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.