HutchFan

Playing Favorites: Reflections on Jazz in the 1970s

263 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, HutchFan said:

Still mulling this. It's interesting -- and maybe a bit sad (?) -- to think about the fact that the "brand" of music that Phil was making in Europe didn't / couldn't make the transition back to the U.S.  I suppose those studio cats out there in Cali who came to see him with his new band expected him to sound just like he did before left for Europe. ... I wonder if it would have been different if Woods had tried to start again in NYC.  Or would people expected him to stick to the bop bag there too?

An irony. Most people associate idea of "compromise" or (worse yet) "selling out" with electric instruments and moving in non-traditional jazz directions.  Especially when it comes to jazz in the 1970s.  Maybe this is an example of it happening in the opposite direction.  Was Phil compromising when he returned to bop? ... I don't mean this in a judgmental way, btw.  It's just interesting and ironic that Phil had to STAY AWAY from electric instruments to make money, while others had to PICK THEM UP to make money.

As usual, things are more complicated than they're made out to be.

Cogent points all, and I can only suspect tat the "rejection" he got was due to where he was looking for acceptance. But old habits die hard, especially once they pass the point of being habits and turn into essence. Woods had been a first call studio player in NYC and knew that game really well (so well that he decided to walk away from it to preserve his sanity). So, you know, he'd been off on his odyssey, found himself, and I guess he thought that he would come back to a place where other people had gone through the same thing.

Not an unreasonable assumption, really, look at all that was going on in LA at the time, between Pacific Jazz, Shelly Manne (who use Pete Robinson to very good ends, btw)  & the various ripple effects out of the Don Ellis orb, hey, one would think, wouldn't one!

But you know...he was Phil Woods and he was getting career advice from Leonard Feather and the audience in Donte's was probably not the people in LA who would have dug it, so...coming home is not just about geography as much as it is about tribe, and once you leave the tribe, finding a new one can be a lonely path, especially if you feel the need to have one at all.

Anyway, that Testament record is something to ponder, and Pete Robinson should not be lost in the shuffle of his time/place, just as Bayete/Todd Cochrane should not be lost in his.

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1 hour ago, sgcim said:

His Musique du bois album in Phil's words, 'never got off the page', so he formed his own band with Goodwin, Gilmore and Melillo, and toured relentlessly,.Melillo could take things pretty out, so I don't think the characterization of the music his quartet played in the 70s as only 'bebop' is correct at all. When we saw them at the short revival of The Half Note in NY, Melillo took things so out, tempo and tonality disappeared so completely at one point, that there was a long moment of silence, before they started playing the tune again!

Interesting.  I wish I could have seen that band.  Or the ERM.  Either one!

I've read similar things about Phil's assessment of Musique du bois.  To be honest, I think he judges the music more harshly than it deserves.  He may not have liked where the Byard/Davis/Dawson rhythm section took the music -- but I think it sounded great. That version of "Willow Weep for Me"!  Phew!!!

 

Edited by HutchFan

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1 hour ago, HutchFan said:

Interesting.  I wish I could have seen that band.  Or the ERM.  Either one!

I've read similar things about Phil's assessment of Musique du bois.  To be honest, I think he judges the music more harshly than it deserves.  He may not have liked where the Byard/Davis/Dawson rhythm section took the music -- but I think it sounded great. That version of "Willow Weep for Me"!  Phew!!!

 

I only got to see the Phil Woods Quintet once, with Brian Lynch, Bill Charlap and Steve Gilmore. Bill Goodwin had a better paying gig that night, so Pete Sims spelled him.

The ERM material was interesting but I wonder if Phil possibly felt more at home returning to bop.

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The further he got from his Prestige days, the less I enjoyed him.

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My cutoff point IIRC was "Sugan," with Red Garland and Ray Copeland. Phil's sweet spot/highpoint IMO was his playing on Quincy Jones' "This Is How I Feel About Jazz," e.g.  his solos on "A Sleepin' Bee" and "Walkin', in 1956.

On "Walkin'" Phil comes in at 6:26, but the whole track is worth a listen. How shapely his playing is on these two tracks. And Art Farmer and Lucky Thompson! BTW, that's Mingus on "A Sleepin' Bee," Paul Chambers on "Walkin'."

 

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Musique Du Bois was pretty good.

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2 hours ago, HutchFan said:

Interesting.  I wish I could have seen that band.  Or the ERM.  Either one!

I've read similar things about Phil's assessment of Musique du bois.  To be honest, I think he judges the music more harshly than it deserves.  He may not have liked where the Byard/Davis/Dawson rhythm section took the music -- but I think it sounded great. That version of "Willow Weep for Me"!  Phew!!!

 

That was the point, they didn't take it anywhere, it stayed on the page. We all thought it was a fine album at the time, but he was so bugged with it, according to a sax player I knew who was studying with him, he stayed with Gilmore and Goodwin for more than 30 years. He had gotten a taste of the freedom of playing with the ERM, and he had to get it back.

When you compare it to the Goodwin/Gilmore/ Melillo/Galper (and Leahey) groups, you know what he's talking about. Charlap completely destroyed that band on that awful Hollywood, Love Songs POS. album.

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"Love and Understanding" is a bit different, with Stanley Cowell on electric piano, Bon Cranshaw on electric bass (he plays his ass off here), a very good cellist Bernard Fennell, Curtis Fuller, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins, Heath takes a lovely flute solo on "In a Sentimental Mood." Picture of Heath" is all Heath originals, with Barry Harris, Jones, and Higgins.

51R7RYytv0L._AC_UY218_ML3_.jpg

61lVejKBwpL._AC_UY218_ML3_.jpg

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2 hours ago, Ken Dryden said:

I only got to see the Phil Woods Quintet once, with Brian Lynch, Bill Charlap and Steve Gilmore. Bill Goodwin had a better paying gig that night, so Pete Sims spelled him.

The ERM material was interesting but I wonder if Phil possibly felt more at home returning to bop.

I have a (probably false) memory of seeing Bill Goodwin play with Tim Hardin in Montreal in the late '60s.  Can anyone confirm that this is just a hallucination? 

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4 hours ago, Ken Dryden said:

The ERM material was interesting but I wonder if Phil possibly felt more at home returning to bop.

That very well may have been the case, Ken.  None of the (recorded) music that Woods made for the rest of his life was quite like the ERM stuff.  Seems like he could've returned to something like it if he'd wanted to -- at least at some point.

 

3 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

Phil's sweet spot/highpoint IMO was his playing on Quincy Jones' "This Is How I Feel About Jazz," e.g.  his solos on "A Sleepin' Bee" and "Walkin', in 1956.

Larry, I wholeheartedly agree with you that Phil's soloing with Quincy's big band is terrific.

 

Edited by HutchFan

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1 hour ago, medjuck said:

I have a (probably false) memory of seeing Bill Goodwin play with Tim Hardin in Montreal in the late '60s.  Can anyone confirm that this is just a hallucination? 

It's quite likely real.  Goodwin also played with Tom Waits, at least on 'Nighthawks at the Diner' (the only Waits album I need in my collection) as late as about 2015 considered that his favorite of his own performances, according to others working at the Deer Head Inn, where he lead the house group.  He also did studio work with the Jefferson Airplane on the 'Crowns of Creation' album.

3 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

"Love and Understanding" is a bit different, with Stanley Cowell on electric piano, Bon Cranshaw on electric bass (he plays his ass off here), a very good cellist Bernard Fennell, Curtis Fuller, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins, Heath takes a lovely flute solo on "In a Sentimental Mood." Picture of Heath" is all Heath originals, with Barry Harris, Jones, and Higgins.

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I've always considered 'Love and Understanding' and the earlier 'The Gap Sealer", along with the then unreleased 'The Time and the Place' to be the most adventurous chapter in Heath's career.  Though 'Picture of Heath' and the earlier Riverside albums are very good indeed.  "Alkebu-Lan" from 'The Gap Sealer' still gives me chills to this day.

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On 1/7/2020 at 11:36 AM, HutchFan said:

01/03/20 - Alice Coltrane – Ptah, the El Daoud (Impulse, 1970)

So good hearing Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson side by side, even if it isn’t either dude’s strongest performance.

Edited by Guy Berger

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22 hours ago, HutchFan said:

Not sure I'd go as far as you in calling The Free Slave the "very best" Muse album -- but it's certainly ONE OF the label's best. ;) 

 

That's what I called it also, "one of the very best".  In my book, THIS is the absolute very best album Muse (and maybe any label, for that matter) ever released, and I most certainly expect it to show up on your blog later in the year!

Image result for woody shaw berliner

Image result for woody shaw berliner

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That Woody Shaw concert ensemble thing is also my single favorite Woody Shaw date ever, and maybe one of my top-10 all time favorite jazz albums. Just stunning, in every way imaginable - writing, arranging, soloing. A masterpiece.

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I don't know about THE best Muse album, but James Moody's two for the label are certainly among the best for both the label and for Moodyt:

This one is special:

R-4496677-1548983328-1449.jpeg.jpgR-4496677-1548983328-9395.jpeg.jpg

This one is extra-special:

R-2441673-1494051171-4964.jpeg.jpg

R-2441673-1494051185-8387.jpeg.jpg

Moody had a killer fastball, but he could throw curves any time, any way.

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1 hour ago, felser said:

That's what I called it also, "one of the very best".  In my book, THIS is the absolute very best album Muse (and maybe any label, for that matter) ever released, and I most certainly expect it to show up on your blog later in the year!

Oh. You did. Whoops!

As for which Woody Shaw I chose, you'll just have to wait and see. ;) 

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8 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Oh. You did. Whoops!

As for which Woody Shaw I chose, you'll just have to wait and see. ;) 

You know what would be a really interesting choice?  'Blackstone Legacy'.  You never hear about that one anymore, but boy, did it make some noise back in the day!

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1 minute ago, felser said:

You know what would be a really interesting choice?  'Blackstone Legacy'.  You never hear about that one anymore, but boy, did it make some noise back in the day!

IMO, every single one of Woody's records in the 1970s was -- at a minimum -- very, very good. And many were much better than that.

... One of the most remarkable and consistent artists of the decade.

 

1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I don't know about THE best Muse album, but James Moody's two for the label are certainly among the best for both the label and for Moody

Those two Moody Muses are outstanding, for sure. 

This Perception release -- from right around the same time -- is killer too.

R-2754965-1315620576.jpeg.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, felser said:

You know what would be a really interesting choice?  'Blackstone Legacy'.  You never hear about that one anymore, but boy, did it make some noise back in the day!

Unheralded gem ....

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5 hours ago, JSngry said:

I don't know about THE best Muse album, but James Moody's two for the label are certainly among the best for both the label and for Moodyt:

This one is special:

R-4496677-1548983328-1449.jpeg.jpgR-4496677-1548983328-9395.jpeg.jpg

This one is extra-special:

R-2441673-1494051171-4964.jpeg.jpg

R-2441673-1494051185-8387.jpeg.jpg

Moody had a killer fastball, but he could throw curves any time, any way.

My opinion is very different regarding many, or perhaps most, of the last half a dozen or so posts on this thread.

However here with the two James Moody recordings I am in full agreement.

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7 hours ago, JSngry said:

I don't know about THE best Muse album, but James Moody's two for the label are certainly among the best for both the label and for Moodyt:

This one is special:

R-4496677-1548983328-1449.jpeg.jpgR-4496677-1548983328-9395.jpeg.jpg

This one is extra-special:

R-2441673-1494051171-4964.jpeg.jpg

R-2441673-1494051185-8387.jpeg.jpg

Moody had a killer fastball, but he could throw curves any time, any way.

A friend of mine worked with Moody for several years in Vegas, and he said if you ever wanted to get a rise out of him, all you had to do was mention Ornette's name. 

he'd get up and preach about what a jive-ass he thought Ornette was! :w

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38 minutes ago, sgcim said:

A friend of mine worked with Moody for several years in Vegas, and he said if you ever wanted to get a rise out of him, all you had to do was mention Ornette's name. 

he'd get up and preach about what a jive-ass he thought Ornette was! :w

I feel bad for James Moody :(

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Moody did a Blindfold-type test sometime in the '90s in which he put everybody who played remotely 'free' down. Not long afterwards I booked him for the New Haven jazz fest that I ran, and his playing was incredible - a lot of very outside playing over harmonies, perfectly resolved, but very, very free. I think players like him didn't realize how much they were effected by the so-called avant garde, how liberated they were by this new freedom.

Edited by AllenLowe

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1 hour ago, AllenLowe said:

Moody did a Blindfold-type test sometime in the '90s in which he put everybody who played remotely 'free' down. Not long afterwards I booked him for the New Haven jazz fest that I ran, and his playing was incredible - a lot of very outside playing over harmonies, perfectly resolved, but very, very free. I think players like him didn't realize how much they were effected by the so-called avant garde, how liberated they were by this new freedom.

That's very interesting, Allen.

Didn't Betty Carter also famously rail against Ornette?  You could probably say the same thing about some of her music too -- just like Moody in your anecdote.

 

3 hours ago, Guy Berger said:

I feel bad for James Moody :(

You can't always trust what an artist says.  Far more important is what they create.

For example, Miles said many, many ridiculous things.  But it's hard to argue with what he made.

Or at least that's how I try to think about it.

 

Edited by HutchFan

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5 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

Moody did a Blindfold-type test sometime in the '90s in which he put everybody who played remotely 'free' down. Not long afterwards I booked him for the New Haven jazz fest that I ran, and his playing was incredible - a lot of very outside playing over harmonies, perfectly resolved, but very, very free. I think players like him didn't realize how much they were effected by the so-called avant garde, how liberated they were by this new freedom.

James Moody could do those things as early as 1949. On the CBS Album "Miles Davis-Tadd Dameron" (Paris Mai 1949) at some Points he get´s that scream that almost sounds like some post Coltrane Players did. 

When I bought that Album I was still quite a Newcomer in jazz, and until that time I had heard only 2 saxophonists "live": Johnny Griffin , and Dave Liebman. 

With all due respect to Griff and he was great, greatest ! , what really knocked me out probably because I wasn´t "prepared", was Dave Liebman. 

And a few days after Hearing "Lieb" live, I bought that Paris 1949 with Moody on it, and my first Impression was that at some Point he does some Things Liebman did almost 30 years later. 

So, if I got that impression that Moody can get "into avantgarde" even at a time when  I still didn´t know much about the music, that prooves the fact that he really can get into the more "far out" playing. 

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