1 January 2009

Don Pullen Quartet - Grenoble 1978

Happy New Year to one and all !

Pullen was an artist who must have slipped under my radar until quite recently. I'd heard him on one or two Mingus records, but not on anything else. He started out as an avant gardist in the 60s, playing with the likes of Guisseppi Logan and Milford Graves, but must have cleaned up his act to occupy the piano spot in the Charles Mingus band for much of the 70s. On Mingus's death, he formed a great quartet with fellow Mingus sidesmen, reedsman George Adams and drumme Dannie Richmond, along with bassist Cameron Brown (formerly with Archie Shepp). This quartet endured for much of the 80s and produced some fine recordings.

This concert, an FM recording (thanks go to blackforest for seeding) predates the formation of the Adams quartet, and is the same line-up that produced the album Warriors in 1978.


Don Pullen Quartet
Grenoble (France)
Maison de la Culture - Grande Salle
19780322 - March 03, 1978

Don Pullen p
Chico Freeman ts, ss, fl
Fred Hopkins b
Bobby Battle dr

1) 31:36 Richard´s Tune (Don Pullen)
2) 27:52 Joycie Girl (Don Pullen)....
3) 24:20 …u.t.

Much criticism has been levelled at Pullen, suggesting he was a poor man's Cecil Taylor. Well he can pound the ivories as well as the next man, as passages of this recording show, but I think he is much more than that.
Freeman is superb on this. He doesn't appear until about two-thirds the way through the first track (perhaps he was held up in the traffic). He plays freer than on anything else I've heard by him.

If anyone is interested in a solo Don Pullen recording, "Five To Go" is still available on fredito's now defunkt blog at
http://huppeshyalites.blogspot.com/2007/05/don-pullen-five-to-go.html. Quite rare I think, and well worth a listen.


Boromir said...



Tantris said...

Thanks - this is great.

Anonymous said...

Great start to the New Year, Boromir! Thank you. Fred Hopkins is still sorely missed by this pair of ears.

Anonymous said...

Don Pullen is my favorite avant pianist of all time!! To compare him to Cecil is a disservice to both of them. Pullen had a groove and a funk to his dissonances. Cecil really doesn't!!! Pullen swings, and could play straightahead with the best of them when he wanted to, as well as playing a mean organ too!
Five To Go is an interesting recording, unfortunately the engineer messed up big time and the recording is almost completely distorted. To hear an amazing, good enough sounding, solo piano recording from Pullen, i suggest 'Evidence of Things Unseen' on Black Saint. The longer pieces on that one are completely brilliant!
And of course, his trio album with Tony Williams and Gary Peacock, 'New Beginnings' is a classic of the piano trio genre. Pick it up if you don't have it!
Now i'm gonna check out this concert which you have generously posted, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year. Thanks for this and many other recordings I have downloaded. Your effort is appreciated, and as soon as I have some cash, you'll get some!

Bombshelter Slim said...

I can hardly wait to listen to this!
I believe that Don's very first LP under his own name "Solo Piano Album" on Sackville is still available on CD, I'd urge everyone to check it out if at all possible.

Anonymous said...

Nice share, I really like this group. I always wondered if some live "Jazz Warriors" would show up. There is a lot of good Chico Freeman with Sun Ra from around this time as well, including "Disco 3000" and many more. -TheSuperFreak

Anonymous said...


big thanks for this and many others.

Superfreak, if you could, we would all love to hear Chico Freeman with Sun Ra's band. For real, that would be great. Pullen's band with G. Adams was one of the best adventuresome bands of the 80s when so many others were wrapping themselves in the safe past.

The President Elect

Colin said...

Wonderful site, with so much good music, albeit that for a variety of reasons, a substantial percentage is no longer available, in many cases due to broken links - particuarly to mutiple flacs (such as here). A pity, but unavoidable.