Two classic albums from the big free jazz explosion in Paris in 1969! First up is Ketchaoua, an early gem from the great Clifford Thornton – maybe his best-known album over the years, thanks to its placement on the post-68 series of French free jazz releases on the BYG
Actuel label – but a set that's got a much more New York vibe overall, and stands as a key precursor to so many loft jazz recordings of the 70s! The style is very open and organic – not nearly as bombastic as some of the other Actuel sets of the period – with an earthy energy that really allows the players to come together naturally, collaboratively, and not combatively. The lineup of players shifts from track to track – again echoing some loftish modes – and the lineup includes Thornton on cornet and percussion, with Grachan Moncur on trombone, Archie Shepp on soprano sax, Arthur Jones on alto, Beb Guerin and Earl Freeman on bass, Sunny Murray on drums, and Dave Burrell on piano. Titles include "Pan African Festival", "Brotherhood", and "Ketchaoua" – plus "Speak With Your Echo", a cool track that has Clifford's cornet playing in a spare setting with only 2 basses! Next up is Scorpio, one of our favorite albums in the legendary run of BYG
Actuel free jazz sessions from 1969, and one of the most obscure as well – one of the few albums as a leader from alto player Arthur Jones, a musician who's really incredible throughout this freewheeling set! The vibe is almost more ESP than BYG
– as there's a rhythmic pulse to most of the tracks, provided by Beb Guerin on bass and Claude Delcloo on drums – working with Jones in a mode that really evolves past the saxophone trio style first pushed by Sonny Rollins, with incredible solos from the leader throughout the whole set – which also seem to open up new territory for the alto sax as well! Titles include "CRM", "BT", "Sad Eyes", and "Brother B".