Friday, March 13, 2009

Traffic - Noah Howard [Frame RF2005]

Side A
Traffic One
Red Star

Side B
Never Be The Same Again
Donkey Dance
Two Lovers' Hill
Traffic Two

Noah Howard - alto saxophone
Bobby Few - piano
Joe Maka - soprano saxophone
Clint Jackson - trumpet

Recorded Paris, June 10 1980
Released 1983

There are some good things on here...

If you've not heard of Noah Howard, well.. there are better places to start with his music - his 2 ESP discs (, Live at the Village Vanguard, The Black Ark ( - also has a summary of issues - many available, some not.
In any case, Howard is a great player and composer who should be much better known than he is.

I can only tell what "seems to be going on here" in regards this LP - I hope there's someone that might know more definitively how it came to be, and might be kind enough to fill in the gaps.

Bobby Few was (and IS!) a well known AfroAmercian expat in Paris. - and has appeared on stacks of records .Howard and Few were part of the famous Frank Wright quartet (with Wright and drummer Muhammad Ali) that played all around Europe, made some records (Uhuru Na Umoja, Church Number Nine) etc..

Soprano player Joe Maka was from Guinea in Africa. Nathan Davis -himself for a while, a Parisian/US expat - has talked about Maka as an acolyte, studying at the Sorbonne - also playing with Manu Dibango in an 'African style'. Maka seems to have played with many and varied musicians - including at least one other occasion with Bobby Few on record - on 1979's Jom Futa. By the time 'Traffic' was released, Maka was dead (1981).

Clint Jackson is an American expat trumpet player and a professional practicing musician as far as I can tell (

Frame Records I know next to nothing about: - I don't think they spent much though, at either the layout/design agency, or the pressing plant. The cover - well you can judge for yourself.
The pressing is OK but not great and my copy is 'as new'. It's not awful either (don't be put off!) - you would just expect better from a 'brand new record'.

The rather abrupt 'cut-offs' at the end of some of the tunes will sound as if the ripper has hit the Stop button a fraction too early. But no,they're right there on the vinyl I promise you.
At a guess I'd say that the last and second-last tracks have had their titles reversed the last but one track sounds like a logical - and absorbing - follow on from 'Traffic 1' from the first side. Whilst the last track virtually paints a picture of a couple in love atop a hill somewhere..
The vocal on 'Never Be The Same Again' sounds a bit like something the band were kidding around on after they got back from lunch, just for fun. Meant for the album? Who knows, maybe it was. Howard's 'Lovers' and 'Red Star' are revisited here - for me though the 'meat in the sandwich' though is the tune called Traffic One, along with its confrere on Side 2 (accepting my switched titles theory).

Anyway enough twittering - if you know and love Howard's music, you already know you want this.
If NOT (yet), well you're welcome of course to grab this anyway. Give it a listen, see what you think, leave a Comment with 'what you think'..

But also have a look at . Buy something! The guy is a living working musician, has paid a hell of a lot of dues and has somehow stayed alive practising creativity for more than 40 years.
Which is no small feat in this world.

Respect to him.


serviceton said...

Traffic - Noah Howard


If you're not a Rapidshare member, and as Part 2 is less than 8MB, you may find it more convenient to get Part 2 from MediaFire instead (No waiting!)
PART 2 of Above FLAC package *ONLY*

Do leave a comment! :o)

serviceton said...

And here's the same in the lower-fi but really quite popular MP3 format. 320kbps, tagged.

Boromir said...

Many thanks serviceton, I haven't seen this one before.

wightdj said...

This is indeed a rare one, and amen to celebrating Mr. Howard's 40-year career. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Excellent find! Thank you Serviceton. I'd never even heard of this. I think that Frame is very likely the same label as that which put out Don Ayler's 3LP set "In Florence" from 1981.

Clint Jackson also played trumpet on vibist Khan Jamal's "Give The Vibes Some" on Palm in 1974.

kinabalu said...

I've been curious about this one, but been holding back from grabbing it, so thanks for making it digitally available.

An early version of "Never be the same again" was featured on the Bobby Few "More or Less Few". My copy had some irritating pops on that track so I've got a second copy without them, fortunately.

Yep, I always suspected Bobby Few of being something of a closet crooner ...

Anonymous said...

Thanks serviceton, for this and others below. Its nice that you all still have a place on the net I can visit.

kinabalu said...

Just another brief observation. "Donkey Dance" appeared on Bobby Few's first solo record on Sun in 1977, then with piano only. Nice to hear it in this quartet version.

Listening to this record in toto, it is as much a Bobby Few record as a Noah Howard record, for instance re. composer credits.

sotise said...

yeah ...thanks for this, its a wonderful listen , and i agree that Few is integral to the procedings , a great pianist who often stole the show no mean feat considering the stature of his peers Wright , Lacy etc....K that first solo album on Sun sounds a treat id love to hear it.. im still occasionaly listening to yr rip of 'more or less few'and enjoying it immensely pops and all.
thanks again Serviceton, for traffic....

kinabalu said...

Sotise, I'll put it on the to do list. The follow-up, Continental Jazz Express, was astounding, particularly the title track. Why not do a mini-series? If you have anything with Lacy that might fit the bill, I'll certainly be interested.

folly for to see what said...

Hi Serviceton!

What a nice surprise!
Some time ago I bought this record (and Old Moers Almanac) to an italian seller. To say the truth, I bought the record more because the presence of Few.
But… Just "few" days before my records arrive my turntable decided was time to finish its life! Then I talk with a friend who has a proffesional equipment, he was going to record all my vinyls… Yes, till the day he listened to an example of the music he was going to record, I thought… Something by Noah Howard, something by… Yes! Space Dimension! I don't remeber exactly wich track I played but I remeber the face of this guy when Wright began "to shout"… mmmmmmm…………… Stupid Pablo! Why I didn't play any other stuff? I still am waiting for him to phone me… And the turntable I like is now out of my possibilties… Fuck me! I've got this record packed in its plastic bag!

MANY thanks to bring the opportunity to listen to it!
Also thanks for choose the high quality option in your post (both, You and Sotise).

Hey, the files are here!
Going to listen right now!

See you!

Igor said...

Thank you for your generosity.

gilhodges said...

I love blogs with good taste (and blogs that taste good). 9GC surely satisfies on both ends. Many thanks.

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thoth said...

never ever heard of this one before. look forward to checking it out. thank you so much for sharing. nice 80s cover!

just duets said...

oh Bobby: "i'll never be the same again" after listening to you playing piano.

great site, new lurker on all these blogs.

someone posted Church Number Nine. do u know if Uhuru Na Umoja is available? thanks

"i lost the keys".

"where r the keys?"

Sunmyth said...

I have uhuru na umoja.. I can post it if you want

daniel said...

hello man
any chances of a re-upload??

links not working anymore

let me know if you do please

thanks a lot

serviceton said...

hey daniel. right now -can't find the files for Traffic. I have thought of 3 places I haven't looked, so still a chance. Check back in a few days maybe. cheers