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BFT #62


Nate Dorward
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Listened to the long bonus track again and simply don't know what to make of it. There are parts that I find really interesting, but other sections sound really dull to me. I've only skimmed this thread - trying to avoid discussion of the bonus tracks - but I believe Brotzmann caught my eye and I could believe that this is him. I'm not much of a fan, but again I'm of a mixed mind: I find much of his blowing here more listenable than most of the Brotzmann I've heard in the past - but I'm also reminded why I don't care for himin the first place. In general, this is the sort of outside music that I enjoy much more in person than on record. There's something about the spontaneity and improvising of this type of music that I enjoy far more as a performance than as a recording. Does that make sense?

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Makes complete sense to me Ray. Hell, quite often I find that it's a lot more engaging to play like that than it is to listen to it.

The key, I think, is just how willing are you to go all the way there. That's easier to do as a player than as a listener, and easier as a listener at a gig than at home or in your car. This type of music tends to best reveal itself when all disbelief is suspended and all distractions banished. Of course, all music is like that, really, but this type gives the listener less "breathing room", that is, moments where you can kind of space for a few seconds/minutes and get right back into it w/o feeling that you're totally lost.

I say that, but honestly, after 30-40 years of pronged free/collective improvisations of various hues and cries, I think that's much less true now, especially for those of a younger age wfor whom this is as much a part of "what music is" as is anything else, perhaps even moreso than a lot of the "older" types.

Myself, I have done a lot of this type thing over the years, some of it good, and some of it not, and most of it...in-between. For me, like so much other, it's run it's course. Great place to be from, if you knwo what I mean, and for those who haven't gone there yet, well, at some point, either in this life or one of the next ones, you will, just because. It's inevitable and it's good, unless your spirit is devolving rather than evolving. But in the course of all evolution, you know, all things...end, even what once seemed like the most vital, urgent, necessary acts possible to a living creature. The point of "infinite openness" isn't to just discover that it exists, it's also to figure out what to do with it after you discover it and get apretty good grip on what it all means.

Not for nothing was the AACM the next (and in my mind, last, although different strokes on that, no doubt) big, serious evolution after "total freedom". The push/pull between freedom and structure is what creates the friction that holds everything together, if you know what I mean, and that also means that, if you can get there with it, that it's all really the same thing. That freedom and structure are more a matter of informed perspective than anything else.

Just my opinion, and who knows, liable to evolve into something completely different in another 25 years or so!

Edited by JSngry
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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally, my two cents regarding Blindfold Test # 62:

# 1 - a Penny for Lennie's Lil' Brother, good solos all around, is that Konitz in the ensemble, and what was his name? Earl

Swope? (Nice name for a trombonist? Not sure about the tenor player ... Could be I have that somewhere but haven't listened

to it in ages.

# 2 - Thought it was guitar at first - those dreaded pickups! No warmth in that bass sound. I could like that with unamplified

double bass. He's a little too loud for the horns, I think. No idea who that is. The horns play nicely together. Not quite my cup

of tea. That alto sounds familiar ...

# 3 - More Tristano-school stuff. Must be more recent, 'cause of the electric guitar. I think the sound sticks out a little too

much. Would like it more with just horns and drums. Nice rhythmic arrangement.

# 4 - 'nother bass pickup, or rather electric, but the extremely nice groove makes me forgive. I bet I know some of these players. especially the

alto player ... Drummer bashing a little too much - okay they know what they want, but I prefer a more intricate type of rhytmic variation. Still, nice, and I'd like to hear more of that band.

# 5 - Some nice 1980's existentialist trumpet? Those strings are very nicely arranged, and they have a very nice sound. Who wrote this, who's playing? Very good!

# 6 - Quite a bit of contrast - an organ combo following straight. The tenor lags a bit behind in his phrasing, the guitar is right on top, whereas organ and drums swing like hell and push the beat. Again, no idea who this is.

# 7 - Hans Reichel? I heard him live ages ago ... If there's a guitar style beyond categories, it is this, although I'm not sure if some of this is randomly produced sound. But the intention is clear, and the message comes through. A bit long it is ...

# 8 - Crazy rhythm, with a tenor that really swings. Bass trumpet? Very good players.

# 9 - This must have been fun to play. Is this from the late 1970's? Lots of familiar phrases from that era. But somehow it doen't go very far, although the ideas and interplay are nice.

# 10 - Very interesting track - some almost Pink Floydish guitar phrases, neo-classical strings with minimalistic and movie soundtrack touches. I'd like to hear more.

# 11 - Very competent big band swinging like hell. The writing reminds me a bit of Clare Fischer, but I doubt that it's him. Conte Candoli? Nice quote from Rhythm-a-ning behind the alto solo. All fluent players.

# 12 - Again, very interesting, with its faint reminiscence of a funeral march. Very nice mood. But agin, no names come to mind.

Thanks for a very entertaining and interesting disc - no name guesses this time, but all music I never would have heard otherwise ... Sorry I am so late, but still in the aftermath of our move.

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Now listening to the bonus disc.

# 13 - The sound and phrasing of that organ player sounds a lot like Larry Young / Khalid Yasin. What album is this from? Those saxes do not sound familiar ...

# 14 - There is no greater love. No idea who's playing.

# 15 - This is much more interesting than I thought it would be. No idea again, but a band I'd go to see live, or would like to sit in with. Nice work by the percussionists, keeping a good balance between their own exploratory urges and the task of laying down some interesting and in spiring background. I'm curious who this is ...

Thanks again!!!!

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Finally, my two cents regarding Blindfold Test # 62:

# 1 - a Penny for Lennie's Lil' Brother, good solos all around, is that Konitz in the ensemble, and what was his name? Earl Swope? (Nice name for a trombonist? Not sure about the tenor player ... Could be I have that somewhere but haven't listened to it in ages.

I think at some point I may have sent this to you as a CDR burn! (or even an original, if I still had my stack of cutouts). I don't think I know "Lil Brother" but wouldn't be surprised if the line was the same as there are serious problems with the track listings on this album--I'm very sure that some are wrong, I just don't know which.

# 2 - Thought it was guitar at first - those dreaded pickups! No warmth in that bass sound. I could like that with unamplified double bass. He's a little too loud for the horns, I think. No idea who that is. The horns play nicely together. Not quite my cup of tea. That alto sounds familiar ...

Ah well, the dread 1970s bass sound......... Jeff Clyne's not got a lot of props over the years compared to other bass players who worked in the UK free-jazz/improv scene (as well as more conventional stuff). He's on a lot of great sessions, & usually adds something good to them.

# 3 - More Tristano-school stuff. Must be more recent, 'cause of the electric guitar. I think the sound sticks out a little too much. Would like it more with just horns and drums. Nice rhythmic arrangement.

Yes, the guitarist is a "special guest" here (& a generation older than everyone else).

# 5 - Some nice 1980's existentialist trumpet? Those strings are very nicely arranged, and they have a very nice sound. Who wrote this, who's playing? Very good!

Yeah, I was wondering what you'd think of this one--as you'll discover from the answers thread, the strings are actually a Renaissance viol consort...!

# 7 - Hans Reichel? I heard him live ages ago ... If there's a guitar style beyond categories, it is this, although I'm not sure if some of this is randomly produced sound. But the intention is clear, and the message comes through. A bit long it is ...

Reichel seems to have been pretty quiet lately as a musician, though I think he has a CD or two out from within the past 5-6 years. Great player. But no, no Reichel!

Glad you found the loooong track of interest in the bonus disc--yeah, I really would like to see that band live (all their CDs are live documents). & yep, the first bonus track is Larry Young.

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# 5 - Some nice 1980's existentialist trumpet? Those strings are very nicely arranged, and they have a very nice sound. Who wrote this, who's playing? Very good!

Yeah, I was wondering what you'd think of this one--as you'll discover from the answers thread, the strings are actually a Renaissance viol consort...!

That's great and something I always dreamed of, as I like the sound of gut strings much better - I must get this!

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finally...

#1 - Sounds like Tristano? Very nice, how with this quite rigid rhythmic conception it swings like hell! Very nice piano solo, including some dissonant stuff... trombone, hm, I don't think I know of any Tristano date with trombone - oh wait, is that Eddie Bert and this is from Ronnie Ball's great Savoy album? So that would be Ted Brown, not Warne, yeah, sounds a bit rougher and isn't that... how do you call that, nuanced? Straigher rhythmic conception (more like Konitz than Marsh I think)? Great one!

#2 - Wow! I like this a lot, that strumming bass rhythm opens up a whole wide area and the horns interweaving lines, very nice, particularly the alto! (The tenor in the right channel also gets an almost alto-like sound, or is it an alto as well?) No idea who this could be though I guess the bassists' sound should give it away... he does sound familiar, but I can't pin it down. And then slowly the groove tightens and there's a fixed meter... very well done! And again the alto, nice sinewy lines, good sound, not of the fat kind I often love, but not thin either, rounded and with a bit of acid. And then it all breaks up again... great track!

#3 - A modern adaption of Tristano here? Sort of... the trumpet has a very nice sound, alto is good as well, and it's nice to have guitar (instead of piano). Good to hear short and concise solos, also not just the horns but a bass-solo in between, nice touches.

#4 - Groovy opening... but then not really to my liking. Though in the end the guitar player might be someone I usually like of course and I could be embarassed.

#5 - Great sound on trumpet! Interesting arrangement with harp and strings. No clue who the trumpet player could be though...

#6 - More boppish stuff, organ and solid tenor. Good tenor, less sure about the guitar...

#7 - Derek Bailey! Ain't he great! Even when doing that free stuff (he usually did!) he has that wonderful hollow body sound on his guitar! I love his solo music, it's some of the most beautiful music I've encountered so far, and I mean beautiful totally conventional here.

#8 - What's this again, Blue'n'Boogie? Repeating... more trombone, nice! Very good one! Is this from the Jay Jay/Stitt date? Yeah, I guess so - great piano solo (John Lewis then?). Great track! And quite a change of pace after Derek!

#9 - Gee, what's this? The tune sounds familiar, but I'm clueless - great drumming!

#10 - More cool guitar, strings again, nice how it builds, modulates, sort of a minimalist arrangement. Lovely bass entrance!

#11 - Big band music, very fine solos by trumpet, trombone and then good tenor, and nice drumming all the time, driving the band along. Ah, there comes some baritone, too, good!

#12 - Great drum intro! Alto has a lovely sweet sound. Interesting one! Is it just one drummer or are there two? The stereo spread is a bit weird... is this a World Saxophone Quartet thing with a drummer added? The timbres the saxes create are great! Tenor goes apeshit but the ensemble keeps it rooted with the drums booting along.

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Hey Ubu, thanks for the comments! I guess that the answers thread will reveal the rest.....

#1 - Sounds like Tristano? Very nice, how with this quite rigid rhythmic conception it swings like hell! Very nice piano solo, including some dissonant stuff... trombone, hm, I don't think I know of any Tristano date with trombone - oh wait, is that Eddie Bert and this is from Ronnie Ball's great Savoy album? So that would be Ted Brown, not Warne, yeah, sounds a bit rougher and isn't that... how do you call that, nuanced? Straigher rhythmic conception (more like Konitz than Marsh I think)? Great one!

Yep, that's the date. But not Bert, it's Willie Dennis!

#3 - A modern adaption of Tristano here? Sort of... the trumpet has a very nice sound, alto is good as well, and it's nice to have guitar (instead of piano). Good to hear short and concise solos, also not just the horns but a bass-solo in between, nice touches.

You know, I really ought to ask Hess about his thoughts on Marsh &c, as he usually namechecks ratehr different players.... Actually, it's kind of interesting: in an interview I read with him (in Cadence I think) he seems to feel an ambivalent attraction to tough modern mainstream tenors like Michael Brecker & Bob Berg. Some Harold Bloomish analysis probably required here.......

#4 - Groovy opening... but then not really to my liking. Though in the end the guitar player might be someone I usually like of course and I could be embarassed.

Well, considering the number of people who hated the guitar solo here, I'd be interested to know what people's feelings were in general about Sonny Sharrock.

#7 - Derek Bailey! Ain't he great! Even when doing that free stuff (he usually did!) he has that wonderful hollow body sound on his guitar! I love his solo music, it's some of the most beautiful music I've encountered so far, and I mean beautiful totally conventional here.

Yeah, I was actually surprised many people found this track tough going--I'd have thought it fairly approachable by DB's standards, & the intrusion of swing guitar chording is at once witty & ferocious.

#12 - Great drum intro! Alto has a lovely sweet sound. Interesting one! Is it just one drummer or are there two? The stereo spread is a bit weird... is this a World Saxophone Quartet thing with a drummer added? The timbres the saxes create are great! Tenor goes apeshit but the ensemble keeps it rooted with the drums booting along.

This is just two players--sax & drums--but there's some overdubbing going on. It's recorded in the drummer's home studio living space in Toronto.

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