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 ! -
Juma Sultan's Archive -
One of Bob Bruno's many web pages -

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 ?


serviceton said...

FLAC Files, covers & label scan.

Anonymous said...

This is the sort of stuff I should be listening to again... thanks very much indeed!

Calisan said...

Marvelous album from Noah! Very rare I think
Thanks and good start for 2013!

Igor said...

Finally I can replace the old mp3 rip, just ... thought I got it from the Church. Didn't Sotise post it there at first?
Anyway, big thanks for damn good album in its full sound quality.

serviceton said...

He may have Igor, I dont remember, He definitely posted the rather odd-looking CD - complete with amateur skewed & stretched cover pic - on Inconstant Sol - I went looking for those files to compare CD and LP but couldn't find them. Thanks you, Calisan & even Anon. for yr comments!

Vitko said...

Great job serviceton, this is the same album with Inconstant Sol, but as far as sounds, is unparalleled, and design labels Freedom more I like it. I have this LP and can tell you that your rip from the original, almost perfect.

SOTISE said...

the err mmh post of the 'Iron Man' CDR
was here

the cover pics were not stretched by me thats how they are!

serviceton said...

It wasnt an err mmh post - it was an outstanding one. Yeah - didn't mean to imply you had skronked the cover image. It's that hopelessy distorted aspect ratio of the photo that lends a shady aura to the CD release. Personal theory (unprovable) is that the CD was cobbled together by a friend of a band member and sold with tacit approval - of at least that one band member!

Solomon said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...


-Otto- said...

Very nice new rip. Thanks, serviceton!

Anonymous said...

unitstructure said...

Thanks for bringing me back to this.His tone on "Conversation" is so good!