Sunday, January 06, 2008

Gil Evans... Hampton Hawes... Arthur Doyle... Ornette Coleman...

Gil Evans in 1961, coming 'Out of the Cool.' Perhaps... anyway, I've offered other tracks from this album so here's the last one, 'Sister Sadie,' the Horace Silver soul jazz composition. It has been said elsewhere that this is a bit of an anti-climax compared to the others... maybe more of a stomper, less filigree in the arrangement – but it more than does the job. Perhaps the theme doesn't offer much more than this treatment, pleasing though it is? Johnny Coles takes first solo honours over gruff horn riffs, soaring high and clean. The ensemble take over for a chirpy rephrase of the theme – then Ray Crawford solos on guitar, dogged interestingly by Evans' piano chording. Some almost tailgating trombones – very old-school – lead on for solo trombone to emerge from the pack. More ensemble re-bending of the theme, interspersed with spattering drums before 'Sister Sadie' proper emerges for the ride-out, capped by a flourish from Coles and more battering drums... Maybe there is more in this track than seems at first apparent...

Hampton Hawes from a date in 1955, the old warhorse 'These Foolish Things.' Piano twinkling slowly in to lay the ground for the bass to take the melody as Hawes switches to chords in the background. Veteran Red Mitchell expands fluently then Hawes takes it up, mixing rhapsodic chords with a boppy single line until the bass returns for another solo. Relaxed, nothing world-shattering – but satisfying...

Wild man Arthur Doyle with a rough and ready track from one of his home recording sessions – on a walkman, I think. Doyle spins off the alternate line of free jazz that is more rooted in blues, r and b and gospel – fountainhead Albert Ayler - and I find his playing refreshingly unpretentious and full of unexpected twists. Starts on opened mike tape hiss (the background throughout, giving an approximation of the movement of air as if he was recording in the open) and tentative honkings- then vocal from Doyle – some scat across the linkages of 'Africa' and 'America.' More horn, working up a deep-throated movement that whaps upwards into strangled high register squalls... back into a swaying line bucking around fragments of melody teased out and cajoled. FREE jazz... with some extraordinary sonorites extracted from the reed of his instrument. From the line of American Mavericks... ('I love being underground, man...' - taken from here...).

Talking of whom... Ornette from a late seventies date in France. 'The Changes' from 'Who's Crazy, Volume 1.' (A double irony in track and album title?). One of his best lineups, in my opinion, just bass and drums, allowing full range for his full instrumental armory. Straight in on trumpet – no virtuoso he (and many hate his brass and violin playing) but the line holds – the shape of his playing is what is important, perhaps. Buttressed by the rollicking roll of Moffett and Izenzon's steady bass, there's an almost Milesian vulnerability to his playing. The violin comes scrabbling in on a repeated figure that is worked through and beyond in a long arcing hoedown. The balance is weird, as if he is walking away from the mike in places, adding another spatial expansion. A sudden drop – then saxophone takes over as the tempo slows. Stabs of notes breaking up the rhythm to a stutter. To suddenly pick up speed and run away. Oddly, he plays more on his other instruments than on the sax here. Slowing down at the end – swooning figures from Izenzon's arco bass as the violin returns.

Gil Evans
Johnny Coles, Phil Sunkel (t) Keg Johnson, Jimmy Knepper, Tony Studd (tr) Bill Barber (tuba) Ray Beckenstein, Eddie Cain, Budd Johnson, Bob Tricarico (ww, saxes, flute etc) Ray Crawford (g) Ron Carter (b) Charlie Persip, Elvin Jones (d)
Sister Sadie


Hampton Hawes
Hampton Hawes (p) Red Mitchell (b)
These foolish things


Arthur Doyle (ts, voc)
African Queen


Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman (t, vl, as) David Izenzon (b) Charles Moffat (d)
The Changes

Buy – good luck finding this one...


Happy In Bag said...

The Ornette is a life-changer! Thanks.

There seems to be an error with the Doyle link.

Rod... said...

Damn! Thanks for spotting it! In a rush to get out and have fun today! Link now changed... I agree about the Ornette - exhilarating stuff...