Sunday, December 28, 2014

ANDRÉ JAUME – Musique Pour 8: L'Oc (1 LP + 1 Single) / 1982

Label: hat ART – hat ART 1989/90
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album + Vinyl, 7", Single
Country: Switzerland / Released: 1982
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded on October 1 and 2, 1981, at Foundation Artist' House Boswil/Switzerland.
Photography – Henk Kahlé
Producer – Pia & Werner X. Uehlinger
Recorded By – Peter Pfister

A1 - Blue Note . . . . . . . . . . 4:21
         tenor sax – André Jaume
A2 - Barqueroute . . . . . . . . . . 5:51
         flugelhorn – Jean-François Canape
         tenor sax – André Jaume / trombone – Yves Robert
A3 - L'Oc . . . . . . . . . . 6:47
         bass – François Mechali
         cello – Heiner Thym, Michael Overhage
B1 - Theme For Joe . . . . . . . . . . 4:42
         flute – André Jaume
B2 - Cézanne . . . . . . . . . . 5:03
         bass – François Mechali
         flugelhorn – Jean-François Canape / tenor Sax – André Jaume
B3 - Ballade . . . . . . . . . . 5:43
         cello – Michael Overhage
         flugelhorn – Jean-François Canape / tenor sax – André Jaume
Single 45 RPM:
C  -  Clin D’œil . . . . . . . . . . 4:32
         bass – François Mechali / tenor sax – André Jaume
D  -  Fanfare . . . . . . . . . . 4:22
         percussion – Gérard Siracusa


2 bonus tracks: Musique Pour 8: L'Oc
(CD-1990) / hat ART – hat ART CD 6058

E (bonus track) - St. Jean . . . . . . . . . . 5:56
F (bonus track) - Zazize . . . . . . . . . . 7:25

André Jaume – tenor sax, flute, composed
Yves Robert – trombone
Jacques Veillé – bass trombone
Jean-François Canape – trumpet, flugelhorn
François Mechali – bass
Heiner Thym – cello
Michael Overhage – cello
Gerard Siracusa – percussion, drums

André Jaume's Musique Pour 8 is as ambitious a work as he has ever attempted. For octet, he has chosen to explore the relationships of the group to the individual, harmony to dissonance, timbre to meter, ensemble charts to free improvisation -- and all the colors of the musical palette. Using a group he culled together based on his fancy rather than any previous playing relationships creates a prismatic approach to Jaume's compositions. Unlike most of the Europeans, his work (especially in the avant-garde) refuses to dismiss itself from traditions musical and otherwise: Jaume's obsessions with visual art and poetry are evidenced here not as support mechanisms, but as inspirations. His "Ballade" touches on the melancholy of the Mallarme poem of the same name; "Cezanne" engages timbre -- especially in his tenor solo and in Canape's flügelhorn moment -- in a manner that highlights the vibrational nature of color and texture, much like the painter's flattened yet nonetheless shimmering canvasses. And musically, in "L'Oc," listeners can hear the tension and restraint evident in composer Darius Milhaud's later work for strings -- especially his last quartet. The influences of arrangers and texturalists such as Stan Kenton and Jimmy Giuffre can also be heard in "Blue Note" and "Theme for Joe." Jaume makes such a case for his own composition on this album that it's difficult to fault him. His titles are as free and open as his bandleading, allowing the individual musicians to ink the page indelibly with their own stamps. Jaume is truly one of the great European artists who, like Franz Koglmann, understands the importance not only of tradition, but of nuance and elegance, in the presentation of anything -- whether it be groundbreaking improvisation or beautifully composed vignettes and themes. Musique Pour 8: L'Oc is a treasure from an underappreciated master of form, style, and content.

Review by Thom Jurek

If you find it, buy this album!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

CLIFFORD BROWN – The Quintet Vol. 1 (2LP-1976)

Label: Mercury ‎– EMS-2-403
Series: The EmArcy Jazz Series –
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Compilation, Remastered / Country: US / Released: 1976
Country of Origin: Netherlands  
Style: Hard Bop
Recorded at Capitol Studio Los Angeles, August 3,5 & 6, 1954 and Capitol, New York, February 23, 1955.
Art Direction [Art Director AGI] – Jim Schubert
Artwork – Bob Ziering
Compiled By, Liner Notes – Dan Morgenstern
Design – Joe Kotleba
Engineer [Cutting] – Gilbert Kong
Reissue Producer – Robin McBride
Remastered By [Tape] – Dick Campbell

A1 - Delilah . . . . . 8:06
A2 - Parisian Thoroughfare . . . . . 7:14
A3 - Jordu . . . . . 7:48
B1 - Sweet Clifford . . . . . 6:40
B2 - Ghost Of A Chance . . . . . 7:20
B3 - Stompin' At The Savoy . . . . . 6:26
C1 - I Get A Kick Out Of You . . . . . 7:36
C2 - Joy Spring . . . . . 6:51
C3 - Mildama . . . . . 4:25
D1 - Daahoud . . . . . 4:04
D2 - Gerkin For Perkin . . . . . 2:58
D3 - Take The A Train . . . . . 4:21
D4 - Lands End . . . . . 4:58
D5 - Swingin' . . . . . 2:52

Clifford Brown – trumpet
Max Roach – drums
Harold Land – tenor saxophone
George Morrow – bass
Richie Powell – piano

To me, the name of Clifford Brown will always remain synonymous with the very essence of musical and moral maturity. This name will stand as a symbol of the ideals every young jazz musician should strive to attain.

This name also represents a musician who had intelligent understanding and awareness of social, moral, and economic problems which constantly confuse the jazz musician, sometimes to the point of hopeless rebellion.

In the summer of 1953, while I was working with the Lionel Hampton band in Wildwood, N.J., I begged Hamp to hire three of the musicians from Tadd Dameron's band, which was nearing the end of its Atlantic City engagement: Gigi Gryce, Benny Golson, and Clifford Brown. They were all hired and then began an association that I'll always be grateful to Lionel for.

Brownie stayed on to go to Europe with this band and became closely associated with several other young musicians who were of growing importance in the jazz world, such as Art Farmer, Anthony Ortega, Jimmy Cleveland, Alan Dawson, and George Wallington. Although this band never played in the states together, I think it was one of the best Hamp ever had.

By means of an ex-tensive recording schedule abroad, Brownie came first to the eyes and ears of the French and Swedish jazzmen and a new thoroughbred was on the jazz scene. The uniting of Clifford Brown with the trumpet must have been declared from above. For seldom does a musical vehicle prove to be so completely gratifying as the trumpet was to Clifford.

Here was the perfect amalgamation of natural creative ability, and the proper amount of technical training, enabling him to contribute precious moments of musical and emotional expression. This inventiveness placed him in a class far beyond that of most of his poll-winning contemporaries. Clifford's self-assuredness in his playing reflected the mind and soul of a blossoming young artist who would have rightfully taken his place next to Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and other leaders in jazz.

In this generation where some well-respected and important pioneers condemn the young for going ahead, Brownie had a very hard job. He constantly struggled to associate jazz, it's shepherds, and it's sheep, with a cleaner element, and held no room in his heart for bitterness about the publicity-made popularity and success of some of his pseudo-jazz giant brothers, who were sometimes very misleading morally and musically. As a man and a musician, he stood for a perfect example and the rewards of self-discipline.

It is really a shame that in this day of such modern techniques of publicity, booking, promoting, and what have you, a properly-backed chimpanzee can be a success after the big treatment. Why can't just one-tenth of these efforts be placed on something that is well-respected, loved, and supported in every country in the world but it's own?

Except for a very chosen few, the American music business man and the majority of the public (the Elvis Depressley followers specifically) have made an orphan out of jazz, banishing its creators and true followers and adopting idiots that could be popular no place else in the universe. I'll go so far as to bet that the salaries of Liberace, Cheeta, and Lassie alone could pay the yearly cost of booking every jazzman in the country.

This is why it's such a shame that Clifford Brown, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, and others have to leave the world so unappreciated except for a small jazz circle. I hope some of us live to see a drastic change.

In June, 1950, Clifford Brown's career was threatened by an auto accident while he was with the Chris Powell band, which kept him from his horn for a whole year. Exactly six years later, by the same means of an auto accident, death took its toll of Clifford Brown, along with his pianist Richard Powell (brother of Bud Powell), and Richard's wife.

Clifford, at 25, was at the beginning of showing capabilities parallel only to those of Charlie Parker. There was nothing he would stop at to make each performance sound as if it were his last. But there will never be an ending performance for him, because his constant desire was to make every musical moment one of sincere warmth and beauty; this lives on forever. This would be a better world today if we had more people who believed in what Clifford Brown stood for as a man and a musician. 
Jazz will always be grateful for his few precious moments; I know I will.

By Quincy Jones
Downbeat Magazine, August, 1956

If you find it, buy this album!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

STEVE LACY TRIO – The Rent (2CD-1999) / Live at The Old Church, Portland

Label: Cavity Search – CSR 44
Format: 2 × CD, Album / Country: US / Released: 1999
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live on 30 November 1997, at The Old Church, Portland, Oregon
Cover painting: Pierre Buraglio ("À Philippe de Champagne" - 1996)
Photos: Gilles Laheurte
Art Direction – Christopher Cooper and John Eckenrode
Recording By – Eric Squires
Mastering By – Eric Squires, Jeff Batts and Danny Swofford

CD #1 - 1st Set
1-1/ Shuffle Boil (Thelonious Monk) . . . 7:22
1-2/ The Bath (Steve Lacy) . . . 8:25
1-3/ The Rent (SL) . . . 10:23
1-4/ Prayer (SL) . . . 10:05
1-5/ Blinks (SL) . . . 9:37

CD #2 - 2nd Set
2-1/ The Door (Steve Lacy) . . . 10:56
2-2/ Retreat (SL) . . . 10:02
2-3/ Gospel (SL) . . . 7:15
2-4/ Flakes (SL) . . . 8:05
2-5/ Bone (SL) . . . 11:19
2-6/ Bookioni [encore] (SL) . . . 3:22

Steve Lacy / soprano saxophone, voice
Jean-Jacques Avenel / bass
John Betsch / drums, percussion

The Rent is an absolutely remarkable recording and much credit goes to Avenel and Betsch for their truly inspired performances. Plenty of solo space, depth and wonderfully recorded, The Rent stands out in glowing fashion as one of Lacy’s finest and most satisfying recordings of recent years. Then again it is often difficult to keep pace with Lacy’s ongoing yet voluminous discography; however, this one should be deemed essential listening...

In a 1992 interview for Cadence, Steve Lacy explained: "To me, music is always about something or somebody, or from somebody or something. It's never in the blue, never abstract. You have to dig into the music to see what's happening, you have to question it. Sometimes I don't know what it's about or who it is about until the music comes out; after a while, I question it, and I see - "Ahh, that's who that is!" And so, all his compositions are just that: a portrait of / an homage to "somebody" or a reference to "something." Lacy's thoughts on this process are evident on his sheet music: at the end of each tune, he attaches a small picture with the name of the person to whom he offers the tribute. The finished sheet is in itself a work of art, combining graphics and collages.

This album with its title piece, THE RENT, is humbly dedicated to the memory of the French jazz critic Laurent Goddet, whose untimely death by suicide in the late 80's affected everyone in French music circles. He was one of the first people to generously help Lacy when he moved to Paris in 1970. After several years of disentchantment in Rome with enthusiastic but amateur Italian musicians, the music scene in Paris had seemed to Lacy a bit like the promised land. However, finding enough gigs was tough, and Lacy and his wife Irene Aebi were soon "in the dumps", scraping and scratching to survive. Goddet helped them out selflessly.

To all who knew Goddet, his suicide was a total surprise. To those who loved him, his death was like a brutal rip in a delicate and cherished piece of fabric. The tragedy was devastating to Lacy who was left with "une profonde déchirure au coeur," i.e. a rent in his heart. It also left Lacy with a deep indebtness to Goddet for the altruistic help he had received from him, which he suddenly realized he could possibly no longer return, except through his music. As a result, the tune THE RENT carries the scars of the violent rip of emotions, the indebtness owed a true friend ("the rent is a phenomenon that we're all forced to deal with - we have to pay the rent, you know") and it is also a play on his name, "The Rent" - Laurent. The piece is both bright (a lighhearted "A" part, sort of a Cha Cha Cha) and dark (a grinding "B" part, screaming the blues), as if to reflect the dichotomy between the apparent insouciance of Goddet's life and the scorching pain he was hiding in his soul.

The other tunes in this album are also tributes in their own special way: SHUFFLE BOIL, the current "standard" opening number to the trio's concerts, obviously expressing Thelonious Monk's everlasting mark on Lacy's Muse; THE BATH, to Dexter Gordon, a dark blues "inspired from a film called "Max" (Einer Moos), where Henri Miller allows his favorite bum to bathe and change in his Paris flat"; PRAYER, to Charlie Rouse, a kind of "soul" music with an angular melody, but in fact an Irish-American spiritual with Zen/Buddhist overtones; BLINKS, to trombonist Kid Ory, its principal lick taken from an old Dixieland phrase of the 20's; THE DOOR, to Joseph Haydn, who liked to employ knocking rhythms in some of his work; RETREAT, "a little Rhapsody for Bob Marley, based on a mode from the Far East in tick-tock time"  inspired by a quote from 18th Century painter Thomas Gainsborough; GOSPEL, "a shout and a blues, a stomp and a wail", to Stevie Wonder ; FLAKES, to American painter Mark Rothko; BONE, the oldest composition in the set (1969), to Lester Young, from the song cycle "The Way / Tao Suite", based on a Lao-Tzu poem; and BOOKIONI, the current encore to the trio's performances, inspired by Lacy's former drummer, Oliver Johnson.

They represent only a fraction of the group's vast repertoire - several pieces from Monk, all others from Lacy's own musical universe. They have been explored extensively since 1995, when the famous twenty year-old Steve Lacy Sextet was stripped down to the current Trio, and were explored further during the rather ambitious North American Tour of November 1997, when this recording was made: 25 cities in 30 days, flying back and forth from the West Coast to the East Coast, from North to South, a truly grueling schedule. This was one of the last concerts before flying "home" to Paris. Yet the musicians, and the music, show no sign of fatigue. Quite the contrary, it is as if the presence of Laurent Goddet was felt and had energized everyone present.

The album is blessed with the wonderful acoustics of the picturesque "Old Church" in Portland. It is also blessed with a very crisp engineering which brings out beautifully the natural sounds of Lacy's sharp and varied timbral inflections, Avenel's warm virtuoso solos and embroideries, and Betsch's subtle/attentive dosage of colorful drumming. It is further blessed with a very responsive and enthusiastic audience. Another special blessing is the release of the two sets in their unexpurgated form, as they happened, giving the CD listener the magical illusion of "being there," a great compensation to all who could not be in Portland that night. The two sets demonstrate the unerring sense of balance in Lacy's choice of tunes, deceptively simple elegant melodies, in which his improvisations remain fresh, always, even after 45 years of soprano playing.

One often says that time fosters deep alliances between minds, and this album effectively shows the ease with which the three musicians relate. There is an empathic equilibrium which makes their "communion" in the Old Church seem effortless and complete, all three musicians flying high and landing impeccably on their feet. No doubt that, had he been alive and present that night, Laurent Goddet himself would have been delighted, and would have simply said : "What great music! Listen!"

_By Gilles Laheurte (February 1999)

Buy this album!

Friday, December 12, 2014

ROSCOE MITCHELL – L-R-G / The Maze / S II Examples (2LP-1978)

Label: Nessa Records – N-14/15
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1978
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
A/B - "L-R-G" recorded August 7, 1978, at Van Gelder Recording Studio.
C - "The Maze" recorded July 27, 1978, at Columbia Studios.
D - "S II Examples" recorded August 17, 1978, at Streetville Studios.
Artwork – Arnold A. Martin
Composed By – Roscoe Mitchell
Photography By – Ann Nessa
Producer – Chuck Nessa

A  -  L-R-G (Part One) .......... 18:49
B  -  L-R-G (Part Two) .......... 17:40
ROSCOE MITCHELL – Piccolo Flute, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Bass Saxophone
LEO SMITH – Trumpet, Trumpet [Pocket Trumpet], Flugelhorn
GEORGE LEWIS – Tuba [Wagner Tuba], Sousaphone, Trombone [Alto], Trombone [Tenor]
(Engineer – Rudy Van Gelder)

C  -  The Maze ..........20:40
JOSEPH JARMAN – Bells, Xylophone [Balafon], Horns [Bike Horns, Conch Shell], Cymbal [Cymbal, Chinese, Cymbal Rack], Congas [Drums], Bells [Hand Bells], Drums, Gong, Marimba, Percussion [Tom Tom], Vibraphone, Gong [Temple Gong]
ANTHONY BRAXTON – Drums [Bass, Snare], Cymbal, Glockenspiel, Percussion [Garbage Can Machine, Sloshing Can Machine, Wash Tub], Marimba [Marimba, Marimba Can Machine], Bells [Orchestra Bells], Xylophone
MALACHI FAVORS – Drums [Log Drum], Gong, Xylophone [Balafon], Percussion [Cans], Bells [Hand Bells], Shaker, Horns [Seal Horn], Tambourine, Gong [Temple Gong], Zither
THURMAN BARKER – Drums, Cowbell, Congas [Conga Drum], Gong, Glockenspiel, Bells [Hand Bells], Marimba, Slapstick, Triangle, Whistle
DON MOYE – Drums, Xylophone [Balafon], Cowbell, Congas [Drums], Cymbal [Cymbal Rack], Gong [Gong, Temple Gong], Bells [Hand Bells], Horns [Little Horns], Marimba, Triangle, Percussion [Wood Blocks]
ROSCOE MITCHELL – Glockenspiel [Buggle], Horns [Bicycle], Xylophone [Balafon], Cowbell [Cowbells, Swiss Cowbells, Swinging Swiss Cowbells], Cymbal [Cymbal, Finger Cymbal, Tuned Cymbals, Zizzle Cymbals], Congas [Drum], Percussion [Cycle Sprocket, Dinner Chimes, Frying Pans, Thunder Sheet, Temple Blocks, Wood Blocks, Wood Desk], Gong, Bells [Dome Bell, Hanging Bell, Large Swinging Bell, Swinging Bells], Horns [Press Horn], Triangle
HENRY THREADGILL – Gong [Gong, Cymbal Gongs], Cymbal [Finger Cymbal], Percussion [Garbage Can Bottoms, Hubkaphone, Rhythm Sticks], Bells [Hand Bells], Brass [Plumbing Brass], Dulcimer
DOUGLAS EWART – Percussion [Bamboo Table], Cymbal [Cymbal, Zizzle Cymbal], Cowbell [Cowbells, Wooden], Glockenspiel [Large, Small], Bells [Door Bell, Hanging Bells, Little Bells, Winding Bell], Gong, Marimba, Xylophone [Metal]
(Engineer – Don Puluse)

D  -  S II Examples .......... 17:15
ROSCOE MITCHELL – Soprano Saxophone
(Engineer – Mark Rubenstein)

Roscoe Mitchell is mostly, and rightly, reckoned with his work as a leading member of the hardscrabble, meta-instrumental, and enormously influential avant-garde jazz group Art Ensemble of Chicago. However, Mitchell also owns a considerable stake in composed music of a kind considerable as classical, which makes use of written materials to drive determinate kinds of improvisation, or even some non-improvised interpretation in the conventional sense. Mitchell's serious work in so-called "serious music" was recognized at the academic level in 2007, when Mitchell was named to the Darius Milhaud Chair of composition at Mills College in Oakland, and many writers date Mitchell's shift of focus to the 1990s when he began to work with such non-jazz, creative musicians as classically trained vocalist Thomas Buckner. However, for Mitchell, contact with classical music disciplines goes back to his very early days as a student in Germany. Nessa's LP Roscoe Mitchell/L-R-G, The Maze, S II Examples documents a period in 1978, when Mitchell was beginning to work on his composed strategies with usual suspect figures from the jazz world, some from the Art Ensemble itself.
In 1978, Michigan-based indie Nessa Records had almost exclusive access to Mitchell and his associates, as the Art Ensemble of Chicago had barely begun its association with ECM -- the first fruits of which did not appear until 1979 -- and the group was reaching the end of a five-year hiatus that also witnessed the collapse of some of the labels it recorded for. The Maze brings the entire Art Ensemble membership, minus Lester Bowie, and other free jazz luminaries such as Anthony Braxton and Henry Threadgill, to serve as percussionists. Rather than being a rattletrap barrage of percussion as one might expect, The Maze is a carefully controlled polyphonic texture of percussion sounds that is mostly vertical and moves forward in a deliberate progression. The quality of the sound in this 1978 recording is astounding, made at the 30th Street Studio belonging to CBS Records. L-R-G (i.e., "L"eo Smith, "R"oscoe Mitchell, and "G"eorge Lewis), brings this high-powered trio of improvisers into contact with an orchestra's wealth of instruments, divided by range and type: woodwinds for Mitchell, high and low brass, respectively, for Smith and Lewis. Like The Maze, this is a slowly forward-evolving catalog of special sounds; however, in this case the sounds are specific to the players involved. S II Examples, likewise, began as a trio for soprano saxophones for Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, and Anthony Braxton, but Mitchell realized his curved soprano provided him with some additional flexibility that the straight saxes favored and the others did not. So he decided to record it as a solo piece, and it is an extraordinary one; Mitchell's microcosmic understanding of gradations of tone is virtually encyclopedic, and the amount of wiggle room he has between two half steps is such that when he plays three or four "regular" notes by way of transition, it's an event.
In a superficial sense, Nessa's LP Roscoe Mitchell/L-R-G, The Maze, S II Examples does not represent a radical departure from Mitchell's work as a jazz musician, as does, say, Skies of America does for Ornette Coleman; those who follow Mitchell's work in jazz will well recognize him in comfortable voice here. Nevertheless, for listeners attuned to contemporary art music coming to Roscoe Mitchell with little or no knowledge of his work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago should likewise easily understand how his rigorous approach in organizing improvised elements fits in with the rest of the classical avant-garde. Beyond that, Nessa's vinyl Roscoe Mitchell/L-R-G, The Maze, S II Examples is a splendidly recorded, and inasmuch as Roscoe Mitchell as classical composer is concerned, this is very close to where it truly starts.

Review by Uncle Dave Lewis

If you find it, buy this album!

Monday, December 8, 2014

STEVE REID – Odyssey Of The Oblong Square (LP-1977)

Label: Mustevic Sound - MS 4001
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1977
Style: Soul-Jazz, Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded "live" January 1977 New York City on WKCR FM's "Jazz Alternatives" show hosted by Peter Low.
Artwork – Vee Alexander
Liner Notes – Neyeswah Abiku
Engineer – John Dorn, Taylor Storer
Producer By – Steve Reid

A1 - Odyssey Theme . . . . . 0:57
A2 - Deacon's Son . . . . . 19:17
B1 - Odyssey Sweet . . . . . 5:05
         a) Sanctum Sanctorium
         b) The Oblong Square
         c) Panic Of '76
B2 - Ginsamseng . . . . . 16:17

(All songs composed by Steve Reid)

STEVE REID – drums, percussion
DAVID WERTMAN – acoustic bass
CHARLES TYLER – alto saxophone, maracas
ARTHUR BLYTHE – alto saxophone, percussion
AHMED ABDULLAH – trumpet, percussion
MOHAMMAD ABDULLAH – congas, ballophone, African prcussion

A bold odyssey from Steve Reid – his Odyssey Of The Oblong Square – a jawdropping session recorded in 1977 for a NYC radio show that's as rhythmically feverish and avant garde funky as the legendary drummer's other underground soul jazz classics of the 70s! If anything, the percussion is even more outstanding on Odyssey as it is on the great Nova and Rhythmatism sets for Mustevic – with Reid leading the charge on drums, and most of the other players contributing percussion on one way or another, for an all around frenetic sound, that's still unwaveringly in a groove. Mohammad Abdullah is on congas, ballophone and African percussion, with Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet, Arthur Blythe and Charles Tyler on alto sax – the horns all really kill on this set – and David Wertman keeping an unpredicable acoustic bass groove. Includes 4 long pieces, including the 3 part "Odyssey Sweet", "Odyssey Theme", "Deacon's Son" and "Ginsamseng" – all Reid originals. Amazing! 
(Dusty Groove, Inc.)

Released as a self produced album in small quantities from a 1977 radio studio performance "Odyssey Of The Oblong Square", master drummer Steve Reid's loft jazz masterpiece is here in front of you. On this album he is joined by David Wertman on bass, Mohammad Abdullah on percussion, Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet and Arthur Blythe and Charles Tyler on alto saxophone. Rhythm and groove are the primary elements of the music, with the bass, drums and percussion locking together to produce a massive groove that propels the horns ever onward. "Odyssey Theme" fades in to the band already in full flight, with a punchy theme for horns and hand percussion. The lengthy "Deacon's Son" has a probing start for alto and trumpet, with a solid bass and percussion groove. Nice extended saxophone solo spools out over hypnotic percussion. Abdulla takes things to a higher level with a lively trumpet solo, picking the pace up to a high level fast and exciting but still well controlled. "Odyssey Sweet" has a fast Ornette-ish full band improvisation, free-bopping over a slinky groove. "Ginsamseng" begins with a fast, full band improvisation, and M. Abdullah's hand percussion anchoring the searching horns. The horns scale back and Wertman's bass comes to the forefront, deep and strong, acting as a pivot point for the music. Bass, drums and percussion lock into an epic groove that slowly builds in intensity, scaled by hot sounding trumpet. This was taught and exciting music powered by a wall of percussion, and is an excellent example of the kind of "loft jazz" that was being made in the late 1970's.
_ By Tim Niland

If you find it, buy this album!

STEVE REID – Rhythmatism (LP-1976)

Label: Mustevic Sound – MS 1001
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1976
Style: Avant-garde, Post Bop, Soul Jazz, Free Jazz
Recorded Nov & Dec 1975 at Mustevic Sound Studios, New York.
Artwork By – Quan
Layout – Brenda Reid
Engineer – Harrison Williams, Phillip Howell
Executive Producer – Mustevic Sound Inc.
Producer – Steve Reid

A1 - Kai . . . . . 11:31
        (Written-By – Les Walker)
A2 - Rocks (For Cannonball) . . . . . 9:30
        (Written-By – Les Walker)
B1 - Center Of The Earth . . . . . 4:05
        guitar – Melvin Smith,
        baritone saxophone – Charles Tyler,
        trumpet – Chris Capers
        (Written-By – Joe Falcon)
B2 - C You Around . . . . . 11:27
        (Written-By – Les Walker)
B3 - One Minute Please . . . . . 1:00
        (Written-By – Steve Reid)

STEVE REID – drums, percussion
LES WALKER – piano
ARTHUR BLYTHE – alto saxophone
MICHAEL KEITH – trombone

During the late 1960s and early 70s, jazz innovation mirrored social upheaval by consciously turning away from tradition and embracing the avant-garde. Elaborate collectives such as the Sun Ra Arkestra, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Miles Davis' hard-fusion trailblazers arrived at a wholly modern big band sound through exotic song structures and the use of electric instruments. With their aggressively lyrical and non-linear soloing, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and Pharaoh Sanders eradicated the time-honored tenets of melody, harmony, and time signature, searching instead for spiritual truth within the music itself. Free jazz, "the new thing," experimental-- whatever it was called, the work of these artists was impassioned, unprecedented, and divisive, pushing music into unexpected realms.
Around that time-- and at the other end of the spectrum-- funk-jazz was more concerned with keeping a groove than breaking new ground. But it was far from static: Eddie Harris and Herbie Hancock used the on-the-one downbeat of James Brown and Sly Stone as the foundation for their sophisticated compositions, while Jimmy McGriff and Grant Green's warm, buttery solos dipped blues and R&B; into jazz's jelly jar. Not as challenging to the ear as free jazz, funk-jazz still hit harder than some of the fusionary misfires that followed and, 20 years later, spawned acid-jazz.
Steve Reid's Rhythmatism steps expertly between funky and free. "Soul jazz" is the perfect moniker for the album, which both reflects the exploratory soloing and marathon track lengths of the free jazz school and digs intently into hard-swinging grooves. Recorded in 1975, Rhythmatism is exactly what its title implies: an examination into the power and pliability of the beat.
Reid takes the helm on drums, and the rest of his acoustic quintet-- bass, piano, sax, and trombone-- exudes a warm, earthy sound, diving into the rhythmic core of their instruments rather than taking them on unfettered flights. Reid's drums propel these tunes against their tempo, building tension through repetition and slight nuance. There are no flashy fills-- instead, he's content to add subtle color with variations in volume and pace.
Album opener "Kai" is a masterpiece, a luscious, essential listen for anyone looking to discern the sanguine, pulsing heart of jazz music. Composer Les Walker's piano spars with Reid's hypnotic stick-and-brush work, but the drummer never flinches as the pianist hopscotches across the keys. Arthur Blythe alternates between flow and fire on alto sax while David Wertman's slippery upright bass provides a round, hearty bottom end. This 12-minute epic isn't a casual listen, but it's so fulfilling that you'll want to grant it your complete attention.
"Rocks (For Cannonball)" is the album's most explosively abstract tune thanks to Walker's meandering keyboard hysterics. Throughout it all, however, Reid stays locked on course. His technique comes to the fore as he pounds his kit against polyrhythmic percussion-- tambourine, shakers, bells-- plied by other band members. Once again, the rhythm section of Reid and Wertman is formidable and unshakable, and throughout this track-- as well as "C You Around"-- Blythe's minor-key sorties on alto are reminiscent of late-era Coltrane. The effect is transporting.
Beginning in medias res, the criminally short "Center of the Earth" is the album's emotional centerpiece. It sounds as if a studio tech pressed "record" at the teary-eyed peak of a climactic jam. With a sudden explosion of baritone sax, trumpet, and guitar-- plus a boxful of percussion toys-- the whole song is one ecstatic, extended crescendo. Music doesn't get any more joyful than this without putting its tongue in its cheek, and that's something a soul master like Reid simply had no reason to do.

_By Jonathan Zwickel (September 28, 2004)

If you find it, buy this album!

NEW LIFE TRIO – Visions Of The Third Eye (LP-1979)

Label: Mustevic Sound – MS 6001
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US / Released: 1979
Style: Soul-Jazz, Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded at Tin Pan Hollow Studios, Putney, Vermont, December 6, 1978.
Engineer [Recording] – Bill Shaw
Photography By – Ed Lawton
Producer – Bill Stanback, John Sprague Jr.
Written-By – Brandon Ross (tracks: A1, A3, B2, B3)
                      David Wertman (tracks: A2, B1, B3)
                      Steve Reid (track B3)

A1 - Empty Streets . . . . . 2:02
A2 - Egypt Rock . . . . . 8:13
A3 - Sculpture . . . . . 10:48
B1 - Chinese Rock . . . . . 12:21
B2 - Prelude To Grace . . . . . 4:56
B3 - Love Cipher . . . . . 2:23

STEVE REID – drums, percussion

A lesser-known set from groundbreaking drummer Steve Reid – issued on his Mustevic Sound label after the classic Rhythmatism and Nova sets! Reid's playing here with the New Life trio – a group that features his drum work next to the guitar of Brandon Ross and heavy bass of David Wertman – who'd done some great work of his own for the same label. The tunes have a very rhythmic pulse – especially the bass and drum work – and the guitar seems to move around the top of the tunes, almost of its own accord. Titles include "Chinese Rock", "Egypt Rock", "Empty Streets", "Sculpture", and "Love Cipher". 
(Dusty Groove, Inc.)

Listen to the opening song "Empty Streets" which seems more like a memory of a song than a song itself. it's incredibly beautiful. written by Brandon Ross, who also sings beautifully on it.

If you find it, buy this album!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

GUNTER HAMPEL / GALAXIE DREAM BAND – NDR-Jazzworkshop 1972 (Teil I/II - 1972)

Private Recording / DP-0077
NDR Workshop No. 83
Broadcast / BR Radio-TV, 1972
Studio 10, Grosser Sendesaal des NDR Funkhauses, Hamburg, October 1972
Gunter Hampel/Galaxie Dream Band – NDR-Jazzworkshop 1972 (Teil I/II-1972)
Avant-Garde Jazz / Free Improvisation
Artwork and Complete Design by ART&JAZZ Studio, by VITKO
Produced by – Michael Naura

Track List:

01. Teil I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . 50:37
       a) Ballet-Symphony No. 5 (G. Hampel)
       b) Broadway (G. Hampel)

02. Teil II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42:25
       c) Virgo-Duett (G. Hampel-P. Robinson)
       d) Unity Dance (G. Hampel)
       e) I Love Being With You (G. Hampel)
        f) Folksong (G. Hampel)


JEANNE LEE – vocal
TONI MARCUS – violin, percussion, dance
GUNTER HAMPEL – vibes, flute, bass clarinet, piano
MARK WHITECAGE – alto-clarinet, flute
ALLAN PRASKIN – alto saxophone, clarinet, flute

NDR-Workshop No. 83, Studio 10, Grosser Sendesaal des NDR Funkhauses, Hamburg, October 1972.