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December 21, 2010

Ornette Coleman’s Monumental "Free Jazz" Turns 50


Today marks the 50th anniversary of Ornette Coleman’s infamous double quartet date. A historical recording that not only coined the term, “Free Jazz”, describing the music which was to come throughout the following decades, but also the first ensemble of it’s kind. Eight musicians in a free for all spiral that culminated into a web of beauty. A monumental, extended, free improvisation that was unlike anything heard during it's era, Free Jazz revolutionized music then, and still does today.

Free Jazz was probably the third Coleman album I had ever heard. I loved it instantly. I was hooked to this “new sound” from then on out. Musicians playing off each other, inspiring each other in the moment, reacting to each other, supporting and challenging each other at the same time. With written areas arranged and conducted by Coleman that offered an anchor for the listener and the collective.

Think about the large ensemble pieces this has inspired. Coltrane’s Ascension, for one, an offspring that brought yet another revelation to the Avant-Garde. However, it still borrowed from the past -- down to Jazz’s roots. Similar to Dixieland and New Orleans ensembles that exhibited a similar nature. However, Coleman’s more modern approach eliminated chord changes and allowed orchestrated harmony to be unnecessary.

Coleman’s melodic playing keeps a listener engaged for the most part, and Eric Dolphy moans on the bass clarinet like a bird. Dolphy clearly leads his three other improvisers. Ed Blackwell, a double time wizard, offers a quadratic, sporadic approach to the rhythm, while Billy Higgins stays constant on the back beat. Acting as the spinal chord to this group. Don Cherry is of course his usual self on the pocket trumpet, and Freddie Hubbard sculpts his brassier tone, emulating the licks and lines of hard bop. Hubbard’s contrast is interesting compared to the slurring and emotional slabs of the other horn-men.

Free Jazz further involved another conceptual layer. Rather than a slew of eight players on mixed stereo, Coleman allowed each quartet [reed/brass/bass/drums] to exist on it’s own left or right specific channel. This interaction allows us to experience three recordings on one piece of vinyl. The left channel, the right, and the both mixed. Move back and forth between the two, spend time with each individually. It promotes one to pay attention to details that might otherwise be over heard.

Jazz, right now, is in an era of Renaissance. From the acoustic revolution that started in the 80s, to where we are now constantly honoring pivotal recordings on significant anniversaries. In 2009 we reembarked on sessions that produced Kind of Blue and The Shape of Jazz to Come. in 2010 we continue this new tradition with Free Jazz, A Collective Improvisation By The Ornette Coleman Double Quartet at 50 years.


Recorded 1960, Originally Issued 1961 - Atlantic.
Ornette Coleman - alto saxophone; Eric Dolphy - bass clarinet; Don Cherry - pocket trumpet; Freddie Hubbard -trumpet; Charlie Haden - bass; Scott LaFaro - bass; Billy Higgins - drums; Ed Blackwell - drums.

December 16, 2010

Free N-SPY Trax for the Holidays


I've been following closely and keeping in touch with the folks over at Northern-Spy. If you missed my prior press release post earlier this fall, Northern-Spy is a new indie label out of Brooklyn. The label was created by a few gents that were part of the ESP-Disk' team. Things look promising, and even though the bands represented are not strictly jazz, a lot of the music falls into the far reaching limbs of the Avant-Garde.

Why I bring all of this up, you ask? Free N-SPY Trax for the Holidays. Sample a few cuts and enjoy. Northern-Spy kindly explains below:

Brooklyn’s youngest indie label, Northern-Spy Records, has been following its star for only a short while, but already it’s shining brightly. We (and our fine artists) would like to thank you for coming along the journey with some fine holiday gifts fit for a king. No, we’ve left the myrrh behind, instead we’re offering a little bundle of web-only bonus tracks to download and delight to. Search high and low, you won’t find them on any album — but they’re sure to show up on your next mix tape.
From the team at Northern-Spy and our fine artists, we hope your holidays are filled with joy and send best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year!
Follow N-Spy on Twitter and Facebook.

December 8, 2010

Seven Holiday Picks for the Inner Jazz Geek

I know, I know... Lump me in with the rest of the gimmicky Holiday Pick List pages. There's just so much good stuff floating around in the Jazz world I just had to list some awesome products.

This is a stellar package for any Miles Davis head. "A four-disc set, comprising of two CDs that contain the original 94-plus minutes of music, remixed from the original 8-track master tapes in 1988 by Mark Wilder, plus several bonus cuts,a previously unissued performance by the new septet lineup at Tanglewood in the Berkshires, August 1970; and a DVD that contains a previously unissued concert performance by the Miles Davis Quintet filmed in Copenhagen, November 1969; alongside a 48-page color booklet and a 180-gram vinyl double-LP gatefold replication of the original album"
For the complete package, throw in a 750ml bottle (or two: one for now and one for aging) of Dogfish Head Bitches Brew which was co-released with the box set. This Imperial Stout and Tej blend is the perfect companion for the colder months.
An outstanding selection of mostly out of print material. My personal pick would be Noah Howard's, Schizophrenic Blues.

Has to be one of my favorite, complete discographies under a single label. Box sets, CDs, Vinyl, and Digital Download galore.

These are exclusive, limited run editions that are truly for the uber jazz nerd. My favorites would be Andrew Hill Mosaic Select, Anthony Braxton The Complete Arista Recordings, and the newly issued Henry Threadgill Novus & Columbia Recordings. Also, the writings enclosed are true revelations of Jazz history and knowledge.
I have an affinity for all things craft beer. Available in 12oz four packs or 750ml bottles, this tasty brew is dedicated to one of the best Jazz composers of all time and is perfect for sharing with house guests over Christmas. Glassware and wearables available too. Purchases help support the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
6. 2010 Jazz Releases
The Bad Plus, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Dave King, Mary Halvorson, Albert Beger -- just a few artists that spring to mind.

Face it -- independent shops have the deep collections most Jazz fans desire. More so than any Target, Best Buy, etc. etc.. Plus it feels good to support local business.

November 5, 2010

"Soapsuds, Soapsuds" - Ornette Coleman

The ideal jazz group for me would probably be a piano-less quartet or quintet. Think of the Art Ensemble or Ornette Coleman's classic quartet, and even a lot of Anthony Braxton's recordings. I don't have any stance against the piano. Give me Monk, Bley, Taylor, Abrams, Silver any moment in time. Some free jazz enthusiasts even enjoy to go further beyond, rejecting the skeletal structure that say a drummer employs. However, I traditionally enjoy the pulsating, repetitive texture that the drums impart on a band. However! Take for example, Soapsuds, Soapsuds. In this case, eliminating both the pianist and the drummer really creates an intimate scenario.

This truly unique, duet presentation by Coleman and Charlie Haden was originally put out on Artist's House. In 1996 it was reissued by Verve, but I believe is now currently out of print. If you're patient enough, the This Shape of Jazz Pandora station does offer some tracks from this album.


What's served up here is three Coleman compositions, one by Haden, and a theme to a TV show called, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." One of the rare instances Coleman performs a non-original tune. I'd also like to point out the lack of alto on this session as well. Which I think the tenor works quite successfully along with the warm, rich, woodiness of the fiddle bass.


New Music reBlog has some info on the TV series:
Louise Lasser starred as the pigtailed and depressed housewife 'Mary Hartman' in Norman Lear's 'controversial' soap opera spoof. It was on every weekday right before the evening news. The gloopy title music is a parody of standard telenovela schmaltz and has been lodged in my head now for more than three decades.

Coleman is also taking a break from his newly developed electric sounds -- this is acoustic, airy, border-less, elastic, and amoebic. And this is highly approachable for those just getting into the "newer" sounds. Soapsuds, Soapsuds, is a far step to the side compared to his Prime Time efforts. As we head deeper into these, chilly, wetter months, Soapsuds, Soapsuds becomes the perfect fireside companion.
1977 - Artist's House.
Ornette Coleman - Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet - Charlie Haden - Bass.

October 21, 2010

Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" Turns 50

I just want to point out that today is the 50th anniversary of the recording date that John Coltrane laid down My Favorite Things. Put out on Atlantic Records, this date is also the first time we're hearing McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones alongside Coltrane in the form of his remarkable Quartet (sans Mr. Garrison). Portland's (and my local) jazz radio station KMHD will be airing some highlight recordings of Coltrane during that era from 12:30 to 1:00pm today. Tune in, let the music transcend you, and I do hope you revisit Coltrane's music throughout the rest of your day.




October 20, 2010

Marion Brown Tribute Post



Marion Brown left us recently. At age 79, he passed away Monday, October 18th in Hollywood, Florida.


I was exposed to Marion Brown early in my Jazz listening-hood. When I was first getting beyond Coltrane, Coleman, and Ayler, into the second wave of avant-garde players from the 60s, Brown was the first that I dove into. As a leader, he seemed to have a knack for commencing wonderful improvising sessions, and despite having many successes, Brown always seemed to fall under the radar of main stream Jazz. This is a sax-man that played along Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders in Coltrane's Ascension, has had recordings put out on Impulse, ESP-Disk', ECM, and many other boutique labels.


From the first time I heard Brown, I was instantly hooked. WKCR just wrote that this is "one of the most radical but romantic of free improvisers." That's it! That's all you need to know about Marion Brown to understand his music's existence. A statement that can only apply to so few Jazz artists, and Brown belongs at the epicenter.


Please experience his music. Whether it's on vinyl, iTunes, streamed from Rhapsody or Pandora -- but don't just listen, be part of it, mentally and physically. It is beautiful music, it's not just Jazz, but Great Black Music that America and the world is lucky to have.


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Image Credit: Original painting by Martel Chapman.


Northern-Spy Entertainment

“The team that brought back ESP moves on to form new company: Northern-Spy Entertainment”
I guess my main question is...  What is happening with ESP-Disk'?
The staff responsible for resurrecting the iconic record label ESP-Disk’ in recent years -- Tom Abbs (General Manager), Douglas McGregor (Chief Financial Officer), Adam Downey (Director of Promotions) and Robert Keefe (Publishing Administrator) -- have all resigned their positions and struck out on their own to launch a new partnership, Northern-Spy Entertainment, LLC.
In the team’s last three years at ESP, they oversaw an unprecedented expansion of the label’s activities, with over sixty CD and vinyl releases produced in their tenure, including the first new recordings for the label in 35 years. The business was also expanded to include a distribution company, a retail store and a live music series, which culminated in this summer’s Albert Ayler Festival on Roosevelt Island.  Recent articles in Jazz Times and The Wall Street Journal, “ESP-Disk’ - Back in Business” and “The Artists Alone Decide - In a New Era”, hailed the team as bringing the label back to its original 60’s glory and at the same time rectifying years of mismanagement. But underneath this success, a series of longstanding labor disputes got in the way, and after months of failed negotiations the staff made the fateful decision to move on and start their own company.
Beginning right where they left off, the Northern-Spy team aims to position themselves as a major force on the Brooklyn music scene. The new venture will bring forth a 360° approach to music business, offering artists a wide array of production, distribution, promotions, licensing, publishing administration, and booking services. With an aggressive release schedule catering to the independent music scene and its strong industry ties, Northern-Spy is positioned to make waves in the coming months. Like the multitude of artist run-labels that came before it, Northern-Spy is buoyed by the team’s diverse experience on the music scene. Abbs is an accomplished recording artist with records out on Delmark, AUM Fidelity, 482 Music and even ESP, and has run a non-for-profit arts organization in New York for the last decade. McGregor is an accomplished guitarist, vocalist and recording engineer who runs his own studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Downey is a working DJ and bassist on the Brooklyn scene and Keefe is a sought after DJ, a film buff and writer.
The label's first artist signings include Colin Langenus from USAISAMONSTER, Arrington de Dionyso from Old Time Relijun, and the Italian fire-music team, Jooklo Duo. Releases will be in stores Tuesday, November 16th.
Visit our website at:
www.northern-spy.com 


October 16, 2010

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey in Portland tonight.

From Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey:

Sat. Oct 16, 2010
JFJO in PDX w/Dead Kenny G's!

Doors: 8:30 PM | Show: 8:30 PM


JFJO returns to Portland to celebrate the new album Stay Gold at Mt. Tabor Theater with good friends the Dead Kenny G's as well as an opening set from Trio Subtonic
Mt Tabor Pub
4811 SE Hawthorne
Portland, OR 97215
 


September 30, 2010

New Grounds


First Twitter, now Facebook.

Please feel free to join the new Facebook page. I'll try and do something more with it, rather than just linking to blog posts.

Thanks for reading!

The Marzette Watts Ensemble


This is quite a notable recording. One that has received praise from both Destination: Out, as well as in Thurston Moore's top ten (14) Free Jazz Underground Recordings. But to be honest, why isn't Marzette Watts more popular. This is a man who had creativity flowing all over his body. A man who wrote film scores, created his own films, painted in the vein of the Abstract Expressionists, and created truly unique music.

The Marzette Watts Ensemble is a meditative, artistic vision. Not a wall of sounds assaulting the listener, but a metaphysical journey. Free, in the moment, and inspiring visuals of shapes and colors. The Ornette Coleman standard, Lonely Woman, hits the spot. Mostly because of the vocals provided by Patty Waters adds even more of a haunted quality to the song. And after the first verse, Marty Cook and Marzette Watts duo like it's the last piece of music they'll ever create. Maybe, that's what making music was like back then.
1969 - Savoy.

Marzette Watts - tenor sax; Marty Cook - trombone; Tom Berge & J. C. Moses - drums; Juny Booth, Steve Tintweiss, Cevera Jehers - basses; Frank Kipers - violin; Robert Fews - piano; George Turner - cornet; Patty Waters, Amy Schaeffer - voices

September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Coltrane

Today marks the 84th anniversary of John Coltrane's birth. Please feel free to indulge in his recordings for the day, which I can help but do almost everyday.

Tune into Portland's listener supported KMHD Jazz Radio to hear highlights of his recordings throughout the day.

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Photo Credit: Lee Friedlander, 1960

When It Rains It Pours

Portland has been quite the melting pot for great live jazz this month. Local icon Devin Phillips performed John Coltrane's A Love Supreme last Saturday night. Chick Corea alongside legends Roy Haynes, Christian McBride, and Kenney Garrett played last weekend at the Schnitz. Trombone virtuoso Curtis Fuller played just this week at Jimmy Maks. Did I get to see any of it? NOPE. Having two jobs starts to wain on personal endeavors, but that's ok because PDX Jazz just announced the theme and acts for the 2011 Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by U.S. Bank. You heard that right.

More posts to follow about events, what I'm interested in, and must sees of the festival. It's that time when Portland jazz nerds can get all gitty again!

Press release below:

BRIDGES AND BOUNDARIES:
JEWISH & AFRICAN AMERICANS PLAYING JAZZ TOGETHER



Past, present and future collaboration between African Americans and Jewish Americans is the message behind Bridges and Boundaries:Jewish & African Americans Playing Jazz Together, the theme of the 2011 Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by US Bank. The festival, which annually selects a compelling musical and programming theme, will be held Friday, February 18 through Sunday, February 27 at venues throughout Portland. The complete festival lineup will be announced on October 13 when single show and special package tickets go on sale exclusively to PDX Jazz members. Tickets will become available to the general public on October 23.

A select few of this year's culturally diverse headliners include Avishai Cohen, the Israeli trumpeter, one of the leading players in the new all-star performing the work of African American pop icon Stevie Wonder. Cohen will also be joined by his siblings Anat Cohen and Yuval Cohen for a special performance of SFJAZZ Collective,The 3 Cohens. Famed African American violinist Regina Carter will return to Portland, presenting her newest project, Reverse Threads, which traces the musical history of African cultures, including tribes of Ugandan Jews. And, Joshua Redman, son of African American saxophonist Dewey Redman and Jewish American dancer Renee Shedroff, leading his new James Farm Quartet that includes both African American and Jewish American musicians.

African and Jewish American community leaders, Portland Jazz Festival's new Artistic & Community Ambassador Esperanza Spalding (who will lead her new Chamber Music Society in an exclusive Portland area engagement), and many other artists will participate and interact in panel discussions and "Jazz Conversations" focusing on artistic and social perspectives. National jazz journalists, writers, and critics-including Nat Hentoff-will also participate in these events.

"The original idea for this festival came from Nat Henoff's writings about jazz as a meeting place for African and Jewish Americans." said Bill Royston, Artistic Director of the Portland Jazz Festival. "His writings of Steven Bernstein's 'Diaspora Blues' to the odyssey of Willie 'The Lion' Smith were of primary influence. Historically, the music drew people together, and today there is a new wave of Israeli musicians who have moved to New York and elsewhere across the United States."

For more than 100 years, jazz has been the timekeeper of change in America's moods, lifestyles and overall social awareness. Jazz has historically broken down racial color lines and cultural differences. Its stage has been a magnet for African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Western Europeans; all playing together in jam sessions long before the Civil Rights movement existed. Truly, jazz is America's classical music, and its only indigenous art form.

In his acclaimed history of Portland jazz, Jumptown, Robert Dietsche documents how communities were divided and destroyed by urban development. As I-5 segmented the Black community and signaled the death of the N Williams cultural scene, I-405 shattered the Jewish neighborhoods. In many cities, the Black community evolved from what had originally been a Jewish neighborhood. These physical boundaries, however, only enhanced cultural divisions and misunderstandings, which remain prevalent today.

Movements in contemporary jazz are again leading the way in creating bridges between African Americans and Jewish Americans. This merger of new directions in Jewish music with African American jazz improvisation has brought together the theme of the 2011 Portland Jazz Festival (February 18-27).

What is PDX Jazz?
PDX Jazz is Portland's jazz organization, producing the annual Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by U.S. Bank. PDX Jazz offers an array of distinguished programs throughout the year in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings boasting internationally recognized artists while supporting regional fan favorites from the Northwest, often times presented in newly configured formats. PDX Jazz in partnership with Oregon Music News recently initiated a monthly jazz series at PDX Jazz @ Tony Starlight's, an intimate music venue, located in northeast Portland.

For a complete schedule of events, please visit:

www.pdxjazz.com



September 15, 2010

Portlanders: Add this to your Calendar


PDX Jazz, the presenting organization of the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by U.S. Bank, has set up a new monthly series which will be kicked off this Saturday, September 18, with a special performance by Devin Phillips. Happening at Tony Starlight's Supper Club & Lounge, the audience will be treated with a full performance of John Coltrane's, A Love Supreme suite. Start time is 8pm, cover is $15.

I've seen Phillips a few times, he is a terrific player, and to see him pay tribute to one of the godfather's of jazz will be an extraordinary performance for sure (it'll be in honor of Coltrane's birthday -- 9/23, and the birth of Phillip's newborn son).
"While we were at the hospital during the birthing process, I had A Love Supreme played repeatedly," states Phillips. "John's music has and will always have a special place within my own music and family."

I will be doing my best to make it there, but wanted make sure other Portlanders were aware of this show. If you do make it out, be sure to tweet about it with the #jazzlives tag so others in the world know that jazz is thriving in Portland.
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Photo Credit: Andrew Lepley

September 9, 2010

Tomorrow Night In The Big Apple


Destination: Out, one of the leading blogs for jazz out in cyber space, recently announced their new monthly live jazz series, Loft/Lab. Hosted by The SALT Space, on 27th Street and Broadway; this new multimedia art space may be reminiscent of the 70s loft scene in NY. The admission costs are designed to be low, offering extreme accessibility for seekers of live, avant-garde jazz. First up on the bill will be soprano saxophone player Joe Giardullo, with drummer Harvey Sorgen. Details below:
Our Loft/Lab jazz series aims to recreate the feel and excitement of the great jazz lofts of the 1970s. It’ll be a lab where adventurous musicians can try out new ideas, configurations, and compositions. It’ll serve up live music without a net. We’re keeping the prices low and only featuring our favorite acts. It’ll be curated with the same hand-picked care as the site.

CONCERT DETAILS:
Destination OUT’s Loft/Lab jazz series presents:
Joe Giardullo and Harvey Sorgen
Friday, September 10th at 8 pm.
SALT SPACE
1158 Broadway, 5th Floor
Entrance is on 27th Street
$7.00 admission.

The SALT Space is a brand new arts space on 28th Street and Broadway, in the former Tin Pan Alley district. It’s a beautiful loft on the top floor of the building that’s built for performances. Think the Jazz Gallery, but larger and with a bit more polish. SALT Space has already hosted events by DJ Spooky and Miho Hatori, and we’re honored to join their roster.

August 27, 2010

"The Empty Foxhole" - Ornette Coleman


A lot of Coleman's Blue Note period gets overlooked. I find it just as strong as his 70s output and just a notch below the golden Atlantic years. It's a different sound, something else, and in true Ornette fashion, always exploring. The Empty Foxhole is an ever moving spiral of colors and shapes. The album cover -- a painting done by Coleman himself -- offers the very same warmth as done so by this recording date.

Featured here is Denardo Coleman on drums. Just ten years young and displaying the very same intuition as adult contemporaries. Denardo's ideas, just like his father's, are ever flowing, free, rhythmic yet chaotic, and vibrantly animated.

Here's an excerpt from a previous post where I talked about the title cut The Empty Foxhole:
...young Denardo was playing single rhythmic snare hits, while Haden was walking high on the bass' neck, and Ornette was playing so melodically with such beautiful lyricism. Then, completely randomly, Denardo would unleash these chaotic blast beats, but only for a few moments before returning to his single snare.
This is the perfect, intimate set giving you a unique look into Coleman and Haden, and a peak into the beginning of the musical future of Denardo Coleman.
1967 - Blue Note.

Ornette Coleman - Alto Sax, Trumpet, Violen; Denardo Coleman - Drums; Charlie Haden - Bass.




July 29, 2010

ESP-Disk' 12 Day Summer Sale


Fresh in my inbox this morning I received news that ESP-Disk' is hoping to clear some shelf space. A special Summer Sale is in place to move some inventory and make room for upcoming fall releases. There's newer CD releases priced at a very reasonable $9.00, as well as great reissues going for $6.50. Even box sets get low price tags -- nine CDs of rare Albert Ayler cuts for $40.00!!!

And for those non-budget buyers, early vinyl pressings and rare imports are available as well. With price tags ranging from $25.00 to $90.00.

Take a look, these deals last until Monday, August 9th.

July 26, 2010

"New And Old Gospel" - Jackie McLean


Wow!.. Is the expression I would choose if asked to describe this album in one word. McLean is my favorite hard bop/post bop alto saxman, and to hear him along side Ornette Coleman is just insane.

Jackie McLean always sited Coleman as a huge influence, and even though he never fully crossed into Free Jazz, listeners could definitely her a unique tone, aesthetic, and building concepts that were unlike other Bop saxophonists. What makes this Blue Note session brilliant is that Ornette stays away from his own alto. Other critics have cited that this date failed due to this missed opportunity to pair the two on alto, but I disagree. Staying on trumpet allowed McLean to shine on the reeds, and he deserved it. And although, the record doesn't stray far from Post Bop, Coleman adds his own shapes and colors allowing this quintet to dab into uncharted terrain.

Lifeline is suite in it's own right. Time signature changes, and different themes coming and going, the cut offers four separate variations from the whole performance. It's probably the most ruminate of the three tracks here. Higgins swings as expected, and Lament Johnson's rhythm accompaniment is perfect for for the up and down moments of the record. The swinging really takes off on Old Gospel, which points towards, as you might guess, heavy Gospel themes. Scott Holt's bass playing jives and rolls with the rest of the group here too. And what happens when you add Ornette's free trumpet playing over a mid tempo, Hard Bop balled, you get Strange As It Seems, which showcases Lament Johnson's heavy chord soloing.
1967 - Blue Note.
Jackie McLean, alto saxophone; Ornette Coleman - trumpet; Lamont Johnson - piano; Scott Holt - bass; Billy Higgins - drums.

July 16, 2010

More on Anderson and Dixon, and Pekar is the third.


AccuJazz proprietor, Lucas Gillan, pays wonderful accolades to the recently passed Bill Dixon, and Fred Anderson. He states the Avant channel will be heavily dominated by Anderson and Dixon recordings. He really nails it for both of these extremely different individuals. I particularly like his personal experience with Fred Anderson described below. Please check out the AccuJazz blog for the full read.
I personally am extremely grateful for Anderson's dedication to running the Velvet: I have frequented the club's longstanding Sunday night jam sessions for years, and my band played our debut gig there in April. Fred presided all night, and even agreed to show up 2 hours early so we could sneak in a last-minute rehearsal before the gig. At the end of the night, after everyone had cleared out, it was just me and Fred left as I was packing up my drums. He told me a story about how Lester Young used to be a drummer, but decided to switch to sax when he got tired of missing opportunities to go home with girls because he was busy tearing down his drums. Clearly, he felt for me. He was always so kind and gracious, and never seemed outwardly phased by the daunting economic realities of running an avant-garde jazz club in a run-down neighborhood.

In a prior post, maybe I shouldn't of said they come in threes. Harvey Pekar passed this prior Monday at the age of 70. My knowledge on Pekar is limited to the Giamatti flick, but I do appreciate his love for jazz music. I found this interview from the Atlantic containing his thoughts on Jazz, and JazzTimes posted some links to his reviews here.

July 9, 2010

Beer & Album Pairings




It seems this blog is becoming more libation friendly. I'll work on a new album write-up soon for this month. I just want to direct attention to a
Beer and Album pairing piece I did for Brewpublic.com. The site's host, Angelo De Ieso II, wrote a wonderful forward to my entries. Keep following Brewpublic as there will be more contributions from other beer and music nerds. Below is one sample I did, but please check out Brewpublic for the full read.

Cheers!

Don Cherry, Where is Brooklyn? / Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Where is Brooklyn? Well, Brooklyn Brewery pumps out some of the best brews in the Northeast and their Black Chocolate Stout is fitting for this adventurous album by Don Cherry on Blue Note. Recorded in 1966, we hear a piano-less quartet that’s similar to Ornette Coleman’s classic Quartet earlier in the decade but oh how different it is. Pharoah Sanders’ more haunting, spiritual tone completely contrasts the melodic blues and boogie aesthetic of Coleman’s. It’s a jarring album of collective improvisation and connectivity. With Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout we’re offered a robust, sweet, chocolaty brew. Enjoy it slowly along Cherry’s slurring and vivacious cornet playing. Black Chocolate Stout is thick yet has a smooth texture on the palate much like Ed Blackwell (drums) and Henry Grimes (bass) as they back up the two horn players.