Label: America Records – 067 867-2
Series: Free America – #07
Format: CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered, Limited Edition - Released: 2004
Style: Free Jazz
Recording Date: 1970, Paris, France.
Art Direction, Design, Painting – Gilles Guerlet, Jérôme Witz
Photography By [Paintings] – Fredéric Thomas
Producer [For America-musidisc] – Pierre Berjot
Reissue Producer [Prepared For Reissue By] – Bruno Guermonprez
Supervised By [Reissue] – Daniel Richard
Transferred By [Transfers], Mastered By [Mastering] – Alexis Frenkel
01 After Love Part 1 “Questions and Answers” (D. Burrell) . . . 21:42
02 After Love Part 2 “Random” (D. Burrell) . . . 7:03
03 My March (D. Burrell) . . . 22:03
Dave Burrell, leader, piano
Alan Silva, amplified cello, violin
Ron Miller, mandolin, bass (track 1)
Don Moye, drums
Bertrand Gauthier, drums (track 1)
Roscoe Mitchell, reeds
Michel Gladieux, bass (track 3)
When, in 1969, a young journalist named Paul Alessandrini proposed a series of “exspress Portraits” to Jean-Louis Ginibre, Chief Editor of “Jazz Magazine”, to be published under the title “The New Heads of the New Music”, Dave Burrell, aged 29, was probably the most discreet and apparently the most “serious” (no doubt because he wore glasses!) of the eleven musicians chosen. Musically - he’d already produced some phonographic evidence - this pianist was neither the least ‘turbulent’ nor, literally, the least iconoclastic. This was reason enough for him to have been selected among the whole ‘bunch’ of freejazzmen who’d just landed in Paris from New York and Chicago, and who immediately scattered throughout the capital’s studios and jazz clubs (not to mention other spaces, sometimes institutions, which had never heard as much…). A few jazz fans, and also professionals who were novices where ‘new jazz’ was concerned, but were excited by the scent of surprise inherent in this music, undertook the financial risks; after all, wasn’t their aim to sell this music that seemed to turn its back on most of the commercial criteria reigning over the music business? As for Burrell (no relation to guitarist Kenny Burrell, nor the New Orleans pianist Duke Burrell), if his biography remains extremely concise (are lucky musicians those without a story?), at least Alessandrini informed us that he ‘was born on September 10th, 1940 in Middletown, Ohio of parents originating in Mississippi and Louisiana. When he was still a child he lived in a musical atmosphere: his mother played piano and organ, and sang spirituals in a Baptist Church (Note: Baptist religious services were the most propitious in terms of musical paroxysms and collective trance phenomenal. His father, a union man, defended black workers rights. For four years he studied music at Berklee School of Music and at the Boston Conservatory, then for two years at the University of Hawaii. He lived in the heart of the Black ghetto, in Cleveland and Harlem, while making frequent trips to the ‘paradise’ of Hawaii. He recorded with Giuseppi Logan, Marion Brown (Juba-Lee, Three for Shepp). Pharoah Sanders (still spelt ‘Pharaoh’ at the time), (Tauhid), then under his own name for Douglas (High). Deeply marked by his recent stay in Algiers, he’s just recorded two compositions conceived over there, under the general title of ‘Echo’: with himself leading, there are Archie Shepp, Grachan Moncur, III , Sunny Murray, etc’ (In ‘Jazz magazine’ No. 171, October 1969). We would later learn that his name was actually Herman Davis Burrell III: that is was his mother who initiated him to jazz: that in Boston he sometimes played with the very young drummer Tony Williams and saxophonist Sam Rivers (two indispensable pioneers who later appeared in the Blue Note catalogue and then alongside Miles Davis); that in 1965, in New York, he’d formed the Untraditional Jazz Improvisational Team with Byard Lancaster (reeds), Sirone (bass), and Bobby Kapp (drums); that three years later with Moncur (trombone) and drummer Beaver Harris, he’d created a musical variable-geometry collective, the 360 Degree Music Experience, with the motto: ‘from ragtime to no time at all.” Such a stance of absolute openness is something that would cross the pianist composer’s entire output, from prime percussion to Giaccomo Puccini (he was indeed to tackle a re-reading of some of the great arias from ‘La Vie De Boheme’) with amongst other decisive moments, his sole physical contact with the African continent during the Algiers Pan-African festival. Like other pianist-composers, notably Sun Ra and Jaki Byard , Dave Burrell invented an approach for himself which might be superficially qualified as ‘plural’, indeed ‘schizophrenic. Classical, traditional here, and unbridled, ‘free’ there… Like a kind of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. In fact, here as there (and as in Stevenson’s novel), it’s a question of one and the same being, the same ‘soul’, ensuring the indisputable continuity of this apparent stylistic patchwork. The continuum of which saxophonist Archie Shepp spoke not long ago, that Great Black Music returning to the words of the musicians in Chicago’s A.A.C.M. (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), or again in all the music that exists, in the phrase of the Philadelphian Byard Lancaster, between ‘Sex machine (James brown) and ‘A Love Supreme’ (John Coltrane): such is the profound unity of the Burrell universe with, obviously, a whole range of singularities, ‘distinctive features’ with a juxtaposition and mingling of his taste for classical forms and virtuosities, notably with the piano’s African-American pioneers (ragtime, stride, boogie…), or, as in this ‘After Love’ for a March tempo that’s distended and distorted to anamorphosis and verbal explosions. This reminds us that these were joyous militant years, and that forbidding was still forbidden - even to mix the sounds of an electric cello, or a violin and a mandolin, to associate a multi-blower from Chicago (and The Art Ensemble’ Of…) Roscoe Mitchell, the Art Ensemble’s percussionist (Don Moye), a former partner of Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra (Alan Silva) with young Parisian rhythmicians (Michel Gladieux, who was part of the Dharma quintet, and Bertrand Gauthier, who dropped his sticks in favour of a camera), and therefore to play-enjoy without hindrance. Who mentioned nostalgia? It’s just a moment in history.
_ By Phillippe Carles
If you find it, buy this album!