Face of the Bass

Loft Jazz Recommendations

73 posts in this topic

The more I look into it, it occurs to me that the NY loft scene of the 1970s is really one of the great creative flowerings in the history of jazz, right up there in its own way with the early years of intense bebop exploration.

I couldn't find a thread that specifically dealt with this period on its own terms, so I thought I would start one now. There are a few recordings that I've collected over the years that I think do a great job documenting the period and are great musically as well:

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I got this one as a birthday present many years ago and it is still one of my very favorite box sets, well worth the $100 or so it costs on the marketplace now. The material recorded at Studio Rivbea is fantastic.

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This is probably the most canonical of loft jazz releases. I don't think it's as good as the Lyons but no list of titles from this period would be complete without it, obviously.

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I picked this one up last week when I was at Downtown Music Gallery and saw it on the shelf. The booklet giving a history of the loft jazz period is incredibly well done, and the music to me is better than that found on the William Parker set released by this same label last year.

In fact, reading the booklet from the Muntu set, it occurs to me that this is one of the major areas of jazz history that is still waiting for its definitive history. Somebody should do that soon because that generation is leaving us.

There must be a lot more recordings out there from this time period that are worth finding. I imagine a bunch of it may have been released in small LP pressings that have never since been reissued?

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Lots of stuff out there but I am compelled to mention:

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Are you looking strictly for recommendations of recordings made at the NYC lofts, or for recommendations of recordings by musicians who played in the NYC lofts?

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Lots of stuff out there but I am compelled to mention:

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A perfect musical statement. So good.

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Are you looking strictly for recommendations of recordings made at the NYC lofts, or for recommendations of recordings by musicians who played in the NYC lofts?

Anything. I'm not even really looking for recommendations. Just posting about something that I think needs more sunlight.

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On the 'Wildflowers' set there are a few cuts with the (now)enemy of the avant garde, Stanley Crouch!

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The Muntu set, I'm proud to say, has my photos from the period.

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The Lyons set is teriffic

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I once saw The Revolutionary Ensemble at Studio Rivbea. I bought this LP at the gig; it's a live recording, but doesn't mention the location:

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What a great subject for a thread. A period that I know I need to know more about. Interestingly all the above mentioned titles have orbitted my 'must buy' list for some time.

There's lots of musicicians whose music I enjoy that I think were playing this scene - Rivers, Bluiett, Braxton, Threadgill, Leo Smith and I can't wait for some more informed posts on the subject

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Back in the day, from my vantage point 800 miles away, I thought of the India Navigation label as the "loft jazz" label. Many of their first 25 releases or so seemed designed to document the loft scene. Some of their albums were recordings of performances in lofts like the Ladies Fort, but even those recorded in studios or in larger clubs documented players usually found in the lofts, at least at that time.

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Edited by jeffcrom

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There's no need to pay big bucks for the Wildflowers set on Knitting Factory. It's available on Douglas Records for the price of a single CD.

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You've heard all the Rashied Ali Survival dates that were reissued by Knitting Factory in the late 90s / early 00s? Some great stuff there, featuring Leroy Jenkins, Carlos Ward, Jimmy Vass, Fred Simmons, Frank Lowe, Charles Eubanks, James Blood Ulmer (his first recording, IIRC) and Joe Lee Wilson.

RashiedAliQuartet-NewDirectionsInModernM

http://www.furious.com/perfect/rashiedalisurvival.html

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You've heard all the Rashied Ali Survival dates that were reissued by Knitting Factory in the late 90s / early 00s? Some great stuff there, featuring Leroy Jenkins, Carlos Ward, Jimmy Vass, Fred Simmons, Frank Lowe, Charles Eubanks, James Blood Ulmer (his first recording, IIRC) and Joe Lee Wilson.

RashiedAliQuartet-NewDirectionsInModernM

http://www.furious.com/perfect/rashiedalisurvival.html

Blood Ulmer's first major 'Free' recording definitely.

Although he 'guested' on Joe Henderson's awesome Tress Cun Deo La from the Milestone album Multiple. And before that Larry Young and John Patton dates.

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No Business Records has been doing a lot of great stuff in this vein lately. Listening to the Melodic Art-Tet LP set presently, it's quite solid.

For those who do vinyl, I can't recommend this Eremite set highly enough:

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There's also another AMS set on Porter Records that's quite good. In addition to the Charles Tyler date on Nessa, the albums on his Ak-Ba label are also excellent and worth seeking out. And although I've been clowned on this board for diggng Arthur Doyle, his Ak-Ba LP Alabama Feeling is in my opinion a choice left-field document.

I was under the impression that Ed Hazell was doing a book on the lofts, but I could be wrong about that.


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Great LP but I'd actually file it among the then-burgeoning New Haven creative music scene.

Edited by clifford_thornton

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Speaking of Arthur Blythe, as Jeff indirectly was, this is a damn fine pre-Columbia side with the mighty-fine Bob Stewart & the you-don't-miss-a-drummer-becuase-he-IS-a-drummer- DUH!!!! Ahkmed Abdullah.

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As good as many/most of the Columbia albums were, Blythe's real, for lack of a better term, "buzz-worthy" music came before. This Adelphi side is sweet.

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Should we also include Verna Gillis's Soundscape?

sun-ra-live-from-soundscape(live).jpg

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No Business Records has been doing a lot of great stuff in this vein lately. Listening to the Melodic Art-Tet LP set presently, it's quite solid.

For those who do vinyl, I can't recommend this Eremite set highly enough:

mte-54-55-56-AMS-box-only_main.jpg

There's also another AMS set on Porter Records that's quite good. In addition to the Charles Tyler date on Nessa, the albums on his Ak-Ba label are also excellent and worth seeking out. And although I've been clowned on this board for diggng Arthur Doyle, his Ak-Ba LP Alabama Feeling is in my opinion a choice left-field document.

I was under the impression that Ed Hazell was doing a book on the lofts, but I could be wrong about that.

ecc67f6ffc47.jpg

Great LP but I'd actually file it among the then-burgeoning New Haven creative music scene.

Maybe so, but was Michael Gregory not on the Wildflowers comp, perhaps there was some cross-polinisation going on?

In the spirit of the OP's enquiry maybe you could elaborate?

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Speaking of Arthur Blythe, as Jeff indirectly was, this is a damn fine pre-Columbia side with the mighty-fine Bob Stewart & the you-don't-miss-a-drummer-becuase-he-IS-a-drummer- DUH!!!! Ahkmed Abdullah.

bb+fr.jpg

bb+bk.jpg

As good as many/most of the Columbia albums were, Blythe's real, for lack of a better term, "buzz-worthy" music came before. This Adelphi side is sweet.

I don't think there's much lost on Lennox Avenue Breakdown and Illusions. LAB sounds 'very' organic to me. Can you also elaborate perhaps?

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ecc67f6ffc47.jpg

Great LP but I'd actually file it among the then-burgeoning New Haven creative music scene.

Maybe so, but was Michael Gregory not on the Wildflowers comp, perhaps there was some cross-polinisation going on?

In the spirit of the OP's enquiry maybe you could elaborate?

Well, New Haven and NYC aren't too far from one another... a number of New Haven cats played at the New York Musicians' Festival, so sure there was regional cross-pollination. And Gregory is an especially interesting character because he got into the Black Rock thing in the '80s with a group called Signal, which played in NY (and elsewhere). But Clarity is a very New Haven LP, even if it's not CMIF-related. (CMIF = New Haven musicians collective, Creative Musicians' Improvisers Forum)

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