Friday, March 13, 2009
Never Be The Same Again
Two Lovers' Hill
Noah Howard - alto saxophone
Bobby Few - piano
Joe Maka - soprano saxophone
Clint Jackson - trumpet
Recorded Paris, June 10 1980
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 (http://espdisk.com/official/artists/NoahHoward.html), Live at the Village Vanguard, The Black Ark (http://www.boweavilrecordings.com/Weavil_24.html) - also noahhoward.com/discography.html 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 (http://www.2souls.net/bios.php)
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 http://noahhoward.com . 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.