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

Recorded March 22, 1979, NYC
Downtown Sound

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

NYAC Records
NYAC 502

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.



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.


serviceton said...

FLAC files and cover scans

221.36 MB


Eric Stern said...

This post is great for many reasons. I really appreciated reading the information provided about the Collective. I got to NYC well after this and to be honest, my understanding of what happened during the prior decade is spotty at best.

Friends who have told me about the time have their clubs and the things they experienced, but I knew there was more. There are stories about the building that Zorn, Morris and other improvisers bought which enabled them to create their work, but honestly the details I have are sketchy.

I was at St. Peter's Tom Bruno's Memorial and Juan Quinones and Ellen Christi were there as were a great many musicians. Many of those present where musicians unknown to me because they had been away from the music scene for years,

At this point many of the players from that era are gone and the stories about NYC in that era are disappearing. I will check out the Eclectic Arts website so I can learn more about this time.

I can see now that this piece of the puzzle fits in with the eventual rise of the ARTS for Art/Vision Festival. I know that Bruno and Christie were staples of the early Vision Festivals and I saw those.

I saw Test dozens of times in the Subway, on the street, and at the Vision Fest. Often it was a variation with people added or subtracted as circumstances provided. Now it is really just Daniel Carter carrying on for them as Sabir is in France much of the time.

Thank you for this post. I appreciate your hard work.

DW said...

serviceton, Thanks for the post. I am encountering probelms accessing the material. I have an account on 1fichier, but the link is addressed to a 'dfichiers', caution is advised before preceding. Dfichiers is associated with malware. Please advise.

-Otto- said...

I agree with DW. The link is not safe. I won't override the security warnings. The NYCAC might be a good and worth-while post, but...

serviceton said...

Ah, I see what you mean. Dfichiers is just a domain owned by 1Fichier. After failing to upload 4 times to the former, I tried Dfichiers and it went OK. They have not bound their SSL certificate to the site properly so it produces that ugly warning. It's safe, but looks dodgy I agree. Gimme a sec and I will try again to upload to plain old 1Fichiers.

serviceton said...

Eric thanks for your comment - appreciated.
It is a loss if, as you say, many of the players from that era are gone and the stories about NYC in that era are disappearing.

I forgot to mention that John Shea played bass for Gunter Hampel groups and Peter Kuhn's quartet among others. I might go back and put that bit in.

TEST in the subway - I know it was a nearly everyday occurrence, but I for one would have loved to have copped TEST on the way home from work. LOUD ?

serviceton said...

1Fichier repeatedly timing out - I'm out of patience with it for today.

Here's the album at Mega -

Recommend using Firefox or Chrome and all should be easy.

I'll put up an alternate link when I get the time

Bulkang U. Antibop said...

kinda random: noticed that peter kuhn seems to have been responsible for recording cecil's "it is in the brewing luminous." i wonder if that was that a one-off for him?

serviceton said...

Peter Kuhn was involved in engineering, recording and editing a small stack of improv / free-jazz albums in the 1970s and early 80's.
Some you probably know are
Steve Lacy - Capers
Max Roach & Cecil Taylor - Historic Concerts
3 x Billy Bang LPs
Half of William parker's first LP
Frank Lowe's Lowe And Behold
Jemeel Moondoc /Muntu - Evening Of The Blue Men
Polly Bradfield's Solo Violin record

Anonymous said...

it was really sad to see the frozen Chairs for such a long time since the previous post has been placed and in that very moment when i saw "so anyway" new post title showed up i said myself something like "crap, that's it" and the first lines of the message under that title doesn't seemed pretty optimistic for me...but, yeaaaaah! it's alive! and post with this New York City Artists Collective's album is the best continuation i could only desire! i like the album very much and Dewey is just brilliant!

thanks much!!! appreciated!


Bulkang U. Antibop said...

wow, i only knew him as a wind player. thanks. didn't know he did this too! read sotise's post of him on ISol...i LOVE that polly bradfield... there's a sweet little digest/update on him here: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2014/dec/10/lists-abundant-life-peter-kuhn

I swear, my next comment will ACTUALLY reference your POST! ;-)
Have a blessed day, an okay 6-o'clock to 8pm, and then the best damn 8-o'clock on since...that one time!!!

DW said...

serviceton, this is ear opening! Much appreciated!!

-Otto- said...

Thank you, serviceton, the mega link is working fine for me. Thanks!

Vitko said...

Very intriguing album.
Thank you.

Solomon said...

Thank you!

Hyde said...

don't know this record at all. thanks so much!

Scraps said...

Huh. Mega wants me to install Mega extension. I have the extension...

serviceton said...

I got lucky 6th time around (whew!) - here's a 1Fichier link


Scraps said...


corvimax said...

this was much expected, many thanks

roberth said...

glad you active again. mega link is working fine. the first ficher link
had all kinds of security warnings.
i look forward to hearing this.
i have missed your posts

bho wani said...

(I've used Mega). Thank you for this very captivating (?) discovery. I play it right now : great "new thing" !

Anonymous said...

motherfucking fuck, i have been looking out for this one for such a long time. thank you so much for making it available.

MrBill said...

Thanks, interesting stuff.

The original link worked for me, btw. I overrode the warning but it dl'd and unzipped without incident.

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