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Tag: Joseph Jarman

Wednesday, January 27th

sounds of Chicago

Art Ensemble of Chicago (Roscoe Mitchell, 1940-, saxophones; Joseph Jarman, 1937-2019, saxophones, flute; Lester Bowie, 1941-1999, trumpet, MCOTD Hall of Fame; Malachi Favors, 1927-2004, bass, percussion; Don Moye, 1946-, drums, percussion) with guests,* live (performance begins at 8:20), Switzerland (Lugano), 1993

 

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lagniappe

random sights

yesterday, Chicago (Columbus Park)

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*Amina Claudine Myers (organ, vocals), Frank Lacy (trombone), James Carter (tenor saxophone), Chicago Beau (harmonica, vocals), Herb Walker (guitar, vocals).

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

 

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lagniappe

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

 

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lagniappe

random sights

other day, Oak Park, Ill.

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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)

Monday, August 26th

Why not begin the week with something beautiful?

Joseph Jarman (1937-2019, alto saxophone), Marilyn Crispell (1947-, piano), “Dear Lord” (J. Coltrane), 1996 (Connecting Spirits)

 

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lagniappe

random sights

yesterday, Oak Park, Ill.

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


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Recording (“Rock Out”), 1969

Monday, 9/5/11

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

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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

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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”

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

(Originally posted 9/14/09.)

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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.)

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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.)

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

Rebirth Brass Band, live, New Orleans, 2009

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lagniappe

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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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

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lagniappe

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.)

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Without a song, each day would be a century.

Mahalia Jackson

Thursday, 6/9/11

kaleidoscopic, adj. 1. changing form, pattern, color, etc., in a manner suggesting a kaleidoscope. 2. continually shifting from one set of relations to another. E.g., the music of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Art Ensemble of Chicago (Roscoe Mitchell, saxophone; Joseph Jarman, saxophone; Lester Bowie, trumpet; Malachi Favors, bass; Don Moye, drums), live, Europe, 1980s

Part 1

Vodpod videos no longer available.

One of my all-time favorite musicians—no matter the instrument, no matter the genre—is the guy playing bass. If I’m feeling down, he lifts me up. If I’m feeling good, he makes things even better.

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Part 2

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How many trumpeters play so many different colors?

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Part 3

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Part 4

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Part 5

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Part 6

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Avant-garde? Their use of polyphony recalls the earliest New Orleans jazz.

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Part 7

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How many musicians not only roam so widely but swing so hard?

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lagniappe

more

Art Ensemble of Chicago with Fontella Bass, “Theme de Yoyo” (1970)

More? Here.

Sunday, 5/8/11

Feet, hands, voices—spirits, too.

Christian Home Baptist Church Hymn Choir, “Hezekiah—You Got To Die!”
Live, McConnells, South Carolina (Mt. Do-Well Baptist Church), 1994

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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lagniappe

serendipity

If you keep your ears open, music turns up unexpectedly. Last month, for instance, I was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I got to talking with a Harvard student who’s from Greenville, South Carolina. He’s studying religion, hoping to be a minister. I told him, referring to performances like the one featured today, that I’d heard gospel music from the Greenville area that I loved. As it turned out, he’d grown up with the music—his grandfather sang in quartets. Now he sings, too.

Damaris Taylor, “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”
Live, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Harvard BSA Apollo Night), 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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listening room: what’s playing

• The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Herbie Nichols (Mosaic)

• The Lester Young/Count Basie Sessions (1936-1940) (Mosaic)

• Equal Interest (Joseph Jarman, Leroy Jenkins, Myra Melford), Equal Interest (OmniTone)

Billy Bang Quintet, Above and Beyond (Justin Time)

Various Artists, Trojan Box Set: Lovers (Trojan)

• Various Artists, Fire In My Bones: Raw + Rare + Other-Worldly African-American Gospel (1944-2007) (Tompkins Square)

Ernest Bloch: String Quartets 1-4, The Griller String Quartet (Decca)

Sviatoslav Richter, Richter Rediscovered: Carnegie Hall Recital 1960 (RCA Red Seal)

Alfred Schnittke: String Quartet No. 3, The Britten Quartet (Collins Classics)

Morton Feldman: For Bunita Marcus, John TilburyMorton Feldman, All Piano (London HALL)

WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Morning Classical (Various)

WFMU-FM
Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)
—Toothpick Rhythm
(Betsey Nichols, country)
Sinner’s Crossroads
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
—Give The Drummer Some
(Doug Schulkind, sui generis)
—Downtown Soulville
(Mr. Fine Wine, soul)
Pseu Braun
(sui generis)
—Fool’s Paradise
(Rex, sui generis)
Transpacific Sound Paradise (Rob Weisberg, “popular and unpopular music from around the world”)
Daniel Blumin (sui generis)

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100

200

300

400

500

Today MCOTD celebrates its 600th post.

Saturday, 4/16/11

Billy Bang (AKA William Vincent Walker), violinist, 9/20/47-4/11/11

Billy Bang Quintet (BB, violin; Frank Lowe, tenor saxophone; Ahmed Abdullah, trumpet; William Parker, bass; Abbey Rader, drums), live, New York (Knitting Factory), 10/1/00

Vodpod videos no longer available.

*****

Billy Bang Quartet (BB, violin; Ngo Thanh Nahn, dan tranh; Todd Nicholson, bass; Shoji Hano, drums), live, New York (Vision Festival X), 6/18/05

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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lagniappe

As I lived in Harlem in the early Fifties as a kid, I heard music all around me from the jazz clubs and from the candy stores. They had speakers outside the candy stores that they would play music, music like Eddie Harris and once in a while, Brubeck’s “Take Five.” So I started hearing jazz very, very early, and when you lived in Harlem in those days, it was in the blood. It was in the people. It was in the clothing. It was prevalent. As a young man, I bought a pair of bongos and two of my friends and I used to play the bongos on the New York City subway system. We would take turns dancing and playing the bongos and earn some money. That was my professional debut in the music.

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I bought the Delmark records and heard Leroy Jenkins. Then I started hearing all the Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell. I loved the AACM. I loved Delmark for putting them out, Muhal Richard Abrams. This music really turned me on. It seemed very political, very conscious for me at the time and also very free, but with structure. So when Leroy Jenkins came to New York, I tracked him down and I did a little study with him for about six months. It was enough to reshape my direction. I already had a direction, but it really straightened it. From that point on, I just kept trying to go for it. Nobody would hire me, but that didn’t stop me. I would hire myself and hire a band and we would play at places like lofts in New York. Eventually, loft jazz became very, very big in New York and that catapulted my name and my career. During that period, I did all sorts of things, sitting in with Sam Rivers at The Five Spot. I sat in with Jackie McLean. I just had to be around the music and the cats that I loved and respected. I was disappointed that John Coltrane passed away because I think I would have followed him day after day after day to try and get in his band.

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[The loft scene] was a very big thing. I think that catapulted my name internationally along with the David Murrays, the Henry Threadgills, the Frank Lowes, the Lester Bowies, the Joe Bowies. A lot of us wrote our own compositions. We weren’t playing standards. The bebop guys had to play standards to be legitimate. We were able to create our own music, direction, and compositions that also helped to lend a more directional input into the music. The loft jazz’s impact of it came when the Newport Jazz Festival came to New York that year and they didn’t hire any of us, so we had our own loft jazz festival. There were meetings and I remember Archie Shepp was talking and Rashied Ali was talking. I was very, very happy to be in New York at that time and to be around such a powerful movement with powerful names in it, Braxton, a lot of cats, all the cats that I love. We started setting up concerts all over, all the places. Sam Rivers had Rivbea and Rashied Ali had Ali Alley, which is where I played most of the time. When I played there with my Survival group, Werner Uehlinger came from hatHUT and he signed me to do a solo record. We were very adamant and strong about what we were doing. We were committed in belief. The World Saxophone Quartet started. The String Trio of New York started. Air was here. There was a lot of power going on simultaneously. There was a movement going on. We actually saw it in the making. I find it extremely important. The only reason why it does not have as much importance as I see it is because a lot of the writers didn’t pick up on it. Francis Davis from Philadelphia, he did and Stanley Crouch to some degree. There were people that picked up on it, but it wasn’t enough of a movement. The next year, George Wein hired some of the loft guys to play at the jazz festival. I was even offered a gig there with the String Trio. I didn’t make it because I like to hold out. I will be very honest, Fred. After I did my tour in Vietnam, I felt above a lot of the everyday activities in this world. I faced death and I think I had died more than once, so after that, I was sort of an untouchable. Me with my music, I didn’t feel the threatening situation that others felt. I didn’t feel obligated to have to compromise or the necessity to have to kiss anybody’s ass. I was determined to be focused in a Billy Bang direction until today, I am the same way. I think that strength is what kept me going, that commitment of strength, that conviction. They didn’t like the things that I did in the beginning. In fact, I didn’t like a lot of it, but I was committed enough to keep trying and not be shot down by critics, writers, peers, whomever.

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Cats [today] are trying to be technical. You can exercise all your technical prowess and you sound like what’s been out already. I hear more guys sound like Clifford Brown or Freddie Hubbard then I heard them do. That was not the thing. We were always going for individual voices and individual sound. That is the only thing that almost made me stop. I didn’t sound like anybody. I thought I sounded so horrible that one particular day, I was ready to smash up my violin and I remember James Jackson from the Sun Ra band came in and tried to recruit me and he had a long talk with me. He told me that I had my own sound and that I had a Billy Bang sound. I took that to heart and started working from that perspective and saying that I needed to keep working at it and developing my sound.

Billy Bang (2003)

Saturday, 6/19/10

replay: a clip too good for just one day

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

Part 2

Part 3

Part 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.)

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subscribe

Many things in life don’t quite seem, alas, to live up to their billing. It appears that the RSS (Real Simple Syndication) service that’s referenced in the righthand column (under “Subscribe”) may fall into this category—at least, that is, for those of us who are (as the expression goes) of a certain age. The problem seems to lie at the threshold: “real simple.”

Anyway, in the life’s-too-short, keep-it-simple-stupid department, if you’d like to “subscribe” to this blog, just send me an email (Richard McLeese/rmcleeselaw@aol.com) with “subscribe” in the subject line and—voila!—you’ll be added to an ever-growing email list that will have you receiving an e-notice whenever there’s a new blog post. As indicated in the “About” section (see righthand column), this whole thing started from a very small (like, oh, two, sometimes three, folks) email list, which then grew, then grew some more. One of many miraculous things about electronic communication is that there’s always room for one more.

(Originally posted 9/8/09.)

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