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Clifford Thornton

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He is, after all, a member of this board. ;) Time for a thread discussing this multi-instrumentalist. About all I know is that he was politically active, and died in 1983. I'm sure others here can fill in the rest of the gaps. What's his story? And did he lead any other sessions beside these?

thornt_clif_freedomun_101b.jpgthornt_clif_ketchaoua_101b.jpgthornt_clif_pantherth_101b.jpg

What's your favorite?

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I was just reading the writeup on him in Val Wilmer's book 'As Serious As Your Life'. Born Philadelphia, 6 Sept 1936. Apparently drummer JC Moses was a cousin.

'The Panther and the Lash' must figure in the list of significant albums.

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On my "still haven't found what I'm looking for" list:

jcoa1008.jpg

Eugene Chadboune gives a good review on AMG.

I had a college buddy who spent some time hanging with Thornton in Europe in the early 70s. The portrait that he painted was that of a sincere and intense guy very much involved in "the struggle", as it was often referred to then. Most memorable second-hand Thornton quote - "You white guys want to be jazz musicians, and that's cool. But for a lot of brothers like myself, we got no choice, What else can we do in this world that's not a slave job? Really, what are our options? We have to be creative musicians if we want to be somebody in this world." I've pondered that quite a bit over the years, and it remains one of the more significant statements about the entire "extra-musical" elements of jazz I've yet to hear.

It was also through this guy's retelling of Thornton's stories that I first heard the notion of Sun Ra "killing" Trane but putting a curse on him (yeah, that's right - first heard), as well as other tales of "underground" jazz lore.

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I used to see that 'Gardens of Harlem' LP on JCOA in the bins all the time back in the 1970s. There were LPs by Leroy Jenkins and Grachan Moncur (which I've got) also put out around the same timeframe (1975/76?). Wish I'd picked up the Clifford Thornton. Similarly, 'The Panther and the Lash' was fairly readily available in London.

Wasn't Cliford T. involved with the Black Panthers, or is that just heresay?

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It was also through this guy's retelling of Thornton's stories that I first heard the notion of Sun Ra "killing" Trane but putting a curse on him (yeah, that's right - first heard), as well as other tales of "underground" jazz lore.

:o

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Got the JCOA Clifford Thornton LP when it was released and it's a real good one (as were the other JCOA

albums).

Am away from home now and cannot check on the LP right now for details.

Clifford Thornton was not a member of the Black Panthers if I remember correctly but he was involved with

organising a concert in Paris - back in 1970 - for the Black Panthers that had him barred from France in the

wake of the then post-1968 riots political repression.

Didn't he also record with Sun Ra in the early 60s?

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Different cover art

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I used to have the red-covered Freedom and Unity. It was a French issue, iirc.

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I used to have the red-covered Freedom and Unity. It was a French issue, iirc.

Yes, it was on Goody, a Byg label used to issue "licensed" recordings.

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There is a lot of rumor around my namesake - that he was a Panther, that he blew up a building on the campus of Wesleyan in protest, etc., but regardless of truth, he was a very interesting composer and musician who was a galvanizing force in the 'scene' of that late '60s-early '70s period. He had a very good ear for organizing bands, quite often, and being the front-line flywheel that kept proceedings in motion.

The JCOA is probably my favorite, followed by Ketchaoua, then the America, with the two self-released recordings being the least interesting to my ears. In fact, though it is prized by collectors, Communications Network is kind of a drag...

Communications Network: Third World Records 12272, rec. 1972 with

Communications Network parts 1 & 2 // Festivals and Funerals

Sirone (b) Jerome Cooper (d) Lakshiarayana Shankar (vln) // Nathan Davis (ss) Jay Hoggard (vib) Andy Gonzalez (b) Jerry Gonzalez, Vincent George, Nicky Marrero (percussion), Jayne Cortez (recitation)

Thornton plays cornet on all tracks, with electric piano dubbed in on side one.

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My take is he was an interesting person/personality at the time with little musical consequence. Not a "dis" just an observation from someone living thru the era.

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A needle-drop, no less, from a shitty pressing. Be forewarned.

Great session, though!!!

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I have both the orig LP and the Atavistic CD. The CD sounds better, but I know a fair number of people on this board get bummed on needle-drops and the like, so...

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Thanks for the heads up RE:needle-drop. I don't mind them. But I do wish the record companies would be more upfront about it . Like a little blurb on the package - something most needle-drop cds never have.

Edited by Chalupa

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Not a bad discog, just a few small errors.

That RAU LP is pretty scarce. He got the Malinga LP wrong - it's Tears for the Children of Soweto.

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my dad was living in what was considered the black panther dorm at wesleyan in a janitor's closet or something for a while due to some housing mishap.

this is where he got introduced to jazz. ahmad jamal, especially.

he was telling me a story that the black panthers took over the library one day and he was inside and people thought he was held hostage or something but he was just chillin...

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