Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wolfgang Dauner - 1964 - Dream Talk

Wolfgang Dauner
1964 
Dream Talk



01. Dream Talk 7:12
02. Bird Food 4:28
03. A Long Night 5:30
04. Dämmerung 5:38
05. Zehn Notizen 5:40
06. Soul Eyes 3:58
07. Free Fall 3:46
08. Yesterdays 6:35


Bass – Eberhard Weber
Drums – Fred Braceful
Piano – Wolfgang Dauner

This is No.4 in a series of 4 trifolds released by CBS in 1963/1964.

Recorded on September 14, 1964 at Studio Villa Berg, Stuttgart.



First album by German jazz pianist Wolfgang Dauner. Moody, late-night sounds are the name of the game here. Mostly sparse, understated compositions that occasionally give way to jittery drum-led passages and disjointed piano solos. It's far more conventional than some of his later output, but highly enjoyable nonetheless. Features our favorite Eberhard Weber on bass.

recorded in 1964, this is one of the earliest German and European Jazz recordings, which symbolize the rebirth of Jazz in Europe, taking a radical step forward from the American Jazz tradition. The great Horst Lippmann, my friend and founder of the L+R label (named after the concert agency he managed for many years with his friend Fritz Rau), makes an interesting and quite prophetic observation on the album's original liner notes, which compares this piano trio with the legendary Bill Evans trio with bassist Scott LaFaro; he states that Evans and LaFaro revolutionized the role of the bass in a piano trio, bringing the bass to an equal level with the piano, and Dauner made the same giant step with revolutionizing the role of the drums, bringing them in turn to an equal level with the piano and the bass, something Evans never managed to do in his trio. Of course there is so much more to this album than just the change of the status of the drums – it revolutionizes the piano trio mostly by inserting the huge amount of freedom and space, while maintaining a perfect order and logic, not to mention elegance and sophistication.

As Lippmann says in his liner notes to the vinyl reissue from 1980, this album was light years ahead of its time and was fully understood and appreciated by just a very small group of Jazz connoisseurs, open minded enough to grasp its significance at the time. Even today this music sounds not only completely up to date, but also absolutely stunning, although over five decades passed since it was first recorded.

In retrospect this is one of the most pivotal European Jazz recordings, taking the Jazz idiom a giant step forward into the unknown (at the time), without compromising the tradition and at the same time bravely and unwaveringly crossing over into the European aesthetic, which was erupting at the time on the Continent, strong enough to penetrate even beyond the Iron Curtain.

This is an absolutely essential piece of European Jazz history, which should find a highly respected place in every meaningful Jazz record collection anywhere in the world. Thank God this music is still available for us to enjoy and not buried away and forgotten as so many of its parallels. The remastered edition offers a spectacular sound quality. An absolute must have!

Masahiko Sato & Wolfgang Dauner - 1970 - Pianology

Masahiko Sato & Wolfgang Dauner 
1970
Pianology




01. Everything 8:01
02. They Got Rhythm, Too 5:12
03. For Chinatsu And Regina 7:12
04. 3Thousand Summers 8:09
05. Jin-Juppo-Kai 12:23

Piano, Electric Piano – Wolfgang Dauner
Piano, Harpsichord [Electric] – Masahiko Sato



Masahiko Satoh’s fourth album is a duet with German pianist and composer Wolfgang Dauner. Dauner is one of very early European avant-garde jazz pianists, and he recorded the first free jazz album in Germany back in 1964. Dauner played with Eberhard Weber and Jean-Luc Ponty, and in the late 60s, he experimented with choral music. Being a passionate innovator and experimenter, in 1970 he discovered electronic devices and started using them in his music. He experimented with ring-modulated Hohner clavinets and pianos and recorded several albums for ECM. During his Japanese tour in spring 1971, he met one of the most advanced Japanese pianists of that time, Masahiko Satoh.

The five compositions on this album were recorded in Tokyo in March 1971, but were not released until that autumn. It’s interesting that a few months later, Masahiko Satoh will record and release his best known, and in some sense, legendary album “ Amalgamation” - an eclectic mix of musical genres and sounds, which was probably influenced by his earlier collaboration with Dauner.

Heiner Stadler - 1973 - Brains On Fire

Heiner Stadler
1973
Brains On Fire




101. No Exercise 12:17
102. Three Problems 12:00
103. Heidi 10:40
104. Bea´s Flat 24:37

201. Love In The Middle Of The Air (alternate master) 20:30
202. U.C.S. 14:30
203. All Tones 22:41
204. The Fugue #2 (Take 1/original master) 13:44

Bass – Barre Phillips (tracks: 2-4), Lucas Lindholm (tracks: 1-4), Reggie Workman (tracks: 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3)
Drums – Brian Brake (tracks: 1-1), Joe Chambers (tracks: 2-4), Lenny White (tracks: 1-2, 1-3, 2-2, 2-3), Tony Inzalaco (tracks: 1-4)
Piano – Don Friedman (tracks: 2-4), Heiner Stadler (tracks: 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-2, 2-3), Wolfgang Dauner (tracks: 1-4)
Tenor Saxophone – Gerd Dudek (tracks: 1-4), Joe Farrell (tracks: 2-4)
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Tyrone Washington (tracks: 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 2-4)
Trombone – Albert Mangelsdorff (tracks: 1-4), Garnett Brown (tracks: 1-1, 2-4)
Trumpet – Jimmy Owens (tracks: 1-1, 2-4), Manfred Schoof (tracks: 1-4)
Vocals – Dee Dee Bridgewater (tracks: 2-1)


Recorded: Track 2-4 at Nola Penthouse Sound Studio in December 1966, NYC; Track 1-4 in 1974, Germany; July & October 1973; September 1973 at O' Brien's Studio in Teaneck, NJ.




Some recordings should come with a sticker which states: for those willing to be challenged. German-American composer, producer, pianist, arranger and bandleader Heiner Stadler’s reissued, remastered, restructured and expanded release, Brains on Fire (which initially came out as two separate vinyl volumes in 1967, which are often rare to find), certainly qualifies for such a caveat emptor. For some, Stadler is known as an interpreter of other musicians’ material, due in part to last year’s remixed reissue of his 1978 outing, A Tribute to Monk and Bird, which was also put out on Stadler’s Labor label. Stadler has also reissued other titles from his back catalog, including 1976’s Jazz Alchemy (which came out in 2000) and the 1996 compilation Retrospection (reissued in 2010). This year it is time to reevaluate one Stadler’s most original efforts, Brains on Fire. This CD version contains three tunes never before heard and marks the first CD presentation of five other works.

One reason to listen to the two-disc Brains on Fire is to hear then-current and up-and-coming jazz luminaries dig deeply into material which spans the perceived gap between avant-garde, post-bop, tone-row experiments and European serialist composition. The eight long pieces (four per disc) were recorded between 1966 and 1974 and feature 17 artists (as well as an orchestra), including trumpeter Jimmy Owens (who worked with Miles Davis in the '50s and was a founding member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra), bassist Reggie Workman (notable for his work with John Coltrane, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Yusef Lateef), and future stars such as saxophonist/flutist Joe Farrell (who subsequently had crossover success on the CTI roster) and a young Dee Dee Bridgewater (a few years before fame found her, when she was still singing with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra).

Stadler uses several ensemble configurations ranging from a bass/vocals duet to a quartet (on four tracks) to a big band. The first CD’s opener, “ No Exercise ” (taken from a 1973 session but making its debut here) features a sextet with a three-horn frontline (Owens on trumpet, Tyrone Washington on tenor sax and Garnett Brown on trombone) with a three-piece rhythm section (Stadler on piano, Brian Brake on drums and Workman). The 12-minute workout starts with Workman’s arco bass, followed by Owens’ warm trumpet and then the rest of the group steps up to help present Stadler’s avant-garde blues which is shaped by a 12-tone row. Workman’s astute bass is a highlight during this spontaneously-surging piece, but so is Washington’s unfettered sax. Since Washington later left music because of a religious conversion, Brains on Fire is one of the few places listeners can hear the obscure sax player display the width of his skills. Washington is also heard to great effect on three other tracks. The post-Coltrane “ Three Problems ” (a 1971 performance never before released) crosses the lines between hard bop and free jazz, and is an often-chaotic construction with Washington’s lacerating sax leading the charge. Workman adds a transcendent bass solo, which temporarily ebbs the high-energy level, but for the most part “ Three Problems ” is almost 13 minutes of roaring density. “ Heidi ” has a slower, spiritual treatment and listeners initially may find this to be the most coherent cut, although “ Heidi ” also eventually edges to a tumultuous portion where written and improvised sections are fused to the point where it is impossible to tell where one ends and the other commences. The other quartet tunes, “ U.C.S ” and “ All Tones ” (both on CD2), are parallel explorative compositions which delve into variations on texture, phrasing and theme akin to Coltrane’s brilliant free recitations such as Interstellar Space or Ornette Coleman’s vitality-fueled Free Jazz, where the music is elaborately extemporized and not easily absorbed in a single listen. Howard Mandel’s liner notes advise listeners to let “ U.C.S ” and “ All Tones ” sweep the listener along and it’s a good recommendation.

Two of the longer compositions employ very different approaches. The 24-minute Russ Freeman-penned “ Bea’s Flat ” (a 1974 recording offered here for the first time) is a striking, customized blues given over entirely to The Big Band of the North German Radio Station, conducted by Dieter Glawischnig. Several band members are spotlighted as soloists (sax and piano in particular) and the full ensemble actually steps away at times, emphasizing single instruments. The result is somewhat like a meeting between Duke Ellington’s and Sun Ra’s groups. Reggie Workman and Dee Dee Bridgewater’s 20-minute bass/voice pairing, “ Love in the Middle of the Air ” (a shorter take can be found on Retrospection) is nearly as remarkable in a wholly dissimilar way. Bridgewater stretches, undulates and heightens beat poet Lenore Kandel’s minimal lines, phrases and words while Workman glides and rolls on his bass with perfect sympathy: his meticulous arco work in particular is an emotional standout.

Despite recordings from four studios and engineers, there is observable and high quality engineering and audio constancy over the course of the two-hour, eight-track project. Even during the most intense moments instruments rise out from the mix rather than getting washed aside, and when the heady musical concoction is confined to just a few instruments (like bass or vocals) the sound is wonderfully expressive.

_ By Doug Simpson
 (February 22, 2012, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION)

Hans Koller & Wolfgang Dauner - 1975 - Free Sound & Super Bass

Hans Koller & Wolfgang Dauner
1975 
Free Sound & Super Bass




01. Scarlet 6:35
02. Opening 16:55
03. Yin 20:31

Bass Trombone – Rudolf Josel
Drums – Janusz Stefanski
Electric Bass – Günter Lenz
Keyboards – Wolfgang Dauner
Sopranino Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Leader [Co-leader] – Hans Koller
Trombone – Albert Mangelsdorff, Erich Kleinschuster, Garney Hicks, Roy Deuvall
Trumpet – Conny Jackel, Ernst Lamprecht, Friedrich Hujer, Herbert Joos, Kenny Wheeler, Robert Demmer, Robert Politzer

Recorded live at Audimax Techn. Universitat, Vienna, Oct. 4, 75





German pianist Wolfgang Dauner (1935) was a reluctant pioneer of free improvisation on Dream Talk (september 1964) by a trio with Eberhard Weber on bass and Free Action (may 1967) by a septet with French violinist JeanLuc Ponty, percussionist Mani Neumeier, Weber and tenorist Gerd Dudek. Fuer (april 1969), by a quartet featuring Eberhard Weber mainly on cello, and The Oimels (july 1969) instead embraced the hippy age with an acid-soul-jazz sound replete with fuzz guitars and sitar. So inconsistent as creative, Dauner flirted with choral music in Psalmus Spei, off Fred van Hove's Requiem For Che Guevara (november 1968), fusion on Rischka's Soul (november 1969), with swing on Music Zounds (february 1970) and with electronics on Output (october 1970), all of them for trios with Weber. Dauner-eschingen (october 1970) repeated the experiment with the choir. Pianology (march 1971) was a collaboration with Masahiko Satoh. Dauner even formed the jazz-rock group Et Cetera, that released Lady Blue (december 1970), Knirsch (march 1972), featuring guitarist Larry Coryell and Colosseum's drummer Jon Hiseman, and Live (1973). And even more ambitious was the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, that Dauner formed in 1975 by gathering progressive jazz and rock musicians such as guitarist Volker Kriegel, trumpeter Ack Van Rooyen, trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, saxophonist Charlie Mariano, flutist Barbara Thompson, Nucleus' trumpeter Ian Carr, bassist Eberhard Weber, and Colosseum's drummer Jon Hiseman. Their albums ranked among the bestsellers of German jazz: Live im Schutzenhaus (january 1977), Teamwork (january 1978), The Break Even Point (april 1979), with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, the double-LP Live in Berlin (october 1981), United Live Opus Sechs (july 1984), again with Wheeler, Round Seven (february 1987), with trumpeter Johannes Faber, Na Endlich (may 1992), again with Wheeler.

Hans Koller & Wolfgang Dauner - 1974 - Kunstkopfindianer

Hans Koller & Wolfgang Dauner 
1974 
Kunstkopfindianer



01. Kunstkopfindianer 9:04
02. Suomi 2:34
03. Nom 6:29
04. Ulla M. & 22/8 11:50
05. Adea 6:21

Bass, Electric Bass – Adelhard Roidinger
Drums – Janusz Stefanski
Piano, Electric Piano, Synthesizer, Harp [Nagoya Harp] – Wolfgang Dauner
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Hans Koller
Violin, Alto Saxophone – Zbigniew Seifert

Recorded 21.-23. 1.1974, Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg.
Produced by MPS Records



Probably the single most Canterbury-sounding Dauner record. Thus, it's not AS innovative as his other experimental works (ie, the period from roughly 1969 to 1978), but that doesn't mean it's not an accomplished and enjoyable album. It's just hard to see something this Soft Machine-y as particularly innovative after hearing Output or anything by Et Cetera. It's still very much worth hearing.

This is so 70s fusion it hurts, but in a good way. I can take or leave fusion, but this leans enough on the jazz side to not just be another Soft Machine album.

But it's got all the great 70s tropes, such as eastern style riffs (Nom) and a busy electric bass, plus some crazed synthesized keyboards. Oh, and the violin, can't forget that.

However, where the Mahavishnu Orchestra cling to a rock sound these guys swing, and flirt with freedom in the jazz sense.

Highly recommended.

It should be noted that most sources credit this to Wolfgang Dauner and Hans Koller, while the album title is definitely Kunstkopfindianer.

Hans Koller - 1963 - Exclusiv

Hans Koller 
1963 
Exclusiv


01. Natalie
02. Blues In The Closet
03. Egil
04. Chordless
05. Stalag
06. Plädoyer
07. The Gentle Art Of Love
08. Muttnik
09. Painter’s Lament
10. It’s Over
11. Pagode


Alto Saxophone – Dick Spencer, Hans Koller
Baritone Saxophone – Helmut Reinhardt, Ronnie Ross
Bass – Hans Rettenbacher, Oscar Pettiford
Drums – Allen Ganly, Jimmy Pratt
Guitar – Attila Zoller, Ira Kris
Tenor Saxophone – Erhard Wenig, Hans Koller, Rudi Flierl

Nonet recorded Nov., 26., 1963 in Villingen - Quartet recorded Feb., 19., 1959 in Baden-Baden. First Mono recording has two more tracks (Chordless & Stalag) than the later Stereo issue.




Maintaining an interest in jazz (officially regarded as treason by the Nazi Party) and staying out of trouble represented strictly minor-league intrigues during the Second World War. Nonetheless, it seems to be consistently worth noting that this artist was one of the few jazzmen of German or Austrian nationality who managed to continue performing during the conflict, despite or perhaps because of his status as a member of the German Army. Born in Vienna, Hans Koller had a diploma in his hand from the city's noted Music Academy at the age of 18, one year after he had undertaken his debut as a professional tenor saxophonist. Koller acted as if he had one thing on his mind following the end of the war: swinging. He was already leading his own groups by 1947, evolving an ensemble with pianist Jutta Hipp and trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff that is considered to be vital in the newly developing German jazz scene.

Based on this description so far, stereotypers could stray in pigeonholing Koller as a modernist, putting aside any and all doubts concerning his relationship with the ousted fascist regime. Later recordings cooked up in Vienna during the early jazz fusion years support that image -- however, what the man really seems to have been at heart was a bebopper whose beads of sweat reflected an image of Lester Young, horn in hand. In 1953 Koller toured behind none other than Dizzy Gillespie, certainly one of the bebop führers, the following year hooking into a collaborative lineup in which postbop genius Lee Konitz approvingly noshed at a smorgasbord of suggestions from Scandinavian baritone saxophone hero Lars Gullin. For several years beginning in 1954, Koller joined forces in a combo with multi-instrumentalist Roland Kovac. Sandwiched in the middle of that run was a special Stan Kenton tour in which Koller enjoyed considerable room as a soloist. During the late '50s the reedman was associated with German radio recording enterprises out of Baden-Baden, staging ground for a nice classic jazz combo with bassist Oscar Pettiford. German jazz critic, writer, and producer Joachim Berendt shot documentary footage of Koller during this period.

The dynamic creativity of this artist was well documented not only through a series of recordings under his own name but in a parallel career as an abstract artist. His solo discography starts up in the early '50s and includes a 1957 effort actually entitled Hans Across the Sea. He stopped performing in 1995, at that point choosing to focus on his painting activity. Other musical accomplishments of note include the mid-'60s Zo-Ko-So trio with French pianist Martial Solal, serving as Hamburg's Schauspielhaus musical director up through 1970, free jazz rumblings back in Vienna with keyboardist Wolfgang Dauner's Free Sound Ensemble, a ballet entitled New York City, and a brass ensemble called the International Brass Company.

Marzette Watts - 1968 - The Marzette Watts Ensemble

Marzette Watts
1968
The Marzette Watts Ensemble



01. October Song
02. Play It Straight
03. F.L.O.A.R.S.S.
04. Medley
05. Lonely Woman
06. Joudpoo

Bass – Cevera Jehers, Juny Booth, Steve Tintweiss
Cornet – George Turner
Drums – J. C. Moses, Tom Berge
Tenor Saxophone – Marzette Watts
Trombone – Marty Cook
Violin – Frank Kipers
Voice – Amy Schaeffer, Patty Waters

A1, B1, B2: Recorded by Stereo Sound Studios, N. Y. C.


This is quite a notable recording. One that has received praise from both Destination: Out, as well as in Thurston Moore's top ten (14) Free Jazz Underground Recordings. But to be honest, why isn't Marzette Watts more popular. This is a man who had creativity flowing all over his body. A man who wrote film scores, created his own films, painted in the vein of the Abstract Expressionists, and created truly unique music.

The Marzette Watts Ensemble is a meditative, artistic vision. Not a wall of sounds assaulting the listener, but a metaphysical journey. Free, in the moment, and inspiring visuals of shapes and colors. The Ornette Coleman standard, Lonely Woman, hits the spot. Mostly because of the vocals provided by Patty Waters adds even more of a haunted quality to the song. And after the first verse, Marty Cook and Marzette Watts duo like it's the last piece of music they'll ever create. Maybe, that's what making music was like back then.

Marzette Watts - 1968 - Marzette And Company

Marzette Watts
1968
Marzette And Company



01. Backdrop For Urban Revolution 19:18
02. Ia 10:10
03. Geno 7:34

Alto Saxophone – Byard Lancaster (tracks: B1, B2)
Bass – Henry Grimes, Juney Booth (tracks: A)
Bass Clarinet – Byard Lancaster (tracks: A), Marzette Watts (tracks: A)
Cornet – Clifford Thornton (tracks: A)
Drums – J.C. Moses
Flute – Byard Lancaster (tracks: B1)
Guitar – Sonny Sharrock
Soprano Saxophone – Marzette Watts (tracks: B2)
Tenor Saxophone – Marzette Watts (tracks: B1)
Trombone – Clifford Thornton (tracks: B1, B2)
Vibraphone [Vibes] – Karl Berger

Recorded December, 1966.




ESP-Disk was a NYC-based independent label that in its short existence (1964-1974) released platters few if any of the major labels would consider touching: readings by Timothy Leary and William S. Burroughs, avant-garde jazz by Albert Ayler, Marion Brown, and Pharaoh Sanders [his debut!], underground rock by the Fugs, Godz, and Pearls Before Swine, and more. In `05 the label was revived by founder Bernard Stollman and old and new product hit the shelves.

Multi-reeds player Marzette Watts (1938-1998) was never close to the big time and is barely known outside of free jazz circles--but he made powerful music that stands the test of time. "Company" is not an "easy" listen, even by my copiously warped standards. "Company" is a fiery blow-out, a free-form blitz guaranteed to induce seizures in Tea Partiers and Kenny G fans. Melody and harmony are for the most part beside-the-point but the whip-smart playing of drummer J.C. Moses, who had an extensive background in more straight-ahead jazz, is the cosmic glue holding this session together. Also, vibes player Karl Berger has some luminously lyrical passages. A major reason to celebrate this disc's return to the marketplace is the sublimely raucous guitar of Sonny Sharrock, perhaps the first player to apply Coltrane/Ayler levels of "free" to electric six-strings. "Company" is an uncompromising trip full of haunting, anguished wails...it's a little dated and the nonstop ragged fury can get a little numbing (as I said: depending on yr mood), but it's still compelling and frequently cathartic. Not a disc for the free jazz neophyte but for the devotees of free jazz (especially of the mid-1960s): Essential.

Like many an album on the ESP label, this one takes work to enjoy. Also like many an album on the ESP label, it's the drummer who saves things and brings order to what would otherwise be a chaotic mess. The avant-garde jazz scene was ruled by percussionists. In a music whose whole thing was freedom, it was left to the drummer to drive things along, to provide direction while the soloists tried to put themselves across, an act that took enormous concentration. J.C. Moses cracks the whip here, proving throbbing backgrounds and spare, pneumatic fills to emphatically state what the music only implies. When things get too far afield, it's Moses who lays down a sharp beat to get the band back on track. Soloists include the ubiquitous Clifford Thornton on trombone, the workman-like presence of Karl Berger on vibes, and the leader on a variety of instruments. This is a powerful artistic statement by a man one wishes had recorded more often. Unfortunately, like his labelmate, Guiseppi Logan, it seems Watts will exist more as a reputation than a musician. Those into the time and place (i.e., New York in the mid-'60s) can't get enough of this stuff and are sure to enjoy this too. For others with open ears, this is a peek into a chapter of American music that is still criminally underappreciated.

Horace Tapscott - 2009 - Lighthouse 79

Horace Tapscott 
2009
Lighthouse 79



101. Acirfa
102. Dem, Folks
103. I Remember Clifford
104. Leland's Song
105. Acirfa

201. Akirfa
202. Niger's Theme
203. Stella By Starlight
204. Lush Life
205. Inspiration Of Silence

Alto Saxophone – Gary Bias
Bass – David Bryant, Roberto Miranda
Drums – George Goldsmith
Piano – Horace Tapscott
Trumpet – Reggie Bullen

Recorded Oct. 10 7 11, 1979 at Ruby Onderwyzer's Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, CA.



I would recommend getting this recording for "Leland's Song", even if the rest sucked, which it most definitely doesn't.  Horace Tapscott was a mad genius!  That song is so good that I can't help but laugh several times from pure enjoyment when he gets grooving. You don't want it to end, and it doesn't.  It keeps going for almost 19 minutes.  It's one of my all-time favorite songs for sure, even it doesn't sound as tight as it could be.  They obviously didn't rehearse that song very much.  Another point of interest is that this concert also features Horace Tapscott's take on "I Remember Clifford", which is not even remotely an avant-garde song.

Horace Tapscott - 1999 - The Dark Tree

Horace Tapscott 
1999 -
The Dark Tree




101. The Dark Tree 20:56
102. Sketches Of Drunken Mary 11:32
103. Lino's Pad 16:46
104. One For Lately 10:24

201. Sandy And Niles 11:17
202. Bavarian Mist 13:16
203. The Dark Tree 2 18:30
204. A Dress For Renee 4:57
205. Nyja's Theme 19:44

Clarinet – John Carter
Contrabass – Cecil McBee
Drums – Andrew Cyrille
Piano – Horace Tapscott

Recorded live at Catalina Bar & Grill, Hollywood on December 14-17, 1989.




Buried treasure, lost and found... pianist Horace Tapscott's The Dark Tree has only been sporadically available since its original, limited edition release in 1991, and the re-releases have been small runs. In the gloaming, fables have grown around the album. But as is by no means always the case with rarities, the reality here is as good as the legend: this motherlode of groove is a signature performance by a woefully neglected artist.

Recorded live at the Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood in 1989, the album finds Tapscott—with clarinetist John Carter, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Andrew Cyrille—stirring a steaming gumbo of ostinato-driven street funk and visceral, outer limits jazz. The title track, just short of 21 minutes, remains in 2009 a galvanising avant-groove of epic proportions: anchored by McBee's low down and gloriously resonant bass, Tapscott delivers a cadenza and block chord-laden solo of astonishing incantatory power.

An alternative performance, "The Dark Tree 2," included on the second disc, is almost, but not quite, as intense. Carter is blinding on both versions. Anyone with an aversion to clarinet, and they are not few, should bend an ear. Cyrille, who takes the third solo, is on fire. "Lino's Pad" hits a similar spot, despite some tricky time signature shifts between 7/4 and 4/4. There isn't a dud on either disc.

The Dark Tree's roots are diverse. It can be traced back to late 1960s/early 1970s proto-grooves like trumpeter Eddie Gale's "Black Rhythm Happening" and trumpeter Donald Byrd's "The Emperor," and the contemporaneous vamp-laden work of saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and pianist Alice Coltrane. Tapscott himself includes Cecil Taylor, Andrew Hill, Randy Weston and Les McCann in the mix. Politically, the music is informed by the Underground Musicians Association (UGMA), later renamed the Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension (UGMAA), which Tapscott co-founded in Los Angeles in 1961.

Anyone interested in Tapscott and UGMA/UGMAA will enjoy reading Steven L. Isoardi's The Dark Tree: Jazz and the Community Arts in Los Angeles (University of California Press, 2006), which examines the links that can be forged between jazz musicians and the communities in which they live, and the use of music as an engine of social change.

Horace Tapscott - 1998 - Dissent or Descent

Horace Tapscott
1998
Dissent or Descent




01. As A Child 7:00
02. Sandy And Niles 7:30
03. To The Great House 12:00
04. Spellbound 14:00
05. Ballad For Samuel 7:30
06. Ruby, My Dear 10:00
07. Chico's Back In Town 8:00

Bass – Fred Hopkins (tracks: 1 to 5, 7)
Drums – Ben Riley (tracks: 1 to 5, 7)
Piano – Horace Tapscott



This 1984 trio date offers a rare early chance to hear the Los Angeles-based pianist playing with New York City peers. Dissent or Descent offers food for thought on where Tapscott falls in the jazz style spectrum by teaming him with Ben Riley, a drummer linked to Thelonious Monk, and AACM-associated bassist Fred Hopkins. "As a Child" opens with nice melodic touches -- the piano may be mixed a little low but it's not a crucial drawback since Tapscott is forceful enough and the rhythm section sensitive enough to overcome it. The prominent role Tapscott's left hand plays in his melodic conception makes Randy Weston comparisons come to life both here and on "Sandy and Niles." "To the Great House" is a high spot, insistently pushing and jabbing, with Hopkins switching from anchor to doubling the melody to playing countermelodies during the theme. Tapscott doesn't strew notes around, his solo is built off melodic impulses over gorgeous chordal ripples, unfolding organically with sensitive cymbal support from Riley, who reserves drums for his solos. Clifford Jordan's "Spell Bound" finds Tapscott romping around the buoyant tempo and Hopkins at his best ranging through the middle. "Ballad for Samuel" pays homage to Tapscott's mentor Samuel L. Browne, the famous music teacher at Los Angeles' Jefferson High in the '30s and '40s. Two extra solo pieces boast a much crisper piano sound and a more expansive Tapscott. "Ruby, My Dear" starts gorgeously with rolling chords smoothing out the Monk quirks before Tapscott elaborates to show why he may rank as one of the most intrinsically fascinating solo pianists ever. The original "Chico's Back in Town" is another prime example because you never know where he's going -- the music unfolds as it happens (exactly as it should), with a fragmented start leading to pounding flourishes, forceful pedal work and a racehorse finale. Actually, Tapscott's playing with the trio is fairly muted, with more emphasis put on his formidable melodic gifts than any virtuoso turns. Dissent or Descent may not be the best music any of these musicians created but it's a good example of solid, tasteful professionalism.

Horace Tapscott - 1997 - Thoughts of Dar es Salaam

Horace Tapscott 
1997
Thoughts of Dar es Salaam




01. As A Child
02. Bibi Mkuu: The Great Black Lady
03. Lullaby In Black
04. Sandy & Niles
05. Wiletta's Walk
06. Social Call
07. Oleo
08. Thoughts Of Dar Es Salaam
09. Now's The Time

Bass – Ray Drummond
Drums – Billy Hart
Piano – Horace Tapscott

Recorded 30 June & 1 July, 1996 at Eastside Sound, NYC.



The final album by West Coast pianist and composer Horace Tapscott is one of sublime gentility, reaching harmonic elegance and meditative grace. Accompanied by Billy Hart on drums and bassist Ray Drummond, Tapscott moves through five compositions by others -- including Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time"; Sonny Rollins' "Oleo"; and Gig Gryce's "Social Call," as well as Thurman Greene's "Lullaby in Black" -- and adds four of his own to a set that is unusually devoid of odd time signatures and floating rhythmic techniques. There is a gorgeous waltz in "As a Child" that is big on rigorous attention to harmonic detail and not lilting danceability. Also, during the title track, Hart and Drummond move the four-four time signature into reversals of two-four or six-four and accent the living hell out of every turnaround in the score. Another notable track is the inventive chorded cascades Tapscott lays down in "Bibi Mkuu: The Great Black Lady," where he moves from a restatement of Ramsey Lewis' early version of "Wade in the Water" to an inversion of rhythmic pulse and melody, digging into the middle register for large open chords and angular arpeggios that point back to that source. The tuner rings with authority. If Tapscott would have had more time, there is no telling where he would have gone. Maybe he would have stayed in the same place he'd stayed for 30 years, helping out younger musicians from L.A. But with playing and composition like this, rattling the cage of the neo-trad punks, it's hard to believe they could have overlooked him forever.

Horace Tapscott - 1995 - Aiee The Phantom

Horace Tapscott 
1995
Aiee The Phantom




01. To The Great House 7:48
02. The Goat And Ram Jam 8:51
03. Aiee! The Phantom 10:28
04. Drunken Mary / Mary On Sunday 9:25
05. Inspiration Of Silence 6:37
06. Mothership 15:49


Alto Saxophone – Abraham Burton
Bass – Reggie Workman
Drums – Andrew Cyrille
Piano – Horace Tapscott
Trumpet – Marcus Belgrave

Recorded June 1995 at Systems Two Recording Studios, Brooklyn, NY.



Pianist-composer Horace Tapscott has long been Los Angeles' great local legend. He has had his own sound and style since the mid-1960's but, due to his relatively few recordings (mostly for Nimbus) and his desire to live in L.A. rather than New York, he has long been underrated if not completely overlooked. Falling between post bop and the avant-garde, Tapscott plays locally with a blazing (if thus far undocumented) quartet that includes saxophonist Michael Sessions. Recently he recorded Aiee! The Phantom with an all-star quintet including trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, altoist Abraham Burton, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille. Tapscott performs four of his modal-based originals and a pair of obscurities quite freely but with attention paid to the moods of the compositions. Highlights include "Drunk Mary/Mary On Sunday," "To The Great House" and the adventurous "Mothership." Perhaps this recording (available from Arabesque) will alert the rest of the jazz world as to the strong talents of the great veteran Horace Tapscott.

Horace Tapscott - 1983 - Faith

Horace Tapscott 
1983 
Faith




01. Sketches Of Drunken Mary
02. Faith
03. Yesterday's Sunset
04. As A Child

Bass – Roberto Miranda
Cello – Louis Spears
Drums – Everett Brown Jr.
Piano – Horace Tapscott
Violin – Melvin Moore

Recorded on August 12 & 13, 1983 in Hollywood, California.




While Los Angeles is the power center of the popular music industry, it's always been a backwater as far as jazz is concerned. That's not because L.A. hasn't produced more than it's share of great players: a roll call of major players who made L.A. their home at some point would include Art Pepper, Dexter Gordon, Ornette Coleman, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, and Charles Mingus, among many others. L.A.'s second-class status in the jazz world probably has more to do with the fact that it's about as geographically distant from the music's capitol - New York City - as is possible while still remaining on the same continent. Given the fact that, over the last several decades, New York critics have become probably the most provincial in jazzdom, it's little wonder that so many great California-based musicians are less critically vaunted than they might justifiably be. Simply put, being famous is not something a jazz musician from Los Angeles can count on. Horace Tapscott was the quintessence of the neglected Californian. Tapscott was a powerful, highly individual, bop-tinged pianist with avant-garde leanings; a legend and something of a father figure to latter generations of L.A.-based free jazz players, Tapscott labored mostly on the fringes of the critical mainstream, recording prolifically, but mostly for the small, poorly distributed Nimbus label. The quality of the music on those releases, however, was almost invariably high. His pianistic technique was hard and percussive, likened by some to that of Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols and every bit as distinctive. In contexts ranging from freely improvised duos to highly arranged big bands, Tapscott exhibited a solo and compositional voice that was his own.

Tapscott was born in Houston, TX, to a musical family. His mother, Mary Malone Tapscott, was a professional singer and pianist. At the age of nine, Tapscott moved with his family to Los Angeles. Tapscott reached maturity at a critical time in the history of L.A. jazz. The late '40s saw musicians the caliber of Dexter Gordon, Art Tatum, and Coleman Hawkins play the city's Central Avenue clubs with regularity; Charlie Parker also made the city home for a brief - and infamous - period. Saxophonist Buddy Collette and drummer Gerald Wilson were friends of the family. In his teens, Tapscott studied music with Dr. Samuel Brown and Lloyd Reese (students of the latter also included saxophonists Frank Morgan and Eric Dolphy). Tapscott studied trombone and piano. He graduated from Jefferson High School in 1952. He enlisted in the Air Force and played in a service band while stationed in Wyoming. After his discharge, Tapscott returned to Los Angeles, where he worked freelance. A stint as a trombonist with Lionel Hampton's big band took Tapscott to New York in 1959, where he was introduced by Eric Dolphy to John Coltrane. After a brief period in the city, Tapscott moved back to L.A. Around this time, Tapscott began concentrating on the piano. In the '60s, Tapscott became involved with the jazz avant-garde and community activism. In 1961, he helped found the Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension, which eventually spawned his Pan-African People's Arkestra. Both groups were designed to further the interests of creative young black jazz musicians. In 1968, Tapscott composed and arranged music for an acclaimed LP by the saxophonist Sonny Criss entitled The Birth of the New Cool. He had also begun leading a small group that included the soon-to-be-famous alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe. This band produced Tapscott's first album as a leader, The Giant Is Awakened, in 1969. Tapscott spent the next decade playing his own music and working in the community. His activism got him labeled as a troublemaker by many in the musical establishment. Paying gigs were scarce in the '70s, although Tapscott continued to create, performing at Parks and Recreation events and in churches around Watts. During this period, his only regular gig was at the Troubador on L.A.'s Restaurant Row. In 1977, Tapscott revived the dormant Pan-Afrikan People's Arkestra. The band became a multidisciplinary troupe, combining music with dance and poetry. The group came to the attention of producer Tom Albach, who began recording Tapscott for the Nimbus label. The long succession of albums to follow would become the basis of the pianist/composer's small but growing reputation. Albach also booked European tours for Tapscott, thus exposing his music worldwide. In 1979, Tapscott recorded with drummer Roy Haynes and bassist Art Taylor. In the '80s, Tapscott continued to flourish creatively as he continued to record for Nimbus (and in 1989, Hat Art) and perform both at home and abroad. In 1994, Tapscott took the entire Arkestra on a tour of Europe, with Blythe as a featured soloist. In the '90s, Tapscott had the opportunity - long denied - of recording for a well-distributed domestic label. Arabesque issued aiee! the Phantom, a quintet date that featured bassist Reggie Workman, drummer Andrew Cyrille, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, and alto saxophonist Abraham Burton. Arabesque followed that with Thoughts of Dar-Es Salaam (1997), a trio set that included bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Billy Hart. At the time of his death in 1999 of lung cancer, it seemed that Tapscott's work was finally beginning to receive the attention it deserved.

Horace Tapscott - 1983 - Dial 'B' For Barbra

Horace Tapscott 
1983 
Dial 'B' For Barbra




01. Lately's Solo 10:30
02. Dial 'B' For Barbra 9:47
03. Dem' Folks 19:37

Drums, Percussion – Everett Brown Jr.
Piano – Horace Tapscott
Saxophone [Alto, Soprano] – Gary Bias
Saxophone [Tenor] – Sabir Matteen
Trumpet – Reggie Bullen
Violin [Bass] – Roberto Miguel Miranda



The best of pianist Horace Tapscott's recordings for the tiny Nimbus label is this 1981 LP which features him in a sextet with trumpeter Reggie Bullen, altoist Gary Bias, tenor saxophonist Sabir Matteen, bassist Roberto Miranda and drummer Everett Brown, Jr. The group stretches out on a couple of Tapscott's originals plus a 19½-minute version of Linda Hill's "Dem Folks." Although the music could be called avant-garde, its use of rhythms and repetition keep the results from being forbidding and the performances have a momentum of their own.

Horace Tapscott - 1981 - Live At Lobero

Horace Tapscott 
1981 
Live At Lobero


101. Inception 29:10
102. Sketches Of Drunken Mary 10:42
103. Raisha's New Hip Dance 8:28
104. The Dark Tree 21:05

201. Lino´s Pad 13:00
202. Close To Freedom 5:30
203. St. Michael 22:00

Bass – Roberto Miranda
Percussion – Sonship
Piano – Horace Tapscott

This concert was recorded on November 12, 1981 in the Lobero Theater, Santa Barbara, California.

The Lobero Theatre was built in 1872 by Jose Lobero, a local composer and musician. It is presently owned by the community and run as a non-profit entity.




Pianist Horace Tapscott is always at his best when he is leading a trio. This rare outing features Tapscott with his longtime bassist Roberto Miranda and drummer Sonship on three extended performances including Tapscott's colorful "Sketches Of Drunken Mary" and a 21-minute version of "The Dark Tree." Hopefully this valuable Lp will someday be reissued on CD for Tapscott has made too few recordings during his long career.

Years after his premature death, the tirelessly innovative pianist Horace Tapscott remains something of a secret. This long-awaited reissue of a 1981 performance will undoubtedly please his modest yet ardent fan base. But the highly charged atmosphere and outstanding trio interplay also make this disc an easy recommendation for adventurous listeners of all stripes.

The opener, “Inception,” is a lengthy piece left off the original LP. A meditative African percussion jam develops over the first ten minutes, eventually giving way to a series of soundscapes. Tapscott’s piano churns up stormy, tumbling waves, then recedes to bleak tragedy. Bassist Roberto Miranda, using his bow throughout the piece, renders an expressive sketch full of low turbulence, and Sonship Theus is virtuosic and eloquent on drums. Each player picks up ideas from the others, often repeating and evolving rhythmic phrases.

“Sketches of Drunken Mary” moves from a relaxed dance to a cyclone, with pianistic swirls and leaps, sour yet muscular bass work and a volcanic drum solo. “Raisha’s New Hip Dance” finds Tapscott alone, drawing hints of ragtime, mechanistic trills and chattery descending phrases from a moody, elusive theme.

“Dark Tree” is an electrifying and fitting closer. Growing from a four-note riff and a conga-line beat, the piece soon finds the full trio slapping the rhythm around. Miranda and Theus each take arresting, extended solos until that initial riff claws its way back, finally emerging to ride the CD home on a triumphant groove.

Horace Tapscott - 1980 - Autumn Colours

Horace Tapscott
1980 
Autumn Colours



01. Blues For Dee II
02. Dee Bee's Dance
03. Autumn Colors
04. J.O.B.

Recorded in Hollywood, May 3, 1980

Bass – David Bryant
Drums – Everett Brown Jr.
Piano – Horace Tapscott


Los Angeles-based pianist Horace Tapscott (1934) was something of a moral leader for California's free-jazz community. In 1959 he established the multimedia Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra and in 1961 he helped create the Underground Musicians' Association (UGMA), but nothing surfaced on record. A quintet featuring alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe recorded the four jams of The Giant Is Awakened (april 1969), also known as West Coast Hot. The solo piano album Songs of the Unsung (february 1978), full of covers, was hardly representative of his compositional genius or his rhythmically eccentric style. The Arkestra (two pianos, six reeds, two trombones, tuba, cello, two basses and two percussionists) was finally documented on Flight 17 (april 1978), that includes no Tapscott compositions, and The Call (april 1978), mostly composed by Tapscott. Besides a trio with bassist Art Davis and drummer Roy Haynes, In New York (january 1979), and the other trios of Autumn Colors (may 1980), and Dissent or Descent (1984), and the duo with a drummer of At the Crossroads (1980), his art was best represented on the two original pieces of Dial B for Barbara (1981) for a sextet (piano, trumpet, two saxophones, bass and drums).

Horace Tapscott - 1979 - LIVE at I.U.C.C

Horace Tapscott 
1979
LIVE at I.U.C.C



01. Macrame
02. Future Sally’s Time
03. Noissessprahs
04. McKowsky’s First Fifth
05. Village Dance
06. L.T.T.
07. Desert Fairy Princess
08. Lift Every Voice

Horace Tapscott: piano
Jesse Sharps: soprano saxophone
Sabir Mateen: tenor saxophone
James Andrews: tenor saxophone
Michael Session: alto saxophone
Kafi Roberts: flute
Herbert Callies: alto clarinet
David Bryant: bass
Alan Hines: bass
Everett Brown, Jr.: drums
Adele Sebastian: flute
Billy Harris: soprano and tenor saxophones
Daa’oud Woods: percussions
Red Callendar: tuba
Lester Robertson: trombone
John Williams: baritone saxophone
Aubrey Hart: flute
Roberto Miranda: bass
Billy Hinton: drums
Linda Hill: piano
Desta Walker: tenor saxophone
Mike Daniels: percussions
Louis Spears: cello


Recorded February to June 1979 at the Imannuel United Church of Christ, 85th and Holmes, Los Angeles.The U.G.M.A.A (Union Of God's Musicians & Artists Ascension) Foundation was involved.



Pianist Horace Tapscott together with his Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra playing some fantastic Sun Ra influenced jazz.Reverential in tone the music was written by Tapscott to be played in church(the I.U.C.C).Almost all of the tracks are long sprawling numbers held together by a heavy driving African rhythm.No where is this more evident than on Village Dance.I do not seem to listen to this record enough for some reason but every time I do I let it play right through and always hear something new which is testament to the players.L.T.T showcases some of Tapscott's best playing on the set.All lovers of Sun Ra and Impulse! period Sanders should get hold of a copy of this forgotten gem.

Horace Tapscott - 1979 - In New York

Horace Tapscott 
1979
In New York




01. Akirfa 9:21
02. Lino’s Pad 10:02
03. Sketches Of Drunken Mary 9:16
04. If You Could See Me Now 10:28

Bass – Art Davis
Drums – Roy Haynes
Piano – Horace Tapscott



The Max Roach Trio featuring the Legendary Hasaan completely blew me away when I first heard it.  This Horace Tapscott performance is similar in many ways.  Horace Tapscott is as savagely underappreciated as Hasaan Ibn Ali when it comes to pianists but at least he was recorded more than JUST ONCE.   Both recordings are by a piano/bass/drums Jazz trio.  Bassist Art Davis is common to both.  A trade-off of drummer Max Roach for Roy Haynes is no loss at all.  They're both drumming gods.  Lastly, both Ali and Tapscott are pianists from a completely different cloth, that will drop your jaw.  Tapscott ventures less into the regions of Free-Jazz this time around which ends up making him sound even more like Hasaan Ibn Ali.  The first time I heard In New York it actually had me cheering on the band like I was taking in a spectator sport.

Horace Tapscott - 1978 - The Call

Horace Tapscott
1978
The Call




01. The Call    (8:22)  
02. Quagmire Manor At Five A.M.   (10:26)  
03. Nakatini Suite    (9:01)  
04. Peyote Song No. III   (10:07)

Alto Clarinet – Herbert Callies
Alto Saxophone – Michael Session
Bass – David Bryant, Kamonta Lawrence Polk
Cello, Bass – Louis Spears
Drums – Everett Brown Jr.
Flute, Soprano Saxophone – Kafi Larry Roberts
Leader, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute [Bamboo] – Jesse Sharps
Percussion, Drums – William Madison
Piano – Linda Hill
Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – James Andrews
Trombone – Archie Johnson, Lester Robertson
Tuba, Bass – Red Callendar
Vocals, Flute – Adele Sebastian

Recorded April 8, 1978 Los Angeles, California.  



The second LP by Horace Tapscott's Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (a 16-piece trumpet-less big band) has four lengthy selections; three originals by bandmembers plus Cal Massey's "Nakatini Suite." Best-known among the sidemen are veteran Red Callender (doubling on tuba and bass) and the powerful altoist Michael Session. Many of the other players (including the pianist-leader) have some space to stretch out and the ensembles (with their unusual voicings and free spots) are quite colorful.
The Call is unique in that, unlike other The Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra recordings, Horace Tapscott doesn't play piano at all.  He only conducts this recording.  But I think the reason that I love The Call so much is that it sounds like what a collaboration between Horace Taspcott and Charles Mingus would be like.  It's really unique.  Pianist Linda Hill fills in for Horace Tapscott very well, evoking Jaki Byard a little.

Horace Tapscott - 1978 - Song Of The Unsung

Horace Tapscott 
1978
Song Of The Unsung




01. Song Of The Unsung 3:39
02. Blue Essence 3:51
03. Bakai 5:55
04. In Times Like These 7:01
05. Mary On Sunday 3:22
06. Lush Life 6:34
07. The Goat And Ram Jam 5:01
08. Something For Kenny 5:58

Piano – Horace Tapscott

Recorded on February 18, 1978 at United/western Studios in Hollywood, California


Horace Tapscott has long been one of Los Angeles' great jazz legends but the pianist has not been documented that thoroughly throughout his productive career. Other than a big band set from the same period, this solo piano LP was his first full-length recording. On what was a slightly more conservative set than most of his dates, Tapscott performs just two of his originals (including "Mary on Sunday") plus selections by Samuel Browne, Cal Massey ("Bakai"), Lester Robertson, Jesse Sharps, Elmo Hope and Billy Strayhorn ("Lush Life"). A fine outing that, if it were in-print, could serve as a fairly accessible introduction to the masterful pianist.

Horace Tapscott - 1978 - Flight 17

Horace Tapscott 
1978
Flight 17





01. Flight 17 15:53
02. Breeze 3:09
03. Horacio 6:01
04. Clarisse 6:27
05. Maui 7:21

cd bonus
06. Coltrane Medley 8:00
07. Village Dance Revisited 10:55

Alto Clarinet – Herbert Callies
Alto Saxophone – Michael Session
Bass – David Bryant, Kamonta Lawrence Polk
Cello – Louis Spears
Conductor – Horace Tapscott
Drums – Everett Brown Jr.
Drums, Percussion – William Madison
Flute – Kafi Larry Roberts
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute [Bamboo] – Jesse Sharps
Piano – Linda Hill
Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – James Andrews
Trombone – Archie Johnson, Lester Robertson
Tuba – Red Callendar
Vocals, Flute – Adele Sebastian



Other than half an album cut in 1969 for Flying Dutchman (which was shared with the John Carter/Bobby Bradford group), this release was pianist Horace Tapscott's recording debut as a leader. Tapscott's Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (consisting of two pianos, six reeds, two trombones, Red Callender on tuba, cello, two basses, a drummer, and a percussionist) had an unusual sound and made three records during 1978-1979. The band performs five group originals; surprisingly none were written by the leader. While there are some individual solos (particularly by Tapscott), it is the dense and frequently exciting ensembles that are most notable in this avant-garde but rhythmic music.
This isn't really representative of Tapscott's own music.  All the compositions are from members of the Arkestra and are generally odd.  The music is unpredictable.  The album starts with Tapscott playing piano by himself for almost 5 minutes, which keeps you guessing when the hell the group is going to do something.  They finally jump in and "Flight 17" ends up splitting up the band.  Some members play Free-Jazz while the others set up a recurring beat.  Its kind of funny:  not funny "ha ha" but funny-weird.  That sort of hard-to-put-your-finger-on feeling applies for the whole recording.  The Arkestra mixes so many styles of music from different cultures that the music is interesting but hard to completely enjoy.  It's all very experimental, like Sun Ra meets Alice Coltrane.  That sense of "under construction"...
Not your typical Tapscott fare. It reminds me a bit of some of Yusef Lateef's work with the "world music" influences. The only downside to this CD is that it is a needle drop, and though they found a pretty clean copy there are still a few ticks audible in quieter sections.