted by externalising in the main – the traditional internal perfomance properties of the instruments being ignored apart from a few isolated examples of almost straight playing (a strummed chord, a blown note held) – a foregrounding of scratches, scrapes, bangs and bowing of surfaces... Several examples: a small object being rattled inside the bell of a clarinet, a saxophone dismantled and various noises created by using the mouthpiece/reed. Or Prévost bowing a large gong (?), the pianist rummaging inside the piano, investigating the sound properties of its plucked and struck metal entrails. The piece started with electric guitar lightly amplified and playing a repeated figure – but this beginning in tonality soon dissipated ... the discrete sounds coming from across the ensemble formed a surprisingly clear and broad sonic field. An exercise in group playing and tight control – any excess or sudden lurch into conventional soling would have destroyed the delicate balance maintained throughout. A space wide enough to encompass a couple of incongruities – I felt that the acoustic guitar player didn't always fit into the ongoing sound stream – and this was a problem for both, acoustic and electric, that the sounds/sonorities of the other instruments blended more efficiently. Acoustic and conventional electric guitar have little sustain or sonority and fast decay, the electric having a slight edge but - for no doubt deliberate reasons – no attempt was made to produce the longer/louder sustain which an amplifier and pedal setup is capable of. The ear of the beholder– why should someone blowing into the end of a flute have more sonic validity? But overall, only a small criticism. The performance finished back on the electric guitar, which acted as a tonal reference point linking back to the beginning. Thoughtful... radical... beautiful...

Apparently the second group had never played collectively before – Veryan Weston on piano, Paul Rutherford on trombone and Marcia Mattos on cello. The spatial question taken into a different area – a full broad sound that contracted and expanded where necessary, busier than the more spartan Nine! Here, the technical similarities of the trombone and cello, relying on a different kind of sound production in that they have no set points as such - frets, keys - to produce notes apart from the (admittedly strong) weight of tonal convention which can easily be evaded/disrupted by small microtonal shifts and also have an immediacy of response – direct contact with the note production via the fingers - were lined up against the piano. Which has a precise keyboard in front of the performer, notes being produced by a slight time deferment – the key sets up a mechanical process that ends in a hammer striking the strings. Apart from varying one's keyboard velocities and/or using the pedals, to radically disrupt or change the note(s) – to approach the glissando possibilities of the other instruments named, for example – one has to go inside to attack the strings directly. Weston eschews this approach tonight. Theoretically, then, trombone and cello already have the timbral possibilities of blending more easily – for the pianist a way in has to be found. (And Rutherford and Mattos have recorded together in the past so would perhaps be more aware of each other's playing). It seemed to me that Weston was a bit tentative at first, whereas Rutherford and Mattos were straight there in the zone, producing a roaring, scrabbling continuum from the start. After the sonic abstractions of the first set, this was much more visceral music – melody more to the fore – albeit jolted, dragged in and out of shape, skewed by extended techniques and timbres. Rutherford is a veteran of the scene, one of the stone originals who broke out of jazz in the 60's to develop the new improvisational sound worlds. On the basis of his superb playing tonight, a force still to be reckoned with. Mattos, another veteran, was equally stunning... I gather that he studied guitar when he was younger and it comes through in his approach to the cello, strumming chords and violent pizzicato work, along with the usual battery of extended techniques and his forceful bowing. The long piece ebbed and flowed, splitting into varying instrumental combinations that kept the music fresh – especially, one saw the compatibility of cello and trombone when they came together. Fascinating among this wonderful display of imagination and musicianship to trace the trajectory of Weston's developing involvement with the performance as he mapped his path through. A vigorous, emotional performance that also had some of the intimacies of chamber music (in both the jazz and classical senses).

The final set of the night by John Edwards, Evan Parker, Agustí Fernandez and John Russell cranked it up further. Parker stayed on tenor throughout, sitting down as if to emphasize that this was supposed to be a group performance. In spite of the collective ethic, however, the piano player stole the show, run a close second by the imperiously brilliant bass-playing of Edmunds. Parker – embedded back in the mix, his as always superb tenor fluttering and chittering in and out of the more dominant maelstrom provided by the other two. Always the unhurriedness of the master... looking quite benign and bucolic with red-face(caught the sun?) and hairy/bearded appearance. Russell seemed unable to compete on the same dynamic level at times, his guitar again pointing out one of the problems the instrument has in this music – how to balance the essentially dry, astringent sounds of his archtop guitar that decay rapidly against essentially richer timbres. I would have thought that the only way to compete on an equal footing would be to amplify more – but it's a fine balance to strike, admittedly. He also broke a couple of strings which must have unsettled his train of musical thought. What I did hear was interesting, dropping some sharp and brittle colourations across the top of the sound and engaging in a brief skittering duet section with Parker. But the tall, physically imposing, red-shirted Fernandez held the attention, in perpetual motion, bouncing on his seat, hitting the piano with sledgehammer blows from his hands with a violence that at times looked as if it would shake the instrument off the stage – yet balancing that force with a fluttering, feather-like touch at one point that was just on the threshold of audibility. And some humour: smiling, looking as if he was enjoying himself immensely... Edwards, as mentioned above, delivered a master class in contemporary bass playing, fingers of iron ripping out chunks of sound from the strings in all positions, or rubbing and scraping the surface of his instrument – a seamless blending of conventional and 'extended' techniques. The second time I have seen him this year – powerful stuff. Verdict: despite the imbalances, a bravura performance.

Overall – a wonderful display of the variety extant in the musics by three very different line-ups, unified by questing minds, imaginations and the underpinning of dedication to improvised performance. I had arrived feeling out of sorts – I left feeling uplifted. Despite all the privations, sacrifices and financial problems alluded to by Evan Parker in his closing speech, which we are only too aware of in the U.K., a fitting end to what was apparently a great festival... Just wish I had been able to attend for a longer period. Ah well – next year...

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


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Review: Damo Suzuki with Dragon not Emperor, Plexus, Black Carrot: Zen Pentecostal Tribal Stomp: Quad Studios, Leicester... Saturday 28 April, 2007

To the Quad Studios... a schizophrenic night – in the roles of observer and participant... The venue is in a part of Leicester where many old industrial properties are being converted to new uses. Not far from the centre of town and a great place to play – but if you don't know the area, a difficult place to find... As the promoter's nerves were being stretched further, the audience started to trickle in, building to reasonable proportions. The Quad is a factory converted into well-equipped rehearsal studios with a large reception area where the stage has been set up. Black Carrot and Dragon Not Emperor (their overlapping duo off-shoot) had extensive sound checks due to the amount of percussion to be miked up, presumably. We did ours fairly quickly as I had decided just to bring a laptop and Murray a guitar to keep clutter down to the minimum – although during our set I think the laptop did some strange things here and there, due to the varying sonic ranges and granularities of the samples I had loaded. There was another minor panic at one point when the promoter received an enigmatic text message which looked as if the star of the evening, Damo Suzuki, was having to pull out at the last minute. Apparently a wrong number – but it provoked a frisson or two... As a gig organiser on and off for many years, I know only too well how the stress levels rise and the lure of strong drink is all too irrestible – until all your musicians are assembled and there is an adequate audience to play to. But it was all coming together – Damo duly arrived and soon the first band started up:

Dragon or Emperor – a duo tonight, Stuart Brackley on bass/lead vocals and Euan Rodger on drums and vocals. Opening on a thumping beat that was a signature in many ways for the night – always underneath the sonic mayhem to follow there was some kind of rhythmic guide. Then the bass snapped in and Stuart proceeded to fill out the sound thoroughly – lead and rhythm simultaneously for large sections. His voice is like a third instrument - the vocals are blurred and somewhat indistinct but this is more about sound/texture and meshing as a third line. Certainly he has an extraordinary voice – vibrato-laden in a way that edges towards the ageing fop Ferry as an easy reference point – but a light year away in what he does with it. Dragon or Emperor start the proceedings on a high level and are well received.

Some re-arrangement: Tom at the drums now as Euan comes downstage to his percussion kit and Black Carrot assemble. I once compared what they do to the type of punk-jazz that was coming out of New York when James Chance and Defunkt were Downtown and roaring but tonight they are nearer to rock (pointed up by Stuart Brackley playing electric rather than acoustic bass tonight)– with their own twists and bends and improvisational ethic that combine to make that somewhat addled form still interesting. A deeply visceral sound, often rooted in the bass lines of Brackley who leads the band melodically for much of the way (and sings in that wonderful open-throated voice), with Oliver Betts starting out on the weird instrument I figure was some kind of bass-recorder, miked up, switching to seamy, smoky tenor sax further on in. I remarked above that the night was based on a tribal stomp motif in a way – and this is what brought the disparate tribes together, perhaps. But what makes Carrot interesting is that they don't just stay there... the two-drum lines will start with simple figures that quickly splinter into syncopations, as the bass roams the airwaves from deep to high up the neck and Ollie's horns fill in the gaps, Stuart's vocals plead and seduce... speaking in the tongues necessary – as a fascinating forerunner to Mr Suzuki. What I've always liked about this band is to the fore tonight – flexibility of strategy, backed by an inside/outside selection of moves that gives a pathway in for audiences even as they subsequently take them to strange places – and bring them safely home. It's that tribal boom boom – that dissolves into more complex rhythms and sounds but is always implicit, like a heartbeat. A great set...

The tribal boom boom of Plexus is maybe not so immediately obvious. Playing as a duo tonight – our original line-up – it was the Old Firm: loud, dissonant, and free-flowing with, however, an insistent four four loop slowly dragged in at the bottom as some sort of anchor. Damo Suzuki famously never rehearses – so neither had we (which would have been absurd anyway as most of our music is improvised on the spot). I can't comment much on our set as I was in the thick of it musically – stage left at the laptop with Damo in the middle and Murray to the other side. He gave up a sonic firestorm on his guitar – feedback, bows, mallets, knocking the shit out his instrument. Somehow – and it is a testament to Damo Suzuki's inherent professionalism – and flexibility and freshness of imagination, because professionalism on its own as technique say is nothing without those more elusive qualities – he quickly found a space in the music – and locked into it. I have no idea how long we played – fifteen, maybe twenty minutes as we were lost in the performance, guided solidly by Damo's wonderfully weird vocals – of which more below, when I had a chance to be an observer...

The main set of the night: Damo Suzuki with Black Carrot and the inestimable Mr Teledu added on guitar. Oliver Betts now on electric piano. That stomp started up – the guideline and a heavy rhythm was kept up throughout – criss-crossed by the invention of the two drummers. Bass receding somewhat to lock things down as Dave T's guitar lashed out some sparse figures, at one point bottle-necking fluid treble glissandos. Ollie launching into some forearm and hand-chop clusters in places, reminiscent of Cecil Taylor. Suzuki meshes with the band seamlessly, flying over the frequent stop-time breaks, his voice coming out of the rock tradition but going into very different places. He makes it look almost easy – but it's not. A slight man who exudes a calm centre, he has a surprisingly wide vocal range, sometimes descending to a deep roar that surges from some bass area channeling Beefheart and Howling Woolf – a trace of Louis Armstrong's scatting? - with maybe something intrinsically Japanese tonally mixed in. An improvised, abstracted vocal blending the melody and the rhythms seamlessly with the backing musicians, sung with a fervour that rivals a Pentecostal foray into speaking with tongues crossed with a lash of Zen... a shamanic performance as Damo sings in a language of his own invention. He retains vestiges of the old hippie idealism from a more innocent time (his musical origins in Germany as a street performer and his tenure with Can) – yet he is not some old rock panhandler out doing the retro-revival circuit. None of the dinosaurs would have the nerve and grace to travel the world and perform spontaneously as Damo does with his selected 'Sound-Carriers:' musicians who come together locally to play with him – which ensures that he keeps each appearance fresh. Maybe sometimes it won't work, due to the high-wire nature of his game, the chances taken. Tonight it did... I speak for all the Leicester Sound-Carriers – it was a great privilege to perform with Damo – and fun, too!

Apologies for going AWOL... then Clifford Thornton...

My apologies – this has been a week of enforced rest – exhaustion has caught up with me... so the Damo Suzuki review is somewhat late - but will go up today (honest)... and some mp3's tomorrow... Here's a track to keep things moving – an obscurity I just acquired in a new batch of stuff. Clifford Thornton, a multi-intrumentalist with radical leanings that are displayed in the album title: 'The Panther and the Lash.' This is 'El Fath,' recorded in Paris, November 1970. Starting on a vamp led by the bass followed by piano and hissing, rattling percussion that leads you in nicely, Thornton squalls up on the shenai, which I gather is some kind of Indian oboe. (Ornette has used one, way back). Thornton exploits its unique tonal qualities to the full, bending and swaying over the insistent rhythms of his backing musicians. This is a rare classic, now re-issued on CD from one of the great, if neglected, figures of Free Jazz. Till later...

Clifford Thornton
Clifford Thornton (cor, shn, v-tb, p, maracas) François Tusques (p, cel, balafon, maracas)Beb Guérin (b) Noel McGhie (d, perc)
El Fath


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Paul Bley... John Coltrane... Charles Gayle...

Killer band... Bley the leader, John Gilmore, Peacock and Motian... 'Turning' is an almost stately waltz whose brief theme is quickly disrupted by Bley's tumbling beginning to his solo. Peacock in close pursuit all over his bass and Motian interestingly oblique. Gilmore comes in on a repeated fragment that he tosses around, going sideways at one point with some growling granularity. The rhythm sways behind him with vertiginous shifts as he continues to run with a repeating/extending line, like a glitterball above a ballroom that sends out different refracted patterns as it revolves. Peacock shows his technique – a strumming, plunking solo. Back to the theme briefly. An interesting exercise in hiding the three four amongst a nest of polyrhythms...

Gilmore is always mentioned as having influenced John Coltrane in some measure... Here is the late great Trane band from the album 'Meditations.' 'The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.' The gospel influence is surely to the fore here, in this wild, sprawling search for transcendence. When you play some really raw gospel back to back with this music, you hear the link, surely... The simple theme that emerges reminds me of Albert Ayler – another interesting influence on Coltrane – doubled by the other horn spitting out fanfare-like figures á la Don Ayler. The theme is hurled up in the air and attacked from all angles – I have mentioned before that Coltrane's roiling spiritual quests in his music are unsettling, jagged, high-energy runs into unknown territory – far from the simplistic pieties of the New Age – if Kierkegaad had been reincarnated in twentieth century America and played tenor saxophone, this is the sort of music I imagine that he would have produced. The two drummers set up a blurring jolting backdrop – Elvin on one of his last go-rounds with a band that was soon to lose McCoy Tyner who was replaced by Alice Coltrane. (Not sure of the exact dates – but 'Meditations' was the last album with Jones and Tyner, recorded in November, 1965. By February of the next year when the next recording session took place, they had left... ). Pharoah Sanders emerges out of the firestorm to devasting effect – howling, shrieking smears of blood-red tenor. Moving into a two-tenor blow-out that evokes hunting horns at one point... Tally-ho...When the spirit moves...

'Touchin' on Trane' makes an explicit connection/homage to the dead tenor giant. But Charles Gayle is his own man in a different time – huge lungfulls of air blown through his instrument to release a dervish horde of notes and timbres. Here's 'Part C,' a fast-paced riot of joy. Gayle comes in hard and fast, underpinned and closely paced by William Parker's bass and Rashied Ali's drums. Ali, of course, was the last drummer in Coltrane's group before he died, the man who assisted him take his quest onwards by providing a free-floating undergirding of opened out rhythms. He takes a fleet solo here before Gayle returns, going up high in a masterly display of articulation. I've just read Phil Freeman's fascinating book, 'New York is Now! The New Wave of Free Jazz.' about the New York Free Jazz continuum - partisan and fierce in his attempts to right the wrongs of side-stepped and ignored musicians whom he makes a good case for being the true heirs to the 'jazz' legacy, rather than the neo-classical gang clustered around Wynton and co. Don't agree with everything he says, but the main thrust is sharp and true... I see more of the spirit of jazz ongoing in Gayle, William Parker, David S Ware and company than in the retro death grip of Lincoln Center... (Phil also runs a good music blog here...). Who hasn't read the orthodox criticisms of musicians such as Gayle – that they are somehow just copyists of Ayler, Ornette, Coltrane et al? Blah blah... Bullshit... They didn't get it then and many still don't get it now... And another thought, that Freeman touches on: maybe one of the reasons 'free jazz' is ignored to the extent that it is may reside in the spiritual impulses of so many of its practitioners – something that separates the Europeans from the Americans to a certain extent, given the more agnostic culture the former come from. William Parker is quoted in Freeman's book as saying:

'I think a lot of European musicians don't get into the spirituality of the music... But when you play free improvisation, I think God is there too...whether you like it or not.' (Page 78, New York is Now).

Gayle, for example is a strong Christian whose beliefs have led him into various confrontations and controversies. Coltrane, being dead, can be dealt with more easily and his profound spirituality hastily bundled out of the way. Critics versed in the contemporary pieties of post-modernism approach these subjects uneasily... But remember Albert Ayler saying, way back:

'I must have spiritual men playing with me. Since we are the music we play, our way of life has to be clean or else the music can't be kept pure.' (From a 'Downbeat' interview here...

Lastly, Freeman makes the case for free jazz expanding its audience among the young noise/rock/avant garde metal crowd... a phenomenon I have witnessed here in the U.K. Let's face it, this is not the sort of music that many (not all, to be fair) searching out a standards and blues changes band are going to get too close too...

And that's enough proselytising for today... From the spiritual to the profane... Here's something a wee bit more down to earth: Lightnin' Hopkins, the free spirit of the blues, performing 'Bring me my shotgun.' Proto ganster rap... an uneasy, dark track concerned with infidelity - with an ambiguity: a hidden metaphor for sexual impotence at the end? 'The reason I don't shoot you, little woman - my double barrelled shotgun just won't fire.'

In the Videodrome...

Hair Police – from their tour a while back – my review here – fucking brilliant... making the links between rock, improvisation, noise and free jazz...

Heretically, never a great fan of Billy Holiday – but this is classic stuff... fine and mellow... the band is ridiculous (in the best sense, Cynthia...)

... Lester again – in more voluble form, with Ella...

...Bird and Bean

... our own Pete King on Bird's plastic alto -

...Trane and Getz in Europe – with Oscar Peterson... I kid you not...

Paul Bley
Paul Bley (p) John Gilmore (ts) Gary Peacock (b) Paul Motian (d)


John Coltrane
(John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders (ts) McCoy Tyner (p) Jimmy Garrison (b) Elvin Jones, Rashied Ali (d)
The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost


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


Lightnin' Hopkins
Bring me my shotgun