Saturday, April 30, 2016

BOB JAMES TRIO – Explosions (LP-ESP Disk-1965)




Label: ESP Disk – ESP-1009, ESP Disk – ESP-1009
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo / Country: US / Released: 1965/66 ?
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded At Bell Sound Studios, New York City, May, 1965.
Art Direction – Paul Frick
Cover – Bob James
Engineer – Art Crist
Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side A): ESPS 1009A
Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side B): ESPS 1009B

This version has BOB JAMES as artist on cover, and BOB JAMES TRIO as artist on labels. Black & white print cover, and orange labels with black print.

A1 - Explosions ......................................................................................... 5:42
         Written-By – Bob James
A2 - Untitled Mixes .................................................................................... 5:17
         Written-By – Bob James, Bob Ashley
A3 - Peasant Boy ........................................................................................ 8:30
         Written-By – Bob James, Gordon Mumma
B1 - An On ................................................................................................ 8:54
        Written-By – Barre Phillips
B2 - Wolfman ............................................................................................. 6:07
         Written-By – Bob James, Bob Ashley

Bob James – piano
Barre Phillips – bass
Robert Pozar – drums, percussion
+
Robert Ashley / Gordon Mumma – electronics [electronic tape collage]

Bob James is more known for his break-filled fusion sides for Tappan Zee and Columbia and his production for CTI than as a curious figure in the avant-garde jazz milieu of the 1960s. In fact, his two dates as a leader from this period have pretty much slipped under the radar. His first, Bold Conceptions (Mercury, 1962) was produced under the aegis of Quincy Jones upon the trio's winning of the Collegiate Jazz Festival. Featuring drummer Bob Pozar and bassist Ron Brooks, it combined post-Bill Evans textures with a hefty dose of shifting meters, plucked and prepared piano strings, magnetic tape, chance operations and unconventional sounds.


Explosions, recorded in 1965 in New York with Barre Phillips replacing Brooks on bass, jumps with both feet into the electro-acoustic improvisation field, with significant assistance from Robert Ashley and Gordon Mumma of Sonic Arts Union. Their contributions are especially notable in a version of Ashley's multi-channel tape composition "Wolfman" and Mumma's assault on Barre Phillips' "Anon" (here titled "An On").

James more than acquits himself as a free player, coaxing dense clusters at both the high and low end, beginning "Peasant Boy" in glassy arpeggios that mate with the fluid, all-over lines of Phillips and Pozar. Affinity for Ran Blake and Don Friedman enter into James' approach to a sparse canvas, at once plaintive and rustling both at the keyboard and in the "guts," in conversation with knitting needles and high bass harmonics. It's not clear whether the tape manipulations were added to the first track in real time, but they flesh out the shadowy, lower-register group improvisation as it reaches a brief crescendo.



A comparison might be made to Burton Greene (a Moog and piano-string jazz pioneer), but unlike his emotionalism and folksy melodies, the Bob James Trio seems more academic in its investigations, with deliberateness in the combinations of sounds. That's not a slight—rare indeed is a successful pairing of electronic and acoustic audio collage, much less in a mid-1960s jazz setting. Whirring feedback and tape manipulation are part of the instrumental palette, alongside temple blocks, bells and chimes, ping-pong balls on piano strings, and a florid approach to "conventional" free playing.

Couple this with the fact that this is one of the most cleanly recorded items in ESP's catalog, and Explosions is a weighty historical artifact not to be missed.
(by Clifford Allen / AAJ)



If you find it, buy this album!

9 comments:

  1. BOB JAMES TRIO – Explosions (LP-1965)
    Vinyl Rip/FLAC+Artwork

    1fichier:
    https://1fichier.com/?ufwy35p3g3

    ReplyDelete
  2. Never would have expected to see the great Barre Philips playing together with Bob James. Can't believe it, but seem to be true. Nice album, indeed. Thanks Vitko, another surprise from your endless source of records.

    Uwe

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bob James also played tapes on some of John Zorn's albums, The Big Gundown, Spillane and Cobra. And who would've thought that he played piano along Eric Dolphy? He did - uncredited on track #1 of the Blue Note compilation "Other Aspects". But that about sums it up when it comes to more free sideways.

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  4. About his date with Dolphy:
    http://www.semja.org/dec99/index.html

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  5. Yes, that's interesting, some musicians have extremely different periods in his creative work. Sixties of the last century, Bob James has experimented with electronics and Free Jezz. Fully incomparable with what worked later.

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  6. Bonjour,

    Est-il possible de réactiver le lien pour :

    ANTHONY BRAXTON – Knitting Factory (Piano/Quartet), Vol.1 (2CD-1994)

    Merci d'avance

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have heard lots about this but never actually heard it. So, thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this one. Thanks Vitko!

    ReplyDelete