2 June 2011

Art Ensemble of Chicago and the European Free Jazz Orchestra live in Frankfurt 1970

Some may recall that on the Church #9 blog, I contributed a rip of the "Gittin' to know y'all", a record on the MPS label that collected moments off the Baden Baden Free Jazz Meeting 1969. The gist of the title was the meeting of American musicians living in Europe, many associated with the Chicago-based AACM organisation, with a select assortment of European musicians under the general banner of free jazz. What I didn't know at the time was that there was a Gittin' to know y'all, part 2, comprising the AEC quartet with the European Free Jazz Orchestra, all happening in Frankfurt some months later.

So, for the sake of historical comprehensiveness, here is the piece, composed and led and introduced by Lester Bowie. He decided to rename it, considering the venue and the time, "Germany Unite", quite a prescient thing to say in 1970. Briefly, the piece can be divided into four fairly discernable sections. First is the opening with instruments on top of an orchestral drone backdrop, not unlike Gittin part 1. A quieter section follows with Roscoe Mitchell to the fore, here on bass sax. Afer that, a vocal section with Karin Krog and Jeanne Lee, both exquisite and freewheeling (the former was also on the Gittin MPS lp on a short vocal-only track). Finally, the ochestra shifts gear into a collective blowout, with Joseph Jarman in the foreground, on tenor. A couple of brief orchestral statements and the piece is over, a little over half an hour in all.

All good stuff and an extra treat for those who dug Gittin part 1. I sure did!

conducted by LESTER BOWIE
Frankfurt, 12. Deutsches Jazzfestival, 3. Konzert
March 22, 1970

Lester Bowie (tp, cond)
Joseph Jarman (as,ts)
Roscoe Mitchell (bs)
Malachi Favors Maghostut (b)
Frederic Rabold (pocket-tp)
Michael Sell (tp)
Herbert Joos (flh)
Manfred Schoof (tp)
Paul Rutherford, Albert Mangelsdorff, Günter Christmann (tb)
Dieter Scherf, Michael Thielepape, Joachim Kühn (as)
Axel Hennies (ts,fl)
Gunter Hampel (bcl)
Alfred Harth, Heinz Sauer, Gerd Dudek (ts)
Claus Bühler, Peter Stock (b)
Gerhard König (g)
Rainer Grimm (d)
Karin Krog (voc-left channel)
Jeanne Lee (voc-right channel)

1. Introduction (3:37)
2. Gittin' To Know Ya All (33:40)

source: FM


kinabalu said...


Anonymous said...

Wow, you continue to thrill with these sets. Thank you very much! MB

Anonymous said...

Thanks, ah, I like the way the AEOC builds up the momemtum; saw them first time in 1976 Willisau.

And, BTW, has somebody a clue whether all these MPS records are going to see the daylight again ?
rg George

onxidlib said...

Thank you Kinabalu,

as I never heard the LP "Gittin' to know y'all" I'm especially grateful!

@ Anonymous - some MPS LPs are being reissued now:
All Mangelsdorff - although some of them are deleted again.
Others are Kriegel, Pike, Hubbard, Tchicai, Gulda, Iréne Schweizer, Wolfgang Dauner, Clarke-Boland, Ponty and some others which I do not remember at the moment.
Except some Mangelsdorff' all are in print as far already reissued.
And I know for sure that others are in the pipeline.
Wether classics as - for example - Cecil Taylor's "Fly FLy Fly..." will see the light of the day again, is another question!

They are reissued by Universal Germany and a small company called "Promising Music".




kinabalu said...

Onx and others:

A rip of the "Gittin" lp is still available from:


Zackery said...

this is the best blog ever. thank you thank you thank you!

glmlr said...

Thanks Kinabalu. I think it's worth mentioning for those who might not know, perhaps for younger listeners, that when the "Gittin To Know Y'All" record was released, it provoked a considerable level of anger among European improvisers. The title was perceived to be offensively arrogant, a racial slur by black Americans belittling white Europeans as mere imitators, and an attempt to document their own self-proclaimed musical superiority over anything related to so-called jazz, over which they presumed possessive control, (notwithstanding minimal working opportunities in their own country). By 1970, very many European musicians had cheerfully and purposefully abandoned all the traditional trimmings of jazz, except raw free improvisation, thus they rightly felt mocked and insulted by the colonial mentality of the visiting AACM - AEOC people.

kinabalu said...

glmlr, I see what you're saying, but I do think you're overstating the case. It might have been perceived as such, but reading George Lewis' take on it, it was either meant ironically or straightforwardly without any ulterior motive. Granted, there was a sense of turf battle at the time with each side claiming their own uniqueness as Afro-Americans or Europeans, perhaps only to be expected. From today's vantage point, however, it all seems rather antiquated.

It is fair to say that Europeans were generally more open to the music of the AACM etc. than their compatriots at the time (and probably still are). Roscoe Mitchell has on occasion expressed his regret at the lack of interest in AACM/AEOC among the black community in the US.

glmlr said...

Thanks for your thoughts K. My only further comment would be that I take George Lewis' opinion with a pinch of salt. He was born in 1952 and thus was only 18 in 1970. In other words, he has no first hand experience of these events. I believe that is also apparent in his writings.

onxidlib said...

Interesting discussion.
I would like to add, that there was also an economical competition between those two "camps".
Although Europe was a far more "fertile" ground for Jazz than the country of its origins, the possibilities to earn some bucks were nontheless limited.
Plus the american musicians mostly got a better fee then their european counterparts.
The reason why there were communities of ex-patriate (Jazz) musicians in Europe - most notably perhaps Paris - were mainly twofold.
The much bigger kudos which the european culture gave to the the musicians but also the better income.
The europeans which felt that their contributions were for the first time (rightly) on a par with the music from their afro-american colleagus feared for limited possibilities.

Kind of historical irony - 'cause in the end the final "goals" of afro-americans and europeans are (and were) very similar - at least in my view.

upkerry14 said...

I just upped a 6 cds set of the 1970 Baden Baden Free Jazz Mtg I got from DIME some time ago if anyone is interested.


kinabalu said...

A final observation on my part to our little discussion here: glmlr says, implicitly, that had Lewis beeen there, his views would have been different and more credible. I don't think his personal presence would have made much difference to his views on what transpired (or did not transpire). When you work as a historian, in this case of the AACM, you rarely have the privilege of being at the "scene of crime", but you may at least have access to those that were. It is up to the historian to decide on the credibility of the sources, coloured to some degree by his or her own preconceptions, if any.

glmlr said...

Correct K. And it goes without saying that the reader is entitled to "decide on the credibility" of the writer. In this instance, I need say no more.

serviceton said...

Gents - interested & stimulated by the discussion. What flummoxes me is that ANY rancour or ill-feeling could result - merely from the record's title. ? ! ? There must be something more incendiary than "Gittin' to Know Y'all" as a source for ill feeling? This title represents a casual Southern-States-coloquial vague sort of general friendliness. There's nothing instinsically paternalistic/patronising in the language there at all, if one accepts the US vernacular as OK in coming from US citizens.
It strikes me that you would have to be extraordinarily thin-skinned (or have a linguistic misunderstanding) to take any kind of offence at the LP's title.

Ok, now I'll go off and read Lewis - even the liner notes(!) to get more informed.
One should do this first up - but y'know how it is. .