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John B

Roscoe Mitchell recommendations

116 posts in this topic

I'm going to place an order for Roscoe's live album The Bad Guys and was hoping to get some feedback on a few other albums of his that I am considering.

The albums I was hoping for comments on are:

3 x 4 Eye

This Dance is for Steve McCall

The Flow of Things

Solo Live at Muhle Hunziken

More Cutouts

8 O'clock

Four Compositions

Sound & Space Ensembles

Out of these I am leaning towards This Dance is for Steve McCall, but I would love to hear from people who are more familiar with these recordings. Are any of these a better first choice than the others? Are any of them albums that I should wait on until I get a little farther along in my listening?

For non-AEC releases I already have (and love) Snurdy McGurdy, L-R-G, The Maze, Duets & Solos (live) and Song for My Sister.

Thanks!

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My first choice would be More Cutouts.

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I dislike and got rid of 3 x 4 Eye and Sound & Space Ensembles. A couple of OK Roscoe solos but the band doesn't shine and the focus is not clear. This Dance is for Steve McCall is OK - more music and more variety. The others I don't know.

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This Dance is For Steve McCall is great. There's a fantastic version of Joseph Jarman's 'Ericka'. Some s(S)ound explorations as well (e.g. 'Uptown Strut', 'Ah'). Also, a nice version of 'The Far East Blues' from 'Snurdy...' It also gets extremely intense at times ('The Rodney King Affair', 'This Dance is for Steve McCall').

I actually bought this at the same time as 'The Flow of Things', and preferred it. I think it's more coherent as an album, and there is more variety (two linked statements, I'm sure!). IIRC, it consists of 3 versions of the title piece (perhaps a couple of live takes?), together with other (perhaps one of the pieces cued by playing cards?). Nonetheless, I do enjoy 'Flow...', and it continues to grow on me.

I don't know any of the others as yet, although I intend to look out for what's said here!

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Unlike David, I like 3x 4eye.

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For sure there's much to deplore about the state of the contemporary music scene etc. etc. - so how nice to log on to the board to be faced with this run of active topics!

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The Bad Guys is pretty good but probably not what I'd consider essential.

It has it's AEC-type moments (the space between notes...) and erupting volcano moments, which are good - and comprise most of the album. There are also other moments -- including a funk thang -- that don't thrill me. I tend to be funk/greeze adverse, though.

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Another vote for 3 X 4 EYE. I happen to think "Variations on a Folk Song Written in the Sixties" is one of this band's -- and Mitchell's -- most beautiful recorded performances.

The QUARTET date (with Muhal, George Lewis and Spencer Barefield) recently reissued by Sackville is also very much worth picking up, IMO.

Edited by Joe

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I actually bought this at the same time as 'The Flow of Things', and preferred it. I think it's more coherent as an album, and there is more variety (two linked statements, I'm sure!). IIRC, it consists of 3 versions of the title piece (perhaps a couple of live takes?), together with other (perhaps one of the pieces cued by playing cards?). Nonetheless, I do enjoy 'Flow...', and it continues to grow on me.

I, too, enjoy 'Flow', but it's a terribly daunting listen and hardly indicative of the whole of Roscoe's bag. It's a fine document of his technique and a great opportunity to hear a stellar band, but it focuses on a rather narrow range of ideas. 'Flow' is like 'Prepare Thyself to Deal with a Miracle' (the Rahsaan album) in many ways--not just the nonstop sax improv... on the whole, it's just as much focused on a specific improvisational process as it is compositions and group interaction. Honestly, I don't think there's that much variety, although what's there is great for what it is. I would have hoped for a more "synoptic" document of the Mitchell/Christian/Favors/McCall group--immensely talented, any way you cut it.

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Bump to say I just got Snurdy McGurdy. Beautiful, uplifting stuff... been kinda bummed out lately, and this one picked me right up. Props to RM, Mr. Nessa, and all involved.

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Beautiful, uplifting stuff...been kinda bummed out lately, and this one picked me right up. Props to RM, Mr. Nessa, and all involved.

Couldn't agree more. The date's got a great feel to it. Sounded like it was fun to make!

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Ordered More Cutouts from the AEC website.

Hope it shows up.

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Ordered More Cutouts from the AEC website.

Hope it shows up.

Finally arrived yesterday.

Great stuff.

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Ordered More Cutouts from the AEC website.

Hope it shows up.

Finally arrived yesterday.

Great stuff.

I think this is a recording that will grow on you with each listen.

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Dear lord this is good.

Picked up this difficult-to-find disc at Roscoe's show this past Friday.....its excellent! :tup

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A couple of LPs worth reviving as CDs are the Creative Orchestra Sketches from Bamboo (on Moers) and Duets with Anthony Braxton (Sackville). Both are excellent.

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Am I the only one who likes ...and the Sound and Space Ensembles? On the level of a lot of the Roscoe I've heard; the stranger, perhaps more insipid moments (including the rap and Buckner's acquired taste vocals) are quite fun on repeated listening. There can never be enough sessions with the Mitchell/Ragin/Barefield/Shahid/Tabbal conglomerate (or derivatives thereof, as featured here).

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"Nonaah" is my all time favorite by Roscoe Mitchell. "Snurdy McGurdy" is another favorite.

I never checked out "More Cutouts" but will certainly do so now.

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Am I the only one who likes ...and the Sound and Space Ensembles? On the level of a lot of the Roscoe I've heard; the stranger, perhaps more insipid moments (including the rap and Buckner's acquired taste vocals) are quite fun on repeated listening. There can never be enough sessions with the Mitchell/Ragin/Barefield/Shahid/Tabbal conglomerate (or derivatives thereof, as featured here).

You are not alone. One of my favourite Mitchell albums. The shocking contrast between the arty "Words" and the funky rave-up "You Wastin My Time" is a scream. I dig Mitchell's bass sax and Gerald Oshita's contrabass sarrusophone on the latter. Also features "Linefine Lyon Seven" and "Variations on Sketches from Bamboo," two of Mitchell's better compositions.

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I think the Penguin guide called it sui generis. While I don't think that the album is beyond reproach or contextualization, it really is one of the strangest, most schizophrenic of Mitchell albums. And I really do love "You Wastin' My Time."

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Am really enjoying LRG-The Maze-SII Ensembles at the moment, having received it only a couple of days ago from Chuck.

The solo is quite stunning - should be compulsory listening for so-called improv 'reductionists'. Unbelievable to sustain that for 17-odd minutes

Chuck - any memories of the percussion session? Must have been quite a sight..!

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Ann used many rolls of film on that date and one of the Columbia engineers (I think union rules required 4 men for this studio) tried calling his wife to bring in his video camera. Sadly he didn't reach her.

It was an amazing project. We managed one session shot for the lp jacket but I didn't think (at the time) it would work in the small cd format. My mistake.

This whole project took a year to complete and I hope some day the details are recorded somewhere.

Edited by Chuck Nessa

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Am really enjoying LRG-The Maze-SII Ensembles at the moment, having received it only a couple of days ago from Chuck.

The solo is quite stunning - should be compulsory listening for so-called improv 'reductionists'. Unbelievable to sustain that for 17-odd minutes

Chuck - any memories of the percussion session? Must have been quite a sight..!

This album has been the most difficult one for me to "get". I have found it easier to listen to some Braxton than this one!

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