Thursday, April 30, 2020

Roswell Rudd - 1976 - Inside Job

Roswell Rudd
1976
Inside Job


01. Sacred Song 8:01
02. Mysterioso 7:42
03. Inside Job 16:26

Acoustic Bass – Stafford James
Drums – Harold White
Piano – Dave Burrell
Trombone – Roswell Rudd
Trumpet – Enrico Rava

Recorded live at Sam Rivers' Studio Rivbea New York City on May 21, 1976 and mixed at Longview Farms, North Brookfield, Mass.


One of the last great albums that Rudd played on before going into retirement! The group features Rudd on trombone, Enrico Rava on trumpet, Dve Burrell on piano, Stafford James on bass, and Harold White on drums – and the overall feel is similar to some of the best ESP work of the 60s. The band is very nicely matched, and changed moods and modes together as one unit. 

Recorded 1976 "Inside Job" is a mavellous piece of free jazz music, featuring Roswell Rudd on trombone, Enrico Rava on trumpet, Dave Burrell piano, Stafford James bass and Harold White on drums.
It's absolutely worth a reissue on vinyl, wonderful Version of Monk`s Mysterioso and great bass playing by James.

Steve Lacy - Roswell Rudd Quartet - 1975 - School Days

Steve Lacy - Roswell Rudd Quartet
1975
School Days - A 1963 Live Session Released For The First Time



01. Bye-Ya 9:00
02. Brilliant Corners 9:45
03. Monk's Dream 7:15
04. Monk's Mood 8:10
05. Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are (Bolivar Blues) 10:25
06. Skippy 6:15
07. Pannonica 3:25

Double Bass – Henry Grimes
Drums – Dennis Charles
Soprano Saxophone – Steve Lacy
Trombone – Roswell Rudd

Recorded live in 1963 (probably in March) at the Phase Two Coffee House in New York City.


During 1961-1964, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy and trombonist Roswell Rudd co-led an unusual quartet that exclusively played the music of Thelonious Monk. Amazingly enough, no record label was interested in recording the band (despite their high profile) and the eventual breakup led to the group being largely forgotten. In 1975, Emanem came out with this LP, which is comprised of a decently recorded, privately taped live performance from March 1963. Lacy and Rudd are joined by drummer Dennis Charles and (on five of the seven numbers) bassist Henry Grimes. Because Grimes showed up late that day, there are versions of "Bye-Ya" and "Pannonica" that were played without a bass but they still hold together. On such songs as "Brilliant Corners," "Monk's Dream," and "Skippy," the legendary group lives up to one's expectations and really digs into Monk's music.

Soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy's School Days has had a long and checkered release history. Recorded live in New York in March 1963, it was first issued on vinyl by Emanem in 1975 and later reissued on QED, an Emanem pseudonym. It first appeared on CD on Hat Art in 1994, and again on Hatology in 2003. Now, its CD release on Emanem is cause for celebration for several reasons. Most importantly, it puts this wonderful album back in circulation again, where it should be a permanent fixture.

School Days consists entirely of Thelonious Monk compositions. Throughout Lacy's recording career, Monk was central to his music. He repeatedly returned to Monk pieces in many different contexts—Lacy's huge discography is dotted with album titles referring to Monk or his song titles. Aside from Monk himself, Lacy was the finest interpreter of Monk's music, and Lacy's own compositions often reveal Monk's influence on him.

By the time School Days was recorded, Lacy already had plenty of experience of playing and recording Monk. The crucial element that School Days captured for the first time was the combination of Lacy and trombonist Roswell Rudd, a partnership that would endure for decades. Lacy and Rudd both sound rich and full-toned, as their lines weave around each other, seemingly effortlessly. In similar fashion, Henry Grimes on bass and Denis Charles on drums make the quartet swing. The four together played the compositions straight and had the knack of making them sound flowing and natural—not always the case with others' interpretations of Monk.

Compared to past issues of School Days, this one makes some important changes. The sound quality is at least as good as any other issue, often better. For the first time, the pieces are presented in the order they were performed. And, as a bonus to the original album, two live tracks—"Evidence" and "Straight No Chaser"—have been added, on which Lacy is heard performing as a member of Monk's own quintet at a jazz festival in Philadelphia in August 1960. The quintet includes Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone; while he and Monk get the lion's share of solo space, to hear Lacy playing with Monk puts the original School Days into an interesting context. Yes, School Days has come home, and it is very welcome.

Roswell Rudd - 1974 - Flexible Flyer

Roswell Rudd
1974
Flexible Flyer


01. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life 5:06
02. Maiden Voyage 8:43
03. Suh Blah Blah Buh Sibi 9:40
04. Waltzing In The Sagebrush 5:34
05. Moselle Variations (16:10)
Whatever Turns You On Baby
Tuff Muffins
Moselle

Bass – Arild Anderson
Piano – Hod O'Brien
Trombone, French Horn – Roswell Rudd
Vocals – Sheila Jordon

Recorded at Blue Rock Studios, New York City in March, 1974.


For this set, trombonist Roswell Rudd (who doubles on French horn) heads a quintet that also includes pianist Hod O'Brien, bassist Arild Anderson, drummer Barry Altschul and, most interestingly, singer Sheila Jordan. The repertoire includes "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" and a few originals, including three Rudd tunes that are played as a medley. The trombonist plays quite well; the rhythm section is tight yet adventurous; and the use of Jordan (who also has some individual spots) as part of some of the ensembles helps make the date something special. Recommended.

Roswell Rudd's Impulse release of "Everywhere" is sill my favorite solo, but other than the remarkable percussion of Beaver Harris, the "free counterpoint" otherwise known as collective free jazz and other recordings with Archie Shepp, do not appeal to me. His various combos with Steve Lacy have proved problematic for me, because besides needing MORE COWBELL, I am looking for MORE RUDD.

Perhaps the most sympathetic combo I have heard Rudd perform in is the legendary NRBQ (or at least part of it) and the band outings with Carla Bley and Charlie Haden are quite satisfying. The collective combos of the past seem more dedicated to saying something "important" than something that is entertaining; there is nothing wrong with fun in music, and Rudd knows how to do that. He also knows how to SWING, and his vocals show off that sometimes politically incorrect component, and these do remind me somewhat of Jack Teagarden. Only Ray Anderson these days tries to wear both hats, but Anderson's singing does not inspire me, and it is a technical achievement to take the trombone into saxophone territory, as Anderson does, but the sound of the instrument suffers, in my opinion.

In this setting, we get to hear Sheila Jordan doing the Legrand standard "What are you doing the rest of your life?" with Rudd accompanying on trombone, no mean feat. The simple effect of terracing the sound by entrance and exit of the participants is far more satisfying than the jarring collective contributions on other recordings.

Rudd also plays French Horn to great effect, but his tribute suite with his improvised ballad is the high point of this recording for me. His use of the entire instrument (horns and hooves) is a thousand miles from the approach of J J, Urbie Green or Jack Teagarden, but if you remember Dickie Wells, Kai Winding, or Bill Harris, there was a place for sheer sonic adventure with this instrument. I lived in the world of the trombone for over 20 years and coming from a background of JJ and Urbie, I found Rudd tough sledding at first, but he gradually became my overall favorite.

Roswell Rudd and The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - 1973 - Numatik Swing Band

Roswell Rudd and The Jazz Composer's Orchestra
1973
Numatik Swing Band


01. Vent 4:50
02. Breathahoward 2:52
03. Circulation 10:15
04. Lullaby For Greg 11:10
05. Aerosphere 14:15

Alto Saxophone – Carlos Ward, Martin Alter
Baritone Saxophone – Charles Davis
Bass – Charlie Haden, Sirone
Clarinet – Dewey Redman, Perry Robinson
Drums – Beaver Harris, Hod O'Brien (tracks: B1), Lou Grassi
Flute – Martin Alter, Mike Bresler
French Horn – Janet Donaruma, Jeffrey Schlegel, Roswell Rudd, Sharon Freeman
Oboe – Martin Alter
Percussion – Dan Johnson (tracks: B2), Sue Evans
Piccolo Flute – Mike Bresler
Soprano Saxophone – Charles Davis, Mike Bresler
Tenor Saxophone – Dewey Redman
Trombone – Art Baron, Gary Brocks, Roswell Rudd
Trumpet – Enrico Rava, Michael Krasnov, Mike Lawrence
Tuba – Howard Johnson
Vocals – Sheila Jordan


One of the rarer albums by the Jazz Composer's Orchestra features a five-part work (titled "Numatik Swing Band") commissioned from trombonist Roswell Rudd. In addition to Rudd (featured on the "Circulation" section), the soloists include drummer Beaver Harris, Howard Johnson on tuba ("Breathahoward"), tenor great Dewey Redman, trumpeter Enrico Rava, baritonist Charles Davis and singer Sheila Jordan (heard on "Lullaby for Greg"). At the time, the Jazz Composer's Orchestra consisted of 24 pieces (including three French horns) including both future all-star and players who would remain obscure. The music on this date is avant-garde, but has its melo

Roswell Rudd - 1971 - Roswell Rudd

Roswell Rudd 
1971
Roswell Rudd


01. Respects 10:30
02. Old Stuff 8:55
03. Jabulani 4:57
04. Sweet Smells 10:17
05. Pannonica 3:08


Alto Saxophone – John Tchicai
Double Bass – Finn Von Eyben
Drums – Louis Moholo
Trombone – Roswell Rudd

Recorded February 11, 1965 in Hilversum, Netherlands.



With groups like the New York Art Quartet and Archie Shepp’s bands of the mid-1960s, Mr. Rudd was at the center of the free-jazz scene. But he eventually moved on, teaching at colleges and collaborating with musicians from around the world.

After his return to commercial recording and international performances in 1999, his music became more diverse, mixing tuneful original compositions and jazz standards with R&B classics and ballads from France and Cuba.

What drew it all together was Mr. Rudd’s fluid playing, which could swiftly reroute a listener’s attention without disrupting the flow of a song. Profiling him in The New York Times in 2015, Nate Chinen wrote, “The soulful blare of Mr. Rudd’s horn, coupled with his boundless curiosity, has made him into a sort of good-will ambassador, despite the distinctly unconventional arc of his career.”

As an undergraduate at Yale University, Mr. Rudd played in a Dixieland band called Eli’s Chosen Six. (It briefly appears in “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” the celebrated documentary shot at the Newport Jazz Festival.) He dropped out of college and moved to New York in 1958, bringing a sanguine, open-eared approach and a grounding in the trombone’s early-jazz history. In turn, he helped broaden the possibilities of an emerging avant-garde scene.

“What I liked about that music was the fact that the instruments sounded like people talking and laughing, vocal sounds,” he told the website All About Jazz in 2004, reflecting on jazz of the early 20th century. “The music of my contemporaries, when I was in my 20s in New York City, they were calling it avant-garde, but it leaned very heavily on collective improvisation. That’s how I was able to go from one traditional generation to another.”

In free-jazz settings, Mr. Rudd played with an ear to the arc of the group, filling open pockets of sound with descants and undercurrents. A natural-born listener, he tended to work as a foil to his more incendiary counterparts.

Mr. Rudd often favored performing with poets like Amiri Baraka and vocalists like Sheila Jordan, Bob Dorough and Fay Victor, whom he treated as equal collaborators, warbling and gliding in a friendly pas de deux. (His final album, “Embrace,” released in November, features Ms. Victor.)

In the early 1960s he worked with Herbie Nichols, an iconoclastic pianist and composer with an off-kilter approach to bebop, and then with the pianist Cecil Taylor, an ascendant figure in the avant-garde. He also joined a group focused on the repertoire of Thelonious Monk, informally known as the School Days Quartet, featuring the saxophonist Steve Lacy, the bassist Henry Grimes, and the drummer Denis Charles.

In 1964 he was featured on “New York Eye and Ear Control,” the soundtrack to an experimental film by Michael Snow. That same year he was a founder of the New York Art Quartet, a pioneering group that collaborated with Mr. Baraka, then known as LeRoi Jones. Its debut album, full of darting and thrashing improvisations and Mr. Baraka’s trenchant poetry, is widely seen as a landmark of the era.

By now Mr. Rudd was in high demand, and he recorded on a number of seminal albums: “Liberation Music Orchestra” (1970), by the bassist Charlie Haden; “Escalator Over the Hill” (1971), by Carla Bley and Paul Haines; and “Four for Trane” (1964), by the saxophonist Archie Shepp, for which Mr. Rudd wrote the horn arrangements.

“In New York, a major topic of discussion was the reality of being black and playing this music, versus the reality of being white and attempting to play it from a black perspective,” the trumpeter Bill Dixon told Francis Davis for a 1993 essay on Mr. Rudd. “But Roz fit right in because of his musicianship and, I would have to say, his personality.”

In the mid-1960s Mr. Rudd began working with Alan Lomax, the song collector and anthropologist, on Lomax’s system of “cantometrics,” whereby music traditions from around the world are analyzed and categorized. Working off and on for 30 years, Mr. Rudd played an integral part in its development.

In the 1970s, Mr. Rudd began lecturing on musical anthropology at Bard College, then joined the music faculty at the University of Maine at Augusta. His attempts to integrate studies of Indian raga and other musical traditions were met with resistance from the department, and after being denied tenure in 1980 he moved to the Catskills with his wife, Moselle Galbraith.

In free-jazz settings, Mr. Rudd played with an ear to the arc of the group, filling open pockets of sound with descants and undercurrents. A natural-born listener, he tended to work as a foil to his more incendiary counterparts.

Mr. Rudd often favored performing with poets like Amiri Baraka and vocalists like Sheila Jordan, Bob Dorough and Fay Victor, whom he treated as equal collaborators, warbling and gliding in a friendly pas de deux. (His final album, “Embrace,” released in November, features Ms. Victor.)

In the early 1960s he worked with Herbie Nichols, an iconoclastic pianist and composer with an off-kilter approach to bebop, and then with the pianist Cecil Taylor, an ascendant figure in the avant-garde. He also joined a group focused on the repertoire of Thelonious Monk, informally known as the School Days Quartet, featuring the saxophonist Steve Lacy, the bassist Henry Grimes, and the drummer Denis Charles.

In 1964 he was featured on “New York Eye and Ear Control,” the soundtrack to an experimental film by Michael Snow. That same year he was a founder of the New York Art Quartet, a pioneering group that collaborated with Mr. Baraka, then known as LeRoi Jones. Its debut album, full of darting and thrashing improvisations and Mr. Baraka’s trenchant poetry, is widely seen as a landmark of the era.

By now Mr. Rudd was in high demand, and he recorded on a number of seminal albums: “Liberation Music Orchestra” (1970), by the bassist Charlie Haden; “Escalator Over the Hill” (1971), by Carla Bley and Paul Haines; and “Four for Trane” (1964), by the saxophonist Archie Shepp, for which Mr. Rudd wrote the horn arrangements.

“In New York, a major topic of discussion was the reality of being black and playing this music, versus the reality of being white and attempting to play it from a black perspective,” the trumpeter Bill Dixon told Francis Davis for a 1993 essay on Mr. Rudd. “But Roz fit right in because of his musicianship and, I would have to say, his personality.”

In the mid-1960s Mr. Rudd began working with Alan Lomax, the song collector and anthropologist, on Lomax’s system of “cantometrics,” whereby music traditions from around the world are analyzed and categorized. Working off and on for 30 years, Mr. Rudd played an integral part in its development.

In the 1970s, Mr. Rudd began lecturing on musical anthropology at Bard College, then joined the music faculty at the University of Maine at Augusta. His attempts to integrate studies of Indian raga and other musical traditions were met with resistance from the department, and after being denied tenure in 1980 he moved to the Catskills with his wife, Moselle Galbraith.

Roswell Rudd - 1967 - Everywhere

Roswell Rudd 
1967 
Everywhere


01. Everywhere 11:35
02. Yankee No-How 12:04
03. Respects 11:40
04. Satan's Dance 12:01

Alto Saxophone – Robin Kenyatta
Bass – Lewis Worrell
Drums – Beaver Harris
Flute, Bass Clarinet – Giuseppi Logan
Trombone – Roswell Rudd

Recorded July 8, 1966.


Roswell Rudd was a key player in the spawning of free jazz in the 1960’s, recording with Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, and John Tchicai. Rudd is still playing, age 77, and tours with Shepp today. He was voted “Trombonist of the year” three years in a row by jazz critics 2003+, I imagine against limited competition. I mean, would you buy your neighbour’s child a trombone for their birthday? Not if you had thin walls you wouldn’t.

Along with the inevitable educator/ academic role, Rudd added considerably to his frequent flyer miles by developing musical links with Mali 7,000 miles away. 

Recorded in the land of “fruits, nuts and flakes”, in San Francisco 1966, Rudd’s debut album as leader. The almighty Allmusic assign it the kiss of death on both cheeks, damned with the faintest of praise : “.. rambles a lot…but has some moments of interest. Rudd plays reasonably well…an intriguing but far from essential date”  Sort of thing you would not want to read on your feedback from a Lonely Hearts Agency, or indeed on your tombstone: “He played reasonably well”. In review-speak I think it means they didn’t like it, but you be the judge.

The trombone is a  powerful emotive instrument in a free jazz setting. The brassiest of the brass instruments, brooding, dark and full of menace. It creates a pungent harmony with Kenyatta’s alto, quite different from the usual  elegant instrument pairings, almost modern-classical in its atonal rendering. Charlie Haden’s bass adds a note of ambient waywardness.

Fans of straight ahead bop often have difficulty with free jazz, and I include myself among them. It has been noted before, people who have no difficulty with abstract art, nevertheless find themselves unable to embrace abstract music. At one end of the art spectrum you have hyper-realism , at the other,  pure abstraction and even escape from the canvas and frame altogether. Yet we ask music to tell a story in rhythm, melody and harmony, beginning middle and end,  and in pop format, to tell a story in words. And probably 90% of words are to say how much I luurve you baby.

A portrait of a beautiful woman should always have two eyes and ears, a nose and mouth, but not  necessarily in their expected place. It’s all in the attitude.

Goldmine, that mine of occasionally accurate information, list two releases of AS 9126 , one in 1967 by “Impulse” and another in 1968 by “ABC Impulse”. I can only surmise this is the earlier 1967 release. Seems likely there were some kind of  corporate shenanigans at ABC Paramount Records Inc. around this time, which requires further research. Impulse is not at all well documented, unlike Blue Note. According to Wiki – the corporate name of Am-Par Record Corporation was changed to ABC-Paramount Records, Inc. in 1962, and then to ABC Records, Inc. in 1967.

Seems this title is not an RVG master – very faint initials “LW” can be found on side 1 quarter way round anti-clockwise from the matrix .You need pretty good eyesight to notice it, I certainly didn’t first time around. The engineering is credited is one “Bob Arnold” so the mystery tag may be a disgruntled employee somewhere in the factory process wanting his two minutes of fame.

Ayler, Cherry, Tchicai, Rudd, Peacock, Murray - 1966 - New York Eye And Ear Control

Ayler, Cherry, Tchicai, Rudd, Peacock, Murray
1966
New York Eye And Ear Control


01. Don's Dawn 1:03
02. A Y 21:21
03. ITT 23:23

Albert Ayler — Sax (Tenor)
John Tchicai — Saxophone, Sax (Alto)
Don Cherry — Trumpet, Cornet
Roswell Rudd — Trombone
Gary Peacock — Bass
Sunny Murray — Drums

Recorded July 17th, 1964, by New York artist Michael Snow for use as the soundtrack for his film entitled "New York Eye and Ear Control".


This is a very interesting set, music that was freely improvised and used as the soundtrack for the 34-minute short film New York Eye and Ear Control. Tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler leads the all-star sextet (which also includes trumpeter Don Cherry, altoist John Tchicai, trombonist Roswell Rudd, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray) on two lengthy jams. The music is fiery but with enough colorful moments to hold one's interest throughout. 

What's alarming about this record is not how free & disjointed everything sounds - that's expected w/ the likes of Murray, Ayler, Rudd, Cherry, & Peacock - but how cohesive and coherent it all is. This is the sound of six incredible musicians tearing it all apart and carefully - musically, melodically - putting it all back together again.

Each of the six contributors to this piece are at the peak of their exploratory powers. Ayler is not as screechy and central as usual, and the rhythm section of Peacock and Murray keeps things sufficiently elastic so that the horns can have a conversation. The most interesting thing about the album is how it appears to lack one individual's overarching vision. Though the blueprint of Albert Ayler's recordings is all over this, none of his albums as a bandleader sound quite like this (except for maybe Bells). The "fire music" Ayler is known for is, to a certain extent, absent here in favor of the more intellectually driven free jazz of, say, Bill Dixon and the AACM movement. Regardless, lovers of experimental jazz will find plenty to love about this exciting ESP-Disk release.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The New York Art Quartet - 2013 - Call It Art

The New York Art Quartet
2013
Call It Art


01. Banging On The White House Door 6:29
02. Rosmosis 16:39
03. Uh-Oh 12:31
04. No. 6 8:11
05. Old Stuff 10:28
06. Asprokhaliko 4:24
07. Spoken Introduction By Amiri Baraka 0:17
08. Ballad Theta Including The Poem “Western Front” 7:45
09. Now’s The Time 7:31
10. Old Stuff Including The Poems “Bad Mouth” And “In One Battle” 10:22
11. No. 6 6:38
12. Closing Announcement 0:32
13. Sweet V [Breakdown] 1:36
14. Sweet V [Complete Take] 8:26
15. Nettus Ii [Warm-Up/Breakdowns] 1:16
16. Nettus Ii [Nearly Complete Take] 10:48
17. For Eric: Memento Mori 1:32
18. For Eric: Memento Mori [Take 1] 8:26
19. For Eric: Memento Mori [Take 2] 10:31
20. Eventuality [Incomplete] 5:50
21. Quintus T. 2:39
22. Mohawk 3:42
23. Sweet V 3:23
24. Banging On The White House Door 6:38
25. For Eric: Memento Mori 12:40
26. Uh-Oh 26:58
27. O.C. 14:12
28. Ballad Theta 10:08
29. No. 6 22:17

Alto Saxophone – John Tchicai
Bass – Bob Cunningham, Don Moore, Eddie Gomez, Lewis Worrell, Reggie Workman
Drums – J.C. Moses
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Milford Graves
Narrator [Recitation] – Amiri Baraka
Trombone, Euphonium – Roswell Rudd
Trumpet – Alan Shorter

Records and a 156-page clothbound book packaged in a custom white-birch wood box, limited to 665 hand-numbered copies (the first 100 copies include a card personally signed by key artists). The book features music manuscripts and notebook pages from the musicians' archives, an extensive itinerary, the complete history of the NYAQ, artists' bios, and musical analysis.
Barcode and Other Identifiers



Full Tracklist:

record I side A

1. Banging on the White House Door 6:29 (Roswell Rudd) [alternate take]

Roswell Rudd (euphonium);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Reggie Workman (bass);
Milford Graves (drums)

Recorded July 16, 1965
Van Gelder Recording Studio,
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

2. Rosmosis (Roswell Rudd) 16:39
Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Don Moore (bass);
Milford Graves (drums)

Recorded December 31, 1964
Judson Hall, New York City
Four Days in December concert series

record I side B

1. Uh-Oh (collective composition) 12:31

2. No. 6 (John Tchicai) 8:11

Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Don Moore (bass);
Milford Graves (drums)

Recorded December 31, 1964
Judson Hall, New York City
Four Days in December concert series

record II side A

1. Old Stuff (Roswell Rudd) 10:28

2. Asprokhaliko (Roswell Rudd) 4:24
Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Don Moore (bass);
Milford Graves (drums)

Recorded December 31, 1964
Judson Hall, New York City
Four Days in December concert series

3. Spoken introduction by Amiri Baraka 0:17
4. Ballad Theta (John Tchicai) 7:45
    including the poem “Western Front” (Amiri Baraka)

Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Eddie Gomez (bass);
Milford Graves (drums);
Amiri Baraka (reading)

Recorded January 17, 1965
WBAI Studios, New York City

record II side B
1. Now’s the Time (Charlie Parker) 7:31
2. Old Stuff (Roswell Rudd) 10:22
    including the poems “Bad Mouth” (Amiri Baraka)
    and “In One Battle” (Amiri Baraka)
3. No. 6 (John Tchicai) 6:38
4. Closing announcement [incomplete] 0:32
    unknown WBAI broadcaster
Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Eddie Gomez (bass);
Milford Graves (drums);
Amiri Baraka (reading)


Recorded January 17, 1965
WBAI Studios, New York City


record III side A

Sweet V (Roswell Rudd)
1. [breakdown] 1:36
2. [complete take] 8:26
Nettus II (John Tchicai)
3. [warm-up/false start/breakdown/false start/incomplete] 1:16
4. [nearly complete take] 10:48
For Eric: Memento Mori (John Tchicai)
5. Warm-up/Take 1 [false start] 1:32

record III side B
For Eric: Memento Mori (John Tchicai)
1. Take 2 [complete] 8:26
2. Take 3 [complete] 10:31
Eventuality (Roswell Rudd) 5:50
3. [incomplete]

Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Bob Cunningham (bass);
Milford Graves (drums and vocalizing)

Recorded probably early 1965
loft of Michael Snow, New York City

record IV side A

1. Quintus T. (John Tchicai) 2:39
2. Mohawk (Charlie Parker) 3:42
3. Sweet V (Roswell Rudd) 3:23
4. Banging on the White House Door (Roswell Rudd) 6:38

Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Reggie Workman (bass);
Milford Graves (drums)
On track 4 Rudd plays euphonium and not trombone

Recorded July 15, 1965
Museum of Modern Art sculpture garden, New York City


5. For Eric: Memento Mori (John Tchicai) 12:40

Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Lewis Worrell (bass);
Milford Graves (drums)
Recorded October 31, 1964
loft of Marzette Watts, New York City

record IV side B

1. Uh-Oh (collective composition) 26:58
interpolating “Sound By-Yor” (Ornette Coleman)

Alan Shorter (trumpet);
Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Lewis Worrell (bass);
J.C. Moses (drums);
Milford Graves (conga)

Recorded October 31, 1964
loft of Marzette Watts, New York City

record V side A

1. O.C. (Ornette Coleman) 14:12

Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Lewis Worrell (bass);
J.C. Moses (drums);
Milford Graves (conga and vocalizing)

2. Ballad Theta (John Tchicai) 10:08
Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Lewis Worrell (bass);
Milford Graves (drums);
briefly add Alan Shorter (trumpet)

Recorded October 31, 1964
loft of Marzette Watts, New York City

record V side B

1. No. 6 (John Tchicai) 22:17
Roswell Rudd (trombone);
John Tchicai (alto saxophone);
Lewis Worrell (bass);
Milford Graves (drums and vocalizing)

Recorded October 31, 1964
loft of Marzette Watts, New York City



The New York Art Quartet reflected the richness of the avant-garde. The spirit that spawned Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler’s fire also produced the subtle, contemplative sound of the NYAQ (alto saxophonist John Tchicai, trombonist Roswell Rudd, drummer Milford Graves and 11 successive bassists). NYAQ lacked the shock value of those other innovators; add to that the lack of time, tonality or even solos-the band’s core was collective improvisation-and the music’s cool temperament makes it harder, not easier, to parse. Still, they were original, and nearly 50 years later remain stubbornly unique.

But if (as producer Ben Young suggests) they were “quietly revolutionary,” it was quite a minor revolution. The quartet existed from mid-1964 to late ’65, playing just over two dozen gigs and releasing two records during that span (a 1965 concert recording also appeared in 2010), and received slight attention. Yet the box set call it art features five LPs (four hours) of previously unreleased material, roughly triple the band’s lifetime output, and a 150-plus-page coffee-table book that gives them messianic treatment. At best, it’s of questionable necessity; realistically, it’s closer to ludicrous.

The packaging, it must be said, is splendid. Outside is a box of birch wood, naked save a sticker that bears the title and limited-edition copy number (of 665). Inside are five matte-sleeved pieces of 180-gram vinyl and a black, clothbound 11-by-11-inch book full of glossy pages and arresting color and black-and-white photographs. In producing a collector’s item, Young could hardly have done better: Collectors will drool.

The musical content is odds-and-ends stuff: a studio alternate take, concerts, loft sessions and one live radio broadcast on New York’s WBAI. Most of it is quite good, including a number of pieces that the NYAQ never otherwise recorded. The band shines: Graves is particularly brilliant as a frontline drummer with percussive color, while Rudd and Tchicai demonstrate remarkable sensitivity to each other’s sounds. Various versions of their best tunes, the trombonist’s “Banging on the White House Door” and “Old Stuff,” demonstrate their passion and delight with this music and betray a sizable Coleman influence. The excellent “Four Days in December” performance of New Year’s Eve 1964 (Records I and II) could have been an album in its own right. The set’s highlight, however, is Record II’s WBAI broadcast with Eddie Gomez on bass. Clearly an aircheck (albeit a high-quality one) with its light tape warp and too-high mic levels, it features Tchicai’s probing “Ballad Theta” and a fascinating abstraction of “Now’s the Time” along with three entrancing poems read by Amiri Baraka.

The New York Art Quartet was a free jazz ensemble made up of saxophonist John Tchicai, trombonist Roswell Rudd, drummer Milford Graves and bassists Lewis Worrell and Reggie Workman, formed in 1964.

Approaching jazz from a wide scope, Afro-Danish American John Tchicai was a composer/saxophonist whose music is internationally known for its compelling sense of rhythm, drama and humor, its freedom, spirituality, healing qualities and ultimate freshness. He recorded with both John Coltrane ("Ascension") and John Lennon ("Life with Lions"), and he founded the ensemble "New York Art Quartet". John Tchicai was the first recipient of a lifetime grant for Jazz performance from the State of Denmark.

Roswell Rudd is a Grammy Award-nominated American jazz trombonist and composer. Although skilled in a variety of genres of jazz and other genres of music, he is known primarily for his work in free and avant-garde jazz.

Milford Graves is an American jazz drummer and percussionist, most noteworthy for his early avant-garde contributions in the early 1960s with Paul Bley and the New York Art Quartet. He is considered to be a free jazz pioneer, liberating the percussion from its timekeeping role. Graves has worked as a sideman and session musician with a variety of established jazz musicians throughout his career, including Don Pullen, Eddie Gomez, Andrew Cyrille, Rashied Ali, Kenny Clarke, Don Moye, Philly Joe Jones, John Zorn and Albert Ayler. He has invested his time in research within the field of healing through music.

"Their music was fairly free, emotional, and quite notable for the trombone-alto frontline. The group was formed after Tchicai departed from The New York Contemporary Five, and the New York Art Quartet lasted until Rudd joined Archie Shepp's Quartet." - Scott Yanow, allmusic.com

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The New York Art Quartet - 2010 - Old Stuf

The New York Art Quartet
2010
Old Stuf


01. Rosmosis 15:47
02. Sweet Smells 6:22
03. Old Stuff 7:18
04. Pannonica 3:02
05. Kvintus T 2:52
06. Pa Tirsdag 5:51
07. Old Stuff 8:11
08. Cool Eyes 7:28
09. Sweet V 2:29
10. Karin's Blues 6:20
11. Kirsten 5:32

Alto Saxophone – John Tchicai
Bass – Finn Von Eyben
Drums – Louis Moholo
Trombone – Roswell Rudd


"The band sharing the bill with Sonic Youth at the Seaport Atrium in lower Manhattan tonight -- the headliners, actually -- will be the New York Art Quartet, a reconvened avant-garde jazz chamber ensemble.... This is no act of charity by Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth's founder and guitarist, and an ardent devotee of 60's free jazz. The show might be one of the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival's hottest tickets even without Sonic Youth as the opening act, such is the anticipation about the reunion of...the New York Art Quartet.... With the passage of enough time, virtually anything can become a source of nostalgia, apparently including even another era's racial frictions and cutting-edge music. But a double bill of Sonic Youth and the New York Art Quartet has even greater contemporary relevance. It demonstrates the long-term influence of 60's free jazz on extreme forms of rock-and-roll, beginning with punk and no-wave in the late 70's, if not a decade earlier with the Stooges and the MC5 -- a curious phenomenon, given free improvisation's supposedly negligible impact on mainstream jazz.... Collective improvisation was a cherished ideal in early free jazz, but aside from greater parity between horn soloists and their rhythm sections, this was often just talk. For the New York Art Quartet, collective improvisation was a raison d'etre, the band's musical starting point." – Francis Davis/The New York Times

This release is truly a remarkable archival find! Formed in the summer of 1964, although the New York Art Quartet existed for barely a year and a half, great interest remains in their work. They consisted of co-leaders John Tchicai (alto sax), who participated in John Coltrane’s ground-breaking Ascension album and Roswell Rudd (trombone), considered to be the first free-jazz trombonist, along with bassist Don Moore and drummer Milford Graves. The band participated in the legendary “October Revolution in Jazz”, which journalist Bill Shoemaker called, “Arguably the most seminal jazz concert series ever held...it was a comprehensive four-day survey of jazz's cutting edge.... It marked the beginning of the Golden Era of do-it-yourself jazz culture in the U.S.” The New York Art Quartet recorded their self-titled first album for ESP and Tchicai went back to his homeland of Denmark to scout out work for the group. Only Rudd was able to join him, so the pair enlisted Copenhagen bassist Finn von Eyben and South African drummer Louis Moholo, who had very recently left South Africa with the Blue Notes; this is one of his earliest recordings. This lineup of the New York Art Quartet performed two concerts in Copenhagen in October, 1965, which is where these recordings were made.
Released on the 45th anniversary of the October Revolution, this historic issue features all previously unheard and unreleased recordings of brilliant and firey musical interplay that have really great, high quality, period live sound. In the 8 page booklet are never-before seen photos and a short, informative essay by writer Jason Weiss, who produced this album.

"An absolute gem of an album that is of great historical importance.... Both elemental and sophisticated, this is an invaluable document of an ephemeral outfit – that made a nonetheless invaluable contribution to the cannon of small group jazz, be it mainstream or avant-garde, or the space in between." – Kevin Le Gendre/Jazzwise, October, 2010

Forty-five years is a long time for unreleased music to gather dust before anyone gets a chance to hear it, but the genre of free jazz is littered with these types of time capsules. With each passing year the list of long-lost recordings grows with entries from Mingus, Monk, Coltrane, and other giants. These recordings, in addition to giving people something new to listen to, serve as a reminder of just how different things were back then. For example, by late 1965, Albert Ayler and John Coltrane had already unleashed some of the most challenging jazz that anyone had heard by that time. Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz was already five years old, and that gauntlet had been picked up many times over by the mid ‘60s. The era of free jazz was proving to be very fertile, especially in big cities where life was just plain crazy, and each musician had a need to express their crazy side. As a result, many acts have come and gone from that era without getting a chance to make a big name for themselves. So when I tell you that it’s the New York Art Quartet’s turn to drop some forgotten documentation of two 1965 performances this year, I can’t blame you for responding “Who?”

The story can be traced back to Danish saxophonist John Tchicai, who performed on Coltrane’s Ascension. Tchicai emerged from these sessions with an itch to form his own free jazz band, so he did. Enter trombonist Roswell Rudd, fresh off of Bill Dixon’s band from the early ‘60s. These two co-lead the New York Art Quartet with the powerful rhythm section of drummer Milford Graves and a rotating cast of bassists including Don Moore, Lewis Worrell, and Reggie Workman. They recorded two albums in a little less than a year and a half, then called it a day. There was an eventual 35th year reunion concert released on the DIW label, but that’s another chapter.

It was just before the New York Art Quartet was about to slip into retirement that the recordings of Old Stuff were cut. Tchicai had gone back to his native Denmark to book some gigs for his new quartet. For whatever reasons, Moore and Graves could not tag along, leaving Tchicai and Rudd no choice but to find a whole new rhythm section. Finn von Eyben ended up providing bass, while Louis Moholo, formerly of the Blue Notes, pounded the skins. So as it stands, this live album of two Copenhagen gigs both greatly benefits and slightly suffers from four musicians who hadn’t spent a whole lot of time together.

The lack of practice serves as a benefit because, well, circumstances for spontaneity don’t get much better than that. Add in the fact that an audience is involved, and a band can really soar. The lead off track, “Rosmosis”, a Rudd original from the quartet’s first album, has all the makings of a classic free jazz standard: an accessible melody, syncopated interplay between horns, a commanding drummer shifting gears mid-song, and plenty of fiery solos in between. The title track, which gets played at each of the gigs presented, goes its own merry way by halting the song intermittently to allow for Tchicai and Rudd to fill the space with trills and interval leaps. It’s one of those moments that remind you of all the other things jazz can be if everyone just stopped covering “Autumn Leaves”.

But the limited-time bond between these musicians works against them, slightly. One may think that in free jazz there is no such thing as sloppy playing. But even if one is playing experimental post-bop in a desire to say "nuts to the old formula," you and your band still need to adhere to a formula and know each other’s abilities. For the second date, the quartet trades in a small club for a larger concert hall. It could be that the different surroundings (the two shows were only 10 days apart) changed their mentality. “Karin’s Blues” finds Tchicai and Rudd too unsure of themselves or unsure of how to match each other. The mix tends to favor the drums over the bass, and it sounds as if the ensemble just wasn’t meshing the way that they did ten days prior. They still give it their all, trying their best to thrive from the generous audience, who offer up more applause than the previous crowd. But one gets the feeling that tracks seven through 11 of this 70-minute CD don’t show this band at the top of their game.

All things considered, these are two very promising shows from an obscure band buried under many legendary names from one of the 20th century’s most difficult musical eras. The level of interest in a release such as Old Stuff is bound to be narrow. But that’s not to say that it lacks any potential to reach a wider audience. In fact, it may be resurrected curiosities like Old Stuff that will give free jazz a shot in the arm for a new generation of listeners. The upstart music labels just need to keep releases like this coming, so as to give us all an idea what it was like to watch experimental music unfold back in the good old days. In fact, a re-release of the New York Art Quartet’s long out of print second album Mohawk would be a good place to go next. How about it, Cuneiform Records?

The New York Art Quartet - 1965 - Mohawk

The New York Art Quartet
1965
Mohawk


01. Rufus 3rd 6:35
02. Mohawk 4:40
03. Banging On The White House Door 9:10
04. No. 6 6:15
05. Everything Happens To Me 6:35
06. Quintus T. 2:45
07. Sweet V. 3:35

Alto Saxophone – John Tchicai
Bass – Reggie Workman
Drums – Milford Graves
Trombone – Roswell Rudd

Recorded in New York City on July 16, 1965.


Many of the canonic jazz records—the absolutely necessary ones, urgent for any comprehensive jazz history or aspiring collection—have been issued on CD. That’s even true of the self-produced or small-label productions; consider that the signal New York underground company ESP has had most of its catalog in print—albeit sometimes in badly remastered form—almost continuously since the ’60s.

The Vinyl Freak column usually focuses on albums that slip through the cracks, rather than the major watershed events. The canon needs to be wider than it is, including all sorts of oddities. Those unusual items tell as significant a part of the story as the “classics.” The waste pail of history is, for an audio archaeologist, often more fruitful than the pantry.

But there remain a few items that should, by any account, be staples prominently placed in that pantry that haven’t been properly restocked. In the early ’60s, one of the forefront labels documenting the new jazz was a Dutch company called Fontana. A few of its important productions were reissued on LP by Freedom, enja, and Arista in the ’70s—Dewey Redman’s Look for the Black Star, for instance—but some of its early entries in the New York underground remain inaccessible. In many ways, Fontana was the sister label to Impulse! and ESP. It helped capitalize on mounting interest in free jazz in Europe, having been better distributed and more broadly collected there.

Tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp and alto saxophonist John Tchicai produced a tremendous quartet outing, Rufus, which, only ever having been reissued on French LP and in a tiny batch in Japan (where some of the rarest Fontanas have somehow made their way onto CD), joins Marion Brown’s Juba-Lee, the first record to feature pianist Dave Burrell and a tenor-only recording of Bennie Maupin, in the super-obscure Fontana category. Of Fontana LPs that have languished in obscurity, however, one is an absolute classic and should be reissued immediately. If they did they’d have to pay more historical homage to the group that made it.

The New York Art Quartet’s Mohawk was recorded in July 1965. It’s got pristine sound for a free jazz LP, having been recorded in Rudy Van Gelder’s studio, which is good because the details are meaningful. The lineup includes Tchicai on alto, Roswell Rudd on trombone, and Reggie Workman on bass. But it’s the remarkable drumming of Milford Graves that makes this record more than another nice entry in the “New Thing” discography. Indeed, this LP is a major event, perhaps the best evidence of what a totally new rhythmic concept Graves had invented, and the top recording of unpulsed drumming, bar none.

Graves was just at the point of discarding his snare in ’65, and he’s still playing it on about half of Mohawk. Anyone who questions Graves’s prowess on snare will have to reckon with this record, where his playing is as shocking and revelatory as Tony Williams on Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch, and perhaps more so. Listen to him start and stop on the Rudd-less “Everything Happens to Me,” as Tchicai brilliantly and gently abstracts the beautiful melody. Or listen to the sensational “Banging on the White House Door,” where the rhythm is at once precise and clotted.

Graves proves that it’s possible to imply forward motion and at the same time resist the simple groove. His metrical overlays and wavelike fluidity are as astonishing now as they must have been then, in part because so few players have had the discipline to pick up on and develop them. Here’s an example of free jazz that’s ceaselessly creative and puts something new on the table. Happy hunting.

The New York Art Quartet - 1964 - The New York Art Quartet

The New York Art Quartet
1964
The New York Art Quartet



01. Short 8:20
02. Sweet - Black Dada Nihilismus 12:10
03. Rosmosis 14:48
04. No. 6 8:07

Bass – Lewis Worrell
Percussion – Milford Graves
Saxophone – John Tchicai
Trombone – Roswell Rudd

Recorded in New York City on November 26, 1964.


The New York Art Quartet history according to Roswell Rudd
I think it was late ’63 when Don Cherry suggested I check out an altoist named John Tchicai performing with his group in a midtown (NYC) Tchicai soon after. We just started playing and it sounded good right away. Then not too long after that John asked me to write some arrangements of music by Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk for a band involving himself, Don Cherry & Archie Shepp (which I did and I’ve been told some were recorded.) The next thing that happened John arranged for himself, me and Milford Graves to work out in a loft in my neighborhood = lower lower west side. Again, we first started playing and it sounded good right away and it got better. Next time we got together I asked bassist Lewis Worrell to come along and we just started playing, and it took off again.

The name New York Art Quartet was something John ran by us, and my first impression was “too uppity, not funky enough for a jazz band” but damned if I or anyone else could come up with anything better. And the more I thought about the total improvisation that we had been doing (no prestructure of any kind up to that time) the more sense the word “art” made…even “the jazz” I had been playing all along was based off tunes, compositions, arrangements, suggested formats, etc. With the NYAQ we started, we listened, and responded to what each other was doing as we played and that was “the composition.” Of course written and head compositions were inevitable but all that free playing from the inception of the band was always the predominant thing. Over the summer of ’64 we kept rehearsing periodically and there were a few gigs.

In the fall we made our first recording; for Bernard Stollman’s ESP label . In addition to heads by John and myself, and a great deal of free playing, John invitted Amiri Baraka to join us and he did a reading of his work Black Dada Nihilismus on the Sweet V. track which is a gem of the times and made that ESP date particularly special. We also performed as part of the Bill Dixon/Cecil Taylor brainchild October Revolution in Jazz at the Cellar Cafe. This evolved into the Jazz Composers Guild and Four Days in December at Judson Hall with periodic performances at the Edith Stephen dance studio up over the Village Vanguard which lasted well into the spring of ’65. With help from abroad, John organized a recording at Rudy Van Gelder’ s studio… Lewis Worrell was unavailable and Reggie Workman very capably filled his shoes. John also invited Amiri Baraka to sit in with us and we did “Black Dada Nihilismo. ”

This was soon sold to Phillips Fontana and became Mohawk. John then returned to Denmark and by the Fall ’65 had set up a short tour beginning at the Montmartre Club in Copenhagen and included performances for Danish Radio on the same bill with Oliver Nelson and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam opening for Ornette Coleman. (Milford Graves and Lewis Worrell could not make the trip, so the band at this time consisted of John, myself, a Danish bassist Finn Von Eyben and Louis Moholo on drums.) Later on that year back in the States two concerts stand out: one at the New School with Richard Davis on bass and a collaboration with the great avant cellist Charlotte Moorman at Carnegie Recital Hall. But by the beginning of ’66, John had returned permanently to Denmark …he did however make all of us a final offer to incorporate permanently and go into the future with him, but I at least could not make the commitment to exclusive contract at the time, as beautiful as the offer was; I wanted to keep myself as open as possible to a variety of experiences. In sum I wish to stress more than anything else the phenomenal blend and complementarity that was there from the inception with John & the other great players. It was simply: great preordained organic chemistry.

Roswell Rudd, October 27, 1998


Alto saxophonist John Tchicai co-formed the New York Art Quartet in 1964 out of the ashes of the New York Contemporary Five. Enlisting trombonist Roswell Rudd (who arranged some of the latter group's book), the NYAQ was initially to include the Five's rhythm team of bassist Don Moore and drummer J.C. Moses. However, once drummer Milford Graves sat in, the group's pan-rhythmic die was cast. A number of bassists past through the ensemble in its short life — in addition to Lewis Worrell (featured here), Steve Swallow, Eddie Gomez and Reggie Workman occupied the bass chair. On the heels of the present album, they recorded once more for Fontana (the excellent and boppish Mohawk, with Workman) before disbanding until a brief reunion at the start of the millennium.

One of the things that always set the group's ESP date apart from contemporary brethren is its inclusion of a poem, "Black Dada Nihilismus" by Amiri Baraka(LeRoi Jones), which is woven into the group's fabric. "Nihilismus" is a beat follow-up to Eliot's "The Wasteland" in the clothes of mid-60s New York, "cool" as dead, disheartened and disaffected with no place in any artistic or racial community, yet somehow affirming singularity as solitude. In a way, the inclusion of Baraka's (Jones) poem perfectly mirrors the in- betweenness of the group, who certainly had grand claims as to their music as art-music, creative and experimental, but whose approach to that very artfulness was always brusque and extremely "street."

The horns sit out for "Nihilismus," which is propelled by the thrum of Worrell's bass and Graves' telepathic burbling accents, a true collective music-poetry exploration that soon erupts into Rudd's "Sweet." Rudd and Tchicai are in loose unison on the easy-tempo theme, Graves in a continual hum of activity often at odds with the front line. Somewhat analogous to Anthony Williams, whose dissection of meter acted as the fulcrum for a number of groups at the time, Graves is defiantly in his own orbit. Rather than providing a canvas to free the soloist a la Sunny Murray, Graves is impulsive and either ignores or counteracts the soloist with non-isometric phrases, creating tension through non-unison collectivity. Yet there's propulsion and swing by dint of disparity, a pulse that's kinetic even if it's multidirectional. Tchicai's "No. 6" grooves mightily, even if Graves' dense patterns aren't countable by traditional means.

Graves' counter-melodic approach to rhythm isn't the only way in which the ensemble moves at odds. Rudd and Tchicai are a curious foil, a clash of slushy tailgate, buzzing and vocal, with cool-toned, acrid and poised alto. Tchicai, who studied with the late Steve Lacy, has more in common with the free-associative burble of Lee Konitz than Dolphy or Ornette. Cooking through contradiction, the New York Art Quartet cut some of the most powerful music in the free jazz underground.


Roswell Rudd assembled the newly formed New York Quartet for an afternoon recording session at Bell Sound Studios in midtown Manhattan. They were joined by a small, youthful appearing individual, the poet Amiri Baraka. Their engineer was the late Art Crist, an accomplished pianist. I was introduced to Lewis Worrell, Amiri Baraka and John Tchicai. The group was short lived. I heard them again 40 years later, when they reassembled for a concert at the South Street Seaport in New York City, opening for Sonic Youth at the invitation of Thurston Moore. -- Bernard Stollman

One disc 43 minutes approximately. Digitally remastered-the sound is clean with good spatial separation among the instruments. This recording features Roswell Rudd-trombone,John Tchicai-alto sax,Lewis Worrell-bass,Milford Graves-drums and percussion,and on track two-Amiri Baraka(Leroi Jones)who recites a poem over a subtle background of music. The poem is strictly out of the sixties and is an example of how jazz was used in conjunction with the spoken word,and is valuable for that reason. This track is also the shortest on this set,about three and a half minutes. The music on the rest of the tracks is unstructured and atonal.

This is a perfect example of "outside" music that was touted as "the new thing" in the sixties. Fans of this style of jazz will find much to their liking here. The first track is used as a setting of style for the rest of the tracks. Track three starts off hesitantly but quickly finds a groove(if this music can have a groove),and finds all the players using their instruments to weave a subtle pattern of sound. The other tracks find the players playing over,with,and against each other-either "all-out" or with great subtly. The presence of Milford Graves on these sides gives this music a good grounding-he never lets things get out of hand. The same could also be said of Lewis Worrell-his bass playing,both within the group and on solos, is always just right. As for Rudd and Tchicai,their playing is always intelligent combined with a real feel for the music. Being totally subjective here,it seems to these ears and mind that each track,starting with track three,gets better and better. There is a subtly and a deep feeling in the music,that seems to increase. By the time the music has ended,there is a feeling of wanting more,or not wanting the music to end. On reflection,isn't that what we want in a listening experience?

The notes are short and to the point. Rudd formed this group for an afternoon recording session. They were joined by Baraka. The group played again forty years later,opening for a Sonic Youth concert at Thurston Moore's invitation. As it seems to happen,Worrell had vanished from the scene and was replaced by Reggie Workman on bass. This is another example of why ESP RECORDS was,and continues to be important. From the music,to the album graphics-this is a nice package. It's good to hear it again and again. For more good music of this sort,look for NEW YORK EYE AND EAR CONTROL on ESP RECORDS

This adventurous, short-lived quartet only made three albums in its two-year heyday. The best and most easily obtained (although that's relative) is the classic 1964 self-titled free jazz excursion on the ESP label. The unique front-line horn arrangement of trombonist Roswell Rudd and Danish alto saxophonist John Tchicai weaves rapid intricate lines around Lewis Worrell's bass and the frenzied drums of Milford Graves. Poet Leroi Jones (now Amiri Baraka) is added to the quartet for his revolutionary/militant spoken word diatribe "Black Dada Nihilismus." While it may sound like an intrusion to some listeners, it must be kept in mind that Jones was an active participant in the early avant-garde scene of New York, making his contribution to this disc vital in capturing the radical surroundings in which the music thrived. In 2000, the intensity and fervor was still thriving as the original New York Art Quartet (with Baraka, sans the late Worrell) reunited for their 35th Reunion concert, available on the DIW label.

New York Contemporary Five - 1966 - Consequences

New York Contemporary Five 
1966
Consequences


01. Sound Barrier
02. Wo Wo
03. Consequences
04. Rufus
05. Crepescule With Nellie
06. Trio

Alto Saxophone – John Tchicai
Bass – Don Moore
Drums – J.C. Moses
Tenor Saxophone – Archie Shepp
Trumpet – Don Cherry

Recorded in New York City on August 23, 1963 except "Trio" recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 12, 1963.



In 1966, producer Alan Bates spearheaded a series of avant-garde jazz releases for the Fontana label (both Dutch and UK imprints), now prized by collectors not only for the fact that they document crucial years in the music (1962-66), but for their beautiful and unique color lithography by Dutch pop artist and lithographer Marte Röling. Röling's covers are fanciful renditions of the artists' heads, filled with whimsical cutaways showing the machinations of the jazzman's mind (Tchicai's, on Mohawk, includes group protests and a saxophone; Marion brown has numerals and valves). The lithographs themselves were culled from photographs of the artists by Guy Kopelowicz, Ray Ross and others. The sessions' origins are quite varied; live concerts make up a few of the dates, others were culled from the artists' own tapes. Two sessions are reissues of material originally released on Riverside in the US (George Russell's The Outer View and Rod Levitt's Dynamic Sound Patterns). Though the original series was short-lived, reissues have been produced in Japan, as well as collected on the Arista-Freedom and Black Lion labels - albeit with different cover art. 

Modern Silence present a reissue of The New York Contemporary Five's Consequences, originally released in 1966. The New York Contemporary Five barely lasted a year, all told, but they recorded five albums that shaped the jazz to come. They were a super-group after the fact -- the stellar frontline of Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, and John Tchicai all being relative newcomers at the time. Cherry had recently left Ornette Coleman and was only starting to stretch into world music. Shepp was fresh off a stint with Cecil Taylor and had just found his voice as a composer and performer. And Tchicai was virtually unknown. Their scorching music -- aided by the supple and hard-hitting rhythm section of Don Moore and J. C. Moses -- is a thrilling mix of adventurous soloing and post-bop structures, memorable heads and go-for-broke improv. Shepp and Tchicai offered two different ways forward for sax players: Shepp privileged texture, density, and fragmentation -- a pointillist take on Ben Webster or Coleman Hawkins, perhaps. Tchicai was a master of melodic invention, teasing out hard and bright phrases that seem unpredictably off-kilter. What's still remarkable about these tunes is their sense of internal tension. They're wound tighter than a magnet coil, without sacrificing any spontaneity. There's little that's strictly free about this jazz, but it's full of reckless and unexpected drama all the same. "Consequences" is the record's barnburner, built on fiery performances and climaxing with a Don Cherry solo that sounds like the aural equivalent of a fifty foot skid mark. Their version of Bill Dixon's "Trio" is contemplative by comparison, offering a loping groove, overlapping textures, and a series of wonderfully sustained solos that show off the stylistic strengths of each player.

The New York Contemporary Five, although somewhat forgotten today, was a particularly noteworthy group during its year of existence — a pioneering avant-garde combo. Trumpeter Don Cherry had recently departed from the Ornette Coleman Quartet and he was just beginning to stretch out into folk music when he helped form the group. Tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp, who had played with Cecil Taylor, was still a minor name at the time but was maturing rapidly. Altoist John Tchicai first gained a bit of notice during his period with the quintet, while bassist Don Moore and drummer J.C. Moses formed a flexible and complementary rhythmic base. The New York Contemporary Five primarily played in Europe during its year, recording four albums from 1962-63 (two apiece for Fontana and Sonet) and one in February 1964 for Savoy (with Shepp, Tchicai and either Ted Curson or Don Cherry on trumpet being joined by bassist Ronnie Boykins and drummer Sunny Murray) before its inevitable breakup. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

New York Contemporary 5 - 1964 - Vol.2

New York Contemporary 5
1964
Vol.2


01. Consequences 8:40
02. Monk's Mood 2:30
03. Emotions 8:40
04. Wo Wo 5:55
05. Trio 15:30

Alto Saxophone – John Tchicai
Bass – Don Moore
Cornet – Don Cherry
Drums – J. C. Moses
Tenor Saxophone – Archie Shepp

Recorded November 15, 1963, Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen


Although saxophonist Archie Shepp is listed as the leader of this release, The New York Contemporary Five was really a collective; a short-lived, free jazz super-group from the early 1960s. The band, with a front line of Shepp, cornetist Don Cherry and alto saxophonist John Tchicai, was recorded live at the famed Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark on November 15, 1963. Originally released as a two-volume set on the Sonet label,

One disc,75 minutes approximately. Remastered from the original tapes. Good delineation between the instruments with a clean sound. This disc comprises two vinyl releases which were recorded live, in 1963. This set is under Archie Shepp's name in hopes that it would sell more through name recognition than for the quality of music. The musicians,besides Shepp on tenor sax consist of Don Cherry-cornet,John Tchicai-alto sax,Don Moore-bass,and J.C.Mose drums.

The music recorded by this group is much more important than a lot of people realize. Their is a slight feel of Ornette Coleman flowing around this music,and not just because of Cherry's presence. The tunes are a combination of traditional jazz foundations on which the then "new thinking" was overlaid,which gives this set(besides good music) an importance much greater than this fleeting group. The tunes were written by Coleman,Monk,and several members of the group. Of particular note is the track TRIO,which is long(fifteen minutes or so)written by the trumpeter Bill Dixon. The sound of this track is different than the others,being in a modal style with varying meters. This gives this track a real identity and is one of the highlights of this set.

All the tracks were recorded live in Copenhagen,where this type of music found a welcome home. This group didn't last long,with several members moving to the U.S. Shepp stayed in Europe and recorded several albums. Some of the best were duo settings such as GOIN' HOME,TROUBLE IN MIND,and LOOKING AT BIRD. Listeners should not be put off with thinking this music is difficult to understand and enjoy. This is music that has a bite-but when it's over,you won't mind,because this set works it's way into your mind,and you realize you have heard something important on the long road of jazz.

New York Contemporary 5 - 1964 - Vol.1

New York Contemporary 5
1964
Vol.1


01. Cisum 11:10
02. Crepuscule With Nellie 2:05
03. O.C. 6:40
04. When Will The Blues Leave 9:00
05. Funeral 5:05
06. Mik 7:30

Alto Saxophone – John Tchicai
Bass – Don Moore
Drums – J.C. Moses
Tenor Saxophone – Archie Shepp
Trumpet – Don Cherry

Recorded November 15, 1963, Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen


The New York Contemporary Five was an avant-garde jazz ensemble active in the first half of the 1960s.

It has been described as "a group which, despite its ... short lease on life, has considerable historical significance", laying "the cornerstone of what might be called the mainstream of free jazz".

The ensemble was formed around 1962 by Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, John Tchicai, Don Moore, and J.C. Moses. They released two albums in 1963 for Fontana and Sonet, and finally a split album with Bill Dixon early in 1964 on Savoy Records. The last record featured Ted Curson, Ronnie Boykins, and Sunny Murray in place of Cherry, Moore, and Moses respectively. The group disbanded later in 1964.

This historically significant LP has six selections recorded by the New York Contemporary Five on November 11, 1963. The short-lived group, which consists of cornetist Don Cherry, altoist John Tchicai, Archie Shepp on tenor, bassist Don Moore, and drummer J.C. Moses, was avant-garde for the period, influenced most by Ornette Coleman's Quartet; the participation of Coleman's cornetist certainly helped. However, Tchicai (although sometimes hinting at Coleman) had a different approach than Coleman, and it was obvious that Shepp had already developed his own original voice and was the group's most passionate soloist. Together this very interesting quintet (which would soon break up) performs pieces by Coleman, Thelonious Monk (there's a short melodic renditions of "Crepescule with Nellie"), Bill Dixon, Tchicai, Shepp, and Cherry.

The Cecil Taylor Unit & Roswell Rudd Sextet - 1998 - Mixed

The Cecil Taylor Unit & Roswell Rudd Sextet
1998 
Mixed


01. Bulbs 6:49
02. Pots 5:44
03. Mixed 10:08
04. Everywhere 11:32
05. Yankee No-How 12:03
06. Respects 11:39
07. Satan's Dance 12:01

Alto Saxophone – Jimmy Lyons (tracks: 1 to 3), Robin Kenyatta (tracks: 4 to 7)
Bass – Charlie Haden (tracks: 4 to 7), Henry Grimes (tracks: 1 to 3), Lewis Worrell (tracks: 4 to 7)
Drums – Beaver Harris (tracks: 4 to 7), Sunny Murray (tracks: 1 to 3)
Flute, Bass Clarinet – Giuseppi Logan (tracks: 4 to 7)
Piano – Cecil Taylor (tracks: 1 to 3)
Tenor Saxophone – Archie Shepp (tracks: 1 to 3)
Trombone – Roswell Rudd (tracks: 3, 4 to 7)
Trumpet – Ted Curson (tracks: 3)


Tracks 1 to 3 recorded on October 10, 1961 in New York City. Originally released on Gil Evans "Into The Hot" (Impulse AS-9).

Tracks 4 to 7 recorded on July 8, 1966 at Capitol Studios, New York City. Originally issued as Roswell Rudd "Everywhere" (Impulse AS-9126).


"Everywhere," "Yankee No-How," "Respects," and "Satan’s Dance" constitute a reissue of Impulse! [AS-9126], Everywhere, originally recorded July 8, 1966 in New York by the Roswell Rudd Sextet. "Bulbs," "Pots," and "Mixed" were originally recorded October 10, 1961 in New York by the Cecil Taylor Unit, and those tracks appeared alongside several unrelated tracks by members of Gil Evans’ orchestra on Into The Hot, Impulse! [AS-9]. The original liner notes by Nat Hentoff and Michael Cuscuna, respectively, are included in the accompanying booklet.
With stereo bowed basses setting the stage backdrop behind his full, expressive trombone tone, Rudd begins "Everywhere" wailing and moaning before inviting the full ensemble to join him. It’s a slow melancholy dirge that allows everyone to improvise while keeping the focus on Rudd’s solo voice. "Yankee No-How" contrasts with twelve minutes of group frenzy contained in a sphere of excited thoughts. Although the ensemble passes ideas from one to another, group cohesion is not as apparent as elsewhere. Resembling a pair of timpani, the basses thunder through "Respects" alongside the others, and combine with Rudd’s low pedal tones on "Satan’s Dance" for weird underworld effects. Three of the four Roswell Rudd Sextet tracks rely on group improvisation over any one individual voice.

Cecil Taylor’s ensemble had much in common with the orchestra music of Gil Evans. "Bulbs" has form and focuses attention toward the featured saxophone soloists, while "Pots" looks to the pianist for rapid-fire percussive streams. Opening with a brisk walking-bass pattern and transitioning to a modified swing rhythm, "Pots" contains a fair amount of excitement. "Mixed" brings a larger ensemble with a fascinating sense of direction and cohesion. At times sharing a unison melody or riff, and at times improvising simultaneously, the ensemble provides a meaty subject and an enjoyable rainbow of sound patterns. The album stretches from readily accessible material to avant-garde fringe jazz. Recommended.

A particularly strange album. This contains three tracks from the Gil Evans 1961 album Into the Hot, which, oddly enough, have nothing whatsoever to do with Gil Evans at all, but are instead a rather avantgardish performance by the Cecil Taylor Quintet (joined on one track by Ted Curson and Roswell Rudd). This is an energetic set, with some frantic piano work by Taylor and an electrified backing band featuring a young Archie Shepp in a wonderfully expressive mood.

The remaining tracks are from Roswell Rudd's 1966 album Everywhere. The thematic link seems to be Rudd's presence on one of the Taylor tracks, otherwise this is a lot more conventional, despite the presence of Robin Kenyatta, Charlie Haden and Beaver Harris. Rudd, who played with Grachan Moncur III in Archie Shepp's band at the time, seems to try to emulate Moncur here occasionally, but when he does so, he fails to conjure up the same dark emotionality that Moncur is capable of. It's still an interesting, if slightly unfocussed album.

The compilation feels a bit like an attempt to put the three excellent Taylor pieces into a better context than the misnamed "Gil Evans" album, but it still feels a bit arbitrary, and the great cover designs of both the Evans and Rudd album got lost somewhere on the way. Novices might be confused, and collectors may want the original albums, but musically this is nevertheless worth a listen.


Two recording sessions without connections in one CD. The first, The Cecil Taylor's Unit set, was a seminal free jazz jam, recorded in 1961,  divided in three very distinct movements: "Bulbs", "Pots" and "Mixed". The personnel on this first half of the album is: Cecil Taylor, piano; Jimmy Lyons, alto sax; Archie Shepp, tenor sax; Ted Curson, trumpet; Roswell Rudd, trombone; Henry Grimes, bass; Sunny Murray, drums.

The second part of the program, it's the entire Rudd's 1966 Impulse! "Everywhere" album. This set it's plenty of complex arrangement structures and fiery improvisations (there is a tribute to Eric Dolphy entitled "Respects"). Though Roswell Rudd never sounds like a Grachan Moncur III or a Curtis Fuller on trombone, your way to play it's exploratory and contemplative. The personnel joined to recorded that session was: Roswell Rudd, trombone; Robin Kenyatta, alto saxophone; Giuseppi Logan, flute and bass clarinet; Charlie Haden and Lewis Worrell, basses; Beaver Harris, drums.

This release, obviously, presents a confused recording session dates compilation, and, actually, the Cecil Taylor's Unit set appears on a 1961 Gil Evans album called "Into The Hot".
Too much content for an only one album, I think, but still a good stuff.