Thursday, October 12, 2017

Center Of The World / Frank Wright Quartet - 1973 - Volume 2 / Last Polka In Nancy?

Center Of The World / Frank Wright Quartet 
 Volume 2 / Last Polka In Nancy? 

01 Winter Echoes
02 Guanna Dance, part 1
03 Guanna Dance, part 2
04 Thinking of Monk
05 Doing the Polka
06 Two Birds with One Stone (bonus track)

1-5 : Live in Nancy Festival Jazz Pulsations, 10th october 1973.
6 : Live in Detmold Neue Anta, 1978

Frank Wright : tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Bobby Few : piano
Alan Silva : bass
Muhammad Ali : drums

The second volume in the excellent Fractal live retrospective of the Frank Wright Quartet comes to us from Nancy in 1973. Pianist Bobby Few, bassist Alan Silva, and drummer Muhammad Ali (no, it's not) with Wright blowing the living hell out of his saxophones and clarinet, are a picture of free jazz as it permeated the European landscape at the time. This is a freewheeling exorcism of a set with spar but well placed dynamic sequences that accent all the textures possible when the boundaries to expression are gone. Silva uses a bow as much as he plays pizzicato; Few uses his keen sense of harmonic balance to open the upper register of the instrument while playing huge ninth and even 11th chords like a bell, ringing in the tone fields for Wright who bleats, squawks, screeches, screams, and moans through his horn, playing ostinato blues lines through his horn like Albert Ayler (check "Guana Dance, Pt. 2" by Silva especially). His notes are harsh, bitten off and bloodied curdles of the human voice as it attempts to express what it can never state in words. The compositions, if they can be called that, are by Few and Silva, and as open mode pieces; they work as such, especially on the level of timbral sonance and microtonal systemic work. Wright is no match for Few's sharp, elegant range on his instrument, and so he uses force as counterpoint, while Silva and Ali engage in the dance of shimmering tempos. There aren't many recordings like this out there, and this one is as essential and as blessed by demonic inspiration as Vol. 1 is.

Center Of The World - 1972 - Center Of The World. Volume I

Center Of The World 
Center Of The World. Volume I

01. Center Of The World, Part I 19:51
02. Center Of The World, Part II 19:45
03. No End 17:33
04. Church Number 9 13:11

Bass – Alan Silva
Drums – Muhammad Ali
Piano – Bobby Few
Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Frank Wright

Live in Rotterdam Doelen, March 26, 1972.

Tracks 3 & 4 are bonus tracks. Live in Detmold, Neue Anta, 1978.

Originally recorded in 1972 in Rotterdam, this Frank Wright date stands as one of the unsung classics of the free jazz era. For years sought out by collectors at outrageous prices, the folks at Fractal have done us all a favor and reissued the original album on CD with two previously unreleased performances from a reunion date in 1978. Featuring Wright on tenor and bass clarinet, pianist Bobby Few, bassist Alan Silva, and drummer Muhammad Ali (no, not that one), the music captured here is one vast exploratory landscape where anything went and the intensity is blistering. While Wright is the leader of the ensemble and was capable of blowing the hell out of his horn, the true star on these sessions is Few, who joined Steve Lacy's Sextet upon departure from this group. Few doesn't support Wright -- he drives him, pushes him to the limit and causes Silva to seek refuge in Ali's drums. There are vast tonal expanses being explored here, and it's only Few who can map them, from both outside and inside the piano. His use of right-hand arpeggios is stunning considering the size of the chords he's laying out with the left. Far more lyrical than Cecil Taylor, Few pushes the range of Wright's instruments to the very limit of his abilities to play them and then extends them a bit. The title track is almost 40 minutes long and stands as a free jazz endurance test. Wright astonishes for many reasons, not the least of which is his ability to blow at the intensity he does for the entire gig. The 1978 show is more laid-back, and the band makes use of ostinato and other kinds of repetition to create the myth of a tune á la Albert Ayler, especially in "No End." Here Wright plays the insistent "call-to-prayer-and-revelation" honk that Ayler loved so much, and Few works with Silva (who is badly recorded on these two tracks) to bring up an entire battery of responses that shift meter, tone, and, because of the consistency of the phrasing, intervallic shifts and staggers. Throughout, Ali plays his best Elvin Jones, and pulls it off; his are the sticks that usher in the speed of this freight train of movement and fluidity, and he dances the kit with propulsion and true grit. Whatever you do, get this.

The Celestrial Communication Orchestra conducted by Alan Silva - 1989 - My Country

The Celestrial Communication Orchestra conducted by Alan Silva 
My Country

01. My Country 64:15

Bass - Bob Reid , Kent Carter
Drums, Percussion - Jerome Cooper , Noel McGhee
Flute, Saxophone [Alto] - Becky Friend , Robin Kenyatta , Ronme Beer
Flute, Saxophone [Baritone] - Jouck Minor
Flute, Saxophone [Tenor] - Hugh Levick , Lubomir Tamaskovic
Piano - David Horowitz
Piano, Organ, Celesta, Percussion - Francois Tusques
Saxophone [Alto, Soprano] - Anthony Braxton
Saxophone [Soprano] - Steve Lacy
Trumpet - Ambrose Jackson , Oche Ray Stephens
Trumpet, French Horn - Bernard Vitet
Vibraphone - Robert Wood
Violin, Sarangi, Musical Bow, Music By - Alan Silva

Recorded live at the "Festival de Musique Contemporaine de Royan", January 1971.

The Celestial Real Communications Orchestra is a freelance jazzy orchestra formed in France in 1969 by Alan Silva, avant-garde musician from the British Bermuda Archipelago. This work, including Silva, is composed of a large orchestra by a total of 20 people, but each time there is a change of members, there are 16 people or 22 people. Even if you look at Personnel, there are members like Anthony Braxton and Steve Lacy, but most of them are composed of anonymous free jazzmen. Alan Silva of the leader is a talent who can freely play any instruments such as bass, double bass, keyboard, etc. besides the violin to be shown in this work and the Indian folk instrument Sarangi, but the best main It will be a position as a band leader led by this orchestra. 

This work is a live recording performed in Royan, a rural town in western France in 1971. The 64-minute nonstop performance is exactly a music drama, a big epic. Repeating manic depression as if man's complicated emotions are revealed is the most problematic work of John Coltrane " Ascension"There is not much to express chaos, like the one. From Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Pharaoh Sanders, Albert Eyler to AAOC, in the late sixties, free jazz overturned the common sense of existing jazz, and developed with a political color to a great movement , It may be said that the end point of such tide flow was periodically and geographically it was this Celestial Communications Orchestra. 

Alan Silva And The Celestrial Communication Orchestra - 1982 - Desert Mirage

Alan Silva And The Celestrial Communication Orchestra 
Desert Mirage

101. Desert Mirage                  20:06
102. A D N                          08:20
103. After Coda                     09:40

201. February The Third (1st Part)  14:41
202. February The Third (2nd Part)  09:29
203. Procession                     10:57

Alan Silva: conductor
Pierre Faure: flute
Carl Schlosser: flute, piccolo
Aldridge Hansberry: flute ,alto flute
Karo: alto clarinet
Denis Colin: bass clarinet
Jean Querlier: oboe, cor anglais
Bruno Girard: violin
Pascal Morrow: violin
Didier Petit: cello
Itaru Oki: trumpet, bugle
Jeff Beer: trumpet
Serge Adam: trumpet
Bernard Vitet: trumpet
Michael Zwerin: tuba
Doménico Criseo: tuba
Francois Cotinau: tenor saxophone
Georges Gaumont: tenor saxophone
Arthur Doyle: tenor saxophone
Philippe Sellam: alto saxophone
Sébastien Franck: alto saxophone
Henri Grinberg: soprano saxophone
Antoine Mizrah: electric bass
Rosine Feferman: bass
Francis Gorge: guitar
Francois Leymarie: electric bass
Jacques Marugg: vibraphone, marimba
Adrien Bitan: vibraphone
Ron Pittner: drums
Bernard Drouillet: drums
Gilles Premel: percussion

Recorded on June 25,26 & 27, 1982 at Aquarium Studio, Paris.

On this and the previous Alan Silva post, he is not playing himself but it's "his" music nonetheless.

These sprawling vistas - like flying and/or floating over vast sky- and landscapes. Immersed but somehow not attached.

On this LP the music has sometimes a dreamlike quality (see/hear "Desert Mirage") and au contraire to his LPs on BYG the music here has a more "structured" sound. Not that I would dislike "unstructured" sounds from Alan Silva or per se...

Alan Silva And The Celestrial Communications Orchestra - 1979 - The Shout (Portrait For A Small Woman)

Alan Silva And The Celestrial Communications Orchestra 
The Shout (Portrait For A Small Woman)

01. Golden Flower 9:58
02. The Shout 5:38
03. La Viola Pastel 2:57
04. Ijo 6:23
05. Broadway 9:01
06. Communications 3:10
07. Stepping 2:02

Alto Saxophone – Georges Menousek
Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Jo Maka
Baritone Saxophone, Clarinet [Contrabass, Octocontralto] – Jouk Minor
Bass – Pierre Jacquet
Bass Saxophone [Uncredited] – Luc Le Masne
Cello – Helene Bass
Conductor, Composed By, Arranged By – Alan Silva
Drums – Michael Coffi, Muhammad Ali
Flute – Pierre Faure
Percussion – Armand Assouline
Soprano Saxophone – Georges Gaumont
Tenor Saxophone, Oboe – Francois Cotinaud
Trombone – Adolf Winkler, Michael Zwerin
Trumpet – Bernard Vitet, Itaru Oki, Pierre Sauvageot, Robert Garrison
Violin – Bruno Girard, Catherine Lienhardt, Jacques Dolias

Recorded November 1978 at Studio Davot, Paris, France.

Ten years after his legendary debut ("excellent" or "unacceptably chaotic cacophony", depending on the listener's taste) Alan Silva released his third studio album (and first studio recording in ten years) entitled "The Shout (Portrait for a Small Woman)".

At that time, Silva was working as a teacher in the Institute for Art, Culture, and Perception in Paris, and the material comes mostly from his teaching work. He doesn't play any instruments on "The Shout", but instead leads a 21-piece orchestra that is a combination of Silva's "Celestrial Communications Orchestra" plus his students. Silva wrote and arranged all the music and he conducts the orchestra as well.

Musically, this album is not similar to his debut, at least not from the first spin. Seven well structured, completely pre-composed tunes, all under 10 minutes long, are rooted in Ellingtonian tradition and post-bop. But during the listening one can easily hear Silva's background as a late 60s unorthodox experimentalist. All the arrangements contain that non-conformist, even chaotic element, coming from his debut, just here it is presented in a the form of modern European classical composition.

Among the orchestra members, I found just a few known names (at least for me); trumpeters Itaru Oki and Bernard Vitet, and drummer Muhammad Ali are among them, but in all, this collective sounds very professional and inspired playing quite complex compositions.

Much more accessible than the early Silva works, this album still contains lot of his extravaganza, so it could be easily recommended as an entry point. At the same time, it's a great (if obscure) addition to Silva's quite limited collection of releases.

Alan Silva And The Celestrial Communication Orchestra - 1970 - Seasons

Alan Silva And The Celestrial Communication Orchestra 

01. Seasons Part 1
02. Seasons Part 2

Alto Saxophone, Clarinet [Clarinets] – Michel Portal
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Robin Kenyatta
Cello – Kent Carter
Cello, Celesta – Irene Aebi
Drums, Percussion – Don Move
Drums, Percussion, Performer [Bronte] – Jerome Cooper
Bass, Violin, Sarangi – Alan Silva
Piano – Dave Burrell, Joachim Kuhn
Saxophone [Saxophones], Flute [Flutes], Oboe – Roscoe Mitchell
Saxophone [Saxophones], Flute, Bassoon – Joseph Jarman
Soprano Saxophone – Steve Lacy
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Ronnie Beer
Timpani, Percussion – Oliver Johnson
Trumpet – Alan Shorter
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Lester Bowie
Trumpet, French Horn – Bernard Vitet
Viola [Electric] – Jouk Minor
Violin [Electric] – Dieter Gewissler

Recorded live at Studio 104, Maison de L'O.R.T.F. Paris, December 29, 1970.

Alan Silva has pulled together all the guys who were recording for BYG at the time and has put on a live performance of what was probably his crowning achievement, a piece called “Seasons”. This is an incredibly avant-garde piece, but an unusually good one. As there is a lot of players on here, the freeform sound is always full and solid, and never does that really uncomfortable thing were one instrument just goes-it-alone for twenty minutes and becomes a real headache. Unlike a lot of freeform work this is not musical masturbation.  This is a very orchestral sounding piece that is much more contemporary free classical as opposed to free jazz. It’s an amazing thing to sit through, but there are some major downsides. There are six sides to this album, and they are long sides too, approximately twenty five minutes a side. So to listen to this piece you are going to have to commit yourself for roughly two and a half hours. Now I love to sit down and listen to music for long stretches, but I like to vary the stuff I’m listening to. I mean, two and a half hours of one artist, on top of which it's two and a half hours of one piece, well to be honest that is just not going to be something I want to put myself through that often. So you see what I mean by being really impractical. 

However, this is one of the most beautifully packaged albums I’ve got. I love the BYG covers anyway, but it’s just really nice the way they’ve got it as a triple vinyl fold-out. Plus it’s all that 180 gram vinyl, so it’s a seriously solid package. Get Back have done an amazing job with all these BYG reissues, and they’re all great value too. Unfortunately the stuff that was recorded for BYG was just a little too free for my tastes, and even though I will probably never listen to this album again, I’m glad, in all it’s solid glory, it’s sitting in my collection.

An immense soundscape, originally released on triple LP, with well over two hours of engaging avant garde music. In contrast to the impenetrable cloud of noise that Silva's Luna Surface is, Seasons leaves much more spaces for the individual musicians, so that what evolves here is a rich, varied and engaging texture that often feels more akin to contemporary classical than jazz; except of course when all hell breaks loose and the unrestrained free improvisations are unleashed upon the listener. It's a majestic, thrilling, and above all intense experience that has been referred to as a "radical bombardment" of sounds.

Don't let the miserable packaging of the reissue on CD deter you from purchasing this remarkable gargantuan effort by bassist and composer Alan Silva, for which the term "masterpiece" is not too far a stretch. The original three-LP set has been compacted to two full-length CDs. Unfortunately, there are no liner notes, and you may need a magnifying glass to decipher the list of more than 20 participating musicians, who read like a who's who of avant-garde jazz at the time this was recorded. As there are no individual tracks and the "composition" is more than two hours long, there is also reproduced from the LP a detailed time log listing the instruments at any particular moment. Unfortunately, the log is virtually useless as it corresponds to the six sides of the original LPs. That aside, this is a magnificent, rambling, chaotic, lavish, and often meandering spectacle that should be heard in one sitting to be completely appreciated. It takes the concept of "sheets of sound" to the next level. Even with its deficiencies, it is a spectacular presentation, with snippets of melodies (or more precisely, riffs) interspersed among the soloists, who include Silva, Steve Lacy, Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Robin Kenyatta, Michel Portal, and Joachim Kühn, to cite the more recognizable names. The results are absolutely thrilling, if not always inspiring, and there are many high points. While individual improvisers are difficult to identify, the level of improvisation remains consistently at the highest levels. It is wild and free, and the listener receptive to free improvisation is likely to be held in rapturous attention. Destined to be a classic of its genre, Seasons offers a full-scale radical bombardment from many perspectives, resulting in a smorgasbord of delights. While listening to so much at once is a challenge, the patient listener willing to put in the effort should be fulfilled and rewarded amply.

Alan Silva - 1969 - Skillfulness

Alan Silva 

01. Skillfullness 23:45
02. Solestrial 15:02

Flute, Vocals – Becky Friend
Percussion – Lawrence Cooke (tracks: B)
Piano – Dave Burrell (tracks: B)
Piano, Organ – Mike Ephron (tracks: B)
Vibraphone – Karl Berger
Violin, Cello, Piano – Alan Silva

Alan Silva is probably best known as a bassist, having appeared on several seminal albums of free jazz with Sunny Murray, Albert Ayler, and Cecil Taylor, but for his own solo outing on ESP-Disk, released in 1970 but recorded before Silva went to Europe in 1968, he's featured on piano, violin, and cello. As well as Silva's ecstatic swoops, "Skillfullness" features passionate and sensuous flute work from Becky Friend and hypnotic vibraphone playing from Karl Berger, and gives the lie to the idea that free jazz in New York in 1968 was all about blowing the wall down. "Solestrial" is a more ambitious affair, featuring a larger ensemble including Dave Burrell, Mike Ephron, Lawrence Cooke, and two other musicians simply (and mysteriously) credited as Mario and Barry, and is the first appearance in Silva's discography of the conduction techniques he went on to perfect with the many subsequent incarnations of his Celestrial Communication Orchestra. Using a conducting technique derived in part from his studies with Sun Ra, Silva was able to summon extraordinary solo performances from his musicians (Burrell is outstanding here) without losing sight of the work's overall architecture. "My work was based on John Coltrane's Ascension," Silva has commented elsewhere. "The first ten minutes of Ascension, before the solos start, were revolutionary. I always thought if Coltrane had gone on with just the collective improvisation he'd have got it. So I felt he left that to me to do!"

Alan Silva And His Celestrial Communication Orchestra - 1969 - Luna Surface

Alan Silva And His Celestrial Communication Orchestra 
Luna Surface

01. From The Luna Surface Part 1 14:10
02. From The Luna Surface Part 2 14:10

Bass – Beb Guerin, Malachi Favors
Drums – Claude Delcloo
Piano – Dave Burrell
Soprano Saxophone – Archie Shepp
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Anthony Braxton
Tenor Saxophone – Kenneth Terroade
Trombone – Grachan Moncur III
Trumpet, French Horn – Bernard Vitet
Violin, Composed By, Arranged By – Alan Silva
Violin, Viola – Leroy Jenkins

Silva was born a British subject to an Azorean/Portuguese mother, Irene da Silva, and a black Bermudian father known only as "Ruby". He emigrated to the United States at the age of five with his mother, eventually acquiring U.S. citizenship by the age of 18 or 19. He adopted the stage name of Alan Silva in his twenties.
Silva was quoted in a Bermudan newspaper in 1988 as saying that although he left the island at a young age, he always considered himself Bermudian. He was raised in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, where he first began studying the trumpet, and moved on to study the upright bass.
Silva is known as one of the most inventive bass players in jazz[2] and has performed with many in the world of avant-garde jazz, including Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray, and Archie Shepp.

Silva performed in 1964's October Revolution as a pioneer in the free jazz movement, and for Ayler's Live in Greenwich Village album. He has lived mainly in Paris since the early 1970s, where he formed the Celestrial Communication Orchestra, a group dedicated to the performance of free jazz with various instrumental combinations. In the 1990s he picked up the electronic keyboard, declaring that his bass playing no longer surprised him. He has also used the electric violin and electric sarangi on his recordings.
In the 1980s Silva opened a music school in Central Paris, introducing the concept of a Jazz Conservatory patterned after France's traditional conservatories devoted to European classical music epoch

Even though I'm now 49 years old old I haven't given up my quest of finding music that truly pushes the extreme. Every time I think I have heard it all something always shows up that completely tears my head off & humbles me. I once thought the Nihilist Spasm Band was about as far out as you could get, then of course somebody played me a copy of Harry Chapin's "Sniper" album and it was back to the drawing board. Well my latest entry in the "Most Fucked Up Album Of All Time" stakes is this 1969 outing by Alan Silva And His Celestrial Communication Orchestra. This album really has hair on it.

Silva is best known as being Albert Ayler's bassist and the author of the skull crushing "Skillfulness" album for ESP-Disk. He also put together this mammoth ensemble with the intention of updating John Coltrane's "OM" and "Ascension" & Ornette Coleman's "Free Jazz." After hearing "Luna Surface" I would have to say he was successful. Silva is the director of a supergroup that features Archie Shepp, Anthony Braxton, Dave Burrell, Malachi Favors and other "heavy" friends. What is basically on offer here is a 30 minute non-stop free jazz cluster-bomb. It makes The Stooges "L.A. Blues" sound like Boots "Fucking" Randolph and his Yakety "Fucking" sax. 

These guys mean business, and sheer power of the playing of everyone involved is astounding. I haven't heard this many elephant honks since my fifth grade field trip to the Havana Zoo. Holy Toledo!

A friend of mine and I rang in the New Year with this album while watching Mariah Carey on Dick Clark's New Year's Rocking Eve (or whatever the fuck it's called.) I then went out and shot 100 jumpshots on the basketball court down the street in 20 degree temperatures. This album can do crazy things to you.