Thursday, March 23, 2017

Brother Malachi Favors Magoustous - 1978 - Natural & Spiritual

Brother Malachi Favors Magoustous 
Natural & Spiritual 

01. The Procession 3:29
02. Natural And The Spiritual (Working On The Buildings) 8:35
03. Peace Be Unto You 10:33
04. Natural And The Spiritual 7:08
05. Black Man Tripover / Womens Takeover 4:00
06. If' Fin You No's De Way-Sho Us 10:53
07. Keep on keepin on 5:18
08. Gone 0:38

Brother Malachi Favors Magoustous: Acoustic Bass

Recorded on April 23, 1977, live at The University of Chicago. Bass is unamplified.

Born 22 August 1927, Chicago, Illinois, USA, d. 30 January 2004, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Favors came from a religious family (his father preached as a pastor) who disapproved of secular music. He took up the bass at the age of 15, initially inspired by Wilbur Ware. He started playing professionally when he left school, accompanying Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie. Moving to Chicago, he recorded with Andrew Hill in 1955 and in 1961 he played with Muhal Richard Abrams in the Experimental Band, becoming a member of the AACM at its inception in 1965. He played in groups led by Roscoe Mitchell and Lester Bowie and in 1969 joined with them and Joseph Jarman to found the Art Ensemble Of Chicago, who triumphantly carried the banner of "Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future" into the 90s. Outside of the Art Ensemble, Favors recorded on Mitchell's and Bowie's own albums, as well as with fellow AACM member Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, drummer Sunny Murray and gospel group From The Root To The Source. Sightsong, an album of duos with Abrams, was released in 1976, and two years later the solo Natural And The Spiritual appeared on the Art Ensemble's own AECO label.

Favors, who took to appending Maghostut (in various spellings) to his name, typified the AACM's interest in mysticism and once gave his biography as "into being in this universe some 43,000 years ago. Moved around and then was ordered to this Planet Earth by the higher forces, Allah De Lawd Thank You Jesus Good God A Mighty, through the precious channels of Brother Isaac and Sister Maggie Mayfield Favors; of ten. Landed in Chicago by way of Lexington, Mississippi, for the purpose of serving my duty as a Music Messenger." Perhaps more plausibly he also claimed that his decision to play freely was a statement that cost him financial rewards. Favors was a foremost exponent of free jazz upright playing, and was also adept at the electric bass, the African balafon, the zither and banjo.

Pressed and circulated on the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s tiny eponymous imprint, Favor’s sole solo album from 1977 is a mixed medicine bag of aural liniments and nostrums. What it lacks in cohesion and polish, it more than compensates for in the amount of personal intimacy conveyed. Favors rarely had the room to exposit in isolation within the context of the AEC so the chance to hear him away from his colleagues carries even more worth. Like William Parker after him, Favor’s essays on peripheral instruments (hand drums, marimba, zither, whistles, what sounds like a ney) are of lesser appeal than his longhand manipulations on stout-stringed bass. The opening deep pizzicato of “The Procession,” dedicated to deceased drummer Phillip Wilson, wastes no time zeroing in on the kinship shared by Favor’s calloused fingers and their principal agent of expression. “Peace Be Unto You” is even better, an athletic ten plus minute workout speckled with the clink and rattle of bells and chimes hung from the bassist’s limbs. Superb arco work arrives in the album’s final pieces. Favors also employs vocals on occasion. In combination with lambent marimba on the first of two title tracks has voice creates a tone poem saturated with space and tonal color. Lyrics sung on “Womans Takeover” marry mildly misogyny to equal parts anger and humor. All of the pieces appear to have been taped in front of an audience as appreciative applause trail various tracks. What was it Lester Bowie used to say: Great Black Music- Ancient to the Future? The credo certainly holds here.

One of the most respectably talented bassists in free jazz, Favors is renowned mostly for his membership in the Art Ensemble of Chicago for nearly forty years. A powerful swinger and excellent soloist, Favors tended to subsume himself beneath his bandmates, occasionally writing or stepping to the fore.
Favors took up the bass at fifteen and studied with Wilbur Ware and Paul Chambers as a young man. His first recording was made with tenorman Paul Bascomb in 1953. As a member of pianist Andrew Hill's trio with drummer James Slaughter, Favors recorded his first full album, So In Love (1956, Warwick). Favors further explored bebop with Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard before joining Muhal Richard Abrams' Experimental Band. There he met Roscoe Mitchell, and the two men began investigating the free jazz and hard bop that was coming out of New York City. In 1965 Mitchell developed his Art Ensemble, which became their principal gig for most of the next three decades. The band eventually became a quintet with Mitchell Favors, trumpeter Lester Bowie, saxophonist Joseph Jarman, and drummer Don Moye. Favors and Moye regularly donned tribal facepaint and African garb for the Art Ensemble's performances, enhancing the group's aura as a sort of black history repertory. Favors assumed the additional name "Maghostus" as another nod to his heritage, as did Moye with "Famoudou".

Favors recorded with most of the Art Ensemble's members in contexts outside of that band. His own solo bass recording, The Natural and the Spiritual (1977), was issued on the group's AECO imprint. Favors recorded in duo with Muhal Richard Abrams (Sightsong, 1975, Black Saint) and fellow bassist Tatsu Aoki (2x4, 1998, Southport), and worked with Charles Brackeen, Sunny Murray, Dewey Redman, Archie Shepp, Dennis Gonzalez, Yosuke Yamashita, and Alan Silva, among others. In recent years he was a member of Bright Moments, Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio, and Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet. Favors died of stomach cancer, which he had kept concealed from his musical friends.

Muhal Richard Abrams - 1980 - Spihumonesty

Muhal Richard Abrams

01. Triverse 8:20
02. Inneroutersight 6:55
03. Unichange 6:34
04. Spihumonesty 7:52

Muhal Richard Abrams - p,synth
Jay Clayton          - voice
Leonard Jones        - b
George Lewis         - trmbn,synth,sousaphone
Roscoe Mitchell      - as,flt
Amina Claudine Myers - p,elec p,organ
Yousef Yancy         - theramin

Recorded in July 1979 at Big Apple Studios, New York City.

Abrams attended DuSable High School in Chicago. By 1946, he enrolled in music classes at Roosevelt University, but "I didn't get too much out of that, because it wasn't what I was hearing in the street". He then decided to study independently: "I've always had a natural ability to study and analyze things. I used that ability, not even knowing what it was (it was just a feeling) and started to read books." The books of Joseph Schillinger were very influential in Abrams' development.[citation needed] In Abrams' words:
From there, I acquired a small spinet piano and started to teach myself how to play the instrument and read the notes – or, first of all, what key the music was in. It took time and a lot of sweat. But I analyzed it and before long I was playing with the musicians on the scene. I listened to Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and many others and concentrated on Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson for composition. Later I got scores and studied more extensive things that take place in classical composition and started to practice classical pieces on the piano.
Abrams' first gigs were playing the blues, R&B, and hard bop circuit in Chicago and working as a sideman with everyone from Dexter Gordon and Max Roach to Ruth Brown and Woody Shaw. In 1950 he began writing arrangements for the King Fleming Band, and in 1955 played in the hard-bop band Modern Jazz Two + Three, with tenor saxophonist Eddie Harris. After this group folded he kept a low profile until he organized the Experimental Band in 1962, a contrast to his earlier hard bop venture in its use of free jazz concepts. This band, with its fluctuating lineup, evolved into the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), emerging in May 1965 with Abrams as its president. Rather than playing in smoky night clubs, AACM members often rented out theatres and lofts where they could perform for attentive and open-minded audiences. The album Levels and Degrees of Light (1967) was the landmark first recording under Abrams' leadership. On this set, Abrams was joined by the saxophonists Anthony Braxton, Maurice McIntyre, vibraphonist Gordon Emmanuel, violinist Leroy Jenkins, bassist Leonard Jones and vocalist Penelope Taylor. Abrams also played with saxophonists Eddie Harris, Gordon, and other more bop-oriented musicians during this era.
Abrams moved to New York permanently in 1975 where he was involved in the local Loft Jazz scene. In 1983, he established the New York chapter of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.
In the 1970s, Abrams composed for symphony orchestras, string quartets, solo piano, voice, and big bands in addition to making a series of larger ensemble recordings that included harp and accordion. He is a widely influential artist, having played sides for many musicians early in his career, releasing important recordings as a leader, and writing classical works such as his "String Quartet No. 2", which was performed by the Kronos Quartet, on November 22, 1985, at the Carnegie Recital Hall in New York. He has recorded extensively under his own name (frequently on the Black Saint label) and as a sideman on others' records. Notably regarding the latter he has recorded with Anthony Braxton Duets 1976 on Arista Records, Marion Brown and Chico Freeman.
Later career
He has recorded and toured the United States, Canada and Europe with his orchestra, sextet, quartet, duo and as a solo pianist. His musical affiliations is a "who's who" of the jazz world, including Roach, Gordon,Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Art Farmer, Sonny Stitt, Braxton, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Harris and many others. In 1990 Abrams won the Jazzpar Prize, an annual Danish prize within jazz. In 1997 he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. In May 2009 the National Endowment for the Arts announced that Abrams would be one of the recipients of the 2010 NEA Jazz MastersAward. In June 2010, Abrams was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by New York City's premier jazz festival, known as the Vision Festival.

Muhal Richard Abrams - 1980 - Mama and Daddy

Muhal Richard Abrams 
Mama and Daddy

01. Fafca 8:03
02. Balu 7:41
03. Malic 8:02
04. Mama And Daddy 7:24

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Congas – Wallace McMillan
Bass – Brian Smith
Drums, Marimba, Percussion – Thurman Barker
French Horn – Vincent Chancey
Percussion – Andrew Cyrille
Piano, Synthesizer – Muhal Richard Abrams
Trombone – George Lewis
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Baikida Carroll
Tuba – Bob Stewart
Violin – Leroy Jenkins

Recorded June 16 & 19, 1980 at Platinum Factory Recording Studio, Brooklyn, New York

This was a first-rate big band/large group session from 1980, with Muhal Richard Abrams' compositions being played by a masterful ensemble which included French horn and tuba in its instrumental mix. There were wonderful solos, dashing arrangements and fiery rhythm support from Thurman Barker on drums, marimba and percussion, with Andrew Cyrille adding additional percussive assistance. The group also featured Baikida Carroll on trumpet and flugelhorn, Wallace McMillan on various reeds, violinist Leroy Jenkins, bassist Brian Smith, Abrams on keyboards, trombonist George Lewis, Bob Stewart on tuba and Vincent Chancey on French horn. They presented adventurous, disciplined, frequently exciting music

Muhal Richard Abrams - 1978 - Spiral Live At Montreux

Muhal Richard Abrams
Spiral Live At Montreux

01. B Song 13:50
02. String Song 5:05
03. Voice Song 23:33

Piano, Gong – Muhal Richard Abrams

All compositions by Muhal Richard Abrams Ric-Peg Music, BMI. Recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland by Mountain Studio on July 22, 1978. Mixed at Soundmixers, New York City. Special thanks to Paiste for providing a set of gongs and the tuned sound set for this concert recording.

Muhal Richard Abrams performs unaccompanied throughout this concert appearance from the 1978 Montreux Jazz Festival. The relatively brief "String Song" features some odd sound explorations as Abrams plays the strings from inside the piano along with gongs. "D Song" and "Voice Song" find Abrams sticking to the piano and offering a slightly mellower alternative to Cecil Taylor in exploring new music. Abrams' occasional use of devices from earlier styles (including a bit of dissonant stride and basslines à la Lennie Tristano) makes this music a bit more accessible than one might expect at times, but in general, this set is for listeners who enjoy hearing new approaches to musical freedom.