Monday, May 21, 2012


so i've been digging thru a trove of outrageously good videos on
youtube as of late. lots of outside jazz related stuff. the following
is not so much an outsider thing (especially considering that it
comes to us from the bbc), but it sheds a bit of light on one of the
most misterioso bands slash bandleaders to have ever graced
the cosmos: SUN RA!!!  i say a bit of light because le sony'r ra
was one of the most dedicated and unfliching personas of all
time.  many believed and still believe that he truly came from
another planet. if you are unfamiliar with SUN RA & his variously
named Arkestra then you ought take this worm-hole for a ride:

*(((*)))*(((keep a look-out for a post loosely related to this one sometime this week.)))*(((*)))*

Thursday, May 17, 2012

(((Don Cherry)))---(((1978)))

Don Cherry is mainly known as one of the pioneers of free jazz from the trail blazing Ornette Coleman Quartet.  Images of him playing some variation of the trumpet (pocket trumpet, cornet, etc...) come to mind.  However, much of his musical career involved him traveling the four corners of the earth and participating in musical forms that sometimes had no resemblence to jazz.  In time he became a seasoned multi-instrumentalist of a wide variety.  He was a true student and explorer.  Initially, this seems to have been a personal journey into his African heritage, but it clearly struck an inspired nerve in him that never went away.  His experimentation with world music can be heard as early as 1968 on Eternal Rhythm, a live recording from the Berlin jazz festival.  Other stellar examples of this progression would include his Mu sessions recorded for BYG Actuel in 69 as well as Actions (co-led by Kryzstof Penderecki) and Blue Lake from 71.  Over the remainder of his career he covered a lot of territory.  As I researched this, 1978 seems to have been an especially rich year for him in this regard.  If you were to listen to the following recordings in their entirety, you might find some things you don't like, or at least I did.  Some tunes border too closely to a new age sound that I'm not entirely comfortable with.  However, there is a great deal to glean here as evidenced (i hope) by the following selections.  Please dig in.  I hope this inspires new pathes of interest and research.  Cheers!


Recorded At Studio Davout, Paris, France, June 1978.
Original LP release 1982 (Europa Records JP2009).

Sangam - Don Cherry / Latif Khan


Recorded September 1978 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg


Flying Fish - 1978


Another sideman session also done in 1978, but less suited toward this post can be found here.
Below is a short documentary filmed in Sweden the same year and broadcast on Swedish television. 
It was the thing that originally inspired this post.  Enjoy.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I'm going to resist the tempation to make a Gene Simmons joke here. If you're still with me, I'm actually going to preface this entry with some discussion concerning John Coltrane. I've been listening to a bunch of fantastic audio interviews that he graciously gave on various occasions in the early and mid sixties.  This was a very pivotal time for jazz on several levels and the discussions are long, unpolished and very culturally revealing. They portray what I perceive to be a humble, searching man. Anyhow, they deepened my appreciation for his music and personhood and brought me back to what I would consider my desert island song as far as jazz goes. I'm not going to go too deep here, because this is a whole nother post that I most definately intend to write at some point.  All the same, John Coltrane's "Ole" recorded in 1961 is a song worthy of your full attention.  At some point, carve twenty minutes out of your life, seek out seclusion, sit between the speakers, turn up the volume, and drop the needle on this monster of a tune.  Eric Dolphy, Reggie Workman, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, Art Davis.  It's a game changer. 

It should be stated that Coltrane's composition is based upon another, but I'll hold back on those details as well. As I've researched this song, I have come across a few covers (Pharoah Sanders, Noah Howard, etc...).  Recently I stumbled upon the following rendition by pioneering Krautrockers Xhol Caravan and have been really taken with it.  The others that I've heard have been great, but they've been done too much in the vein of the original and therefore fall terribly short.  Mere shadows.  The original is foreboding and visceral with a climax that peels the paint.  In a very different way, this version grooves.  It is at times funky, psychedelic, and slightly vague while staying true to the spirit of the song.  Though it isn't close to being in the same galaxy as Coltranes, it is easily my favorite cover.  That a couple of freaked out German kids laid this down in 1969 is down right fantastic.  Dig the additional videos and note the blonde haired boy playing the guitar against the organ. 


Part one of the videos that I had hoped to put up (including the above mentioned blonde haired boy) can be found here.  Unfortunately, the person who put them up disabled the embedding capability.