16 September 2017

Art Ensemble of Chicago live at the Empty Foxhole, Philadelphia, March 1976

This is a repost of a post originally published here in October 2013. The reason for reposting is basically to draw attention to the list of amateur recordings made by "orchiddoctor", mostly in the period 1975-1980. Listed by "carville" in the comments section, this is a huge collection of live concerts by the Art Ensemble of Chicago and various spinoffs as well as other bands active on the loft jazz scene in NY and outside in those years. All together, it provides an invaluable insight to a scene that is not well documented. I have now the entire set, courtesy of carville, and the idea is to post all this material in the weeks and months to come. Needless to say, this is a huge project, but one well worth doing for the historical record.

What follows is the original post with all the comments from then:

This post was inspired by a comment from reader and follower "santos curser" who went to see the AEoC at the Empty Foxhole in Philadelphia in 1980, a performance which was somewhat "interrupted" by a young amateur saxophonist who wanted to play with the band. He was eventually escorted out of the venue. It occured to me that I did have some archive files of the AEoC at the Empty Foxhole in 1976. Two consecutive nights, 12 and 13/14 March. These were recorded by "orchiddoctor" and posted on the Dime torrents site by "carville". There were 67-68 concerts posted in all, basically coverning the 1975-1980 period, many of these recorded in snall clubs in NYC and beyond. For me and other AEoC fans, invaluable historical documents. When it comes to the AEoC, critical faculties are permanently suspended. It's all good.

What we have here are two performances, two sets each, both lasting close to three hours in all. There were some dicussions at the Dime site about the exact location of these two gigs. I can't add anything to it, never been to Philly and certainly not then. Listening to these two performances, it seems obvious to me that they were not recorded in the same place. The acoustics of the 12 March performance sound as if the recording is from a small club, closer, more intimate. The 13 March performance is from a much larger locality, spacy, roomy sound.  So my guess is that the 12 March gig is at Geno's Empty Foxhole, located in the basement of the Saint Mary's Church on the Uinversity of Pennsylvania campus. The 13 March sounds as if it was recorded in the actual Church which would explain the acoustics. Reportedly the band was delayed by a snowstorm, so what we're hearing was performed from four in the morning. Must have been quite atmospheric!

The lo-down:

March 12 1976
Empty Foxhole
Philadelphia, PA

total time 177:21
1st set 88:22
1 improv including Ohnedaruth and Tutankhamen (tape flip) 44:44
2 cont'd 43:38
2nd set 88:59
1 improv including Dreaming of the Master (tape flip) 57:15
2 cont'd 31:43

March 14 1976
Empty Foxhole
Philadelphia, PA

total time 170:51
1st set 88:51
1 improv (tape flip) 61:20
2 cont'd 27:30

2nd set 81:59
1 Reese and the Smooth Ones, Odwalla (tape flip) 39:56
2 cont'd 42:03

Much more from where that's coming from. I estimate my AEoC collection runs to about 200 performances, so I'll sprinkle a little now and then.

Collage c/o the 2nd First Look website.



kinabalu said...

These files are huge, so they have been uploaded to Mega, which can handle large volumes.

12 March:


13/14 March:


Pete said...

So excited to hear these (and more!)... thanks!

Andy said...

Wooooooh! Big one. Thanks kinabalu.

maghetto said...

is also my collection through friends DIMEADOZEN reached 200 concerts, so I hope you have something that I miss.

PS. in this site there are two concerts SAN FRANCISCO 1976 see if you're missing:

. http://www.concertvault.com/features/7368-uncut-art-ensemble-of-chicago-76.html

best regards

wightdj said...

Quite a dose, thanks.

davide said...

There is some confusion on the dates, I have seen them indicated as 12 & 13, 12 & 14 or 13 & 14th of march. Any clear info?

Ben Ticehurst said...

Many thanks, as ever

Vitko said...

The best. Thanks kinabalu.

Pete said...

Is there any chance of getting smaller uploads? I can't download the second one, it keeps stalling...

Andy said...

@Pete. See the comments 12 Feb 2013 in the Contributions section. That should sort you out.

Pete said...

Thanks Andy!

kinabalu said...

@maghetto: No, I don't have the SF concerts which interestingly were only a couple of weeks before the Philly dates I posted here. Thanks for the tip!

@davide: re. dates: The info is not entirely clear, though I believe I'm right in quessing that the two performances were in two different places. What puzzles me is if the first date was in the basement of the St. Mary's Church, why would they be derailed by a snowstorm and arrive late for the second date inside the church? Surely they wouldn't have left town in the meantime? It would make sense if the first date was in the main church and the second was in the basement. Anyhow, I've kept some pieces of the discussion in the 12 March text file, but it's inconclusive.

@Pete: I had no problems uploading these files, and no problems downloading the second one using the Chrome browser. I used Mega because it's fast and can handle bi g files and not RS as it's notorously slow for free, non-registered users and not Zippyshare as it does not accept files above 200 mb.

Carville said...

Just a quick few comments.
I am still in touch with orchiddoctor (he who taped all these shows) and can ask him, but i think I remember most of the details. We talked about those tapes for years and then he finally went and got them after being not in his possession for maybe 30 years.
I seem to recall him saying that some or all of the band members were staying in New York and were traveling to philly for each show.
I believe both nights were in the basement, just fewer people the second night, different atmosphere.

I think 3/12 is correct.
3/13 didn't actually start until 4am so it is technically 3/14 if that makes sense.

I love to see this posted here! I hope you guys will post some of his others as well.

santos curser said...

Hey Carville, say could you ask orchid doctor if he knows a guy named "Burton", or "Church" or "Cadoc"... if so tell him hi from Fcktiag

santos curser said...

@Pete as well,
I am just guessing but maybe try downloading on a computer with more memory,(ie a newer computer) it looks like Mega is hogging up available memory in its temp cache... but newer computers this wont matter.

santos curser said...

another thing i noticed on the downloads (and since i go cheap on ISPs and hardware... just try to max your memory) that about halfway through the first download it looked like the thing died for about 3 minutes, speed went from 300kbit to 0.0kbit.

so i was thinking i would need a shoe polish remover for my teeth for the last comment i made to you.... but then it started up again.... my ISP apparently didnt like that i had something downloading for so long and cut me down to inspect me??? i dont know,... but then the thing slowly picked up speed and got up to 300 again(300 does suck but it works) supposedly i have 3.5 meg download speed but i never seem to see it.
So the second file is even bigger than a gig ?? hmmm.

kinabalu said...

@carville: Thanks for the added info. I'll certainly post more of the club dates and also some of the spin-offs just to document the breadth of aec and aec-related projects.

carville said...

As a reference, here's a list of all the cassettes orchiddoctor transferred and then I seeded on DIME.

audience master cassettes recorded by orchiddoctor

Muhal Richard Abrams
5tet - Air + Roscoe Mitchell - Ali's, Alley NY, NY 3/4/77 (3cd)
5tet - Air + Roscoe Mitchell (set 3 w/Kalaparusha, Bluiett, Freeman, Dara) - Ali's, Alley NY, NY 3/5/77 (4cd)

Studio Rivbea NY, NY 5/xx76 (fm) Wildflowers set
Axis In Soho NY, NY 12/22/77 (Air Song played live)
Axis In Soho NY, NY 12/23/77 (Air Raid played live)
Axis In Soho NY, NY 12/24/77 (Air Time played live)

Art Ensemble of Chicago
Five Spot NY, NY 9/2/75 (2cd) (cass>reel>cass>cdr)
Five Spot NY, NY 9/3/75 (2cd) (cass>reel>cass>cdr)
Five Spot NY, NY 9/6/75 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
Five Spot NY, NY 9/9/75 (3cd) (cass>reel>cass>cdr)
Five Spot NY, NY 9/14/75 (2cd) (cass>reel>cass>cdr)
Empty Foxhole Philadelphia, PA 3/13/76 (4cd) (cass>cdr)
Empty Foxhole Philadelphia, PA 3/14/76 (4cd) (cass>cdr)
The Kitchen - NY, NY 11/27/76 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
The Kitchen - NY, NY 11/28/76 (2cd) w/Bluiett, Freeman, McCall, Bobo Shaw, Ajaramu, El Zabar and DeJohnette (cass>cdr)
Empty Foxhole Philadelphia, PA 1/28/77 (1st set only) (cass>cdr)
Empty Foxhole Philadelphia, PA 1/29/77 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
Bowie Out, George Lewis in - Storyville NY, NY 7/26/77 (1st set only) (cass>cass>cdr)
Bowie Out, George Lewis in - Storyville NY, NY 7/27/77 (3 sets) (cass>cdr)
Bowie Out, George Lewis in - Storyville NY, NY 7/28/77 (3 sets) (cass>cdr)
Bowie Out, George Lewis in - Storyville NY, NY 7/29/77 (3 sets) (cass>cdr)
Bowie Out, George Lewis in - Storyville NY, NY 7/30/77 (3 sets) (cass>cdr)
Public Theatre NY, NY 3/8/78 (2cd) (fm)(reel>cass>cdr)
Public Theatre NY, NY 3/9/78 (2cd) (fm)(reel>cass>cdr)
Public Theatre NY, NY 3/10/78 (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Public Theatre NY, NY 3/11/78 (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Corcoran Auditorium Washington, DC 10/5/78 (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Corcoran Auditorium Washington, DC 10/6/78 (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Entermedia Theatre NY, NY 10/7/78 (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Empty Foxhole Philadelphia, PA 10/13/78 (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Empty Foxhole Philadelphia, PA 10/14/78 (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Village Gate NY, NY 2/22/79 (Roscoe out, H Bluiett in) (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Village Gate NY, NY 2/23/79 (Roscoe out, H Bluiett in) (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Village Gate NY, NY 2/24/79 (Roscoe out, H Bluiett in) (2cd)(cass>cdr)
Public Theatre NY, NY 6/11/79 (1 set only) (cass>cdr)
Public Theatre NY, NY 6/12/79 (1 set only) (cass>cdr)
Symphony Space NY, NY 6/29/79 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
Baird Auditorium Washington, DC 11/25/79 (2cd) (?>cass>cdr)
Public Theatre NY, NY 11/30/79 (2cd) (?>cass>cdr)
Public Theatre NY, NY 12/1/79 (2cd) (?>cass>cdr)
New Haven, CT 2/xx/80 (2cd) (fm>cass>cdr)
Town Hall NY, NY 6/28/80 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
Cleveland State University Cleveland, OH 10/1/80 (2cd) (1st gen fm>cass)
Davage Auditorium - Clark College Atlanta, GA 10/5/80 (2cd) (cass>cdr)

C said...

Here's the rest

Lester Bowie
solo - NYU NY, NY undated filler on MRA 3/5/77 2b
duo w/ Oliver Lake - The Energy Center NY, NY 4/13/75 (2cd) (fm) (reel>cass>cdr)
w/Joseph Bowie, David Murray and Bobo Shaw - LaMama NY, NY 12/26/75 1st set (cass>cdr)
w/Joseph Bowie and Bobo Shaw - LaMama NY, NY 12/27/75 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
w/Joseph Bowie and Bobo Shaw + Malachi Thompson 2nd set - LaMama NY, NY 12/28/75 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
w/Joseph Bowie, Bobo Shaw, David Murray + guitarist - LaMama NY, NY 1/2/76 2nd set (cass>cdr)
w/Joseph Bowie, Bobo Shaw, Hamiet Bluiett - LaMama NY, NY 1/3/76 1st set (cass>cdr)
w/Arthur Blythe, Don Pullen, Steven Neil and Phillip Wilson - Environ NY, NY 1/19/77 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
duo w/Moye - Tin Palace NY, NY 1/23/77 (cass>cdr)
w/Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Myers, Phillip Wilson and Henry Threadgill - Environ NY, NY 2/19/77 (cass>cdr)
Sho 'Nuff Orchestra - Symphony Space NY, NY 2/17/79 (4cd)

Egwu-Anwu (Jarman-Moye)
NYU - NY, NY 2/23/78 (2cd)
11/18/78 part 1 only
Piedmont Park Atlanta, GA 9/3/80 aud master

Chico Freeman
5tet (Air + Muhal and Chico) Loeb Student Center NY, NY 2/11/77 (2cd) (fm)

Dave Holland
w/Rivers, Braxton and Altschul - Studio Rivbea NY, NY 12/1/72 (2cd)

Magic Triangle (Pullen, Moye, Jarman)
Tin Palace NY, NY 12/21/79 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
Tin Palace NY, NY 12/22/79 (2cd) (cass>cdr)

Roscoe Mitchell
w/Leroy Jenkins, George Lewis, Lester Bowie, Julius Hemphill, Phillip Wilson and Bobo Shaw - Studio Rivbea NY, NY 2/8/76 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
w/Oliver Lake and Phillip Wilson - LaMama NY, NY 5/23/76 (cass>cdr)
solo - Axis In Soho NY, NY 3/5/78 (cass>cdr)

Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton and Joseph Jarman
The Kitchen NY, NY 4/29/77 (2cd) (cass>cdr)
The Kitchen NY, NY 4/30/77 (cass>cdr)

David Murray - Stanley Crouch duo
Studio Rivbea NY, NY 2/25/77 (2cd) (cass>cdr)

Revolutionary Ensemble
Tin Palace NY, NY 1/14/77 (3cd)
Tin Palace NY, NY 1/15/77 (3cd)

Anonymous said...

Some of us do not do torrents. Thus, if possible, t'would love to see download links to some of these Art Ensemble and/or Chico Freeman listed here. Thanks . . .

santos curser said...

orchid doctor could still be the guy i know for the amount of tapes ... but i think maybe not..not seen him in over 20 years.


By the way I was not just interrupting into your accounting to say nothing...

I am currently getting a gem that i never thought i would find over on the "intoabluehaze" blog... Lester Bowies Sho Nuff Orchestra... looks like they must be flac, about 1.2 gig.

kinabalu said...

Good to hear that it has been posted elsewhere. Then I'll leave it out here.

santos curser said...

well I was hoping to get back here before anyone responded to my last comment...
I just realized that "orchid doctor" is probably the source of the sho nuff recordings


Carville, would it be too much to ask you about the fidelity of the "intoabluehaze" version of that concert?

Which reminds me... there was a Sun Ra show in Phliladelphia either Halloween 1980, or 1979.
There was in attendence as deputized or former Arkestra members, what looked like a 100 piece orchestra/arkestra (in my memory, in reality it may have only been 60 piece, 80 if you are counting dancers)

Now has anyone seen/heard of recordings of that show?

GotYerShoNuff said...

“What this world needs is a good two dollar room and a good two dollar broom”
(ya got to be in the "Post Comments section"... ya know what I mean?!)

Anonymous said...

I downloaded the entire Sho Nuff show, 1 file, 3 and 1/2 hours from here:

(or just go to the site and search on 'sho nuff' :

But my point is that even tho it is wma format (ie CD format) it is only a 60 meg file... real wma format would be more like 2.7 gig ... if i remember all that stuff right?)

the other one i saw at that other site is about half a gig in size...(and its broken up into songs) I still cant decide which is a better fidelity... need a few listens....Both are definitely "bootleg" quality.

Anonymous said...

OOOOPS... forget the Sho Nuff recordings!!!!!!

Other than the recordings giving you a fuzzy idea of how the shows went.. (for instance they were about 3 and a half hours)
I have not heard much on the tapes clear enough to bother listening to...
Or maybe I just messed up versions?.. however it would be paranoid for me to think only my downloads of the Sho Nuff Orchestra concerts are faulty... the concerts sound more like a bad copy of Sun Ra's "Space Probe" synthesizer than an actual 50 piece orchestra. The tape recorder might have had low batteries... or the music was so loud it blew the recorder away... I tend to think it is mostly the sound of a dead battery recording i am hearing here.

Anonymous said...

nevermind, my headphones were only plugged in halfway so i was getting just one track..
But even with both tracks this is not high fidelity.... at least it is listenable tho...
and i suppose the Flacs from "into a blue haze" are the best fidelity... of which all are very low fidelity recordings.

kinabalu said...

No, it's not high fidelity for sure, but as far as I know, it's the only extant recording of this show, so I suppose one has to be grateful for someone capturing it for posterity.

In flac, it's a little above one gig in volume and a little over three hours in duration.

Anonymous said...

Orchiddoctor here:

I'm glad so many people have enjoyed these shows. If you have any questions concerning them, you can ask me at orchiddoctor52@yahoo.com Please put AEC in the header so I won't spaminate you mail.

Anonymous said...

Also: the Foxhole tapes were both recorded at the same place--different seats. I'm sure I was first or second row on Friday and further back on Saturday.--orchiddoctor

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where Carville got his info, but I can straighten it out. I lived in Philly at the time. The snowstorm was on Friday and the show started only a fee hours late. By the second night, philly was clear enough for the show to start in a pretty timely fashion. But, again, every show I saw at the Foxhole was in the same hall. Taping in places like this was unpredictable--acoustics, location, sound system, audience, even the band. As to the dates, they are correct as per the dime upload. Everything was copied from my notes on the boxes.--orchiddoctor.

santos curser said...

Hey Kinbalu,
Did you ever find anymore "Empty Foxhole" shows?
The two here are highly professional sounding recordings.
I finally listened to them and believe i was at the shows the first night.
I have never heard the ensemble sound more amazing.


kinabalu said...


If you look at the list supplied by Carville up above, there were more in 1977 and 1978, in which case I should have them. I'd been wanting to post more of these shows, but been too busy in the real world to get to them. I'll put in on the to do list.

nikos said...

Would be very grateful indeed for a re-up of these..!

kinabalu said...

New links with decryption keys:

12 March


13 March


francisco santos said...


davide said...

a most welcome enterprise!

Nargile57 said...

Thanks for the upload, I also enjoy reading comments in the threads :)