Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE RESIDENTS – Not Available (LP-1978 / Ralph Records)




Label: Ralph Records – RR1174
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: Oct 1978
Style: Experimental
This record was recorded in 1974, released 1978 of Ralph Records and 
The Cryptic Corp.
Artwork [Cover Art, Based On A Drawing By A Resident] – Pore-Know Graphics
Composed By, Arranged By, Recorded By, Producer – The Residents
Copyright (c) – Cryptic Corporation
Published By – Pale Pachyderm Publishing
First pressing with purple labels (5000 copies)

A1 - Part One: Edweena ................................................................ 9:29
A2 - Part Two: The Making Of A Soul ............................................ 9:59
B1 - Part Three: Ship's A' Going Down .......................................... 6:32
B2 - Part Four: Never Known Questions ........................................ 7:00
B3 - Epilogue .................................................................................. 2:20

This record is issued at the discretion of Ralph Records and The Cryptic Corp. The characters and events portrayed are fictional and do not represent either The Residents or other persons, living or dead.

This is one of the strangest and most interesting recordings in rock history, which speaks volumes coming from one of the strangest and more interesting bands in rock history.  While the Residents have experimented within the confines of rock throughout their entire careers, with the exceptions of Eskimo, The Commercial Album, and God in Three Persons, this album achieves like no other. A surreal rock opera resulting in an incredibly weird circus of sound, it is one that simply must be heard to be believed.



_1          In 1978, the “official” word was that The Residents had stated NOT AVAILABLE could never be released. The group claimed that they had recorded their musical film noir masterpiece in secrecy as a way of exercising their “theory of obscurity” to its fullest, and, In strict accordance with the theory, the work could never be released until its creators no longer recalled its existence.

But those steeped in the lore of The Residents’ milieu have long known that the recording of the album was in reality an exercise in group therapy. The real reason that the band wished to deny its existence was the fact that they felt that the work was too personally revealing.

What is not generally known, though, is that, as part of their therapeutic process, The Residents actually considered the idea of creating an operetta based on NOT AVAILABLE. Casting the primary roles with the actual inhabitants of the group’s internal drama, they then began a series of loosely structured “rehearsals” with those players enacting the principal roles of Edweena, The Porcupine, The Catbird, Uncle Remus and Enigmatic Foe.

By enacting this pseudo drama within a psycho drama, the internal conflict, still not completely understood by all of the participants, became much more clear, as the player/characters instinctively acted out their roles. The love triangle between Edweena, Porcupine and Catbird became obvious (“Can two be more than three?”) as well as Remus’s role as the distant and objective commentator (“The aching and the breaking are the making of a soul.”). The purpose of the Enigmatic Foe was of course still unclea ´r when the rehearsals began, but once the Porcupine’s breakdown was known (“He thought the end was overdue, but day broke him instead...”), the role of the noble Foe, as Porcupine’s stand-in for the operetta’s climatic duel scene, became clear.

As the faux piece reached its peak, the trio - two holding pistols while the third hid in a bush - came to the realization that the lovely young Edweena had eloped with the independently wealthy and no longer uninvolved Uncle Remus. At this point, the tension, previously thicker than frozen mayonnaise, was shattered by the Porcupine, emerging from the shrubbery to paraphrase Shakespeare (“To show or to be shown...”).

With illusions of love shattered, the three were then able to forgive, embrace and even welcome the traitorous Remus back to the fold, once he had returned from his unexpected honeymoon.





_2          This, the second album recorded by the Residents, is perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful of all their albums. Its was bounded by the “Theory of Obscurity” and “could only be released when the creators themselves had completely forgotten about its existence.”

For whatever reasons, the album was eventually released four years later. Some have complained that this release was blasphemous and that the theory should have been respected. Let me assure you that no crime was committed. The lyrics are heavily veiled in an acoustic and linguistic gauze. Sometimes there is rhyme, and sometimes there is reason. There are times at which we catch glimpses of these lyrics through the veil, however their meaning tends to speak more directly to the soul, and for the most part are not available to the analytical mind. When listening to this album, one realizes that its obscurity remains fully intact.

The music is full of many rich and varied themes. Its juxtaposition of the sad, the beautiful, and the unusual, creates deep emotional currents that with proper navigation will lead you to interesting places. There is an innocence about this album that lays aside all pretense and bears open their soul.

We hear a hypnotic mesh of percussion, strings, horns, and voices. We find ourselves carried upon waves of unfamiliarity which lead us to seductive places where female voices and pianos sweetly wonder about the blooming of posies. There are also places of loneliness as felt in these words:

The sentence existing inside of a rhyme, is only just a token left spoken in time.

In “The Making of a Soul” there exists a most beautiful and delicately played piano passage. It sounds as though they were playing on their grandmother’s seldom used piano in the basement while she was away. Later, lamenting strings join in with the piano, and a peculiar person shows up with some questions that are guaranteed to shake you up.

We make our way through the turbulent “Ship’s A’Going Down”, spiraling ever downward, descending into the whimpering depths from which there appears to be no return, until at last we find ourselves with “Never Known Questions”. A lush resting place.

When you look into the emotions contained in the music on this album, they speak clearly, and there is no question of obscurity. This album is simultaneously sad, happy, and beautiful. Particularly as found in its climactic conclusion. Grandma’s sad and innocent piano reappears and after a valiant attempt at trying to communicate the passage of calling cards and winking bards and falling guards, there is a certain feeling of resignation as we find ourselves, along with The Residents, throwing up our hands and saying “OK”.

An angelic farewell march fades in and takes over while the singing continues in time with the new music. “OK, OK”. There is a sense of finality and acceptance. As the march continues to play, another refrain emerges.

To exist to show, or to be shown? Is a question never, never known.

As the music slowly fades out, so do the lyrics. They leave us, receding faintly, with the words “to exist ... to exist”. The music is sad because it is time to say farewell, as we all must do someday. It is happy, for having had the chance to exist. And it is beautiful, because it is.

The Residents' Art Director Homer Flynn


Note:
The eventual publication of Not Available came about as the result of a problem with the band. In 1978, The Residents were working on Eskimo, a much-touted major release. However, after a disagreement with The Cryptic Corporation, the band disappeared to England with the Eskimo master tapes. Needing something to release, the Cryptics pulled "some old tapes" off the shelves and released them as Not Available, complete with ads in the UK music press announcing "Now It Can Be Sold." The Residents weren't bothered much by this deviation from their plan, however, since the 1978 decision by someone else to release the album couldn't affect the philosophical conditions under which it was recorded in 1974.


The Residents:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Residents



If you find it, buy this album!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

MICHAEL MANTLER / CARLA BLEY – 13 and 3/4 (LP-1975)




Label: WATT Works – WATT/3, Virgin ‎– WATT/3
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: UK / Released: 1975
Style: Contemporary Jazz, Free Jazz
Recorded August 1975, Grog Kill Studio, NY.
Mixed September 1975, Scorpio Sound, London.
Design [Album] – Paul McDonough
Engineer – Dennis Weinreich
Engineer [Assistant] – John Hunt
Photography By – Li Tjiong
Producer – Carla Bley, Michael Mantler

A – 13 (for Piano and Two Orchestras) .............................................................. 22:00
Conductor, Written-By – Michael Mantler
Alto Saxophone – Buddy Pearson, Don Davis
Alto Saxophone, Clarinet – Ken Adams
Baritone Saxophone – Charles Davis, Hamiet Bluiett
Baritone Saxophone, Bassoon – Ken McIntyre
Bass – Bill Rich, Dave Moore, Helen Newcombe, Peter Warren
Bass Clarinet – George Barrow
Bassoon – Gail Hightower, Karl Hampton Porter
Cello – Clare Maher, Hank Roberts, Judith Martin, Judy Dolce
Flute – Hal Archer, Patrice Fisher, Paul Moen
Flute, Soprano Saxophone – Nicholas Pike
French Horn – Greg Williams, John Clark, Peter Gordon, Bill Warnick
Oboe – Kathy Karlsen, Mike Lewis, Waldemar Bhosys
Piano – Carla Bley
Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Courtenay Wynter
Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet – Jim Odgren
Tenor Saxophone – Lou Marini, Richard Peck
Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet – Collin Tilton
Trombone – Gary Brocks, Michael Gibbs, Rex Shrout
Trombone [Bass] – Earl McIntyre
Trumpet – Greg Bobulinski, John Eckert, Lauren Draper, Leonard Goines
Tuba – Bob Stewart, Jack Jeffers
Viola – Al Visscher, Deena Leff, Drusilla Tesch, Mona Hector, Virginia Izzo
Violin – Alice Stern, Betty MacDonald, Brian Conklin, Laurie Schaller, Lila Baker, Michael Levine, Noreen Davis, Oskana Lenec

B – 3/4 (for Piano and Orchestra) ................................................................... 23:45
Soloist, Piano, Conductor, Written-By – Carla Bley
Bass – Peter Warren
Bassoon – Frank Nizzari
Cello – Clare Maher, Hank Roberts
Clarinet – Collin Tilton
Flute [Alto] – Paul Moen
French Horn – John Clark
Harp – Patrice Fisher
Marimba, Vibraphone, Bells [Orchestra Bells], Percussion [Miscellaneous] – David Samuels
Oboe – Roger Janotta
Piano – Ursula Oppens
Trombone – Michael Gibbs
Trumpet – Michael Mantler
Tuba – Bob Stewart
Viola – Michael Levine, Mona Hector
Violin – Betty MacDonald, Kathy Seplow

WATT records was the collaborative label established by composers Bley and Mantler to exclusively present their own music. And just as well, as even in the “golden age” that this was recorded in (1975) you can’t imagine too many record labels saying, “yeah, ok…why not?” to this music. This is a seriously dark and disturbing orchestral/free jazz/minimalist/cacophonous hell fire of an album...




This album paired the then husband-and-wife team of Michael Mantler and Carla Bley, one composition for large orchestra per LP side. Bley's "3/4" for piano and orchestra is a lovely, romantic locomotive of a piece, its clockwork rhythms dancing and chugging along, offering occasional peaks of luxurious, ecstatic release. The piano part, here performed by Bley (played by Keith Jarrett at the piece's premiere), isn't showy or pyrotechnic, blending in at all times with the orchestral writing which is the heart of the composition. "3/4" stands apart from her other work, sharing little in common with the styles evinced on Escalator Over the Hill, for example, and only partially pointing in the direction of the more hermetic offerings of Social Studies. Kurt Weill's presence is felt in the cabaret-ish melodies that surface here and there, but this is still uniquely Bley and, along with Escalator and Tropic Appetites, arguably her finest work. Mantler's "13" (for piano and two orchestras, again with Bley featured) inhabits another universe entirely, an altogether darker and stormier place. It's a magnificent piece, pitting the two orchestras in pitched battle with the piano valiantly struggling to be heard or to make peace -- a losing battle. Over the course of its 22 minutes, the music (much in the style of his writing for the Jazz Composers Orchestra) increases in tonal complexity as well as sheer volume, ending at a decibel level that may leave the listener worried for his/her speakers... it's power and anguish come through with more than enough force and conviction. It's a stirring, difficult work and one of Mantler's shining moments. 13 & 3/4 is very highly recommended if one is lucky enough to come across it.


And everyone looks to be having a very pleasant afternoon in the woods on the back cover, 
so that’s nice.

Listen out loud and enjoy!



If you find it, buy this album!

Monday, June 22, 2015

JAN GARBAREK QUARTET + BOBO STENSON – Sart (LP-1971)




Label: ECM Records – ECM 1015 ST
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Germany / Released: 1971
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded on April 14 and 15, 1971, at the Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo.
Design [Cover Design] – B. & B. Wojirsch
Engineer – Jan-Erik Kongshaug
Photography By [Back Cover] – Björn A. Fossum
Producer – Manfred Eicher

A1 - Sart .......................................................................... 14:54
A2 - Fountain Of Tears - Part I and II ............................... 6:02
B1 - Song Of Space .......................................................... 9:38
B2 - Close Enough For Jazz ............................................. 1:57
B3 - Irr ............................................................................... 7:14
B4 - Lontano ..................................................................... 2:10

Jan Garbarek – tenor saxophone, bass saxophone
Terje Rypdal – guitar
Bobo Stenson – piano, electric piano
Arild Andersen – double bass
Jon Christensen – drums, percussion

Comparing with previous album "Afric Pepperbird", "Sart" is not so explosive and sharp, but more mature.




Garbarek's second album for ECM found him conducting further explorations in two separate directions. On the one hand, his playing and, to some extent, his composing were becoming increasingly avant-garde, a path which would culminate in the ensuing Tryptikon disc. His stark cries clearly owed something to the then burgeoning AACM movement as well as to European musicians like Peter Brotzmann. At the same time, pieces like the title track here nodded toward the contemporary jazz-rock experiments of Miles Davis. "Sart"'s descending five-note theme and the space it leaves in its wake are reminiscent of one of Davis' approaches on records like Bitches Brew. Garbarek utilizes this structure to good dramatic effect, generating mini-climax after mini-climax, only to recede at the end. This was also the first collaboration with pianist Bobo Stenson who would become a regular associate of Garbarek's in upcoming years. His presence fills out the group sound quite nicely and serves as an agreeable counterpoint to Rypdal's playing, which, at this point, was still experimental and imaginative. Rypdal's atmospheric "Lontano," which closes the album, is a fine, brooding piece and one of the disc's highlights. A strong recording and, along with all of the other early ECM Garbarek releases, recommended for fans who came upon him much later in his career.



If you find it, buy this album!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

PAUL BLEY / GARY PEACOCK / BARRY ALTSCHUL – Japan Suite (LP-1977)




Label: Improvising Artists Inc. – RJ-7414
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Japan / Released: 1977
Style: Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded July 25th 1976 at Yamaha Music Festival, Nemu No Sato, Japan.
Artwork [Jacket] – Carol Goss
Mixed By [Mixing Engineer] – David Baker
Photography By – Y. Yoneda
Producer – Carol Goss, Paul Bley
Recorded By [Recording Engineer] – Yoshihiko Kannari

Note:
Japan Suite is a continuous piece of music, but on LP the order of the two parts was reversed: "Japan Suite I" in fact is the second part, following "Japan Suite II" which is first part.
I have prepared a correct sequence of listening and tags tracks.

A - Japan Suite I ............................................ 12:47
B - Japan Suite II ........................................... 19:11

Paul Bley – grand piano, electric grand piano, written
Gary Peacock – bass
Barry Altschul – drums, percussion

Recorded Midnight July 25th 1976 at Yamaha Music Festival, Nemu No Sato, Japan.

Due to a long delay which resulted in this concert starting very late, the Japanese audience was in an obviously surly mood. Paul Bley (on piano and electric keyboards), bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Barry Altschul reacted by playing with as much intensity as possible, gradually winning over the crowd. This 33-minute continuous performance is certainly more fiery than many of the other recordings by the trio and has its beautiful colorful moments.




JAPAN SUITE is essentially one long piece that had divided to fit onto two sides of a long-playing record.

While not as richly recorded as many of his other works, it captures one of Paul Bley's more telepathic trios. Bley, bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Barry Altschul have a shared history, in various combinations, and all trace roots back to the same late-'50s influences.

Austere, yet highly emotive, this piece is like viewing a continuous landscape through a train window crossing the Japanese countryside. Not only is this a fine example of Bley's open-ended trio music, it's also an important work within the genre of free jazz.

Very nice Japanese pressing!

Enjoy!


If you find it, buy this album!

Friday, June 12, 2015

GOODBYE Mr. COLEMAN ..... and THANK YOU .....




Label: London Records ‎– LTZ-K15199, London Atlantic – LTZ-K15199
Series: Jazz Series
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: UK / Released: 1961
Style: Free Jazz
The album was originally released as Atlantic 1327 in June, 1960.
Recording dates: Tracks A3, B2, B3, B4 - October 8, 1959, tracks A1, A2, B1 - October 9, 1959, Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California.
Engineer – Bones Howe
Cover / Photo – Lee Friedlander

A1 - Ramblin' ............................................................................. 6:35
A2 - Free .................................................................................... 6:20
A3 - The Face Of The Bass ....................................................... 6:55
B1 - Forerunner ......................................................................... 5:12
B2 - Bird Food ........................................................................... 5:30
B3 - Una Muy Bonita ................................................................. 6:00
B4 - Change Of The Century ..................................................... 4:43

Ornette Coleman – alto saxophone
Don Cherry – pocket trumpet
Charlie Haden – bass
Billy Higgins – drums, percussion

Change Of The Century was an audacious album title, to say the least. On his second Atlantic release—and second with his most like-minded ensemble (trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins)—alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman pushed the freedom principal farther. At the same time, he looked backward too for inspiration. Having eliminated the piano on his Contemporary release, Tomorrow Is The Question! (1959), Coleman opened up wide improvisational opportunities. On that recording, he and his "freedom principle" remained partially inhibited by the presence of traditionalist bassist Percy Heath and drummer Shelly Manne, who resisted coloring outside of the lines as Coleman was attempting to do. But that was not so on The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Atlantic, 1959) and Change Of The Century. While the rhythm section continued to provide enough cohesive swing to propel matters, Coleman and Cherry stretched the melodic boundaries without the previous harmonic anchors.



Change of the Century is compelling in its embrace of contrasts. "Ramblin'" is funky organic, almost early rock and roll. Haden plucks and strums his way through a fractured 12-bar format that never fully resolves itself into the comfort of the anticipated. Coleman's solo over Haden's support is bar-walking rhythm and blues, lowdown and dirty, smelling of beer and Lucky Strikes. Cherry plays his famous pocket trumpet, sounding closer to Lee Morgan than anyone else, squeezing out hard bop lines like sparks from a metal lathe. Haden solos using the figures he has supported the whole piece with. His intonation is middle-of-the-note, relaxed and slightly wooden. "Ramblin'" retains an erstwhile harmonic structure, albeit only barely.

The head of "Free" is an odd premonition for composer/saxophonist Oliver Nelson's "Hoedown" from The Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!, 1961), passing through an ascending and descending blues figure. Haden is rock solid throughout, even when the solo-going gets ragged and frayed. Higgins' accents are as potent as pepper, shoring up the edges of chaos on the briskly-timed piece. "The Face Of Bass" gives prominence to Haden while at the same time sounding strangely traditional for an album entitled Change of the Century. But it is a facade. Coleman encourages a careful abandon in the piece's overall structure and arrangement. Cherry pops on his solo, sometimes sounding like Freddie Hubbard, sometimes, Art Farmer.

"Forerunner" pretends that it is bebop, with a serpentine head and a deft drum break by Higgins. Coleman's solo is inspired, quenched in gospel and the blues. His tonal expanse is as big as his native Texas, informed by the many great tenor saxophone players from that state. Cherry emerges assertive, playing with swagger and attitude. So well constructed and delivered is his solo that it is easy to forget that a move toward a freer musical system is in the works. Haden remains stalwart in time-keeping, shepherding everything between the rhythmic ditches. The same can be said for the Charlie Parker-inspired "Bird Food," which is surveyed at a fast clip over a complex note pattern.

"Una Muy Bonita" is only passing Latin, with pianist Thelonious Monk phrasing and side- winding playing. Haden sets up a familiar clave beat with strummed chords. Coleman stages the piece to more insinuate a Latin vibe than to actually play one. After a lengthy introduction, Cherry solos muted, allowing himself a broad swath over which to play. The disc's closer, the title tune, was the most fully-realized "free jazz" at that point from Coleman. It is a wild phantasm of notes that are to "free jazz" what trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's "Bebop" was for that virtuosic genre. It is a clarion call played on impulse. Yes, finally things are really beginning to come apart at the seams, properly foreshadowing Free Jazz: A Group Improvisation (Atlantic, 1961). Coleman has fully gained his traction and is now ready.




Label: Fontana – 858 119 FPY, ESP Disk – SFJL923
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: UK / Released: 1965
Style: Free Jazz, Avantgarde
Recorded live on December 21, 1962 at Town Hall, NYC.
Design – Jay Dillon
Engineer – Jerry Newman
Photography By – Charles Shabacon

Blue and silver label with silver and blue letters.
P: 1963 on label (wrong)

A1 - Doughnut .................................................................. 9:00
A2 - Sadness .................................................................... 4:00
A3 - Dedication To Poets And Writers ............................. 8:50
B  -  The Ark .................................................................... 23:24

Ornette Coleman – alto saxophone
David Izenzon – bass
Charles Moffett – drums, percussion
Kermit Moore – cello (tracks: A3)
Julien Barber – viola (tracks: A3)
Nathan Goldstein – violin (tracks: A3)
Selwart Clarke – violin (tracks: A3)

Ornette Coleman's theory of harmolodics set a standard for improvised music that is unrivaled. Coleman closed the synaptic gap between the conception and implementation of the musical idea so that spawning the music became a conjugation of the harmonic relationships that live within it.
Town Hall, 1962 brings the music so close to the experience that the performers seem to be just yards away. The sad fact remains that this is only part of the night's worth of music; the whereabouts of the rest is regrettably unknown.




The bright spirit stemming from Coleman's youth permeates the sound of the four-track recording with innovation. Coleman's searing stepped scale ascension on his alto bursts open the music to carve out his sonic territory; he is accompanied by light touches and constant motion on the snare and cymbal and a relaxed rich pizzicato on the bass. Coleman carries the weight of the music through an endlessly changing tuneful line until he rests and lets bassist David Izenzon's arco fly and Charles Moffett's stick work map the way into a snare/cymbal rendering of the tempo. Coleman holds a high pitch on his horn to wrap up the first song, "Doughnut." The memory of that pitch transfers to the jaw-dropping purity of tone that Coleman illustrates on "Sadness."

"Sadness" has to be one of the best models for evoking the meaning of its title, besides Coleman's classic composition "Lonely Woman." At age 32, having mastered his instrument, Coleman plays unwavering, potent single notes and melodic phrases of compelling poignancy. Contrast the gripping soundscape emanating from the alto with tonal arco vagaries on the bass, precise brushwork on the drums and expansive sibilance on the cymbals and the result is unforgettable.

The presence of a piece for string quartet is no less a distraction than a Rembrandt portrait would be hanging next to a Picasso collage abstraction. The instrumentation may seem antithetical to expectations brought to Coleman's music. But, following the path of every string instrument in relation to one another on "Dedication to Poets and Writers" substantiates the integration in which Coleman staunchly believes.

The final 23-minute "The Ark" widens the distance among the instruments in a true test of improvisational limits. Coleman presses through a loosely defined middle range in the form of ostinatos and relentless melodic bounce. Moffett can only respond with bold polyrhythmic moves and Izenzon with deep pizzicato splurges and assiduous bowing. Nineteen minutes in, Coleman slowly squeezes out a seemingly strained high pitch, a signal for the tonal climb that ensues until closing with the bass's fast paced bowing in its upper register.

In the stream of its apparent freedom, this trio acts with constraints, imposed not by restriction, but by genius. To know what later transpired could only underscore the appreciation of what already exists.



If you find it, buy this albums!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

THE 360 DEGREE MUSIC EXPERIENCE – In:Sanity (2LP-1976)




Label: Black Saint – BSR 0006/7
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP / Country: Italy / Released: 1976
Style: Contemporary Jazz, Free Jazz
Recorded at Generation Sound Studios in New York City on March 8 & 9, 1976.
Producer By – Giacomo Pellicciotti
Engineer By – Tony May
Photography By – Nina Melis
Cover Art By – Marlo Convertino
Distributor – Northcountry Distributors

A1 - Tradewinds ...................................................................... 6:31
A2 - In:Sanity Suite Part 1: Skull Job ...................................... 6:42
A3 - In:Sanity Suite Part 2: Tm's Top ...................................... 4:25
B  -  In:Sanity Suite Part 3: Complete Operation ................... 18:42
C  -  Open .............................................................................. 21:30
D1 - Full, Deep And Mellow ..................................................... 6:31
D2 - Sahara ............................................................................. 9:15

Beaver Harris — drums, percussion
Dave Burrell — organ, piano, celesta
Azar Lawrence — tenor sax
Keith Marks — flute
Hamiet Bluiett — clarinet, flute, baritone sax
Sunil Garg — sitar
Cecil McBee — bass
Francis Haynes — drums (steel)
Titos Sompa — congas

Steel Ensemble:
Francis Haynes — soprano sax
Roger Sardinha — soprano sax
Coleridge Barbour — alto sax
Alston Jack — tenor sax
Michael Sorzano — tenor sax
Steve Sardinha — bass
Lawrence McCarthy — iron

360 Degree Music Experience: The name of this group says a lot and means that with him, it will be primarily to experiment, and do not impose limits around. And especially not those invited to turn its back on tradition, that on which it was necessary to insist at the time emerged this training, so the idea of inherent struggle to Black Power (then almost always associated with free jazz ) had come to prevail in favor of single cry - anger, revolt - as the only possible aesthetic - no vanguard without a break with the old, it was thought hastily in the public fervent had eventually win free jazz.




On drums, Beaver Harris was first spotted alongside Albert Ayler, as part of a tour set up by the promoter George Wein. At the same poster, black and white, classical musicians and avant-garde: Ayler therefore, Sonny Rollins, Max Roach; but Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz & Gary Burton; or Sarah Vaughan and Willie "The Lion" Smith. Somehow a complete panorama of jazz then, 360 degrees.

A battery, in the 1970s, it was used to hearing in the company of Beaver Harris Archie Shepp. But at the time, Archie Shepp, labeled activist in the sixties, had become the target of former admirers reproaching him for having watered down its message - or at least what they had seen fit to hear behind his game During the previous decade. In the heart of fans of the New Thing, music and politics had eventually merge, sometimes generating debates heavily biased.

What reminds Beaver Harris, and this from the first LP of this self-produced group whose title almost manifesto figure (From Ragtime To No Time) is that free jazz did not emerge from nowhere, and that its pillars were of course able to play "old", and thus to return if necessary - a real guarantee of freedom-won. At Gerard Rouy and Thierry Trombert in Jazz Magazine, Beaver Harris confided: "What is needed is to show young people that the tempo is as important as the vanguard, as important as the off-beat. This ties that said Archie Shepp: Scott Joplin was first avant-garde, as his music seemed strange when you heard it for the first time. This was true for Willie "The Lion" Smith and Duke Ellington. "Later in the same interview, Beaver Harris strikes a strongly worded metaphor:" You can not pick apples or oranges before a seed has been planted and have it left to develop. "This explains that Doc Cheatham and Maxine Sullivan may have been invited by the 360 Degree Music Experience. For indeed, without the first, no Lester Bowie. And in the absence of the second, no Abbey Lincoln.

Originally, the 360 Degree Music Experience was conceived as a cooperative of which were part Dave Burrell, Cecil McBee, Jimmy Garrison, Cameron Brown, Howard Johnson, Hamiet Bluiett, Keith Marks, Bill Willingham and two singular musicians: Francis Haynes (steel drum) and Titos Sompa (congas). One like the other, and the sitar player Sunil Garg, brought unprecedented brilliant colors In:Sanity where the importance of the steel drum is crucial, as rhythmically as melodically speaking. Just listen to "Trademings" to be convinced, beautiful theme signed by Dave Burrell, whose saxophone emerges particularly inspired Azar Lawrence.

In fact, all along, In:Sanity never avoids complex arrangements, nor does would ignore in some long passages free (two whole faces reality), the urgency to play. Because anyway, here, everyone knows decompose rejoice cleverly arranged architectures like coming back - when necessary - to party like original proceedings.

Inaugurating and terminating this double-album, sides A and D are among the most delicately completed free jazz (Beaver Harris was also the Trickles Steve Lacy who possesses these qualities). While the faces B and C, in contrast, are only disproportion to broaden the osmosis between rhythm and harmony, until he dislocated offer wonderfully echoes.

(Text translated from French  -  http://merzbow-derek.tumblr.com/)



If you find it, buy this album!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

LEO SMITH'S NEW DALTA AHKRI – Song Of Humanity (LP-1977)




Label: Kabell Records – K-3
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1977
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded August 4, 1976 at the Gallery, Hartford, Connecticut.
Photo/Design by – Diane L. Cherr
Cover by – Leo Smith
Engineer – Doug Clark, Peter Solak
Mastered By – Don Van Gordon

A1 - Song Of Humanity (Dedicated To Bobby Ferguson) ....................................... 5:13
A2 - Lexicon ............................................................................................................ 7:40
A3 - Peacocks, Gazelles, Dogwood Trees & Six Silver Coins (For Kathleen) ........ 8:30
B1 - Of Blues And Dreams .................................................................................... 11:03
B2 - Pneuma ........................................................................................................... 1:34
B3 - Tempio ............................................................................................................. 6:59

Wadada Leo Smith – trumpet, flugelhorn, sealhorn, atenteben, steel-o-phone, percussion
Oliver Lake – flute, soprano sax, alto sax, marimba, percussion
Anthony Davis – piano, electric piano, [organ]
Wes Brown – bass, atenteben, odurogyabe
Paul Maddox  alias Pheeroan AkLaff – drums, percussion

Song of Humanity is an album by American jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith with the ensemble New Dalta Ahkri, which was recorded at The Gallery, New Haven, and released in 1977 on his own Kabell label.




After high school, Smith travelled for about a year with various blues, rhythm ‘n´ blues and soul groups before entering the U.S. Army. In addition to attending the U.S. Army School of Music, Smith played for a total of about five years in six different army bands, touring not only in the Southern United States but also in France and Italy. He also continued to broaden his musical horizons and was leading his own Ornette Coleman-inspired trio while still in the military. In 1967, Smith left the army and moved to Chicago to work with saxophonist Anthony Braxton and other members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), the Chicago creative music collective that combined the music´s African roots with an improvisational approach. Soon after his arrival in Chicago, Smith, Braxton and violinist Leroy Jenkins met for an impromptu practice session and, as a result, founded the Creative Construction Company, a collaborative group that became one of the key early ensembles of the AACM. Other collaborators of Smith´s in the pioneering work of the AACM included saxophonists Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, trumpeter Lester Bowie, trombonist George Lewis and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams.

Smith´s first recordings were also made in Chicago during this period under the leadership of Braxton (Three Compositions Of New Jazz in 1968 and Silence in 1969; these albums included Smith´s first recorded compositions, "The Bell" and "Silence", respectively, which already used the rhythm-units concept, a framework for improvisation that Smith developed more fully in the 1970s), McIntyre (Humility In The Light Of The Creator in 1969) and Abrams (Young At Heart, Wise In Time in 1969).

Like many other AACM members, Smith supported himself by playing in the horn sections of various rhythm ‘n´ blues and soul bands, including Little Milton Campbell´s group. In 1969, Smith turned down Little Milton´s offer to become the straw-boss of his road band and moved to Paris together with Anthony Braxton and Leroy Jenkins as well as a few other key members of the AACM. During his year in Paris, Smith took part in two important recordings by Braxton for the BYG Actuel label (Anthony Braxton in 1969 and This Time… in 1970) with a quartet that also included Jenkins and drummer Steve McCall. Smith also recorded a duo album with saxophonist Marion Brown in Paris (Creative Improvisation Ensemble/Duets in 1970). However, perhaps the most legendary line-up of this period was an expanded version of the Creative Construction Company (with Smith, Braxton, Jenkins, Muhal Richard Abrams, bassist Richard Davis and McCall), which was recorded live in 1970 in connection with the AACM´s first concert in New York City (Creative Construction Company and Creative Construction Company 2). Smith worked with Braxton throughout the 1970s, including in Braxton´s quartet with Smith, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Phillip Wilson and other small groups as well as on Braxton´s classic big band recordings, Creative Orchestra Music 1976 and Creative Orchestra (Koln) 1978. Since that time, Braxton and Smith have continued to play together from time to time.

After the year in Paris, Smith led his own group, Intergral, with saxophonist Henry Threadgill, trombonist Lester Lashley and drummer Thurman Baker, for about six months before settling in New Haven, Connecticut, for a period of ten years. In New Haven, Smith concentrated on his own music as well as studying and teaching rather than touring and recording all over the world like many of his compatriots. In addition to leading his own groups and teaching at the University of New Haven, he studied ethnomusicology at the Wesleyan University, focusing on West African, Japanese, Indonesian and Native American music cultures.

Smith´s first recording as a leader was a solo album (Creative Music-1 in 1971), which was also the first album released on Kabell, the independent record label Smith had founded. After this first solo recording, Smith has continued to perform solo concerts and has recorded three additional solo albums (Solo Music/Ahkreanvention in 1979, Kulture Jazz in 1992 and Red Sulphur Sky in 2001).

Smith´s principal ensemble in New Haven, New Dalta Ahkri, was comprised of his students and other young musicians based in the area. At various times, these included saxophonists Dwight Andrews, Oliver Lake and Henry Threadgill, pianist Anthony Davis, vibraphonist Bobby Naughton, guitarist Michael Gregory Jackson, bassist Wes Brown and drummer Pheeroan akLaff, among others. Following Smith´s first solo recording, New Dalta Ahkri was responsible for the next two albums for Kabell (Reflectativity, with Smith, Davis and Brown, in 1974 and Song Of Humanity, with Smith, Lake, Davis, Brown and akLaff, in 1976) as well as a track on Wildflowers, the five-album collection that documented New York´s burgeoning loft jazz movement of the mid-1970s (Wildflowers 2, with Smith, Lake, Davis, Brown, akLaff and drummer Stanley Crouch, in 1976). New Dalta Akhri was also featured on Smith´s subsequent small group recordings (The Mass On The World, with Smith, Andrews and Naughton, in 1978; Divine Love, with Smith, Andrews and Naughton as well as trumpeters Lester Bowie and Kenny Wheeler and bassist Charlie Haden, in 1978; Spirit Catcher, with Smith, Andrews, Naughton, Brown and akLaff, in 1979; and Go In Numbers, with Smith, Andrews, Naughton and Brown, in 1980). In addition, members of New Dalta Ahkri were part of the two large orchestras responsible for Smith´s first big band recordings, Leo Smith Creative Orchestra (Budding Of A Rose in 1979) and Leo Smith & The Creative Improviser Orchestra (The Sky Cries The Blues in 1981).

Leo Smith said:
"I first met Pheeroan akLaff (real name is Paul Maddox) in New Haven, Connecticut around 1975-76. It was during this time that we began to talk about making music together in my New Dalta Ahkri ensemble.
My impression of Pheeroan was that he was a truly beautiful spirit, a creative artist who had a connection with spirituality in his character. A young man not frightened by musical ideas of a different nature nor of musical languages unlike his own music at the time. Pheeroan became the first drummer in New Dalta Ahkri and was a part of its musical research and development; therefore, he was the first drummer/percussionist to articulate my rhythm-units concept in performances and on recordings.
As a master drummer/percussionist, Pheeroan has a musical sophistication that gives him the ability to articulate any musical idea into its essence, while maintaining every aspect of its emotional energy transporting the performer and the listener. He is a great artist."


50 Years of AACM - Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians



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