music clip of the day


Tag: Art Ensemble of Chicago

Monday, August 3rd

like nobody else

Art Ensemble of Chicago (Roscoe Mitchell, 1940-, saxophones; Joseph Jarman, 1937-2019, saxophones; Lester Bowie, 1941-1999, trumpet, MCOTD Hall of Fame; Malachi Favors, 1927-2004, bass; Don Moye, 1946-, drums), “Ohnedaurth,” live, Berlin, 1991




random sights

other day, Chicago

Thursday, January 9th

27 years later

Art Ensemble of Chicago (Roscoe Mitchell, 1940-, reeds, flute, percussion; Famadou Don Moye, 1946-, drums, percussion) and Guests (Hugh Ragin, trumpets, flugelhorn; Tomeika Reed, cello; Silvia Bolognesi, bass; Jaribu Shahid, bass; Dudu Kouate, percussion), live, Italy (Cormòns), 2018




random sights

other day, Chicago

Monday, January 6th

like nobody else

Art Ensemble of Chicago (Roscoe Mitchell, 1940-, reeds, flute, percussion; Joseph Jarman, 1937-2019, reeds, flute, percussion; Lester Bowie, 1941-1999, trumpet, flugelhorn, MCOTD Hall of Fame; Malachi Favors, 1927-2004, bass, percussion, vocals; Don Moye, 1946-, drums, percussion), live, Germany (Hamburg), 1991




random sights

other day, Oak Park, Ill.


reading table

Culture’s beginnings:
from the heart of the country
rice-planting songs

—Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), from Narrow Road to the Interior (translated from Japanese by Sam Hamill)

Tuesday, January 13th

sounds of Chicago (day one)

Art Ensemble of Chicago (Roscoe Mitchell, reeds; MCOTD Hall-of-Famer Lester Bowie [1941-1999], trumpet; Malachi Favors [1927-2004], bass; Don Moye, drums), live, Hungary (Budapest), 1995


Thursday, June 12th

sounds of Chicago

One-word review: mesmerizing.

Art Ensemble of Chicago, live, France (Chateauvallon), 1970



reading table

Despite all my inner crumblings,
I’m still able to recognize a perfect day:
sea without shadow,
sky without wrinkles,
air hovering over me like a blessing.

—Nina Cassian (1924-2014), “Summer X-Rays” (fragment)


Monday, October 21st

sounds of Chicago

Art Ensemble of Chicago (Roscoe Mitchell, saxophones, percussion; Joseph Jarman, saxophones, percussion, electric guitar; Lester Bowie [MCOTD Hall of Famer], trumpet, percussion; Malachi Favors, bass, percussion; Don Moye, drums, percussion [first clip])

Live, Chicago (Jazz Showcase), 1981


Recording (“Rock Out”), 1969

Saturday, 12/29/12


Fontella Bass, singer, July 3, 1940-December 26, 2012

“Rescue Me,” TV Show (Shindig), 1965


“Theme De Yoyo,” with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, 1970


“God Has Smiled On Me,” with mother Martha Bass, brother David Peaston, Amina Claudine Myers (piano), Malachi Favors (bass), Phillip Wilson (drums), 1980


“All That You Give,” with The Cinematic Orchestra, 2002

Monday, 4/9/12

Shabazz Palaces, live (studio performance, KEXP-FM), 2011

These guys—their mix of drums, mbira, electronics—call to mind the AACM’s* tagline: ancient to the future.

*Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, Fred Anderson, Leroy Jenkinset al.).

Monday, 9/5/11

Today, in celebration of our second birthday, we revisit a few favorites from our first month.


If I didn’t have kids, would my ears be stuck, forever, on “repeat”?

Here’s something my younger son Luke, who just started college, played for me recently, after first pronouncing it, with quiet but absolute authority, the best thing this guy has done (already Luke’s learned that what’s important isn’t to be right; it’s to seem right).

Lupe Fiasco, “Hip Hop Saved My Life,” live, Los Angeles, 2008


And here’s a track my older son Alex played for me a couple weeks ago, before heading back to school.

Dirty Projectors, “Stillness Is The Move”


Koan for aging parents: What is the sound of a childless house?

(Originally posted 9/14/09.)


May, 2012

Nobel-Prize-winning economist devises a way to turn faces—images of them, that is—into marketable commodities: the more expressive the face, the greater the value.

March, 2013

Haiti is named one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

Arcade Fire, “Haiti” (Funeral, 2004)

(Originally posted 9/23/09.)


Performances like this usually fall somewhere between disappointing and disastrous. So many things can—and usually do—go wrong when you take a bunch of folks who’re used to leading their own bands and throw them together onstage. People trip all over each another; flash trumps feeling. But this performance, with Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Paul Butterfield, and (at the end) B.B. King, has plenty of strong moments—some funny ones, too. Listen to Albert bark at Paul:“Turn around!” (0:39) And watch Albert outfox B.B. First he invites him back onstage (4:40) and then, just when B.B.’s about to take flight (5:55), he cuts him off—faster than you can say “wham”—with his own (wonderful) solo. So much for Emily Post.

Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Paul Butterfield, B.B. King, live, 1987

(Originally posted 9/18/09.)


If spirit could be sold, New Orleans would be rich.

Rebirth Brass Band, live, New Orleans, 2009



Brass band musicians are a wild bunch. They’re hard to control. The street funk that the Rebirth [Brass Band] plays definitely isn’t traditional—it might be in thirty years time.

—Lajoie “Butch” Gomez (in Mick Burns, Keeping the Beat on the Street: The New Orleans Brass Band Renaissance [2006])

(Originally posted 9/11/09.)


Muddy Waters, Saul Bellow, Steppenwolf Theater Company (John Malkovich, John Mahoney, Gary Sinise, Laurie Metcalf, et al.), Curtis Mayfield: a lot of great artists, musical and otherwise, have come out of Chicago in the last 50 years. Among the greatest is this group: the Art Ensemble of Chicago. While the horn players (Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Lester Bowie) got the lion’s share of the attention, what gave their music its juice—what made it dance—was (as you’ll hear) one of the finest rhythm sections ever: Malachi Favors, bass; Don Moye, drums.

Art Ensemble of Chicago, live, Poland (Warsaw), 1982 (in four parts)

Part 1 of 4

Part 2 of 4

Part 3 of 4

Part 4 of 4

(I talk about the AEC in the past tense because, while recordings are still released under this name from time to time, with two key members [they were all “key members”] now dead—trumpeter Lester Bowie [1999] and bassist Malachi Favors [2004]—it just isn’t [nor could it be] the same.)

(Originally posted 9/8/09.)


Here—with a shout-out to my brother Don, with whom (at the age of 15) I saw the MC5  in Chicago’s Lincoln Park during the 1968 Democratic Convention (when nobody outside the Detroit/Ann Arbor area [including us] knew who they were)—is an awfully good cover, from what might seem an unlikely source, of one of their “greatest hits.”

Jeff Buckley, “Kick Out The Jams,” live, Chicago, 1995

And here, courtesy, apparently, of the Department of Defense, is (silent) footage of the scene in Lincoln Park on August 25, 1968—the day the MC5 (who appear here fleetingly) played.

(Originally posted 9/7/09.)


If influence were compensable, Claude Jeter of the Swan Silvertones—a huge influence on Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, Eddie Kendricks (Temptations), Al Green, even Paul Simon (who took inspiration from a line in the Swans’ “hit” “Mary, Don’t You Weep” [“I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name”] when he wrote “Bridge Over Troubled Water”)—would have, when he passed earlier this year at the age of 94, died a wealthy man.

Swan Silvertones, “Only Believe,” live

New York Times obit



When he leaves the house [in NYC], he whistles his favorite tune, ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus,’ while greeting the assorted neighborhood junkies and prostitutes who knew him mainly as sometime manager of the [Hotel] Cecil. ‘What’s new, Jeter,’ they ask. ‘Nothing new, nothing good, just thank God for life up here with these heathens and muggers.’

—Anthony Heilbut, The Gospel Sound: Good New and Bad Times(1971)

(Originally posted 9/13/09.)


Without a song, each day would be a century.

Mahalia Jackson

Sunday, 7/3/11

This guy I can’t get enough of.

Vernard Johnson, “Don’t Wait ’Til The Battle Is Over, Shout Now!”; live, TV broadcast (Bobby Jones Gospel)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Time for just one note? 6:23.

More? Here. And here.



art beat

Lee Friedlander, Cherry Blossom Time in Japan (2006)


reading table

Yesterday, opening my Emily Dickinson collection (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by R. W. Franklin) at random, I came upon this.

We do not play on Graves —
Because there isn’t Room —
Besides — it isn’t even — it slants
And People come —

And put a Flower on it —
And hang their faces so —
We’re fearing that their Hearts will drop —
And crush our pretty play —

And so we move as far
As Enemies — away —
Just looking round to see how far
It is — Occasionally —

—Emily Dickinson (#599)



listening room: what’s playing

Echocord Jubilee Comp. (Echocord)

Art Ensemble of Chicago, Full Force (ECM)

Art Ensemble of Chicago, Urban Bushmen (ECM)

Paul Motian (with Lee Konitz, soprano & alto saxophones; Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone; Bill Frisell, guitar; Charlie Haden, bass), On Broadway Vol. 3 (Winter & Winter)

Rebirth Brass Band, Feel Like Funkin’ It Up (Rounder)

Marc Ribot, Silent Movies (Pi Recordings)

• Wadada Leo Smith, Kabell Years: 1971-1979 (Tzadik)

Charles “Baron” Mingus, West Coast, 1945-49 (Uptown Jazz)

• John Alexander’s Sterling Jubilee Singers, Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb (New World Records)

Rev. Johnny L. Jones, The Hurricane That Hit Atlanta (Dust-to-Digital)

Elliott Carter, composer; Ursula Oppens, piano; Oppens Plays Carter (Cedille)

Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, composers; Maurizio Pollini, piano, piano works (Schoenberg), Variations Op. 27 (Webern) (Deutsche Grammophon)

Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh, piano (Sub Rosa)

WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
—Daybreak Express
(Various, jazz)
Out to Lunch (Various, jazz)
Jazz Profiles (Various, jazz)
Jazz Alternatives (Various, jazz)
Morning Classical (Various, classical)
Afternoon New Music (Various, classical and hard-to-peg)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
—Give The Drummer Some
(Doug Schulkind, sui generis)
Downtown Soulville with Mr. Fine Wine (soul)

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