Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Censored Again

Blogspot has removed another of my posts at the request of some unspecified party.  They sent me this email to announce it.  
Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.
I can't complain too much, for that is a very civilized procedure.  I wasn't able to determine who made the complaint or which of the links on the blog resulted in the complaint.  It might conceivably have been the photo image of Mingus, but probably not.  
I complied by removing all the links and the image.  Unlike the first occasion, I didn't lose my original post.  

This leads me to thinking again about the worth of this blog and its drain on my time.  I could do what I briefly experimented with last time, and post excerpts from songs, but that is a lot more time consuming.  So I don't know what I will do, but watch this space. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Herb Ellis 1921-2010

I am sure I have told this story before.  Well, here it is again.  I fell in love with Herb Ellis when I first became interested in jazz.  I was big into guitar players back then and collected a lot of them: Barney Kessel, Kenny Burrell, Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery.  But the guy who really got to me was Herb Ellis.  I recall he once said something like this: there may be faster players, but if they ain't got that feelin', I got 'em.  Well, Ellis had that feelin'. 

In 1984, when my brother was visiting me in Southern California, jazz guitarist Lenny Breau was murdered.  I didn't know Breau's work, and still don't.  A benefit show was held in a small jazz club for Breau's widow.  My brother can actually play the guitar, something I have never managed.  He works today making guitars for Gibson.  He was up for the benefit and we got tickets.  I have to confess that I can't remember the many fine musicians who played there.  I do remember Ellis.  I got to shake his hand as he smoked a thin cigar during a break. 

Ellis was the real thing.  He died today, of Alzheimer.  I plan to do a better post in his memory in the next few days.  Meanwhile there is this sample, from a collaboration with Monty Alexander (piano) and Ray Brown (bass). 
Monty Alexander, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown/For All We Know/Overseas Special
And here is a clip of Ellis doing what Ellis did. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Coltrane 57.2

This continues an occasional theme: working my way through John Coltrane's sessions as leader.  I posted earlier on his May 31st session, which formed the basis of Coltrane.  On August 16th, after recording with Thelonious Monk, Trane went back into Rudy Van Gelder's studio as leader and recorded four numbers.  Three of them would form the core of the album Lush Life
Trane's Slow Blue
Like Someone In Love
I Love You
Slowtrane was a second take of the first, and would appear on The Last Trane.  These are rather interesting as examples of a "piano-less trio",  something that would cause a stir when Gerry Mulligan tried it.  Earl May plays bass, and Art Taylor drums.  

The recording is quite good, and the trio format allows one to hear the bass pretty clearly at all times.  Trane's horn is fat and romantic.  That thing that everyone who loves Trane loves about Trane is here: an exquisitely smooth flow of notes.  No sheets of sound yet, but something quite compelling and uniquely his is already mature.  'I Love You' sounds a bit repetitive after 'Like Someone In Love,' but again the playing is fine. 

Also included on Lush Life was 'I Hear a Rhapsody', from the May session mentioned above, and 'Lush Life' from a January 10, 1958 session. Here is a sample: the one that didn't make it on Lush Life.
John Coltrane/Slowtrane/1957
 I highly recommend the Fearless Leader box set for any serious Trane traveler.  Enjoying a box set like this requires a little bit of time and effort, but it can be richly rewarding.  One disadvantage is that it is easy to become somewhat contemptuous of the actual albums.  Lush Life was probably assembled by the record people.  I have no idea what input Trane had on the mix of tunes.

I would also note that in this post and many others, I rely heavily on the Jazz Discography Project.  This is a priceless resource for anyone who wants to know who recorded what with who and when. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Poetry of the Jazz Trio

What distinguishes jazz from all or almost all other music genres is its poetic dimension.  I mean "poetic" in the modern sense: a form of communication that says as much by what it doesn't say as by what it does, and that condenses whole volumes of thought and experience into a few subtle hints.  I recall a very early poem by e. e. cummings: 
Oh, the pretty birdy, O,
with his little toe, toe, toe!
You can imagine that toe, toe, toe, being tapped out on a piano.  Cummings wrote that when he was three years old.  O!  

Almost all jazz does that same trick.  We don't know what kind of bird it is, or how big it is, or what color it is.  But we can get the movement of the three claws and the impression that it makes on the child's imagination.  

Here is an example of what I am talking about.  
Abdullah Ibrahim/Duke 88/Yarona
There's not much of the bird in that.  But you have the whole bird nonetheless, and you appreciate what you have.  Of course, the undisputed master of the jazz trio was Bill Evans.  Evans was better than any other jazz man I have listened to at mastering subtly.  He is always engaged in a duet with silence, and the silence says as much as he says.  Here is a taste:
Bill Evans/Blue in Green/The Complete Riverside Recordings
 The closest thing to that kind of poetry in more recent jazz, perhaps, is the work of Brad Mehldau on his marvelous "Art of the Trio" albums.  Here is Mehldau's little birdy poem. 
Brad Mehldau/Black Bird/The Art of the Trio 1
If you are trying to build a decent jazz collection, get Yarona, and all four of Mehldau's Art of the Trio albums.  Aim for everything by Bill Evans.  And drop me a line. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mary Lou Williams' Superb Trio

All this edgy avant garde stuff aside, here is a conventional piano trio that hammers all the way down to the mother load.  Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981) has been there and done that. 

I haven't listened to her until recently, but her1975 trio album Free Spirits is the kind of thing that reminds me of why jazz is so central to my life.  Buster Williams plays a great bass line, with Mickey Roker on drums.  Wow, but this is good.  Here is their cover of the great Miles Davis theme. 
Mary Lou Williams/All Blues/Free Spirits

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fundamental Recordings w/ Eric Dolphy

One of the reasons I make these rather ridiculous lists is one of the reasons I do this blog.  My jazz collecting became a lot more fun, and consequently accelerated, when first I began to give it some structure.  It seems more fun and  maybe more helpful to make notes in the form of a blog than just writing them down.  I, however, make a notation in the Penguin Guide (may angels sing its praises!) when I acquire something.  

Well, one micro-structure can be built on the above topic.  Eric Dolphy might have a higher density of influential recordings per year of real work than any other jazz artist I know anything about.  His career begins in earnest in 1958 at age 30 and ends with his untimely death on June 29th, 1964. What is astounding is how many of his recordings in that period, both as leader and sideman, rank as fundamental.  Here is a quick list:
Oliver Nelson/Screamin' the Blues
Ken McIntyre&Eric Dolphy/Looking Ahead
Charles Mingus/Mingus at Antibes
Ornette Coleman/Free Jazz
Eric Dolphy/Far Cry
Oliver Nelson/Blues and the Abstract Truth
George Russell/Ezz-Thetics
John Coltrane/Complete Africa Brass Sessions
Mal Waldron/The Quest
Eric Dolphy & Booker Little/Live at the Five Spot 1&2, Memorial Album
John Coltrane/Live at the Village Vanguard

Eric Dolphy/Out to Lunch
Andrew Hill/Point of Departure
Charles Mingus/Town Hall Concert
These are just the ones that stand out (in my view) as essential items in any decent collection.   I would go further to say that most of them are immortal treasures of modern jazz.  I wouldn't advise someone new to jazz to begin with Dolphy, but anyone who can appreciate these recordings can live at the heart of jazz.  

Here is a slice from one of the cuts.  
Charles Mingus/What Love?/Mingus at Antibes/Slice
The number begins with Ted Curson's trumpet solo, backed by Mingus.  The slice above is Dolphy's solo, which features a marvelous interplay between the bass clarinet and bass. 
You can clearly hear Mingus managing his player:  "Talk to me!"  Danny Richmond plays drums.  

Mingus at Antibes is easy to come by, but eMusic has a much larger collection that includes it for a steal.  Buy the whole thing. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Top Ten Avant Garde Recordings

For several days I have been thinking about a top ten list of avant garde recordings.  No reason, that's just the kind of thing I do.  I have in mind recordings that are in some sense "foundational" and that get a lot of attention.  It was fairly easy to get started, but I stalled after about number seven.  

One obvious problem is that avant garde is a very vaguely defined term.  Like obscenity for the Supreme Court, we have to know it when we see (or hear) it.  My classically training (philosophy) leads me to look for a definition, and that's probably out of the question.  But there might be a platonic idea at the heart of the thing.  It has to do with a fundamental abstraction from traditional melody.  AG reverses the relationship between melody and improvisation, making the reassembly of abstract bits of melody the center of the music.  Okay, but even it that's right, it isn't always easy to test.  On the other hand, there are a lot of characteristic devices that seem to mark AG music.  Squealing, clown horn sound effects would be one.  

There is also a kind of relativity at work here.  I read somewhere that a good graduate student poem is one that undergraduates can't understand.  A good faculty poem is one that graduate students can't understand.  An immortal work of genius is a poem that no one, including the author, can make sense of.  Maybe hard bop is music that people who like Louis Armstrong can't make sense of at first hearing.  Avant garde is music that fans of 1956 Miles Davis find mystifying.  

Well, here is my list-in-progress.  
Cecil Taylor/Jazz Advance/1956
Ornette Coleman/The Shape of Jazz to Come/1959
Jackie McLean/Let Freedom Ring/1962
Archie Shepp/The New York Contemporary Five/1963
Andrew Hill/Point of Departure/1964
Eric Dolphy/Out to Lunch/1964
Albert Ayler/Spiritual Unity/1964
 John Coltrane/Ascension/1965
All of the above are clearly superb and belong in any basic jazz library.  The most obvious omission is Coltrane's Ascension.  I couldn't bring myself to list it, because I just can't bring myself to like it.  It would be easy enough to find recordings by Miles Davis, or John Coltrane, or my hero Wayne Shorter that can pass as avant garde.  Shorter's The All Seeing Eye is certainly an example.  But I couldn't see any of their recordings as sticking out in the way that the above do. 

A couple of albums I was tempted to include were Sun Ra/Jazz in Silhouette, and Tony Williams/Life Time.  Williams fine album was recorded in 1964, which was obviously a critical year for AG.  Well, I invite suggestions.  Meanwhile here is a sample from the Williams recording.  
Tony Williams/Tomorrow Afternoon 
I have had a fine time tonight listening to cuts from these various albums.  If you don't own any of them, for heaven's sake get them. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mulligan, Baker, and Desmond

Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker created quite a stir in 1952 with their "piano-less" quartet.  I suppose you could say, as we Straussian political theorists do, that the piano is conspicuous by its absence.  The two disc Original Quartet is surely Mulligan's magnum opus.  With just a bass and drums behind Mulligan's tugboat baritone sax and Baker's ever-romantic trumpet, the rich collection combines the best elements of the trio, duet, and quartet forms.  This music has that "real thing" feel: raw and perfect.  

Here is a sample: 
Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker/Makin' Woopee
Another Mulligan classic is Two of  Mind with tenor Paul Desmond.  Much the same may be said about this recording.  I especially like the contrast between the liquorish sound of Desmond's alto and the velvet cushion of Mulligan's baritone.  I have said it before: I like the low horns. 

Here is a sample:
Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan/All The Things You Are
Give these a listen, and if you like them, buy the discs.  Both the Bluebird edition of Two of a Mind and a shorter version are available at eMusic.  And don't forget to leave a comment.  I had no friends when I was a kid.  This is all I got. 

ps.  I listened to Anthony Braxton's Six Monk's Compositions again this afternoon.  I really think that this is one of those neglected gems. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Song Remains the Same

Here is a little example of continuity in jazz.  Django Reinhardt is one of the elder gods of jazz guitar.  I recently acquired a box set of his recordings: The Classic Early Recordings in Chronological Order.  That's a rather imposing title.  I think that all of the material dates from the 1930's.  Django was a poor Gypsy who made the big time.  He lost the use of the third and fourth fingers of his left hand in a fire.  I supposed this focused all the fire of his soul into the remaining three fingers, for he managed what most mortals could not do with all of their fingers and maybe several more.  

Here is one solid and enduring jazz standard, by Django and his Hot Club Quintet.  I don't have the whole band at hand, but Stephen Grappelli plays violin on most of the cuts. 
Django Reinhardt/The Man I love/
This is lovely jazz improvisation, from back when folks were listening to The Shadow on the radio.  Now here is the same number by contemporary french horn genius Tom Varner. 
Tom Varner/Man I love/The Window Up Above: American Songs 1770-1998
The song remains the same. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

They always told me there'd be days Like This

Just in case you get to feelin' down, put this one on your iPod and adopt a grim expression.  
Mose Alison/Days Like This/The Word from Mose Alison
Then sing softly: 
I must be on somebody's list,
A Goblin tried to give me as kiss,
excuse me while I slash my wrist,
they always told me there'd be days like this

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mal Waldron

Spring break here is almost over.  If you are wondering why I have posted a lot lately, that would be it.  Expect the pace to be back at once or twice a week soon.  This blog is pure hobby.  All play and no work makes Jack a poor boy.  

I have thoroughly enjoyed the recent exchange on avant garde jazz with intrepid reader Dan.  I have taken his suggestion (endorsed by Ken Laster) and changed my masthead to more accurately reflect what is in this blog.  I am very satisfied with my progress as a jazz fan.  I am still firmly devoted to hard bop.  But the avant garde jazz I have learned to appreciate has opened up a lot of new dimensions in my ear.  

One thing that Dan and I certainly agree on is that avant garde experimentation has turned great profits for more straight ahead bop.  Anthony Braxton's Monk album, reviewed in my last post, is a fine example.  

Another is the work of Mal Waldron.  I still remember buying a vinyl record of Waldron's back in the old days.  I think it was Blues for Lady Day.  I had no idea who Waldron was or what his position in jazz history might have been, or what led me to get that album.  A few years after I put that record on my turntable, Waldron recorded a superb session in New York.  It was1989, the year my son was born and I took a job in South Dakota.  

Two records came out of that session: Crowd Scene, and Where Are You?  Both are very fine, and available from eMusic.  I have been listening to both of them over the last two days, along with another two albums from a live session at the Village Vanguard:  The Seagulls of Kristiansund, and The Git Go Live at the Village Vanguard

I have posted frequently on Waldron.  His work is a superb catalog of jazz adventure.  I am very fond of his many duet albums.  Waldron's compositions reveal a soul too beautiful to easily imagine in this world.  Crowd Scene consists of just two long pieces.  They are the jazz equivalent of what rock and rollers would call jam sessions.  The substance of the piece is along bluesy line, stitching together the string of solos.  The bluesy line substitutes for melody.  

I was mesmerized by the title piece from Crowd Scene.  I offer it here, but you have to promise to download the whole album and Where Are You? as well.  If you keep this piece and don't pay for the rest, a demon will come after you.  Just sayin'. 

Update: I have replaced the complete file with excerpt that contains a good slice of the song.  It cuts out the intro, and the second half of the number.  Listen to it and you will get a very good idea of the power of this recording. 
Mal Walron Quintet/Crowd Scene/Excerpt
Here's the band, from the Jazz Discography Project (may God reward them): Sonny Fortune (as) Ricky Ford (ts) Mal Waldron (p) Reggie Workman (b) Eddie Moore (d). 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Big Question at the heart of this blog ...

is: have I gone nuts?  My masthead informs the reader that the blog is "largely devoted to hard bop."  But I keep posting on avant garde music.  I have always thought that the melody was the thing in music, but I keep listening to music that wants to transcend the melody.  What gives?

Intrepid reader Dan isn't too shy to say that the emperor has no clothes.  He didn't like Archie Shepp's interpretation, or maybe anti-interpretation, of 'The Girl from Ipanema'.  I did like it.  Maybe all this edgy jazz has damaged my brain.  

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a fellow grad student on the dark road back from a California desert, decades ago.  Wes said that jazz was destructive music, as it tried to undermine all coherent forms in music.  I argued to the contrary that jazz was of all musical genres most devoted to the forms of music precisely because it dug into, rearranged, and constantly explored all the myriad dimensions of melody.  

Of course all that experimentation is bound to produce a lot of false positives.  I am on recorded as having no time for Trane's Ascension.  But one thing I notice: when avant garde masters present more conventional, straight ahead jazz, they bring lots of new juice to the table.  

Case in point: Anthony Braxton's Six Monk's Compositions.  Braxton is one of the more extreme page five musicians.  His album Eugene is listed as one of the Penguin Guide's core collection.  I bought it on that recommendation years ago, and I still can't figure out what it is about.  But today I acquired the former recording, and it is marvelous.  Here is a sample:
Anthony Braxton/Brilliant Corners
Give this one a listen, Dan, and let me know what you think.  

Sunday, March 7, 2010

David S. Ware Got a Kidney

It occurs to me that that blog title would make a good title for an avant garde ballad.  I posted some time ago on David S. Ware, mentioning the fact that he was in desperate need of a new kidney.  I had this momentary daydream in which my blog post became the connection between the brilliant avant garde tenor and a donor.  It was a  pure 'put me on center stage' kind of fantasy.  I am happy to report that Ware did receive a transplant, from Laura Mehr.  You can read about the connection at that link.  I say: well done, Laura!

On my original post I mentioned one difference between the jazz and classical music genres: long, multi-part compositions are relatively rare in jazz.  Subsequent versions of such works are rarer still, though Ken Laster pointed out that Trane's A Love Supreme has been produced many times by other artists.  I would point out that so has Tranes' Ascension, though I can't figure out why. On that post I reviewed Ware's recording of Sonny Rollin's four movement 'Freedom Suite'. 

This week I have been listening to a three disc recording by the David S. Ware Quartet: Live In The World, which contains another, longer version of 'Freedom Suite'.    Backing Ware are three consummate avant garde artists.  William Parker, one of the most imaginative and brilliant jazz composers plays bass.  Matthew Shipp plays piano.  Shipp reminds me a lot of Parker, perhaps because his recording Pastoral Composure reminds me of Parker's Painter's Spring.  Those two albums are good, accessible introductions to the work of both.  Live In The World presents three concerts.  Different drummers appear on each.

To be sure, this is not music for the inattentive.  Some of the numbers are quite challenging.  Ware's interpretation of 'Freedom Suite' is the kind of thing that should bear a warning: don't try this at home.  But this is also a good album for the hard bop ban to cut some avant garde teeth on.  I especially liked Ware's interpretation of 'The Way We Were.'  There's a lovely if syrupy ballad, almost spoiled by the memory of a dreadful movie.  Ware opens with a long and intense solo that was distant enough from the original melody that it made me wonder if the title was a mere coincident.  But then the piano comes in, and sure enough it's 'The Way We Were.'  Ware's solo had the charming effect of scouring out all my preconceptions about the song, and it allowed me to hear it for the first time without once thinking of Barbara Streisand.  

Ware obviously has a deep interest in Eastern mysticism.  The album highlights these interests.  It is also too easy for a movie star or musician to trivialize a spiritual tradition, but in the best cases the spiritual colors weave into the music and make it more interesting.  This is one of those cases.  'Elder's Path' is a very interesting walk.  

But here is a sample of a more traditional blues.  Susie Ibarra is on drums.  It's finger-licking good.  
Davis S. Ware Quartet/Mikuro's Blues
This gives you some idea of what Ms. Mehr purchased with her kidney.  

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Petter Wettre & Windows 7

I am a little more anal and a little less careful about backing up my music files than I ought to be.  I keep my music on three hard drives, two at home and one at work.  That's the anal part.  The careless part is that my hard drive of first resort is a portable drive with 320 Gig of space, and for months I have known there was a problem with it.  My laptop kept detecting it again every time I moved it, as if it was losing contact, which it was.  I figured it was the cord, but I popped it and the cord in my pocket and went to Office Max.  

Halfway there it occurred to me that I had about twenty discs worth of music (David S. Ware, Artie Shaw, Lennie Tristano, etc.) that hadn't yet be transferred to the other drives.  Some of it wasn't even on my iPod, and the David Ware three disc collection, Live in the World, I downloaded from Amazon and probably couldn't get another copy if Seagate Drive took a tumble. 

New cord and drive made it back safely, I am happy to report. While I was there I decided to do something else I'd been putting off, and buy an upgrade to Windows 7.  It's real soon, but so far it works great.  I have heard it is as crash proof as Vista was crash prone.  Henceforward I resolve to live a better life. 

Forgive all that my diary stuff, cause it led to this.  While surveying my jazz library to reassure myself that everything was there, I noticed Pig Virus, by Petter Wettre, a Norwegian tenor player.  Like a drunk's tattoo, I have no idea how it got there.  Nor could I guess what it sounded like.  It's in the Penguin Guide, which means I downloaded it after reading the entry; but when is anyone's guess.  I am pretty sure I haven't listened to it until now.  

I may have been subconsciously ignoring it, as it is located just after Peter Brotzman's For Adolphe Sax.  Brotzman is one of those impenetrable page five guys (not is it jazz, but is it music?).  Anyway, I did listen to it tonight and it's fine, edgy bop.  Havard Wiik's piano work is especially notable.  Here is the title song.  
Petter Wettre Quartet/Pig Virus
 How can you not love that title? 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Theory & Eccentricity: Lennie Tristano

Anyone reading this blog should understand that I write about jazz with no kind of authority.  I have only dipped into writings about jazz.   I cannot play the music or even read music.  I have half an idea what a quarter note is.  Compare me to a sports writer and I would be not even a particularly well informed amateur.  I just love the music and enjoy thinking about it and writing about it.  

I mention this because it occurs to me that sometimes genius and virtuosity get in the way of genius and virtuosity.  Piano player Lennie Tristano may be a case in point.  Tristano was one of the more intellectual of jazz geniuses.  He devoted most of his life to teaching about jazz.  His structured, theoretical approach attracted a number of students whose devotion makes them seem rather like disciples.  Horn men Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh are the most notable.  Tristano recorded with Konitz and Marsh, but his recordings are very sparse.  He seems to have had a profound distrust of the music industry. 

I can hardly complain about someone who spent his time teaching something rather than practicing it.  I am political theorist!  However, Tristano's few recordings are delicious and it makes one wish fervently that he had done more.  The only two that are readily available are Intuition, with Warne Marsh, and Lennie Tristano/The New Tristano

Here is a sample from the latter.  It is uncharacteristic in so far as it has a strong bluesy feel.  Tristano apparently taught his students to avoid emotion in their playing in favor of a strict attention to musical patterns.  I ask: whatever are the patterns for?  Here is what they are for.  
Lennie Tristano/Requiem (1954)
Tristano recorded in his home studio, and was a pioneer in overdubbing.  Next is a sample from the same disc, this one recorded at the "The Sing-Song Room, Confucius Restaurant".  You gotta love that venue.  Konitz plays alto, Gene Ramey bass, and the great Art Taylor beats the skins.  
Lennie Tristano Quartet/These foolish thing (1955)
 Finally, here is a piece from Intuition.  It is commonly cited as one of the first examples of free jazz.  The musicians play without any score or melody; they just play.  Of course, that's misleading.  It is hard to begin from scratch.  Ask anyone who has tried to do zazen.  But it is interesting for that very reason.  Just playing means that all the melodies already written into the synapses become the guides.  
Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh/Intuition (1949)
From the Jazz Discography Project: Lee Konitz (as) Warne Marsh (ts) Billy Bauer (g) Arnold Fishkin (b) Denzil Best (d ).  

Okay, that's enough for tonight. If you are still reading, post me a comment. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Old Stuff by Archie Shepp & William Parker

This week I managed to get a hold of Mayor of Punkville (2000) by William Parker and the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra and Archie Shepp's Fire Music (1965).  I review them together only because I am listening to them today.  

Mayor of Punkville is big band music, if not exactly big band jazz.  I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it tonight, though as you might judge from this blog, I am not a big big band fan.  It is a two CD set, and the two discs are quite different in character.  The first disc consists of a short interlude followed by three very long pieces (from over 18 minutes to almost a half hour for the last).  The second piece, 'James Baldwin to the Rescue' includes vocals and sounds like 1965 agitprop/funk.  While the music is interesting, I find the lyrics rather gaudy and over-done.  The piece after it, 'Oglala Eclipse' is musically exquisite.  From the liner notes, it is dedicated to a handful and jazzmen (including Wayne Shorter's brother) and several famous Native Americans.  

The second contains shorter pieces along with another half-hour marathon.  Included is a three movement composition: 'Steps to Noh Mountain.'  Parker's intellectual and spiritual interests are obviously as wide as his musical imagination.  Here as a sample is the first movement. 
William Parker and the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra/Mayor of Punkville/Steps to Noh Mountain: Departure
Here is the interesting thing: I think that this music is the kind of thing that could have saved the classical music industry if it had been a little less snobbish in demeanor.  A lot of jazz fans will find this stuff pretty edgy, but it has coherent flow and rhythm.  Someone who has had to sit through a concert of atonal music while wearing a bow tie would immediately recognize William Parker as a voice of liberation.  You can find a list of the band members at the AllAboutJazz review

Archie Shepp's Fire Music was recorded in 1965, a year after Four for Trane.  It is not as shocking or quite as good as the latter document, to judge from a first listen.  But it is brilliant nonetheless.  Shepp is the thing this blog is all about: hard driving bop to avant garde, small ensemble, a fearless excavation of the heart of music.  Here is a sample:
Archie Shepp/The Girl from Ipanema/Fire Music
The title is almost a joke.  This Latin jazz number was a mega-hit when I was a kid.  My mom had it and I played it on our old wood-panel stereo over and over.  Shepp and company play the basic melody at the beginning and then digs down into the vein so deep that the surface is all but forgotten.  At that depth and pressure, Shepp discoveres such rich colors that you'd have to gaze at a Pre-Raphealite painting to get the visual equivalent.  Here's the band:
If you are collecting Shepp, get this one.  If you are interested in William Parker, you can get it cheap at eMusic.