Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Arthur Blythe • Lenox Avenue Breakdown

Arthur Murray Blythe

(July 5, 1940 – March 27, 2017)


I am not just avant-garde. I like to play all types of music… I like music with form, not atonal or aform… Sometimes they put me into a weird bag and want me to be weird, inaccessible. I think I am accessible.


From an All About Jazz interview: 



Forget what you've heard about Arthur Blythe, because it only gets in the way. Forget his outré all-star projects of the eighties, and even his In The Traditional material - Blythe was never in any cubby hole long enough to earn any labels. And unline fellow West Coaster Horace Tapscott, who opted to stay in California and, thus, has yet to get his share of the limelight, Blythe arrived at the New York loft scene in `73 to a flurry of acclaim and barbs alike. Forget those too.
"Lenox Avenue Breakdown", recorded in `79, the same year as "In The Tradition", and ostensibly Blythe's most successfully listenable album, is anything BUT traditional. It's a unique melange to which Blythe never really returned, mostly thanks to the unusual nature of this septet. In fact, only the title tune really dwells on the clear-eyed jazz flats. The way the carefully-wrought melody plays over an almost lackadaisical pace points at a certain debt to composer Muhal Richard Abrams, or at least a similar that school - something which crystallized during Bob Stewart's Languid tuba solo. Abrams always has a special place for a tuba, and Blythe makes excellent use of it.
The Afro-Caribbean groove of "Down San Diego Way" apparently has flautist James Newton right at home - he gets lots of space to wail, to play a little game of keep-away with Blythe, who, in turn, is characteristically intense, burgeoning, clean-as-a-whistle. Blythe is also in good spirits on the swaggering 7/4 "Slidin' Through," swinging tautly along.
in fact, the only stumble comes on "Odessa", where drummer Jack DeJohnette takes his crash-banging one step too far and the whole affair becomes merely adversarial as the band tries to get it's riff out behind James "Blood" Ulmer's free-thrashing solo. Oh well. "Lenox Avenue Breakdown" is even likeable in its failures: always brash, always changing, and as good a place as any to start in blythe's discography. If you just can't leave those expectations at the door, well, just be prepared for a little shakeup.
Jeff Morris

1. Down San Diego Way
2. Lenox Avenue Breakdown
3. Slidin' Through
4. Odessa

Arthur Blythe • alto saxophone
James Newton • flute
Bob Stewart • tuba
James "Blood" Ulmer • guitar
Cecil McBee • bass
Jack DeJohnette • drums
Guillermo Franco • percussion

Produced by Bob Thiele

Label: Columbia – JC35638
Format: 320
Country: US
Released: 1979
Genre: Jazz
Style: Avant-garde Jazz

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Paranoise • Constant Fear

Get your combat boots out, and grab your jazz and prog encylopedias while your at it. It would not hurt to anchor the ceramics in your home before you elevate the volume to two and a half, either.
Paranoise were a New York band from the 1980s. Listening, you can hear a lot of James White--check out the sax--and those dissonent little structres you hear in DNA.
But those New York bands came out of punk- albeit the most arty end of it. James White uses avant jazz shadings, but works to maintain the flatness of 1970s do it yourselfism. DNA kept their tracks minimaliazed to leave their no wave credentials in tact.
Paranoise embraces avant-gaurd 1970s loft jazz in full force. A lot of these musicians are on this album, and this band does not try to hide a much more sophistacted pool of influcences, some of which were almost antithetical to the New York underground of the time.
There is no smallness or punk amaturism to this music. The dissonent intervals this band uses derive from free jazz and the left wing of progressive rock; Albert Ayler and Pharroh Sanders, Vander Gaff Generater and Henry Cow come to mind, in impulse if not actual sound.
The sound here is far bigger and a lot more dangerous than 1960s free jazz or 1970s progressive rock. Made in the 80s, Constant Fear uses electric drums and heavy electronicly generated basslines. The production gives the music that hugeness that early digital recording allowed so many 80s albums. If you can picture the most dissonent 70s prog pumped on 80s steriods, you get Paranoise.
Amazon Review

1. Armageddon
Anthony Jackson • Contrabass Guitar
Steve Elson • Baritone Saxophone
Lenny Pickett • Tenor Saxophone

2. Suffocation
Luther Thomas • Alto Saxophone

3. The Plague
Luther Thomas • Alto Saxophone
Gary Windo • Tenor Saxophone

4. Carburetor
Luther Thomas • Alto Saxophone
Don Cherry • Trumpet
Percy Jones • Fretless Bass

5. Cut It Out
Lenny Pickett • Tenor Saxophone
Steve Elson • Baritone Saxophone

6. Roll Groover
Gary Windo • Tenor Saxophone
Anthony Jackson • Contrabass Guitar

7. Constant Fear
Gary Windo • Tenor Saxophone
Percy Jones • Fretless Bass

8. Fight The Power
Joy Askew • Backing Vocals
Nikki Gregoroff • Backing Vocals

9. Forget About The Earth / This Is Where It's At
Gary Windo • Tenor Saxophone
Don Cherry • Trumpet, Clay Whistle
Percy Jones • Fretless Bass
Spirit Ensemble • Percussion

Micky Ortiz • Lead and Backing Vocals
Jim Matus • Guitar, Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Programming, Horn Arrangements
Lloyd Fonoroff • Drum Programming, Backing Vocals

Produced by Jim Matus and Lloyd Fonoroff

Label: Antilles New Directions ‎– ANCD 8737
Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 1988
Genre: Rock
Style: Rock, Jazz

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Pharoah Sanders & Sonny Sharrock Reunion

 Live at the 24. Deutsches Jazzfestival Frankfurt, Bockenheimer Depot, Frankfurt, Germany; November 1, 1992. Rebroadcast October 19, 2013. Very good radio broadcast.

1. Little Rock
2. Japan
3. Upper And Lower Egypt
4. Many Mansions
5. Venus
6. Announcer
7. Mr PC

Pharoah Sanders • tenor, soprano saxophone
Sonny Sharrock • guitar
Charnett Moffett • bass
Pheroaan AkLaff • drums