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Rabshakeh

DIW and JMT: Your favourite releases?

28 posts in this topic

There don't seem to be any threads on either of these two record labels (or at least I couldn't see any when searching). 

Despite their different geographic bases, they both had an ecumenical conception of jazz that ignored the rather tired polemics of the time. Both labels put out a steady stream of high quality records that straddled the gulf between camps. They released what was basically listenable and attractive forward-thinking jazz that could be enjoyed by mainstream audiences that might have been intimidated by the reputations of Cecil Taylor, Charles Gayle or Anthony Braxton. In doing so, they launched new careers and rehabilitated old ones.

To my ears, these semi-avant (for want of a better term) labels of the late 80s/early 90s have a sound that is as distinguishable as ECM's.

When I was getting into jazz, in the late 90s, these two labels seemed to be the go-to labels for high quality albums in the previous decade, and i used to see their records recommended a lot.

Despite that, they and their rosters seem to have sunk out of sight a little bit when compared to what came immediately before (Soul Note, HatHut, etc) or after. 

So, any thoughts on them and the place that they occupied in the jazz ecosystems of the period?

What are your favourite releases from these two labels (or any other similar labels of the late 80s / early 90s that I may have missed)?

Edited by Rabshakeh

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Plenty perhaps too many David Murray's on DIW. I know he's someone that divides opinion more than most but his DIW from the late 80s early 90s are pretty strong. Shakill's Warrior , Ballads and Ballads for bass clarinet are favourites. Sun Ra's Live at the Pit Inn (DIW) was a very early Ra purchase and in turn that lead me to Herbie Nichols because of a review comparing Ra's piano style to Nichols.

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Murray's a good example of someone who moved with the times and the labels: from India Navigation, to Black Saint to DIW. I tend to reach for his Black Saint stuff, but his DIW records are a good example of that sort of approachable music that found a place in the mainstream jazz consciousness whilst retaining its vanguard heritage.

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Went through/bought a number of DIW as new releases in the 80`s end especially the vinyl versions had eye catching presentation ..... kept some of these because of the latermentioned, but musically only John Hicks Trio "Inc. 1" stood the test of time ....

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Here are some of my favorite CDs on the DIW label.

Chris Anderson  Trio - Blues One

George Cables Trio - Night And Day

Stanley Cowell Trio - Close To You Alone

Stanley Cowell - We Three

Nathan Davis - London By Night

Clifford Jordan Quartet - Four Play

James Williams Trio - I Remember Clifford

James Williams Trio - Awesome

James Williams Meets The Saxophone Masters

James Williams - Up To The Minute Blues

Jack Wilson In New York

Richard Wyands Trio - The Arrival

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20 minutes ago, Chuck Nessa said:

DIW-395-398.jpg

That's the first one that came to my mind, too!

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Mulgrew Miller, Trio Transition

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Next, this one, but self-produced by Carla and issued by DIW:

R-9289523-1478023608-6159.jpeg.jpg

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1 hour ago, Chuck Nessa said:

DIW-395-398.jpg

Forgot about this one .... off course excellent ....

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2 hours ago, Clunky said:

Shakill's Warrior , Ballads and Ballads for bass clarinet are favourites. Sun Ra's Live at the Pit Inn (DIW)

Shakill's Warrior & LIve at the Pit Inn are fantastic albums. I tend to rec the Ra Pit Inn disc regularly because it's got great sound for a live show. 

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9 minutes ago, Dub Modal said:

Shakill's Warrior & LIve at the Pit Inn are fantastic albums. I tend to rec the Ra Pit Inn disc regularly because it's got great sound for a live show. 

Yeah, that Pit Inn disc is probably the best sounding document of practically any Sun Ra live show I can think of.

LOTTA great Michael Ray on that disc too — certainly THE very best live document of Ray that I can think of (imho), both in terms of sound, and performance quality.

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Re JMT, I haven't listened to anywhere near the entirety of its catalogue, but the Paul Motians and Tim Bernes are excellent.  My fave of the Motians is TRIOISM; my fave of the Bernes is FRACTURED FAIRY TALES.  I've heard two of the Steve Colemans and they aren't as good as his later work, though of historical interest.

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19 minutes ago, Guy Berger said:

Re JMT, I haven't listened to anywhere near the entirety of its catalogue, but the Paul Motians and Tim Bernes are excellent.  My fave of the Motians is TRIOISM; my fave of the Bernes is FRACTURED FAIRY TALES.  I've heard two of the Steve Colemans and they aren't as good as his later work, though of historical interest.

It was records like Tim Berne's, Geri Allen's, David S Ware's and the Motian Trio that made my post this thread.

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32 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

It was records like Tim Berne's, Geri Allen's, David S Ware's and the Motian Trio that made my post this thread.

The Allen/Haden/Motian album on JMT (In the Year of the Dragon) is really good - IMHO better than the better known one on Soul Note (Etudes).  I haven't heard the album(s) the trio did on DIW yet.

Now that I think about it, the only DIW I've heard is David S Ware's Flight of I.  I should revisit.

Edited by Guy Berger

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1 hour ago, Guy Berger said:

Re JMT, I haven't listened to anywhere near the entirety of its catalogue, but the Paul Motians and Tim Bernes are excellent.  My fave of the Motians is TRIOISM; my fave of the Bernes is FRACTURED FAIRY TALES.  I've heard two of the Steve Colemans and they aren't as good as his later work, though of historical interest.

The Steve Coleman’s On the Edge of Tomorrow and World Expansion along with Greg Osby’s MindGames and Greg Osby and Sound Theatre  are what I think of when I think of JMT and all four (On the Edge and MindGames more so) are essential listening for me. The Gary Thomas releases should also be mention though I haven’t spent as much time with them. 

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My favorite DIW:

1200x1172.jpg

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On DIW I like Misha Mengelberg's Trio "no Idea" quite a bit. 

5198HLRKwpL.jpg 

There are also a number of wallpaint-stripping Kaoru Abe and Masayuki Takayanagi releases on DIW that are great, as far as I am concerned.

This ONJQ one is good too:

R-417990-1597325408-3795.jpeg.jpg  

On JMT, the Berne's stuff is good, no surprise here. And Joey Baron's album with Eskelin and Swell is fun

R-1067133-1546374154-9601.jpeg.jpg  

Edited by Д.Д.

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1 hour ago, jcam_44 said:

The Steve Coleman’s On the Edge of Tomorrow and World Expansion along with Greg Osby’s MindGames and Greg Osby and Sound Theatre  are what I think of when I think of JMT and all four (On the Edge and MindGames more so) are essential listening for me. The Gary Thomas releases should also be mention though I haven’t spent as much time with them. 

All of them were important albums for me at the time, and the subsequent Coleman and Osby's.  I was just discovering Jazz beyond the big names and those JMTs sounded like nothing in Jazz or elsewhere that I'd heard before but at the same time I could hear the hip=hop and funk influences that made an easier entry.  It has to be said that the Jazz-rap experiments were very of their time and sound so now.

I'd add Cassandra Wilson's albums on JMT to the list as well, especially the first three.

I don't often revisit them and when I do find the Wilsons probably stand up best. Gary Thomas, whatever happened to him?

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Great topic for discussion, Rab!  :tup 

 

I think Marc Johnson's JMT records are excellent: Right Brain Patrol and Magic Labyrinth.  I actually prefer these over his more well-known ECM records (Bass Desires, etc.).

I love Cassandra Wilson's JMT records, especially Jump World.

Just so happens that I've been digging into Steve Coleman's and Greg Osby's early recordings on JMT lately.  I'm really enjoying it, so far.  Seems like a genuinely new take on Soul Jazz; that is, a fusion of jazz with popular Black American music (from, say, early-70s James Brown to 80s Rap).  

I dig both Gary Thomas and Tim Berne, and I think their JMT records are excellent -- especially Code Violations and Fractured Fairy Tales respectively. 

As One, a Jane Ira Bloom duo record with Fred Hersch on JMT is well worth a listen.

I also strongly second the vote for In the Year of the Dragon by Geri Allen, Charlie Haden & Paul Motian.

 

As far as DIW, I agree with soulpope's recommendation re: John Hicks' Inc.1.  I'd also add:

- David Murray - Shakill's Warrior and Fast Life

- Marion Brown - Live in Japan

- Richard Davis, Roland Hanna, Freddie Waits - Persia, My Dear

- James Williams' Magical Trio - Awesome

- Stanley Cowell - We Three

- Lee Konitz - Some New Stuff

- Harold Mabern - Straight Street

 

 

2 hours ago, Д.Д. said:

And Joey Baron's album with Eskelin and Swell is fun

R-1067133-1546374154-9601.jpeg.jpg  

Oh yeah!  Forgot that one.  :tup 

 

Edited by HutchFan

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While David Murray released many albums recorded over a span of several years on DIW/ Disk Union, one particular recording burst I think particularly stands out.

In January 1988 (that's as specific as the discs get) he went into New York's A & R Recording Studio accompanied by Dave Burrell, Fred Hopkins, and Ralph Peterson. Jim Anderson was at the board.

These sessions produced 4 contemporaneously released CDs - Lovers, Ballads, Spirituals, and Deep River. My recollection is that all 4 were released in 1988 and 1989. They are uniformly superb and compare favorably, to my ears, in capturing a moment in time much like Miles' Prestige Cookin', Workin', Steamin', & Relaxin' recordings did.

A fifth and much lesser disc from the same sessions consisting of leftovers - Tenors -  saw the light of day in1993.

Murray recorded many worthwhile DIW released albums before and after, but those 4 releases are something special. All 4 guys are equal contributors and I think those recordings have never been given their just due. 

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DIW certainly had range. There's a great Marc Ribot solo album, Don't Fool Me (I think that's the title). The debut from What We Live. The early Masada records.

 

As for JMT, I love that Geri Allen too but I think of Tim Berne, Paul Motian, and Herb Robertson above all. Great string of releases from them all.

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In addition to some of the ones noted above, my favorites include

Ronald Shannon Jackson, Shannon's House and What Spirit Say

Big John Patton, This One's for Ja

Robert Musso, Intermedium

Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Dreamscape

 

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1 hour ago, kh1958 said:

Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Dreamscape

I had a real thing for Tacuma back when I was at university. I haven't listened to him in over a decade. Time to remedy that.

 

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7 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

I had a real thing for Tacuma back when I was at university. I haven't listened to him in over a decade. Time to remedy that.

 

I saw him five or six times with Ornette Coleman and Prime Time, paired with Albert McDowell on the dual bass guitars, back in the 1980s. He was awesome. I've caught him twice in the last six or seven years at Winter Jazzfest (playing with Mark Ribot one time and Gary Bartz the other), and he still is.

 

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