Jump to content

Whatever Happened to Hasaan Ibn Ali...???


Enterprise Server
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hassan Ibn Ali made a very fine recording with Max Roach and Art Davis for Atlantic. I've been searching for information about him but I can't find anything. He was a very interesting piano player who played with a very original and different style. I was very impressed with this recording. Does anyone have any information about this man......?

198558.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I remember correctly Hasaan Ibn Ali , born William Henry Langford , died in 1981 at age 50 .

I don't play his lp much ; guess I'd rather listen to Monk , Nichols or Hope . Tom Dowd's engineering didn't do anyone any favors either . I recall though that Max's playing is top notch , so that's as good a reason as any to dig this one out and revisit it .

Anyway , here's an earlier thread discussing both Hasaan's date with Max , and Hasaan's unissued date with Odean Pope : http://www.organissimo.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=7007

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

I attended a Jimmy Heath interview/master class on Saturday afternoon, followed by a Jimmy Heath concert in the evening. During the Q&A with the audience, I asked Heath about Hasaan. His face kind of lit up as he asked, "Hasaan? The piano player?!?" He spoke for a couple of minutes about Hasaan, mainly focusing on his eccentricities. Here are a few random bits:

1) To Hasaan's annoyance, Philly Joe called him Hot Sam. Others called him Count Langford.

2) Hasaan complained about another musician, saying "He stole my 13ths, but I got 29ths!"

3) Hasaan had the habit of buying new ties and cutting them in half, a practice that still seemed to baffle Heath.

4) Heath referred to Hasaan being avant garde before Cecil Taylor, and said that Hasaan didn't get as many gigs as other pianists, which the following story might explain. Hasaan was playing a gig with the singer Bull Moose Jackson, who was an ugly man (hence the nickname) who could sing pretty. The band was going to play 'Flying Home'(Heath sang the melody so people would know how it went). Bull Moose said to Hasaan, "Give me that intro." Hasaan proceeded to play the intro as you'd expect Hasaan to play it. Bull Moose then said, "Give me that intro again!" He couldn't find where to come in.

The audience enjoyed Heath's Hasaan anecdotes, even if most of them had never heard of him before. Heath remembered that Hasaan only appeared on one album, so maybe some of them will seek it out. In my question, I also asked about John Dennis, another obscure Philly pianist. Although Heath didn't address the Dennis part, I was happy to at least learn more about Hasaan. I get really nervous when speaking in public, but Heath's stories made the rise in blood pressure worth it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not so sure those recordings with Pope are lost. I've forgotten the details, but I know I've read around here that there's a good chance they do still exist.

My memory of the details is pretty foggy, and the person I heard it from around here hadn't ever heard them (and I'm almost positive they don't circulate), but I do seem to remember getting the very strong impression (from a reliable source) that they possibly weren't lost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hasaan had considerably more to say than did Valdo Williams, at least to/for me. And that's not a knock on Valdo Williams, it's just that Hasaan had that rhythmic thing that really worked from deep inside the music. In that regard, it was very good indeed that he recorded with Max.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Re Veteran Groover's posting of 15 May 2012: "Hasaan had the habit of buying new ties and cutting them in half, a practice that still seemed to baffle Heath."

Hasaan did not cut his ties in half. What gave people that impression was this: Hasaan would position his tie with the narrow, back part in the front, adjust the length so that the narrow part hung only to mid-chest, and wind the remainder of the tie around his trunk so that it would be hidden under his shirt. I know this to be true because I once saw him do it.

Edited by HomageToDonByas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hasaan did not cut his ties in half. What gave people that impression was this: Hasaan would position his tie with the narrow, back part in the front, adjust the length so that the narrow part hung only to mid-chest, and wind the remainder of the tie around his trunk to that it would be hidden under his shirt. I know this to be true because I once saw him do it.

Not many people know that.............

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Hasaan did not cut his ties in half.

I like that this is the only post from "HomageToDonByas."

Listened to the Atlantic recording today. Tom Dowd panned Hasaan's piano far left — right on top of Art Davis's bass. Max gets (pretty much) the whole right channel to himself. The record (not the recording) itself is killer. Though Hasaan was mentored by Elmo Hope, I hear quite a bit of Herbie Nichols in his playing. Almost a missing link between Monk and Nichols. Anyone else hear this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hasaan did not cut his ties in half.

I like that this is the only post from "HomageToDonByas."

Listened to the Atlantic recording today. Tom Dowd panned Hasaan's piano far left — right on top of Art Davis's bass. Max gets (pretty much) the whole right channel to himself. The record (not the recording) itself is killer. Though Hasaan was mentored by Elmo Hope, I hear quite a bit of Herbie Nichols in his playing. Almost a missing link between Monk and Nichols. Anyone else hear this?

There's some common ground between him and Nichols. but I think that direct influence by Nichols on Hassan was highly unlikely. Just about the only chance that Nichols got to do his thing was on those Blue Note recordings, and I would imagine that Hasaan was Hasaan well before then, if indeed he ever got to hear them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm back by request from Spontooneous but not sure that I have any more of interest to contribute. Any specific questions?

Welcome back! Would you please tell more about his behavior, on or off the stand? Was he easy to get along with? Solitary? Prickly? Angry? Spacey? (Not too specific there, I know! Just trying to get a better picture of him.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's some common ground between him and Nichols, but I think that direct influence by Nichols on Hassan was highly unlikely.

Agreed, and yet some of the voicings that Hasaan and Nichols lay down do sound similar. The way they play eighth notes and melodic lines, in contrast, is much different. I'm not pushing for a connection, but the similarities strike me as curious.

There was a lot of music in the air in those days - a whole different deal from today - and influences were probably picked up unconsciously.

Also agreed.

I know jazz afficionados get prickly when someone says, for example, that Herbie Nichols sounds like Thelonious Monk, but I do wonder, say, how far Monk's approach to the keyboard made its way — consciously or unconsciously — into other piano players' work. With Monk, Nichols, Hope, and Hasaan, you have four very individual players, and yet they're loosely connected (or not loosely in the case of Hope and Hasaan) by a larger jazz family tree. I guess what I'm ultimately saying is that I can't buy wholesale the idea of "this person was this person," and developed-in-a-vacuum.

The liner notes of the Atlantic record offer up some peculiar quotes from Hasaan. Almost like he had his own version of Lester-Young-speak.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm back by request from Spontooneous but not sure that I have any more of interest to contribute. Any specific questions?

Welcome back! Would you please tell more about his behavior, on or off the stand? Was he easy to get along with? Solitary? Prickly? Angry? Spacey? (Not too specific there, I know! Just trying to get a better picture of him.)

He was extremely eccentric. He was not prickly, not angry. He was an only child and was doted on by his parents, with whom he continue to live as an adult.

He titled his letters. I remember one title: Retrospect in Retirement of Delay.

You can learn more by speaking to Odean Pope (215-242-6202?) and David B. Shrier (215-563-6183?).

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...