Jazz Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

May 20, 2010

"Love Cry" - Albert Ayler

I love this record. It's significant in a number of ways. Here, we observe Don and Albert recording together for the last time. Shortly afterward, Don Ayler was fired from the group. According to a review by Al Campbell, this was under the insistence of the Impulse label. However, the documentary film, My Name Is Albert Ayler, portrayed an awkward relationship brewing between Don, Albert, and Mary Maria Parks; Ayler's girlfriend at the time and up until his death.

This recording session also represents the transition period in which Ayler began a more commercial aesthetic, which was also urged by the label. By no means, did his music ever seem totally commercial, or poppy for that matter, but to an Albert Ayler purest, it's a difference between black and white, night and day, sweet and salty -- you get the point.

For Albert Ayler virgins, it's a great entry point into his music. Sort of a step outside of his normal (or abnormal) ventures. Focusing on the melody of the compositions rather than the intense, volcanic eruptions that spew from his collective improvisations. There's still that feeling of free exploration and in the moment decision making. Really though, we hear how powerful, and beautiful these melodies are. The version of Ghosts really exemplifies this, and is one of my favorite Albert Ayler tracks in my iTunes. Alan Silva and Milford Graves back nicely, offering waves of percussion for Don and Albert to float on, and still maintaining a sophisticated, yet primal marching tone.

The harpsichord performed by Call Cobbs Jr. is hit or miss. I don't mind it myself, but I can understand why others may be put off by it. The harpsichord gives an added texture, but perhaps a piano or an organ would be best suited here. If the harpsichord isn't your bag, no worries, it's only heard on four of the tracks.
1967 - Impulse.
Albert Ayler - vocals, alto & tenor saxophones; Donald Ayler - trumpet; Call Cobbs - harpsichord; Alan Silva - bass; Milford Graves - drums.

May 14, 2010

"Judgment!" - Andrew Hill

Whenever Andrew Hill's hands touched the piano, pure gold was created. His compositions and arrangements hit right on the money -- illustrating modernity, intellect, and strong emotions. Probably the forefather of the semi-avant garde/post bop academy, Hill weaves harmonies and chromatic scales to offer us
Judgment!. The beauty with Hill, is that his playing and songwriting fits so perfectly in so many forms. Whether it's with the vast polyrhythms and dynamical drumming of Elvin Jones, or the melodic, modulated, & cymbal accentuated drumming of Tony Williams. Whether it has a strong horn ensemble, or a smaller group like in Judgment!, which is backed by Richard Davis, Elvin Jones, and Bobby Hutcherson.

Judgment! exhibits textured, extended and thoughtful solos that really mess with the ideas of harmony and melody. A lot of colors show through with this group. Especially in Yokada Yokada, a whimsical take on a blues using the chromatic scale to form the melody while also offering tidbits of modern aspects. For example, instead of playing the Five-to-Four-to-One turnaround ending the verse, Elvin Jones fills in with a quick solo before the group enters in on the One chord to finish the break. This reminds me of Sol LeWitt's Incomplete Cube Series. Where the artist removes sides of the objects, playing on the notion of how viewers can perceive a shape while parts are lacking. And like in Yokada Yokada, the listener still perceives that bluesy lick to finish the bar even though it's absent.
1964 - Blue Note.
Andrew Hill - Piano; Richard Davis - Bass; Bobby Hutcherson - Vibes; Elvin Jones - Drums.

May 11, 2010

Beer & Jazz

Besides being a huge jazz geek, I am a (dare I say even bigger) beer geek. Sometimes it can be a struggle -- at least for my wallet -- to divide my attention between the two. But often times I can successfully combine these passions. I wrote a guest post for Brewpublic.com. A great Portland/Northwest beer blog, beer news, and event update website. I have contributed to the site here and there in the past and I am great friends with Angelo and Margaret, who are the geniuses behind the site. It's a great pleasure to be part of the Brewpublic crew.

Check out my featured post,
Beer & Jazz.