Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bill Perkins Octet... Steve Lacy/Don Cherry... Polly Bradfield... Peter Brotzmann

I knew this title originally from the wonderful Jack Teagarden version – this is the Bill Perkins Octet from 1956 doing a smooth cool school take on 'A hundred years from today.' Velvet arrangement wrapped round Perkins tenor with memories of the 1949 Miles Davis Nine somewhere in the background... Rather beautiful...

Steve Lacy served part of his apprenticeship with Thelonious Monk and throughout his career both showed a deep knowledge of his music and often returned (as if to a meadow? Apologies to Robert Duncan) to his compositions. This is early Lacy, in tandem with Don Cherry, Carl Brown and Billy Higgins – bass player apart, half the Ornette Coleman group. Cherry solos first – on trumpet, rather than his smaller horns. Still retaining the sound, however – busy but not power blowing. Lacy always seems relaxed, wherever he wanders – and inside/outside Monk's music was where he frequently rambled mightily down the years. Some wonderful arcs of notes here, when he solos, as if flying lightly above the changes. Higgins is busy throughout, rewarded with a solo of equal length to the horns. Laid back stuff – cool, almost?

Rasping, scratching, high scraping bounces of the bow – Polly Bradfield took no prisoners on her solo album of improvisations from 1979. Doing to the violin, what Derek Bailey did to the guitar, both moving it out into unfamiliar territory while simultaneously exploring the instrument's intrinsic physical being – wood and strings interacting with fingers and, here, bow. 'Extended technique' with a vengeance...

This Die like a Dog track came up on my Last Fm player and for the duration I stopped what I was doing, transfixed by the power and the finesse – stupid name for a group, maybe, despite the sentiments – what's with all this cheap transgression? - but the music... wow... Had to go and dig it out... This is 'Number 1.' Homage to Albert Ayler... by a powerhouse quartet – but Kondo's trumpet/electronics steal the prize for me: HE DO THE TRUMPET IN VOICES... to misappropriate Mr Eliot... amazing. Parker takes a sizzling arco solo as well...

In the Videodrome...

Die like a Dog - whoof...

Bill Perkins in Japan with the cool school boys...

Steve Lacy in San Francisco...

Bill Perkins
Bill Perkins (ts) Bud Shank (as) Jack Nimitz (b-cl, bs) Stu Williamson (tr, v-tr) Carl Fontana (tr) Russ Freeman (p) Red Mitchell (b) Mel Lewis (d)
A hundred years from today


Steve Lacy/Don Cherry
Steve Lacy (ss) Don Cherry (ct) Carl Brown (b) Billy Higgins (d)
Let's Cool One


Polly Bradfield (v)

Buy – you'll have to search for this one...

Peter Brotzmann/Die like a Dog
Peter Brötzmann (as, ts, trgt) Toshinori Kondo (tpt, elec) William Parker (b) Hamid Drake (d, fr-d)
Number 1


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