Friday, September 25, 2015

THE COMPOSERS COLLECTIVE – Poum! (LP-1974)




Label: Composers Collective – 721
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: US / Released: 1974
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded at Stereo Sound Studio, NYC, 1974 / All compositions 1969.
Engineer – Jerry Newman
Composed By – John Fischer
Whitecage credited as playing chanter on "Poum!"

A1 - Sinfonia ............................................................................. 6:46
A2 - Apollo's Ragtime Journey ................................................. 9:06
A3 - t-e-s-t ................................................................................. 2:02
B1 - Moon Walk ........................................................................ 4:13
B2 - Poum! ................................................................................ 5:55
B3 - Earthlings ......................................................................... 10:48

John Fischer (lider) – piano, voice
Mark Whitecage – tenor sax, alto sax, flute
Perry Robinson – clarinet
Mario Pavone – bass
Laurence Cook – drums, percussion

This album was released 1974 on the label Composers Collective (catalog number 721)

John Fischer (born 1930 in Antwerp, Brussels) is a pianist, composer and visual artist. He is also a pioneer in the field of computer art. In the 1970s, during the loft jazz era in New York City, Fischer ran a performance loft and gallery known as Environ. He is leader of the group INTERface and he performed with among others: Perry Robinson, Mark Whitecage, Arthur Blythe, Rick Kilburn and Lester Bowie...

 John Fischer / Perry Robinson / Mark Whitecage

To be sure, the genre would never again be so closely implicated with social upheaval: between the civil rights movement, black nationalism, the black arts movement, protests against the Vietnam war, and the alternately revelatory and sinister sides of the “hippie dream,” free jazz’s supposed halcyon days reflected back onto the listener the turbulent, uncertain times they were living. For some, the deaths of two of the music’s pioneers, John Coltrane (in July 1967, of liver cancer) and Albert Ayler (in November 1970, a suspected suicide) gave pause to the music’s most elemental, fiery stage.

Certainly, support for the music dried up in the USA during this period, and many of the artists moved to Europe, often to France, where their music found greater support and acceptance (and in the BYG/Actuel label, an imprint that would help them realise their musical visions, at least for a short period of time).
But to say the music was over, and that the ‘70s was a largely fallow period for the music, now seems seriously misguided. Looking at the relative explosion of private press and artist label free jazz albums from across the ‘70s, coupled with the NYC loft jazz movement, the music was as strong as ever – still questing and still exploring. As both major and independent labels turned their backs on the music, the artists turned toward self-actualisation and DIY practices to get their music documented and out there. Of course, there were precursors for this – perhaps the most significant being Sun Ra and his Saturn label, where he released bucketloads of beguiling, sublime, fantastical Afrofuturist documents from his Arkestra.

If the loft jazz scene was contained in NYC, private press records were turning up from all over America – there are representatives in this list from Missouri, Ohio, Michigan and beyond. But somehow, loft jazz – a scene in NYC where performances of free jazz took place mostly in artist-run loft spaces – parallels the imperatives of the private press world, and you’ll find that a number of the albums detailed in that list are loft classics...

"The Jazz Composers Collective is a virtual study of the positive effects that the DIY (do it yourself) ethic can bring about. They are, in an unassuming way, producing some of the most vital improvised and composed music coming out of New York today. Playing on each other's projects, helping to organize concerts, pooling efforts to produce the smart, informative newsletter that detail their activities - everyone helps out for the massed good of the members and audience."

Born in Belgium, artist, pianist and composer John Fischer, early seventies, lives in New York and here we find the beginning of his early works. Sometime later (very significant and important period) formed "INTERface" in company, which is achieved in cooperation with loft-jazz musicians...

"Poum!" is a series of compositions (variations, also appear on the albums INTERface), in which, how J.F. himself says, exploring sound using voice and body, and therefore "Composers Collective" is not a collective improvisation, then work is strictly composer's ideas and, as such,  conducted according to the instructions, but in no way confining a certain freedom of expression themselves musicians...

"Sinfonia", adorns a spirited voice performance developed from the beginning, that was the axis to explosive free jazz, will continue to rush from spiritual intro to featuring beautiful piano a profound by turn, to the free part to move around bustling in "Apollo's Ragtime Journey", while short "t-e-s-t " goes to the abrupt expansion also gives off a strong impact.
"Moon Walk" is moist and free improvisation which leads us with lazy piano in the puzzle night, and slowly come to the absurd "Poum!", she featuring the voice performance filled with grotesque repeated without pronounced pause context. And finally, "Earthlings" closes the album, each player starts somewhere humorous theme (do you feel perhaps jazz roots), as moving to a very high track of tension that comes through is somewhere fun atmosphere.

Truly an amazing rare album, essential. Highly recommended.

Parts of the text taken from:
"20 essential records from the 70s underground"
(written by JON DALE)


If you find it, buy this album!

Monday, September 21, 2015

COE, OXLEY & Co. – Nutty On Willisau (2LP-1984)


 Hat Hut Records – hat ART 2004 – side A / side B

Label: Hat Hut Records – hat ART 2004
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP / Country: Switzerland / Released: 1984
Style: Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at Jazz Festival Willisau, Switzerland, on August 28, 1983.
Producer – Pia & Werner X. Uehlinger
Liner Notes – Art Lange
Recorded By – Peter Pfister
Sealed 1984 2LP Original Housed In A Die Cut Box

A  -  Some Other Autumn ......................................................... 17:12
        Written-By – Tony Coe
B1 - Nutty ................................................................................... 9:42
        Written-By – Thelonious Monk
B2 - A Time There Was ............................................................ 12:43
        Written-By – Robert Cornford
C1 - Bub Or Run ......................................................................... 8:10
        Written-By – Tony Coe, Tony Oxley
C2 - Body And Soul .................................................................. 10:16
        Written-By – John W. Green
D  -  Re: Person I Knew ............................................................ 14:20
        Written-By – Bill Evans

TONY COE – tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet
CHRIS LAURENCE – double bass
TONY OXLEY – drums, percussion

 Hat Hut Records – hat ART 2004 – side C / side D
 Tony Coe
Chris Laurence
Tony Oxley

Tony Coe's 1983 Willisau Jazz Festival appearance with bassist Chris Laurence and drummer Tony Oxley is nothing less than a shattering performance -- every expectation or impression of the versatile Coe is laid to waste in this set of focused, innovative, time- and genre-blurring jazz tunes. Whether self-composed, such as "Some Other Autumn" or "Bub and Run," or classics such as Bill Evans' "Re: Person I Knew," John Green's "Body & Soul," or Thelonious Monk's "Nutty," Coe applies the same concentration to getting all he can from the trio format. And, as Art Lange suggests that Coe's band owes a bit to the Sonny Rollins-led trios of the late '50s, there is also a debt to the Steve Lacy trios of the late '70s and 1980, as well as Albert Ayler's earliest trio in 1959. Coe's phraseology as a saxophonist is original: He clearly loves Coleman Hawkins, Rollins, and Coltrane, but his sense of tone and embouchure is his own. Choosing Oxley as a drummer in this setting was wise: in stark contrast to the usual place of the drummer in a piano-less trio, Oxley is a bit of a minimalist, acting as a dancer on the stage, playing just enough, often enough to gather from his rhythms the place of silence within them. Laurence, on the other hand, given his background in classical music as well as jazz, is a maximalist: He and Coe go toe to toe on any number of compositions here, warring for dominant chromatics in "Nutty" and "Some Other Autumn." They slip over one another, playing asymmetrical lines at acute intervals in "Body and Soul," and weave a Moebius strip of gorgeous single line dynamics in "Re: Person I Knew." The final result, when Oxley comes at last crashing through the duo, sounding as if the wood and metal of his kit were splintering apart, is one of profound musicality and sonic empathy. These performances are offered with emotion to spare and a technical excellence only a music professor could critique with any acuity. Nutty is a joyous ride through the musical heart of Tony Coe.
Review By Thom Jurek



If you find it, buy this album!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

KARL BERGER – We Are You (LP-1972, Japanese press)




Label: Trio Records – PA-7017
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Japan / Released: 1972
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded November 1971, Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg
Composed By – Karl H. Berger
Artwork [Cover Art], Design – Carolyn Clarck
Photography By – Horace, Ica Vilander, Tai M. Lüdicke

A1 - Vibes First ......................................................................... 5:50
A2 - We Are You (I) .................................................................. 5:16
         Lyrics By – G. Malerba, Karl H. Berger
A3 - Marimba Dance ................................................................. 2:50
A4 - The Positive ...................................................................... 9:03
         Lyrics By – Sivananda Sarasvati
        Easy Suite .................................... 18:08
B1 - When I Sing  ..................................................................... 9:10
         Lyrics By – Tagore
B2 – Easy .................................................................................. 6:20
B3 - We Are You (II) .................................................................. 2:38
         Lyrics By – G. Malerba, Karl H. Berger

Karl Berger – vibraphone, piano, marimba
Peter Kowald – bass
Allen Blairman – drums, percussion
Ingrid Berger – vocals, percussion

“The thing that struck me as unusual about Karl Berger when I first heard him playing at the Mercer Arts Center in the 1970s was how much at home he sounded with some of the best young players in the New York jazz scene. To my ears then, most European jazz musicians were derivative at best, and often out of touch with the leading American improvisers. But this guy from Germany played as if he'd grown up in New York. How could that be?

 Karl Berger / Don Cherry: The Creative Music Studio in Woodstock

Strongly influenced by Monk and Ornette, Karl Berger created a sound of his own, at once airy and precise, harmonically advanced yet anchored in a destinctive hard swing. He counterbalanced the inherently rich overtone range of the vibraphone by removing (accidentally at first) the vibrato mechanism. Building on a solid bebop base but ranging far afield melodically and harmonically, Berger's music sounded “free” but was set in an unfailingly rhythmic framework. Tempos might shift dramatically within the same composition, but they were always there. This meant that listeners coul lose themselves in the harmonic nuances and still feel grounded by the strong pulse of his playing, a pulse that was abetted by like-minded young players, including bassists Dave Holland, David Izenzon, and Henry Grimes and drummers Barry Altschul, Allen Blairman, and Ed Blackwell. A unique musical atmosphere characterized by lush harmonies, ethereal overtones, and precise rythmic propulsions continues to mark Karl Berger's music today. One the vibes especially, Karl floats like a butterfly, stings like bebop. He has the magical quality of being penetrating and clear at the same time tures are a constant suprise...
From Thelonious Monk, Karl learned the value of “using dynamics and grace notes - grace notes are very important on piano and vibes.” And so in the midts of a swinging solo, or in a softly voiced duet, one note from the vibes will suddenly ring out alone like a brass gong in a silent meditation hall.

We shouldn't forget the compositions themselves, many of which for all their modernity already have the feel of old favorites, the kinds of melodies you might hum while leaving the theater - if you could just remember all their subtleties. This music is timeless in the best sense, and, in Duke Ellington's elegant phrase, “beyond category.” That is its blessing and its potential liability for the composer. The danger of playing music that is free of categorization, or what Karl calls “exercise pieces for a world beyond categories, based on rythmic and melodic parameters that you can find in almost any kind of music,” is that the musician may fail to end up in any easily marketed pigeonhole, But the sales department's loss is our gain. Because if we can never quite get used to Karl Berger's music, we can never get tired of listening to it either.”

By Peter Occhiogrosse, Village Voice


Read this:
Karl Berger and Ingrid Berger: Interviews
https://tedpanken.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/karl-berger-and-ingrid-berger-interviews/


If you find it, buy this album!

Friday, September 11, 2015

PER HENRIK WALLIN / KEVIN ROSS / STEVE REID – Raw Material (LP-1983)




Label: Dragon Records – DRLP 48
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Sweden / Released: 1983
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at Jazz Club Fasching, Stockholm, October 21, 1981.
Engineer – Gert Palmcrantz
Photography – Pawel Lucki
Producer – Per Henrik Wallin

A - King's Way ............................................................ 21:15
B - Raw Material ......................................................... 17:00

Per Henrik Wallin – piano
Kevin Ross – bass
Steve Reid – drums, percussion

A rarity, album that is almost impossible to find.

 Per Henrik Wallin / Steve Reid

Stylistically, Wallin is a modernist who hasn't forsaken the roots of jazz, and there are echoes in his playing of everyone from Art Tatum, Earl Hines and Bud Powell to Erroll Garner, Lennie Tristano, Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols. His compositions, even though more interesting than indelible, are consistently melodic and seldom stray beyond the bounds of accepted musical standards. In other words, Wallin's music may be au courant but is by no means the sort of "free jazz" that one would associate with, say, Cecil Taylor, Andrew Hill, Horace Tapscott or others in that camp. His solos are well-structured yet spiced with unexpected twists and turns that nourish one's awareness.

The Raw Material include two recordings at Jazz Club Fasching, October 21, 1981. by the Per Henrik Wallin Trio in Stockholm.  As with excellent release, Burning in Stockholm (bass - Johnny Dyani, drums - Erik Dahlbäck), the jazz here is loosely structured, with an intrinsic concern for dynamic interactions producing a dense and joyous feel. There's plenty of rhythmic and melodic tension that builds on these improvisations—with the release portion of their process coming in either measured or careful steps, as on "King's Way," or in more sudden drops, as with the raucous "Raw Material."
Bassist Kevin Ross and drummer Steve Reid share plenty of the soloing responsibilities with the leader, making for an album of greater hues and contrasts. Ross is wild, unabashed by his superior technique, and unafraid to wail when the urge and pace require it. Reid maneuvers the trio with various rhythmic controls and textures that highlight his abilities as well as those of Wallin and Ross.

The leader, for his part, is a rhythmic and melodic daredevil, speeding thorough several solos with remarkable skill and taste. Perhaps underappreciated in the United States, Per Henrik Wallin is clearly rooted in an American tradition of jazz, a swing and a bop clearly discernable in his stunts. His music is more "out" than "in," and this may put off some listeners, but there is no denying the range of his sound, the latitude of his joy, and the all-out, infectious effort his mates reciprocate.

For a live recording, the fidelity of sound on Raw Material is quite good. None of the instruments are lost in the mix. This is an enjoyable and exciting, and very very healthy experience. Great album.

(By Germein Linares)


If you find it, buy this album!

Monday, September 7, 2015

LOL COXHILL – Lid (LP-1978)




Label: Ictus Records – ICTUS 0011
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Italy / Released: 1978
Style: Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded on ICTUS label, Italy, July 1978.
Recorded By, Producer – Andrea Centazzo
Written-by  – Lol Coxhill

A1 - Uno .............................................................................. 7:33
A2 - Due ............................................................................ 14:13
B1 - Tre ............................................................................... 5:47
B2 - Cinque ......................................................................... 3:54
B3 - Quattro ......................................................................... 9:55
B4 - The Frogs Of Gabbiano ............................................... 4:33

LOL COXHILL – saxophone [soprano], vibraphone [bass marimba]



Between 1947 and 1949 the teenage Lol Coxhill organised club sessions comprising live contemporary jazz plus recordings of modern jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Lennie Tristano, Miles Davis and Stan Kenton. From 1950 to 1951 he was 'temporarily inconvenienced by national service in the Royal Air Force' but for the rest of that decade he was a member of: Denzil Bailey's Afro-Cubists (Dizzy Gillespie, Machito compositions/ arrangements); the Graham Fleming Combo touring US air bases in England (Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker compositions); and Sonny G and the G Men (R&B, standards). He also guested with established British contemporary jazz players, including Joe Harriott, Tubby Hayes, Oxford University Jazz Band as well as playing solo jazz and improvisations on the saxophone.
Much of the early to mid 1960s was taken up with touring and accompanying/supporting visiting US artists such as Rufus Thomas (with the television and video release of Walking the dog), Martha & the Vandellas, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Mose Allison, and to some extent this continued into the 70s with tours by Otis Spann, Champion Jack Dupree, Lowell Fulson and Alexis Korner. However, between 1968 and 1972 Coxhill formed 'Delivery' with Steve Miller, Jack Monck, Pip Pyle and Phil Miller, was a member of the 'Whole World' with Kevin Ayers, David Bedford, Mike Oldfield and numerous drummers, as well as performing in the Coxhill/Bedford duo and the Coxhill/Steve Miller duo.

The twelve years from 1973 saw Lol Coxhill become more well known as an improvising musician and solo player, with appearances thoughout Great Britain, Europe, the US, Japan and Canada. At the same time he undertook numerous collaborations with improvisors (as a member of Company), jazz musicians (as a member of the Brotherhood of Breath), rock and blues musicians (The Damned), as well as appearing with experimental theatre groups such as Welfare State. Other collaborations included Trevor Watts 'Moire Music', The Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and AMM. The Recedents (with Roger Turner and Mike Cooper) was formed in this period to perform electro-acoustic improvisations and has been a long-standing interest along with the Melody Four (with Steve Beresford and Tony Coe) - performing original and standard songs, film music, theatre music, jazz and improvisations - a duo with Pat Thomas, a duo with Adam Bohman (both electo-acoustic improvisations though of a rather different hue) and membership of the Dedication Orchestra.

Lol Coxhill has also worked occasionally in television and films with a part in Sally Potter's London story, Ken Campbell and Nigel Evans' The madness museum and Derek Jarman's Caravaggio.

LID is another jewel of his early works, Italian rare FREE JAZZ on ICTUS label sax solo improvisations.


Enjoy!


If you find it, buy this album!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

ANTHONY BRAXTON – Solo - Live At Moers Festival (LP-1974)




Label: Moers Music – 01002
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: W. Germany / Released: 1974
Style: Free Improvisation, Free Jazz
Recorded live, June 1, 1974 at the 3rd International New Jazz Festival Moers, Germany
Produced by – Burkhard Hennen
Mastered by – Paul Hubweber
Recorded by – Norbert Freibrück & Michael Krause
Photos by – Alex Dutilh (front), Alfred Bangert (back)
Cover Design – Jürgen Pankarz

A1 - JMK– 80 CF N– 7 ...................................................... 8:10
A2 - NNWZ 48 KB N ......................................................... 4:50
A3 - RORRT 33 H7T 4 ...................................................... 5:18
B1 - AOT H MBA T ............................................................ 5:19
B2 - 106 Kelvin M– 16 ....................................................... 5:31
B3 - RZO4M(6) AHW ......................................................... 3:12

All compositions by Anthony Braxton



Six years after his groundbreaking double album of solo alto saxophone compositions / improvisations (For Alto on Delmark), Anthony Braxton was just beginning to receive the wider recognition that would shortly land him a contract with Arista records. Just prior to that event, he recorded this live solo performance at the German Moers festival where he shows that he'd lost none of the fire and imagination evinced on that initial effort. Possibly unique among improvising instrumentalists, Braxton concentrates each piece on a relatively small, carefully delineated "sound territory," routinely uncovering vast amounts of detail and beauty in areas that might appear sparse or bare. Each piece receives its own personalized approach. If he's investigating the properties of stuttered attacks, he follows that particular alley to see where it leads. Probing into a bluesy figure results in a dissection of that theme, laying open to view multiple aspects of its form. His obvious and remarkable fluency on alto allows Braxton to command the subtlest shadings as well as the harshest split tones at will. At the end, the dramatic impact of his performance is clear from the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic audience reaction. Not an easy recording to locate, Solo: Live at Moers Festival is a worthy companion to his other early solo albums, For Alto and Alto Sax Improvisations: Series F.

(Review by Brian Olewnick)



If you find it, buy this album!