This site is dedicated to all things I see and that I think are interesting to publish almost always are other very smart people.


Legendary Saxophonist Sonny Rollins Opens Up About Self-Confidence in a Lost 1985 Interview

In a beautiful episode of “Notes from the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame“, a collaborative series from Quoted Studios and Jazz at Lincoln Center, an animated version of legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins opened up about his sense of self-confidence, his endless drive to be the best version of himself and that seminal night in 1959 when he went to practice his horn on the Williamsburg Bridge during a self-imposed musical sabbatical. This interview took place with journalist Ben Sidran on November 14, 1985.

It was beautiful because you’re playing against the air. You know the sky it was just a beautiful place to practice a horn. It’s a magical thing you know the keys are there on the piano but what you do with them Tuesday night is going to be different than anything you could have thought about Sunday. So this is the magic of it and it’s a beautiful life.

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WEBSITE: Jazz Near You Event Submission Form Improves


The Jazz Near You event submission form for single or recurring events was upgraded resulting in a more user-friendly experience while reducing submission time. The new interface is more intuitive and prompts the user for WHO, WHERE, and WHEN information with each of the three steps annotated for clarity…

MISHA MENGELBERG and ICP ORCHESTRA – Japan Japon (LP-1982 + 7inch single)

Label: Instant Composers Pool ‎– ICP 024, DIW ‎– DIW 1014,
           International Music Activity ‎– IMA 1
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Japan / Released: 1982
Style: Free Improvisation
Recorded on 11 May 1982 at Osaka and 17 May 1982 in Tokyo.
Recording Engineer by – Tsutomu Suto
Painting and design by – Tomiyasu Shiraiwa
Back cover photos by – Mitsuyoshi Nishida and Tsutomu Suto
Includes liner notes in Japanese by Kazunori Sugiyama
Produced by IMA (International Music Activity)
Co-produced by ICP (Instant Composers Pool)
This Japanese release included limited bonus 7inch single:
ICP ORCHESTRA – Caravan, DIW  1001, 33 1/3 rpm, (JAP) 1982
A1 – Salute To Fujisawa Shukoh ………………………………………… 2:50
A2 – Kwela …………………………………………………………………….. 17:42
a)      Hap
b)      Boodschappen
c)      Welkom
d)      Briefkaart
e)      Maurits
B1- Habanera …………………………………………………………………. 6:21
B2 – Carnaval ………………………………………………………………….. 3:35
B3- Japan Japon …………………………………………………………….. 7:10
B4- Zing Zang Zaterdag …………………………………………………… 3:14
C  –  Caravan (7inch single) ……………………………………………….. 7:12
Misha Mengelberg – piano, voice
Han Bennink – drums, percussion
Peter Brötzmann – tenor sax, alto sax, bass sax, voice
Keshavan Maslak – tenor sax, alto sax, voice
Michael Moore – alto sax, clarinet
Toshinori Kondo – trumpet, voice
Walter Wierbos – trombone
Joep Maassen – trombone
Larry Fishkind – tuba
Maurice Horsthuis – viola
Recorded live on May 11th (Osaka) and 17th (Tokyo),  ICP Orchestra Japan Tour in 1982.
Instant Composers Pool (ICP) is an independent Dutch jazz and improvised music label and orchestra. Founded in 1967, the label takes its name from the notion that improvisation is “instant composition”. The ICP label has published more than 50 releases to date, with most of its releases featuring the ICP Orchestra and its members.
In 1967 saxophonist Willem Breuker, pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink founded the ICP label in Amsterdam. Mengelberg and Bennink had been playing together since 1961 and found success as members of Eric Dolphy’s quartet in 1964, as documented on his live album Last Date. Mengelberg had also been involved in the Fluxus art movement and was developing a composition style that involved musical games. As European free jazz musicians, they were butting up against disinterest in their music from contemporary jazz labels, so they formed a cooperative as a means to release their own recordings. Mengelberg coined the label’s name as a testament to improvisation being composition at the instant that the music is played. ICP’s first records documented Breuker and Bennink’s New Acoustic Swing Duo, and a trio of Mengelberg and Bennink with John Tchicai, whose album was titled Instant Composers Pool…
Breuker left ICP in 1974 to concentrate on his group, the Willem Breuker Collective, and went on to found his own record label, BVHaast. Mengelberg and Bennink intensified their collaboration and, widening their own musical project as the Instant Composers Pool Tentet with saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and cellist Tristan Honsinger. Throughout the 1970s, the ICP label continued to release records, many as co-productions with other European independent labels, including albums by Jeanne Lee, Derek Bailey, Dudu Pukwana, Steve Lacy, Paul Rutherford, Evan Parker, Maarten Altena and Peter Brötzmann. Most of these releases were of limited (and sometimes even numbered) edition and featured a distinctive idiosyncratic graphic design by Bennink.

LP Japan Japon + 7inch single – Caravan

A stunning early 80s performance from pianist Misha Mengelberg – working here with the ICP Orchestra, and at a level that’s completely fresh and very striking – at a mode when the Dutch jazz approach was something very new indeed, and handled here with a wonderful balance between playful arrangements and fierce improvisations! In addition to Misha on piano, the lineup also includes Han Bennink on drums and percussion, Keshavan Maslak on alto, Walter Wierbos on trombone, Peter Brötzmann on alto and baritone, Maurice Horsthuis on viola, and Toshinori Kondo on trumpet – and most of the players vocalize at some point – but in ways that aren’t really singing, and instead act as a great addition to their improvised musicianship. Larry Fishkind also throws in some incredible work on tuba – really amazing sounds – and titles include “Kwela”, “Japan Japon”, “Habanera”, “Carnaval” and “Zing Zang Zaterdag”………
and +
ICP ORCHESTRA – Caravan, DIW  1001, 33 1/3 rpm, (JAP) 1982
One sided rare 7” , released together with ”Japan Japon” 12” LP
Another Japan released musical BOMB…. The legendary ICP Orchestra  under chef Mengelberg´s  leadership playing Ellington´s Caravan in a very wonderful and dreamy way… until… until… Peter Brötzmann enters the stage with some WILD blowing that makes hearts and clocks stop. Totally beautiful playing from Brötzmann, absolutely over the top. The greatest story teller of them all, hits again.
Listening to this music makes the world feel like a better place to be.


Paul Motian – Paul Motian: Old & New Masters (2013)

by exy

Paul MotianIn a time when leadership roles are being thrust increasingly upon young musicians who may have the chops, the technique and the theory, but not the experience, drummerPaul Motian could be considered a lesson in patience, in waiting for the right time, in holding off for the precise moment of readiness. It’s not that Motian couldn’t, perhaps, have begun a career leading groups sooner than November, 1972 when, at the age of 41, he entered Butterfly and Sound Ideas Studios in New York City with ECM producer Manfred Eicher. Creating what’s since become a classic recording that, from the get-go, demonstrated an approach to writing and leadership as distinctive as his extant work with a trifecta of significant pianists (Bill Evans, Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett), Conception Vessel (ECM, 1973)…

320 kbps | 687 MB | UL | CL | BS ** FLAC

…was proof positive that the Philadelphia-born drummer of Armenian background was, indeed, capable of music as esoteric as his increasingly textural approach to the kit.

Having lived through the evolution and refraction of jazz from the more straight-ahead swing of the 1940s through bebop and cool to the increasingly liberated ’60s, if the acquisition of a piano from Jarrett was Motian’s catalyst for learning how to notate the music he was hearing inside his head, then it was considerable hang time spent with Eicher in the early ’70s, when the producer traveled with Jarrett’s trio (including, at the time, Motian and bassist Charlie Haden) in Europe, that the concept for Motian’s first album as a leader became a reality.

Motian’s passing, in the fall of 2011, has left a huge gap in the jazz continuum; the drummer continued, throughout his life, to play not just with his contemporaries, but also acted as an important mentor for younger players, not only in more recent groups like his Electric Bebop Band and the nascent trio of Lost in a Dream(ECM, 2010)—whose full potential, cut short as it was, will never be fully realized—but throughout his career, perhaps most importantly in the formation of his thirty-year association with guitarist Bill Frisell and saxophonistJoe Lovano, first documented Psalm It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago (ECM, 1982).

Paul Motian, another installment of ECM’s Old & New Masters Edition series of box sets—culling albums from the label’s back catalog, many of them out of print, some of them never before on CD, and others never released on CD in their complete form—brings together Motian’s first six recordings for the label. From Conception Vesselthrough to It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago (ECM, 1985), they represent Motian’s emergence as a leader and writer of substance, before leaving the label for nearly two decades, returning in 2005, once again with Frisell and Lovano, for I Have the Room Above Her, continuing on as if he’d never left. In the interim, while Motian released albums as a leader for labels including Winter & Winter, JMT and Soul Note, he continued to record as a band member on ECM recordings by Paul Bley and Jarrett, as well as with pianists Marilyn Crispelland Carla Bley.

Paul Motian—Conception VesselHis new millennium return to the label was a welcome one, and if his final years were surprisingly busy, recording regularly for both ECM and Winter & Winter—despite a heart attack slowing his travel down before the other health issues that ultimately led to his passing eight months after his 80th birthday—then Paul Motian provides an opportunity to revisit where it all began, and follow Motian’s progress as a nascent leader in 1972 to a fully formed one by 1985.

Conception Vessel‘s relatively small personnel becomes even more diminutive when tracking the lay of the land. Of its six Motian originals, two feature trios with Haden and guitarist Sam Brown; one is a quartet with Haden, violinist Leroy Jenkins and flautist Becky Friend; one is a solo percussion piece; and two are duet tracks with Jarrett.

As pianist Ethan Iverson identifies in his liner notes to the box, looking at Conception Vessel in the context of its original form as an LP makes more sense: the first side being the two trio tracks with Brown, separated by Motian’s brief solo, “Ch’I Energie.” Those two trio tracks—with Brown using classical guitar on the opening “Georgian Bay” and electric on the considerably longer “Rebica”—reveal, beyond a certain folkloric innocence to some of Motian’s writing, that Brown could well have garnered more significant attention, had this largely overlooked and undervalued player not passed away in 1977 at the age of 38. Along with his playing onConception Vessel and Motian’s follow-up, 1975′s Tribute, Brown’s performance on Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse!, 1969), Jarrett’s uncharacteristic Expectations (Columbia, 1972) and vibraphonist Gary Burton‘s Gary Burton & Keith Jarrett (Atlantic, 1971) all reveal a player far more advanced than his session work for people like James Brown and Barry Manilow might suggest.

Here, on “Georgian Bay,” along with Motian’s delicate percussion Brown’s lightly finger-picked arpeggios create, an ethereal context for Haden, who solos with the kind of astute perfection that has characterized his entire career. When Brown solos, it’s in many ways an aesthetic precursor to later ECM albums by Ralph Towner, likeBatik(1978) and Bill Connors‘ Of Mist and Melting from the same year, though here, with Motian, the context is considerably freer, the structures more open. Brown’s playing changes, somewhat, on “Rebica,” though with both tracks being largely rubato, they’re of a kind that gives this first side to Conception Vessel its own vibe, its own sound.

The title track that opens side two of Conception Vessel‘s second side is a rare chance to hear Jarrett in an unadorned duo with a drummer. Compare this version to Motian’s take with Frisell and Lovano on It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago and Jarrett’s particular interpretive strengths are revealed. He has, of course, made a career of doing exactly that with his Standards Trio (for thirty years this year), but never with the kind of temporal freedom afforded here, where Motian’s eschewal of strict time and ears as perceptive as his partner’s makes this a high point in his career that’s all the more remarkable for being so early/, at least in relative terms.

The second duo track with Jarrett is a bit more of a curiosity, with Jarrett playing flute on “American Indian: Song of Sitting Bull”—further indication of Motian’s love of folkloric simplicity. Jarrett also played flute on his duo recording with DeJohnette, Ruta And Daitya (ECM, 1973), recorded the same year as Conception Vessel, and would continue to occasionally use it with his renowned American Quartet, culminating in another recording that stands out in his discography—the home-recorded, multi-tracked solo album Spirits (ECM, 1985). Still, this may be his first recording on which he played flute, and he’s a rawer, far less schooled player than Becky Friend, whose flute work alongside Leroy Jenkins on the nearly 10-minute closer. “Inspiration from a Vietnamese Lullaby,” begs the question: where did she go after this and why have we not heard more from her?”

Paul Motian—TributeWhat Paul Motian also reveals about the drummer’s first six recordings as a leader for the label, is that they can be easily grouped into three doubles. Unlike Conception VesselTribute(1975) has a consistent set of personnel across its five tracks—three Motian originals complemented by two tracks that first made their first appearance on Liberation Music Orchestra: Haden’s “Song for Ché,” which subsequently became something of a standard, interpreted by everyone from guitarist Marc Ribot to singerRobert Wyatt; and Ornette Coleman‘s “War Orphans,” a song that Haden had played with the saxophonist in ’67 and which would appear on future ECM recordings, including pianist Bobo Stenson‘s 1998 album of the same name, and Stenson Trio bassist Anders Jormin‘s beautiful but overlooked solo album, Xieyi (2001).

Tribute is more intrinsically focused than Conception Vessel, sharing three of its personnel in Haden and Brown, fleshed out to a quartet with a second guitarist, Paul Metzke and, on two tracks, a quintet with saxophonistCarlos Ward. Metzke may not be household name, but his subsequent résumé makes clear that he’s well-known amongst musicians, ranging from composer/arranger Gil Evansand saxophonist Gato Barbieri to drummers Joe Chambers and Al Foster. While Brown’s roots in jazz-rock are undeniable, Metzke is the more overtly pyrotechnic player on pieces like the 10-minute “Sod House.” But its Brown’s more understated, more textural approach that would ultimately inform Bill Frisell—quoted by Iverson in the liners as saying “I always forget to mention Sam Brown as an influence. I was really affected by him. Brown followed Jerry Hahn in the Gary Burton band, using a Telecaster with an overdriven, reverb-drenched sound.” Clearly a touchstone for the emerging Frisell.

Still, as much as it has ties to Conception Vessel and uses rubato as the foundation for three tunes, two ofTribute‘s compositions find Motian playing more clear and direct time than anything on the previous record. “Tuesday Ends Saturday” is a particular standout, with Haden and Motian driving forward while Brown and Metzke layer a floating melody over top, its expansive Americana vibe a possible early inspiration for another young guitarist, Pat Metheny, when he went into the studio to record with, amongst others, Charlie Haden, to record his seminal 80/81 (ECM, 1980). If Metzke is a more assertive player than Brown, he’s also an equally listening one, the two guitarist’s interlocking empathically while managing to avoid stepping on each other’s toes, even as Brown demonstrates a clearer attention to tone, texture, and, in his solos, motivic development. Metzke’s gymnastics are clearly informed, on the other hand, by early period John McLaughlin, circaExtrapolation (Polydor, 1969), with the same kind of clear articulation, even at brighter tempos/

Ward—by this time on the call list of pianist Dollar Brand (aka Abdullah Ibrahim), trumpeter/multi-instrumentalistDon Cherry and pianist/vibraphonist Karl Berger—only appears on two tracks, the episodic “Sod House” and album-opening “Victoria”—which, with Brown’s delicate, finger-picked arpeggios, is a clear successor toConception Vessel‘s “Georgian Bay” but with a broader, more expansive aural landscape. Despite the often liberated contexts in which he appears, on this record Ward tends to ground the music rather than elevate it.

Once again recorded in New York, Tribute may be more evolutionary than the revolutionary Conception Vessel, but benefits from significantly better sound, a quality that further enhances the next two records, with Eicher relocating the sessions to Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg—a recording studio that, with Martin Wieland at the board, had by then become a regular home for ECM along with Talent and then Rainbow Studio in Oslo, Norway. Shifting away from chordal contexts, both Dance (1978) and Le Voyage (1979) are trio recordings with saxophonist Charles Brackeen and, on bass, David Izenzon and J.F. Jenny-Clark respectively. Without any harmonic foundations each trio is free to explore the music from both horizontal and vertical perspectives.

Paul Motian—DanceReturning, in both cases, to all-Motian repertoires, Brackeen is a perfect foil to the increasingly melodic drummer—a stunning technician, to be sure, but one for whom color, candid evocation, deeper interconnectivity and allegiance to the heart of any composition were of far greater importance. Nowhere do these concepts coalesce better than on Dance‘s title track. Motian opens a cappella, playing the melody on his kit in a way that has clearly influenced subsequent generations of melodic drummers like Bill Stewart and Ari Hoenig. By the time Brackeen enters on soprano, the melody is already familiar, making the saxophonist’s performance a reiteration rather than a first-time revelation. It may be based on a relatively brief, relatively straightforward melodic conceit, but “Dance” demonstrates just how much can be done with simple but clear ideation. A military style snare drum and Izenzon’s sparely bowed bass line support Brackeen’s soprano-driven theme on the following “Kalypso,” the pulse opening up further with the introduction of additional overdubbed snare which then allows Motian to introduce cymbals and hand percussion as Izenzon bows out and Brackeen begins to further expound on the composition’s sketch-like roadmap.

Another musician who passed on far too early, Izenzon was a bassist with plenty of promise, already well-established as a member of Ornette Coleman’s mid-’60s trio on Blue Note but also playing with saxophonistArchie Shepp and, most curiously, singer Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band, recording with the wife of The BeatlesJohn Lennonin the early ’70s before taking a break to care for his son, who had become ill around that time. After acquiring his PhD in psychology and starting Potsmokers Anonymous, Dance represented Izenson’s return to active playing that was cut short when he died in 1979 at the age of 47. Motian called upon Jenny-Clarke—a bassist already familiar to ECM fans of trumpeters Enrico Rava and Kenny Wheeler, appearing on the Italian’sEnrico Rava Quartet the year before—to replace Izenzon on Le Voyage, released the same year as the expat Canadian, British-resident’s Around 6 in 1979.

Combining the spare, profound melodism of “Folk Song for Rosie” with more extreme passages of visceral power on “Abacus” before Jenny-Clarke joins in with Motian for a little time-based extrapolation, Le Voyage is the first Motian album to have songs so memorable and engaging tthat the drummer would continue to revisit them, time and again: “Song for Rosie” would later show up on Misterioso (Soul Note, 1986) and At the Village Vanguard(Winter & Winter, 1995); in addition to also revisiting “Abascus” on the same two recordings, it would also appear on the drummer’s 1992 duo record with Paul Bley, Flux & Change (Soul Note) and again, fifteen years later, on Lost in a Dream; the solo “Drum Music” would appear on Jack of Clubs (Soul Note, 1984) and Lost in a Dream; and “Sunflower” would reappear, sixteen years later, on At the Village Vanguard.

All this suggests that Motian’s acumen as a writer was really beginning to solidify by this time. The next step was to establish greater permanency in lineups, and the final two albums in this box accomplish just that. Psalmmay be a quintet record and It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago a trio set, but both feature the core group of Motian, Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell, a relationship that began in 1981 when they entered Tonstudio Bauer to record Psalm with saxophonist Billy Drewes and bassist Ed Schuller. It was a quintet that would continue for five more years and three more Soul Note records—1983′s The Story of Maryam, 1984′s Jack of Clubs and 1986′sMisterioso, with Jim Pepper replacing Drewes on all three—but ultimately the quintet proved not to possess the same longevity as the trio, which would be a part of Motian’s life right through to his death.

Paul Motian—PsalmAt this time, Frisell was still an emerging talent, though he’d already proven himself, albeit somewhat tentatively, as a guitarist to keep an eye on with bassist Eberhard Weber‘s Fluid Rustle(ECM, 1979). That session led to work with bassist Arild Andersen and the stellar live recording, Molde Concert(ECM, 1982), as well as a two-year tenure in saxophonist Jan Garbarek‘s group for Paths, Prints (ECM, 1982) and Wayfarer (ECM, 1983), as well as a return appearance with Weber on Later That Evening (ECM, 1982). If Frisell appeared to be ECM’s de facto house guitarist at the time, it was because he’d grown in leaps and bounds over this relatively short period, a singularly distinctive, idiosyncratic guitarist whose harmonic approach and ability to create previously unheard sonic landscapes was, at that time, truly unparalleled.

The muscular but acutely aware Lovano, on the other hand, may have been new to ECM with Psalm. but had cut his teeth in big bands of Woody Herman and Mel Lewis before being recruited by Motian for an album that stands out in the drummer’s ECM discography as one that actually almost rocks. If Motian’s approach remains as loose, unfettered and textural as ever, he can be heard, for the first time since hooking up with Eicher and ECM, actually playing a backbeat on Psalm‘s “White Magic.” The ever-inventive Lovano and Drewes somehow manage to orbit around and unite with one another in magical synchronicity, while Schuller anchors the tune and Frisell turns in a performance that explains why, suddenly, everyone seemed to want to work with him. Strangely constructed, cascading overdriven lines contrast with swelling, long-sustaining and strangely skewed chords, his early use a 16-second delay device contributing to a sound that can only be described as cinematic, without ever being overblown or excessively dominant.

Frisell’s expansive landscape also provides the foundation for Psalm‘s opening title track, a slowly unfolding piece of brooding lyricism. If this were to be someone’s first exposure to the guitarist, the only rational response might have been “what the…?” Schuller’s robust arco, Motian’s gentle colors and the interaction of Lovano, Drewes and Frisell (who simultaneously maintains that head-scratching foundation) makes for a transcendent, seven perfectly titled minutes.

Motian’s love of “changes, no time” and “time, no changes” are still to be found, but with a larger group and broader textural and rhythmic palette, Psalm is the record where Motian’s group concept and writing finally catch up with each other. He even turns to real song form, with the light Latin rhythm of “Mandeville” blending curiously with its countrified I-IV-V changes. Frisell carries both the changes and the melody, as Lovano and Drewes move in, out and around them, leading to a solo from Schuller that proves the bassist an equally fine melodist. “Etude” is a Frisell solo, but one predicated on a Motian melody, leading to the closing “Yahllah” that, despite the ultimate participation of the entire quintet, is the true precursor to the drummer’s decision to trim the quintet down to a trio.

While it’s no longer unusual to hear a group without a bassist—especially a group with a drummer—at the time of It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago it was less common and, in Motian’s egalitarian approach, downright revolutionary. Allowing for an overall more ethereal landscape, Motian’s trio—even at this early stage—builds a language that relies on every member’s strength and imagination to, if not exactly fill in the blanks (there are plenty of spaces left most intentionally open) then, at least, to create collective orchestral cinematics within the context of such a diminutive lineup.

Paul Motian—It Should've Happened a Long Time AgoHere, as Frisell would for a few other recordings including his work on bassistMarc Johnson‘s Bass Desires (ECM, 1986) and his own Rambler (ECM, 1985) (the guitarist’s second recording as a leader for ECM (or anyone), after 1983′s In Line), the guitarist also employed guitar synthesizer to expand his palette even further. It certainly affords him no shortage of timbral freedom on tracks like the relatively incendiary “Fiasco,” which alternates between Motian dueting with Frisell and Motian in tandem with Lovano. Despite the synth’s ability to harmonize and create very un-guitar-like sounds, Frisell—much like fellow guitaristJohn Abercrombie—would ultimately desert the instrument, at most and as an alternative, working with a larger array of guitar processors that gave him many of the same possibilities. Elsewhere, during certain periods in his career, Frisell has used absolutely no processing whatsoever, which didn’t matter because Frisell could pick up a ukulele (as he has) and it would be instantly recognizable.

The same can be said of Lovano and Motian; what this trio seems to have afforded everyone is an opportunity, like no other, to explore the entire jazz canon—sometimes alone, sometimes augmented. Subsequent to It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago, Motian began releasing his music other labels, in particular using this trio as the core for tributes to pianists Thelonious Monk (1988′s Monk in Motian, with guest pianist Geri Allen and saxophonist Dewey Redman) and Bill Evans (1990′s Bill Evans, with former Evans bassist Marc Johnson), in addition to releasing three On Broadway volumes on JMT, released in 1988, 1989 and 1993, added Charlie Haden and, on Volume 3, saxophonist Lee Konitz, and tackling 32 jazz standards and Brill Building hits in the drummer and his trio’s most inimitable fashion.

But it all began here, on ECM, with Psalm and It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago—and on an even broader scale, with every record included in Paul Motian, a marvelous six-disc collection that, for those with some of the titles, will fill in the blanks, and for those new to Motian’s early work as a leader (or Motian, period), a most revealing four hours of music where someone who’d already established himself as one of jazz’s most important drummers, took the giant leap to become one of jazz’s most significant, innovative and forward-reaching composers and bandleaders. When Motian died in 2011 he was still regularly stretching the boundaries; whether familiar with Motian or not, the early journey of Paul Motian is one well worth taking—time and time again.

Personnel: Paul Motian: percussion (CD1-4, CD6), drums (CD3-6); Keith Jarrett: piano (CD1#4), flute (CD1#5); Sam Brown: guitar (CD1#1, CD1#3), acoustic guitar (CD2), electric guitar (CD2); Leroy Jenkins: violin (CD1#5); Becky Friend: flute (CD1#5); Charlie Haden: double bass (CD1#1, CD1#3, CD1#5, CD2); Carlos Ward: alto saxophone (CD2); Paul Metzke: guitar (CD2); Charles Brackeen: soprano and tenor saxophones (CD3-4); David Izenzon: double bass (CD3); J.F> Jenny-Clark: double bass (CD4); Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone (CD5-6); Billy Drewes: alto saxophone (CD5); Bill Frisell: guitar (CD5-6), guitar synthesizer (CD6); Ed Schuller: bass (CD5).

Tashi Wada for Stephan Mathieu

World premiere of “Revenant” (June 9, 2011), a piece for Virginal by Tashi Wada, commissioned and performed by Stephan Mathieu.

The concert was held as part of the “Alterminimalismes” concert series at the Collège des Bernardins (Paris).

Some brew to toast Miles Davis’ birthday

Happy 85th birthday, Miles Davis.

I don’t usually post the better part of concerts on the blog, but given the occasion, I’ll make an exception. Here’s a 2006 concert in New York in which saxophonist Bob Belden, trumpeter Tim Hagans, keyboardist Scott Kinsey, bassist Matt Garrison and drummer Guy Licata and tuntablist DJ Logic performed the music of Bitches Brew.

If you’d like to play the music independent of the videos, it can be found on the recently released disc Asiento, on RareNoise Records. (FYI, Belden’s group goes by the name Animation.)

Last August, Columbia released two deluxe Bitches Brew sets, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Davis double-LP’s release. Included with both sets was a DVD of a previously unissued Davis quintet performance in Copenhagen in November 1969. Here’s the promo clip for the anniversary set.

Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra-Gütersloh, Germany(May-15 1993)

Recently uploaded by request for a Friend,another transcendent set by the great musical Alchemist/Shaman Tony Oxley who is one of our very favourites here at IS.

For me this is transformative ritual urban folk music ,for a decaying civilization.
FM BROADCAST in brutaly vivid ,superb sound quality..almost terrifying in its intensity.


Tony Oxley – Celebration Orchestra


Gütersloh, Germany,
Alte Weberei, Westfälisches Musikfest 1993

Alexandra Nauman, Phil Minton,voc
Johannes Bauer,tb
Ernst Ludwig Petrowsky,as,cl Frank Gratkowski,as,cl,bcl
Phil Wachsmann,vio Alex Kolkowski,vio
Marcio Mattos,cello Alfred Zimmerlin,cello
Hans Rempel,prepared-p
Tony Oxley,dr Stefan Hölker,dr Joe Thönes,dr
Pat Thomas,electronics Matt Wand,electronics


1 The Triple Cabinet Of The Tried 72:37
2 Announcement Speaker 1:51

Check Oxley’s Bio and Discog.

Originally downloaded as a torrent from Dime-a-Dozen, thanks to the original taper,seeder, traders.

PS…I have retained the Seeders …original info file , i meant to, but forgot to correct one detail a substitution of Matt Wand, for the mistaken Matt Wendt in said file… (its corrected in the post..above)


My favourite jazz photos of 2010

The shooters at the Ottawa Citizen took some excellent jazz photos this year, by and large at the TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival. First, check out these three snaps by David Kawai, taken during the festival’s final weekend, of Tom Harrell, Christian Scott and Dave Brubeck:

Here are three from Ashley Fraser, of George Benson, Roy Hargrove and Gil Scott-Heron:

And finally, here is Jean Levac’s photo of Joe Lovano:

Trio X live at roulette;;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0” /><embed src=”;;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0


Roulette TV: JOE MCPHEE / TRIO X from Roulette Intermedium on Vimeo.

© stef


Bird: Complete Savoy & Dial

by Marc Myers

What better time than Thanksgiving week to rave about Bird Imagesand a feast. Bird, of course, is alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, and the feast is Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings, an eight-CD set that was released in 2000. I finally grabbed a copy after years spent listening to the master takes in one form or another and was blown away by the package. Like you, I used to think that alternate takes of Parker’s Savoy and Dial dates were for neurotics and fussy completists. Not so. If you don’t already own this box, do yourself a favor and consider treating yourself to an early holiday gift. It’s a miraculous set.

First, the sound of the remastering and the quality of the multi-author liner notes are revealing and Screen shot 2010-11-21 at 9.05.19 PMremarkable. But more to the point, the set—with all of the alternate takes and false starts—allows you to hear a double evolution: Parker developing as an artist over a four-year period and Parker working through a range of ideas on individual songs that would change jazz’s direction.

The Savoy and Dial studio dates are without a doubt the most fascinating of all Cover162Parker’s recordings. Parker’s Clef and Norgran studio recordings for Norman Granz that would follow (starting in December 1947) also are rich and illuminating. But they are largely American Songbook interpretations and aren’t nearly as urgent, complex or deeply anchored in the blues.

In the jazz world of the 1940s, Parker’s jaw-dropping ability to play Cover066fast and flawlessly, inventing an endless pattern of blues lines along the way, was a record company’s dream. But grinding away at this enormous gift was Parker’s chronic irresponsibility—a flaw exacerbated by his growing addiction to heroin.

Parker came to Savoy in September 1944 as part of guitarist Tiny Grimes’ quintet. He recorded again for the Images-1label as part of Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet in February 1945. Then in November 1945, Parker recorded as a leader for the first time on a session that produced KoKo, a searing burst of creativity based on the chord changes to Cherokee. In December 1945, Parker was back in the Savoy studio, recording as a sideman for pianist and session leader Slim Gaillard.

After the 1945 holidays, Parker and Gillespie headed out to Los Angeles for several Parkermooseweeks to play at Billy Berg’s in Hollywood. But their run failed to leave a deep enough impression to sustain them out there. When Gillespie left for New York, a drug-addled Parker could not be found and remained behind. It was during this period on the West Coast that Parker was discovered by Ross Russell, the owner of Dial, who signed him to the label and recorded him as a leader starting in February 1946.

But Parker’s drug use grew progressively worse, and following a July 1946 recording session for Dial, Parker returned to his Los Angeles hotel and set fire to the room in a fit of depression and frustration. Arrested, he was sentenced to six months at Camarillo State Hospital. When he emerged in January 1947, he began to record for Dial again, heading back to New York in the spring.

Upon his return, Parker formed a quintet with trumpeter Miles Cover095Davis and in May 1947 began recording again for Savoy. In August 1947 he recorded on tenor sax for a session led by Davis—two ruses suggested by Savoy’s owner Herman Lubinksy to mask Parker’s identity from Russell of Dial, who had threatened to sue Lubinsky over his use of Parker in defiance of his Dial contract.

In December 1947, Russell traveled to New York and recorded a long list of tracks with Parker in advance of a pending recording ban. Union musicians did indeed strike in January 1948, halting all recording until the fall, when the labor dispute was settled. Parker resumed recording for Savoy in September 1948, his final session for the label.

This box represents that story—set to music. While many jazz fans have the Savoy or Dial tracks in pieces Cover036or own the master takes depending on the CD, the alternate takes and false starts are essential parts of the creative tale. I’ve come to believe that every musical sketch, idea and error on this set is critical to understanding Parker’s artistic development and sense of control. The struggle to create this music—to come to grips with its complexity and the dexterity needed to pull it off—is told in full here. Every track is mandatory for a full understanding of Parker’s gift.

You also get to visit with some lesser-known Parker gems like Perhaps, Stupendous and Bluebird. In addition, the set’s liner Charlie+Parker+Savoy+(front)-1notes have been penned by a fleet of authortiative writers. Authors in order include Orrin Keepnews, Ira Gitler, James Patrick, Bill Kirchner and Bob Porter, whose Q&A interview with Savoy producer Teddy Reig is invaluable.

This set features Parker as blacksmith, pounding away with hammer on anvil to forge a new form of jazz that continues to be played today. What’s most remarkable is that no one since has duplicated Parker’s resounding overhaul of jazz, a feat that remains as exciting now as it was more than 60 years ago. All that music in just four short years.

JazzWax tracks: You’ll find the eight-CD box Charlie Screen shot 2010-11-21 at 9.05.19 PMParker: The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings here.

JazzWax note: When this box set was released, there was a technical error in disc #4. Specifically, the entire Donna Lee session was in need of pitch correction due to a computer error. I’m told Savoy will replace disc #4 for free with a corrected version. To contact the company for this replacement, go here, click on “contact us” and type “Charlie Parker Box” in the subject line.

JazzWax clip: Here’s a lesser-known Parker original for Savoy, Bird Gets the Worm…



Melissa Aldana Trio & The Adam Larson Quintet


E.C.M. Records

The ECM Catalogue – published in Japan

Many years ago ECM already published its catalogue in black & white, but now the Japanese distributor, Kenny Inaoka, edited the full catalogue at the occasion of the label’s 40th anniversary in 2009.

Few record labels have managed to create such a distinctive market positioning as ECM did over the years, with carefully selected musicians, impeccable recording quality, superb art work and an overall refinement that set the label quite apart from many other jazz labels. ECM’s positioning even affected the sound of the music, which under Manfred Eicher’s production, often became very sophisticated and sometimes even somewhat sterile to the die-hard jazz fan, who would argue that the “soul” was taken out of the music, resulting in somewhat spacious neo-romantic impressionism, not the music to play in smoky bars, but rather in concert halls or churches.  That positioning was also reflected in the name “ECM-jazz”, with special shelf space in the record stores next to the regular jazz section.

It is also no surprise that a significant part of the art work reflects that spaciousness, with pictures of horizons, of landscapes and seascapes, with lots of sky, especially in the eighties.

On the other hand nobody will deny that the label also has the “real jazz” and even historically significant ones, such as Old & New Dreams, Lester Bowie, George Lewis, Dave Holland, Art Ensemble Of Chicago. ECM also started looking beyond jazz, adding world music and new age elements to the catalogue, but without straying away from jazz totally, think of musician such as Shankar, or the great collaboration of Jan Garbarek with Usted Fatih Ali Khan, or the introduction of Tunesian oud player Anouar Brahem to broader audiences. He did the same for more rock-influenced musicians such as Terje Rypdal, Nils Petter Molvaer or David Torn, creating a dynamic of musicians who had never met before but who were brought together by Eicher’s vision.

I am also sure that Eicher helped a number of musicians to become a lot better than they would have been in different cirumstances and with different producers. Without a doubt the best work by Tomasz Stanko and Enrico Rava is to be found on the label. But just also think about the many names of fantastic artists who would have remained in total obscurity outside their native country, if it had not been for Eicher’s excellent ear for quality, regardless of genre : think of musicians like Egberto Gismonti, Eleni Karaindrou, Dino Saluzzi, Trygve Seim, Kim Kashkashian.

But of course the real ECM artists are Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Jan Garbarek, John Surman, Gary Peacock, John Abercrombie, Eberhard Weber, Arild Andersen.

The catalogue counts more than 700 pages and includes all of the officially released albums issued on ECM – and its subsidiary JAPO – from 1969 until 2010.

The first section of the book has six covers per page in full color, in chronological order, the second section gives details for each album: musicians, composers, track titles, recording and production details. This part also has succinct reviews in Japanese of each album.

The last section is a very useful alphabetical index by title and by musician, which makes it possible for instance to easily find all the albums on which Jack DeJohnette contributes.

This is an extremely interesting and nice-to-have book, very carefully assembled. Fans of ECM will surely love this catalogue. It is perfectly readable and enjoyable to those of us who don’t read Japanese, but a complete English version would of course be welcome too.

It can be purchased from ECM.

My personal ECM history

ECM basically introduced me to jazz, with Abercrombie’s “Timeless” and Jack DeJohnette’s “New Directions” being the first albums, then it quickly turned into an addiction. I was mesmerised by the sound and the art work, by the total package actually, walking to the store every week to spend my savings on the new albums, returning quite disappointed if there was nothing new. I bought without even knowing what the music would sound like, actually a great way of learning new things – and to loose a lot of money. There are albums I listened to no more than once or twice, but others that I listened to over and over and over, with the Don Cherry albums being my absolute favorite, followed by the Keith Jarrett quartets.

When young myself, I met an 18-year old girl (beautiful, intelligent, cultured, sporting, friendly, warm-hearted, open-minded) who owned – so I discovered – and listened to this wild abstract album by Chick Corea, Dave Holland & Barry Altschul. Do you know 18-year olds who listen to this kind of music? I married her. She’s still my wife.

On the artwork of some albums :

I have always been baffled by the photo of this phenomenal album by Keith Jarrett. The picture was made by Jarrett himself. It has this eery look of desolation in open space: closed shutters, empty chairs, empty swimming pool, full of contradiction, while being quite normal at the same time. The photo also has this yellowy and misty sheen over it, at sundown. Strange …

The picture on this album by Gary Burton is by Roberto Masotti. It is typically ECM: lots of sky, somewhat threatening and dark, with a horizontal line, and then a man-made element full of color in contrast. Absolutely beautiful, and 100% ECM.

So is this one by Jan Garbarek, officially called “Photo With Blue Sky, White Cloud, Wires, Windows and a Red Roof”, the only album in which the title actually refers to the picture, this one made by Eberhard Grames.

Or what about this one by John Surman : “The Amazing Adventures Of Simon Simon” : who is this man? why the double name? Again, horizon and sky? Why the picture taken from the back with a flash? The same concept of person photographed from the back is on another John Surman album “Withholding Patterns”, but also on David Darling’s “Cycles”, but now I see that all three pictures are made by Christian Voigt.

This is a perfect picture for the album : dark and romantic like the music by Krzistof Komeda as interpreted by Tomasz Stanko, like a nightmarish dive into the deep universal unconscious sucked up by waves that appear to be inescapable, exploding almost in the middle of the dark expanse.

In the 90s and 00s, the pictures turn black and equally hard to place. Here on Anouar Brahems’s “Astrakn Café”, the picture is completely fuzzy with two men of which the one with the (astrakan?) hat is clearly smoking. Had you seen pictures like this before on album covers?

The ECM art work becomes black and white with a bluish shade : it cannot get any artsier, as illustrated by this album by Vasilis Tsabropolous.

Again, just for the sheer beauty and gloomy romanticism : it is all about sky and vastness, often cold, like here with trees without leaves, with the freedom of the birds frozen in the sky. Yet the aesthetic, like in the music is undeniable and of a very specific high level. Album here is “Songs Of Another” by Savina Yanatou.

With a doubt the most used image is that of the sea, possibly the best metaphor for the nature of a lot of ECM’s music – expansive, spacious, beautiful.










from JazzWax by Marc Myers

Interview: Fats Domino (Part 1)

Last Wednesday I was in New Orleans for the Wall Street Journal to Picture 2a interview Fats Domino. You’ll find my conversation with rock’s creator on the “Leisure & Arts” page of today’s Personal Journal section. Or go here. The interview was something of a coup, since the early rocker rarely grants interviews. I can tell you that New Orleans and those close to Fats, including his loving family, are wonderful, loving, soulful people who are rightly proud of their city and their most famous and beloved living artist. [Pictured: Fats tapping out his famed beat on the back of my hand. Photo by Haydee Ellis]

Next Monday, Fats, 82, will be honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with his long-time collaborator Dave Bartholomew, 89, Names of ,fats

for their contribution to the music 61 years ago. For those not in the know, Fats and Dave [pictured below] were the first to transform r&b into what quickly became known as rock ‘n’ roll. Fats’ 1949 recording of “The Fat Man” for Imperial Records has been credited as being the first pure rock single. Before we argue about how far back r&b goes (to the late 1930s), there’s actually a pointed difference between r&b and rock ‘n’ roll. Without getting Images-1

technical, Fats and Dave’s sound combined piano triplets with a backbeat that emphasized the second and fourth beats. Once Fats started racking up hits with that sound and beat beginning in 1950, success followed rapidly, making him rock’s first wealthy superstar in the early 1950s.

Of course, with success comes imitation and adaptation. Such was the case as Bill Haley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly all Images-2

began to incorporate Fats and Dave’s money-making beat into their own songs. Elvis regularly referred to Fats in public as “the real king of rock ‘n’ roll.” Just how popular was Fats? He sold more than 110 million records and had 66 pop hits (two more than the Beatles while they were a group). There were even more hits if you include his hits on the r&b chart. Fats and Dave wrote the words and music to many of those hits, and the pair became rock’s first successful singer-songwriting team. Fats was among the original 16 Images-11 legends inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and his recording of Blueberry Hill is #18 on the NEA’s Songs of the Century list, just above Kate Smith’s God Bless America and just after Duke Ellington’s Take the A Train. Dave, meanwhile, penned more than 400 songs, including Elvis’ One Night. [Photo of Fats Domino and Elvis Presley in the late 1960s]

Fats’ big hits include Ain’t That a Shame, I’m in Love Again, Blueberry Hill, Blue Monday, I’m Walkin’, I Want to Walk You Home and Walkin’ to New Orleans. Images-3Many were million sellers and united black and white teens in segregated dance halls across the South in the 1950s. While virtually all public places had “colored” entrances and facilities, radio could not be segregated. You turned the dial, and there was the music. Songs either moved you or they didn’t, and Fats’ foot-tapping hits were wildly appealing to millions of listeners, becoming a powerful unifying force.

For me, meeting Fats was a special moment. As we shook hands (they are thick and strong, like a boxer’s), I couldn’t help but think that here was the guy who started rock Images-5 ‘n’ roll. But his accomplishments transcend the beat. Just one look at a Fats Domino YouTube clip makes you realize that this guy had (and has) enormous charisma. His smile can melt ice. During our interview, when his eyes narrowed and that grin stretched across his face, I couldn’t help but feel the same glow that swept over teens so many years ago. I can’t think of anyone else I’ve met with that kind of instant wattage, kindness and sincerity.

Fats and I spoke at the Mahalia Jackson Theater, where New Orleans’ Early Childhood & Family Learning Foundation was honoring Images-6

him and others with a lifetime achievement award. The foundation staged a concert extravaganza last Wednesday night that included the Louisiana Philharmonic, Dr. Michael White, Ellis Marsalis and Germaine Bazzle. Fats clearly was excited by all the kids running around, especially as they rushed up during intermission to seek his autograph. Fats obliged and signed every piece of paper put before him. “You gotta make kids happy,” he said to me.

Interestingly, Fats’ role as an accidental integrationist in the 1950s wasn’t of primary concern to him at the time. Yes, at many of those events, Fats said, he and L14061ujmct-1 band members had to dodge bottles as fights broke out among those who didn’t like seeing black couples and white couples on the same dance floor. But Fats said he wasn’t crusading while performing. He said was too busy singing and having fun spreading the gospel of his New Orleans beat.

As was the case with my early interviews with Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, I always learn something new from my in-depth research and conversations. With Fats, what was instantly clear is that music is first and foremost entertainment and that its purpose is to make Images-8

listeners have a better understanding of themselves and life’s possibilities. As Fats said to me as we were leaving, “Seeing people happy just makes me happier and happier.” Not to get all Hairspray, but it’s fascinating to hear first-hand that rock ‘n’ roll began as music meant to create neutral space for teens and to let them have fun, free from the constrained and entrenched belief system of their parents. Teen music is still like that today.

Tomorrow, how I spent my time in New Orleans and my lunch with Dave Bartholomew and his son Don.

JazzWax tracks: The best, most reasonably priced, 513rUAe6DlL._SL500_AA300_ remastered set of Fats Domino’s singles is the two-CD Fats Domino: The American Chart Hits (Jasmine). You’ll find it here.

JazzWax note: To learn more about the Early Childhood & Family Learning Foundation and to make a donation, go here.

A special thanks to Hank O’Neal, Eric Paulsen, Haydee and Steve Ellis, Phyllis Landrieu, Adonica Domino, and Don and Ron Bartholomew.

JazzWax clips: You can’t fully understand the power of Fats Domino unless you see him in action. This is music when jazz, r&b and rock all intersected and the music was just fun.

Here’s Fats on the Ed Sullivan Show in November 1956 singing Blueberry Hill. Sullivan hid Fats’ backup band behind a curtain to limit the number of black musicians TV viewers would see on stage. Sullivan also had Fats stand at the end to show audiences and advertisers that Fats was no threat. Despite Sullivan’s wound-tight sensibilities, Fats bristles with joy, love and innocence.

Here’s Fats in 1986 from the Austin City Limits concert singing Blue Monday

Enja Records

Masahiko Sato,Peter Warren, Pierre Favre-‘trinity’ 1971 enja

from inconstant sol by SOTISE

Heres a wonderful record , following on from Onxdlibs,incredible share of Masahiko Togashi’s speed space also Featuring M.Sato.

This was the 5th release on the Fledgling ENJA label ,who back then were among the few independent s putting out challenging material , in a totally free vein.

This is the sort of gig that a label like Intakt would now put out.
2 side long Totally free improvisations rooted in the traditions of jazz language , and the Darmstadt Avant guard of the day.

Sato’s subtle use of ring modulator , is very reminiscent of the sound effects on Alois Kontarskys piano , on the original recording of Stockhausen’s Mantra.
All three Musicians are still active as far as i know , though both Sato and Warren have since the 70’s focused more on making modern mainstream Jazz orientated recordings.

Pierre Favre continues as an occasional free improviser , composer and band leader in rewardingly challenging territory.
A lot of his current projects can be found on the aforementioned Intakt label ,which he co founded with Irene Schweizer.

Given that this record did the rounds a few years ago as mp’3s , I’ll stick to the Flacs

PS .. this rip is taken from a first pressing , and has been well loved , i’ve done very little by way of cleaning , very light crackle sweep& in some places removal; of a few ‘objects’..
I and i’m sure many others would welcome a remastered cd edition of, this great lp.


THREADGILL CONTEST #2:This Brings Us To, Vol. 2

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]
Henry Threadgill Zooid
This Brings Us To, Volume 2
Pi Recordings : 2010

HT; alto; Jose Davila, tuba; Liberty Ellman, guitar; Stomu Takeishi, acoustic bass guitar; Elliot Humberto Kavee, drums.

Hey there! We’ve had a great response to the first part of our Threadgill week giveaways: y’all are very knowledgeable fans of the music. (Also? Criminally handsome/beautiful.) Today’s prize promises to be a little easier, especially for any new initiates out there….

A brand-new copy of the brand-spankin’-new CD of This Brings Us To, Volume 2. This is the second half of what was one of last year’s best jazz releases; both sessions were recorded at one time, just after the band came off tour. Our thanks to the fine folks at Pi for providing this booty.

We are thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Put your guess in the comments of this post. One guess only and please try not to duplicate other selections; check through the comments before entering. Contest deadline: Midnight, Monday, Nov. 8th. The person who nails our number — or comes closest — wins. Good luck!

N.B.! We are also giving away a copy of this same album over at our Facebook page. The only requirement there is that you “like” the page before entering. Same basic format, only a wider number range there: 1 to 200. Feel free to enter both!

more Fresh Air from George

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Fresh Air from George

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

by Marc Myers

Interview: Will Friedwald (Part 1)

Will Friedwald is one of the most knowledgeable writers on Picture 2American Songbook singers. Will’s byline appears regularly inThe Wall Street Journal, and he’s author of eight books, including revealing works on Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Will also is one of the nicest and most generous people around, and in this business, that’s saying something.

Will’s latest book is A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and ImagesPop Singers(Pantheon). The subtitle of this 811-page bedside companion could easily be The Will Friedwald Reader, since each entry is akin to a friendly journalistic essay. Like all solid authorities and essayists, Will wriggles into his subjects, providing sharp analysis and little-known details as he takes strong positions. This is what makes Will so pleasurable to read. That and the fact that Will strives to entertain, much like the singers he writes about.

For example, here’s how he opens his entry on Jo Stafford:

“Maybe it’s me, but as much as I love Jo Stafford, I find that of all the major jazz-influenced pop vocalists, she’s the1hardest to talk about, or, rather, the nature of her appeal is the hardest to pin down. In a way, it’s easier to talk about what Jo Stafford isn’t rather than what she is: She isn’t warm and friendly, for instance, like her contemporaries Rosemary Clooney or Doris Day—there’s no mistaking that they sing so obviously from the heart and never leave us wondering why we like them so much. Neither does she belong with Ella Fitzgerald and Images-19Sarah Vaughan, two great jazz singers who, in Ms. Stafford’s description of Fitzgerald ‘give more weight to the melody than to the lyric.’ Perhaps she is the spiritual foremother of those cool and reserved singers like Chris Connor and Jeri Southern, who make you look a little harder to find the emotion; it’s there all right, but like the silver lining, you have to look for it.”

In Part 1 of my two-part interview with Will, 49, he talks about his new book and the differences between pop, jazz and cabaret singers:

JazzWax: Instead of writing an encyclopedia, your book actually is a loving and enjoyable appreciation of dozens of jazz and pop vocalists.
Will Friedwald: When my editor, Robert Gottlieb, and I first Images-5discussed the book, we envisioned a conventional encyclopedia. Short entries on lots of artists. But the book gradually evolved into something else.

JW: Why?
WF: There’s a lot of information out there on the Internet and elsewhere, and it no longer seemed to serve any point to just offer the most basic biographical outline of a given artist.

JW: What did you two decide?
WF: Rather than providing barebones entries of artists, it seemed more interesting to provide full-scale evaluations. Images-7The plan wasn’t to omit the important facts of a performer’s life but to tell you why that artist is interesting and what makes him or her special or different.

JW: Ultimately what the reader has in hand is a comprehensive collection of engaging essays.
WF: I was trying to create a reference book that you didn’t just refer to but you could actually read for enjoyment rather than just research.

JW: What exactly is the difference between a jazz singer and pop singer?
WF: This was a long-running discussion that I had with the Images-8late Mel Torme. Mel argued that when we talk about “jazz singers,” we’re talking about a gradual degree of jazziness.

JW: What does that mean?
WF: Torme believed there were relatively few “pure” jazz singers. When asked to name one, he’d Socialoften say that the closest he could come was Betty Carter. Interestingly, he didn’t put himself in that category. He felt that jazz was an important ingredient in his music but that it was hardly the whole dish.

JW: What then defines a jazz singer?
WF: A pure jazz singer would be someone who did virtually nothing but improvise, who almost never sang any kind of Images-9pre-written melody or even words—someone who just got up there and scatted spontaneously with a rhythm section. Mel didn’t necessarily regard even Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan as pure jazz singers 100% of the time.

JW: What do you think?
WF: A great many popular vocalists who sing the great American Songbook have a degree of jazz in their music. And there was a lot of pop even in canonical jazz singersImages-10like Fitzgerald and Vaughan. They improvised more than most singers, but they also sang the melody straight, they sang pop songs, and in their day they competed for the same audience as other singers. They also weren’t working in an exclusively jazz context.

JW: And the reverse is true, yes?
WF: Absolutely. Many of the major artists we consider pop stars had a great deal of jazz in their work.

JW: For example?
WF: Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Peggy Lee—who was always a jazz singer and a pop singer at the same Images-11time—Jack Jones, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Vic Damone, Nancy Wilson, and even Perry Como. All knew where the beat was and had something of a jazz sensibility, just as Billie Holiday and Carmen McRae had a pop sensibility and made pop records from time to time.

JW: To what do you attribute this mixing?
WF: Nearly all of the major pop stars of the ’40s and ’50s came out of the big bands. It’s hard to imagine that some of that sense of swing wouldn’t have rubbed off.

JW: Which singers best express this jazz-pop fusion?
WF: Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, who were the greatest Images-12pop singers of all time. They certainly were the greatest artists to perform the songbook, and both had very heavy, career-long connections to the jazz world.

JW: So where do you draw the line?
WF: You listen for jazz elements—primarily rhythmic ones. Ultimately, it’s all about degrees, but a great many of the pop artists with the longest-lasting followings are often the ones with the greatest degree of jazz in their music.

JW: How would the two different types approach the exact same song?
WF: It’s a question of degrees. Tony Bennett is a pop Images-13singer, yet much of the time he’s so jazzy that it doesn’t really pay to distinguish between him and a more traditional idea of what a jazz singer is, like, say, Jon Hendricks. The main difference might be in this case that Tony Bennett has better chops.

JW: But not all pop singers had a jazz background.
WF: True. The difference between the two types is primarily rhythmic. Ethel Merman and Mabel Mercer didn’t Images-14necessarily feel the urge to swing, although Bobby Short certainly did. And not all superior pop singing is connected to jazz. The main idea is to personalize a song, to bring it to life and to make it your own. There’s a lot of pure musical value to both Merman and Mercer. But they weren’t solely dramatic and theatrical.

JW: How did you handle the differences between the types in the book?
WF: There wasn’t a need to do so. It seemed to make more sense to make the book about everybody who sang the American Songbook rather than delineating or making it all-jazz singers or, for lack of a better word, all non-jazz singers.

JW: How many degrees of separation are there between jazz and cabaret singing?
WF: Cabaret isn’t so much a musical genre as a geographical definition. If singing takes place in a cabaret Images-15room, it’s considered cabaret. Paula West is one of the great living jazz singers, yet her career path has taken her mostly through venues like The Plush Room, The Oak Room and Feinstein’s. If I were to play you one of her records, you would think she’s a jazz singer. Yet she’s considered a cabaret singer because she primarily works in cabaret rooms. Cabaret is kind of the great equalizer. It’s a place where a lot of artists from a lot of divergent fields wind up sooner or later, from Nellie McKay to Judy Collins.

JW: What’s essential for a cabaret singer?
WF: If rhythm is the most important element of jazz, the main ingredient with cabaret is intimacy. Whether you’re a ’70s singer-songwriter or a Broadway leading lady or a Brill Building or Motown veteran, you have to create that immediate connection with the audience.

JW: Is jazz and pop singing different today than in the past?
WF: The word “pop” doesn’t mean today what it did 50 or Images-16even 70 years ago. If a pop singer in 1940 was Dinah Shore, a pop singer today is Katy Perry or even Aldous Snow.

JW: Jazz also is defined differently today.
WF: Yes, absolutely. “Jazz” means something completely different than it did years ago, although it’s also fashionable to see the whole history of jazz as more of a direct continuum. The music keeps evolving and so do Images-17definitions. Almost all of the singers who sang in the big bands would have been considered pop in 1938. But by today’s standards they’d be classified as jazz. Diana Krall might be regarded as a jazz singer today. But compared to a relentless improviser like Leo Watson, she would have been considered pop during World War II.

Tomorrow, Will talks about the cultural shift that caused jazz and pop to have less significance, why certain singers weren’t included in his new book, and why the American Songbook is an endless source of material for singers today.

Five picks. I asked Will Friedwald for a list of 10 favorite little-known albums by jazz and pop singers. Here are 5 of the 10 on his list. The balance will appear tomorrow. In alphabetical order:

1. Lorez Alexandria: Alexandria The Great (Impulse)
2. Tony Bennett: Hometown, My Town (Columbia)
3. Nat King Cole: St. Louis Blues (Capitol)
4. Johnny Desmond: Easy Come, Easy Go Lover (Coral)
5. Joe Mooney: Joe Breaks the Ice (Hep)

JazzWax pages: Will Friedwald’s A Biographical Guide to the ImagesGreat Jazz and  Pop Singers (Pantheon) can be found here.

JazzWax clip: Here’s Satin Doll from Lorez Alexandria’s Alexandria the Great (1964). She’s accompanied here by Wynton Kelly (p), Al McKibbon (b), Jimmy Cobb (d), Paul Horn (as,fl) and Ray Crawford (g)…




Old And New Dreams – Live in Moers ’80

by riccardo

There was a great interest for a previous OAND post, so i’ve thought
to digitalize even this concert. 

Rec. live at “The 9th Moers Festival”, Moers, Germany,
on May 23, 1980 (mics recording)

Dewey Redman,tenor saxophone
Don Cherry,pocket trumpet,piano
Charlie Haden,bass
Eddie Blackwell,drums

1. Happy House [O.Coleman] (07:01)
2. Lonely Woman [O.Coleman] (13:26)
3. Rushour [D.Redman] (04:44)
4. Mopti [D.Cherry] (12:04)
5. Togo [E.Blackwell] (05:36)
6. Open Or Close [O.Coleman] (07:13)
7. Song For The Whales [C.Haden] (08:06)

Total Time 58:13