Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Mountain of a Hemphill

Just randomly strolling through my collection tonight I hit on The Julius Hemphill Sextet.  Avant gardener Hemphill (1938-1995) seems to be the almost invisible man.  I couldn't find an entry on him in the Jazz Encyclopedia.  Nor could I find the album Five Card Stud on Discogs.  That's damned odd, because Discogs has pretty much everything.  

Anyway, Five Card Stud is a very fine piece of work.  It is all saxophone all the time.  Here is the lineup, from Wikipedia:
I note the presence of Tim Berne.   An all horn band is a lot like a Capella music: voice is everything.  Fortunately, the sax has a lot of rich voice.  I don't miss the drums or the ubiquitous thump of the jazz bass, maybe because some of the horns are thumping like a bass.  Much of the composition divides between a solo, a horn doing bass, and an orchestra-like chorus. 

Search this one out.  Everything on it is toe curling good.   I am playing 'Moat and the Bridge' from the album. 

Another Hemphill recording (the only other one I have) is Flat-out Jump Suite.  This is a pure avant garde concept album, with titles 'Ear', 'Mind', 'Heart', and 'Body'.  You don't want to miss hearing this one. 
 I am playing 'The Body' on my L365 station. 

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