Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Late

Elmo Hope

70 posts in this topic

Relatively speaking, and along with Herbie Nichols, Elmo Hope seems a pianist in the respective shadows of Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and a talent deserving of wider recognition.

What Hope recordings do you recommend? And, has anyone picked up this one:

B000050H63.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

How is it? I'm assuming this one was recorded by Doug Hawkins? Or was Rudy on the job then? It would be nice if Blue Note could put out a domestic RVG of Hope's trio and quintet recordings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a Blue Note cd domestically, it was deleted, and then released again in the Collectors Choice series, and now deleted again. . . ! ARGH!

ehtrio.jpg

I'll bet this JRVG sounds nice.

I like Hope a lot. He and Bud and Monk were actually friends and travelled about their neck of NYC a lot as young men. Hope is his own man in ways that the others are their own men. . . . An interesting pianist and writer.

I'd recommend almost anything you can find of his as a leader. I have a special like for the date on OJC cd called "Meditations," hope1751.gifand I also have a fondness for the "Final Sessions" on Specialty hope.jpgand material on Beacon and Celebrity that has appeared on both a Fresh Sounds cd and a Prevue label cd.PR15.JPG

Edited by jazzbo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second Jazzbo and Catesta's picks as well as point you to his work as a sideman on Curtis Counce's EXPLORING THE FUTURE, SONORITY and on Harold Land's THE FOX and HAROLD IN THE LAND OF JAZZ.

btw, can't resist posting my favorite weird jazz album cover:

e25618zyt6i.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

c564034n606.jpg

That's the record I started with. Still finding new things in it a decade of listening later. the ballads on tis record -- "Barfly", "Eejah", his version of "Like Someone iIn Love" -- PROFOUNDLY moving.

Those LAST SESSIONS are so refreshingly loose in comparison to the dark complexity of the earlier records.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a Blue Note cd domestically, it was deleted, and then released again in the Collectors Choice series, and now deleted again. . . ! ARGH!

ehtrio.jpg

Yeah, I coveted that album for a while, then when I went to the store with money in hand----GONE!!! :angry: Never to be seen again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SOUNDS FROM RIKERS ISLAND - 1963 (I have a copy of the older CD from Audio Fidelity) is another fine Elmo Hope excursion, with John Gilmore on tenor and Philly Joe Jones on drums. Hard to find until recently, but I believe Fresh Sound has just reissued it on CD. Strong music. Hope fans, I'd suggest snapping it up before it disappears again.

hope_elmo~~_soundsfro_101b.jpg

Edited by DrJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Dr. J. I've never even heard that one before, and am more than intrigued. :excited:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Monk, Powell and Hope would get together I believe at Monk's home to practice on his piano. That's a lot of great piano playing the neighbors got to hear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John L - I hadn't either until it was featured sometime about a year ago in the "Vinyl Freak" column in Downbeat and given a nice write-up, which prompted me to try and get a copy. Speaking of that, not to be nitpicky but technically I guess it actually didn't belong there since the Japanese CD I have a CD-R of would disqualify it from being featured in that column, no? I guess maybe they are talking about stuff never released on CD in the U.S., not anywhere in the world.

Just checked and the Fresh Sound reissue looks it's available at both CDNow and Red Trumpet. Dusty Groove has it listed but "out of stock," but my experience with them is for new releases they usually get them back in stock pretty quickly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

His Riverside album 'Hope-Full' is often overlooked. That's the solo album where

Bertha Hope joins in on several tracks. Not an easy album but I often go back to

that one. Some of the most fascinating piano improvisations on record.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's also this little album.

c46901r8ppp.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dmitry, I was just about ready to mention that album but thought it would be redundant

with my signature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll never get tired of linking Noal Cohen's Elmo Hope Discography, not only because I wanted to write it but he was faster, but because I dig Elmo's music. I think he could have reached much greater artistic heights hadn't he been so frustrated.

My fav's are the Complete Blue Notes and the Riverside/OJC Homecoming, which has more tracks than are on the All Star Sessions Milestone CD and contains one of the greatest improvised blues trio performances I've heard in all my life, One Mo' Blues.

His compositions of the Blue Note CD are terrific!

Edited by mikeweil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hope_elmo~~_soundsfro_101b.jpg

I've only heard a tape dub of a tape dub of a tape dub of a tape dub of a tape dub of a tape dub of a tape dub of this, but its some really, REALLY hip shit.

One thing - who is credited with the lyrics on "Groovin' High"? Talk about summarizing a lifestyle in 32 bars...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim, it's hard for me to even make out the photocopied liners on my copy (I literally had to get a magnifier out to try!) but as far as I can see, there are no credits given for the lyric. However, the liners appear to say:

"'Groovin' High' is in large part a vehicle for the intriguingly idiomatic scat singing of Mercelle Daniels, a vocalist for whom Hope has great respect. 'He's been around a long time,' Elmo observes, 'and he deserves a great deal more attention than he's received yet.'"

Thus maybe Daniels (who doesn't appear to have a listing in the All Music Guide) came up with the lyrics, but again hard to know for sure. At any rate, I agree this is a hip album. Each song is approached with a lot of care in terms of varying arrangements and moods. It gets off to kind of an odd start with "One for Joe," not that I ever dislike hearing Philly Joe solo a bit but a little strange to lead off the album with a track that is predominantly Joe's vehicle...not necessarily bad, just odd. Hope contributes an absolutely heart-rending 3 minutes plus change of piano trio artistry on his own "Three Silver Quarters."

There's a lot to like here, and I'm really glad in one sense to see Fresh Sounds getting this out so more people can hear it. From what I understand of their business practices, I personally generally try to avoid their stuff, but this is one instance where it's likely nobody else is "losing out" because the music has been languishing in the vaults for so many years, in the U.S. anyway.

Edited by DrJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I know, Hope From Riker's Island is the only participation of Walt Dickerson on someone elses date (as producer). He never recorded as a sideman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... in case you didn't know ...

Elmo is on a Rollins Prestige date called "Movin' Out".

... but you probably already knew that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hope_elmo~~_soundsfro_101b.jpg

Edited by Dmitry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed, from what I have read in other lp liner notes, the idea was the producer's to bring together a group who had all been in jail. It's hard to imagine a more insulting premise or marketing concept (an album by a group of all child abusers?).

I haven't heard this record although I am on the look out for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Tom in RI, it may sound insulting without knowing the details. But the concept and motivation behind the session were certainly not intended to be exploitive or degrading. As noted above, Walt Dickerson was one of the prime movers behind this album getting made, working with producer Sid Frey on the concept and lining up the musicians. The liner notes I can make out on RIKERS - written by the always classy Nat Hentoff - tell a very different story than one of exploitation or insulting premises:

"A major catalyst in the production of this album is Walt Dickerson...the album was first conceived during a conversation between Frey and Dickerson. They were talking about those musicians who had "problems" - a euphemism for those who have had to divide their energy and spirit between music and such exacerbating preoccupations as addiction or other conflicts with societal norms which have brought them for varying periods of time to Rikers Island and similar waystops.

It was Frey's contention that adding to the pressures of a jazz musician is the fact that 'often, a musician's worth in this society is not judged by his ability as a musician, but by his ability to sell liquor.' A further negative factor in some jazzmen's failure to retain an emotional center of gravity are the conditions under which they often work - 'Some of them,' said Frey, 'become easier victims because of the places where they're forced to make a living -and they don't even make a good living. For some, the circle of frustration and anxiety is exceedingly hard to break.'

It should be noted, of course, that most jazzmen do survive without yielding part of themselves to the shadows. Addiction, for example, is much less prevalent in jazz than it was during the 1940's, but it does still exist. And addiction outside of jazz continues to exist. Something vital is wrong with the way this society treats addicts and, for that matter, with the way it handles most of those who have broken its laws. As Hal Hollister, an expert on the problem from the inside, wrote in HARPER'S: 'Measured strictly on performance, the American penal system is a scandalous flop as a correctional institution. This conclusion is unarguable because more than two-thirds of the population of the country's 'correctional' institutions are 'repeaters' - that is, inmates who have received the prescribed treatment, but were not corrected.'

In any case, the 'outsiders' among us have a very rough time getting back in. 'I felt,' says Walt Dickerson, 'that the public should be made more aware of the existance of this kind of problem; and more specifically, the public should be aware of the kinds of pressures in jazz - including economics - which make it so difficult for some musicians to get back inside society.' Dickerson himself has not been in trouble with the law, but he sees the problem of the outsider every day and every night.

'What I hope this album will bring about,' says Dickerson, 'is a greater awareness among these people who can do something about the wase of talent now lurking in the shadows. Some program - or programs - should be set up so that musicians with proven ability can work with a minimum of economic pressure. At least some part of the music business can be reorganized and revitalized so that a man with something to say musically can have a chance to perform without that kind of persistent scuffling which drains his spirit.'"

There's a lot more, but too much for me to hand-type in from a microprint photocopy - you get the gist. Hentoff goes on to talk about Dickerson's (and his) convictions about the way people with drug habits were treated as criminals in the U.S., rather than the more favorable approach involving treating them as patients, exemplified by Great Britain at that time. Then they get to the music.

Personally, I find this all anything BUT exploitive. It's refreshing to see one of the major social problems dogging jazz and American society was being dealt with out in the light, with great reason and candor and a refreshing lack of judgementalism. And great to see a producer working with a thoughtful, respected musician like Dickerson to give some guys trying to get their lives restarted a chance to play and record and earn some money. Certainly, nobody "incarcerated" the musicians in the studio and forced them to play on the record, so I doubt THEY felt insulted. The SOUNDS OF SYNANON (Pacific Jazz) album with Joe Pass is one of the only other examples of this kind of thing I can think of, and on that album the notes (by Joe Tynan) are equally candid and interesting.

I personally disagree with some of Dickerson and Hentoff's assertions, but their case is articulately stated, with an absence of lurid sensationalism, and much of what they say was dead-on true and remains so today.

Too bad Hope never turned it around, but at least he had some folks giving him a chance.

Edited by DrJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing that perspective and reproducing some of the notes. As I said, I've not had the chance to hear the music or read the liners. My opinion was formed primarily by comments referring to this session on another Hope lp (which I'll try and locate today).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People with past drug problems still have problems with narrow minded individuals. "I never had a drug problem so they shouldn't have either."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave, I'm not sure if you are referring to me but I am not narrow minded. And as someone who most of the world would consider obsessive/compulsive (I know here I'm just another guy) I think I have some small insight into what it is to have an addictive personality (hey, I used to smoke cigarettes, too, so I'm qualified on two fronts).

I am sympatheitic to the plight many, many jazz musicians (and, I suppose, performers in general) find themselves. I haven't suggested that the music on the record doesn't stand on its own merits, I haven't heard it although I have been keepikng an eye out for it for some time.

The liner note comments I referred to earlier are by J.R. Taylor from the Milestone 2-fer, Elmo Hope, All Star Sessions. The notes state,

"The sextet album, Jazz From Rikers Island, traded heavily on its assertion that most of its musicians had past narcotics problems. The producer of that session delivered himself at length in his liner notes on such problems, observing that some musicians "become easier victims because of the places where they're forced to make a living - and they don't even make a good living". This same producer also awarded himself co-copywrite of six of the Hope compositions on the album - presumably with an eye toward bettering the painists living."

Now when I first read this some 20-25 years ago I didn't know that the producer was Walt Dickerson. Maybe Taylor has some axe to grind with Dickerson, I don't know. I do know I've been listening to Hope, and any number of musicians with "past narcotics problems" without any particular prejuidice against them since I first started listening to jazz in the early 70's.

Edited by Tom in RI

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed, from what I have read in other lp liner notes, the idea was the producer's to bring together a group who had all been in jail.

Tom,

I don't think the producers had to go far and wide to assemble this band.

Miles' 50s quintets were almost 100% composed of heroin users, perhaps Blakey's as well.

But the premise of this Hope record is unprecedented, at least to my knowledge.

I want to hear it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.