Ted Daniel: In The Beginning
1. Greeting (Ted Daniel)
2. Illusions (Arthur Blythe)
3. Folley (Charles Tyler)
4. Hassan (Oliver Lake)
Recorded at Studio We, New York City on April 12, 1975 (tracks 1&2) & May 21, 1975 (tracks 3&4). Released on CD in 1997.
Altura Music ALT1-412755217525
April 12, 1975 (tracks 2&4)
Ted Daniel (tp), Oliver Lake (as), Arthur Blythe (as), David Murray (ts), Charles Tyler (bs), Hassan Dawkins (ss), Kappo Umezu (as, bcl), Richard Dunbar (french hn), Melvin Smith (g), Tatsuya Nakamura (perc, tubular d)
May 21, 1975 (tracks 1&3)
Richard Dunbar (fh), Ahmed Abdullah (tp), Ted Daniel (tp), Charles Stephens (tb), Charles Tyler (bs), Kappo Umezu (as, bc), Hassan Dawkins (ss), Danny Carter (ts), Tatsuya Nakamura (perc, tubular d), Steve Reid (traps), Richard Pierce (b), Melvin Smith (g).
This may well be David Murray's first commercial recording. It also features a host of players who went on to define the late 1970s New York loft jazz scene. The CD included a short essay by Daniel on the music and its context. It seems to imply that these recordings were not previously available.
The ensemble was a horn-heavy big band characteristic of the time. I have to admit that I bought the record as part of my attempt to collect everything David Murray had recorded, but the music is perhaps as interesting for the contributions of others, and it's value is in what it tells us about the time. You'll need to make a little effort to listen to this, as it seems to have been recorded from a single mic in a largish room. However, the mastering is good, and the playing always interesting.
Daniel says he conceived of 'Greeting' as part of a suite, with this part conveying majesty. There's solos from Daniel and Lake, and it seems that the written theme was liberally interpreted by the players with some conducting from Daniel.
The far more interesting 'Illusions', seems to be a wander through the history of big band playing. As the journey unfolds we move through ensemble work, improvisation amongst sections, and some solos. Murray opens the solos, and although many of his mannerisms are apparent, and the gospel top notes shriek out, he integrates this with other horns, responding to their interjections. There's some great trio playing against a horn section riff. The ideas for the WSQ are apparent here. Blythe is clearly more accomplished at this point, and I love the duet with Melvin Smith's guitar. It's like ten pieces of music bundled into one.
Tyler's 'Folly' is very military and vaudeville at the same time. Some ensemble work and horn soloing gives way to a guitar-led cacophony cut through with percussion. there's less variety in this over twenty minute piece.
'Hassan' features Murray as the new boy on the block. It's my favorite here. Lot's of variety, multiple short solos integrate into a textural flow, which regularly congeals into a swinging ensemble style which then slowly unwinds again. It's easy to see from this track why Murray made such a quick impression on his arrival in New York; even amongst players with more experience on the scene.
This is more an intriguing snapshot in time than a classic recording, but I hope you enjoy it.
5 July 2008