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Everything posted by AllenLowe

  1. Ellington Small Groups on Columbia

    some day; it's very labor intensive. When I get better maybe I'll show some samples.
  2. How's the weather?
  3. because Vonnegut was rich and could afford to pay an indexer. Not so for most of us. I just indexed 4 of my own books.
  4. RIP Chick Corea

  5. RIP Chick Corea

    whatever the argument is here, it's fascinating to me that when I listen to two particular pianists whose careers veered all over the place - Kieth Jarrett and now Corea - I find their earliest work the best. It's as though they could hear and play too much, and in their early days they just did what they felt without getting so self conscious about it. But this Corea solo is extraordinary - actually reminds me of late '40s Hank Jones. And I am not a big Corea fan.
  6. Julius Hemphill Box Set

    just got mine
  7. all set to begin the sales process - here's the promo sheet and info; please note the the first 50 to purchase the 4 CD set will get a bonus CDR of some rare performances with Julius Hemphill, a cut from out next project with Gary Bartz, some newly found Percy France and some private Joe Albany recordings that Joe gave me years ago. Best to email me at, though of course you can message me through here - here's the release: NOW AVAILABLE FOR ADVANCE PURCHASE: Due February of 2014, Allen Lowe’s new CD project: Mulatto Radio: Field Recordings 1-4 (or: A Jew at Large in the Minstrel Diaspora) with: Kalaparusha (in his last recording), Allen Lowe, Ras Moshe, Noah Preminger, JD Allen, Lewis Porter, Matthew Shipp, Ursula Oppens, Ken Peplowski, Jon-Erik Kellso, Randy Sandke, Ray Suhy, Kevin Ray, Gerhard Graml, Christopher Meeder, Lou Grassi, Rob Wallace, Dean Bowman, and special guest Rick Moody. Titled especially so no one can remember just exactly what it is called or what it’s about, Mulatto Radio is Allen Lowe’s new 4 cd set of original re-compositions of American song forms and contains: blues free jazz standard song form, post-minstrel pop forms, 19th century dance song, stride piano, bebop, voodon ritual music ragtime James Reese Europe Tristano-ism movie music abolitionist delusion, more blues gospel music of the Old Regular Baptists circus song medicine show music black minstrel pop forms musical double consciousness and New Orleans pianism, in a single package If you’ve read this far, we are offering this 4 CD as an advance purchase for $20 in the USA plus $1 shipping (email us for Euro shipping, at; we take paypal: BE ONE OF THE FIRST 50 TO ORDER AND RECEIVE A FREE BONUS CDR WITH RARE AND SEMI-RELEASED RECORDINGS, INCLDING ONE FROM THE OLD KNITTING FACTORY WITH JULIUS HEMPHILL, AND A CUT FROM OUR NEW ROBERT JOHNSON SOUNDTRACK WITH GARY BARTZ AS WELL AS SOME NEVER-BEFORE TRACKS GIVEN ME BY JOE ALBANY AND SOME NEWLY DISCOVERED PERCY FRANCE CUTS.
  8. Art Pepper

    to paraphrase myself from a few years back (above): I spent a memorable day with Pepper in Boston, must have been '76. Nicest guy in the world, though I eventually figured out he was having me help him drive around town looking for a drug connection. As for his playing - that night he stuck to his bebop guns and and he was brilliant. His whole attempt at being "contemporary" was a classic older musician miscalculation, a complete misunderstand of Trane's chromaticism, of modalism, of the whole way in which scales could be used instead of triads as a way of sounding vertical instead of horizontal. I have heard other players do this - even Jackie McClean one night got stuck in a very futile cycle of fifths before finally seeming to say "the hell with this" and just playing. I can remember Frank Morgan trying to play a Wayne Shorter tune and sounding a bit like Pepper, simply playing little ineffectual runs and flurries of notes. I know this sounds harsh and know-it-all, but I have just seen too many older players struggle to be "contemporary."
  9. Booker Ervin

    for me it's Booker's vibrato - a hard blast followed by a slow, yawning, shake.
  10. Booker Ervin

    when I worked for Don Schlitten in the middle 1970s he just went into a feeling Complete happiness, or whatever else, whenever Book's name came up. And I agree, as there are maybe a handful of other horn players with that level of soul.
  11. Julius Hemphill Box Set

    just ordered; Julius has always been a big inspiration to me; particularly now as I try to prepare some comprehensive final project. I have never felt a musician's soul like his. It's just there in every breath. Just love the guy.
  12. Booker Ervin

    I love Booker Ervin, and though it has been alleged he cannot play chord changes real well, check this out:
  13. Ellington Small Groups on Columbia

    Yes, I have done this many times.
  14. Ellington Small Groups on Columbia

    with the right digital eq you can do incredible things - I re-did the Morton from the BMG box and Larry Gushee, sitting in my basement, was absolutely astounded, saying he had never heard it sounding so good.
  15. Ellington Small Groups on Columbia

    I have to admit that I take some satisfaction in just being able to make stuff sound like it should. But the insanity is that, with these Ellingtons, it's not just a matter of making them sound better but like completely starting from scratch. It is idiotic.
  16. Ellington Small Groups on Columbia

    the Columbia issue CD transfers are actually fine, but extremely poorly eq'd. Which means that the sound is all there but needs, yes, to be restored. Which is crazy if you are a consumer but amusing and fun if, like me, you are fond of showing what idiots the engineers on these major labels have been (this, btw, is also true of the much hated Jelly Roll Morton BMG box; I can make that thing, with digitial eq, sound fantastic. Larry Gushee was amazed).
  17. Digitally restoring 78 records?

    I used to have 5 or 6; never had it down to the kind of science that John R.T, Davies had it down to. Have pretty much divested most of my 78-related equipment however. Very labor intensive.
  18. Digitally restoring 78 records?

    this is very variable. I use, primarily, my ears, and it is hell when sources are so variable, I tend to put it all on a pair of decent speakers and then sit back; the goal is to not have to constantly adjust levels as one listens back. Sometimes I take the lazy way out, and measure peaks to about -2. But if you do that you have to take into account that very noisy sources are going to read much different than those with less surface noise. Other than that it's all by the seat of my pants.
  19. Jerome Richardson

    when I saw the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis band in the late '60s Richardson and Jerry Dodgion use to come up front and exchange solos. It was very exciting and dynamic.
  20. Phil Spector Dead at 81

    that's quite an amazing record and I agree with you. The techniques Spector used were ripe for overkill - to my ears it is basically plate reverb - but there is something incredibly patient is that performances; just let the music happen and don't rush anything.
  21. Sammy Nestico R.I.P.

    I played this arrangement in high school dance band. I always thought the opening riff sounded like Satin Doll. Pleasure to play:
  22. Sonny Rollins Recommendations?

    I don't have any info as to who is doing what, but I did have a conversation about this period with Dick Katz years ago; I loved Dick and he was a great guy, but it's always amusing and interesting to hear, when you get close to musicians who have been at the center of things, about the little irritants and resentments. Dick had just started to work with Rollins when Sonny abruptly changed to piano-less trios, and 20-30 years later he was still a little frustrated and pissed off, as I think it felt like a real opportunity for him to work with one of the central figures in all of jazz. But it was not to be (for very long); he said, as I recall, that he had been rehearsing with Rollins in anticipation of the famous Vanguard gig that was recorded, but that just before it happened Sonny decided to strip down the group to a trio.
  23. Groups whose sums are less than the parts

    another one was an infamous gig Sonny Rollins did at Town Hall - maybe 1969 or 1970 - with him and something like 6 bassists? Maybe more. It was a long time ago, and though I remember there was a notice in Downbeat about it, I cannot find any other documentation. I do remember that in the first half of the concert Jaki Byard appeared with a group that had one of those active names - like the Jazz Messengers, though not that of course. They were fine. Sonny came on, played against this weird bass background, and lasted maybe 15 minutes before he just walked off. Years later I mentioned it to Jaki Byard, who cracked up and said to me: "yeah, what was Sonny thinking?"
  24. this is what I posted on Facebook about this whole question: I look at it this way: Louis Armstrong revolutionized pop music and jazz. He saw himself as an everyman of entertainment, and I think it's racist to complain that he doesn't meet some political standard of appropriate racial behavior; not to mention that it's a myth that he was politically compromised (he very publicly attacked Eisenhower over Little Rock, for example). And he was a great humanitarian, loved by everyone who knew him. At his best he was the James Joyce of jazz and popular music, restructuring reality and rearranging it in revelatory ways, showing us that linearity doesn't mean A to B to C but is instead a representation of shifting states of consciousness. He was the American Dada, showing how reality is a confrontation between the intellect and the senses. And in the end, no matter what he did, it is a matter of self-determination. You think music is political? Then Louis Armstrong is the great liberator, a black man who declared artistic and personal independence when to do so was risky if not dangerous. So let us summarize: a genius artist who was the most influential musician of the 20th century; an individual who took control of his life, artistic and personal, who was about as free as a 20th century black man could be; a great entertainer beloved by millions; and great human being, a humanitarian who treated everyone as equals. What the hell more do we want from the guy?
  25. Groups whose sums are less than the parts

    the Milestone All Stars, whom I saw at Yale, probably in the '70s? Who thought a group with Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter and Al Foster could suck? But they really did.