Thursday, April 17, 2008

Arthur Doyle... Roscoe Mitchell... Elmo Hope

A quick hit - I'm off to Berlin in a few hours so on the clock - will try to post from there...

Put 'Arthur Doyle' into Google and you get loads of references to the English writer Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. Which I find vastly amusing... images of a concept album by the saxophonist Р'Horn of the Baskervilles,' anyone? Well, Holmes took dope and played the violin so plenty of room for clich̩/archetype. Maybe he did a reverse Ornette: 'Pass me my alto, Dr Watson, man Рgot a gig...' Further whimsy - the title of the band playing on this album РArthur Doyle Plus Four - seem to echo this gag Рin the old school Brit golfing trouser department, perhaps.


But Doyle has played over here in the U.K. occasionally, although I've missed him live, unfortunately... Ah, the perils of the provincial life. This is 'Ancestor,' from 1978. Opening on a bass vamp – off in the distance somewhere, recording being a bit scruffy. Soon joined by a spatter of double drums and trombone moanings (Charles Stephens) like some lost cow, alternating with higher whoops. Doyle comes in on an angry squall as the sound world expands and builds, propelled by the two drummers. The resulting trombone figures give an air of Albert Ayler's simple but effective anthems, an anchoring around which Doyle swirls. Sudden ending. An effective free-for-all...

The first track from Roscoe Mitchell's 1992 album 'This dance is for Steve McCall,' 'Ericka.' Commencing with an almost bucolic saxophone – high purity. Joined by bass – two long-drawn deep notes. The two basses take over, a slow dark arco weave. The saxophone edges quietly back in and out, as if peeping out between billowing heavy curtains of velvet. Piano and drums engage – sporadic commentary. Sudden jump cut to drums/percussion upping the tempo – an African feel. Basses join and a long flow of piano that builds with stabbing chords and surging lines. Mitchell enters again, upping the game with chesty sax, coming to a rather sudden end.

The Elmo Hope Trio 1959, playing 'Minor Bertha.' Some nice piano swirls in this, Frank Butler cutting through with a few slashes as Bond holds it down tightly...

Arthur Doyle
Arthur Doyle (ts, cl, f) Charles Stephens (tr)Richard Williams (el-b) Rashied Sinan (d)

Buy - you'll have to hunt for this one...

Roscoe Mitchell and the Note Factory
Roscoe Mitchell (ss, as, ts, bamboo fl, perc) Matthew Shipp (p) Jaribu Shahid (b) William Parker (b, perc) Tani Tabbal, Vincent Davis (d, hand d)


Elmo Hope
Elmo Hope (p) Jimmy Bond (b) Frank Butler (d)
Minor Bertha


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