Friday, December 29, 2006

Herbie Hancock and Foday Musa Suso: Village Life

A personal favorite for a number of years, that I tracked down on ebay (and which will often fetch a premium unless you get lucky, which was what happened in my case).

The info:

1 Moon/Light 7:57
2 Ndan Ndan Nyaria 9:50
3 Early Warning 2:50
4 Kanatente 19:59

Herbie Hancock: Yamaha DX-1 Synthesizer, Yamaha RX-11 Digital Drum Machine, Producer
Foday Musa Suso: Kora, Talking Drum, Vocals
Bill Laswell: Producer

Recorded August 7-9, 1984 at CBS/Sony Studios, Shinao-Machi, Tokyo Japan

Released by Columbia Records, 1985
An absolutely gorgeous live-in-studio album with Hancock and Suso jamming together, weaving these tranquil, improvised tunes that defy easy categorization and must have given the marketing wonks fits. Of course, unlike Hancock's previous albums (Future Shock and Sound System), there was no recognizable hit - nothing to inspire break dancing or made-for-MTV videos. Not too surprisingly, it's been out of print for ages. Hancock and Suso had worked together before (on Sound System), and it's cool that the two musicians chose to explore their ideas outside of a pop or fusion context. It's a shame these two didn't pursue this collaboration further.

A more professional view from
This quiet, lovely record, in which the Gambian kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso is given equal billing, was generally ignored when it came out, probably because it fit no one's preconceived idioms -- be they jazz, funk, MTV, or even world music. The only performers are Hancock on a detunable Yamaha DX-1 synthesizer and drum machine and Suso spinning his webs of delicate sound on the zither-like kora, vocalizing a bit and playing a talking drum -- all in real time in a Tokyo studio. The results are absolutely mesmerizing, with Herbie aligning himself perfectly within Suso's unusual, complex rhythmic conceptions and folk-like harmonies. On the 20-minute "Kanatente," Hancock does introduce some of his own advanced harmonic ideas, and he contrasts and interweaves them with Suso's deceptively simple lines in a splendid jam session that eventually ends in a dance that can only be described as Gambian funk. This music generates the same feeling of ecstatic well-being as an Indian raga -- and even hardcore jazz fans may find themselves seduced against their will.
There was a subsequent live album credited to Hancock and Suso (also out of print) that I'll upload a little later.

Download Village Life.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ed Blackwell: What It Be Like?

The Info:
1 Nebula 9:59
2 Grandma's Shoes 13:05
3 Penta Houve 8:32
4 First Love 7:21
5 Lito, Pt. 1-3 27:58

Ed Blackwell - Drums
Don Cherry - Trumpet
Graham Haynes - Cornet
Mark Helias - Bass
Carlos Ward - Flute, Sax (Alto)

Lee Brenkman - Engineer
Peter Denenberg - Digital Transfers
Jurgen Hubner - Typography
Wolfgang Meyscheider - Mastering
Kunle Mwanga - Producer
James Radke - Photography
Judy Sneed - Photography
Elisabeth Winckelmann - Design
Matthias Winckelmann - Executive Producer
Ed Blackwell made a name for himself in the early '60s drumming with Ornette Coleman's band (Blackwell plays on the free jazz classics THIS IS OUR MUSIC, FREE JAZZ, and ORNETTE ON TENOR). His distinctive approach to timekeeping, which highlights tribal rhythms and New Orleans marching band cadences, is on excellent display on WHAT IT BE LIKE, one of his few dates as a leader. "Nebula", the opener, features a tumbling horn melody with Blackwell providing almost martial accents on the snare, and is an excellent example of his style.

The compositional palette on WHAT IT BE LIKE is broad, with tones, textures, and atmospheres shifting throughout the track list. In "Pentahouve", exuberance prevails with a fragmented Latin shuffle providing the context for a dazzling rhythmic dialogue between Blackwell and flautist Carlos Ward. On the album's closer and set piece, the almost 30-minute "Lito (Parts 1, 2 & 3)", trumpeter Don Cherry joins the ensemble for an evocative exploration of fractured melodies and snake-charmer motifs over a repeated rhythmic pattern. After each band member has soloed, Blackwell's strictly metered flourishes over the snare and tom-toms close out the tune, which in turn closes out this fine set of vital, adventurous jazz.
Download What It Be Like?

Update: corrected the link to the album as of 8:47 pm.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Update those blogrolls and bookmarks

As you can see, we've moved. Thank Blogger for completely botching the migration process, and eating my old blog in the process. I had to create the complete archives manually in order to replicate the original blog which took a bit of doing, but we can say it was a success.

When time permits, I should have some new music up for y'all.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Arthur Doyle Discography

Arthur Doyle Discography

Sessions Led By Arthur Doyle

Title: Alabama Feeling Label: DRA Records Year Released: 1978

Arthur Doyle (tenor sax, bass clarinet, flute)
Richard Williams (Fender bass)
Rashied Sinan (drums)
Bruce Moore (drums)
Charles Stephens (trombone)


1. November 8th or 9th – I Can’t Remember When
2. Something for Caserlo, Larry, & Irma
3. A Little Linda, Debra, Omita, Barry & Maria
4. Ancestor
5. Mother Image, Father Image
6. Development
a. BaBi Music for Milford & Huge
b. Alabama Soul for Arthur
c. Ramie & Master Charles of the Trombone

All compositions by Arthur Doyle (BMI)

Engineer: Rashied Sinan
Mastering Engineer: Rashied Sinan
Cover Art: Martha Hurd
Photos: Ken Mermel

Transfer to CD: Wharton Tiers, Fun City Studios, NYC, 2-25-98
Title: More Alabama Feeling Label: Forced Exposure Year Released: 1993

Arthur Doyle


1. Hao
2. Nature Boy

Year recorded: 1990

Title: Plays and Sings from the Songbook Volume 1 Label: Audible Hiss Year Released: 1995

Arthur Doyle (flute, tenor sax, piano, voice)


1. Ozy Lady Dozy Lady
2. Yo Yoo>Yo Yoo
3. Olca Cola in Angola
4. Hey Minnie Hey Wilber Hey Mingus
5. Flue Song
6. Just Get the Funk Spot
7. Govery

Photography and Cover Design: Rudolph Grey

Year recorded: 1992
Title: Live at the Cooler Label: The Lotus Sound Year Released: 1996

Arthur Doyle (tenor sax, flute)
Rudolph Grey (electric guitar)
Wilbur Morris (bass)
Tom Surgal (drums)


1. Spiritual Healing
2. Flue Song
3. Noah Black Ark

All compositions by Arthur Doyle (BMI)

Photos: Simon Badger
Liner Notes: Sumner Crane

Recorded March 15, 1995
Title: The Songwriter Label: Ecstatic Peace Year Released: 1997

Arthur Doyle (flute, tenor sax, voice)


1. Ancestor
2. African Express
3. Noah Black Ark
4. Are You Sleeping
5. Prophet John C
6. Chemistry of Happiness

All titles by Arthur Doyle

Liner Notes: Leonard Feather
Title: Do the Breakdown Label: Ain-Soph Year Released: 1997

Arthur Doyle (flute, tenor sax, voice)


1. Breakdown Take 1
2. Breakdown Take 2
3. Street Player
4. African Queen
5. Alabama Feeling
6. Battle of Jericho (traditional)
7. He Exists

All titles but #6 composed by Arthur Doyle
Title: A Prayer for Peace Label: Zugswang Year Released: 2000

Arthur Doyle (flute, recorder, tenor sax, voice)
James Linton (bass, cornet, bell, live loops)
Scott Rodziczak (drums, cymbals)


1. That Happiness
2. I Am Somebody
3. Ahead a Pothead
4. A Prayer For Peace
5. Chemistry of Happiness
6. Homo
7. Joy of Life
8. Flue Song
9. Free Love, Good Love
10. Flue Song (Tenor Variation)
11. A Head A Pothead
12. African Express

Tracks 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12 by Arthur Doyle; all other tracks composed by Doyle, Linton, and Rodziczak
Title: Live at the Dorsch Gallery Label: Carbon Year Released: 2002
Recorded live August 2000 in Miami Florida

Performer: Arthur Doyle


1. Track 1
2. Track 2
3. Track 3
4. Track 4
5. Track 5
6. Track 6

Released as a limited edition cdr.
Title: Egg Head Label: Hell’s Half Halo Year Released: 2003

Arthur Doyle (tenor sax, flute, recorder, piano, voice)


1. Johnny Dead Conspirator
2. Happy New Year 1999
3. Homo

Available as 7” single
Title: No More Evil Women Label: Qbico Year Released: 2005

Wilber Morris – Double Bass (tracks: 2, 4)
Rashied Sinan – Drums (tracks: 2, 4)
Tim Poland – Sonic Reducer (tracks: 1, 3, 5)
Dave Cross – Sampler (tracks: 1, 3, 5)
Arthur Doyle – Voice, Flute, Saxophone [Tenor]


A1 Red Bird
A2 Funk Breaks
A3 Jackie Millionaire
A4 The Boost

Available as LP only

One-sided yellow vinyl, octagonal cover with silver or yellow or black borders, artwork by Cindy Sherman, cover by Qbico

Tracks A1, A3 and A5 recorded in 2004, tracks A2 and A4 in 1989.
Title: No More Evil Women Tour Label: Carbon Year Released: 2005

Arthur Doyle (voice)


1. No More Crazy Women
2. Round Midnight
3. Stormy Monday

All vocals recorded to cassette

Arthur Doyle Electro-Acoustic Ensemble

Title: Plays the African Love Call Label: Ecstatic YOD Year Released: 2001

Arthur Doyle
Dave Cross
Tim Poland
Ed Wilcox
John Schoen
R. Nuuja


1. Omo
2. Ozy Dozy Lady
3. Govery
4. Money
5. Flue Song

live recordings by R. Nuuja at Bug Jar, Rochester (6/99) and Astrocade, Philadelphia (9/99)

sonic reassessment by Jim O'Rourke

thank you: June Wilcox, Seth Soffer

Ecstatic Yod Collective 221 Pine Street #4b1 Florence, MA 01062

Available as LP only
Title: Conspiracy Nation Label: Qbico Year Released: 2002

Arthur Doyle (tenor sax, voice, flute, recorder)
Leslie Q (bass, guitar)
Ed Wilcox (drums, percussion)
Vinnie Paternostro (Roland 505)
Tim Poland (Clavinova)
Dave Cross (turntable, Ibanez DM 1100 sampler, drums on side 1, track 1.)


1. Birdman
2. Ahead A Pothead
3. Barbatiri
4. Love Ship
5. Pull the String
6. Alabama and Mississippi Reunited
7. No Title

Side One rec. at Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY on January 24, 2002.
Side Two rec. at Analog Shock Club, Rochester, NY on January 26, 2002.

Available as LP only
Title: National Conspiracy Label: Carbon Year Released: 2004
Remix of pre-recorded and live material

Available as part of Carbon’s CDR series

Arthur Doyle and Sunny Murray

Title: Dawn of a New Vibration Label: Fractal Year Released: 2000

Arthur Doyle (tenor saxophone, flute, vocal)
Sunny Murray (drums)


1. Giblets 3
2. Nomingo
3. Nature boy
4. African express
5. Elephant dreams 3
6. Goverey

Tracks 3, 4, and 6 by Doyle; remaining tracks by Murray

Liner Notes: Dan Warburton
Photos: Aya Harada
Engineering and Mixing: Thierry Bertomeu
Executive Producer: Jerome Genin
Special Thanks: Francois Pardon

Recorded in Les Lilas, Triton Studio, 8th march 2000.
Title: Live at the Glenn Miller Café: Label: Ayler Year Released: 2001

Arthur Doyle (flute, tenor sax, voice)
Bengt Frippe Nordström (alto sax)
Sunny Murray (drums)


1. Spontaneous Creation, Pt. 1
2. Spontaneous Creation, Pt. 2
3. Spontaneous Creation, Pt. 3
4. African Love Call
5. Two Free Jazz Men Speak
6. Nature Boy
7. Joy

Liner Notes: Arthur Doyle and Sune Spångberg
Photography and Cover Art: Åke Bjurhamn
Engineer: Per Ruthström
Arthur Doyle/ Takashi Mizutani/ Sabu Toyozumi

Title: Live in Japan, 1997 Label: Qbico Year Released: 2003

Arthur Doyle (tenor sax, flute, voice)
Takashi Mizutani (electric guitar)
Sabu Toyozumi (drums)


1. November 8th or 9th – I Can’t Remember When
2. Alabama and Mississippi Reunited
3. I Pass, Then Resist
4. I’d Live in Her World, Then Live Without Her in Mine
5. Love Heal
6. Joy

Liner Notes: Ilya Monosov
Cover Art: Qbico

Rec. live November 14, 1997 @ Manda-la2, Tokyo, Japan

Available as LP only

Arthur Doyle/ Edward Perraud/ Dan Warburton

Title: The Basement Tapes: Label: Durto Year Released: 2003

Arthur Doyle (voice, tenor sax, flute)
Dan Warburton (violin)
Edward Perraud (drums)


1. Noah Black Ark
2. Birthday Song for Edward
3. Milford Graves
4. A Prayer for Peace
5. Homo
6. Street Player

Editing and Premastering: Eric la Casa
Final Mastering: Maïkôl Seminatore
Front Cover Art: Edward Perraud
Photographs: Thierry Trombert and Edward Perraud
Layout: Othila
Liner Notes: Dan Warburton and David Tibet

Rec. direct to DAT June 1, 2001, Perraud’s basement.

Arthur Doyle/Hamid Drake

Title: Your Spirit is Calling Label: Qbico Year Released: 2004

Arthur Doyle (tenor sax, flute, recorder, piano, voice)
Hamid Drake (drums, percussion)
Recorded June 7th, 2003 at MU REC Studio, Milano
Sessions led by others


Title: The Black Arc Label: Freedom Year Released: 1969

Noah Howard (alto saxophone)
Arthur Doyle (tenor saxophone)
Earl Cross (trumpet)
Leslie Waldron (piano)
Norris Jones (bass)
Mohammed Ali (drums)
Juma (congas)


1. Domiabra
2. Ole Negro
3. Mount Fuju
4. Queen Anne


Title: Babi Music Label: IPS Year Released: 1976

Arthur Doyle (reeds)
Hugh Glover (reeds)
Milford Graves (percussion)


1. Bä
2. Bi
3. Bäbi


Title: Desert Mirage Label: IACP Year Released: 1982

Alan Silva-dir
Pierre Faure-fl
Carl Schlosser-fl,piccolo
Aldridge Hansberry-fl,alto fl
Karo-alto cl
Denis Colin-bcl
Jean Querlier-oboe,ehn
Bruno Girard-vln
Pascal Morrow-vln
Didier Petit-cel Itaru Oki-tp,bugle
Jeff Beer-tp Serge Adam-tp
Bernard Vitet-tp
Michael Zwerin-tb
Domenico Criseo-tb
Francois Cotinaud-ts
Georges Gaumont-ts
Arthur Doyle-ts
Philippe Sellam-as
Sebastien Franck-as
Henri Grinberg-ss
Antoine Mizrahi-el-b
Rosine Feferman-b
Francis Gorge-g
Francois Leymarie-el-b
Jacques Marugg-vib,marimba,timbales
Adrien Bitan-vib,timbales
Ron Pittner-d
Bernard Drouillet-d
Gilles Premel-perc

rec. Paris, Studio Aquarium June 25 through June 27, 1982

Title: Transfixed Label: New Alliance Year Released: 1988


Rudolph Grey
Arthur Doyle
Sumner Crane

Title: Live NY 1980 Label: Audible Hiss Year Released: 1995

Rudolph Grey (Electric Guitar)
Arthur Doyle (Tenor Saxophone, Flute)
Beaver Harris (Percussion)


1. Untitled
2. Untitled
3. Untitled
4. Untitled

Cover Photo: Ronald V. Williams
Cover Design: Rudolph Grey
Recording Engineer/Graphics Production: R. Bianca

Recorded at Hurrah, NYC March 12, 1980

Title: “As Seen On TV” Label: Spare Me Year Released: 1996

Title: “I love music” Label: Muckraker Year Released: 1996

Title: Nature of the systems Label: Carbon Year Released: 2000

Title: Iamaphotographer Label: Plain Year Released: 2001

Credits for this discography:

James Benjamin (assembly, documentation of most of Arthur Doyle’s sessions as leader and some of his collaborations)

I owe tremendous thanks to the following individuals without whom this discography would be woefully incomplete:

Alan Cummings (documentation of Doyle’s collaborations, sessions work, and compilation appearances)

George Scala (documents Doyle’s appearance w/Celestial Communication Orchestra)

Fractal Records (documentation of Doyle’s compilation appearances)

Last updated December 29, 2006

Interesting NYT article

“Jazz just kind of died,” said the saxophonist Branford Marsalis. “It just kind of went away for a while.” He was looking back to the 1970s, an uncertain era when some jazz musicians turned to rock or funk, and others pushed deeper into heady abstraction. His assessment, conveyed in the final episode of “Jazz,” the influential Ken Burns film, seemed as definitive as a coffin nail.

But over the last six months, a far-flung contingent of musicians and aficionados has made an effort to upend that prevailing notion, armed with stacks of vinyl, high-speed Internet and a shared conviction that things back then were really far from moribund. Along the way, they touched off the year’s most animated public discourse on jazz, a democratic exchange that culminated last weekend in the debut of, an interactive database devoted to the music’s most conflicted period.

The movement, so to speak, has its origins in a posting by the trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas on his label’s blog, “I’m reading a new book by Philip Jenkins called ‘Decade of Nightmares: The End of the Sixties and the Making of Eighties America,’ ” Mr. Douglas wrote at the beginning of the summer, “and I think there are some pertinent tie-ins to the elusive history of the last four decades of American music. Those are the decades Ken Burns couldn’t handle, and this may help explain why.”

That book’s principal argument is that the 1970s saw the failures and excesses of ’60s idealism compounded by national horrors like Vietnam and Watergate, resulting in the rise of a paranoid conservatism. On his blog Mr. Douglas drew a parallel. “There’s a demonization of musicians who pushed the boundaries, successfully and importantly, in that period,” he wrote, “and it has crept into the way history is told and music is taught.”

Noting that “jazz” became an impossibly broad designation around this time, Mr. Douglas posed a rhetorical question: “Is there a writer who can take on the project of an unbiased overview of music since the end of the Vietnam War?” And borrowing Mr. Jenkins’s benchmark of Richard M. Nixon’s resignation as the official end of the 1960s, he proposed a new jazz history that would acknowledge “a generation of multiplicity,” beginning in 1974 and stretching to the end of the cold war.

The call hung in the air for a while. Then, near summer’s end, a reply of sorts appeared on Do the Math, the blog of the band Bad Plus ( Ethan Iverson, the pianist in the band and the chief blogger on the site, answered Mr. Douglas’s query not with an unbiased overview, but a catalog of hundreds of cherished albums from his collection, complete with casual but articulate annotations.

Mr. Iverson was transparently subjective (“Every note is perfect,” he wrote of Charlie Haden’s out-of-print LP “The Golden Number”) and often pithy (“If you don’t like ‘The Calling,’ I can’t help you,” he said about a track from Pat Metheny’s album “Rejoicing,” also featuring Mr. Haden).

“I could have made this list much longer,” he wrote in conclusion, “but how many Paul Bley and Mal Waldron records can you put on a list without looking silly?” All told, Mr. Iverson had churned out nearly 5,000 words.

Within a couple of days, Do the Math was so bombarded with feedback that Mr. Iverson set up a temporary e-mail address and announced a one-week call for outside submissions. By the end of that week there was not only a blizzard of e-mail messages from around the world but also a handful of lengthy responses from every corner of a nascent jazz blogosphere.

Darcy James Argue, the leader of a big band called the Secret Society, posted his own expansive list at Steve Smith, the classical editor at Time Out New York and a contributor to The New York Times, spilled even more words than Mr. Iverson at, beginning with an erudite endorsement of John Carter, an overlooked composer. Jeff Jackson (blog name: Chilly Jay Chill) and Jeff Golick (Prof. Drew LeDrew), proprietors of, piped up in favor of the pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and the saxophonist Marion Brown.

The resulting list of nearly 500 albums — compiled by a Boston-based saxophonist named Pat Donaher at — is essentially the product of an open-source, alternative canon-building sweep. Though idiosyncratic and avant-garde in temperament, it feels admirably nondogmatic. Fusion flagships (Weather Report, Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra) are selectively represented, as are acoustic efforts by veterans like Tommy Flanagan and Joe Henderson. Because the timeline stretches through the 1980s, Wynton and Branford Marsalis both make the list.


Of course the jazz blogosphere is not a modern facsimile of the United Hot Clubs. Yet the free MP3’s featured at, usually grafted from out-of-print LPs and posted with chirpy yet incisive analysis, do serve a similar purpose: “to give this essential music its due and share it with folks so they can hear for themselves,” as Mr. Jackson wrote in a recent e-mail message., named after a Dewey Redman album and assembled over the last two months by a handful of volunteers, shares that impulse of openness. The charge has been led by a programmer, Brett Porter ( At the moment it’s not much more than a cross-indexed list of recordings, starting with the blog-consensus catalog. But because the site has the same sort of user-editing functionality as Wikipedia, it has the potential to evolve into a clearinghouse. What’s needed is the continuing engagement of a community online.

Mr. Douglas has faith in that community, which has supported Greenleaf Music since it was established last year. This week the label will record his working quintet at the Jazz Standard; each set will be offered as a $7 download within 24 hours at In some ways this arrangement recalls the rugged self-reliance of the 1970s avant-garde, but with better technology and a savvier business plan.

It also underscores a point about the jazz blogosphere: no matter how retrospective the discussion, virtually all of the participants have a stake in the contemporary scene. So their interconnectivity has implications beyond the scope of history; you could even make the Marsalisesque argument that by preserving the past, their efforts help secure the music’s future. Many overlapping versions of the future, to be precise.

Hat tip to Eclectic Grooves.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Saint Louis Creative Ensemble

The info:
Saint Louis Creative Ensemble
I Can't Figure Out (Whatcha Doin' to Me)
Moers Music 1979

Side 1

1. Sold Not Told (14:31)
2. Leave Me, Savior Me (9:04)

Side 2

1. I Can't Figure Out (Whatcha Doin' To Me) (3:50)
2. M.U.L.E. (4:42)
3. .38 Special (3:40)
4. Five o'Clock Whistle (9:57)

Luther Thomas - as
Joseph Bowie - tbn
Rasul Siddik - tp
Darrell Mixon - bass
Charles Bobo Shaw - drums

Paris, March 3, 1979
This recording seems like an outgrowth of the BAG and Human Arts Ensemble crews. Many of the names in the credits should indeed be fairly familiar to those who dig on the BAG and HAE recordings. The music, too, should sound fairly familiar.

Download I Can't Figure Out (Whatcha Doin' To Me)

Light Blogging

It's finals week, so I am in the midst of grading final papers, administering exams and all that fun festive stuff. I will hopefully be gracing this blog space with some new material as time permits, but as you all can no doubt see, time really hasn't been on my side as of yet. This too shall pass (and hopefully so will my students).

Monday, December 4, 2006

Ted Daniel: Tapestry

Ted Daniel Quintet
Sun Records SR 112

1. Tapestry
2. Sweet Dreams (For Your Eyes)
3. Mozambique

Tim Ingles - "non fretted" electric bass w/ wah wah pedal
Jerome Cooper - drums
Khan Jamal - vibraphone
Richard Daniel - electric fender rhodes w/ leslie speaker, wah wah pedal and echoplex
Ted Daniel - fluegel horn on all tracks

recorded at artists house on january 26, 1974
produced by noah howard for altsax productions
Ted Daniel is an American trumpeter in the NYC loft scene who has been sorely under-recorded over the years. This is one of his three full-length albums, recorded in 1974, and features a cast of Jerome Cooper, Khan Jamal, Tim Ingles, and (brother) Richard Daniel. Strangely, this is not the expected free jazz blowout like his self-titled private pressed album is. Instead, Rhodes driven too hot through a leslie with placid improv by Khan and Ted over the top is the order of the day. The result is a gorgeous album that is mellow, modal, and perfectly aimless.
As good a description as any. Nice recording. By the way, this is the same Sun Records that released a number of hard-to-find Frank Wright recordings during the 1970s.

Available May 20, 2008 at Porter Records.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Sunny Murray/Untouchable Factor: Apple Cores

The info:
Sunny Murray's Untouchable Factor-Apple Cores
Philly Jazz 1004 USA rec NYC, Blank Tapes Studio 1/1/78
Sunny Murray-d Frank Foster-ss Oliver Lake-as Jimmy Vass-as Youseff Yancy-tp,flh,theremin,various electro-acoustical sound manipulating devices Don Pullen-p Monnette Sudler-g Cecil McBee-b Hamiet Bluiett-bs Arthur Blythe-as Fred Hopkins-b Abdul Zahir Batin-fl,whistles,perc Sonny Brown-d

Side 1
1. Apple Cores
2.Past Perfect Tense
3. One Up, One Down

Side 2
1. New York Maze
2. Applebuff
Download Apple Cores

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sunny Murray/Untouchable Factor: Charred Earth

The info:
Sunny Murray/The Untouchable Factor-Charred Earth
Kharma 1 USA rec NYC 1/1/77


Sunny Murray-Drums
Byard Lancaster-Reeds
Dave Burrell-Piano
Bob Reid-Bass


1. Charred Earth
2. Seven Steps to Heaven
3. Tree Tops
4. Happiness Tears
5. Peace
The album is from a live gig that opened up the new year in 1977. The title track starts the record off on a dark, solemn note. I guess after seeing way too much news footage of buildings that have been firebombed and of dead bodies burned beyond recognition as the powers that be pursue a scorched earth policy in Iraq and elsewhere, that the term "charred earth" takes on an especially urgent air to it. The pace picks up significantly on "Seven Steps to Heaven" with a rhythm section that lurches as Byard Lancaster solos - let's just say these cats tear the roof off the sucka. "Tree Tops" goes into free jazz ballad mode, with a soothing melody provided by Lancaster on sax (not to worry, he provides fire as needed, especially about 5 or so minutes into the tune), a droning bowed bass in the background, and Murray and Burrell providing some fireworks (albeit subdued). "Happiness Tears" is a pleasant, up-tempo piece that veers almost into boppish territory. "Peace" rounds out the album on a hopeful ballad-like tip, picking up where the previous tune left off while slowing things down a few notches. Lancaster and Burrell both get plenty of solo time on these last two tracks. I don't really know anything about the bassist, but he seems to hold his own throughout the gig with these free jazz veterans. Again, Murray doesn't really solo per se on the album, but his drumming provides the pulse and thus propels the music throughout.

Sound quality is reasonably good. Expect the usual snap-crackle-pop that comes from mp3 rips from vinyl.

Download Charred Earth

Sunny Murray: Big Chief

The Info:
Sunny Murray - Big Chief
(EMI Pathe LP, 1969)


1. Angels and Devils
2. Hilarious Paris
3. Now We Know
4. Angel Son
5. Straight Ahead
6. This Was Nearly Mine


Sunny Murray - drums
Francois Tusques - piano
Alan Silva - violin
Bernard Guerin - bass
Bernard Vilet - trumpet
Kenneth Terroade - tenor sax
Ronnie Beer - alto sax
Becky Friend - flute
H.Leroy Bibbs - poem

Recorded January 11, 1969 at studio ETA, Paris
This album starts out with a bang. "Angels and Devils" is pure free jazz cacaphony at its finest, with the fun starting just as soon as the theme is stated and quickly abandoned. "Hilarious Paris" proceeds in a similar manner, this time sticking with the opening theme for the first minute before the collective improv takes over. "Now We Know" puts the sax players in the spotlight, though just barely, as they scream above the rest of the ensemble - followed by an extended solo by Tusques on piano. "Angel Son" takes the volume and tempo down a few notches, but not the intensity. Flute, piano, and violin figure prominently on this piece, that has a dirge-like quality to it. "Straight Ahead" follows on a similar vibe, this time featuring spoken word by Bibbs, and violin, trumpet, and saxes prominent in the mix. The last track, "This Was Nearly Mine" ends the album on a lyrical tip - a free jazz hymnal that one can hum to while listening. Even though Murray doesn't really take any of the spotlight for himself per se, his presence as the drummer and anchor for each tune is always felt.

Some of Sunny Murray's albums are in that hard-to-impossible-to-find category, and Big Chief is one of 'em. Aside from its initial run in 1969, I am under the impression that there has not been a proper reissue of this album. Murray's larger combo albums are quite a ride, so don't miss this one.

Download Big Chief

Here's the re-up of the high-quality (256 kbps) mp3 version of Big Chief.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Andrew Cyrille & Milford Graves: Dialogue of the Drums

The info:
Andrew Cyrille & Milford Graves - Dialogue Of The Drums
(Institute Of Percussive Studies LP, 1974)

side 1:
1. Message To The Ancestors 10.14
2. Blessing From The Rain Forest 6.16
3. Nagarah (Tymapni Duet) 6.16
4. Rejuvenation 5.19

side 2:
1. The Soul Is The Music 7.46
2. The Substance Of The Vision 7.07
3. Call and Response 6.13

ripped by murksonic
cleaned up by nonwave
A review via
Two drummers with roots in the groups of Cecil Taylor (among many others) joined forces for this live performance at Columbia University in 1974. Both musicians are steeped in African drum traditions as well as being free improvisers of the highest order, so it's not surprising that the resulting concert is highly rhythmic, densely "noisy," and always very imaginative. Utilizing an enormous arsenal of percussive instruments in addition to the standard drum set, Cyrille and Graves, as the album title suggests, engage in intense conversations with each other, interacting with loose precision and exploding into frenzies of clattering assault. Isolating the individual contributions is virtually fruitless, but one can discern Cyrille's patented foot stomps and body smackings, as well as Graves' vocalizations and call and response activities with the audience. The LP release is something of a collector's item, but the bracing and unusual music make it one well worth seeking out.
This album is a drum/percussion lover's paradise. As the title suggests, this really is a dialogue - between the musicians through their instruments and between the musicians and audience. As far as I know there has never been a proper digital reissue, but thankfully these mp3s sound reasonably good. Enjoy!

Download Dialogue of the Drums

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Leo Smith: Human Rights

First some info:
Leo Smith
Human Rights
Gramm/Kabell records

1. Ethiopia/Africa
2. Don't You Remember
3. Freedom Song
4. Rastafari #4

5. Humanismo Justa (human rights)
6. Trutmonda Muziko (world music)

Leo Smith: voice, trumpet, chinese hand gong, mbira, fluegelhorn, percussion
Stanya: guitar, synthesizers on 3
James Emery: guitar on 1, 4
Thurman Barker: drums on 1, 4
Michele Navazio: acoustic guitar, synth bass on 1, 4
Tadao Sawai: kotos, percussion on 6
Peter Kowald: bass, tuba, percussion on 6
Guenter Sommer: drums, percussion on 6

recorded between 1982 and 1985

a rip by nonwave
thanks to d. smith
I don't often post 1980s recordings here, but every now and then I stumble across a gem that is worth passing along. Leo Smith (these days known as Wadada Leo Smith) recorded this album in the early to mid 1980s and as I understand it, the album was released in the mid 1980s, before vanishing in the ether. Side 1 has some definite 1980s touches, from the electric guitar stylings that would fit within any rock or fusion band of the period, but it never sounds corny or over-produced. Mainly the tunes on the first side are a mix of jazz, reggae, funk, and blues - some of it instrumental, some of it includes Smith singing. Side 2 is a whole different experience altogether, and starts out with a spoken word statement by Smith, followed by some spirited world music-inspired free improv jamming that goes on for nearly a half hour. To an extent it reminds me of the music that trumpeter & multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry had been doing during the 1970s and 1980s, and I can easily imagine that fans of Cherry's world fusion recordings will like this offering as well.

It would have been a difficult recording for marketing wonks to categorize, and I really think the recording deserves to be simply listened to for what it is - nothing more, nothing less. The sound quality on this one seems pretty good. Still would be great if a proper digital reissue became available.

Download Human Rights

Friday, November 17, 2006

Marion Brown: Duets

Duets is actually a compilation of two albums: Creative Improvisation Ensemble and Soundways. What I'll be sharing for your listening pleasure are the two separate albums. The info:

Marion Brown/Leo Smith: Creative Improvisation Ensemble

Freedom FLP-40136
Freedom/Trio Kenwood PA-9717 (J) [cover, back cover]
Freedom TKCB-70334 (J) (CD) [cover, back cover]

May 12, 1970
Paris, France

1. Centering [1:12] (Leo Smith)
2. Njung-Lumumba Malcolm [18:05] (Leo Smith)
3. And Then They Danced [16:05] (Marion Brown)
4. Rhythmus #1 [3:30] (Leo Smith, Marion Brown)

Marion Brown (as, perc, etc.)
Leo Smith (tp, petc, etc.)

Marion Brown/Elliott Schwartz: Soundways

Century V-41746 (US)

February 18, 1973
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, USA (live)

1. Soundways [19:33] (Marion Brown, Elliott Schwartz)
2. Soundways Part 2 [20:14] (Marion Brown, Elliott Schwartz)

Marion Brown (as, cl, p, perc)
Elliott Schwartz (p, synth)
The sound on each record is spare and spontaneous, and each record has its own unique character - with Leo Smith on the first album, you'll get some trumpet in the mix; with Elliott Schwartz, the sound of the synthesizer makes its presence felt at various points in the recording. The touchstones for both records are Brown's Afternoon of a Georgia Faun (which consists of a larger ensemble) and various recordings of the period by the AACM crew. Aside from the last two tracks on Creative Improvisation Ensemble, none of this music has seen a proper digital reissue. A pity really, as both outings offer some spirited and rewarding listening.

Download Creative Improvisation Ensemble

Download Soundways

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Blogging around

I thought I'd point out a few other interesting downloads that y'all should check out.

First via Reality Unit Concepts, check out two very hard-to-find avant-garde jazz barn-burners: Byron Morris & Gerald Wise - "Unity" and Ofamfa - "Children of the Sun". The latter will be of interest to folks digging on some of the Black Artists Group & Human Arts Ensemble material I've posted on my blog - and of course it will be of interest to those who dig on what cats like Last Poets and Watts Prophets were doing back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Note that Reality Unit Concepts is planning on upping some more BAG recorded material in the near future.

The blog church number nine has all sorts of cool recordings to check out on a free/avant-garde tip, including more Frank Wright recordings than you can shake a stick at (all of which are out of print and hard to find), an Arthur Doyle recording (Live at the Dorsch Gallery), and several Noah Howard recordings (Berlin Concert, Live in Europe Vol. 1, and Schizophrenic Blues).

The blog pharaohsdance has among other items Juju's classic Strata-East album A Message from Mozambique.


Frank Wright: One for John

The info:
Frank Wright
One For John

Frank Wright - tenor sax
Noah Howard - alto sax
Bobby Few - piano
Muhammad Ali - drums

Recorded 12/5/1969, Studio Saravah, Paris, France

Released on BYG/Actuel, catalogue # 529336

1. China
2. One for John
Frank Wright's ensembles tended to tear the roof off the sucka - in particular those joints featuring Noah Howard. If you're already a fan of Frank Wright's music, you know what to expect. Be forewarned, the sound quality is a bit dodgy in spots, especially near the beginning of "China" where the vinyl sounds as if it's skipped. I keep hoping for a proper digital reissue. So far, no dice. In the meantime, this one will suffice.

Download One for John.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Frank Wright: Center of the World Vol. 1

This recording and its companion (Center of the World Vol. 2: Last Polka in Nancy?) are well worth tracking down. Both were reissued toward the end of the last decade on Fractal, and are back to out of print status. If you can find either cd, it'll fetch a premium these days.

The info:
Frank Wright Quartet-Center of the World

Center of the World 001 F recorded at Rotterdam, Doelen 5/26/72
Alan Silva-b,cel,voc; Muhammad Ali-d,voc; Bobby Few-p,voc; Frank Wright-ts,voc
1. Center of the World, Part 1 (Wright/Silva/Few) 19:51
2. Center of the World, Part 2 (Wright/Silva/Few) 19:45

Bonus tracks for cd reissue (Fractal FRAC 006) recorded at Detmold, Neue Anta 1978
3. No End (Wright) 17:32
4. Church Number 9 (Wright) 13:11
Review from
Originally recorded in 1972 in Rotterdam, this Frank Wright date stands as one of the unsung classics of the free jazz era. For years sought out by collectors at outrageous prices, the folks at Fractal have done us all a favor and reissued the original album on CD with two previously unreleased performances from a reunion date in 1978. Featuring Wright on tenor and bass clarinet, pianist Bobby Few, bassist Alan Silva, and drummer Muhammad Ali (no, not that one), the music captured here is one vast exploratory landscape where anything went and the intensity is blistering. While Wright is the leader of the ensemble and was capable of blowing the hell out of his horn, the true star on these sessions is Few, who joined Steve Lacy's Sextet upon departure from this group. Few doesn't support Wright -- he drives him, pushes him to the limit and causes Silva to seek refuge in Ali's drums. There are vast tonal expanses being explored here, and it's only Few who can map them, from both outside and inside the piano. His use of right-hand arpeggios is stunning considering the size of the chords he's laying out with the left. Far more lyrical than Cecil Taylor, Few pushes the range of Wright's instruments to the very limit of his abilities to play them and then extends them a bit. The title track is almost 40 minutes long and stands as a free jazz endurance test. Wright astonishes for many reasons, not the least of which is his ability to blow at the intensity he does for the entire gig. The 1978 show is more laid-back, and the band makes use of ostinato and other kinds of repetition to create the myth of a tune á la Albert Ayler, especially in "No End." Here Wright plays the insistent "call-to-prayer-and-revelation" honk that Ayler loved so much, and Few works with Silva (who is badly recorded on these two tracks) to bring up an entire battery of responses that shift meter, tone, and, because of the consistency of the phrasing, intervallic shifts and staggers. Throughout, Ali plays his best Elvin Jones, and pulls it off; his are the sticks that usher in the speed of this freight train of movement and fluidity, and he dances the kit with propulsion and true grit. Whatever you do, get this.
Due to file size issues, I've broken this up into two parts. Part one consists of the two sides from the original recording. Part two consists of the bonus tracks included on the cd reissue.

Download Center of the World Vol. 1, part one.

Download Center of the World Vol. 2, part two.

Note: Image courtesy of stofftreiber. Thanks!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

RIP Malachi Ritscher

A note in passing: Malachi Ritscher, a fixture in the Chicago jazz scene, passed away earlier this month. My take on the story can be read here. Today, November 12, there is a memorial at Elastic for those in the Chicago area who may be interested.

Milford Graves & Don Pullen: Nommo

The info:
Milford Graves (dr,perc)
Don Pullen (p)

Rec. 30.4.1966 in New Haven
LP: SRP LP-290 (1967)


Side 1:

Side 2:
Spirited drum/piano duet, that's been out of print forever. I have no idea when or if it will ever get a proper digital reissue. In the meantime we have this 192 kbps mp3, ripped from vinyl by someone named nonwave. It actually sounds pretty decent. Both Don Pullen and Milford Graves have had fascinating careers.

Download Nommo.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Charles Bobo Shaw & Lester Bowie: Bugle Boy Bop

The details:
Label: Muse Records
Catalog#: MR 5268
Format: LP
Country: US
Released: 1983
Genre: Jazz
Style: Free Jazz


Drums - Charles Bobo Shaw
Producer - Michael Cuscuna
Trumpet - Lester Bowie
Notes: This album was recorded live at Studio Rivbea on February 5, 1977.


A1 Bugle Boy Bop (6:11)
A2 Go Bo (6:00)
A3 Cootie's Caravan Fan (3:55)
A4 Latin Recovery (4:17)
B1 The Girth Of The Cool (7:28)
B2 Chop'n Rock (6:29)
B3 Finito, Benito (6:23)
This is a trumpet & drum duet that will please fans of AEC & Human Arts Ensemble. If you are someone who loved Don Cherry & Eddie Blackwell's album Mu, you'll probably like this one.

The title track gets things off to a high-energy start. The second track ("Go Bo") is where Shaw cuts loose & Bowie lays low (at least somewhat). A barnburner. "Cootie's Caravan Fan" slows things down, but just barely, with a pulsating rhythm giving the tune a very trance-like feel. The title "Latin Recovery" is fairly self-explanatory, with Shaw going bossa nova as Bowie freaks out on the trumpet. The flipside starts with what amounts to a free improv ballad "The Girth of the Cool" - slow-tempo late night feel to it, but by mid-song builds in intensity and eventually the duo picks up the pace and the ferocity. "Chop'n Rock" is characterized by a choppy, rockish beat through much of the tune, seemingly nodding to an old AEC tune, "Rock Out". "Finito, Benito" ends the album on an entropic note. Be aware, the mp3s on this one are a bit dodgy, and the last tune seems to cut off in the middle. As the saying goes, better dodgy mp3s than no music at all.

I don't know if there ever will be a proper digital reissue of this album. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. In the meantime, these mp3 files help to document just a bit of what was going on during the late 1970s NY jazz loft scene.

Download Bugle Boy Bop

Monday, October 30, 2006

Marion Brown: In Sommerhausen

Marion Brown - In Sommerhausen

Side A:

1. Dance No. 1 [10:47]
2. Exhibit B [3:35]
3. The Sound of a Song [8:16]

Side B:

1. Malipieros Midnight Theatre [8:10]
2. Il ne chant pas [6:00]
3. Dance No. 2 [8:50]

Marion Brown - alto sax
Jeanne Lee - voice, percussion
Gunter Hampel - vibraphone, bass clrinet, percussion
Ambrose Jackson - trumpet, percussion
Daniel Laloux - bass, percussion
Steve McCall - drums, percussion

recorded live at Bayerisches Staatskonservatorium Musik, Wurzburg, Germany, May 17, 1969

Calig CAL 30605

Thurston Moore sez:
"In Sommerhausen" is Marion in late 60's exploratory fashion and is quite freaky with the vocal whoops of Jeanne Lee.
The first track (Dance No. 1) starts out with percussion before the rest of the group joins in, followed by numerous combinations of percussion/drums and sax or trumpet or vibes. The next tune is "Exhibit B" which features Brown on sax - often breathing and moaning through the instrument giving the piece a cathartic quality. "The Sound of a Song" has an almost tranquil feel by comparison as the group improvises together. Jeanne Lee makes a vocal appearance on this one (no words, very soothing). Vibes are featured very prominently. "Malipieros Midnight Theatre" immediately shakes things up with a chaotic group effort employing a lot of what would be called "little instruments" (e.g., whistles) as AEC would call them, as Jeanne Lee recites a spoken word piece (sometimes mumbled, sometimes clearly) that has a rather paranoid quality to it, and later in the piece goes into those vocal whoops that Moore describes. "Il Ne Chant Pas" begins with a charge on trumpet & drums, and male vocals in French sounding very shrill & excited (more vocal whoops). "Dance No. 2" rounds out the gig as a reprise of the beginning theme, even more percussive this time around.

This is a hard album to track down. Many thanks to whoever ripped this one from vinyl. One of my favorites.

Download In Sommerhausen

Marion Brown: Gesprächsfetzen

Calig CAL 30601 (D)

September 20, 1968
Modernes Theater München, Munich, Germany

Side A:
1. Gesprächsfetzen [15:00] (Marion Brown)
2. Exhibit A [2:55] (Marion Brown)

Side B:
1. Babudah [7:30] (Steve McCall)
2. Tomorrow Is The Beginning Of The End Of Yesterday [3:20] (Gunter Hampel)
3. Aba [6:30] (Marion Brown)

Marion Brown (as)
Gunter Hampel (vb, b-cl)
Ambrose Jackson (tp)
Buschi Niebergall (b)
Steve McCall (dr)

As Thurston Moore once put it, this one "really lays down the scorch." Side A begins with the title track, which builds in intensity until climaxing about 5 or so minutes into the proceedings - at which point the musicians seem to work mainly in solos & duets through the remainder of the tune. "Exhibit A" is a solo piece for sax that is an intense ride from start to finish. Side B starts out with "Babudah" - again beginning with a relatively quiet solo (this one featuring the bass) before turning into a group effort - given that drummer Steve McCall is credited as the tune's author, it isn't too surprising that the rhythm section is featured prominently - especially drums and vibes (not to worry, everyone gets a piece of the action). The tune has a pretty nice rhythm that's pretty easy to groove to. "Tomorrow..." begins with plenty of sax squeeks and skronks (backed with vibes and drums), then gets down to business - here more noirish - with quiet periods (vibes & drums) slowly giving way to chaotic climaxes. The final tune "Aba" has a slow loping beat and a 'late night at the bar' feel to it, again kind of noirish.

The album is hard as hell to find. Many thanks to whoever ripped this bad boy from vinyl. Expect the usual snap-crackle-pop sound, and also keep in mind that it's a live gig so the sound quality isn't always the best (the bassist, for instance, often gets lost in the mix). A cool document of one of the jazz world's unsung heroes.

Download Gesprächsfetzen

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Joseph Jarman: As If It Were The Seasons

Muhal Richard Abrams - Piano, Oboe
Fred Anderson - Sax (Tenor)
Thurman Barker - Percussion, Drums
Joel Brandon - Flute
Charles Clark - Bass, Cello, Koto
John Jackson - Trumpet
Joseph Jarman - Bassoon, Sax (Alto), Sax (Soprano)
Robert G. Koester - Associate Producer, Album Supervision
Lester Lashley - Flute, Trombone
Sharon Scott - Vocals
Paul Serrano - Engineer, Mixing
John Stubblefield - Sax (Tenor)
A review via
This set is one of the legendary early AACM releases. Joseph Jarman (heard on alto, bassoon and soprano in addition to fife and recorder) is featured shortly before he became a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Some of his sidemen would become well-known (pianist Richard Abrams, tenors Fred Anderson and John Stubblefield), while others remained obscure or short-lived (bassist Charles Clark, drummer Thurman Barker, flutist Joel Brandon, trumpeter John Jackson and trombonist Lester Lashley). The two lengthy group improvisations (Sherri Scott adds her voice to "Song for Christopher") contrast sound and silence, noise with more conventional sounds, "little instruments" with powerful saxophones. Certainly not for everyone's taste, the truly open-eared will find the innovative results quite intriguing.
Recorded June 19 & July 17 1968. Last reissued on Delmark, 1996.

You might have to do a little digging, but it hasn't gone entirely out of circulation just yet. Beautiful work that fits in very nicely with Roscoe Mitchell's Sound and early Art Ensemble of Chicago recordings.

Download As If It Were The Seasons

Joseph Jarman: Sunbound

Side A
1. Sunbound
2. Movement for Piano Players on a Break at 1:30 A.M. Saturday Night in a Big City

Side B
1. Spirit of Eric
2. Universal Mind Force
3. Spirit of Trane

Joseph Jarman - Flute, Percussion, Clarinet (Bass), Sax (Alto), Sopranino, Vibraphone, Sax (Sopranino)

Sunbound is a live solo performance by then Art Ensemble of Chicago member Joseph Jarman, and one of a handful of recordings issued by the band's own label. The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) of Chicago had long required a solo concert as a kind of "final exam." Regardless of one's instrument, a graduate of this school was expected to be able to construct a cohesive performance alone, without benefit of supporting musicians. Thus, concerts like this one were hardly uncommon at the time, though to the wider public the idea of a saxophonist by himself on stage was still somewhat bizarre. Jarman has a significantly different approach to improvisation than his erstwhile reeds partner in the Art Ensemble, Roscoe Mitchell. The latter had an extremely structural view of improvisation, using often arcane conceptual ideas as the basis for his flights. Jarman is a more intuitive player, allowing ideas to flow in natural, lyrical fashion, even when blisteringly intense. Typically, he utilizes a wide variety of reeds and percussion, sometimes simultaneously, though the finest work here is on alto ("Universal Mind Force"). His abandonment of structure allows for some degree of meandering, and there are sections which could have stood a bit of editing, but that "excess" was part of the deal in performances such as this at the time and, in retrospect, are even part of their charm. Still, one misses a foil such as Mitchell to bounce ideas off, and the album, while generally enjoyable, lacks some of the depth and passion associated with the best Art Ensemble recordings. Recommended for AACM completists.
This is one I just sort of stumbled on and thought was worth passing along. Jarman does sound like a one-man-band through much of the album, and seems to my admittedly non-expert ears to do quite well at pulling the performance off within the parameters of a solo performance. I tend to like this sort of thing. If you like AEC and/or solo improv performances you may well like this one as well. It's never been reissued on cd as far as I am aware.

Recorded December 4, 1976 and subsequently released on AECO (cat # 002).

Download Sunbound

Friday, October 27, 2006

Quick update

I should have some fresh sounds up sometime over the next few days - stay tuned.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Noah Howard: The Black Arc

1. Domiabra (10:29)
2. Ole Negro (8:47)
3. Mount Fuji (15:29)
4. Queen Anne (5:43)

Noah Howard - Alto Sax
Arthur Doyle - Tenor Sax
Earl Cross - Trumpet
Leslie Waldron - Piano
Norris Jones (aka Sirone) - Bass
Mohammed Ali - Drums
Juma Sultan - Congas

A review (via
While The Black Ark [sp] is not altogether different than his other records from this period, it presents Howard in a new setting with a number of interesting avant-garde players. On hand for this session are reedman Arthur Doyle, trumpeter Earl Cross, Leslie Waldron on piano, Sirone on bass, Muhammad Ali on drums, and Juma Sultan on conga. There is some mild variation in style among each of these songs' respective heads (from post-Coltrane to hard bop noir), but in all cases they are abandoned rather quickly anyway, so to dwell on such things, it seems, would be a rather moot point. Instead, the widely varying styles of the players themselves are of particular interest. Both Cross and Waldron, not exactly household names, reveal themselves to be quite competent players and tend to be the anchors of the group, in that their solos are often the most grounded of the non-percussion instruments. Doyle, on the other hand, is expectedly outrageous. His solos on this (or any) record never fail to increase a song's intensity level. Otherwise, Sirone and the percussionists are afforded some solo and duet time on the second side, which really accentuates the delay used on Sultan's conga. As a result, when he and Ali are left to themselves, the listener is presented with a very Sun Ra-esque Afro-space sound reminiscent perhaps of the echoed percussion heard on Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy. Easily recommended for fans of the 1969 BYG/ESP free jazz scene.
Another partial review by Richard Williams of Melody Maker via the liner notes to The Blue Humans' Live - N.Y. 1980 cd:
If it did nothing else, this album would at least introduce to us a couple of extraordinary musicians: trumpeter Earl Cross and tenorist Arthur Doyle.

Cross is post-Norman Howard, the new lyricism with a grainy, throaty tone...(etc.).

Doyle is another matter. This man is dangerous - he never plays anything you could recognize, just furious blasts of rage. His solo on "Domiabra" couldn't be written down, or even sorted out. It sounds more like raw energy than anything I've ever heard. He's nasty, man.
The record as I understand it was first issued on Polydor in 1969 and then later reissued on cd in Japan on the Freedom label. As far as I know it is currently out of print. That Japanese reissue will fetch a pretty penny, to say the least - I rarely see this album at all on ebay, and then never for less than $50.

This record lives up to its reputation. The review pretty well captures the essence as well as any review could. There are plenty of fiery moments to be found, as well as plenty of moments of relative calm (see especially "Ole Negro", where the reeds and trumpet lay out for much of the tune, and let the rhythm section have at it). One of the relatively mellower pieces, "Queen Anne" sounds like something that would fit in on one of Frank Wright's early 1970s albums (not surprising given that the Howard & Wright would gig together quite a bit during first few years during the 1970s). "Mount Fuji" is just wild, from the opening until the finish - even when the horns lay out, the rhythm section maintains the fiery pace. It's an album that should be heard to be fully appreciated. Words cannot do it justice.

The title on the cd I have is The Black Arc - I often see it misspelled "Ark" due to the graphics used on the front cover.

The musicians were mostly unknowns at the time, many of whom remained in obscurity. I honestly don't know what else Earl Cross & Leslie Waldron did either prior to or after this particular recording. Too bad, as both seemed to hold their own nicely throughout the session. Drummer Mohammed Ali was Rashied Ali's lesser-known brother, and appeared on several records with Frank Wright, Bobby Few, Archie Shepp, Alan Shorter, and Albert Ayler during the late 1960s and early 1970s before he dropped out of sight. Where is he now? Percussionist Juma Sultan appeared subsequently on one Archie Shepp album and on several posthumous Jimi Hendrix albums (the ones appearing after the Hendrix estate gained control of his recorded output). Sirone may not exactly be a household name, but is certainly one of the better known of this session's musicians - perhaps best known for his work with the Revolutionary Ensemble as well as leading his own sessions. Sax (and these days multi-instrumentalist) Arthur Doyle managed to gig around, very occasionally appear as a sideman on recording sessions (e.g., Milford Graves' Babi, and as a member of The Blue Humans), and recorded a date as a leader (Alabama Feeling) during the 1970s and early 1980s. Doyle then dropped out of sight and re-emerged seemingly out of nowhere in the mid-1990s (and has since been on a veritable recording and gigging spree).

The tune "Mount Fuji" provided the inspiration for what I suppose could be called an Arthur Doyle standard, "Noah Howard Black Ark" that has appeared on several recent Doyle releases (e.g., Live at the Cooler, and The Basement Tapes).

Wanna find out more of what Noah Howard has been up to? Here's his official website.

Download The Black Arc

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Some Housekeeping:

Updated and bumped.

I noticed that rapidshare has their new setup going (, and am giving it a bit of a test-drive. So far, so good. One thing that I've done is uploaded my jazz offerings on a new account there, and updated all of the relevant blog entries with fresh links. These should last a good long while relatively speaking. The only links I haven't refreshed yet are for the KMD album and the two Last Poets singles (I probably won't as there seemed to be little or no demand for them to begin with - though if asked frequently enough I might be persuaded to change my mind).

Expect some fresh material over the next few days.

Black Artists Group: In Paris, Aries 1973

Mtume Umoja Ensemble: Alkebu-Lan - Land of the Blacks, Album 1 (sides A & B) and Album 2 (Sides C & D)

Mtume: Rebirth Cycle

Miles Davis: Lost Mid 70s Sessions, Album 1 and Album 2

These links will likely go dead pretty soon, so nab 'em while you can. I'm thinking of trying out to see if that works a bit better for my purposes of keeping music links alive longer.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Frank Wright: Shouting the Blues

This one's definitely a rarity! Some info:
Frank Wright, Shouting The Blues
Recorded Paris, France Dec. 12 1977
Sun Records

Frank Wright, Tenor Sax, Clarinette
Georges Arvanitas, Piano
Jacky Samson, Contrabass
Charles Saudrais, Drums

Side 1:
Up against the wall 5'07
Two birds with one stone 6'07
Long way from home 3'20
Church number Ten 4'15

Side 2:
Right On 3'47
Reverend Blues 4'27
Jerry 5'23
Incantation 7'40

Ripped From Vinyl, Very Rare Recording from Sun Records France
The sound quality is decent. Expect the usual snap/crackle/pop sounds that go along with listening to a record that's been played a few times. The files are labeled "Side 1" and "Side 2" with the tunes appearing in precisely the order in which they're listed above.

As the title suggests, there's a strong blues vibe to this particular recording. Frank Wright handles some vocal chores on this date - his vocal style isn't pretty, but then again, you don't want your blues singers to sound like potential American Idol contestants. In other words, the voice fits the musical background. "Up Against the Wall" is a standard blues tune. "Two Birds With One Stone" is a free-jazz tune that would fit in very well with Frank's earlier work. "Long Way From Home" heads back into blues territory. "Church Number Ten" picks up where an earlier Frank Wright tune ("Church Number Nine") leaves off. Think of a free jazz hymnal, and you'll pretty much get the idea.

On the second side, "Right On" layers an incendiary Frank Wright sax instrumental outing over a latin jazz background. "Reverend Blues" is a slower hymnal-style blues that opens with an Ayler-style sax solo and then Frank Wright lays into his troubles with that husky, smoky vocal style. "Jerry" follows up with some uptempo free-form jamming. Although these cats kick out the jams, the sound is always pleasant. "Incantation" ends the album with a gorgeous, meditative jam that again might fit in with some of Frank Wright's earlier work or perhaps some of Pharoah Sanders' gentler pieces from his Impulse! days.

I'll let the musical experts argue over whether this is an essential Frank Wright recording. It's certainly a unique addition to his canon in that the man actually sings. All I know is that it works for me, and that if you're a Frank Wright fan already, this one will treat you right. If you're new to the music of Frank Wright and find yourself really liking the instrumental tracks, make sure to look into his other recordings - I know that both his ESP-Disk recordings were recently reissued (as a 2-cd set), as was the early 1970s classic Uhuru Na Umoja.

Download Shouting the Blues.

Also of interest: I've bookmarked a couple Frank Wright discographies - one maintained by George Scala and one over at Center of the World. More bio info on Frank Wright may be found at

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Gnawa trance music: Maleem Mahmoud Ghania

I noticed that Orang Aural had posted the album The Trance of Seven Colors, credited to Maleem Mahmoud Ghania & Pharoah Sanders recently. What I've had the privilege to hear of the Gnawa has blown me away, so I was happy to see that someone else had uploaded this particular out-of-print session. Some details of the album:
"To call this outing 'authentic' would be an understatement, given that Bill Laswell and Pharoah Sanders took only some digital recording equipment and Sanders' saxophone to Morocco to record it. The CD sleeve photos show the informal nature of the proceedings, revealing that the recording took place in someone's home with a large cast of musicians, many of whom are Ghania's family members.

The recording did not suffer at all from the mobile equipment, and The Trance of Seven Colors lives up to its title, giving the listener first-hand access to Gnawa healing ceremonial music. Ghania's Guimbri (an African instrument) unravels masterful, off-kilter, bass-like lines over chanting and various percussion instruments. Pharoah Sanders sounds inspired in the setting also, making this a worthwhile recording for Sanders fans who heard intimations of world music in his '60s dates."

Wilson McCloy, All Music Guide

Maleem Mahmoud Ghania: guimbri, lead vocal, tbel
Pharoah Sanders: tenor saxophone
Maleem Boubker Ghania: second guimbri (6)
Maleem Mahmoud Ahkaraz: tbel (8)
Maleem Abdellah Ghania, Abdellah Ahkaraz, El Moktar Ghania, Mohhamed Abdellaoui, Mohamed Outanine, Abdellatif Abdellaoui, Hassan Machoure, Mohamed Boujmia: krkaba, vocal chorus, handclaps
Abdellah Lamsouger: handclaps
Maleem Addabachi Abdelkabir: lead ghaita (3)
Adelmalak Ben Hamou: ghaita (3)
Abderrahman Nimini: tbel (3)
Adelmoula Hnikkich & Mustapha Bousan: harraz (3)
FEMALE VOCAL CHORUS: Zaida Ghania (leader), Mina Ahkaraz,Saida Battach, Fatna Ifis, Fatima Labied, Hafida Ghania, J'mia Ghania, Kadija Ghania, Malika Ghania.

1. La Allah Dayim Moulenah (11:10) by P. Sanders / M. Ghania
2. Bela Moussaka (3:54)
3. Hamdouchi (9:07) arr. by Maleem Addabachi Abdelkabir
4. Peace In Essaouira (for Sonny Sharrock) (7:23) by P. Sanders
5. Boulandi Samawi (13:56)
6. Moussa Berkiyo/Koubaliy Beriah La'Foh (4:34)
7. Salat Anbi (8:17)
8. Casa Casa Atougra (5:05)
9. Mahraba (7:48)

All songs traditional and arranged by Maleem Mahmoud Ghania except where noted
Produced by Bill Laswell
Co-production and organization in Morocco: Eric Rosenzweig
Recorded by Robert Musso in the House of the Caid Khoubane in the Medina of Essaouira, District Chbanat, Morocco on June 1,2 & 3, 1994
Released by Axiom/Island in 1994
You can download The Trance of Seven Colors here, courtesy of Orang Aural.

Apparently Orang Aural is quite a fan of Gnawa healing music, and has also uploaded mp3s from three cassettes by the same artist (under the name Mahmoud Guinia). I'm listening to one of them now as I am blogging. Additionally, in August Orang Aural posted The Splendid Master Gnawa Musicians of Morocco (jointly credited to jazz pianist Randy Weston). I've had that album for a while - something I snagged on ebay once upon a time - and highly recommend tracking it down. Weston plays some Gnawa-inspired piano on one track, but otherwise this is strictly a Gnawa recording. The music definitely hits on some sort of emotional level that defies words - I became an instant fan of Mahmoud Ghania when I first heard a track off of The Trance of Seven Colors. As Orang puts it:
I can't describe Gnawa music here, and just to call it Moroccan Blues is way too simple - I'll give the interested listener a list of site and text links, where you can read and learn about the music and its context in Moroccan culture:
and two more "fancy" Gnaoua websites:
Mad props to Orang Aural for upping some of those cassettes - I hope this blogger will upload some more. Gnawa music is quite addictive. I also hear Gnawa musical influences in some of the coolest contexts (not only jazz) - e.g., the song "Who's to Blame" by Ozomatli is a Gnawa-tinged rap tune.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Marcus Belgrave: Gemini II

This was one I was thinking of uploading, but looks like someone has already put forth the effort:

Marcus Belgrave - Gemini II (1974)

A lost classic of the spiritual soulful Detroit/Tribe jazz scene! Initially issued on the Gem Eye label in 1974, in a pressing of only 1000, the record's done nothing but increase in legend since. The sound picks up in the same domain as the better Art Ensemble Of Chicago records of the late 60s and early 70s -- with the rubbery funk electric bass lines and celestial groove. The record includes Belgrave's beautiful epic "Space Odyssey", which has a long flowing cosmic groove, nice electronics, and haunting trumpet solos. A focused, but still wonderfully loose set of spacey 70s soul jazz!


1. Space Odyssey
2. Glue Fingers (Part I)
3. Glue Fingers (Part II)
4. Gemini II
5. Marcia's Opal
6. Odoms Cave

Label: Gem Eye
Style: Free Jazz
Bitrate: 224
Links: iFolder
Props to Markey Funk of the Russian-language LJ community blog Black Man Land. It's a great album, most recently reissued on cd on Soul Jazz Records' Universal Sound imprint. Needless to say, this classic is currently in print and available at various record stores and online outlets - so, if you like this one, ante up some spare change and buy the album.

Human Arts Ensemble: Under the Sun

A commenter asked about this one a week or two ago, so here it is. Some info:
Human Arts Ensemble
Under the Sun


1. Lover's Desire
2. Hazrat, the Sufi

Lester Bowie - Trumpet
Marty Ehrlich - Sax (Alto), Multi Instruments, Tin Flute
Oliver Lake - Flute, Sax (Alto), Sax (Soprano)
Carol Marshall - Vocals, Multi Instruments
James Marshall - Sax (Alto), Multi Instruments, Wood Flute, Pungi
J.D. Parran - Flute, Harmonica, Clarinet (Bass), Piccolo, Sax (Soprano), Multi Instruments
Victor Reef - Trombone
Charles Bobo Shaw - Drums
Butch Smith - Bass

Recorded July 1973

Label: Committee for Universal Justice

Later issued on Arista/Freedom (1975)
A review:
The Human Arts Ensemble, led by drummer Charles Bobo Shaw, was one of the central performing groups to emerge from the Black Artist Group (BAG), a musician's organization founded in St. Louis in the early '70s. In addition to Shaw, this recording features two other fine musicians who would make their mark, Marty Ehrlich and J.D. Parran, as well as guest appearances by trumpeter Lester Bowie and altoist Oliver Lake. The two side-long pieces follow roughly the same model. "A Lover's Desire" uses a theme based on an Afghanistani folk melody with an added very funky bassline to serve as a platform for uninhibited improvisation. The improv is more collective than individual with voices surfacing unpredictably and the beguiling melodic riff coming forward from time to time to act as glue lest things get too far out of hand. Parran's bass clarinet work is especially luscious on this piece. The other composition, James Marshall's "Hazrat, the Sufi," also has a Middle Eastern tinge, but here the rhythmic drive fragments into a series of stop and start improvisations more akin to some of the spacier Art Ensemble of Chicago explorations and almost as impressive. Under the Sun is an enjoyable, wildly free, and loose session, and one that should appeal to any fan of the AACM and its descendents.
Apparently this album would be issued again in 1975 under Arista's Freedom imprint and would actually generate some buzz and some good sales for an avant'garde jazz recording. The makeup of this recording date is a bit different from the previous album: Oliver Lake, Bobo Shaw, James Marshall, and J.D. Parran are the holdovers, joined this time around by Lester Bowie (of AEC fame), Marty Erlich, Victor Reef, Butch Smith, & Carol Marshall. The slightly larger ensemble adds some electric bass and some vocals to the mix, and in the process creates an album that is distinctively funkier than its predecessor and no less compromising. The first side ("Lover's Desire") practically dares the listener to put on some dancin' shoes. A dj looking for some fresh beats could have some fun with much of the tune - and in fact some of the instrumentation about 2/3 of the way through is reminiscent of a dj scratchin' at a hip-hop gig. The female vocals are very beautifully done and add to the experience - Carol Marshall makes the tune even more warm and inviting than it would have been already. The second side ("Hazrat, the Sufi") has a more Middle-Eastern flavor, a more free feel to it, and a noticeable blues-soaked edge to it (must be the harmonica as the tune progresses). The music takes chances, and yet remains beautiful, spiritual, and sensual.

The music definitely fits in well with the period, and holds up well after three decades. Too bad this album hasn't seen a proper cd reissue.

Since this was ripped from vinyl, expect the usual pops and scratches. Mp3s are 320 256 kbps. In other words, this will sound good.

Download Under the Sun.

Updated 10/20/2006

Download Under the Sun.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Human Arts Ensemble: Whisper of Dharma

Some info:
Artist: Human Arts Ensemble
Whisper of Dharma

1. Whisper of Dharma
2. A World New

Charles Bobo Shaw - drums, small instruments
Joseph Bowie - trombone, congas, small instruments
Oliver Lake - tenor sax, radong, flute, small instruments
James Marshall - alto sax, radong, wooden flutes
J.D. Parran - tenor and sopranos saxes, bass clarinet, small instruments
Floyd Leflore - trumpet, small instruments
Gene Lake - drums, small instruments
Baikida E.J. Carroll - gong, small instruments

Recorded on October 6, 1972 in St. Louis, MO

Label: Committee for Universal Justice
The crew on this record include the same cats who appeared on the Black Artist Group record I uploaded earlier this month (BAG: In Paris, Aries 1973), augmenting that quintet with additional musicians. Just a bit about the group:
The Human Arts Ensemble was a musical and theatrical cooperative founded in St. Louis, MO, in 1971 by free jazz musicians who had been associated AACM and BAG (Black Artist's Group). Around 1970, public funding began to dry up for arts organizations that were suspected of having ties to radical political groups, and drummer Charles Bobo Shaw had the idea of creating a new artistic co-operative that was open to any person without regard to race. The resulting Human Arts Ensemble was thus able to proceed within a radical political agenda and pursue its unique brand of guerilla theater, yet get the public support it needed to do so.
The first track ("Whisper of Dharma") starts out with the sound of a gong and horns that sound like something out of a Tibetan monastery. Although definitely on a free improv tip, the music is very meditative leaving plenty of open space and utilizing a lot of "small instruments" - you're more likely to hear the sound of a bird chirping than a rollicking jam session. Fits in very well with what Art Ensemble of Chicago and Marion Brown were doing circa 1970. Whereas the first track whispers, the second track screams. The second track ("A World New") is where these cats kick out the jams. The music is LOUD - the birds are still chirping, but over the sounds of hollers, drums, saxes and brass instruments leaving the listener to realize the revolution won't be televised: it's coming right out of the speakers! AEC's "Baptizm" might be a fair reference point for this one.

Personally, this is turning into one of my favorites since I first stumbled onto it a few months ago.

The sound should be good - ripped from vinyl (in very good condition - not many crackles or pops), 192 kbps mp3.

As far as I know, this particular album has never seen a proper cd reissue. Maybe someday.

Download Whisper of Dharma.

Updated 10/20/2006

Download Whisper of Dharma.