Paul Bley —
Closer ... LP ESP, 1966. New Copy (reissue)...
Possibly the first true moment of genius from Paul Bley – a key indie standout after a few years working for bigger American labels! By the time of this early ESP album, Paul Bley was no stranger to the American scene – having recorded a few records for different labels in the 50s, and making some surprise appearances on other sessions in the early part of the 60s. But by the time of this mid 60s set, Bley was really coming into his own – working in a style that would have a huge influence on the style of jazz piano for the next few decades, and which was one of the first strong statements of modernism from the Canadian scene. Here, he's working with Steve Swallow on bass and Barry Altschul on percussion in a trio format, working through a great batch of tracks by then wife Carla – like "Ida", "Start", "Closer", "Batterie", and "Sideways In Mexico" – as well as versions of OrnetteColeman's "Crossroads", Annette Peacock's "Cartoon", and his own "Figfoot". LP, Vinyl record album
Never heard music from Don Cherry's important time in Sweden – two different live recordings that explode with righteous power right from the very first note! Cherry really took off musically during his time in Sweden – exploring rich new ideas that had never come up in his music with OrnetteColeman, nor on his own American sides as well – really organic improvisations that blended together elements of the American underground with the new European free jazz, and some deeper ethnic touches as well! The first set of work here really showcases that mixture – as it features live material from 1968 with very freewheeling work by Cherry on pocket trumpet, flutes, and piano – plus Maffy Falay on trumpet and flutes, Bernt Rosengren and Tommy Koverhult on tenor and flute, Torbjorn Hulcrantz on bass, and Leif Wennerstrom on drums. The first part of the work is more all-out improv, but the second brings in some Turkish folk melodies supplied by Falay, which makes for some nice exotic elements. These are continued on "Another Dome Session", recorded in 1971 – material that has more of the Organic Music Society mix of collaborative acoustic elements, often with strongly spiritual currents. Cherry plays pocket trumpet, flutes, and piano again – and is joined by Maffy Falay on trumpet and flute, Tommy Koverhult on flute, and Okay Temiz on drums and percussion. Great package, with lots of music and notes on this time in Cherry's life! LP, Vinyl record album
One of Alice Coltrane's most adventurous albums – a beautiful blend of organ, harp, percussion, and strings – much of which are transcribed for the album by OrnetteColeman! The most haunting aspect of the album is Alice's work on organ – spare, jagged, with a nascent soulful quality that's quite different from her piano work on other Impulse albums. The strings provide a sheet of sound – a shimmering backdrop to support Alice's work on the keys – moving forward tentatively, but growing in energy as the album progresses through a host of Eastern spiritual influences. Alice is way past jazz at this point – moving towards the new level of consciousness hinted at in the title, growing majestically on tracks that include "Oh Allah", "Sita Ram", "Hare Krishna", "Universal Consciousness", and "The Ankh of Amen-Ra". LP, Vinyl record album
Friends & Neighbors come on even stronger here than on their previous record – with a blistering array of sharp-edged notes that really live up to the OrnetteColeman legacy that inspired their name! The group's incredibly deft – free, but never unstructured – able to turn on a dime, and draw the best from each individual member – while never making it feel like the quintet is being overshadowed by a larger ego or two. There's a sympathy between the players that you don't always get on records like this – and although the performances are quite free, they have an intrinsic logic that makes them extremely powerful. Group features Andre Roligheten on tenor and clarinet, Thomas Johansson on trumpet, Oscar Gronberg on piano, Jon Rune Strom on bass, and Tollef Ostvang on drums – and titles include "Fool Pay", "Duality", "Nokken", "Melting Snow", "Friends", and "Jaguar". LP, Vinyl record album
Possibly the most fantastic recording ever from the greatest talent of Polish jazz! The material was recorded in 1965, in the years before Komeda followed Roman Polanski to the US to score his films like Rosemary's Baby – and it's one of the greatest modernist albums of the 60s jazz scene on either side of the Atlantic – a record we'd rank right up there with the best from OrnetteColeman, Charles Mingus, Joe Harriott, or other forward-thinking talents of the generation! The style is incredibly modernist, but with none of the over-indulgences that later plagued the Polish prog-oriented scene, and with none of the non-jazz influences that could stop a session like this dead in the water – and instead, the band grooves mightily in a blend of sharp edges and modal rhythms – a tremendous blend that makes the album as appealing to fans of more soulful jazz as it does to those looking for bold modernist statements. The quintet features 2 of Poland's other key jazz figures from the time – Tomasz Stanko on trumpet and Zbigniew Namyslowski on alto sax – and other members include Gunter Lenz on bass and Rune Carlson on drums. Titles are all Komeda originals, all nice and long – and include "Astigmatic", "Kattorna", and "Svantetic". LP, Vinyl record album
A group with a wonderfully rich dynamic range – not the full orchestra that you'd guess from their name, but instead a quartet that maybe plays with an equal amount of power! The lineup is a beautiful mix of freedom and pulse – a piano-less combo that features Pauli Lyytinen on tenor and soprano, Verneri Pohjola on trumpet, Eero Tikkanen on bass, and Mike Kallio on drums – all working in a style that's kind of post-Ornette – that is, it's got the similar sense of rhythm and searing solos to the Coleman albums on Atlantic in the early 60s – but also maybe explodes in so many other directions as well! Despite the unassuming cover of the set, there's an energy here that rivals some of the best Scandinavian modern jazz albums of previous decades – on titles that include "Triangulum", "Village Fool", "Lubljana", and "Lonesome Dreamer's Dance". LP, Vinyl record album
Incredible genius from the Polish scene of the 60s – one of the first standout albums from saxophonist Zbigniew Namyslowski – a player who may not be as much of a household name as Coltrane, but who plays equally well! Namyslowski is one of the great lost modernists of the postwar years – a rich talent in the 60s who opened up the range of the alto saxophone tremendously – working in a mode that was as groundbreaking as that of OrnetteColeman or Joe Harriott on the instrument, but taking the instrument to whole new dimensions! This set features Namyslowski working with a quartet that includes piano, bass, and drums – freely carving out a rhythmic space that serves as Namyslowski's launching pad for a variety of wonderful original compositions that include "Despair", "Frances The Terror", "The Beetle Humming In The Reeds", "The Wardrobe", and "Lola The Mead Drinker". LP, Vinyl record album
Yoko's stunning Plastic Ono Band LP – utilizing the same incredible group of players from John Lennon's same-titled effort – and an out there masterpiece that could be argued as one of the benchmark noise rock albums of all time! As with John's Plastic Ono Band LP, this one features guitars by the Walrus himself, drums by Ringo, bass by Klauss Voorman, plus additional bass by David Izenzon, Charles Haden, and trumpet by none other than OrnetteColeman – but Yoko's brutal banshee vocal improvisation is far and away the lead instrument here. Amazing, amazing, amazing – try to even imagine contempory noise rock without it! Original LP tracks include "Why", "Why Not", "Greenfield Morning I Pushed An Empty Baby Carriage. . .", "AOS", "Touch Me" and "Paper Shoes". LP, Vinyl record album
(Includes download with bonus tracks!)
Tomasz Stanko —
Music For K ... LP Polskie Nagrania (Poland), 1970. New Copy (reissue)...
Just Sold Out!
Bold genius from Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko – a memorial tribute to the recently-departed Krzysztof Komeda – Stanko's musical mentor and frequent partner during the 60s! The work builds strongly on the angular modes explored by Komeda during the Astigmatic years – a stark, staccato mode that was as inventive and compelling as anything that OrnetteColeman, Don Cherry, or Joe Harriott were doing at the time. Stanko's kept the Komeda spirit running very strongly in this set – using pulsating rhythms at the bottom to drive a set of longish tunes with full force, as freer solos cascade over the top with intense energy and amazing focus. The group's a quintet – with Zbigniew Seifert on alto sax and Janusz Muniak on tenor – and titles include "The Ambusher", "Infinitely Small", "Cry", and "Music For K". LP, Vinyl record album
Don Cherry really breaks out here on his classic Mu sessions from France – using the new freedoms of post-68 Paris to explore themes at a level that would set the tone for generations to come! The album's very spare, and very improvised – with Cherry on pocket trumpet, piano, and wooden flute – plus a bit of percussion too – alongside drummer Ed Blackwell, who's equally unbridled – showing a huge evolution since the time both he and Don spent in the group of OrnetteColeman! There's a few echoes of the global elements that Cherry would later embrace more strongly in the 70s – but the core energy here is mostly improvised jazz, handled at a level that really makes a lot better use of the freedom than some of Don's contemporaries. First part of the sessions feature the tracks "Total Vibration", "Sun Of The East", "Brilliant Action", and "Terrestrial Beings". LP, Vinyl record album
Don Cherry really breaks out here on his classic Mu sessions from France – using the new freedoms of post-68 Paris to explore themes at a level that would set the tone for generations to come! The album's very spare, and very improvised – with Cherry on pocket trumpet, piano, and wooden flute – plus a bit of percussion too – alongside drummer Ed Blackwell, who's equally unbridled – showing a huge evolution since the time both he and Don spent in the group of OrnetteColeman! There's a few echoes of the global elements that Cherry would later embrace more strongly in the 70s – but the core energy here is mostly improvised jazz, handled at a level that really makes a lot better use of the freedom than some of Don's contemporaries. Titles on this second part include "Bamboo Night", "The Mysticism Of My Sound", "Psycho Drama", "Smiling Faces Going Places", "Teo Teo Can", and "Dollar Brand/Spontaneous Composing/Exert Man On The Moon". LP, Vinyl record album
Roscoe Mitchell Sextet —
Sound ... LP Delmark, 1966. New Copy (reissue)...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
One of the first bold statements to come from Chicago's AACM underground of the 60s – a tremendous debut effort from the young Roscoe Mitchell! The album's got a "sense of the new" feel that's as gripping as anything recorded by ESP or Impulse around the same time – a rule-breaking, freely-creative approach to jazz that builds strongly off the changes already wrought by Cecil Taylor, OrnetteColeman, and Archie Shepp! The format is somewhat like the Art Ensemble Of Chicago at times – with measured horn work from Mitchell on alto, clarinet, and recorder, Maurice McIntyre on tenor, Lester Bowie on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Lester Lashley on trombone (as well as a bit of cello). Some tracks – like the brilliant "Sound" – offer a slow-building exploration of tones and textures – while others, like the blues-joke "Little Suite", or the harmelodic "Ornette", show a wry sense of humor that would become a Chicago avant hallmark as the years went on! LP, Vinyl record album
A beautiful meeting of two major talents from the left end of jazz – recorded in the early 60's when both were working for Atlantic! Despite the "avant garde" title, this set is straighter than you'd expect – very much in the spirit of Coltrane's work for the label, but with perhaps some of the more angular styles that Cherry was laying down with OrnetteColeman at the time. The session has Coltrane joining Ornette's group of Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Ed Blackwell – save for a few numbers that feature Percy Heath on bass instead of Haden. The set includes great readings of Ornette's "The Blessing", "The Invisible", and "Focus On Sanity", and Coltrane plays both soprano sax and tenor! LP, Vinyl record album