Early work by avant saxophone genius Albert Ayler – and very very striking! The setting is very spare, with only bass and drums backing Ayler up – and the way the album is mixed, Ayler's solos dominate the tracks in a way that isn't always the case with some of the more group-driven later work. His tone is amazing even in this early date of 1962 – and he completely blows away the other two players on the set, drummer Sune Spangberg and bassist Torbjorn Hulcrantz. The set was first recorded by the small Swedish label Bird Notes, and it's the beginning of a longtime love affair that Swedish modernists had with Ayler's tone and playing – a love affair that runs up to the current avant garde that includes Mats Gustafsson. Includes a mindblowing reworking of "I'll Remember April", plus versions of "Rollins Tune", "Tune Up", "Moanin", "Good Bait", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was", "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise", and Ayler's own "Free". LP, Vinyl record album
Steve Lacy —
Threads ... LP Horo/AlternativeFox (UK), 1977. New Copy (reissue)...
A real standout in the 70s catalog of reedman Steve Lacy – and that's saying a lot, given that he gave us so many fantastic records in the decade! The album's proof that the Horo Records label had a great knack for capturing key players in some different, but fantastic formations – and here, Lacy is blowing soprano sax alongside ex-MEV members Alvin Curran and Frederic Rzewski – in a unique quality that's very different than many of Lacy's other recordings of the 70s. Curran's got his usual mad edge – and plays synthesizer, percussion, and flugelhorn – while Rzewski contributes some nicely restrained dark lines on acoustic piano. Titles include "Skirts", "Threads", "Rabbit", and "Broils". LP, Vinyl record album
A rare live performance from this legendary avant jazz ensemble – recorded right around the same time as their initial album for Fontana Records overseas! The group were – and are – the stuff of legend – virtually the blueprint for a key strain of avant jazz to come, from the ESP years of the New York scene, to the loft jazz and European scenes to follow – with a killer lineup that features Archie Shepp on tenor, Don Cherry on trumpet, John Tchicai on alto, Don Moore on bass, and JC Moses on drums! The concert features three long tracks – each a balance between structure and improvisation – and titles include "Emotions", "Monk's Mood", and "Consequences". LP, Vinyl record album
An early meeting of minimalist giants – as the album includes two long tracks that both feature Philip Glass and Steve Reich playing in the same ensemble! The set begins with a 1969 live recording of Reich's wonderful "Four Organs" – played by a group that features four musicians on the electric organ, including Reich and Glass – performing these stark, short passages that are stated again and again – while a spare rhythm on maracas percolates in the background. "Music In A Similar Motion" is by Glass – and features him on electric organ and Reich on electric harpsichord – plus two additional players on soprano sax. The album also includes an unusual take on Reich's "Drumming" – performed by percussionists from Ghana. LP, Vinyl record album
A very early live set by Pharoah Sanders – very much in the best modes of his late 60s albums on Impulse Records, and a great addition to that era of recordings from the tenor genius! The performance was recorded by French Radio, and has great sound quality – really capturing the soulful shadings of the group, which is a quartet with a young Lonnie Liston Smith on piano, Sirone on bass, and Majeed Shabazz on drums. There's no other instrumentation at all, but the interplay between Sanders and Smith is wonderful – as full of tonal color as their studio recordings – and Sirone is really fantastic too. The performance is presented as one long continuous track – beginning with a long improvisation, then moving through "Venus" and "The Creator Has A Master Plan" – all as spiritual as you'd expect! LP, Vinyl record album
Incredible sounds from this legendary Japanese psychedelic duo – music that's even freer and trippier than most other records from the scene at the time! The 2LP set features two long tracks – the first served up by the duo of Mizutani on lead guitar and Taisuke Morishita on keyboards and second guitar – moving through very open space with long lines that are improvised freely, but with a good sense of overall sound as well – a bit like the later Dreamweapon performance by Spaceman 3, and years ahead of its time. Things get a bit more full-on on the second long track – which adds in drums and bass, which somehow seem to bring out even more intensity on both the guitars and electronics! LP, Vinyl record album