Saturday, March 19, 2011

Live at Environ 1977 - Interface [ReEntry 001]

Phillip Wilson was a member of the AACM and he played in the prototypal Art Ensemble of Chicago (The Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble). He was a member of Paul Butterfield's Blues Band and played at Woodstock in 1969- it's one of his compositions appearing on Side 6 of the famous Woodstock Soundtrack triple album. He was a member of jazz/funk/rock group Full Moon.
Perhaps more importantly, he played and recorded with Anthony Braxton, Julius Hemphill, Frank Lowe, George Lewis, David Murray, Lester Bowie, James Carter, Oliver Lake, James Newton, The Last Poets, Bill Laswell, Hamiet Bluiett, Manu Dibango, Jaco Pastorius, John Carter & Wadada Leo Smith.
He wasn't a session musician - he was the guy these people wanted playing for them, with a beautiful poise and fluidity to his approach to the drums, and a free but funky sense of texture and dynamics, and a genuine sense of both 'fire', as well as self-control.

He was *also* the first drummer/percussionist with INTERface.
INTERface was a group led by the guy who ran the Environ loft space in New York City in the mid-late 1970's - John Fischer. Fischer, a visual artist as well as a piano player, was experimental and progressive in his approach - towards both the music he liked to play, as well as the music he programmed at Environ.
Perhaps not as widely mentioned when "the loft scene" is discussed, as Studio RivBea, Ali's Alley, Ladies Fort and others - Environ was every bit as important as the most active of these venues, in the artists it presented and fostered, and the music it gave a platform to. [Further on Environ shortly, here.]

This is the first release on Fischer's ReEntry Records, although not the first album by INTERface or by Fischer [more later].
INTERface here was John Fischer (piano), Mark Whitecage (alto saxophone), Perry Robinson (clarinet), Charles Tyler (baritone saxophone), Rick Kilburn (bass), and Phillip Wilson (drums).
There's somewhat of a fractured chamber-jazz feeling here, in that there's a sense of stripping down to spare sonorities, rather than a full tilt energy-fest approach.
The 'vocal-sounds duet' of Poum #3 may strike some as terribly dated (it does to me) - the piano-clarinet duet of February may not 'burn hard enough' for lovers of skronk - but listen to the chromatic theme of A Day in May, or the quirky crab-like theme of Flies. Tyler's soloing and Wilson's drumming on Quartet are a beautiful loose-limbed joy.
Whitecage and Robinson are strong players and Rick Kilburn has a good feel and formidable chops. Fischer shows a classical influence - even including some left-hand 'Classical quotation' in February - he both supports and pushes his group with a fine musical sense.
Contrary to the 'flybill' on the cover, this was recorded in July, not in January, of 1977.

Please consider buying INTERface releases that are still in print - direct from the artist
It appears some vinyl is still available, as well as the (inexpensive) CD releases (Fischer playing with Arthur Blythe, Wilber Morris, Theo Jorgensmann & more..) .

Hope you enjoy.

Please leave a comment - if you like it, if you don't like it - 'whatever'! .. .

John Fischer - Piano & Voice
Mark Whitecage - Alto Saxophone & Flute
Perry Robinson - Clarinet
Charles Tyler - Baritone Saxophone
Rick Kilburn - Bass
Phillip Wilson - Drums & Percussion

Side 1
2. A Day in May
3. Atlantis

Side 2
1. February
2. Solo Poum #3
3. Flies
4. Tolls

Recorded at Environ, 476 Broadway, NYC - July 1977

This post - for the memory of Phillip Wilson.


serviceton said...

Live at Environ 1977 - Interface
FLACs + Scans

Anonymous said...

very nice to see one of the original environ albums appear. thank you!! ;)

i posted a german compilation-cd some time ago here, featuring performances from 1975-78, some of them never been issued before. the cd is long oop.

onxidlib said...

You want to have a comment - instead you'll get a big hug.

Never heard about this LP - Wow!

This reminds me about a casette I got some weeks ago : UNIT Trio > Perry Robinson + David Izenzon + Randy Kaye (NY, 1968). You will find it on IS during the next days.

Thank you.

serviceton said...

Lucky! Yes, your post of the Konnex 'Environ Days' CD inspired me to get out the LPs. I then sort of forgot about it for some time - remembering recently when thinking about, and listening to, Phillip Wilson anew.
In fact, a tip of the hat to you in my next post!..
Your comment alerted me that I completely missed that the Konnex CD has material unreleased on vinyl - so now I must go download it!
Onx, thanks for the comment and the hug!
A direct connection with Perry Robinson for sure. Greatly enjoyed the Robinson/UNIT Trio you posted.

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slovenlyeric said...

To the best of my knowledge Perry Robinson and Marc Whitecage still play regularly around NYC. Perry used to gig in restaurants with one of my friends. I have not heard either perform recently. But, I did see them quite a bit for a few years. Whitecage was living in Jersey City/Hoboken, and played a gigs at a local JC Park and the Knitting Factory NYC, that I saw. Great stuff, thank you for posting this.

Mutha Klanger said...

ooh...and with Charles Tyler too. yummy. thanks :-)

serviceton said...

Mutha Klanger, Charles T.'s role on this record is fairly modest. Though there's some more Charles Tyler in the offing here . I think so anyway.
(We all have trouble finding things time to time . . . )

Vermelho said...

Unfortunately the link is not working - multi upload appears to be down. Would love to see a mirror

John Fischer is still playing in NYC and in Europe. Just last in April at the Cafe Vivaldi - with Perry Robinson. John is 81 and still very together.

serviceton said...

Here's a new link for this LP

Velmelho thanks for the update on J.F. and for dropping by

daniel said...

it's you had RE-post
I was about asking you this
really curious to check this sound

thanks a lot S.

Anonymous said...

very interesting band, didn't check this one out when this item showed up, but better late than never, fortunately the links to all their other records and John Fisher one is alive plus to those i found an mp3 copy of an album named "Poum!" by pre-INTERface band Composers Collective, i must say John Fisher and Whitecage and Perry Robinson were damn good those days, so i want to thank you, serviceton, for sharing INTERface and John Fisher stuff which i enjoyed a lot! if i will have my chance to grab this live performance too i will gladly take it)) thanks anyway and best wishes!