27 April 2008

Roscoe Mitchell - Solo Saxophone Concerts

Continuing with AACM-related material, this is a solo saxophone record by Roscoe Mitchell, basically composed of solo concert appearances in 1973-74. Nine pieces in all, some of which was known by the time of recording and others to be more fully developed in later Mitchell albums.

The album is bookended by two shortish versions of "Noonah" which was to be given much more extended treatments on the later Mitchell album by the same name. Here a version of the basic theme is stated and which to these ears would not be out of place in a Braxton repertoire with its staccato phrasing and knotty rhythmic tempo. The second piece is the only one not composed by Mitchell, a slower, sedate tune by Malachi Favors and a staple of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. It'll be interesting to go back to the AEoC album of the same name and check the Mitchell solo work-out against the full Ensemble treatment. The two following pieces are austere, almost minimalist, in which Mitchell seems to be working with sound elements in a very tentative, exploring way hinting at a melody yet to be found. "Eeltwo" sees Mitchell in a lyrical mood, slowly running through a somewhat elegiac melody repeating and varying it along the way. "Ooboma" is back to the austerity of "Enlorfe" and "Jibbina". "Ttum" sounds like a companion piece to "Noonah", again with certain characteristic Braxtonish features. Perhaps less of a pleasant listen than the Braxton-Lewis duo with less "playing to the audience" and more focus on introversion and contemplation of pure sound. More than a step removed from "jazz".


05_Eeltwo (Part One)
06_Eeltwo (Part Two)
07_Oobina (Little Big Horn)

All compositions by Roscoe Mitchell except "Tutankhamen" by Malachi Favors

Roscoe Mitchell plays soprano, alto, tenor and bass saxophones, recorded at Kalamazoo, Michigan October 22, 1973 (tracks 5,6), Montreal, Quebec, November 2, 1973 (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8) and Pori International Jazz Festival, Finland, July 12, 1974 (track 9)

Braxton up next ...


kinabalu said...

mp3 version:


flac version:



sotise said...

kinabalu.. thanks for sharing this wonderful album.. its one i used to have but stupidly under appreciated at the time.
lovely post and a wonderful follow on to the solo murray.

im in the middle of the preamble to a house move so unfortunately i shant be posting to much in the next 3 weeks or so.

BTW/ i saw leo smith performing a luminous solo set in a cave here in the blue mountains nsw aust, yesterday, it blew all who were there away.. as profound a musical experience as one could wish.

and thanks again

Tantris said...

Thank you for posting this. I managed to listen to about half of it last night. Very much looking forward to hearing the rest. First impressions are that this is in a language that I am only beginning to learn - his sense of sound, of space and silence seems far advanced from what many contemporary composers are currently doing.

soulbrotha said...

I just wanted to leave a general comment to all of the contributers to this blog. It is really a wonderful blog and I thank each and every one of you for your contributions.

I owe a huge apology to Wall of Sound because he left a great comment on my post over at Four Brothers Beats but I totally forgot to visit here. Mea culpa. You guys are now bookmarked and blogrolled and I look forward to all the goodness that you will be serving.

Peace and respect to you all,


nad3170 said...

Thanks a lot kinabalu, just what I was looking for ! (Would you happen to have the other solo AEOC records of the same period by the way ?)

1009 said...

thanks very much! looking forward to hearing the full version of nonaah, too, whenever that gets out...

anyone pick up george lewis' book yet? i'm hitting the bookstore wednesday (i.e. payday).

nad3170 said...

sambeck2001 left the following comment in the Famoudou Don Moye post :

Thank you very much for making this available. Archeology of music ancient to the future.
But i wasn't satisfied with the edit. So, i hope it is ok, that i reworked the files a little bit. Pierre? :-D

I restored the lp rip from the flacs, did some small cuts and new track marks.
converted to mp3@192kbps:



I repost it here while we're dealing with the AACM so that it can be useful but the greater number.

John V said...

kinabalu-I can't get the links on your Roscoe Mitchell solo or duet with Braxton posts to work because I cant figure out what the entire links are.what am I not doing that I should be doing? Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!

John V.

kinabalu said...

John V,

most likely, the browser you're using is displaying the link as one long line. This seems to be the case with the Mozilla Firefox browser, but the Internet Explorer will split it into two or more lines.

Anyhow, use these links instead:

mp3 version:


flac version:



I'll leave tiny urls in the other post, too.


I have the Joseph Jarman and Malachi Favors solo records as mp3s, but not on record. I have put in an order for the Jarman and hopefully I might grab the Favors and Moye as well. We'll see. Is the Moye you're talking about the one mentioned in the above post?

nad3170 said...

Yes, I forgot to mention it but the Moye in the comment above is "Sun Percussion vol. 1", the link is a reworking of the flac rip I posted here some times ago. Please note that the rip is not very good and clips quite a lot (I didn't do it myself as I don't have the vinyl).

Same as you, I have the records as mp3s but not on vinyl. From what you tell me I think we're watching the same items on a famous auction site. Please let me know if you attempt to bid in the next hours, let's not compete with each others.


Wallofsound said...

Thanks. This is marvelous.

Firefox doesn't display all the RS URL, but if you just drag down past the link it will select the whole thing even if it's not visible. TinyURLs are ok if you cut and paste, but if you use FlashGot (which I'd recommend to everyone using Firefox) you can select and click and it picks up the url and starts the download. So, if we start using TinyURLs could they be in addition to the full url. [sorry to be so techie; back to the music!]

centrifuge said...

great stuff kinabalu, thanks for this!

slight shame that there's no contrabass sax here (despite the photos..!), but then arguably the most impressive thing about that instrument is its size... not even braxton could get much tonal variation out of it. an expensive novelty i guess..!

sotise said...

cent, mitchell is a master of the contrabass sax, i think its the instrument impressive beast that it is which is limited,it was never designed to be played in such labarinthine fashion,and must take gargantuan efforts to master.

if you want to hear roscoe M's wonderful contrabass sax at its most spellbinding , i recommend one of his real gems "sound and space ensembles" on black saint from 1983.
the music is totally unique distinctive/ unfanthomable.
beyond free jazz ,or any kind of generic catagorization.

truly one of the most magical platters of the era.

the other reed player gerald oshita(another little known undervalued magus)
plays a contrabass sarrusophone, an even more unwieldy novelty instrument, but the performances are magic.

also ,quite a bit of bass sax on roscoes space ensemble trios ,with oshita and thomas buckner, a mesmerizing combination , certain tracks feature oshitas baritone in unison with the bass sax,and buckners singing has a discossiative outerwordly quality..
(note that the three of them all play on sound and space ensembles which is a combination of roscoe's two unique group concepts from that period)

he's not at all from a
jazz tradition though so if you are allergic(to jazz singing) ,no need to panic.

a special combination, for me those are powerful transformative music's.. that make the drugery of everyday experience worth surviving.
y' feel replenished, amoured for the next battle with the quotidian bullshit workawday world of happy families..while the earthgroans submerged in the filthy quagmire of our massive ego print.
the contrabass sax as played by R.M
is the earth groaning under our toxic choke hold.
when i listen to these albums my illusory sense of self importance dissipates.. ego dissolves.
theres a stability in the flux of ego dissolution.
(and look im aware as i write that this appears to you a grotesque -parody of serious pensive raised eyebrow types of musical analyses)
its all true though... all true

those space ensemble(trios) are available on the mutablemusic buckners own label.. anyone checking them out is in for a treat

this is what frank wright is to glmlr to me.

sotise said...

also please guys,.. no offence but lets not have too many reminders of the stagnant finacial imperitive we are all forced to slave under.
the ceaseless stuggle to obtain what money can't buy.

we've gotta get together and have a disscussion about what we are doing here.

i personally dont want to come here and read about record auctions /prices payed for collectible records... all that shit that i dearly want to escape, and which always nauseated me.

there nothing worse than a smarmy record collector discussing their acquisitions.

sotise said...

allow me to clarify that last statement , im in no way implying that you p, and kinabalu are record geeks boasting of your acquisitiveness... but it could become like that.
from my point of view this blog is not an antiques forum.

its just that i once sold my own records at flea markets and did buisness with record dealers ..and despise the odium attatched to the whole thing.
its an unpleasant universe that i'd much prefer we avoid with some grace.

so yeah apologies if there is even a whiff of offence in that last comment.

nad3170 said...

Don't worry sotise, no offense taken. The business/money side of the music is not what I would want to see discussed here either. We had to for a practical reason but it won't happen again :).

sotise said...

pierre im so glad no offence was taken.. i hope K ,FEELS THE SAME WAY.

and P,thanks for all the great things you have provided here.. this is probably now more you're blog than mine the 4 of you, so believe it i didnt mean to assert any bogus authorial authority.

the whole inflated second hand goods exchange buisness is nauseating to me, so it was more a case of a pavlovs dog response.

im in the middle of packing for a house move and unfortunately , the stress is so great i wont be posting for a while.

kinabalu said...


good luck with your moving (I ain't going nowhere)

points well taken (and certain actions co-ordinated with Pierre to the satisfaction of both, I believe).

Well, it's a bit of a fix, innit? As we're under the self-imposed limitation of posting out of print material, we'll have to deal with the second hand market in one way or the other (unless you happen to have said material in your possession from before). But I'd like to think that collecting is motivated by what are in the grooves and not by any fetishist desire for l'objet d'art itself. And for true collectors, first pressings, the right logo and inscriptions in dead wax are the only things that matter and sellers are cynically exploiting that type of obsession. But as the saying goes, there's a sucker born every minute, so if that's their satisfaction, I won't meddle in it.

Another drawback of this out of print limitation is that we rarely get to post new material unless it's distributed in ten copies among friends and relatives and their dogs.

One way around that is posting unreleased concerts (off Dime or similar). Another way, more controversial, possibly, could be posting "teasers" off in-print material with a recommendation to go out and get the rest. The point would be the same as with out-of-print, to draw attention to unheard music, but with the difference that it would be easier to find and cheaper to acquire.

Any further thoughts on this?

Braxton up next, out of print, unreleased, whatever ...

djll said...

I think some of you are mistaking contrabass sax for bass. It's a bass in the cover photo, and I can think of no instances where Roscoe played a contrabass on record. That's Braxton's axe -- he called it "The Mac-ette, after the Big Mac hamburger," which he was addicted to in the 70s and 80s. They are extremely rare (and expensive) instruments. You can compare the sound of them side by side on the Mitchell-Braxton duets record on Sackville (posted earlier on inconstansol) on "Composition 40Q."

John V said...

kinabalu-thank you so much for the tiny links. you're very kind to help this frequent visitor with a tiny brain...the music is wonderful! I have listened to the AEC for years but somehow missed Mitchell's unique vision.
wall of sound-thank you for your tips I'm not sure if I understand all you write (see above) but I am going to check out Flashgot! Thank you for your help.

centrifuge said...

firstly, this is a very interesting album, and certainly not an easy one (this is a good thing!)... thanks again to kinabalu.

djll - thanks for the clarification... it had not occurred to me that the behemoth visible in the cover shot above was merely a bass sax, it looks bigger than mitchell himself... but it would explain a few things :)

centrifuge said...

sotise, thanks for the album recommendation(s) - i have read about the black saint album before, i will try and get hold of that one asap.

best of luck (on dirait plutot bon courage) with your packing/move... i am in the process of replying to your email btw, but it'll take a while, there was a lot to reply to..! try and keep your spirits up... remember that leo smith concert you told us about, if life gets too depressing... and while i'm at it, your "parody" of musical analysis is just the sort of thing i like to read :)

Tantris said...

Here's a 10 minute extract, broadcast recently on France Musique, of Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell and George Lewis at the 2007 Saalfelden festival. I thought it was pretty good and worth sharing here;


If anyone has the complete concert, I'd be very interested in hearing it!

Juraj said...

this place is magical

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I am doing research for my university thesis, thanks for your excellent points, now I am acting on a sudden impulse.

- Laura

dgz said...


aslasl596 said...

Please remove downloadable audio and video files of Roscoe Mitchell and also the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Thank you for your cooperation.