13 February 2008

Jimmy Giuffre Trio (with Paul Bley, Steve Swallow) - Live Austria 1961 (Radio broadcast)

Giuffre's first trio comprised himself, guitarist Jim Hall and a number of different bass players. The bass was subsequently replaced by valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer.

The second trio, of which this recording is an example, was formed in 1961. It has often been described as chamber jazz. Listening to it you can easily imagine that Anthony Braxton might have taken some inspiration from Giuffre's playing. Commercially, they weren't successful. They recorded the excellent album "Free Fall", but disbanded in 1963 after, it is said, that they made only 35 cents each from one gig. They were playing stuff that was year's ahead of what the US audience would listening to. Perhaps if they'd upped sticks and moved to Europe they may have been part of the free jazz scene that developed there in the 60s.

I guess that they each went there separate ways, Guiffre largely to teaching and writing music. The trio reformed briefly in the 1990s and did a European tour, but Parkinson's disease forced Giuffre into retirement.

Jimmy Giuffre/Steve Swallow/Paul Bley
Live at Großer Saal der Arbeiterkammer, Graz/A, October 27,1961

Jimmy Giuffre -cl
Paul Bley -p
Steve Swallow -b

01 ICTUS 3.13
03 THE GAMUT 5.39
04 STRETCHING OUT 12.33 [aka Suite for Germany]
05 TRANCE 7.28
06 CRY, WANT 10.34
07 CARLA 7.24
08 WHIRRRR 5.47

Flac and MP3 links in comments. Sound quality is reasonable for a nigh on fifty year old recording. My thanks to seeder.


Boromir said...



sotise said...

and in fact when you get down to it 'freefall 'features the first examples of non idiomatic, non jazz based free improvised music.

that came after this concert, and really ought to be heard by anyone who is entranced by pointillistic euro free improv a la incus.

Boromir said...

"pointillistic euro free improv a la incus"....
Wouldn't know about that sotise. I only know I like it, and they sounded very unlike other jazz that was being played at that time.

kinabalu said...

I'm very much looking forward to hearing this. I do have the "Free Fall", of course. Please note that Free Fall now exists as a trio comprising Ken Vandermark, Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten and Haavard Wiik, very much dedicated to taking the music of the original trio onwards while keeping the clarinet, piano and bass format. Three cds so far I believe.

Wallofsound said...

I'm very excited about hearing this one. Free Fall is one of my favourite LPs of all time. I didn't know about the trio dedicated to this music, but I'm off to buy some of it now. Thanks for the information.

Boromir said...

I have a Swedish FM broadcast of a concert recorded very recently by Vandermark's Free Fall. The music is obviously heavily influenced by Giuffre's trio, but all composition's are by the new trio. If you're interested I'll post it.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to hear the roots of non idiomatic free improvisation, try listening to Pee Wee Russell's solos from the 30's and 40's. Giuffre was greatly influenced by Russell and even recorded with him briefly in the 50's.
Together with Bley and Swallow he has made some of the most beautiful music ever recorded. HutArt has issued two live performances from that period (Emphasis&Flight). In the 90's they met once again and recorded on several occasions.
Subtle, quiet, revolutionary, no-drums, the new horizons opened by their music paved the way for Evan Parker, John Butcher et al.

Thank you for sharing this!

Wallofsound said...

Boromir, it would be great if you'd share the Swedish broadcast.

Boromir said...

Ok wallofsound. Give me a day or so to get it uploaded. I'll do it in flac as the sound quality is excellent.

jazzme said...

Here's a request does anyone have Cecil Taylor's Garden 1 and Garden 2 , I believe there were out on hat hut seen them on ebay but they always go way past my spend range Steve

sotise said...

i have a few peewee russell albums
i like him a great deal.
fantastic improvisor ,unique tone i hesitate to use the term ahead of his time, since i dont believe that musical languages supercede one another nor that the future in anyway invalidates the past.
art isn't science.

i dont know of his collaboration with jimmy guiffre and would love to hear it, interestingly enough ken vandermark refered to by boromir cites russell as an influence.
perhaps if the guiffre russell collab is not in general circulation ,you'd care to share it.

Anonymous said...

Sotise, I agree about art not 'advancing' or any other teleological conception. However, once in a while, a musician comes along and exapnds the limits of the imagination. That was, roughly, what I meant :)
Pee Wee's discography lists a whole LP recorded by both clarinet players, I've never seen it, and would love to hear it. One track appeared on "The Sound Of Jazz" compilation. You can listen to it here -http://www.amazon.com/Jimmy-Giuffre-Pee-Wee-Russell/dp/B0013AA2UE

Anonymous said...

The link seems to have been cut off, here it is again (splitted in two)

centrifuge said...

mmm, i shall be very interested to hear this... thanks boromir

Nick said...

thank you for this! I've been enjoying the hathut 2cd of the trio's performances from this same tour, so this will be an excellent addition!

anoneponymous said...

Boromir, how did you know? I have everything these guys have put out, and 1961 (the ECM reissue of Fusion & Thesis) is a desert island disk for me.

I assume this is the same tour that produced Emphasis & Flight, so looking forward to hearing this to compare.

Thank you kindly.

Be honest, is this blog the new C#9? For the rest of us, I suppose I mean. It's appreciated.

Tantris said...

To complement the original post, here is the original 'Free Fall' from 1961;


kinabalu said...

Yep, I do have the Cecil Taylor - Garden - as a VBR mp3 download.

Available from here:


I'll see if I can make a proper post out of it later ...

dalemcbdnl said...

The ATLANTIC ("Historic Jazz Concert at the Inn" - #1298) paired Giuffre and Russell on a couple cuts. These are BOTH included in the Mosaic Box Set (Giuffre's ... "Complete Capitol and Atlantic Recordings"). The uncomposed improv, "Blues In E Flat," between the two clarinetists is quite subdued (especially Giuffre's soloing). But this was in August of '56 and it was the first time the two had played together. It seems to me that they had not become comfortable with each other at that point. A year later they appeared on the TV program "The Sound of Jazz" and a Columbia studio album of the same name where they both seemed more daring and comfortable. I think the Columbia album/track ("Blues") is still available (at least as mp3 download).

This info was gleaned from the Mosaic booklet. I only mention that because I DON'T consider myself a musicologist NOR a scholar but I really do dig Giuffre and grab everything of his I run across. That is... as long as it is not ridiculously expensive;>)

My last point would be to THANK boromir for posting this fine performance. It's really terrific!


centrifuge said...

weird to heard steve swallow on a contrabass, even though i know he played one...

what wonderful music! of course i have had this group recommended to me before, but i haven't yet had them fall into my path like this... thanks b :) and thanks tantris for the album rip, naturally i shall grab that as well now... indeed it is the sort of stuff i would *even* consider spending money on ;-)

yes, i can definitely hear some ideas in there which braxton might well have been inspired by at a tender age... who knows? but the beginning of "the gamut" is quite uncanny for a brax listener really..!

they certainly were ahead of their time, these guys - bearing in mind that coltrane and dolphy were torn apart by the conservative press in the same year simply for taking their time over their solo statements, within music an awful lot more familiar to jazzified ears than most of *this* set would have been. actually this is evidence that the refusal (on the part of the artistic establishment and the marketplace) to meet black intellectuals on their own terms was *not* purely motivated by race - look how far these white cats got, playing the same uncommercial shit... you can throw it at the wall all day, none of it is likely to stick, they just will not stand for anything which doesn't work nicely as background music. this is not to say that SOME of the hostile reception that (creative) black musicians encountered was not racially-motivated... i'm sure it was - !

anyway... the upshot is that we can be grateful that these guys stuckl it out for as long as they did... i guess they were sustained by performances like this one, in front of enthusiastic crowds ... (in the u.s.? man, i can just imagine how well this went down at the time. you kidding??) i do like me some clarinet these days... giuffre himself doesn't knock me off my chair the way someone like john carter frequently does, but he's certainly a good player and had some *really* interesting music in him... natural match with bley of course, too... i can't quite make my mind up about swallow but his tone is pleasing at the very least.

thanks again guys

c x

Wallofsound said...

I've just taken possession of my first Free Fall Cd as recommended by kinabalu. I've played The Point in a Line through twice this evening, and it is much wider than simply a homage to the original trio. Instead they use this distinctive take on the trio format and approach of the original FF recording as a jumping off point.

Of course listening to the modern group can have been nothing to hearing the Giuffre group in the early 1960s. Even people who had followed his earlier 'West Coast' playing could not have prepared them for playing the first track on the original LP. My first experience with the original LP was in the 1980s, and I remember being astounded by it.

centrifuge, you make a good point in comparing Giuffre with John Carter, but that's a decade (or even a generation; even though Carter can't be that much younger) further on. Carter was far more interested in reinterpreting some important aspects of the African American traditions, while Giuffre seemed to be after something far more abstract.

I think the reference to Pee Wee Russell is very interesting. I can't hear it yet. Can anyone post something to open my ears to this?

I now eagerly await my other ordered CDs.

centrifuge said...

mmm, i wasn't making any points about them stylistically etc - just that carter has the ability to amaze me as a listener. it's something i prize, i suppose. braxton amazes me all the time. others do it frequently as well... carter never plays for long without doing something which has me going "what????" giuffre is a really interesting musician, but for me he comes across as more interesting for his ideas, than for his playing as such. but i've heard so little of him really that i could well end up changing my mind :)

Wallofsound said...

centrifuge, I agree with that entirely. It is Giuffre's ideas that are interesting (I think that's what I meant by 'more abstract') and I tend to enjoy a whole track or album by him. And you are so right about Carter. I sometimes find myself replaying parts of a track just to get the same feeling again.

Kameron D Kiggins said...

Hello, I found this blog a few days ago and have been very impressed. Marvelous music, thank you for sharing.

This Giuffre concert is amazing. Their studio records are some of my favorite music. Not only my favorite jazz, but favorite music in general. I was very excited to hear live recordings, especially of such good audio quality.

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great, great music (this one and all music on your blog), thank you very much for sharing.


kinabalu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rev. Dr. Moller. MDMA, THC and BAR. said...

Thanks for updating these links, much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to get a re-up of this?

onxidlib said...


Javier Roz said...

Thanks onxidlib for the re-up. Love this trio.

bhowani bhowani said...

Thank you !