Friday, August 15, 2008

Anthony Braxton... Phineas Newborn... Miles Davis...

Anthony Braxton and his Great Quartet playing 'No 159' from the 1991 set recorded at the Willisau Festival. Swirling, densely scampering brilliance held together with a repeated phrase that pops up like an annoying child repeatedly sticking their tongue out at you over and over again. (My dear wildboy grandson springs to mind...).

Phineas Newborn recorded the old bop/Afro-Cuban warhorse 'Manteca' out in Los Angeles, 1961, with one of the top rhythm duos of the day – Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, who had come together in the first great Miles Davis Quintet during the years 1955-8. Newborn never attained the critical heights and was dogged with illness, both mental and physical. On form, though, a scintillating player:

'In his prime, he was one of the three greatest jazz pianists of all time, right up there with Bud Powell and Art Tatum...' (Leonard Feather, quoted from here...).

Miles in 1965 with his Second Great Quintet, bristling with the youthful energies he had surrounded himself with in another gesture of artistic renewal. Taken from the live sets taped at the Plugged Nickel, this is 'Round Midnight,' Monk's famous dark blue reverie which Davis recorded many times. Thoughtful trumpet leads in with a long pause before a sudden trill then into the main theme, Miles bending and squeezing notes, wry smears, sudden flurries. Changing gear as Shorter enters, the tempo busier now. An elliptical solo, finding almost as much space as the leader. Some nice interplay between piano and tenor. Herbie Hancock next, equally sparse to match the mood. Miles returns. More 'vocalised' horn - this is not about bop speed but something different, colour and a cunning use of silence...

Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton (as) Marilyn Crispell (p) Mark Dresser (b) Gerry Hemingway (d)
No 159


Phineas Newborn Jr
Phineas Newborn Jr (p) Paul Chambers (b) Philly Joe Jones (d)


Miles Davis
Miles Davis (tp) Wayne Shorter (ts) Herbie Hancock (p) Ron Carter (b) Tony Williams (d )
Round Midnight



Anonymous said...

Braxton is a marvel, his music perspective is very interesting, no for easy listener, but it's amazing when you get him. I mean, when you come in to the braxtonian world. Splendid! More Braxton if it's possible.

Miles, well, one of the very best of all the time. You MUST go into his music, one of the finest musician that i hear. But if you read him on autobiography, the man speaks by himselfs, it's not political correct, but at the same time funny,... you know what i mean? Listen and lern from him. Thanks for your sharing.

kind regads, Enrique :)

Rod... said...

Thanks for kind comment... I've been listening to Miles since I was about 12 years old - and that's a long time ago - so grew up with his music. I can remember when my late wife Barbara gave me 'Bitches Brew' for my birthday when it came out in the UK and I was blown away by the change in direction - always made sense to me. Braxton I came to later but hold him in equally high regard - one of the great musicians of the planet. To see him in London with Cecil T a while back was a mighty privilege... so we'll have some more soon on here, I think...

Anonymous said...

Dear Rod

Braxton & Evan Parker:

kind regards, Enrique :)

ps: two names to remember!

Rod... said...

yes, thanks again - this was a recording I did not know about - Evan is one of my heroes - seen him a lot down the years and never less than stimulating - one of the great players. But never heard him with Braxton before - some wild stuff here on first listen...