Monday, March 23, 2015

The Sounds of Life - Tom & Ellen [NYCAC 501]




The Sounds of Life
Tom & Ellen

Ellen Christi    -vocals, percussion, flute
Tom Bruno    -drums, ashimba, bells, flute, piano

Side A

1.Oriental Tale
2.Moroccan Mode
3.Piece to Jimmy Anderson

Side A

1.Spaced
2.Dirge for James B. Christerson


NYCAC 501 - NYCAC Records

1976

In the not-exactly crowded field of recorded vocal - percussion duets , this record doesn't so much stand out, as stand alone.
I can't think of anything that this sounds similar to.
Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln come quickly to mind, but theirs was a dramatic, declamatory 'public' style. Quite different to this, which is largely personal, reflective, and intimate.
Besides, Max and Abbey were quite recognisably "jazz" musicians, often drenched in the blues. Christi and Bruno almost totally avoid conventional jazz gestures here.
Whilst 'ethnic themes' are the setup for pieces on side 1, and 20th century classical song may be informing part of the partly frantic Spaced, the impression you're left with is that Tom and Ellen are playing the music that they hear themselves - their music - and that's it.
No story is ever quite that simple though - I'd be interested to hear how it sounds to others ...

I'm not being accurate anyway in calling this purely a percussion-vocal duet
Bruno plays flute and piano on one section, and both Tom and Ellen duet on flutes for on the Dirge for James B. Christerson. This lament for the death of Christi's father is also the only piece that contains any actual sung words, in the opening of the piece.
From there on though, the vocal improvisations are wordless and range from quiet and introspective meditations through to loud, impassioned and agile muti-note phrasing.
Christi largely eschews the often heard 'primal scream' style of  free improvised vocals  - with its ululating, shrieks and big vocal scoops and slides.  Instead -whilst frequently clearly emotional - she tends to hit notes bang-on - and her pitch is really secure even in the more frantic passages.
I really like the colour of her voice (she varies it to great effect in some passages), which anyone who listened to the earlier two NYAC records posted here will be familiar with.

This duo LP predates those records - and was the first release on their newly established NYAC Records (New York City Artists' Collective). The And You Ain't Ready For This One Either LP followed it three years later in 1979, followed by the NYAC Plays Butch Morris in 1984.
To my knowledge, these were the only 3 albums released on the NYCAC label.  For further details about the NYCAC, albeit meagre, please see either of the preceding posts.

It seems kind of sad that this first LP has dedications for people who had died - both Ellen's father, and - as the liner notes explain - a composition/improvisation for a recently deceased friend .
The next LP featured a dedication for members of Juan Quiñones' family that had perished in a fire.
And the last record (and the first one posted here) was put up here anyway, in memoriam Butch Morris.

Although Tom Bruno died in 2012, Ellen Christi is still very much alive and has had a long career and issued a bunch of albums along the way.  Please consider - if you've enjoyed any of these NYAC Bruno/Christi posts buying some in-print material of the artists in question.
For Ellen Christi, you can visit her website.  There are a few MP3 samples there, although online stores may offer more in the way of sound samples. You will also find additional releases that Ellen hasn't included on her site's discography page.
As always - 9GC advocates purchasing from artists you enjoy and respect !

Tom Bruno plays what sounds like an African thumb piano at the beginning of the record - it is in fact an ashimba - struck with mallets, it's in fact more like an earthy xylophone. As the rear jacket notes, the ashimba was made by a gentleman in Leesburg, Virginia . The man in question Mr Gene Ashton, is one and the same as well-known multi-instrumental improviser Cooper-Moore.

When I was a kid, records would occasionally come out (sometimes books too ) - where the artist decided to name-check everyone who ever influenced them or they wanted to tip their hat to. Maybe sometimes they wanted to show off too - show how hip their list of influences was   So they'd end up with these enormous great mad lists paying tribute to God, Madame Curie, Mahatma Gandhi and Carlos Castaneda - or whoever.. Most of these lists tended to include the Creator - in one form or another - which, on reflection sounded pretty logical.
The great thing about these over-the-top 'thankyou' lists was that - in those pre-internet days - you could find out stuff about other marginal figures out there in the world whose work might interest you. Some of the names might be familiar, distantly or otherwise, others would be totally unknown. In the days when you couldnt google anything, because google and the internet did not exist, and you had no hip friends or relatives, these jumbles of names and works were like a cipher or pathway on to other interesting and exciting places.
The Sounds of Life has got one of the best thankyou lists of them on on the back jacket - well over 100 names. Most, but by no means all, are musicians. Check it out for some great names and some fabulous juxtapositions. "Don Cherry, Miss Carol, Earl Coleman, Betty Carter, Caravaggio..."   (spelled here "Caraveggio")
I like the list on the back cover, and I like the music on the record. It has an intimacy and honesty that's valuable and that's compelling in an understated way.
Your thoughts and comments, welcome.
Note that I have not split tracks in making these files - the performances flow from one title to another, so the 2 FLAC files in the download are simply Side A & Side B.  Large scans and info included.

Hope you enjoy.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Links

Ellen Christie's Website - http://www.ellenchristi.com/

Tom Bruno Memorial - http://tombrunothedrummer.tumblr.com/

Eclectic Arts - NYAC Website - http://eclecticarts.org/index.htm

TEST - Tom Bruno's group with Sabir Mateen, Daniel Carter & Matthew Heyner - http://www.sabirmateen.com/ensembles/test

Tom Bruno 'White Boy Blues' on Eremite Records- http://eremite.com/album/mte-22


If you have respect for artists, please BUY music from them or through legit outlets !
It supports the prospect of continued creativity.










Tuesday, February 17, 2015

And You Ain't Ready For This One Either - New York City Artists' Collective [NYCAC 502]





Ellen Christi -vocals
Juan Quiñones-guitar
John Shea -bass
Tom Bruno -drums

Side 1

1.The Children
2.New Blues

Side 2

1.Mystic Lover
2.Dewey


Recorded March 22, 1979, NYC
Downtown Sound

Engineered by Phil Clendeninn
Produced by The New York City Artists' Collective

NYAC Records
NYAC 502
1979


The other day (well ok, it was 22 months ago) we posted the New York City Artists' Collective's 'Plays Butch Morris' LP.  This is following on from that record and that post..

In fact, this record *preceded* the NYCAC Plays Butch Morris LP - straddling the line between the 70's and the 80's respectively - this one from 1979 being a more compact grouping of guitar, acoustic bass, drums and voice.  Ellen Christie (voc), Tom Bruno (drums) and Juan Quiñones (guitar) are the common musicians to both records, and the core of the NYCAC
501 Canal St, near the Holland Tunnel entrance on the lower East Side of Manhattan was already well established as NYCAC headquarters, and is seen on the front cover here. A rehearsal and performance space, as well as residence for some (Bruno lived there), the NYCAC was a non-profit organization for the promotion of visual and performing arts.

In its formative years (1974-80), the Collective presented a nine-month concert series produced by Tom Bruno and Ellen Christi. Artists such as David Murray, Ray Anderson, William Parker, Keshavan Maslak, Lefferts Brown, Gene Ashton, William Parker, Roy Campbell, Patricia Wilkinson, Juan Quinones and Dave Burrell were featured. These concerts, produced  in the storefront of 501 Canal Street, provided an alternative performance space. With  the success of these  concert series,  the Collective was able to expand, presenting concerts in  larger community based performance venues.  A few examples were galleries in Soho ( Artists’ House belonging to Ornette Coleman. The Prince Street location, under the name Artists House, became the site of various performances by Coleman and others over the next few years ), universities, churches, museums, lofts (Sunrise Studios) , and other community centers (Bronx Community Center with Machito). By  1976, a core group of N.Y.C.A.C. members  were invited to perform  throughout Northern Europe as a part of the “Sounds of Life” touring series. The need for documentation of these concerts was the first step in  founding  the New York City Artists’ Collective  recording label, N.Y.C. A.C. Records. While the Collective maintained its primary commitment to public performance, it also had an active role in documenting much of the concert work. Following the “Sounds of Life” recording, “And You Ain’t Ready for This One Either (1979) and New York City Artists’ Collective Plays Butch Morris (1984) were released on  the N.Y.C.A.C. recording  label. These recordings created  an additional medium through which to present the Collective’s music to the public.  - from Eclectic Arts Inc website

The  title of the record is presumably a wry response to the general reception of Christi and Bruno's previous Sounds of Life LP from a couple of years before.

Although sounding almost nothing like the Plays Butch Morris LP, this is still not overtly 'jazzy music' - of a Free, or any other, jazz type or genre.

For what must have been a budget-priced studio , I like the way Bruno’s drums are recorded.  In fact the whole group is recorded pretty well for what must have been a self-financed chunk of studio time.   Also, his liner notes on the back cover are worth reading.

The Children is as uptempo as any of the 4 tunes here, with a mélange of cascading guitar figures, impassioned bass double-stopping and double-time single note playing. Bruno pushes and splashes from the drums as Christie wordlessly improvises over the top before dropping back for the 3 instrumentalists to solo – without actually obviously soloing at first, until Shea’s unaccompanied bass interlude cues Christie to return whilst the guitar reprises  a version of the opening figure.  For all the bustle of the tune, it tapers away to an ending that’s quiet and calm.

New Blues is all Ellen Christie vocal improv,  over a slow, understated blues skeleton.  Bass player Shea and Quinones sketch, rather than explicitly color, a post-vocal  instrumental passage before Christie closes with a verse of words that are (almost) intelligible. “New blues” and something else.. - what’s she singing?..

Mystic Lover opens with a verse of generic world-weary love lyrics before an extended vocal improvisation from Christie , an understated guitar solo, and a lyric reprise of the only words.

Christie sounds both inspired *and* controlled on the slow-drag wordless improvisation of Dewey - whilst Quinones puts up a responsive accompaniment  like nailing a hessian sack to the wall, and Bruno’s drum dynamics ebb and flow over a  kind of stately, steady pulse.  With the kind of slow-lope bass & rhythm vamp of Pangea-era Miles, the inspiration for the title seems evident.

For me, this is the strongest track – Dewey - , maybe least strong is Mystic Lover.

Tom Bruno writes on the back cover “The NYCAC  was formed primarily to give people work. It is a non profit organization designed to promote understanding between all people. Our efforts are geared towards enhancing the beauty of the human spirit”
On the front, the 4 musicians smile in front of a now-demolished Manhattan shopfront, their sense of purpose and community almost palpable.
Likely this record won't change your life (how many do?), but it’s real, and unmistakably and authentically from its time and place.  Perhaps, just maybe, a better time and place.



--------------------------------------------------------------

Links

Ellen Christie's Website - http://www.ellenchristi.com/

Tom Bruno Memorial - http://tombrunothedrummer.tumblr.com/

Eclectic Arts - NYAC Website - http://eclecticarts.org/index.htm

TEST - Tom Bruno's group with Sabir Mateen, Daniel Carter & Matthew Heyner - http://www.sabirmateen.com/ensembles/test

Tom Bruno 'White Boy Blues' on Eremite Records- http://eremite.com/album/mte-22


If you have respect for artists, please BUY music from them or through legit outlets !
It supports the prospect of continued creativity.








Thursday, February 12, 2015

So anyway ..


This blog just sort of stopped suddenly 22 months ago.  With no farewll message or ominous comment about "moving up to UCLA in the fall so less time to post" or whatever.
Just Pffft.
What happened? I have no idea other than the rather limp explanation that life just intervened.


There was an original plan - at the outset - which was to rip and post all the odd or interesting records in our collections - and *then* stop. Perhaps even stop with an announcement.
A guy who ran (briefly) the I Forgot Clifford blog should have got a prize for the way he did this routine a few years back: - suddenly he was ripping and posting all these great free-jazz records at an alarming, or exciting,  rate. As I remember it, he was largely running the blog to share his music collection with his son, who lived far away. Bam, bam, bam, all these wonderful album rips appearing, and then he was done, had achieved his goal - , he took down all the pages of his blog, posted a handful of popular downloads at Inconstant Sol and that was it - all over, and mission accomplished.  Nice style. You can still see his old  front door (locked) at pablo-clifford.blogspot.com

So back to here, there was a big stack of records to post - or a reasonable sized stack anyway - and we started and we made some posts. Hopefully even posts that people enjoyed.
After stopping, I've thought that all those remaining records in the stack are going to get posted by others on other blogs before too long, and sure enough, quite a few have in the last 2 years, which is great to see.  But not as many as I somehow imagined. Which means the original plan is unfulfilled - to get this out-of-print music out into the public arena and maybe talk about music a bit with people (which no-one really wants to do, the talking bit, but that's another subject).

It's tough to put a lot into ripping, posting and writing - and then get so many downloads but comparatively so little feedback. Of course it's the music blogger's constant moan - that they get so little back from those they give to - why should they bother? It's a total drag to read this (yet again) - sometimes you wish they *would* just stop rather than go on moaning about it again - (and I include myself moaning).   But if you haven't experienced it, it really can be very demoralising.
Imagine sitting at a card table near the street outside your house. On the card table you have a huge stack of things - CD's, cards, leaflets, whatever :- the huge stack is the album that you posted.  People file past taking 'em. Every 100 that are taken, someone says 'thanks' or 'nice!' or says something, anything at all.  The other 99 people say nothing at all - silent, just grab and go. After they've filed past, another 100 take their place - but the ratio of communication remains the same. The demoralising part of it is not that I want to be thanked by a larger percentage of visitors, the demoralising part of it is what that maybe says (it happens over and over again) about people in general. What, only 1 person in 100 is a nice/respectful/polite person ?   And the other 99 people are shits? - cant even be bothered with the effort of 'thanks'?  That's a bit of a demoralising thought about 'what people are like'.
So I sat at my imaginary card table, saddened and despondent about my fellow human beings. Just a little bit anyway.
God knows why I would want to do that again, but I think it's time. Time to try and finish the original idea - rip a few, post a few.  Maybe 'finishing' wont ever really happen - but worth a try.
Let's see how it goes.
More soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Borbetomagus and Friends-(Kowald,Honsinger,Kondo,Fine)Industrial Strength-1980




The all out inventive pure acrid belch ego less sensory assault produced almost unfailingly by long lived hard core free noise trio,Borbetomagus (who are still actively making music) , was an experience i cherished highly as a young man  , coming out of an adolescence largely musically informed and pervaded by heavy metal, hardcore and post punk,

 their more typical noise trio was probably as near to what we now recognize as classic free jazz, as i aurally ventured. in those fondly remembered far away, days.

they were where a band like last exit  seemed to want to go in  their more blissed out freest moments, but never quite did, except Borbetomagus were there relentlessly all the time
.
i certainly heard their early records on Agaric before any incus or FMP album.

The roots of their more typical trio sound though grounded in free jazz, also seems to draw equally on noisy concrete music, and the aggressive propulsion of , no wave garage rock...and has more in common with today's Japanese noise bands like  say,incapacitants.

This Lp and the wonderful Borbeto Jam recorded in the same month of october in 1981, are about the most bucolic , spacious classic, plinky scratchy 'Euro' 'Free' these guys ever got.

The Fact that their musical interlocutors here are Masters of free Improv in that sense probably mitigates what might be seen by some, though not me as their worst excesses..... anyway enough prattle

 Click on the cover...  you have 4 improvisations  untitled... by

Jim Sauter & Don Dietrich saxes, Donald Miller-G, Toshinori Kondo- trpt
Peter Kowald -db, Tristan Honsinger-VC, and Voice..& Milo Fine-Piano 
recorded in NYC, on the 18 oct 1981..
Leo LR ,LP 113.

the other record by this exact grouping, Borbeto Jam can still be seen on the Cadence Klompfoot catalog site, at least it could for as long as i can remember , maybe they have finally sold out... (worth checking!!)

This one sadly (Cause its so good!!) is unlikely to be one which Leo resurrects in a hurry.

Agaric BorbetosM's own label is reissuing systematically everything they have ever done as a trio.

if one needed only one 'Snuff Jazz' , circa 1990 is a very fine example, i was going to write" a devastated, denuded mental topography full of demons in heat.... lots of kinky demonic ejaculations of pure sulfur". but that would obviously be a very personal psycho sexual interpretation which would be inappropriate...So lets just say, the most turbulant passages of Alan Silva's the seasons stretched out to 40 minutes, played by a trio of punk arsed hardcore dudes.
Agaric Records @ Discogs (i,cant find their actual web page at the moment)

Enjoy!!!





Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Plays Butch Morris - New York City Artists' Collective [NYCAC 503]





So this is the 3rd tribute posting here for Butch Morris that had just been sitting unpublished for weeks, uploaded and all ready to go - pending saying something vaguely interesting or intelligent about it.
The filehost link is going to expire, so here's the post and nevermind about 'interesting or intelligent'.

Not a jazz record - nor is it really 'compositional' in the sense that the title implies.
Is it 'downtown improv pop'? Someone tell me what to call it cause I don't know.

New York City Artists' Collective was initiated in the mid 1970's by vocalist Ellen Christi and underground drummer Tom Bruno (underground drummer, literally - he spent much of his performing life in the NYC subway system).

Check out the late Tom Bruno - member of TEST with Daniel Carter, Sabir Mateen & Matthew Heyner - here. For some time he resided at 501 Canal Street (NYCAC 'headquarters') with 1970's outsider fellow travellers David S. Ware and Cooper-Moore. Jeanne Lee, Keshavan Maslak, Ray Anderson and drummer Jimmy Hopps amongst other musicians were making use of the rehearsal and/or available living spaces in the building.

Check out the very much alive and underappreciated Ellen Christi at her website-  ellenchristi.com

Juan Quiñones as far as I know, is still playing guitar in NYC . He played with with the NYAC on record again, with the legendary Arthur Rhames, informally and moved away from music altogether at at least one period.
Lefferts Brown was a punky, pretty, synthy experimenter in the mid to late 1980's. By the time he drowned in 2005 he was 'a respected electronic music composer, sound designer and installation artist' with tenure at Long Island University in Brooklyn.
Steve Buchanan is still playing saxophones & guitar in experimental styles and performing. He is very probably this youtube contributor I think.
Of the 2 bass players, Rita Wood and Issac Falu, I know next to nothing . If anyone knows.. ?

Website of the New York City Artists' Collective

Go buy some music of  some unknown musician you vaguely like the sound of.
Or buy the music of anyone mentioned above.

Vale Butch Morris. And Vale Tom Bruno .

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Extra Note April 11th 2013

My identification of who's who on the cover is
Back Row [left to right] - Juan Quiñones, Isaac Falu, Rita Wood, Ellen Christi.
Front Row [left to right] - Lefferts Brown, Tom Bruno, Steve Buchanan

For Tom Bruno I meant to add, have a look at this CD release and read Thom Jurek's cogent summation - http://eremite.com/album/mte-22 . For ten dollars, it's an absurdly cheap buy.

I mentioned Ellen Christi's website. If you're of the vinyl persuasion and you enjoy her avant vocal stylings, a good (inexpensive) buy is Christi's Live at Irving Plaza LP. One of the seemingly least loved Soul Note releases (admittedly an uninspiring cover), copies can be found plenty of places for reasonable money. Her band on the record is 'Menage' - co-vocalist Lisa Sokolov with William Parker, Tom Bruno, and piano player Rahn Burton. The audio fidelity ain't great, but the music's real.
If you're not vinyl obsessive, Christi's diverse back catalog of recordings (including Grateful Dead theme records[!]) can be seen summarised here - some of which are still readily available.
I haven't heard, but am wanting to, Reconstruction of a Sound from - I think - 2000. Masahiko Kono's on there, the samples sound intriguing ...



Side 1
1. Beyond
2. Music For the Love of It

Side 2
3. Alexandre at 2
4. The Current and The Feather

Butch Morris    -conductor, arranger, acoustic piano
Ellen Christi    -vocals
Lefferts Brown    -synthesizer
Tom Bruno    -drums
Juan Quiñones    -guitar, harmonica
Steve Buchanan    -alto saxophone
Rita Wood    -electric bass on Music For the Love of It & The Current and The Feather
Issac Falu    -electric bass on Beyond, Alexandre at 2 & Music For the Love of It

Recorded November 19th 1982, NYC

NYCAC 503
1984


Monday, February 18, 2013

Current Trends in Racism in Nth America - Butch Morris [Sound Aspects SAS-4010]




Given the necessary discussion of 'conduction' in talking about the career of Butch Morris, and the repeated mention of conduction in obituaries of the man, it seems only fitting to add one of Morris' conduction albums to the earlier small-group post.
This one was the first one - first conduction on record, and one of the first times  - if not the first - that he got up in front of an ensemble with a baton, blank-sheet-of-paper open mind and possibly a slight sense of trepidation. "Conduction No.1" as it says on the back jacket.
The results are sometimes wildly successful and at other times less absorbing in terms of musical tension - an occupational hazard of the conduction method perhaps.
Overall, it's a very worthwhile listen and Morris' ensemble largely do him proud.

Nearly didn't post this - it's been out previously in blogland I'm sure, although possibly only at low-bitrate.
Have just been made aware too, that the guys at Destination Out posted one piece off this [as well as the second side of the previous In Touch But Out of Reach].  So, looks like I can't be accused of originality of selection !  Coincidence - never mind.
This here is the entire record.
Sound Aspects - Pedro De Freitas' label - has its entire catalogue available only on the 2nd hand market these days, which is a pity. This album was issued on CD it seems - this is a vinyl rip however. 
The first piece runs to a side and a half long.
Hopefully anticipating the intent of artist and producers, I have edited out the break that occurs due to the side break so that Part One is one continuous piece.

Some tasty textures and some nice tumultuous sounds. Feel free to leave a comment, and enjoy .

1. Current Trends in Racism in Modern America Part One
2. Current Trends in Racism in Modern America Part Two

Butch Morris -conductor
Frank Lowe -tenor saxophone
John Zorn  -alto saxophone, game calls
Tom Cora -cello
Curtis Clark -piano
Brandon Ross -guitar
Zeena Parkins -harp
Eli Fountain -vibraphone
Thurman Barker -marimba, snare drum, tambourine
Christian Marclay -turntables
Yasunao Tone -voice


Recorded live at The Kitchen, NYC, 1st February 1985

Sound Aspects sas4010   
1986





Sunday, February 3, 2013

In Touch...But Out of Reach - Butch Morris [Kharma PK-9]







Butch Morris - Feb 10 1947 - Jan 29 2013



In Touch...But Out of Reach
Butch Morris

Butch Morris -cornet
Grachan Moncur -trombone
Charles Eubanks -piano
Wilbur Morris -bass
Bobby Battle -percussion
Steve McCall -percussion

Side 1

1. Irin Sun
2. Narobia

Side 2
3.Lovers Existing On The Dunes / Lonely Thrill


Recorded live at ENVIRON, NYC, 22nd & 23rd December 1978

Kharma PK-9


I would have first heard Butch Morris on one of David Murray records, can't remember which. Very memorably he played on Murray's incandescent 'Home' (1982) as well as Frank Lowe's wonderful 'Exotic Heartbreak' (1981).
Butch played cornet - not trumpet.  Beautiful laconic style. Seeming always to be more interested in the sound & texture of *the ensemble* rather than simply blowing  hot on his own horn. And always - in his own improvising - that feeling of the blues.

His development of and move toward Conduction produced an always-interesting string of records - some arguably more successful than others. Right now I am playing 'The Arkbank Conduction' of The Suleyman Erguner Ensemble - traditional Turkish musicians augmented with electric guitar, electronics, drum machine, harp, and Hugh Ragin on pocket trumpet - conducted by Butch Morris. It works - it's fantastic.
By the early 90's - evidenced on Dust to Dust and the mammoth 10CD Conduction series on the New World label - Morris was playing much less cornet and focussed on developing his conduction, for wide varieties of ensembles in a wide variety of countries.
That he could still return to small group playing on cornet and produce brilliant music can be heard on the terrifyingly good Burning Clouds on FMP from 1993.

In Touch..But Out of Reach was recorded live in 1978 (though there is no audience noise).
Even in 1978, Morris seems most interested in tones and textures he can produce from *the band* and not merely in head-solo-head arrangements or collective free improv. Rhythmically, he's included 2 drummers for a reason, and both Steve McCall and Bobby Battle play off one another as well as off the pitched instruments - even if the recording quality is not best placed to allow the processing of many of the details unfortunately.
His other players however are damn monsters - those who know Moncur will relish the chance to hear more of him, Butch's brother Wilbur is a energetic and creative bass player, and Charles Eubanks is in no way outclassed by his colleagues.



Anyone that followed the earlier INTERface/ENVIRON posts might be interested that this record was made at the Environ loft (2 days before Christmas 1978) 

Interesting Links

Butch Morris

Testament: A Conduction Collection 10CD set by Lawrence Butch Morris - New World Records

Farewell note and recordings at Nublu Records where Morris had a strong association

Grachan Moncur III

http://www.grachanmoncur.com/ Please please - if you derived enjoyment from this recording, visit Moncur's website, check it out and buy one of the recordings of this still living and grossly undervalued yet outstanding musician. Exploration from 2004 on Capri Records is superb.

Charles Eubanks

Charles Eubanks (cousin of the well known Kevin and Robin) has recorded solo records for CIMP - as well as with Oliver Lake on Black Saint and Dewey Redman on ECM

Bobby Battle

The Offering - his record as a leader (w/ David Murray) on Mapleshade


Steve McCall

McCall has appeared on many records... Under his own name (w/ Fred Anderson), there's Vintage Duets on Okkadisk. As a third of the trio Air, McCall plays superbly on - among others - Air Time (Nessa), Live Air, and Air Mail


Both Butch and Wilbur Morris and McCall played in David Murray's great octet of the early 80's. They made wonderful records like Ming, Murray's Steps and Home









Sunday, January 13, 2013

Live at the Village Vanguard - Noah Howard [Freedom FLP40127]





Here again - Earl Freeman playing bass. Fuzz-bass in fact, on part of 'Dedication (To Albert Ayler)'. Fuzz bass should probably be outlawed as just being awful and thoroughly bad. But this record isn't either of those. [And Earl thankfully stomps on his pedal to turn the distortion off after a few minutes.].  Sotise posted files from the
(rather dodgy-looking, [bootleg?]) CD of this album a few years ago on Inconstant Sol. I was inspired to go and track down a LP copy at the time.  Those files he posted back then at IS. seem long gone, so I thought this vinyl rip could be timely.

3 tunes.  One excellent solo saxophone number from Howard, one side-long congregationally wailing Ayler tribute, and one extended workout on a simple, even naive, bluesy
riff (reminiscent of Schizophrenic Blues [FMP] and other simple themes of Howard's).

Earlier in 1972, Noah's band had consisted of Freeman, drummer Art Lewis and Arthur Doyle.
By August though, with a 2 month residency of Sundays at the Vanguard, Frank Lowe had replaced Doyle on tenor. This was 'young' Frank Lowe (he was 30) - who had already
played in Alice Coltrane's group, but had yet to record the turbulent Black Beings for ESP or Duo Exchange with Rashied Ali - both to come, in 1973.
Rashied Ali himself was a reported late sub for Art Lewis who couldn't make the gig.
Piano player Bob Bruno has had a kaleidoscopic musical career - in the late 1960s he made 2 albums with Jerry Jeff Walker - be-hatted country music troubadour of 'Mr
Bojangles' fame. By the early 70s he was playing free jazz piano. Since then he seems to have played all kinds of music, on all kinds of instruments as well as moving into
visual computer art.
Juma Sultan is of course the same percussionist that played with Hendrix and whose own Aboriginal Music Society played on the New York loft scene and was more recently the
subject of the excellent 'Father of Origin' boxset from Eremite.
These 6 guys make a big sound, the recording is a typical rough and ready club taping and in all honesty I have difficulty hearing Sultan at all in this.

There's additional material that exists of Noah Howard's 1972 Vanguard residency - with a slightly different group - Art Lewis for Rashied Ali, another percussionist for
Sultan, and  a French Horn player as well as Lowe, Bruno, Freeman and Howard. In addition, Noah Howard reportedly had extra taped material of this band that he would allow
played on European radio.
In terms of chronology of issued material of Howard's playing, Live at the Village Vanguard sits between Frank Wright's Uhuru Na Umoja and Church Number Nine, both featuring Howard and Wright’s twin saxophone frontline.

Old hands will have this material and remain unexcited, although some might wish to upgrade their old 192kbps files.
To others coming afresh to this, I hope you enjoy the sounds from these dynamic musicians .




Interesting Links

Noah Howard's site, still maintained by his wife Lieve, a new recording available, older titles for sale - VISIT ! - http://www.noahhoward.com/
Juma Sultan's Archive - http://www.jumasarchive.org/
One of Bob Bruno's many web pages - http://www.freewebs.com/superdreamer/ourmusicians.htm

Vis-a-vis the front jacket - I don't think that the bass player pictured is Earl Freeman, nor the robed tenor player to be Frank Lowe.  Anyone ?



Earl Freeman - Footage



By way of a follow up for anyone that was interested in the Earl Freeman / Sound Craft 75 post - 2 pieces of video footage of Earl Freeman playing. Interestingly, both from the same year - 1972.
Earl plays bass violin with Joachim Kuhn and Jacques Thollot for French TV.
Thanks to Adam for pointing this one out - a beautiful piece of footage
I find Earl's fingers fascinating.
Same uploader on Youtube has posted some outstanding other clips of Paul Bley, Howard Riley, Jeanne Lee with Ran Blake & Ted Curson.

Second clip is frustratingly without sound !  It's Noah Howard's 1972 group with Arthur Doyle, Art Lewis and Freeman on electric bass.  From Juma Sultan's archive site, which is fascinating - many of Juma's clips have yet to be matched to sound recordings. At Sam Rivers' Rivbea Studio, the band look like they're tearing it up and Freeman appears in a quite different light



Most of the video clips at Juma's site are fascinating even if a disproportionally high number of them suffer from a lack of audio - recommended.all the same.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gil Melle-Tome VI (the Jazz Electronauts)-1968,


Gil Melle, somewhat unjustly remembered almost exclusively for creating the unique very effective Musique Concrete score to the Classic 1966 Science Fiction Film 'the Andromeda Strain"
also Happened to be one the most adventurous and varied composer band leaders of the 50's and 60's , roughly working in the same territory as better known Contemporary Counterparts
such as, Jimmy Guiffre, George Russell, Duane Tatro,Teddy Charles and others.. introducing textural, and Harmonic elements and Complex arrangments previously foreign to Jazz language.

Quite apart from his innovative musical achievements, he was also  a painter, sculptor , graphic designer and instrument maker(the Tome VI being a primitive mini synth of his creation) who from the late 40's on created some of the most distinctive inventive record covers in History , Often Starkly Abstract they go a long way to making the records special, and in the case of his classic Monk covers for Prestige, or his own early Blue Note releases vividly underscoring ,almost embodying the mysterious 'ultra modernist' contents within..

like a lot of mostly white middle class educated Jazz musicians in the early Sixties Melle stopped making Records ,and opted for more lucrative studio and Film work ,largely as a Composer.

This record, made 18 months or so after the Andromeda strain ,is the first jazz record to incorporate,an electro acoustic element, with additional live processing by all the musicians as they improvise, a practice which is now common place among European, and American free improvising musicians,notably Evan Parker, Barry Guy , Acid Birds and Many others.

Musically its an effective fusion of Modal to free jazz,with some modest modish psych rock elements, quite good overall if not quite as fresh and urgent as his peak output from the 50's..(some of which is currently available on CD)

This was reissued on CD (2007) in Japan in limited edition, but alas has long since disappeared...

another  of his records in this vein from a few years later in 1970-1, 'waterbirds' never to my knowledge reissued can be found as MP3'S by googling.


Tome-VI- 1968, the Jazz Electronauts-Verve Lp V68744
Gil Melle-Soprano Saxophone, Effects Generator,Composer
Forrest Westbrook-Piano, and Electar
Benfaral Mathews-bass , cello,and envalope
Fred C.Stofflet-Percussion, Electric cymbal,


From the Liner notes (Regarding the Electronic instruments used)
the Electar
"theoretically the operation of this instrument, approximates the fundamentals of stringed instrument playing,in that conditions are employed by the player through controls,to determine, pitch,decay and amplitude."
the Envelope
'tones heard through this instrument,are not electronically generated but are conventionally produced mutations, it is used in conjunction with bass and Cello,the overall effect being rhythmic"
Doomsday Machine
'Best described as a lower register Electronic Cymbal'
Tome Vi
"Transistorized oscillator/Modulator envelope, a hybrid instrument consisting of a subminiture system of transistorized circuitry, built into a conventional Soprano Sax"
Effects Generator
"A Console Device,capable of Producing arpeggiated passages of infinite variety and complexity,Polyrythmic patterns are also Possible"
Green Safe 1and2
"are used are used to convert,the electricity from the above sources..to mechanical Energy"

Enjoy!!
Melle-Wikipedia
Melle at IMDB
Melle on Amazon
Note although only his Prestige Sessions 'Primitive Modern","Quadrama'and the perennial "Gil s Guests" appear to be in print, there is a lot that can be purchased second hand
including some very reasonably priced , original lps of this very album!

PS..
it Seems that Zippyshare's free account Login Function is somewhat prone to Mal function , so in this instant i have uploaded as a non account holder,i can't guarantee the longevity of the upload , so feel free to create mirrors !!

Ripped from an original Stereo Copy, no Eq, Compression or other processing after the initial conversion of the Analog signal














Monday, December 24, 2012

Years End..





Another awesome year in the modern world.

If Christmas is your bag, have a fine one.
Happy New Year for 2013.
Dance your dance, sing your heart, play your tambourine.

Peace.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rumasuma - Sonny Simmons [Contemporary S7623]






















Side A
Rumasuma
Back To The Apple
Side B
Reincarnation
For Posterity

Sonny Simmons - alto saxophone
Barbara Donald - trumpet
Mike Cohen - piano
Jerry Sealund - bass
Bill Pickens - bass
Billy Higgins - drums



Recorded Los Angeles - August 1969


So a copy of this just sold for $172 on Ebay - plus shipping .
Fucking Mad.

The $ figure of course is a reflection of it's out of print, desirable and 'colectable' status - and not it's musical worth.
Like crazy little creatures, we seem compelled [as a species really] to covet, collect, obsess and fetshize over that we dont have or is hard to obtain. I'm as guilty as anyone. Really though, all that 'desiring the object' and the burning need to to be in possesssion of a 'near mint rare legendary disc' is mostly about a different area of human psychology than that which relates to the inner joy that the best art brings us.
It's all bullshit and has nothing to do with the music in other words.
How does the artist feel - when recent releases struggle to sell 1000 copies worldwide, on tiny little profit margins?

If you were in the luxurious position of having $172 to spend -and you wanted some of the music of the exceptionally creative vibrant and beautiful alto saxophone and english horn player Sonny Simmons - I would go here http://www.sonnysimmons.org/ to check out his in-print discography. And then spend the lot.

This is a great little session - dare I say it, quite 'boppish' in tone and feel. Sonny directly weaves a Bird phrase in to one of his tunes here, Contemporary's Lester Koenig produced, and ex-Dial records man Ross Russell wrote the liner notes.
It's a much more 'inside' record than the excellent Manhattan Egos from the same year - but thoroughly enjoyable on its own terms.

Hope you enjoy the music

http://www.sonnysimmons.org/

This is for sotise - who has managed to eliminate 'desire of the object' from his psyche.(well, almost)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sound Craft 75 - Fantasy for Orchestra
Earl Freeman / Universal Jazz Symphonette [Anima 1001]





Soundcraft 75 - Fantasy for Orchestra
The Universal Jazz Symphonette

Side A
1. Nemesis

Side B
1. Oreo
2.Alpha

Earl Freeman director, composer
Zane Massey tenor saxophone
Daniel Carter tenor saxophone
Kappo Umezu tenor saxophone
Ernest Washington tenor saxophone
Raphe Malik          trumpet
John Marshall trumpet
Malik Baraka trumpet
Daniel Carter alto trumpet
John Mingione flugelhorn
Michael Keith trombone
Richard Dunbar         french horn
Nancy Ancrum flute
Art Bennett         flute
Andrew Strasmech flute
Henry Warner clarinet
James Emory electric guitar
Mel Smith         electric guitar
Tyrone Nickens electric guitar
William Parker bass
Dave Wertman bass
Paul Chambers Jr         fender bass
Billy Bang         violin
Charles Burnham violin
Wade Barnes percussion
Roger Baird         percussion
Julio Cesar         tabla
Adeyeme(Philip Spigner) congas
Robert Sardo grand organ
Barbra Blick         reading
Patsy Wilkins (Patricia Nicholson) reading


Anima Records AN1001
1975


Earl Freeman

This LP is the brainchild and creation of Earl Freeman - the closest thing there is to a 'leader's date' in his small - but always interesting - discography of appearances on record.
Earl Freeman was a talented, strange, sensitive artist who played acoustic bass, electric bass guitar - piano, flute, harp and percussion. He wrote poetry, and was a graphic designer - the unusual pen and ink contour-hatched illustration that takes up most of the front cover here is his.

Originally from California, and later working with Sun Ra's band in Chicago, Freeman travelled to Paris in 1969 and ended up as part of the BYG/Actuel recording frenzy of American free jazz players in that year.
Not so much a 'big name', as more of an outsider  -the word crops up again and again in descriptions of him - it was Kenneth Terroade the Jamaican tenor player who Freeman credited with an introduction to the Parisian scene.


Kenneth Terroade (left) with Earl Freeman (right)

Freeman appeared - memorably- on Terroade's great Love Rejoice LP (Actuel 22), as part of a two-bass lineup with Beb Guerin. He played bass on a bunch of Archie Shepp recordings from this time too, 




 as well as harp with Alan Silva's Celestrial Communications Orchestra and percussion instruments on a handful of BYG and 'America' LPs from around this time.
He appears on the very first Gong LP (BYG/Actuel 5) and performed at the legendary Amougies Actuel Festival in October 69.




left to right - frank zappa, philly joe jones, earl freeman, louis moholo, johnny dyani, grachan moncur, archie shepp. Amougies, Belgium october 1969 (foto - jacques bisceglia)

The twin bass approach with Beb Guerin was again used on Clifford Thornton's Ketchaoua (Actuel 23), memorably on the wonderful last track - 'Speak With Your Echo (And Call This Dialogue)'.




Both Freeman and Thornton were eventually barred from France as being undesirables with an overtly radical political stance. Freeman seems to have claimed that on his part - this was largely through misunderstanding and that he had no overt political stance.
He did go on a North African 'back to the roots' trip with Archie Shepp, Steve McCall, Cal Massey and Don Byas - with Eldridge Cleaver acting as tourguide !

[ Worth noting that Cal Massey's son Zane plays saxophone here on Soundcraft 75 ]

Despite being persona non grata in France, and making jaunts to both Holland and Britain - he returned to Paris - living there clandestinely when Val Wilmer interviewed him in early 1972.
By then he had recorded in London on drummer Selwyn Lissack's 'Friendship Next Of Kin' [which includes a spoken recitation from Earl]





- as well as a session with UK saxophone monsters Mike Osborne, John Surman and Alan Skidmore. With a second bass player - Harry Miller this time, and with Louis Moholo on drums, this was eventually released as 'Shapes' under Osborne's name - [ highly recommended ].




Freeman had also previously recorded in Noah Howard's group in Holland for the 'Patterns' LP from late 1971





Later in 1972 however, Freeman left Europe, returned to the USA and rejoined Noah Howard - appearing on Howard's 'Live at The Village Vanguard' record on Freedom Records with Frank Lowe, Rashied Ali, Juma Sultan and Robert Bruno.




In 1975, he put together the enormous group on Soundcraft 75, adding choreographers and dancers for a performance at the Washington Square Methodist Church on West 4th St, NYC  ('The Peace Church') - and chose the name Universal Jazz Symphonette for the project.


7 years later, Earl is playing electric bass with Sonny Simmons' group- again in a 2-bass configuration - on one of the two sessions that made up Simmons' Global Jungle




1984 - probably the last year of Earl's life, saw a  recording of his group with Henry P Warner and Adeyeme (Philip Spigner) - The Freestyle Band.  This trio recorded just one album which was privately released. Recently reissued, this is both fascinating and fantastic. 




Playing what sounds like a fretless electric bass through a phaser and perhaps a chorus unit, Freeman lays down basslines underneath Henry Warner's plangent clarinet and Spigner's dynamic congas to create a group sound that is totally sui generis in its field.

In the liner notes to The Freestyle Band's re-release CD, Ed Hazell reports that Freeman collapsed during a performance some time in 1984 "probably not long after that" he died. And that appears to be all that is known of Freeman's passing from the world.

A US armed forces veteran, Freeman shaved his hair very close, dressed only in dark colors and wore huge circular glasses - tinted or prescription. He frequently wore a leather aviators helmet, a steel service helmet, or both.


(foto - juma sultan's aboriginal music society box - eremite records)


The Album - Soundcraft 75

This was the first recording and release on the Anima label.

Associated with Billy Bang, who issued 5 LPs on Anima - the label actually belonged to John Mingione, a trumpet and flugelhorn player who ran it from a storefront on East 5th Street in Manhattan. He appears on this LP, and more recently, some of his playing with William Parker has resurfaced here.  I know of no other instances of him actually performing on record. He produced or co-produced all the label releases.
This was the 1st release on Anima in 1975. The final release was in 1982.

It's a large ensemble - nearly 30 players and is not a high fidelity recording by any stretch of the imagination.
The church acoustics, the size of the ensemble, the collective free-form style of musical approach all combine to produce a sonic result that I can best describe in one word as - dense.
Musically - on first blush, it's chaotic. If you've just spent a morning listening to and loving Alan Silva's Lunar Surface, followed by Dave Burrell's Echo - then this is record you might like to put on next.
Only this one is not as well recorded as those 2. . .
The keen ear, or subsequent listening, will reveal that it's not necessarily 40 minutes of mad chaos - that there is movement here, there are dynamics, there are some themes of sorts, and that there is solo playing (where audible) of a high calibre.
Opening with a swirling trio of flutes and spare percussion, additional instruments are applied in successive layers like paint until the whole ensemble is all in - a vast melange of sound.
Then after a hushed intermezzo at around the 5 minute mark, the music builds again and things begin in earnest.  The technique is repeated again, punctuating solos from trumpet, tenor saxophones and violin.
The soloists are actually not that difficult to make out - what is difficult to hear is what is going on musically in the vast sonic soup that is behind and around them.

Earl was fond of a good quasi-mystical recitation it seems, and Orea (Side B) opens with 2 recitations from female voices: - the first a mystical paean involving Jesus Christ and the second a seemingly randomly chosen poem in French.
The music builds again from here into a huge seething amorphous out-of-focus thing.

Brass and reed soloists are again, clearly discernible in the sonic foreground - at one point with 2 tenors - extremely clearly.
As to the background - it's clear that there are some written parts - even section work. And that the ensemble is being actively directed or conducted - it's no unfettered group improv freak-out.  It is just quite difficult to make out what is going on back there because of the quality of the recording.
I'm certain that the acoustics of the church didn't help in documenting such a large group.

In the excellent sleeve notes to The Freestyle Band's CD re-issue, Ed Hazell mentions Soundcraft 75, and lauds it as "..a valuable document of early work by Parker, Carter, Raphe Malik, Bang, and many other young free-jazz players of the early loft years..". Whilst I guess that is true in a way, it would be an utter challenge to hear - for instance - a single note on here that William Parker plays. Or Henry Warner for that matter. Or the tabla player...

Read Hazell's notes here, or go here for the excellent Freestyle Band CD

It's probably safe to assume recording conditions and equipment may have been a little rough - near the beginning of the record, a microphone is audibly scuffled and bumped and there are a few odd stereo channel leaps throughout.
The fades you hear are exactly as per the LP and haven't been changed in any way by me.
Technically, side 2 consists of 2 pieces - there is such a small gap between the 2 that I've left the whole second side as a single track - assuming somewhat of a symphonic intent on the part of Freeman.


The back jacket abounds in mis-spellings of the musician's names - "Henry Warnef" for Henry Warner, "Kappo Umega" for Kappo Umezu,  etc etc.
I've corrected the names that I know are clearly wrong - but any other corrections I've missed that are warranted - are welcome.
That this was a live performance, incorporating dancers - is evident by the credits for choreography.

As to the Washington Square Methodist Church - you can visit New York City and see it still - or the facade of it anyway.
You can't go in - it's no longer a church, it's private property.
These men

 

 - sold it.
"...now this graceful artifact enters a new beginning as Novare, a limited edition portfolio of eight extraordinary loft homes by the visionary architects at FLANK Architecture.. .Come to be reborn"
There's more of this sleazy drivel on their real-estate-for-the-brain-bogglingly-wealthy website.
Which seems like a truly sad way for the little church to end.
Me, I'd take 1975 any day.




So there you go - I hope you enjoy Soundcraft 75.
At least you can say that you've heard it, which hasn't been that easy for most - it's quite a rare record it seems

It's idiosyncratic, it's chaotic, it's 'fatally flawed' I suppose.
But at the same time it possesses something very akin to what I can only call a kind of grandeur.


Interesting Links

The Freestyle Band (Earl Freeman, 
Henry Warner, Adeyeme) - Self Titled, Re-issued album.
No one else made a sound like this -  Highly recommended .  Earl on processed electric bass
In the US - on the excellent 50 Miles of Elbow Room - http://www.50milesofelbowroom.com/artist/106-the-freestyle-band-henry-warner-earl-freeman-philip-spigner.html
In Europe - No Business Records
http://nobusinessrecords.com/NBCD41.php


Website of the estimable and overlooked Mr Henry Warnerhttp://henrypwarner.com/

Bio of Earl in the liner notes to The Freestyle Band, by Ed Hazell - http://theshop.free-jazz.net/henry-p-warner-earl-freeman-philip-spigner-freestyle-band-no-business-records/shop/music-label-and-artists/

The outstanding Noah Howard 2-on-1 CD that contains Patterns with Earl Freeman, as well as the fantastic Message To South Africahttp://eremite.com/album/mte-19

Wonderful box set on the same label (eremite) that features another underappreciated Earl (Earl Cross) - and the source of the photo of Earl Freeman standing in the street - http://eremite.com/album/mte-54-55-56

The obscure 'underground classic' - Selwyn Lissack's only album, featuring Earl Freeman - Friendship Next of Kin  http://www.jazzloft.com/p-45348-friendship-next-of-kin.aspx

Earl duetting with Harry Miller (acoustic) and playing with a shit-hot band [Mike Osborne, John Surman, Alan Skidmore, Louis Moholo] - Mike Osborne - Shapes
http://www.fmr-records.com/artistresults.asp?letter=M&artist=Mike%20Osborne


"“The music opens up their minds, opens up their hearts – it’s subversive, but it’s pure!”
- Earl Freeman 1972 -