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BLACK MYSTERY SCHOOL PIANISTS — and who else(!) is similar?


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Interesting “food for thought” article by Matthew Shipp, which begs the question…

WHO ELSE?? — perhaps not as well-known? — or not just from the 50’s and 60’s (and not just “Black”) — would YOU classify as being somewhat closely STYLISTICALLY-related to the core group he identifies in the article??

Article has a good discussion — and makes good arguments — for who the author thinks  ‘qualifies’ and who doesn’t qualify (and the rationale for each).

BLACK MYSTERY SCHOOL PIANISTS

https://nmbx.newmusicusa.org/black-mystery-school-pianists/


Read the article — but to spoil it, here’s the list…

 

So who is in the Black Mystery School of Piano?

Monk

Herbie Nichols

Mal Waldron / Randy Weston / Cecil Taylor / Andrew Hill

The legendary Hasaan Ibn Ali

Sun Ra / Horace Tapscott

Edited by Rooster_Ties
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8 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

Early Geri Allen.. Jason Moran. Possibly Craig Taborn. 

David Virelles belongs into that lineage... Bheki Mseleku could be nominated for the general list

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Posted (edited)

I feel like Herbie Hancock has gotten into this specific territory about (and maybe only?) these three times that I can think of — specifically on…

  • The All Seeing Eye (Shorter)
  • Some Other Stuff (Moncur)
  • The Trainwreck (Tyrone Washington)

Am I missing anything else?

BTW, I don’t think anything he did with Miles would count — although maybe(?) some of the Plugged Nickel stuff? Still, I’m inclined to say ‘no’ to even that, even as free or free-leaning as it is — since it isn’t anywhere near ‘off kilter’ enough rhythmically to qualify (if my use of that term makes any sense.)

Edited by Rooster_Ties
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I know one thing: the pianists mentioned are among my very favorite ones. Monk, Mal, Tapscott, Nichols and Andrew Hill: I love those guys. I personally do think Elmo Hope belongs in the list as well.

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7 minutes ago, Pim said:

I know one thing: the pianists mentioned are among my very favorite ones. Monk, Mal, Tapscott, Nichols and Andrew Hill: I love those guys. I personally do think Elmo Hope belongs in the list as well.

:tup

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23 minutes ago, Pim said:

Elmo Hope belongs in the list as well.

I mostly agree about Hope, or he’s darn, darn close. I only bought my first (ever!) Hope leader-dates just this year — and I’m slowly finding him to definitely be half a revelation.

You may have seen this, but Shipp mentions Hope in the article thusly…

> I have wrestled with whether Elmo Hope belongs in the group. I am not sure. I go back and forth for different reasons. If he is, a lot of it would be because of his influence on Hasaan Ibn Ali, who is another extreme of an ultimate example of this.

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4 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I mostly agree about Hope, or he’s darn, darn close. I only bought my first (ever!) Hope leader-dates just this year — and I’m slowly finding him to definitely be half a revelation.

You may have seen this, but Shipp mentions Hope in the article thusly…

> I have wrestled with whether Elmo Hope belongs in the group. I am not sure. I go back and forth for different reasons. If he is, a lot of it would be because of his influence on Hasaan Ibn Ali, who is another extreme of an ultimate example of this.

Yeah I was kind of refering to his statement ;)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Pim said:

Yeah I was kind of refering to his statement ;)

Half figured you had, but wasn’t sure — and I quoted it since I was betting not everyone else had read the article.

BTW, I have at least two other (more modern) names to add to the list — but they’re really obscure, and I never can remember their names (and I’m at work, away from all my CD’s).

Unfortunately about 15-20% of my collection is all people so obscure, that I usually only remember them by what the album cover looks like.

Edited by Rooster_Ties
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Interesting piece. I admit that since Andrew Hill writes such incredible, entrancing compositions, and largely recorded with ensembles (and some of the very best ensembles, ever) I have never paid an extraordinary amount of attention to the mechanics of his playing (it's also been quite some time since I listened to any of his solo music). I will pull a few things out this week and do this.

Rodney Kendrick is a new name to me, I'll be sure check him out as well.

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Posted (edited)

Ok, definitely not Black (he’s Norwegian)…

And listening again now, I’m reminded this actually pushes a lot of my Ornette buttons (compositionally) — so maybe this doesn’t really hit the same realm.

But for the longest time I loosely categorized this as “somewhat Andrew Hill”-esque…

Håvard Wiik Trio - “Ball, Play” (opening track from “Postures” - Jazzland, 2003)

Here’s his Wikipedia entry…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%A5vard_Wiik

I have one other trio album of his…

https://www.discogs.com/master/1563075-H%C3%A5vard-Wiik-Trio-This-Is-Not-A-Waltz

Both albums are uniformly excellent.

Edited by Rooster_Ties
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3 hours ago, Joe said:

Curtis Clark perhaps?

 

Interesting thought. I can see it, though I should spend some time with the recordings and see where the split falls on original vs. inherited/codified language. No doubt a fascinating musician. 

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3 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Ok, definitely not Black (he’s Norwegian)…

And listening again now, I’m reminded this actually pushes a lot of my Ornette buttons (compositionally) — so maybe this doesn’t really hit the same realm.

But for the longest time I loosely categorized this as “somewhat Andrew Hill”-esque…

Håvard Wiik Trio - “Ball, Play” (opening track from “Postures” - Jazzland, 2003)

Here’s his Wikipedia entry…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%A5vard_Wiik

I have one other trio album of his…

https://www.discogs.com/master/1563075-H%C3%A5vard-Wiik-Trio-This-Is-Not-A-Waltz

Both albums are uniformly excellent.

Yeah, I like him quite a bit.

François Tusques is another non-Black pianist I'd say is very mystery school. But I digress.

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11 minutes ago, clifford_thornton said:

Yeah, I like him quite a bit.

François Tusques is another non-Black pianist I'd say is very mystery school. But I digress.

Not a digression at all! — that’s a whole reason I started this thread — to try and identify other players who are stylistically similar (regardless of ethnicity).

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Yes, he mentions him in the article as existing in this idiom, though in my opinion it's hard to place Ran squarely into any jazz continuum like you might with Hasaan or Herbie Nichols.

Posing more questions that I'm answering there. That's why you gotta love Ran.

i.e. is Ran a jazz musician? Sure, but he's also a folk musician. Is Sun Ra a folk musician? Yes. Is jazz folk music? Yes. But is jazz per Blake relatable to jazz per Sun Ra, or Mal Waldron? Not so sure. 

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