Saturday, December 28, 2013

Live Genius from William Parker

One more jazz collector’s windfall fell my way last week.  William Parker has released a series of live recordings.  Parker is a bass player and maybe the best avant garde composer working today.  I have featured a lot of his music on my Live365 station and I have loved him dearly for a long time.  The collection is available in a box as Wood Flute Songs.  It includes six concerts on eight CDs.  Amazon was sold out, but fortunately for me the individual discs are available from eMusic. 
William Parker is that rare example of the whole package.  He is a consummate low string finger man, a marvelous composer, and a brilliant band leader.  He seems to be able attract splendid musicians and thump every last bit of genius out of them.  I have never been lucky enough to see him live.  I am lucky enough to have these recordings on my iPod.  While I fix a batch of Texas red chili in my kitchen, Parker’s songs find their way into the beef.  What a wonderful world! 
I am playing ‘Late Man of This Planet’ from Friday Afternoon, with the Raining on the Moon group, recorded at Montreal in 2012.  Also ‘Grove #7’ from Live at Yoshi’s.  That one was recorded in Oakland in 2006.  Both albums are very well produced. 
I’ll be putting more of this up as I listen to it.  Meanwhile, get this stuff.  It is what jazz is.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dewey Redman

I play a lot of avant garde on my Live365 station.  I worry that I don’t play enough hard bop, which I love and want to encourage.  I find special satisfaction in coherent bop played by avant garde jazzmen.  I come back again and again to Anthony Braxton’s Six Monk Compositions.  Listening to it is a little like finding out for sure that an abstract painter can draw a recognizable human face.  I also enjoy albums that have a mix of challenging AG compositions along with more accessible standards. 
Tenor Sax player Dewey Redman was very good at that kind of mix.  Redman, who passed away in 2006, is best known for his work with Ornette Coleman. 
Mr. Redman missed the ascension of his old friend Ornette Coleman, moving to New York to join the band only in 1967. His performances with Mr. Coleman over the next seven years, on albums like “New York Is Now!,” “Love Call” and “Science Fiction,” on which his tenor saxophone meshes with Mr. Coleman’s alto, are good ways to understand some of the great jazz of the period, intuitively finding a third way between general conceptions of the jazz tradition and the avant-garde.
Today I purchased a couple of Redman’s recordings: Living on the Edge, and In London, both for under five bucks from eMusic.  These are wonderful documents.  Living cost me about three dollars.  This is how to move moving music.  Here is the lineup from the former:

I am playing ‘Pt. 1 Blues or J.a.m.’, and ‘Boo Boodoop’.  The former is a straight ahead, juke joint blues.  The latter is all avant to the garde.  Geri Allen is wonderful and, if the Penguin Guide is to be believed, she keeps Redman in the bounds of earthly logic. 
I am playing ‘The Very Thought of You’ from In London. 

This is a compelling standard.  Finally, I am playing ‘Boody’ from the very adventurous album The Ear of the Behearer.  This is a bloody good grasp of the heart of American music. 

  • ·         Bass, Flute [Wood] – Sirone
  • ·         Cello – Jane Robertson
  • ·         Drums, Saw, Timpani [Tympani], Gong – Eddie Moore
  • ·         Percussion – Danny Johnson (10)
  • ·         Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bagpipes [Musette], Composed By – Dewey Redman
  • ·         Trumpet, Bugle [Moroccan] – Ted Daniel

All three albums are great items for your collection.  The last is going to give you quite a ride. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fred Anderson

I have been neglecting both this blog and my Live365 station over the last couple of months.  Well, I’m back!  This holiday weekend I have been listening to tenor man Fred Anderson.  Anderson passedaway on June 24, 2010 at the age of 81.  Only in his last years, so far as I can tell, did he do much recording. 
Blessedly, he laid down quite a bit of signal from the 1990’s to his death.  This was largely because of his association with the Chicago avant garde culture, including especially Hamid Drake and Ken Vandermark.  I first became aware of Anderson because of his presence on a DKV Trio disc (Hamid Drake, Kent Kessler, and Ken Vandermark). 
Anderson was a consummate avant garde tenor player and improviser.  He did better than almost anyone what AG does best‑cut up human passion into its constituent elements and then reassemble them into new tapestries that leave you wondering whether you ever felt anything real before.  There is a pronounced spiritual dimension to most great avant garde jazz, which ought not to be surprising.  Anderson’s work is transcendent. 
I am playing ‘By Many Names’, from Timeless (2006), with Drake on drums and Harrison Bankhead on bass.  I confess a deep affection for this kind of number: a soft, heartfelt cry repeated over and over buoys up everything else in time and space. 
‘Dark Day’ goes back to 1979.  I got it from Dark Day + Live in Verona.  Drake is on drums, with Billy Brimfield on trumpet and Steven Palmore on bass.  It is structured set of solos riding on Drake’s marvelous thunder. 
Finally there is ‘Strut Time’, a twenty minute piece on Anderson and Drake’s splendid From the River to the Ocean (2007).  Joining are Bankhead on cello, Josh Abrams on bass, and Jeff Parker on guitar.  I have to say that the cello work with guitar reminds me of Jean Luc Ponty.  Anderson’s work here will appeal to any hard bop fan.  I could listen to this thing all day. 
Oh yeah…  I added a cut from Fred Anderson & DKV Trio (1996).