Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NICHOLAS and GALLIVAN with LARRY YOUNG – Love Cry Want (1972) - 2LP, 2010

Label: Weird Forest Records – WEIRD-35
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Reissue, Limited Edition; Country: US - Released: 2010
Style: Fusion, Jazz, Psychedelic Rock, Experimental, Free Improvisation
Recorded in June 1972, Lafayette Park, Washington DC.
Mixed By, Mastered By – Ed Mashal
Remastered By – Weasel Walter
Package design by Aaron Winters

Nicholas – prototype guitar synthesizer, ring modulator, wind, rain, thunder, lightning, water, hi-tension wires and wailing dervish
Joe Gallivan – drums, steel guitar, moog synthesizer, and percussion
Jimmy Molneiri – drums and percussion
Larry Young – Hammond organ.

A1  Peace (For Dakota And Jason)  7:04
A2  Tomorrow, Today Will Be Yesterday  5:08
B1  The Great Medicine Dance  9:25
B2  Angels Wing  4:46
C   Ancient Place  10:08
D   Love Cry  15:06

Nearly 40 years after its creation, Weird Forest is proud to release (2010) this seminal jazz album for the first time ever on vinyl. The incendiary grooves captured in this wax defy description. It is not free, jazz, funk, fusion or fire music, it encompasses all of these sounds and then blasts far beyond them. Featuring the late great organist, Larry Young (Miles Davis circa Bitches Brew, Tony Williams Lifetime, etc). Beautifully packaged, Weird Forest-style, in a deluxe double-gatefold cover and remastered for vinyl by Weasel Walter, the Love Cry Want 2xLP is an essential document of a criminally unheralded group. Here's the scoop:

June 1972.

The times were filled with darkness and turmoil. This music, of loving, of crying, of wanting, makes a powerful statement. It is awash with the anguish of the times, yet it heralds the promise of better days to come.

Love Cry Want was a legendary jazz fusion group based in Washington D.C., and led by guitarist, Nicholas. This recording took place during a series of concerts in Washington, held across from the White House in Lafayette Park, and featured the late, great jazz organist Larry Young, who had just recorded the historic Bitches Brew LP with Miles Davis and had left the Tony Williams Lifetime and guitarist John McLaughlin to combine forces with Nicholas and drummer, Joe Gallivan.

This second incarnation of Love Cry Want featured the triumvirate of Nicholas, Gallivan, and Young performing some of the most important music in the history of jazz. No record company would release this music, which was ahead of it's time.

Nicholas, who pioneered the development of the first guitar synthesizer (in association with Electronic Music Laboratories) performs on the first prototype guitar 'synth' along with fellow musician, Joe Gallivan, who pioneered the development of the drum synthesizer with inventor, Robert Moog.

June 1972, Lafayette Park.

Richard Nixon was President. There was a nasty war going on in Vietnam, good people were rioting in the streets and cities were aflame. During this series of concerts outside the White House, President Nixon ordered aide, J.R. Haldeman, to pull the plug on the concert fearing that this strange music would levitate the White House. This is that music, remastered for this first time-vinyl release by Weasel Walter.

(AAJ, January 13th, 2010)

This is one crazy, brilliant record. A trio composed of the inventor/guitarist Nicholas, who only ever went by his first name, drummer and steel guitarist Joe Gallivan, and the late organist Larry Young yielded one of the most intense, freewheeling, and visionary records ever to come out of the '70s fusion era -- even though it took until the 1990s to get released. Nicholas played not only electric guitar, but a prototype synthesizer guitar (he and the Electronic Music Laboratories created and patented the synth guitar) and used a ring modulator as well, adding to the textural and sonic possibilities of Young's already groundbreaking organ sounds. Each of the six tracks here begins with a mode, a rhythm, or a riff, and spirals into the stratosphere. Funk is the motivator on "Peace," where Young plays rhythmic counterpoint to Gallivan, while Nicholas wails his ass off all over the place. On "Tomorrow, Today Will Be Yesterday," a beautiful, long, droning guitar passage that seems to have come out of Jimi Hendrix's "Still Raining, Still Dreaming" sequence form Electric Ladyland is colored, shaded, and deepened by Young's chromatic abilities while Gallivan's drumming brings the two principals so close they are almost indistinguishable. And so it goes for one of most engaging, startlingly accessible free jazz fusion romps in history. The live feel of the music here is underscored by the fact that most, if not all of it, was recorded at various concerts. Whatever; this is one of those long-lost classics that needs to be heard by every succeeding generation of rock musicians who believe jazz harmonics and rhythmic elements have nothing to offer them, and by hipsters who can claim they knew about this back in the day.

_ Review by THOM JUREK

Links in Comments!

HOPPER / DEAN / TIPPETT / GALLIVAN – Cruel But Fair (1977)

Label: Compendium Records – FIDARDO 4
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: Norway - UK pressing 1976, Released: 1977
Style: Experimental, Free Improvisation, Free Jazz
Recorded at The Basement, Oslo, October 1976 
A1, B1, B3 and B4 published by Warner Bros., otherwise by P.R.S.
Printed By – Garrod & Lofthouse
Made By – Garrod & Lofthouse
Recorded At – The Basement, Oslo
Bass – Hugh Hopper
Design, Photography – Laurie Lewis

Hugh Hopper - Bass
Elton Dean - Alto Saxophone & Saxello
Keith Tippett - Piano
Joe Gallivan - Drums, Percussion & Synthesizer

Hugh Hopper, who died of Leukaemia in 2009, started his musical career in 1963 as the bass player with the Daevid Allen Trio alongside drummer Robert Wyatt. There can be few other free jazz bands of the era with such a stellar line-up. Unlike other legendary ensembles such as The Crucial Three (a Liverpool band from 1977 which featured three musicians who were to go on to enormous success) the Daevid Allen Trio actually played gigs and made recordings. All three members ended up in Soft Machine, which together with Pink Floyd was the ‘ house band ’ of the burgeoning ‘ Underground ’ movement which tried so hard to turn British cultural mores upside down for a few years in the latter half of the 1960s. (Hopper and Wyatt had also been in another legendary Canterbury band called The Wilde Flowers). Hopper stayed with Soft Machine (for whom he was initially the group ’ s road manager) until 1973 playing at least one session with Syd Barrett along the way. During his tenure the band developed from a psychedelic pop group to an instrumental jazz rock fusion band, all the time driven by the lyrical bass playing of Hugh Hopper. After leaving the band he worked with many pillars of the jazz rock fusion scene such as: Isotope, Gilgamesh, Stomu Yamashta and Carla Bley. He also formed some co-operative bands with Elton Dean who had also been in Soft Machine. Previously Dean had been in a band called Bluesology, whose keyboard player Reginald Dwight had come to the conclusion that his was not a name that had much commercial potential, so he pinched Dean’s Christian name and as a surname chose part of the name of Bluesology’s lead singer, Long John Baldry.

HOPPER/DEAN/TIPPETT/GALLIVAN was an experimental jazz outfit formed in 1976 by former Hopper and Dean, teaming up with the renowned jazz pianist and composer Keith Tippett and the remarkable avant garde drummer/synth player Joe Gallivan. In 1977 the quartet released their album "Cruel but Fair", which Wally Stoup describes as: “ …a wide- ranging programme of bristling, exploratory jazz and innovative electronic music. Gallivan plays synthesiser in addition to his propulsive, pulse-oriented drums, and on several cuts ("Jannakota" and "Rocky Recluse"), the music drifts into beguiling electronic soundscapes. These serve as interludes for the more energetic and fiery pieces featuring Dean's singular sax and Tippett's dense, multi-layered piano. Dean's distinctive alto and the seldom-played saxello both project a plaintive, vocalised sound, equally adaptable to the frenzy of "Seven Drones" or the calm of "Echoes". This ability to shift emotional gears, shared by the group as a whole, results in a collective music that is both spontaneous and cohesive. “ I couldn ’ t have put it better myself.


Links in Comments!

Friday, July 26, 2013

WILKINSON / EDWARDS / NOBLE – Live at Cafe Oto (11-7-2008)

Label: Bo'Weavil Recordings – weavil33CD
Format: CD, Album; Country: UK - Released: 2009
Style: Free Improvisation
Recorded live at Cafe Oto, London 11 July, 2008.
Design – Damien Beaton
Engineer [Post-production] – Mick Ritchie, Noble
Liner Notes – Mike Gavin
Mixed By – Tjan, Noble
Photography By [Cover] – Midori Ogata
Photography By [Inside] – Mark Morris
Recorded By – Anna Tjan, Shane Browne

Its cover looks like a mid- ’ 50s Miles Davis album on Blue Note, but don ’ t let it deceive you. It says nothing about the music that lies within. The trio of Alan Wilkinson on alto and baritone saxophones, John Edwards on bass and Steve Noble on drums is an improvising group, one with its roots firmly in free jazz rather than bop. Live at Café Oto is their second album, a follow-up to the fine studio-recorded Obliquity. Where that debut showcased the threesome ’ s pumped-up, high-energy approach to improvising, this one captures them in their natural habitat – in front of a live audience at London ’ s current venue of choice. Indeed, this trio first came together in public by happenstance: when Lol Coxhill couldn ’ t make a trio gig with Edwards and Noble at Wilkinson ’ s own club Flim Flam, and the saxophonist stepped into the breach… and the rest is history.

There are two tracks here, the thirty-two minute opener, “ Spellbound, ” followed by eight minutes of “ Recoil. ” If that sounds short on running time, wait ‘ til you hear the music. This trio delivers concentrated chaos, so those forty minutes contain as much intensity as some albums twice as long. Compared to other improvisers, they are full-on all the time, without atmospheric silences, pregnant pauses or tentative exploratory negotiations.

The opening notes of “ Spellbound ” set the agenda. Silencing the crowd and grabbing their attention, Wilkinson unleashes a clarion-call blast that would shake the walls of Jericho, a blast that is simultaneously exciting and scary. Immediately joined by Edwards ’ bowed bass and a barrage of cymbals from Noble, Wilkinson embarks on an unrelenting solo that is characterized by its logic and coherence; once he has laid down a phrase, he teases out its implications, plays with it and develops it further, leaving the listener with a sense of satisfaction.

But Wilkinson is not the sole focus. Edwards and Noble match him step for step, reacting to his playing and reflecting it back. So, when the saxophone reels out a staccato phrase, it is instantly returned by both bass and drums, leading all three players into a sympathetic exchange. Throughout, the bass and drums maintain a focus on their rhythmic role, never allowing the pace to flag and constantly driving things forward, to thrilling effect.

The shorter “ Recoil ” is just as propulsive, but acts as a refreshing contrast. It starts with Wilkinson ’ s voice issuing a series of declamatory phrases as uncompromising as any from his horns, sounding like a possessed man speaking in tongues. He offsets these vocal calls with saxophone responses, creating a dialogue with himself. Again, bass and drums propel him on, creating a piece that sounds sanctified. Unsurprisingly, through to the final fade-out, the crowd cheers. Obliqity is a hard album to follow. Oto manages to trump that ace.

_ By JOHN EYLES (Dusted Reviews, Feb. 19, 2009)

Links in Comments!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

EVAN PARKER – Conic Sections (for Kunio Nakamura) - 1993

Label: Ah Um – AH UM 015
Format: CD, Album; Country: UK - Released: 1993
Style: Free Improvisation
Recorded at Holywell Music Room, Oxford on 21st June, 1989.
Producer – Nick Purnell
Recorded By – Michael Gerzon

Dedicated to the memory of Kunio Nakamura, “Conic Sections”, is indeed one of Parker’s best releases, period. The five tracks are all outstanding in detail and instant vision, figurations and fantasies chiselled by the typical resourceful inventiveness – often bordering on sheer fury – that the English master shows whenever featured in a private examination of the meanders of consequentiality. The uncharacteristic acoustics of the recording studio donate a strange sense of timbral morphing, the reed resounding at times as a cello if one gets lost in the hurricane of upper partials and quick turns generated by the “ convoluted minimalism ” that this music actually represents. “ It seemed as though the room itself had something in mind too ” , says the saxophonist, and there ’ s no doubt that the pair works wonders on our lust for substantiality. These spirals of geniality are permeated with attitude and fluency at once, the listener receiving their gifts like unexpected twists in an otherwise humdrum life. Parker doesn ’ t know the meaning of “ happy medium ” , a continuous flux of impressive creativeness at the basis of an artistic route that I can ’ t but define as admirable, in which this record constitutes yet another essential landmark.

Of the many solo soprano recordings by British improviser Evan Parker, few offer as intimate a portrait as this one in terms of his development as an artist. In 1993, Parker had hit a new stride in his playing. He worked -- as he does now -- long hours to find a way through the improvisation barrier imposed by the restrictions of circular and conventional breathing, toward a series of microtonal possibilities that were adaptable in virtually any situation, solo or group. His practice had led him to a place of opening the breathing techniques toward new microphonics and multiple sonances. His wish to document them, however, led to his nearly abandoning his findings. He discovered that in the music rooms of Holywell in England, that the harmonic atmospherics of the room, of the architecture itself, provided an entirely new set of tonal and spatial possibilities he hadn't counted upon and proceeded to make a record to document those instead. There are five "Conic Sections" ranging in length from just over seven-and-a-half minutes to over 25. Duration is dependent on how an idea is expressed by the soloist (Parker) and looped back to him by the room itself. Certain tones and phrasings offer far more in the way of complex reverberation -- naturally occurring -- than others, inspiring different angles, shapes and colors from Parker. It's as if he is playing off the room, even though he has instigated the proceedings. The room never quits, and it is obvious that it will have the last sound, play the last note, no matter how hard Parker struggles against that dictum -- and he does for much of the recording. He uses every trick, technique, and grift to try to put off the inevitable, and in the process it takes him to some very interesting places musically. This is an exhausting yet exhilarating set to take in at one setting; it changes the listener's reality, turns it inside out for over 70 minutes, and allows one to hear, as music, some rather confounding sounds and breathing techniques. Amazing stuff.


Links in Comments!

Monday, July 22, 2013


Label: DIW Records – DIW-922
Format: CD, Album; Country: Japan - Released: 1997
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at Shin-Kobe Oriental Theatre on August 6 1996, except track 2 at Nakano ZERO Hall, Tokyo on 31 July 1996.
Produced by Alexander von Schlippenbach and Aki Takase
Associate producer: Kazue Yokoi / Executive producer: DIW/Disk Union
Recorded by Kimio Oikawa (及川公生 )
Assistant engineers: Nobuhiro Makita (Nakano ZERO Hall), Satoru Nakanishi (Shin-Kobe Oriental Theater)
Mastered by Keiko Ueda at Tokyu Fun, Tokyo
Photography by Hiroyuki Yamaguchi (Picture Disk) / Cover design by Yuri Takase

Conducted by Alexander von Schlippenbach & Aki Takase

Unlike pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's earlier large aggregation, the free music pioneering Globe Unity Orchestra, the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra was conceived as a composer's forum as much as an improviser's. In addition to Schlippenbach's own provocative scores, the 10-year-old BCJO has commissioned works from Carla Bley, Kenny Wheeler, and others. The BJCO initially intended to use Berlin musicians exclusively, but has become an international unit, which now includes a sizable Japanese contingent including pianist and co-conductor Aki Takase, and such renowned English improvisers as saxophonist Evan Parker, trumpeter Henry Lowthar, and trombonist Paul Rutherford. Live in Japan '96 provides a fine one-disc synopsis of its evolution.

The program is evenly split between compositions by Schlippenbach and Takase and repertory items, including a Takase-arranged medley of Eric Dolphy compositions ("The Prophet," "Serene," and "Hat and Beard"); Schlippenbach's extrapolation of W.C.. Handy's "Way Down South Where The Blues Began;" and Willem Breuker's semi-sweet take on the Gordon Jenkins chestnut, "Goodbye." Yet, some of the most freely improvised passages of the program occur in the Dolphy suite (Rutherford's duet with drummer Paul Lovens harkens back to their '70s collaborations, while Parker's unaccompanied soprano solo is a testament to the ongoing vitality of his 30-year exploration of multiphonic textures).

Especially in the case of the pungent improvised ensemble embellishments in the Handy piece, free improvisations are well-integrated into the structure of the works.

Schlippenbach and Takase's compositions also encompass a wide spectrum of approaches. A reprise of Schlippenbach's skull-rattling "The Morlocks" is a reminder of the pianist's contributions to the machine gun aesthetic of the German avant-garde in the '60s. His "Jackhammer," however, is the program's best vehicle for racing, hard-edged, bop-inflected blowing, particularly by altoist Eichi Hayashi and the vastly underrated tenor, Gerd Dudek. Takase's "Shijo No Ai" intriguingly brackets a bracing collective improvisation with an almost florid, Evans-tinged chart. Schlippenbach and Takase are a formidable composer/arranger/pianist/conductor tag-team; the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra is an excellent vehicle for their uncompromising work.

_ By Bill Shoemaker (JazzTimes)

Links in Comments!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

MAT MANERI TRIO – So What? (1999)

Label: HatOLOGY – hatOLOGY 529
Format: CD, Album, Limited Edition; Country: Switzerland - Released: 1999
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded at Sorcerer Sound, New York, on August 14, 1998.
Design [Graphic Concept] – fuhrer vienna
Mixed By, Mastered By – Peter Pfister
Photography By – ÖhnerKraller
Producer – Art Lange, Pia & Werner X. Uehlinger
Recorded By – Mike Cyr

Cardboard Sleeve. Edition of 3000 CDs.

Mat Maneri, the world's challenging microtonal electric violinist, explains that he once studied Baroque violin, in which the bowing style creates an "almost horn like sound." He goes on to explain that "I'm not trying to get a horn sound now, but I am trying to get horn phrasing." Certainly there are moments on So What? when Maneris' violin sounds uncannily like a horn, whether with a conventional tone or even featuring growling multiphonics, as he does right at the beginning of this disc, on "Asunta." 

His trio mates, the excellent pianist Matthew Shipp, and drummer Randy Peterson, are well- chosen for the rapidly shifting rhythms and moods that Maneri moves through on this intriguing set. Shipp specializes in arhythmic power piano, and has an arresting capacity for throwing out shimmering and glimmering melodic shards in the middle of the Maneri maelstrom. Much of this disc, however, features him interacting with Maneri on a low gear. He answers Maneri's Ornetteian maniacal rapid bowing with small clusters of his own. Then he shifts effortlessly with the violinist into quiet but not tranquil sections, in which Peterson jostles and huffs and the two string players trade and intertwine short, fragmentary motifs. 

Maneri explains that he included four Miles Davis tunes in this set - "So What?," "Circle," "Solar," and "No Blues" - "to demonstrate that what we play is not random." The trio makes no attempt to play any of these tunes in anything resembling Milesian fashion, and they do indeed blend well here with the arch and ruminative bursts of Maneri's own compositions.
And it works: although they take each of these tunes in a direction that probably would make the Prince of Darkness blanch, the coherence of the melodic and rhythmic development of each - and of Maneri's own tunes, some of which (at least "Three Smiles" and "Solaris") seem to pay indirect tribute to Miles - is undeniable. 

Maneri and Shipp are unafraid to traffic in classical motifs, and often these tracks approach that kind of sonority. But all of them are deeply and carefully thought out improvisations from excellent musicians.

Published: September 1, 1999 (AAJ)

Links in Comments!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Radio Recording
Format: CD, Album; Country: UK – Released: ?
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at the Conservatorio di Musica „Umberto Giordano “ Foggia, Italy in 1985. 
Composed By – Stabbins, Tippett, Moholo
Design By – ART&JAZZ Studio - 2010
Artwork and Complete Design by VITKO

Excellent recordings of three top "free jazz" improvisers. Recorded live during a performance at the Conservatorio di Musica „Umberto Giordano “ Foggia, Italy in 1985.

Larry Stabbins learned clarinet at school from the age of eight, when his musical idol was Acker Bilk. He started playing saxophone at the age of eleven. He was soon playing in local dance bands, doing his first paid gig aged twelve, and later also playing, in soul bands, particularly the music of Junior Walker and James Brown. He started working with pianist Keith Tippett when he was sixteen and later contributed to various Tippett projects such as Centipede, Ark, Tapestry and the Keith Tippett Septet. In addition the two also worked for a time in a trio with South African percussionist Louis Moholo.

In London in the early 1970 ’ s, after a brief period in the Chris McGregor ’ s Brotherhood of Breath, he played with John Stevens ’ Spontaneous Music Orchestra, and occasionally with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (SME). During this period he also worked as a freelance commercial musician, playing studio sessions, nightclubs and West End shows, as well as playing in more jazz-based situations such as Mike Westbrook ’ s 'Solid Gold Cadillac'. In the 1980 ’ s he joined the Tony Oxley Quintet and played in various versions of the band and also with the Celebration Orchestra, for many years.

Around the same time he joined the London Jazz Composers Orchestra as well as Peter Brotzmann ’ s Alarm Orchestra and its successor the tentet 'Marz Combo'. He also worked with, among others, the Eddie Prevost Quartet, Trevor Watts ’ Moire Music, Louis Moholo ’ s Spirits Rejoice, Elton Dean ’ s Ninesense and the Heinz Becker Quintet...

In recent years Stabbins has worked with Keith Tippett ’ s Tapestry Orchestra, in Louis Moholo ’ s Dedication Ochestra, in a quartet with Howard Riley, playing the music of Robert Wyatt in Soupsongs, and in Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra.

The album 'Stonephace' on Tru Thoughts Recordings, a collaboration with rave producer and DJ Krzysztof Oktalski, featured Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley and Helm DeVegas on keyboards, plus a guest appearance by trumpeter Guy Barker.

His latest project 'Stonephace Stabbins' features Mercury nominated pianist Zoe Rahman, Crispin "Spry" Robinson from 1990's Jazz/Rap band Galliano on percussion, Karl Rasheed Abel on bass and Pat Illingworth on drums, all of whom also play in Jerry Dammers ’ Spatial AKA Orchestra.

Links in Comments!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Label: Konnex Records – KCD 5127
Format: CD, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 2003
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at LOFT, Köln on 29 November 2002.
Composed By – Manderscheid, Samba, Brötzmann
Artwork and Cover Design – Brötzm
Mastered By – Frank Samba, Stefan Deistler
Photography By – Alfons Stoffels
Producer – Manfred Schiek
Recorded By – Stefan Deistler

BRÖTZMANN/MANDERSCHEID/SAMBA а Danquah Circle (Konnex 5127)

Featuring Peter Brötzmann on alto & tenor saxes, A clarinet & taragato, Dieter Manderscheid on bass and Frank Samba on drums and recorded live at the „Loft “ in Cologne in November of 2002. This fabulous trio first played the Loft in February of 1992, before leaving for a tour of West Africa. Their other important gig that year was at the Total Music meeting in Berlin and then they didn't get together for another decade, when this gig occurred.

This concert did not turn out to be a mere „revival “ as each of the players combined newly aquired influences with mutual curiosity, rather than basing the music upon pre-conceived textures from the past. In this regard, the reminiscence alone of the African tuor ’ s experience as a group formed the core of these INSTANT COMPOSITIONS. It was logical to explore this, without any previous rehearsal, at the place of their very first concert together...the result of this is now in your hands.

Well recorded and well-balanced, the trio begin with some sumptuous clarinet, contrabass and cymbals, soon flying high and wide, taking us on their great journey. Erupting intensely, things quiet down for a somber bass and cymbals duo, until Brötzmann picks up his trusty tenor sax and starts wailing, so watch out! The title is actually pretty restrained, yet no less intriguing. The oddly titled „Fire in the Zipper “ , again starts out quietly and builds to another powerful, flame-throwing conclusion. Another treasure form the great Brötzmann and company!

Links in Comments!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

COMPANY (Derek Bailey) – Company 6 & 7 (2LP-1977) - CD-1991

Label: Incus Records – CD07 
Format: CD, Compilation; Country: UK - Released: 1991 
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
These recordings were made during the first Company Week, which took place at the I.C.A. London. Recorded on May 25-27 1977.
Re-release of Incus 29 (Company 6) and Incus 30 (Company 7) with some missing tracks.
Design – Karen Brookman
Engineer – Howard Cross, Nick Glennie-Smith
Photography By – Roberto Massotti
Producer [Post Production] – John Hadden

Derek Bailey has always been interested in the way that musicians react and interact within unfamiliar situations. Beginning in 1977, he began organizing regular events called "Company Week", in which a group of musicians was assembled to play in ad-hoc formations throughout the course of several days. The players are chosen with care: some will have extensive backgrounds in free improvisation, others will not; some will have worked with each other, some will have never even have heard each other's music. Bailey has remarked that by the end of the week the musicians will have settled into a working rapport but that he's not necessarily most interested in the more polished or empathetic performances that might result: he's most interested in the earlier stages, where musicians test each other out, warily responding & trying to find ways of communicating.

This disc documents performances from the first event, in May 1977. (Originally the performances were released sequentially on LPs numbered 1-7; this CD compiles most but not all of the last two LPs.) This was a historic encounter between some of the finest European free improvisors with a number of American free jazz musicians. In the former group: Bailey himself on guitar (as usual with Company Week, Bailey is perhaps the least prominent musician here, & in fact only plays on 3 tracks); Evan Parker & Lol Coxhill on saxophones; Steve Beresford on piano & miscellaneous instruments; Han Bennink on drums, clarinet, viola, banjo & anything else within range; Tristan Honsinger on cello & Maarten van Regteren Altena on Bass. The Americans are Steve Lacy & Anthony Braxton on saxophones, & the trumpeter Leo Smith.

It's hard to describe this music at all: one's strongest sense is of how differences in temperament & approach between musicians can lead to bewildering differences in result from track to track, depending on the personnel. One division here is between some of the Europeans whose playing involves a lot of sheer mischief & humour, & the "serious" approach of the Americans & some of the other Europeans. Beresford, Honsinger & Bennink are loose cannons, making tracks like "SB/MR/HB/LC", "HB/LC/MR/TH" & "TH/MR/SB/HB/DB" (the tracks are simply titled after the personnel on them) Dadaist assemblages of noise & mayhem. On the other hand, there's the beautiful, austere "AB/EP", a duo between Braxton & Parker that anticipates their marvellous 1993 duet disc on Leo. Listening to the disc again, it strikes me forcibly exactly how good the American players are, especially Leo Smith & Braxton--Braxton's improvising was surely never more trenchant than when he was a young lion in the 1970s, & he gives a bravura multiinstrumental performance on the opening track (which features Lacy, Smith, Braxton with Altena & Honsinger) that has him blowing saxophone, flute & clarinet in succession. Leo Smith is also outstanding on this album--try out his careening duet with Honsinger, "TH/LS", or the spacious trio that closes the disc with Parker & Bailey. The album also features one track performed by an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime quartet of soprano saxophonists--Parker, Coxhill, Braxton, Lacy--& will be treasured by collectors for just that.

By any definition this is "difficult music". It is also very rewarding, & historically important. A very welcome reissue, though it's a pity that the original albums weren't reissued in their entirety. -- One final note: Derek Bailey's friend, the poet Peter Riley, wrote extensively about the 1977 Company Week, & these writings are worth seeking out. The poems were published as _The Musicians The Instruments_ (The Many Press, 1978); the prose was only published a few years ago by Bailey, in a book simply called _Company Week_.

Document of a crucial event (October 27, 2001)

Links in Comments!

Friday, July 12, 2013


Label: Nine Winds Records – NWCD0199 
Format: CD, Album; Country: US - Released: 1997 
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded at Studio 451 at UCSD, La Jolla, California, April 23, 1997.
Cover [Cover Art], Design, Layout – Jeff Atherton, Vinny Golia
Mastered By – Jim Watson
Recorded By, Mastered By – Josef Kucera

Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has always been on the forefront of the musical melting pot. Not interested in being merely a "jazz musician" (a perfectly honorable thing), Smith has always sought to expand the color and dramatic scheme of jazz by including vast panoramas of poetry and instruments not usually associated with the genre. By employing improv wunderkind Vinny Golia (on all manner of saxophones and clarinets as well as dudek and English and Chinese instruments) and bass wild man Bertram Turetzky, Smith has created -- while only playing trumpet -- a new landscape for his improvisational idiomatics. This band was recorded live in the studio with no second takes and no edits. What falls from the speakers is how it rolled out in the studio: linear, transparent, and full of fresh dynamics in the tonal studies. Microtonality - à la Joe Maneri -- is the order of the day, and it crosses with Smith's Third World notion of melodic sensibility, where no melody is complete until every comment has been made upon it within a group. Hence, the entire world is contained in the eight selections here, which move and breathe with the fearlessness of vanguard jazz but are as earthy as Australian didgeridoo arias or King Sunny Ade's juju songs. Ultimately, it's all movement in one direction, to the heart of both player and listener in a spirit of such generosity and sophistication that it is an infectious laughter that haunts the listener long after the record is over.


Links in Comments!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

AMALGAM (Trevor Watts) – Mad (LP-1977)

Label: Syntohn – VR 20.020
Format: Vinyl, LP; Country: Netherlands - Released: 1977
Style: Free Jazz, Jazz-Rock
Recorded live in 1977 and released without a cover.
All compositions PRS / MCPS
Producer By – Trevor Taylor
New Cover Designe by ART&JAZZ Studio Salvarica
Artwork and Complete Design by VITKO - 2013
Vinyl Rip

The original vinyl was realized without a cover, and I specifically for this occasion I made a suitable cover. I hope you like it.


Featuring Trevor Watts on saxes, Willem Kuhne on electric piano, Colin McKenzie on bass and Liam Genockey on drums. Recorded live in 1977. This is the fifth Amalgam album (Syntohn – VR 20.020) and each one has been a different and distinctive gem. Amalgam was saxist Trevor Watts' ever-evolving band both during and after he left the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. Amalgam had first an acoustic period with bassists Jeff Clyne or Barry Guy and guests like Keith Tippett. Their electric period featured the same rhythm team of Colin Mackenzie on electric bass and Liam Genockey on drums with different electric guitarists Dave Cole, Steve Layton and even Keith Rowe from AMM. 'Mad' seems to be the one Amalgam album with an electric piano, Willem Kuhne, replacing the electric guitar. When Trevor left SME, he moved more into the (cosmic) groove. Hence, the electric version of Amalgam always had a great groove in the center of whatever they did. Although you can tell that this vinyl from 1977, the sound is still just right. The rhythm team has a consistent, joyous, somewhat funky vibe which is both in-the-pocket and mutating at the same time. Trevor does a fabulous job of riding the groove and soloing with infectious glee on top. "Jive" is fast and furious tune that approaches that over-the-top fusion intensity level. With the rhythm team slamming hard, Trevor spins cascading lines of notes as if he is running a race or being pursued some monster about to swallow him whole. Mr. Kuhne also takes a smokin' solo, giving Trevor a run for his money, as does bassist Colin Mackenzie. . The second side of the album, consists of the two-part "Berlin Wall" and "Mad". On "Berlin Wall," Trevor almost sounds like a horse as he solos (whinnies) on top of another slower yet still celebratory groove. Drummer, Liam Genockey, was also a member of Trevor's next band, the Moire Music Society which included African musicians as well. Listening to this creative groove wonder, I can hear the connection between Amalgam and MMS. I dig the way the sax and piano are always interconnected, soloing and working their way around one another seamlessly. Amalgam is/are a powerful quartet that must've really been a joy to witness live, too bad we can't just jump into a time machine and check them out live. In the meantime, this vinyl will have to do.


Links in Comments!

Monday, July 8, 2013


Label: Enja Records – enja 2064
Format: Vinyl, LP, Reissue; Country: Germany - Released: 1975
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded at Audio-Studio, Berlin on November 8, 1971
Artwork By [Cover Design] – Weber, Winckelmann
Mastered By – D. Mehtieff
Photography [Backcover] – Andreas Raggenbass
Photography [Frontcover] – Hellmut Loose
Producer – Horst Weber, Matthias Winckelmann
Recorded By – Jürgen Wentorf

 I proudly present a marvelous LP of jazz improvisation at its best from four superb, if too little-known musicians: Spontaneous , a German import released in 1972 by the Enja label, now out of print in all formats. This amazing music is the collective accomplishment of Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone), Masahiko Sato (piano, modulator), Peter Warren (bass) and Allen Blairman (drums). There are four pieces on the album (each credited to one of the four players), but the "compositions" are essentially frameworks for the musicians to explore, to find new and unexpected ideas and directions as they go. In the act of discarding structure for complete musical freedom, the players often achieve explosive and intoxicating results. The recording quality is superb, lending the music a strong "you are there" ambience. Everyone interested in envelope-pushing sounds should own at least a few recordings of free improvisation, and Spontaneous is a stellar example of the genre. 

At a gift you get the fifth track from the Japanese CD (2007), Almapela , which was recorded at Audio-Studio, Berlin about the same time as the album, but for some reason did not released. 
Enjoy !

Links in Comments!