30 March 2009

John Stevens at the Plough, Stockwell, London 1977

Following the previous John Stevens posting, here is a live set recorded at the Plough, Stockwell, London. The actual date is not entirely certain. The available info indicates it was recorded on 9 December, but it is uncertain whether it was 1977 or 1979. The pic is from the backside of another Stevens album which was recorded there in February 1978, so circumstantial evidence might point to 1977.

This is a quartet recording with the following line-up:

John Stevens Drums
Allan Holdsworth Guitar
John Taylor Piano
Jeff Clyne Bass

Two long pieces, nominally in the jazz fusion bag, but with much more fire and liveliness than what may be expected from that genre. Stevens himself is on overdrive through the entire set, overpowering the other three in the louder passages. I can't discern any specific tunes here, so the whole thing does sound like a fairly loose jam, but with some inspired playing from all concerned. Taylor is on electric piano, Clyne on acoustic bass and Holdsworth on electric guitar, of course. Listening to the entire set, it is a demonstration of the mastery of Stevens' drumming, ear very much attuned to what's going on and another proof that he was not in any way confined to the chamber intimacy of the SME.

Sound quality is fair to middle, so I've taken the liberty of scaling it down to a high-quality mp3, but not much is lost in the process, at least not to these battered ears. Seeded by "kinebee", so thanks for making this fine nugget available for the Stevens aficionadas.

There was a request for some more Holdsworth from Fent99 in the comments section to a previous post, so here is a set recorded for BBC. Basic info:

" Jazz In Britain "
London, UK
October 20, 1981

6. Announcer Intro
7. White Line
8. Shallow Sea ( Excerpt )
9. Where Is One ?
10. Prayer / Drifting Into The Attack
11. Letters Of Marque
12. Announcer Closing Comments

Allan Holdsworth - Guitar
Paul Carmichael - Bass
Gary Husband - Drums & Piano

This is a more subdued set, which is not surprising considering the absence of Stevens, and a more structured one as well with a small series of Holdworth compositions. Listeners may argue what is the best set of the two. I think Holdsworth would go for the second, though I am inclined to go for the first, but that's just me. This was seeded by "dabrooks" so thanks for this little relic from the past.

More Stevens coming up later, so stay tuned ...

19 March 2009

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet, Vision Festival NY 10-June-2008

Baby's dress [Ezio Minetti]

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet
Recorded 10th June 2008 at 13th Annual Vision Festival
Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, New York City

Broadcasted 10th Nov 2008

Taylor Ho Bynum cornet

Mary Halvorson guitar

Evan O'Reilly guitar

Jessica Pavone violin and bass guitar

Matt Bauder tenor saxophone and bass clarinet

Thomas Fujiwara drums


01 Radio Intro & Taylor Ho Bynum interview 06.49

02 JP & the Boston Suburbs Parts 1 & 2 12.31

03 Woods 20.14

04 whYeXpliCitieS 13.02

In my opinion one of the most intriguing proposal of the last years: new open composing technique, wide open ears and great interplay. This is a possible way of playin contemporary jazz with freshness and good ideas.

In the Taylor Ho Bynum website You can also find some images, a discography and other useful informations. In the website of the Firehouse12 Music Audio Bar, in Brooklin , the Ho Bynum own discographycal label, other interesting infos and a preview of an almost new and possible way of living in the music business today without givin' up to the artistical and intellectual belief.




With this unofficial concert I began the association of music and visual arts; following this way the suggestions of Follyfortoseewhat whom here I greatly thanks for his kindness and enthusiastic disposability

15 March 2009

Ray Warleigh at the BBC

It's time to do some more requests. In fact, I should actually spend more time doing requests, because it makes the whole selection process so much easier. This came from Olie who wanted a specific Ray Warleigh album which I unfortunately don't have. So, settling for the second best, here are two concerts recorded for the BBC with Ray Warleigh as a sideman.

Warleigh hasn't released much under his own name. His debut album was out in 1968, with sporadic releases throughout the 70s and then nothing up to this year's Rue Victor Massé, a duo recording with drummer Tony Marsh. The above pic is from an August 2008 concert with Marsh, courtesy of Sean Kelly at Flickr.

Most of his output has been as a sideman and the two concerts on offer here are no exceptions, the first led by Pat Smythe and the second by Alan Holdsworth.

Pat Smythe Quintet (with Allan Holdsworth)
BBC Broadcast
London 1980
presented by Peter Clayton

Pat Smythe - p
Ray Warleigh - as, fl
Allan Holdsworth - g
Chris Laurence - b
John Marshall - d

1. Letters of Marque 8.07
2. Announcer (Peter Clayton) 0.33
3. Reflection 5.56
3. Announcer 0.13
5. Out from Under 6.13
6. Announcer 0.25.
7. Steppes7.02

" Jazz In Britain "
London, UK
January 8, 1980
presented by Charles Fox

1. Announcer Intro
2. The Things You See When You Haven't Got Your Gun
3. Every Little Breeze
4. Sunday
5. Announcer Closing Comments

Allan Holdsworth - Guitar
Gordon Beck - Piano
John O'Whey - Bass
Ray Warleigh - Alto & Soprano Saxophone
John Marshall - Drums

As for the line-up, a fairly well-known cast of characters with Warleigh, Holdsworth and Marshall the common denominators, regulars on the scene Pat Smythe and Gordon Beck on the piano chair and Chris Laurence and John O'Wey (less known to me) holding down the deep end.

Holdsworth has got a huge name in fusion, but on these dates, I don't sense any showoffy-ness typical of the genre, but two fine cohesive outfits where the individual contributions fit the whole. Composition duties are shared between Smythe and Holdsworth in the first set while all compositions are by Holdsworth for his own combo in the second set.

Fairly good sound on both sets, considering the time, but a bit of hiss on the second. It's always a delight to hear again the eminent jazz presenters Peter Clayton and Charles Fox, whose erudition never ceases to amaze.

I've got one Ray Warleigh as sideman in the offing, but have to do some vinyl transfer first, so stay tuned. It'll be slightly different from these two, but no less interesting for that.

As these are fairly short sets, they're both in lossless, but anyone is free to post mp3s in the comments section, should one so desire.

7 March 2009

More Sam Rivers

Following "The Quest", here's some more Sam Rivers, partly from records, partly from unreleased concert recordings. Three sets up this time, which have one thing in common - they're all trios (as was "The Quest"). It seems that Rivers often worked in the trio format, though his older Blue Note records employed larger groups and he did also work on and off with even larger constellations.

The first one up is "Hues", a series of different trios recorded over a period of several years.

The basic facts:

Sam Rivers - Hues

Impulse IMPL 8007, (ASD 9302)

01 - Amber
02 - Turquoise
03 - Rose
04 - Chartreuse
05 - Mauve
06 - Indigo
07+08 - Onyx+Topaz
09 - Ivory Black
10 - Violet

Tracks 7 & 8 run into each other.


A. - tracks 1, 2, 3 - Recorded in performance at The Jazz Workshop, Boston, 13 Feb 1971.

Sam Rivers - tenor sax, flute
Cecil McBee - bass
Norman Connors - drums & percussion

B. - track 4 - Recorded in performance at The Jazz Workshop, Boston, 14 Feb 1971.

Sam Rivers - soprano sax
Cecil McBee - bass
Norman Connors - drums & percussion

C. - tracks 5, 6 - Recorded in performance at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, 27 Oct 1972.

Sam Rivers - tenor sax
Richard Davis - bass
Warren Smith - drums & percussion

D. - tracks 7, 8 - Recorded in performance at Molde Jazz Festival, Norway, 3 Aug 1973.

Sam Rivers - soprano sax, flute
Avild Andersen - bass
Barry Altschul - drums & percussion

E. - tracks 9, 10 - Recorded in performance at Battel Chapel, Yale University, US, 10 Nov 1973.

Sam Rivers - soprano sax, flute
Cecil McBee - bass
Barry Altschul - drums & percussion

My basic criticism of this record is not the music itself, but the limitations of the medium. As the average piece clocks in at about 4 - 5 minutes, you don't get more than snippets and snapshots of what I presume to be much longer sessions. Rivers is a musician that needs space to stretch out, but the snips do give a flavour or perhaps different hues of his multi-instrumental talents. I guess it's Rivers on piano on track 3, though not credited as such in the info I have.

The second set, from Foggia, Italy, is a sizzler, scorcher, killer; it fries, burns, cooks for well over an hour. No info on this one, but listening to it, it sounded very much like Dave Holland, though I was less sure that the drummer was Barry Altschul. In fact, one has to wait until the brief announcements towards the end to find out that it was Steve Ellington, with whom Rivers worked in his 60s Blue Note period. Rivers is obviously having a ball, ripping into a bit of scat singing at the end; Holland is playing his fingers off and Ellington is right on the dot. Rivers switches between tenor, soprano and flute and as mentioned, a bit of vocalising. You can sense that these guys know it each other by the ultra-tight interaction throughout. It reminds me a bit of the Buschi Niebergall trio I posted a while back in its sheer intensity and telepathic communication. This set is definitely among the best of the stuff I've posted here and one to come back to again and again.

The final set is from Warsaw:

The Sam Rivers Trio

Sam Rivers
Anthony Cole
Doug Mathews

recorded 6-24-00 at
The Warsaw summer Jazz Days

Coming off the Rivers/Holland/Ellington trio, this sounds bland to these ears; having nothing of the drive and intensity of the Foggia set. Both Cole and Mathews play a multitude of instruments in addition to bass and drums, but it doesn't match the 70s/80s concerts on offer here. Anyway, that's the first impression; with repeated listenings I may hear differently.

Dig in and enjoy!

6 March 2009

Ernest Dawkins - (2000) New Horizons with James Newton at AACM 35th Jazz Fest - [FLAC]

Logo and images copyright AACM Chicago

Collective Conscious
A Power Stronger Than Itself

by Hank Shteamer
- Time Out New York / Issue 658 : May 7–13, 2008

The common wisdom in American culture is that revolutionary ideas originate on the coasts and gradually migrate inward. But in the experimental-music sphere, this notion has been under fire for at least four decades, due in no small part to the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.

Founded in 1965 on the South Side of Chicago, the group gave African-American musicians reared on jazz standards a forum to explore their most ambitious creative fantasies via workshops, self-produced concerts and an atmosphere of familial solidarity. To call the AACM a success would be selling it short: Without the ongoing contributions of veteran members such as Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, as well as younger representatives like Matana Roberts and Nicole Mitchell, the international jazz and avant-garde scenes would be markedly less vibrant.

The AACM, which began as the brainchild of four musicians and has grown to include more than 40, has long enthralled critics and fans. But a comprehensive chronicle has been lacking. That changes this month with the release of George E. Lewis’s A Power Stronger than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music. Combining musicology with cultural history and candid reminiscence, the 600-plus-page book benefits greatly from its author’s own experiences as a longtime member of the collective. A remarkable trombonist, Lewis will perform with pianist and AACM cofounder Muhal Richard Abrams and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith at the tome’s Friday 9 release party, which also features a panel discussion moderated by critic Greg Tate.

Lewis’s close proximity to his subjects, some of the most formidably brilliant American artists of the past half century, was certainly a boon to the project. Yet as the 55-year-old author made clear during a recent conversation at his office at Columbia University (where he heads the Center for Jazz Studies), even being an AACM member didn’t open every door. “I hadn’t really met some of the first generation of the AACM,” he notes, soon laughing. “I’m sure people called Muhal and said, ‘Who is this guy? He says he knows you.’ ”

Fortunately for Lewis, the group was diligent in documenting its early activities. In addition to conducting more than 60 interviews for the project, the author drew on tapes from the AACM’s early meetings, which helped keep his narrative grounded. “The original members seemed much more interested in changing their particular situation,” Lewis notes of the recordings. “They weren’t saying, [Adopts nerdy tone] ‘We have to change everything about jazz.’ ”

Whatever the AACM’s effect on jazz at large, it has had an indisputable life-changing influence on its members. Countless testimonies in the book cite Abrams as a guru who helped awaken future masters, such as the Art Ensemble’s Roscoe Mitchell, to their creative powers. “I don’t subscribe to the mentorship idea,” the 77-year-old Abrams counters, during a meeting at a midtown sandwich shop. “Although quite a few of the people were younger and less experienced than myself, I think [the relationships] were more or less collaborations.”

Lewis offers a compelling portrayal of this crucial give-and-take between members, but perhaps even more important is his extensive unpacking of the collective’s critical reception. The book shrewdly examines instances when players such as Abrams and Braxton were denounced in the press for exploring electronics, extended composition and other areas that were deemed unacceptable for black artists, and goes on to situate the AACM in the larger 20th-century avant-garde canon alongside figures like John Cage. “I’m looking at the music landscape and seeing a lot of people running around experimenting in a very conscious way,” Lewis states. “But when I read the literature, I only see certain people being talked about. So you have to go in there and say, ‘Let’s put some new actors onstage.’ ”

Critical myopia wasn’t the only adversity the AACM faced. Lewis candidly documents various internal struggles, including controversy over the admission of white members and friction between the organization’s hometown contingent and those who decamped for New York in the ’70s. “I think I was able to convince people that it was better to let as much of it hang out as they were comfortable with,” Lewis says, and Abrams concurs. “We’re human, so it’s best that [the book] look human,” he states, smiling. “We’ve stayed strong because sometimes we agree not to agree. But we never lose the idea of staying together in order to produce the music.”

More than 40 years on, that idea remains prominent in the minds of the AACM’s architects, as Lewis recently learned firsthand at the book’s Chicago release party. “People had tears in their eyes, holding it,” he recalls. “I didn’t realize how long [the original members] had been waiting for tangible evidence that their obsession somehow bore fruit.”

Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians:
35th Anniversary Festival
Museum of Contemporary Art
Chicago, IL

Thursday April 27

New Horizons Ensemble with James Newton

Ernest Dawkins, leader and saxophones, clarinet, flutes, percussion
Harrison Bankhead, contrabass
Stephen Berry, trombone
Yosef Ben Israel, bass
Ameen Muhammad, trumpet, percussion
James Newton, flutes
Jeffrey Parker, guitar
Avreeayl Ra, drums, percussion

Unidentified titles no cutting total timing 56:21

Stefano Maltese - (1999) Open Letter To Mingus - MJCD 1122

Stefano Maltese

Biography by Francesco Martinelli

Since the '70s, Sicilian composer and multi-instrumentalist Stefano Maltese has worked in a variety of situations ranging from solo to large ensembles including strings and unusual instruments like harmonica and glockenspiel. He has actively explored the interaction between writing and improvising, and followed his own personal path inspired by music, literature, and other arts, independently arriving at results similar to those reached by musicians of other post-jazz environments, such as Chicago's AACM Amsterdam's ICP Orchestra. Similar to John Tchicai or Roscoe Mitchell, Maltese is very much his own man, and his aesthetics stem from jazz as much as from the rich artistic and philosophical heritage of his beloved Sicily

In 1987, Maltese set up the first orchestra that grouped avant-garde musicians from different areas of Italy, a forerunner to the Italian Instabile Orchestra. In 1990, he created the Open Sound Ensemble to which he invited musicians from different areas of the worl (Living Alive, Leo 2000), and in 1993, organized the As Sikilli Ensemble (the Sicilian in Arabic) to play his own articulated suites (Seven Tracks For Tomorrow, Dischi della Quercia 1997). His impressive CDs in duo with Marilyn Crispell on Black Saint (Red And Blue) focus on open improvisations, as does the ad hoc quartet with Evan parker, Keith Tippet adn Antonio Moncada (Double Mirrro, Splasc(h) 1996). He regularly collaborates with excellent vocalist Gioconda Cilion, a major song stylist and improviser (Sounds Of My Soul Dischi della Quercia 1995) and performs solo (Good Morning Midnight Splasc(h) 1998). In his town of Syracuse, he promotes the Labirinti Sonori Jazz Festival.

Stefano Maltese Open Music Orchestra
Alberto Mandarini (tp, flug), Lauro Rossi, Sebi Tramontana (tb), Stefano Maltese (as, cb, arr), Eugenio Colombo (ss, as, fl, bfl), Carlo Actis Dato (bs, bcl), Umberto Petrin (p), Giovanni Maier (b), Antonio Moncada (dr), Gioconda Cilio (vcl)

Recorded in rome 1999, october 26 and 27 in Sala B Radio Rai.

Pithecantropus Erectus
Pow Wow Mingus
Peggy's Blue Skylight
The Blue Meets The Moon
The Wings Of The Night
Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love
Love Call
Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting
A Stormy Night
Things We Said

Astonishing italian new jazz "all star" ensemble assembled in 1999 to celebrate Charles Mingus' 20 years after his death. In this deep tribute the predominant feeling is respect and a great knowledge of Charles Mingus compositional and arranging skills. In this concert, later published as enclosed to the italian jazz magazin "Musica Jazz", we find a selection of 9 among the best italian musicians in a program of six Mingus compositions alternated with 6 original Maltese compositions inspired to those ones. Even if this is an important and very fine record, perhaps is not the most rapresentative of Stefano Maltese's originality; but it's an OOP and a very rare album to find even in Italy.
My aim here is mostly that of pointing to the attention of a highly qualified group a name perhaps not so largely known despite the amazingly beauty of his music.

A Link to Stefano Maltese recording company website: http://www.labirintisonori.it/english/stefano/frame_stefano.htm