Sunday, September 27, 2015

Michael Mantler - 1979 - More Movies

Michael Mantler 
More Movies


01. Movie Nine
02. The Sinking Spell
03. Movie Eleven
04. Will We Meet Tonight?
05. Movie Thirteen
06. The Doubtful Guest
07. Movie Fifteen
08. Movie Fourteen
09. Movie Ten
10. Movie Twelve

- Steve Swallow / bass
- D. Sharpe / drums
- Philip Catherine / guitar
- Carla Bley / organ, piano
- Gary Windo / sax
- Michael Mantler / trumpet

Are the 'Movies' albums inspired by the silver screen? Many of the pieces seem to  resemble soundtracks.

People have said that about my work in general, although I think that's really rather simple-minded. I do like movies though, I see a lot of films and I am interested in them (even in writing for one , if the right one came along...). Yet for those records, it was only a way of titling something. I've never wanted to give music titles, so I started using numbers and all that. In a way a piece of music can be a short movie, since it is abstract and ambiguous enough for you to have your own scenario. That's why I thought the title 'Movies' would be appropriate.

How have they fared over the years?

The first 'Movies' album was really popular. But  the second one, 'More Movies', was a complete bust. It turned out to be the least popular album in the WATT catalog for some strange reason. I actually like it better in some ways than the first one!

This follow-on to the first "Movies" album continues the trend towards music with a strong rhythmic emphasis and a well-integrated ensemble. It's an example of rock-based back-beats being used to good effect with Catherine and Windo rising above the rhythm in their solo work, yet still sounding a part of the whole. Indeed these two dominate, with Windo's singular tone reflecting the synthesis of Coltrane, Shepp, Ayler, King Curtis and even Junior Walker ... In all a very effective record which shows that there can be life after fusion.


Philip Catherine, whom Mingus once dubbed "Little Django", goes primitive and plays piercing rock-blues-jazz guitar on an album that truly seems to know what jazzmen can get out of melting jazz and rock together - stark blues power, and brute impact for nightmare tunes written in black light. It's the most exciting more-or-less fusion record I've heard in years, haunting urban scenarios for the ear starring Catherine and raw tenor saxophonist Gary Windo. "More Movies" is a great record.


This is the companion album to the previous one called "Movies" released 2 years earlier in 1978. In fact I have them both on 1 cd re-issued by ECM Records. Also "Movies" ended with the song "Movie Eight" and this one starts with "Movie Nine". On paper it would seem that "Movies" would be the better album with Tony Williams on drums and Larry Coryell on guitar, but man I think I like this one a little more. Both are great ! Gary Windo is here playing sax so Carla Bley puts here focus on the keyboards and leaves her sax in it's case. She also plays organ which she didn't on "Movies" which certainly gives this a different feel. Mantler continues on trumpet while Philip Catherine is on guitar and D. Sharpe on drums.
"Movie Nine" sounds really good when the sound gets fuller. Some passion here folks. The organ floats in too. It settles back 2 1/2 minutes in then it ends with guitar and organ. "The Sinking Spell" sounds amazing with horns, guitar, drums and piano standing out. "Movie Eleven" is relaxed with horns and piano then the guitar and organ become prominant and the drums kick in. Contrasts continue. Love the heavier guitar led sections. He sounds like Rypdal after 3 minutes. "Will We Meet Tonight ?" is a catchy horn / guitar led piece as the drums pound and the organ floats. "Movie Thirteen" opens with piano only then it builds before 2 minutes. This is great !

"The Doubtful Guest" opens with guitar, drums and a full sound. Horns join in. Some nice bass before a minute as it settles back but not for long. "Movie Fifteen" opens with piano only followed by organ and a full sound before a minute. Nice guitar after 1 1/2 minutes and we get a catchy rhythm as well. Piano only ends it. "Movie Fourteen" opens with piano and drums as the guitar plays over top. Horns before 1 1/2 minutes and they will start to dominate until after 4 1/2 minutes then the guitar returns. Organ ends it. "Movie Ten" is a short piece that's bright and horn led. "Movie Twelve" is horn and drum led early then the trumpet ends up playing over top and the sax helps out. Excellent closer.



  2. Thank you for giving me a chance to hear these great Mantler albums! John