A pair of amazing records from a legendary group – one who didn't record much, but who really shaped the sound of the avant garde in the 60s! First up is the self-titled New York
Art Quartet, one of our favorite albums ever on the legendary ESP label – and a key session in the best "new
thing" mode of the 60s! The New York
Art Quartet were a short lived collaboration between trombonist Roswell Rudd, saxophonist John Tchicai, bassist Lewis Worrell, and percussionist Milford Graves – but their legacy in this one album is almost greater than that of other combos who recorded more frequently at the time. The sound is similar to the best "spacious" groups of the new
thing years – such as the Archie Shepp/
Bill Dixon work, or some of the looser sides by the New York Contemporary Five
– a group that featured Shepp and Tchicai. Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka) makes a key guest appearance on the title "Black Dada Nihilismus" – reciting his writings alongside the group's somber instrumental musings – and other titles include "Short", "Rosmosis", and "No 6". The album Mohawk is next – rare and brilliant work from this amazing group – a lineup that features Roswell Rudd on trombone, John Tchicai on alto, Reggie Workman on bass, and Milford Graves on drums and percussion – a combo who are best known for their one LP on ESP, but also sounding equally great on this rare European-only album! The record has a wonderfully creative approach – still in the energetic mode of the New York
scene of the 60s, but also with the more introspective style that would come into play more in the 70s loft scene. Players handle a variety of instruments – almost in an AACM mode – and titles include "Mohawk", "Banging On The White House Door", "Rufus 3rd", and "No 6".