Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ornette Coleman - Time Magazine 1960

While listening to the Ornette Coleman memorial broadcast on WKCR 89.9FM NY last week, I was digging through my files looking for some Ornette articles to post. The article below appeared in Time (June 27, 1960). I will be posting the Time features on Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck and Thelonious Monk - stay tuned. Also, if you missed the memorial broadcast, check out Phil Schaap's archive of shows which includes four Ornette Coleman birthday broadcasts.
More vintage magazine articles can be found here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Some Listening During June

After posting quite a bit during May, June has been a little quiet on the blog front. Here's a taste of some of the noise bouncing around the apartment for the past month.

Stan Getz:
Reflections (Verve) - Somewhere online I read that George Garzone would include this in his "desert island" picks. I hadn't heard it before, so I decided to check it out. It's a strange album with strings, a choir, brass section, standards, a Bob Dylan tune. Although his tone and lyricism aren't lacking at all, it's hard to put aside the corny/syrupy backing - but not my favorite Getz album.

Jimmy Giuffre:
Western Suite (Atlantic) - I haven't listened to this album much and made a note to get back to it soon. This time around Jim Hall's comping seems to leap out at me.
Jimmy Giuffre 3 (Atlantic) - the first Giuffre album I heard and one that I return to every now and then. This time around it accompanied me on a few occasions while cooking dinner.

Ornette Coleman's passing had me listening to some of his albums that I haven't really checked out before:
At the Golden Circle Vol.1 (Blue Note) - I haven't been able to get into this trio as much as the Atlantic quartets (but it's early days still).
Skies Of America (Columbia) - Ornette and the London Symphony Orchestra. I heard this not that long after it was reissued, but now I finally have my own copy (courtesy of Reckless Records).
The Empty Foxhole (Blue Note) - Another album I've been wanting to check out for some time now. Always good hearing Coleman and Haden together. Isn't it about time there was a decent Ornette on Blue Note box set put together?
Of Human Feelings (Antilles) - Of the Prime Time albums I've heard this one struck me a being a little more straight forward/approachable.

ICP Orchestra:
East of the Sun (ICP) - The latest from this excellent 10-piece group, and the first (I believe) without Misha Mengelberg at the piano (Guus Janssen has stepped in). I picked this up at their Chicago gig earlier this year. They always keep things varied with freer sections contrasting with written material and abstraction meeting swing. Be sure to give them a listen.

And a few selections from saxophone ensemble recordings including:
ROVA: ROVA plays Lacy: Favorite Street (Black Saint) and Figure 8: Pipe Dreams (Black Saint) - On the latter, the quartet is expanded to an octet with the addition of Dave Barrett, Tim Berne, Vinny Golia and Glenn Spearman. I have only recently started listening to ROVA and I've enjoyed what I have heard so far.
Julius Hemphill: Fat Man and The Hard Blues (Black Saint) - Hemphill formed his saxophone sextet after he moved on from the WSQ. If you are into the WSQ you'll want to check out this sextet.
World Saxophone Quartet: Rhythm and Blues (Elektra) - After listening to ROVA I was in the mood for more sax quartets and it led me here. After listening to these groups, I have the feeling I'm going to listen to more saxophone ensembles in the near future. Recommendations appreciated.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

George Russell - Down Beat Feature May 1958

A feature article on George Russell from the May 29 1958 issue of Down Beat. Russell provides background to, and a brief explanation of the Lydian Chromatic Concept Of Tonal Organization. He goes on to talk about teaching the theory, first to composers and then to improvisors and mentions that, "All my students have mastered the theory in about six or seven lessons." Not bad. Click on image to view PDF of full article.
Here's a list of links to previous vintage articles.

Lydian Chromatic Concept

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ornette Coleman: From The Heart

Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930 - June 11, 2015). His music made quite an impact on me in high school after picking up The Shape of Jazz to Come and the then newly released Tone Dialing. Over the last couple of years I have been revisiting Ornette's recordings as well as checking out albums that are new to me. It was a blast hearing him live at the Wellington Festival of the Arts a few years ago, and I will take some time out today to listen to Ornette.  

Dan Morgenstern wrote this feature on Ornette shortly after his return to performing following a two-year hiatus. It appeared in the April 8, 1965 issue of Down Beat Magazine. Click on the image to view PDF of full article. More vintage magazine articles (including five on Ornette) can be found here.
Down Beat Magazine Dan Morgenstern

Monday, June 01, 2015

NZ Music Month: Syzygy - Tongue Grooves

For Part 4 of my New Zealand Music Month posts (Part 1Part 2 and Part 3), I've been revisiting an album I listened to a lot during my time at music school.
NZ Jazz New Zealand Jazz

Syzygy: creative music ensemble - Tongue Grooves (Yellow Eye)

Jeff Henderson (as) Joe Callwood (g) John Bell (vibes) Paul Dyne (b/e.bass) Chris O’Connor (d)
Recorded in Wellington during 1996, I never managed to hear this group live. But later on I did get to hear the members in various other groups playing around Wellington (particularly from 1999 up until I headed to the U.S in 2004. And again between 2005-2009). This album may be a bit harder to track down than the other three albums I've written about this month. Originally I brought it from Slowboat Records and somewhere along my travels I lost it. But thanks to Gemm, I managed to get another copy from Slowboat.

Tongue Grooves has plenty of variety - the grinding "Pain and Darkness", straight ahead swinging "Nquitpausuckowashawmen",  the comedy of "Saydah's Tongue Groove", the mellow "Breathe Now", the high energy of "The Risk" and the angular "Demented #2" - but there is also continuity that glues the album together into a solid work. 

Mike Nock recordings aside, Tongue Grooves was the NZ jazz album I listened to the most during music school (C.L. Bob (live and recordings) got plenty of airtime too). It was rare that anyone ever mentioned NZ jazz around school (Paul, Chris and Jeff (briefly) taught me at the university, as did John but I don't remember having any classes with him). The curriculum didn't place any emphasis on NZ jazz and I cannot recall playing tunes by Kiwis (although there were a couple of big band charts by Alan Broadbent), nor can I remember our jazz history class spending any time on the NZ scene. I hope this changes.

Listening to Tongue Grooves this month has brought back memories of 1999 and listening in my bedroom overlooking the car park out back of The George. Nostalgia has kicked in and I want to check out more NZ jazz recordings from that time period. I'm sure there are plenty of NZ jazz albums from the 90s that I haven't heard but Tongue Grooves must still rank very highly. Next time I'm home I'll have to hit the used record stores to try and track some of them down.
New Zealand Jazz