This guy, like Monk, could take a familiar form, open it up, and create something both old and new.
Julius Hemphill (1938-1995), “The Hard Blues”
Live (with members of the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra and the Either/Orchestra), Boston, 1989
Recording (JH, alto saxophone, flute; Baikida E.J. Carroll, trumpet; Hamiet Bluiett, baritone saxophone; Abdul Wadud, cello; Philip Wilson, drums), recorded 1972 (first released on Coon Bid’ness, 1975)
Recording (Julius Hemphill, alto saxophone; Marty Ehrlich, soprano and alto saxophone, flute; Carl Grubbs, soprano and alto saxophone; James Carter, tenor saxophone; Andrew White. tenor saxophone; Sam Furnace, baritone saxophone, flute), 1991
Helen Levitt (1913-2009), New York, c. 1940
Julius Hemphill (alto saxophone), with Abdul Wadud (cello), Baikida E.J. Carroll (trumpet), Phillip Wilson (drums), “Dogon A.D.” (Dogon A.D.), 1972
The drumming is genius—he’s like the Zigaboo Modeliste of free-jazz. . . . Any musician who doesn’t like this should just stop—this is what it’s all about. It’s such a raw sound, right up in your face. This is the perfect introduction to someone who’s never heard free-jazz before. I wouldn’t mind if this piece went on for a couple hours.
“Don’t sit around in a dead church and die!”
Take 1: Brother Anthony Wynn (Oasis Ministries, Riceville, Tennessee)
Take 2: Sensimo
listening room: (some of) what’s playing
• Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures, Vol. 1 (Sound Signature)
• Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Come On Back (Rounder)
• Rare & Collectible Fine Wine: 27 Soulful Ultra-Obscurities From the Cellars (WMFU-FM 2011 Premium; Mr. Fine Wine, Downtown Soulville)
• Cooking Cherries (WMFU-FM 2011 Premium; Terre T, The Cherry Blossom Clinic)
• Miles Davis, The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Prestige)
• Don Pullen Plays Monk (Why Not)
• Lucky 7s, Farragut (Lakefront Digital)
• Julius Hemphill, One Atmosphere (Tzadik)
• Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet, with WLS, trumpet; Anthony Davis, piano; Malachi Favors, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums (Tzakik)
• Goodbye, Babylon (Dust-to-Digital)
• Nikhil Banerjee, Raga Purabi Kaylan (Raga)
• Bela Bartok, String Quartets, Keller Quartet (Erato), Hungarian String Quartet (Deutsche Grammaphon), Takacs Quartet (Decca)
• Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 6, North German Radio Orchestra (Gunter Wand, conductor) (RCA Victor)
• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Markus Hinterhauser, piano (Col Legno [import])
• Morton Feldman, Three Voices, Joan La Barbara (New Albion)
• Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet, Aki Takahashi, Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch)
• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
—Jo Jones Centennial Festival
—Thelonious Monk birthday broadcast
—Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
—Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
—Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)
—Amazing Grace (various, gospel)
—Rag Aur Taal (various, Indian)
—Jazz Profiles (various, jazz)
—Out to Lunch (various, jazz)
—Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)
—Sinner’s Crossroads (Kevin Nutt, gospel)
—Give the Drummer Some (Doug Schulkind, sui generis, Web only)
—Cherry Blossom Clinic (Terre T, rock, etc.)
—Antique Phonograph Music Program (MAC, “78s and cylinders . . . played on actual period reproducing devices”)
—HotRod (“Shamanic vibrational love frequencies for the infinite mind,” Web only)
• WHPK-FM (broadcasting from University of Chicago)
—The Blues Excursion (Arkansas Red)
“Where did everybody go?” you wonder.
With each passing year, more of the musicians who’ve shaped your world—who’ve made life sing—are gone.
World Saxophone Quartet (Julius Hemphill, alto saxophone; Oliver Lake, soprano and alto saxophones; David Murray, tenor saxophone; Hamiet Bluiett, baritone saxophone)
Medley: “West African Snap,” “I Heard That,” “Fast Life,” “Hattie Wall,” live (TV Broadcast [Night Music]), 1990 (music starts at 2:20)
Listening to Julius Hemphill (far left), a phrase from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech comes to mind: “the fierce urgency of now.” Hemphill has, it seems, so much to say—right now. Listen, for instance, to 4:30-6:35.
Live, with M’Boom (Max Roach’s 9-piece percussion ensemble), New York (The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine), 1981 (music starts at 1:55)
Want more? Here.
Without music, life would be an error.