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BFT #77 (aka #79) Answers


clifford_thornton
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#1 - Sangrey already got this one, but I'm restating it here in case you haven't seen. It's Monk's "Skippy" from the Steeplechase CD Mockingbird by pianist Jesse Stacken and trumpeter Kirk Knuffke. Despite some reservations about the, well, reservation of the players, I think it's a fine disc. I chose it as an ease-in to what I hoped would be a rather varied BFT, stretching from the inside to the outside and back in. Also, though I've been really impressed by a lot of players who take standards and obscure them with a measure of freedom, to a point that does get tiring and it's nice to hear some technically proficient players just "play it straight." Though I don't know much of Stacken's work, Knuffke is, in my opinion, an inside-outside trumpeter to watch.

#2 - "Otis' Tune" - Ted Daniel Sextet (Daniel, tpt; Otis Harris, alto; Hakim Jami & Richard Pierce, basses; Warren Benbow & Kenneth Hughes, drums) from the 1970 session which produced the self-titled Ujaama LP. "Otis' Tune" is a bonus track that is on the CD reissue, available directly from Ted. I chose this for a few reasons. First, the Cleveland "sound" is something I really like as far as saxophonists go, and Harris is in that bag of altoists alongside Arthur Jones and Yusef Mumin (Joe Phillips) that have taken a postbop language stratospheric. As far as I know this date is Harris' only recording, and this is also his composition. Ted Daniel is an excellent trumpeter/composer as well, someone who's totally worth investigating further, especially the Duology CDs with Michael Marcus. Though some of you weren't too keen on the dueling basses (dropping the momentum), after listening to the LP and the CD millions of times, the dichotomy between this and the tempo improvisations strikes me as interesting (and Pierce has a nice, messy bowed tone). Ted is someone whom I had the pleasure of interviewing, and I guess that hearing his tone and band make me think of his personality, which is very stately and reserved, yet also bright and warm.

#3 - "O.P." - Buell Neidlinger Quartet, from the Big Drum CD (K2B2 Records). Neidlinger, bass; Hugh Schick, trumpet; Marty Krystall, tenor; Vinnie Colaiuta, drums. It's funny - I first heard Colaiuta on this disc and had no idea he was associated more with Herbie Hancock and commercial jazz. Krystall is one of the finest tenor players from more recent years that too few people have heard, and while I'm not well-versed in what it TAKES to play the tenor, his language and phrasing continually give me joy and surprise. Buell is one of the first musicians that I interviewed and (sort of) got to know, and listening to him always makes me smile, even if his records aren't always rewriting the book. To me, this tune (which is dedicated to Oscar Pettiford) is a fine example of free-bop, and also helps to set the tone of the BFT.

#4 - "Hop Jumpin'" - Rasul Siddik (Siddik, tpt; Ghasem Batamuntu, ts; Bobby Few, pno; James Lewis, b; John Betsch, d) from the House of Art CD on Philology. Another trumpeter-led session; those of you who mentioned an AACM connection weren't far off, as the Paris-based Siddik was a past member of the AACM and recorded with Henry Threadgill. This is from his first date as a leader, which was recorded in 2006 but only recently released. Having gotten to know Bill Dixon over the last few years has made me into more of a brass thinker than previously, and consequently I find myself really listening to the trumpet players and impressed by those who are putting it together in some interesting ways, both in terms of "extended" technique and more traditional-->to the future voicings. He's got a powerful, steely sound, and the whole band smokes - of course, anything with Bobby Few gets me going, and it was interesting to see some nods to Muhal. I don't usually equate the approaches of Muhal and Few, but the point is well-taken.

#5 - "Catalysm" - The Contemporary Jazz Quartet (Hugh Steinmetz, tp; Franz Beckerlee, as; Steffen Andersen, b; Sunny Murray, d) from the Action CD, a Steeplechase reissue of the Danish Debut LP (if anyone has a spare vinyl of this, my bank account number is...) To me, this set signifies the tension between wanting to pay homage to the American innovators of free jazz, and stretching out on one's own into a non-jazz-based regional approach. Considering it was recorded in 1964 and Sunny sat in for an absent Bo Thrige Andersen, it's a baby step in the direction that TCJQ would eventually take. Though this is Beckerlee's piece, it should be noted that Steinmetz is a hell of a composer - he wrote the "Afrodisiaca" piece for John Tchicai's Cadentia Nova Danica. He was sidelined for years with a nasty case of tinnitus, but recently has begun playing again. I can hear the Barbara Donald that some have mentioned; to me he's got an approach that combines classical trumpet techniques with having listened to a bunch of Don Cherry, especially at this early stage.

#6 - "One First 3" - Paul Rutherford, tb; Paul Rogers, b; Nigel Morris, d; from the Tetralogy CD on Emanem, archival recording from 1981. I chose this, again, partly based on the idea of questioning what sounds "European" and what sounds "American" (to me, Rutherford sounds a lot like Moncur on this specific date), and also on the fact that I interviewed Rutherford and where I was an "interested fan" I became a heavy supporter of his work (at this point, he is probably my favorite 'contemporary' trombonist). When I first got into jazz, the trombone was a favorite instrument; in ensuing years, I listened to it less until becoming totally enamored of Rutherford's work brought me back. This trio also recorded a disc called GHEIM for Emanem; I don't think the trio was long-lasting, because Nigel Morris, great as he is, wasn't on the scene for long (still alive, just doesn't play).

#7 - "Mandingo's Pad" - Nathan Davis, fl; Hampton Hawes, pno; Jimmy Garrison, b; Art Taylor, d; from the Rules of Freedom LP (Polydor, 1967) and also the Jazzman CD Nathan Davis 65-76. Apparently this track didn't strike a chord with too many of you, and that's fine :) . Davis' work is hard to find as very little of it is, for some reason, on CD. I've only been able to score vinyls of the Polydor and The Hip Cake Walk (Saba); perhaps this track is a little more on the "moody/textural" side, but Davis' playing intrigues me and the rhythm section is interesting and somewhat surprising, considering the date. Hampton Hawes doesn't normally, to me, sound like this.

#8 - "Prince Lasha" - as was guessed, this is: Odean Pope, ts; Tyrone Brown, b; Craig McIver, d. From the 1999 Knitting Factory CD EBIOTO. I admit to not giving Odean as much listening as some other folks on this board - I have very little of his work, but this trio has always struck me. It took a while to appreciate him beyond the "tenorman's tenorman" side of things, that his playing was objectively great, but that I was also not able to unlock some of his phrasing/approach because I'm not a musician (weird, huh?). So that manifested itself as a feeling of "coldness," which still I struggle with when listening to him. However, this is a sweet tune (written for someone who I could also call a friend) and the improvisation is staggering. Another purpose of this BFT was to bust out some things that I hadn't listened to in a while or enough, so it gave me an excuse to reassess Odean's playing along with some others.

#9 - "Earth Flower" - Joe Rigby, ts. I'm glad this was a popular piece - it's from a CD-R released on the Scottish Homeboy Music label, which also put out the Norman Howard cassettes back in the day, as well as some of Arthur Doyle's music. Rigby played with Milford Graves, Steve Reid et al., but the Homeboy releases are his first as a leader. There is indeed a home-recorded rawness and immediacy to the proceedings, a sort of hit-or-miss quality but there's so much pathos and beauty in these audio letters that Joe recorded, it's staggering. A solo "standards" album is forthcoming, too, and it's similarly ragged and right.

#10 - "Portrait of J.B.G." - Bobby Bradford, cornet. Recorded 1982 and released on the Tandem 1 CD (Emanem), solos and duos with John Carter. I thought this would be fitting since the Mosaic box has been released and there's been some discussion about it here (no, I haven't bought it yet!). Sure, to some this might be a "licks and variations" piece, but I think Bradford's tone is remarkable, and he has such a personal approach to phrasing and color that even if it might be a small world-area that he's occupying on this solo, it's still extraordinary and hits on the old and the (then-) new in really special ways.

#11 - "Mister Syms" - Duck Baker, gtr; Alex Ward, cl; Joe Williamson, b. From The Waltz Lesson, released last year on CD (Les Cousins). I'd only heard Duck Baker's Herbie Nichols covers before, but picked up a varied bunch of his stuff recently and this one caught me as particularly beautiful. Alexander Hawkins can probably speak to Ward and Williamson better than I can, but they really lend a lot to this date overall, and Ward is a tremendous clarinetist in particular. If this is your first hearing of Duck Baker and you dig him, go check out Spinning Song on Avant Records, a solo guitar exploration of Herbie Nichols. It's fantastic.

#12 - "O Que Faz Falta" - Ze Eduardo's A Jazzar (Eduardo, b; Jesus Santandreu, ts, Bruno Pedroso, d) from the 2004 Clean Feed CD A Jazzar No Zeca. Santandreu is someone whom I really liked from the moment I first heard him (on this disc), and we don't get a lot of discussion about the Iberian improvising scene around here. Santandreu is Spanish, the rhythm section is Portuguese. My opinion is that this is the trio's best date; the recent one cataloging film music has its moments, but doesn't quite strike me as singularly. There is also a disc with Jack Walrath called Bad Guys, but again, the trio format seems to work better to me. Anyway, the use of popular song and tradition as a springboard is the subject of umpteen threads here, I'm sure, but I like how these three did it on this disc, and again, Santandreu is an unsung tenor player who deserves some props in the post-Rollins bag.

#13 - "Distresser" - Carlos Barretto, b; Mario Delgado, g; Jose Salgueiro, d; Louis Sclavis, bcl from the Radio Song CD (CBTM, 2002). A little more Iberian creative music, this time from Portugal (and a French ringer). I haven't heard what I'd call a really solid jazz-rock CD in years, but Barretto and Delgado bring it. The theme is lifted in part from a Soft Machine tune, the name of which I'm presently forgetting. Sclavis brings it (as usual - reminds me a lot of Michel Portal here) and Delgado is one of those players you don't hear much about, but I think he's also really interesting (though he doesn't get as much stretching room on this track). When Clean Feed started, their catalog was a treasure trove of Lisbon avant-garde jazz, and to me that was a new and special thing. I don't think they're documenting it quite as well now as they did at the beginning, but I'm thankful for being introduced to some names I wouldn't have otherwise heard.

#14 - "Malcolm X" - Sangrey got this one, too, and here's the full personnel. Hal Singer, ts; Jacques Bolognesi, tb; Siegfried Kessler, pno; Jean-Claude Andre, g; Patrice Caratini, b; Art Taylor, d; Alain Charlery, perc., from the CD Blues & News, Futura 1971. Again, if anyone has a spare vinyl of this kicking around, I've been looking for a copy for years. Whether you dig or don't dig "spiritual jazz" (and I've gone both ways) this Singer session is a particularly nice one, simply ebullient and soulful, even if there is some ragged playing from time to time.

#15 - "Swamp Chanting for Weedy" - Ardell Nelson's Jazz Prophets. Nelson, d; Leroy Jenkins, vln, Mace Morgan, org. From a 45 rpm single recorded (I think) in 1965 and released on the Lola's Recording Co. imprint. From what Leroy told me, it was his first recording and I've only seen one other copy. It's the only "rarity" I put on the BFT, but I put it on here for a few reasons. First, it's a fun tune and threw some people for a Ra-loop. Meeting Leroy Jenkins in 2001 was pivotal for me, personally, and was part of what got me interested in interviewing musicians - even though my questions to him as we were walking through the East Village were probably fairly ignorant, he was kind and game, and that was really important. So in a way, I have him to thank for becoming part of the "jazz writers" community. I wish I'd been able to burn this single for him before he died; he'd not seen it in years and I'd promised to make him a copy and then got sidetracked. I'll try to host both sides on my blog for a little while if any of you are interested.

Edited by clifford_thornton
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Very interesting BFT - enjoyed it very much. I hadn't thought about Rasul Siddik for awhile - I saw him years ago with the David Murray Octet and with the Threadgill Sextet. His track was maybe the biggest revelation for me.

It's interesting to compare your own reactions before and after knowing who the musicians are. I thought track 15 was just goofy, but I'm intrigued to find out that it's Leroy Jenkins' violin. I'm going to have to give it another listen.

Thanks again for putting this together.

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Now I have a shopping list. I like this BFT very much, and have none of the albums here. I will have to find many of these albums.

#7 is very interesting to me now that I know who it is. I saw Nathan Davis live about eight years ago but he played no flute that evening. I did not identify Hampton Hawes or Jimmy Garrison, although I have heard many albums that each have played on.

#10 is a revelation to me. I want to check out more of Bradford's music as a result of this track.

#11. I have some Duck Baker albums, but not this one. I wonder why I did not identify him. I will have to go back and listen again.

#14 is very interesting to me, and I will seek it out.

#15 is surprising. I would never have guessed Leroy Jenkins. My Sun Ra guess was far off.

This was a great listen, and I learned a lot from it. It is one of the best BFTs I have participated in.

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Glad y'all liked it, thanks.

Sorry I didn't find time to post, but I enjoyed the music tremendously! Haven't been playing much of that kind of jazz lately and your expert choices made me think several times I should dig up some of my avant stuff again soon!

I thought some tracks sounded familiar, but after reading the answers, I think the only one I actually own and ought to have known is the Contemporary Jazz Quartet track (the double CD is great!), but I'm somewhat familiar with most of the others... and the Rigby track is great, yes! Never heard of him before!

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Yeah, the flip is definitely more along those lines, though I tend to think that Jenkins and Nelson tip the music upward. I don't think there are too many more tunes from the session (that was what Leroy implied, IIRC), otherwise it might be something to clamor for a reissue of. Again, glad you dug it. It's a very special record.

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Yeah, the flip is definitely more along those lines, though I tend to think that Jenkins and Nelson tip the music upward. I don't think there are too many more tunes from the session (that was what Leroy implied, IIRC), otherwise it might be something to clamor for a reissue of. Again, glad you dug it. It's a very special record.

It is very special, and I am sure that I would have never heard it except for your BFT. To me, this is the ultimate of what the BFT can provide for us.

I actually think it is a fun song to listen to, as well.

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Just to chime in about Alex Ward and Joe Williamson (sorry - slow to notice that!):

Joe I'm actually not terribly familiar with - I've only seen him a couple of times, and never had the pleasure of playing with him. I believe his most regular collaborators are the Dutch guys. He's part of the absolutely *fantastic* Toby Delius 4tet, (with Han Bennink, Tristan Honsiger). If anyone is in the slightest bit attracted by any of these musicians, or indeed the sound of guys like Clusone, or whatever, check them out! The only record I have is on ICP - 'The Heron'. Highly recommended! One thing I do know: Joe gets that lovely warm sound by using gut strings on his bass.

Alex I'm good friends with. Let me say first up - he is an astonishing musician. As fans/players, we're prone to hyperbole - but trust me, Alex is one of the most extravagantly gifted musicians I've ever come across. What many reviews will first alight on is his astounding technical ability on clarinet, which, believe it or not, he's had since before he was a teenager. An early associate was Derek Bailey - often in duo, and also in the group 'Limescale' - and in fact, Alex played in Company 1988, at the age of 14 (IIRC). His first recorded appearance was at the age of 15, on Incus in duo with Steve Noble.

Another early album - a fun record actually! - is this piece of nuttiness - featuring both Derek and Thurston Moore...

He's also on some Eugene Chadbourne stuff from around this time - e.g. Hellington Country with, amongst others, Pat Thomas and Paul Lovens.

Alex is not only completely happy playing freely inprovised music, but can read absolutely anything you might care to put in front of him...he eats up complex scored stuff. For - loosely speaking - some music in the 'post-Braxton' continuum, it's well worth checking him out in some of Simon Fell's projects. I like this one.

Braxton was a very early influence on Alex, and a lot of us were waiting and waiting for a solo album. We got it fairly recently - 'Cremated Thoughts' on Treader. There are moments on this where you can really hear (for my money) a post-Braxton, post-Dolphy sensibility...really nailing some fascinating bebop line shapes alongside the extended techniques at which he's pretty much - as far as I can think - peerless.

An interesting counterpoint to the Duck Baker album is this one, released at about the same time, with the same instrumentation. Joe Morris this time on guitar, however, and Simon H. Fell on bass. I haven't heard it, but with that line-up...

This is all Alex on clarinet, but important is that he's a wonderful, wonderful electric guitarist as well. Crudely speaking, if his clarinet playing comes out of his love of 'jazz/creative music', this comes from his passion for - and encyclopaedic knowledge of - rock music. Check him out with the trio 'NEW', with John Edwards and Steve Noble. There are two or three - I forget offhand - fantastic records. Fans of electric guitar and power trios - a no-brainer! He also has a new group called 'Predicate' featuring his writing and electric guitar playing, but as yet, it's unrecorded. I believe they're in the studio within a couple of months, however, so watch out for it...

Alex also has a couple of songwriting projects. I'm afraid I'm just not familiar enough with this material to comment on it. But lots of complex time signatures, loads of energy, real virtuoso stuff...here's a link...I'm afraid I just don't know enough about this to comment on it or give recommendations!

And here's a link to Alex's MySpace page, which actually breaks things down quite nicely...for those in Sweden, I see that the trio with Duck and Joe have a couple of nights at the Glenn Miller Cafe coming up..!

Edited by Alexander Hawkins
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