ombudsman

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  1. Big Ears Festival

    I don't have a lot of experience with big festivals but this was my 3rd year at Big Ears and I plan to keep going as long as possible. I went to at least 20 shows this time, including Carla Bley twice, Gavin Bryars twice, M.E.V., Hans Joachim Roedelius, etc. Would have put a few more on my list before the drive home (Rangda, Henry Threadgill, and a Norweigian fiddle player whose name escapes me) but by the middle of day 4 it takes a real toll on the legs.
  2. A little late but I saw Kahil El' Zabar and Ethnic Heritage Ensemble at the Loft Society, Cincinnati last weekend. It was fantastic; not just great music as it was, but with a vintage rant by Al before each set, and some engaging and grounded statements from Kahil in the second set about current events.
  3. ECM Artists at Big Ears Festival - 3/23-26

    I only know the first 3 above, but I'll be there again this year. MEV are bucket list for me, they alone would have been enough.
  4. An older friend of mine who is not much for the internet recently told me about seeing Ayler a couple of times. The second time was at Slug's later in the 60s, so, nothing really new to report there. But the first time was a cute story. He was about 16 or 17 (I think he said it was in '64) living outside of Cleveland and had just gotten access to a car for the first time. What to do ? So he and his friend decided they should go to a strip club. They found one one Euclid Avenue and went in, where they were the only white people inside. There was an organ trio doing soul jazz type tunes to go along with the strippers, but with this saxophonist who was playing in a way he had never heard. On a break the saxophonist came up and spoke to them at the bar for a minute. Jess didn't recall if he mentioned his name but remembered him being in a suit, being short, and having this white patch in his beard. He also saw Peter Brotzmann in Cleveland in '69, which was earlier than I realized he had played in the US. He and Peter were reminiscing about that at a show here in Cincinnati a few months ago.
  5. Mats Gustafsson's vinyl collection!

    I've spoken to Mats at shows. His tastes are pretty broad. As record collections go, I've seen many large ones and many that focus on free jazz but I would rank his as among the most interesting. He has many titles that you just don't see, they're on a whole different scale of scarcity than what makes up a typical good jazz record collection. One thing I love about visiting another collector is once in a while when they pull out something that is completely out of the blue that has a good story behind it and is in a style that I appreciate or even specialize in, but I just wasn't aware of. In a good collection you might expect to find just a few of those, but even just one is something to be savored and remembered. For example, to a fan of free jazz or experimental music, I used to have about 6 of those, but now due to some unlikely reissues it's down to maybe 3 or 4. I love those so much more than a shelf of original Blue Notes or modern 45rpm pressings. My tastes being what they are, I can tell it would take considerable time to go through all the ones just of that type that Mats has.
  6. Sonny Rollins´ odd remark on bass-players

    As a sometimes upright bass player I find it very understandable how a guy who has been playing a lot of gigs could get very tired of the constant logistical challenges involved in transporting and amplifying an upright. Even more so years ago when bass pickups and amps and PA systems were less developed. I've had gigs in recent years that were little or no fun because the combination of a hollow stage, high stage or monitor volume, and a less than optimal sound guy made me struggle with feedback all night. Sonny even being a big name artist must have had his share where the upright was either not audible to him on stage, or where it was feeding back. Swapping it out for an electric is a very effective solution. Being able to hear the bass while playing is surely the more critical issue than the tone of the bass. If you look at other tradeoffs like this in music gear - tube amps vs solid state (or more recently, no amp at all, just pedals or modeling software), real organs or electric pianos vs sampled/modeled, "real" acoustic guitars vs guitars that look the part but are really designed to be played amplified and are braced so heavily that they can't make much sound on their own - lots of players have made the pragmatic choice. It's also comparable to the choice of vinyl vs digital, or a serious home system with good speakers to an Ipod or whatever. I don't care for the electric bass in jazz with a capital J, but I understand. When the choice is being able to focus on playing vs worrying about problems, it's pretty hard to remain a purist.
  7. Masabumi Kikuchi reissues

    Sato is indeed the pianist on S'posin, I was going off topic on the tangent of Gary Peacock recordings from when he lived in Japan. Thanks, Matrix sounds like one I should pick up as the reissue lp.
  8. Masabumi Kikuchi reissues

    Homefromtheforest, are you familiar with "Matrix" ? I have not heard that one, and wonder how it fits stylistically. Jay - Silver World and especially Voices are albums of mystical power to me. Poesy and Eastward are good too but Voices is very special IMO. And if those work for you I then suggest Paysages by Sadao Watanabe and S'posin by Helen Merrill.
  9. Charlotte Moorman/Etc. Real-Timers?

    Can't say I recall what Praskin looks like but it's certainly Rudd
  10. Charlotte Moorman/Etc. Real-Timers?

    My late friend Jud Yalkut worked with her on a number of projects; through that and a local gallery that represented Paik for many years among others, I've seen lots of films and videos that are not widely circulated. The most impressive one was a color film of her playing the TV Cello where some really psychedelic video processing comes in right as she starts playing, and the audio is better than the other examples too. I wish I could remember the name of it. There are a couple of videos on youtube that include the TV Cello but they aren't that good. Generally you're better off looking through Paik related videos rather than looking for things under her name. This is some pretty good documentation of the NY Avant Garde Festival which she worked on for years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci6eCRQB30Q
  11. It's Coltrane, no doubt. When I first heard these sides years ago I was not tipped, but knew it was him right away. Not really hard if one knows his early work with Dizzy and Hodges (check his solo in Castle Rock with Hodges ' band, live 1954). The Coltrane Reference (DeVito et al.) lists the Coatesville Harris sides as Trane's only (known) recordings from 1953 ("date unknown, but most likely 1953") and comments: "Coltrane is identified by aural evidence only, but we consider the evidence overwhelming". I understand your viewpoint but that is not enough to remove doubt for me.
  12. Mike Reed

    The only one I have is "In Pursuit of Magic" but I think it's great.
  13. It's a great solo, and based on the sound it seems plausible that it could be Coltrane, but it's really not enough evidence at this point. Priming is a strong effect; we might not all have thought it sounded like Coltrane if we hadn't been tipped that way before hearing it. Also we can only evaluate the positive side of the assessment; there is no way to temper that with a measure of how many other players it could have been that we are not aware of. I've seen things a few times over the years where pretty much unknown local players delivered great performances that could have been quite misleading to other people if they were heard as unidentified recordings with no context. Nobody ever says "that sounds like someone I've never heard of" - we pick the closest candidate. Also as a bit of a recording engineer I've seen people misidentify performances by themselves or their bandmates, confuse upright with electric bass, vocals with organ, and effected saxophone with bassoon. Another thing that comes to mind is conventional wisdom among guitarists about "On the Corner" by Miles - I've heard/seen McLaughlin credited (sometimes in condescending terms !) as the only player on that record many times based on the sounds - despite more of the tracks having David Creamer on guitar, who was correctly identified in some of the press when it came out. And they do have fairly similar sounds on that record; which goes to show that players with very distinctive styles can sometimes be confused with others. I haven't heard it in a long time and can't recall which one it is, but there is a Can live recording that has a passage played by Irmin Schmidt on some sort of keyboard with effects where he gets a sound that is dead nuts on Miles' trumpet sound circa '73 with the wah and amp. A snippet of that section, faded in and out, could IIRC absolutely fool people into believing there is a newly unearthed Miles concert tape or guest appearance, and it's not even a trumpet.
  14. eBay and/or record buying horror stories?

    My most painful casualty was about 15 years ago. A package coming from France with 3 records arrived in sort of a "U" shape with the outside dirty. My best guess is that it was on the ground over some sort of channel or on a curb and it was run over by a tire of a small forklift or something, and someone picked it up, looked at it, shrugged their shoulders, and threw it back in the outgoing mail. I lost a copy of "Violostries" by Bernard Parmegiani (musique concrete) in that package, which is still yet to be replaced. I had a laughable overgrading incident recently with Yorklyn Records. A record listed as NM/VG++ had water damage on the cover with some missing art and disc so obviously trashed I wouldn't even risk my needle with it. And then the guy claims that he specifically, carefully checked it before putting it in the mail. I had some leverage since it was paid for by cc, eventually getting my money back minus 8 bucks of overpriced shipping for no rational reason. I've been having pretty good luck with discogs. On ebay I tend to be wary of newer sellers; a lot of younger clueless people have gotten into the game in the last few years.
  15. Steve Lacy

    I'm guessing the jazz equivalent of that figure is around $5000-10,000. Probably often less, for out there material. Myself, I've never lost less than $1000 on a release. I don't think it's grey market that we're talking about. Certainly not if the material has never been legitimately released; not even nations with the most loose copyright laws allow for that. I feel there is an entitlement mentality to some of that kind of thinking, and it can become a circular argument. Bootleggers and file "sharers" say they are justified by the lack of an official release... the person that owns the rights can't be sure they can break even on an official release because the stuff is on youtube and blogs and it's hard to compete with free, while getting quality audio work and packaging and press costs real up front money and work. No matter how common it may be for them to be screwed out of it, it remains the artists (or estates) right to choose when and on what terms to place their work on the market. I understand the counter arguments, but when you get down to the actual person themselves (rather than a faceless imaginary corporate stand in for their interests), I think it should be pretty easy to understand why a person who spent decades practicing getting to the point they are musically might want to either do something the right way, or if that can't happen, just not do it at all. Personally I think that, counter to the idea that any exposure is good exposure and that the market can take any amount of any quality information and still want more, first impressions (and priming and associative memory) are absolutely critical things to the prospect of any artists career. When we take away their ability to control that, and their choice to limit the supply of their recordings that are on the market to just the best ones, we kill careers and sometimes force people out of playing music except as their private hobby.