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