Jump to content

AOTW Aug 21-27 05


Nate Dorward
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was thinking a while about what to pick for the AOTW. So many of my favourite albums are either such obvious choices that I didn't see the point in devoting a new thread to them, or else were too obscure or were out of print. My initial thought was something by Mary Lou Williams, in part as a spur to myself to pick up Zoning (as I was hanging out this past week with Zita Carno who plays on a few duets on that album). But I still don't have a copy of that one, & while I could name another Williams disc in my collection, I got to thinking about other things. I've instead decided to go with John Stevens' New Cool, from 1992. This was issued on bassist Danny Thompson's The Jazz Label, which seems to have died out as a going venture though I think copies are still floating around. But it has in any case been reissued this year by Emanem, with a bonus track to boot.

eman4117.jpg

John Stevens, drums

Byron Wallen, trumpet, fluegelhorn

Ed Jones, soprano and tenor saxes

Gary Crosby, bass

I thought this disc would be a good pick because:

(1) it's easily available from most distributors of small jazz labels like DMG, Verge, Cadence, &c;

(2) it's terrific music;

(3) it would be, I think, enjoyed by pretty much anyone on Organissimo. Emanem usually issues music from the farther, avant-garder end of the spectrum, & though I was tempted to pick something of that sort for an AOTW (e.g. SME's marvellous A New Distance, also recently reissued) I wanted something with broader appeal. New Cool is very different from Emanem's usual roster: it's hardswinging Ornette/Trane-inspired freebop that will delight pretty much anyone interested in modern jazz. Probably my favourite of Stevens' "straight" jazz output that I've heard, with the exception of Chemistry (a 1970s date which is I think currently o/p).

Anyway, this is just advance warning, in case people want to track down a copy before discussion starts, if they haven't already got it. If it turns out few people have heard it, I'd be equally happy if the thread turned into a more general discussion of Stevens' music. If you haven't heard Stevens at all, I think this is a good disc to start with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest akanalog

i saw an emanem live date with bobby bradford and stevens and trevor watts-how is that one?

i don't really listen to music made post 1980-and i think the bradford one was 73 or something. but this AOW is newer.

also i was just listening to some danny thompson-"off centre" by john cameron. great stuff. i am not familiar with thompson or the drummer tony carr-but i like their playing a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The recent TV 'Jazz Britannia' documentaries had a very warm tribute to John Stevens, identifying him as the driving force behind the 'Little Theatre Club' workshops along with Evan Parker and Trevor Watts.

Sadly John Stevens passed away some years ago I think - this one must have been one of his last albums.

Danny Thompson is one of those guys who crosses between the folk and jazz scenes - well known in folk circuits for his work with 'Pentangle'.

Tony Carr seems to crop up all over the place in 60s and 70s - Alexis Korner's CCS, the Johnny Scott Quintet, John Cameron...

anyway, I digress....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes--there aren't too many later Stevens albums: a few with Derek Bailey (Playing, One Time, & that one with Frode Gjerstad), plus the last SME disc A New Distance. All of them excellent (I haven't heard the one with Gjerstad but have all the rest). Stevens died in 1994. He was a major driving force in UK jazz, mentor to an incredible number of notable musicians. His bands at various points included Trevor Watts, Derek Bailey, Allan Holdsworth, Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Ray Warleigh (great, underrated player--most people here will at least know him through his work with Nick Drake), Evan Parker, Courtney Pine....

There was I think more than one disc with Bobby Bradford but the one akanalog has in mind is Love's Dream on Emanem. I haven't heard it yet, but am told it's excellent.

Edited by Nate Dorward
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ray Warleigh (great, underrated player--most people here will at least know him through his work with Nick Drake

I'll second and third that. Any sax section with Ray Warleigh in it is sure to sound great. Case in point Kenny Wheeler's big band. Wish that Philips (Universal) would reissue Warleigh's debut album recorded in 1970 and produced by Scott Walker, of all people. It's well worth hearing.

Of note in the documentary was the mention that Stevens was very politically motivated in a positive sense and that this drove the high degree of interplay, low level of 'leader ego' in his recordings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a review of New Cool here--

http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/jazz/reviews/jo...s_newcool.shtml

Oh, right, there were two vols of Bobby Bradford with the SME on Nessa! Any plans to put those out on CD, Chuck? If you weren't interested in doing it yourself I bet Martin Davidson might be interested......

Edited by Nate Dorward
Link to comment
Share on other sites

p.s. Warleigh is amazing on Stevens' Chemistry. I believe this was available at one point on a twofer from Konnex, but I'm not sure if it's still in print. In many ways I'd like to replace my LP of this as it's got a really bad case of print-through, which I'd hope the CD remastering might correct......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a note to mention that Ray Warleigh (with Henry Lowther, Louis Moholo and the others) were just in Vancouver at the end of June for two performances by the Dedication Orchestra and a number of spinoff gigs - Ray Warleigh played with Hugh Fraser's quintet and Henry Lowther played with one of Brad Turner's groups.

Here's the description and listing of associated performances, they were all pretty amazing: http://www.coastaljazz.ca/index.php?page_id=13&artist_id=170

... N

Edited by Nou Dadoun
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad to know Warleigh's was here! I wonder why he records so rarely....

Anyway, just thought I'd say that it's 5 days till this AOTW "officially" begins. Not sure how many people actually have this disc, but it's easily available, & in any case if this thread ends up just loosely discussing Stevens & UK jazz that's OK too. I'll be putting together a report on the disc, though, not least because I have to draft a review for Paris Transatlantic this week so will be spinning it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll be looking forwards to this discussion.

Byron Wallen and Gary Crosby are interesting names here. Wallen is often in the horn sections for big bands for touring artists - for instance, he's done the recent Andrew Hill and Sam Rivers tours over here. I wasn't particularly inspired by his playing, but in fairness, he did get limited solo space, and I suppose we're just not brought up any more with the discipline of 8-bar big band soloing etc. Mind you, I've also heard him stretch out with Courtney Pine, and was similarly uninspired there...

On the Courtney Pine thing, Gary Crosby's one of that crowd. I was interested to learn the other day that Courtney Pine played a bit with Stevens himself in the early days. An interesting 'might have been', given Pine's detour/descent/retreat/[insert word, probably pejorative, here] into generic, dancey, hip-hoppy, reggae-lite. Don't misunderstand me - Courtney can play some awesome stuff, but how often do we hear it nowadays?

I wish Stevens were still around. I think younger, freer-leaning musicians in this country could use a figure like him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ray Warleigh was in the Kenny Wheeler 75th Birthday band that toured here in January - played a great solo at one point. I too wonder why we've heard so little of him.

Interesting to see Gary Crosby playing with a man with a huge reputation as a teacher. Crosby has himself become one of the big influences on up-and-coming UK players. Many of the new generation -Soweto Kinch for example - have come up through his Tomorrow's Warriors band.

As for Crosby's work with 'that crowd' I think it's very much a thoughtful choice. Reading interviews with him he quite deliberately wants to play music that connects with the community and has little time for the academic side of jazz. I've really enjoyed the 'Jazz Jamaica' records and performances I've heard over the years...though the recent Motown inspired concert I saw was rather low on soloing despite the excellence of the band. 'Entertainment' figure large in his concept of what jazz is about.

I've seen Byron Wallen a couple of times this year - once performing a large scale piece, the other in a superb quartet with another great UK player (soprano/baritone), Tony Kofi. Not someone I've noticed over the years; but I'll be listening more carefully now.

Edited by Bev Stapleton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bev - just rereading my post, I came over a little strong. I didn't mean 'that crowd' to sound pejorative - my mistake. I like a lot of those players - I tend to think, as well as Soweto and Tony Kofi, of people like Jason Yarde in the same bracket (the F-Ire collective people). All I meant by it was that there often seem to me to be clusters of players on our scene - I think, for example, of the group we've just mentioned, adding others like Jonathan Gee, Winston Clifford, etc; and then the Larry Cottles, Gerard Presencers, Ian Thomases, Mike Bradleys; and then the Peter Kings, Don Wellers, Art Themens, Steve Watermans, etc.!

I know it's a simplistic breakdown, because I've seen groups mixed from these groupings, but I think it captures a bit of a truth?

I really like Tony Kofi's playing, definitely...some of the Monk stuff is great. I'm curious to hear the new organ record (although I'm not sure when it's out).

Of the guys in the Hill/Rivers big bands, the one who's impressed me most was Jason Yarde, actually - it'd be nice to see him get some more exposure.

I'm not too familiar with much of the Jazz Jamaica stuff. I'm absolutely all for going back to the various traditions - and entertaining as well - I've got no time for a lot of the pretentious players we've got kicking around - it's just that the way Courtney Pine does it sounds very staid and generic to me.

I was sorry to miss the Kenny Wheeler gigs!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not a Pine fan myself - too much electronica, too much funk for my taste. I attended the Jazz Britannia concert earlier this year that he hosted and it was all very glitzy, lots of star turns. Not to my taste but very appealing to others. And there were people like Kofi up there completely comfortable in this more showbizzy context, able to go elsewhere and play something more intense. Part of the broad spectrum of jazz though not an area I need to spend much time in.

I'd highly recommend the last Jazz Jamaica CD, 'Massive'. There's an extraordinary version of 'Footprints' with a wonderful Jason Yarde arrangement. It's a fun disc but with lots of full on playing. I suspect the up-and-coming Motown disc might have less of a jazz content.

I agree entirely about Yarde. I saw him a few years back in Louis Moholo's band alongside the likes of Tippett, Evan Parker, Rutherford and Paul Rogers and he was stunning. I've been anticipating a recording ever since but his activities seem to have been directed elsewhere. Around the same time he also played in a great octet Phil Robson put together (some interesting mixes of scenes here - Yarde might be associated with the Pine/Crosby scene yet here is in the 70s improv scene and the Babel scene). He played in a fairly ramshackle Moholo band in the foyer at Jazz Britannia; but the real eye-opener was a large group he put together at Cheltenham this year to perform a really original extended composition. Definitely a man to watch.

He's on tour with a band put together by Mark Lockheart this Autumn - Mark Lockheart, Steve Buckley, Jason Yarde, Julian Siegel reeds, John Parricelli guitar, Dudley Phillips bass, Martin France drms. That seems to place him in the Loose Tubes scene too!

Edited by Bev Stapleton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd have really liked to see that Louis Moholo band. Does he still play around much? Keith Tippett is another player I'd very much want to see. It's interesting - I was reading Jason Yarde's bio somewhere or other and it mentioned all this much freer playing. This was the side of him I thought was most apparent - unsurprisingly, I guess - in the Rivers gig, and was probably what attracted me to him.

That Mark Lockheart band looks interesting...I'm not sure I like his playing too much, but in fairness to him, I haven't seen him that much (maybe only 2-3 times). I must say, I couldn't STAND his soprano work!

I saw that Jazz Britannia concert repeated on BBC2 the other week. That gospel version of 'Look Back in Anger...' UGHHH! Felt like it could have worked - the chords of the song probably lend themselves quite well, but otherwise...I very much enjoyed Alex Wilson's feature, though. I wasn't too impressed by Byron Wallen there either, but I agree, Tony Kofi was on it. Some really nice bass playing as well, especially on the more groove-orientated stuff. (Although I agree with your assessment of Courtney - a little too much unintersting funk and electronica).

BTW, enjoyed the Evan Parker photos in that other thread - was thinking of making it down for the gigs, but was playing myself, as I remember.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, right, Jason Yarde--yeah, I caught one of his freer gigs: the Louis Moholo band at Freedom of the City in 2002. If memory serves it was: Yarde, Moholo, Francine Luce, Veryan Weston & John Edwards. It was a good gig, I thought, & I'm a little surprised that it wasn't released on Emanem's small-groups compilation from that year's festival.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The discussion about Yarde is very timely for me. I have heard his playing with Andrew Hill's band and enjoyed it. Also, this week I listened to a radio broadcast of a 1996 live performance by Moholo's Viva La Black featuring Yarde, ), Pule Pheto and Roberto Bellatalla. I was very impressed with the spirit of Yarde's playing.

As an aside, I think Kofi is a big talent. Loved his Monk recording as well as his contribution on Wallen's recent quartet recording.

The discussion thus far combined with the Penguin review has me interested in possibly picking up this Stevens disc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are discs on Ogun of both Lucine and the Viva la Black band.

I have the latter - to be honest Yarde does not really make his presence felt there.

On Kofi, the one disappointment I had with the Monk disc was that it was postly done on soprano. Nothing wrong with that but I'd hoped for lots of baritone.

Side bit of information: Soweto Kinch's second album is due in the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see where he's gone from the much praised debut.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...