21 June 2008

Lee Konitz Quartet (with Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley) Live recording 1966 Manchester UK

I've heard quite a bit of Bailey's work over the years, as well as seeing him in gigs in London in the late sixties, but I can't say that I've ever been a fan of his. I was surprised to see this recording pop up on dime. Knowing that there are quite a few devotees of his who visit this blog I thought I'd share it with you.

Details:

LEE KONITZ QUARTET

19-Mar 1966

Club 43,
Manchester,
UK

Lee Konitz: as
Derek Bailey: g
Gavin Bryars: b
Tony Oxley: dr

1. Carvin' The Bird (08:27) cuts in
2. I Remember You (11:56) cuts in + out
3. Out Of Nowhere (11:22) cuts in

tt: 31:46

It's no surprise to hear Oxley on this as he has continued to play "straight" as well as free jazz throughout his career, but Bailey was a bit of a revelation to me. He sounds like a Barney Kessell or Wes Montgomery or many other jazz guitarists of the day, playing bebop ! As for Konitz, well he's as good as ever on this.

Please be warned that the sound quality is not good, even for a 1966 recording, so this is one for the enthusiasts. As it is a short recording, I'm posting in flac only (sound quality needs all the help it can get).


I'm sure some of you will know something of the history, but I gather they both hail from Sheffield. This was my home town in my teenage years (about the same time as they were trying to make it there, though I had no interest in jazz in those days). At that time Sheffield was a grimy steel city, a most unlikely place to try and establish free jazz. I can imagine they were thrown out of a few pubs trying to play that sort of stuff.

Link in comments.

37 comments:

Boromir said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
doron said...

thanks a lot. seem to me it shoul be very interesting to hear konitz play with these people.

Wallofsound said...

Boromir, this is really great. Bailey's great as well (particularly in support), even if he's overshadowed at this time by Konitz.

The sound is a bit variable, but I still shut my eyes and I was there!

Anonymous said...

My first impression upon hearing these sides, which I've often heard about in passing from folks with little firsthand knowledge, is that the trio is audibly rankling at the chains of bebop convention. I think it's most apparent during Bailey's solos, when Bryars seems to get more rhythmically adventurous and harmonically oblique (some free jazz-y pedals here and there).

Not that any of this music is particularly remarkable at this historical juncture--what with some of the free Americans traveling to Europe around this time--but there are traces of things to come. I hears some Kenny Burrell, maybe some Grant Green in Bailey's solo work, but it's already sounding very rhythmically obtuse-- interesting punctuations, silences, and uneven phrases--and harmonically weird by bop standards (he tends to resolve his melodic patterns clearly enough, but man some of those lines are really nebulous-sounding). I'd say by certain clues in his articulation that he definitely has chops, but he just doesn't seem too excited too going through the motions.

-K Evangelista

glmlr said...

The most interesting thing about this piece of improvising archaeological history is that Bailey never wanted to talk about it. One can hear and understand why!

Anonymous said...

I recall Bailey mentioning his work with Konitz in his interviews in the Ben Watson biography. His recollections in that book were not exactly negative, IIRC, although I didn't get the impression that he found the stint with Konitz all that important toward his development. Bailey's observations on his early work were, I think, some of the only substantial material in the entire Watson book.

I'd think these recordings would have raised more of a stink when they made the rounds, considering how everyone dropped a brick when that Joseph Holbrooke recording of "Miles' Mode" streeted. But then that was a supposed disappointment, and the recent trio recording for Tzadik wasn't exactly the second coming, so maybe people are burnt out on the JH hagiography...

-KE

1009 said...

very very curious to hear this (speaking as a huge bailey fan). doubly so considering i enjoyed the watson biography immensely (albeit w/ a fair degree of tolerance for watson's orthodox adornoism). not necessarily high expectations for the music itself, but just to be a fly on the wall.

we can get too invested in ideas of "progression," or how we think an artist or group must move from one step to another. bailey himself was pretty dubious about this idea. change is undeniable, of course, but it's not always possible to see change as logical or unavoidable or what-have-you. my two cents.

Jason said...

thanks for posting this. i'm very excited to hear Bailey playing some straighter stuff. would someone mind telling me what Dime is? i've seen it referred to in several places now, but i don't know what it is.

again, thanks for this.

glmlr said...

Jason: "Dime-a-Dozen", formerly known as EZTorrent, is a torrent tracker on the peer-to-peer networks. Membership is hard to achieve, they don't exactly hold the door open. Most of its content is pop-rock, but it has small jazz and classical communities. It will not track any copyrighted material, nor mp3.

Anonymous said...

Point taken, 1009, though I think Bailey's suspicion of ideas of progression has something to do with oversimplifying the process of change rather than the idea that a musician can develop him/herself. Seeing how the "Holbrooke" section of the Improvisation book made this sort of point, then went on to deal with how that group developed over time, I think it's fair to look for traces of creative progression in this music.

-especially because, by this time, the trio was supposed to have been playing entirely free pieces. You could take the document at face value and chalk Bailey's tonal ambiguity and lack of fluidity on these recordings up to a lack of affinity for the bebop idiom, or you could think of these sides as a moment in Bailey's music where he is very audibly reined in but still edged into experimentalism. It is in a way unfortunate that the folks involved haven't seen fit to comment on the stint with Konitz as the musical results suggest an interesting creative scenario, even though the dissection of that scenario--and the psychodrama therein--might be immaterial to Bailey's (etc.) mature musical praxis.

As for Watson--good for someone who stands his ground and does some upsetting things, but the musical polemic in the Bailey book is just beyond nauseating to me. I understand that Watson was being "true" to the dialectical nature of Bailey's music by shoehorning tirades into the biographical work, but Watson seems more intent on constructing a manifesto/fan letter to Bailey than offering a substantive overview of the music. That there's a "story of free improvisation" in there is a total joke--the subtitle seems tacked on to accommodate Watson's penchant for rambling rather than to suggest a more catholic topical scope. WAY too much is left out of accounts of both Bailey's music (especially his work as a sideman) and free improv, and all in the service of including a bunch of politically overwrought condemnations of musciains Watson doesn't like. Apparently, Evan Parker sucks because he gets festival gigs and likes to circular breathe--what a CONFORMIST.

-K Evangelista

dave said...

I re-read the Watson bio earlier this year and never thought I'd be able to find something like this: thanks very much! All I want now is a soundboard recording of Bailey in the pit at a Morecambe and Wise show ...

Rev. Dr. Moller. MDMA, THC and BAR. said...

Not much I can say about this that has not been said above especially by Dave. This is a piece of history and I am grateful to you for sharing it. Thanks.

neil said...

Very late coming across this, but I heard Derek at the ICA in London in the early '70s and was gob-smacked. Many, many thanks...

SOTISE said...

NEW LINKS TO A SONIC UPGRADE OF THIS BROADCAST, AS OF 2-NOV 2012
https://rapidshare.com/files/1736147127/KON_BAIOXBRY.rar

john said...

thank you; I took the original posting a couple of years ago but am grateful for the improved sound. Historic.

JC said...

Thanks (again). Thought I'd said that before but it appears not. An upgrade will be nice.

toci said...

Thanks a lot.

jamespantsbiggestfan said...

The new link seems to be dead - would really appreciate a re-up if that's possible. Many thanks!

SOTISE said...

the link should now be functional
7-2-013

Bob Pence said...

"Download permission denied by uploader"?
I'd really like to hear the improved sound on this. I have to strain my head to hear Bailey.

_PoP_ said...

Yeah right.... download denied....

This blog is too good for missing the actual music material... but yeah it's rapidshare....
plz upload somewhere accessible, Ta!

Bruce Kaplan said...

Just introduced to this blog. It is amazing! I finally got to hear the OC Quartet with Ulmer!

Love to hear this early Bailey, but I'm getting the following:

Download permission denied by uploader. (0b67c2f5)

Hope you can help.

kinabalu said...

This should work.

RS

tonality12 said...

thanks kinabalu, I'm excited to hear this!

Bruce Kaplan said...

Worked perfectly. Thanks so much! As a longtime Bailey fan, I've wanted to hear this for years.

jasshoar said...

Any chance of reupping? Reading the Bailey bio & would love to hear this concert

Gavin Bryars said...

As the bass player on this recording I'd be interested to hear it. I once heard a short extract - we'd been playing relatively freely and Lee muttered out of the corner of his mouth "Star Eyes." At another point when I'd been playing in a lesser rhythmic way, he (again out the side of mouth) muttered "four". All three of us - Derek, Tony and myself - dropped into a much more conventional way of playing because of the circumstance - wanting to support Lee rather than impose. I remember, though, at the first gig we did on the tour (Sheffield University Students Union) he listened to me tuning on harmonics before we went out and said that his first note would be an A. Gavin Bryars

16 April 2016 at 00:58:18 CEST

kinabalu said...

Certainly!

Adrive

It would be great to know what you think of it now - 50 years later!

Gavin Bryars said...

How do I get to hear it? Is there a download somewhere? I'd be happy to let you know!

I remember an early edition of the Lee Konitz discography which listed the recording and had: Lee Konitz (sax); Derek Bailey (guitar_; Tony Oxley (drums); unknown bass!! That for me was the height of fame!

Subsequent editions corrected it... But I played again with Lee 20 years later in Leicester, though with a different trio.

Gavin

onxidlib said...

Gavin, you have to click onto "Adrive".
You will be re-directed to the website of Adrive. Then you will see were to click.
Download it and then open the file with "7zop" or "Winrar".
Now you have flac files which you can play directly with an approproate player (for free at the www) or you can convert them into wave files, burn it and listen on your stereo.
Further help will be advised if need may come up.
Best

Gavin Bryars said...

Well, I finally managed to download the three tracks and listened to them. It was very strange indeed to here myself 50 years ago - and for the first time. There are a number of things about the recording that are not exactly characteristic of either our trio, or of the way we played with Lee on that tour. The first date has been at the Sheffield University Students Union. I met Lee from the train at Sheffield Midland station and we went round to Tony Oxley's house to chat and listen to things. Lee knew that we were playing freely at that time and he had an interest in that idea too. So for the Sheffield date we didn't rehearse, just warmed up off stage (and that was where he'd heard me tuning the bass A and said that he would start on an A). We did play freely but moved in and out of his song repertoire.

But at the Manchester club we seem to have played much more conventionally throughout and I don't remember having ever played so much four-in-a-bar time for quite a while. And both Derek and Tony moved into older ways of playing - and they clearly could still do this (Derek admired Jim Hall at that time) and Tony was a supremely fine time drummer too. It was good to hear my old bass, a beautiful old English instrument by Bernard Simon Fendt from around 1820, that had lovely resonance and you can hear that even with the limited audio quality. In fact I'm surprised at how clear it is. And the tempos of the three numbers are very much of Lee's Tristano past. Of course one of his traits was a love of playing a limited number of songs many times to get more and more out of them, and he did quite beautifully.

I remember that this date was on a very cold day and I'd driven over from Sheffield in my old black Bedford van. In fact my brakes failed on the way down the Snake Pass over the Pennines, which was extremely scary. It was so cold in the club that I wore gloves during the sound check...

I don't know if anyone would find this kind of thing interesting but there you are!

All the best

Gavin

Andy said...

I find it interesting. Thanks for taking the time and sharing your memories. Andy

onxidlib said...

Me too would like to show my appreciation for sharing your memories.
I always thought these times must have been quite interesting.
For you maybe more in retrospect. Or were you aware that you did help changing the way the music was played and listened to > Joseph Holbroke Trio?
Thanks! Ernst

Gavin Bryars said...

It was a terrific time for me as I was very young when I started playing with Derek and Tony (19 years old) and they were very experienced already. But whatever other work we took at that time we were absolutely loyal to the Joseph Holbrooke trio, so that every Saturday lunchtime from 1PM was a fixed time on our schedules. The music evolved gradually from the sort of harmonic jazz around Bill Evans (and Scott LaFaro was a hero for me, as for many other bass players), through people like Coltrane, Rollins (especially The Bridge) and Dolphy. But little by little it moved into freer and freer territory.

We were certainly not aware of changing things, or even of the status of our work. Bear in mind that we were all in the North, in Sheffield, and had no contact with the London people or anyone else. And most of the music were we able to hear was either from records or on the radio. This, for me, as a consequence gave the music a certain integrity and honesty through its independence. It's a pity that there are no recordings of us playing the way we did regularly. There is just the CD single of a rehearsal of Miles Modes, which was quite early in the process and isn't really characteristic. This work with Lee started out with free material in our first performance, but more and more he wanted to go back to the standards that he has played so beautifully all his life, and at similar middle to fast tempos. I always loved the slow tempos - even in the harmonic days - and it was Bill Evans' ballads that first drew me into the music...

The later recordings from 1998 are more like what we did 32 years earlier. I have found the last date we ever played (in Antwerp January 1999) - it was recorded secretly by someone on a 120 cassette (!) but I'm trying to clean it up and hope to release it, with all its sonic faults, on my label at some point.

Gavin

Thanks for your interest!

onxidlib said...

Great share. Thanks again for your recollections!

I've listened to the "Miles Modes" rehearsal CD. But it's obvious - as you say - music in transition. And it is quite interesting for me to compare it to your later recordings with Joseph Holbrooke.
I wonder what you experience as the main differences between the music you made with the trio in the 60's and the later ones?

Looking forward to the Antwerp date.

Ernst

Gavin Bryars said...

I was unsure about how it would be to play with Derek and Tony after so many years (32) especially as they had continued to work as improvisers at the highest level throughout that time, and whether I would fell out of my depth. But it wasn't like that and we resumed in what seemed like picking up a conversation after a brief interruption. It was necessarily tentative at first, and that is audible in the very first moments of the live Cologne performance in 1998, but it evolved and by the time we were making the studio recordings it did seem very much like we were before.

There were some differences though. Derek, for example, said that he had never had to focus on actual pitches so much over the previous years and that the music was much less textural than what he had been playing since. Tony felt that it was like a kind of advanced chamber music and I found his playing much more subtle and refined than I had remembered. But the principle difference was probably the durations of the things we played in the studio, which tended to be around the 8 to 10 minute length, whereas the live ones (Cologne and then Antwerp) were much longer. And certainly when we played in Sheffield in 1966 some pieces were very long - over an hour in some cases.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely priceless - thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and reminiscence ...