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Woebot
02-11-2004, 01:15 PM
A good friend sent me this email the other day, and (I hope this is OK with him) I thought I'd open it up to the floor:

"Ive got a question about end 60's/begin 70's jazz. Im digging into that stuff at the moment, and from earlier posts of you, you seem to know a lot about this stuff AND have a bit of the same taste I have. Its hard to find reliable information on this stuff. For instance, people rave about Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, but what I heard from them, it does nothing for me, or rather, I find its horrible. Things I do like are things like Pharoah Sanders (Karma, Black Unity, Tauhid, Izipho Zam) Alice Coltrane (Journeys in Satchidananda, World Galaxy), Archie Shepp (Live at the panafrican festival), Don Cherry (Mu, Eternal Rhythm, Brown Rice) Sun Ra (Lanquidity, Space is the place), Art ensemble of Chicago (theme de yoyo). On my fence are Roland Kirk and Ornette Coleman, some things are kinda nice, but most of it leaves me cold (free jazz, the shape of jazz to come)

From what I read, Im interested in things on the BYG label (like Alan Silva, Arthur Jones, Clifford Thornton, Dewey Redman, Grachan Moncur III, Sunny Murray), AACM people (like Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams) and someone like Marzette Watts. The problem is, I can find nowhere to listen to this stuff, and when I order it online, Im afraid Ill find I paid lots of money for some horrible stuff. Do you know these guys? Which would you recommend? Have you any other recommendations?"

Actually I am very sympathetic with him. Before the free lot ride in on their lancers they ought to bear that in mind. I mean skronk isn't to everyone's taste, and actually I have a pretty low threshold when it comes to it myself. I haven't put that much thought into his contention but here's my 5c:

--------------

First off check Kirk Degiorgio's site. The link is on the www.woebot.com links bar. Kirk has heavy jazz ears but isnt that fond of the free stuff either, so he's a good place to start.

Roland Kirk's Root Strata is brilliant. Others like "The Inflated Tear" and (isit?) "Man with The Three Way Horn", and his eponymous one don't hit the mark. Actually I think Kirk is a lesser talent.

The nicest Ornette is "Change of the Century" Ramblin' off that is everything Free Jazz might be. I saw Ornette live the other day and he was brilliant. I have a lot of his other records (like about 6!) but theyre often a bit iffy, and certainly difficult listening.

BYG is cool. I have a heap of that stuff (as do Nick Wrigley (who I hope chimes in) and Jon Dale) Probably the most listenable are Don Cherry's Mu Part 2 and (my fave) Gracan Moncur's LP. The Shepps, the Silvas, the Sharroks theyre all OK, but a bit skronky.

Again AACM, I have a bit. "Reese and the young ones" (?) is pretty OK. I always wanted a copy of Roscoe Mitchell's "Sound".

Literally off the top of my head:

There are some good ones amidst the non-jazzy stuff here: http://www.woebot.com/movabletype/archives/000082.html Especially the George Duke and the Phillip Cohran.

er thats it for the moment. I'll chip in with other stuff when i get my juices up :)

Diggedy Derek
02-11-2004, 01:27 PM
I sympahtise with your anti-skronk perspective. BYG are often good, I very much enjoyed Sunny Murray's uber-mellow Homage To Africa recently- almost entirely based around a single chant, it just varies and adds to it organically. Also ace are Marion Brown's tone-poem type albums, especially Geechee Recollections.

I heard Art Blakey's The African Beat the other day, and was astonished to find not a hard bop outing, but a cosmic flute and drum jam. It's from 1962, and is very ahead of it's time.

carlos
02-11-2004, 02:08 PM
i have an obsession with the 70s output of the norwegian ECM label- many people really hate the spacy reverbed sounds of these records but i can't get enough of them

i've been able to find many of these titles at record conventions or used record stores for under $5 each

spaced out jazz, sometimes abstract, sometimes funky and groovy, sometimes hard-rocking. but full of atmospheric electronic echo and reverb.

these are some favorites:

Terje Rypdal What Comes After, Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away, Odyssey
Barre Phillips Mountainscapes, Three Day Moon
Jan Garbarek Afric Pepperbird

but i usually buy almost anything on ECM if it was recorded before 1980- and especially anything before 1975

a good online info resource for spacy fusion and jazz funk is this site:

http://freeform.org/music/

they call it "cosmic & psychedelic jazz"

and then there's miles davis... all the electric-era stuff is amazing to my ears

and this is my first post... carlos from houston, tx here. hello all

Woebot
02-11-2004, 02:17 PM
i have an obsession with the 70s output of the norwegian ECM label

yep manfred eicher gets short shrift these days, the whole windham hill/ecm axis got "outta hand" (pow! pow!) in the eighties, but there were plenty of good releases on the early ecm. thats it with "deep jazz" though innit, too easy to listen to and...hey presto......it's easy-listening music.

actually julian priester's "pepo moto" is something my mate might want to check. priester was a former ra alumni, and thats a heavy record. also the marion brown and dave holland's "emerald tears", which are also on ecm are excellent.

redcrescent
02-11-2004, 03:08 PM
What about Marion Brown? I find he's done some great things as leader (Three for Shepp, Afternoon of a Georgia Faun) and sideman (w/ John Coltrane [e.g. Ascension], Archie Shepp [e.g. Fire Music], Grachan Moncur, Burton Greene...) Here's a discography (http://www.fmi.uni-passau.de/~schneide/marion_brown/mb_main.html).

The Kozmigroov pages (which Carlos recommended) are excellent. Here (http://www.jazzsupreme.com/artists.html)'s some more names.

Woebot
02-11-2004, 03:19 PM
What about Marion Brown?

IMHO the best Marion Brown's are "Vista" and "Sweet Earth Flying", especially "Vista" thats a total classic of the genre. (rubs hands, aah its all coming back to me!) Vista is on Impulse and has Harold Budd on it, its the twin record to Eno's "Pavilion of Dreams" kind of a missing link between Ambient (70s definition thereof) and Jazz

I've always thought the term "Kosmigroov" and the concept to be really vomitous. Not to say they arent some great records up on that site...

carlos
02-11-2004, 03:23 PM
I've always thought the term "Kosmigroov" and the concept to be really vomitous. Not to say they arent some great records up on that site...

i think i would agree- especially when spelled with a Z (Kozmigroov)

marion brown and priester are on my wants list-

i'm extremely cheap when it comes to buying records though- so i usually wait until i stumble upon these (vinyl only) titles before i pick them up

polystyle desu
02-11-2004, 06:05 PM
Tho' not always strictly 'meditative' , gotta (as already noted) list the Miles Davis group's music from the period in spotlight as quite cooled out and even with the 3 kyboard players all playing at once ( sometimes Corea, Hancock and Zawinul) doing that afro kalimba' thing the music approached "Shhh/Peaceful" , "In a Silent Way" or making a "Bitches Brew" .
Jumping forward to '73 and their post Miles group, Wayne Shorter and Zawinul's Weather Report laid out the outta space like , galactic "Adios" on "Sweetnighter" , and I don't know a more floaty, supremely meditative piece then that , till say, The Orb .

Saw Cecil T this past summer down in Battery Park, and while glad we did see/hear him while he's still around, and well appreciated the cat , it didn't move me to actually get any of the music to play at home .
The legendary Ayler (used to ck to hear this alleged influence on Tom Verlaine) got a big rerelease just recently .
Did enjoy Squarepusher's digi jazz take on Weather Report /Jaco P on his "Music Is One Rotted Note" and his previous release Shin from DCC played me when he was here last wk.
As it happens , DCC just came out of the studio where we laid down 2 tracks for the new Album that have a definite post Miles group vocab, "Moons on Triton seas" and "Run Map" that follow the wild v of "Mr.Freedom X" we have as hidden last track on "This Is Riphop".

It IS the placid , kind of peaceful surface bubbling with notes below the 'surface'
I esp. like about that period Miles .
So seek and you will find 'meditative' ...

mms
02-11-2004, 07:34 PM
i really like my goals beyond by mclaughlin, very meditiative, beautiful version of blue in green on it too
on douglas records.
mcoy tyner extentions features alice and pharoah although some of this isn't meditiative, i've thrown up once when i engaged a bit too much with the piano solo on the first track.
also yuseef lateef, eastern sounds with it's use of chinese flutes, conchs set the scene back in 1961 somewhat i think, basically modal jazz but taken outside of that whole thing with structures and instruments etc.
Can't forget the rubainat of dorothy ashby either, if you can get past the over the top spiritual vibe of it all.

iueke
03-11-2004, 02:01 PM
IMHO the best Marion Brown's are "Vista" and "Sweet Earth Flying", especially "Vista" thats a total classic of the genre. (rubs hands, aah its all coming back to me!) Vista is on Impulse and has Harold Budd on it, its the twin record to Eno's "Pavilion of Dreams" kind of a missing link between Ambient (70s definition thereof) and Jazz

I've always thought the term "Kosmigroov" and the concept to be really vomitous. Not to say they arent some great records up on that site...

i agree with "sweet earth flying" especially for Bley's amazing playing, but my personal fave by him has to be the soundtrack to "Le Temps Fou" by Marcel Camus. Sadly its impossible to find a copy.

As for Comic jazz there's so much worth checking out and most of it totally unknown.

Woebot
03-11-2004, 02:52 PM
As for Cosmic jazz there's so much worth checking out and most of it totally unknown.

That, I'm afraid, is the unadorned truth.

redcrescent
03-11-2004, 02:54 PM
especially "Vista" thats a total classic of the genre
Damn right. Geechee Recollections, is fine, too. I love "Buttermilk Bottom"! First in the Ed Michel-produced trilogy of Geechee/Sweet Earth/Vista.
I need to hear those collabs with Harold Budd, who is a genius anyway. (Marion Brown has also played with John Sinclair/Wayne Kramer - what's that sound like?)

@mms. Great that you pointed out Eastern Sounds, which is, IMO, a delicate masterpiece. Unique instrumentation (for its time - Coltrane and Cherry weren't doing this in the late 50s) and very tasteful playing. Features Alice Coltrane's brother Ernie Farrow on bass. I don't recall offhand which track ("The Plum Blossom"?) it is that features Lateef playing a thousand year-old, grapefruit-shaped Chinese clay instrument, but you never notice it has only five notes (and he's not just blowing into it as a gimmick - his pitch slurs are amazing). Totally great, totally underrated.

Another classic: Larry Young's Lawrence of Newark. Larry takes the Hammond B3 into the cosmos. Bourbon glazed chicken wings are left floating in the asteroid field. Audio here (http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/_/id/152729).
And (Wayne Shorter's bro) Alan Shorter's Orgasm (with Charlie Haden, Gato Barbieri, and Muhammad Ali) and Dewey Redman's Ear of the Behearer (he's done so many good things, though). Audio here (http://www.vervemusicgroup.com/product.aspx?ob=disc&src=art&pid=9592).

Diggedy Derek
04-11-2004, 10:12 AM
I forgot to post yesterday about it- but Eastern Sounds is, in my opinion also, a total masterpiece, perhaps my favorite jazz album. It's extremely understated innit, there's very little use of drones, just a slow, subtle adoption of Eastern Scales. It's not immediately startling, but it's very compelling.

Eastern Sounds was in 1961, I think. That makes it contemporaneous with Coltrane's astonishingly out-there Village Vanguard sessions, so I don't think Yusef was clearly doing this sort of stuff before Coltrane etc. But he was one of the first, for sure.

Two other albums from around the time, The Centaur And The Phoenix and Cry Tender are fabulous too.

redcrescent
04-11-2004, 02:57 PM
Eastern Sounds was in 1961, I think. That makes it contemporaneous with Coltrane's astonishingly out-there Village Vanguard sessions, so I don't think Yusef was clearly doing this sort of stuff before Coltrane etc. But he was one of the first, for sure.
The Village Vanguard stuff is indeed out there, for sure. Supremely energetic sounds. It too explores modality, but is different to Lateef's approach on Eastern Sounds, the adrenalin of the live setting aside.
My limited knowledge hobbles me considerably, but I do think Lateef was absorbing and integrating Afro-Asian musical concepts earlier than either Coltrane or Cherry (who deservedly get a lot of credit -now- for doing this later in their careers) were, on recordings like 1957's Prayer to the East. Granted, it is contemporary to Coltrane's Dakar, which hints at his future exploration of non-Western musics, so this might appear a moot point, but I just wanted to give an unsung and underrated musician like Lateef some much-deserved props.
I also rate things like Grant Green's Grantstand (1961) with Lateef, though it's a lot more 'straightahead'.

heiku
06-11-2004, 12:25 AM
I've always thought the term "Kosmigroov" and the concept to be really vomitous.

As the original-- though no longer-- host of the "kozmigroov" pages, I'm somewhat curious to know how this concept induced such a colourful reaction.

Not being at all defensive and would be happy to clarify my own reasoning...

Yawny Tighe-tighe
06-11-2004, 06:16 AM
I spent around ten years buying anything and everything I could afford that looked good, and then I stopped. I was usually disappointed with AEOC records, unfortunately, their solo records too. Roscoe Mitchell's SOUND never did much for me. It was as if THEME DE YO YO was a big joke for them at the time.

With regard to "skronk" - I'm much more appreciative of "skronk" when it's implemented into a more serenely beautiful piece. I noticed the original letter writer picked KARMA and IZIPHO ZAM - both of which have beautiful, meditative, thoughtful calm and also the most devilish, obliterated NIPPLES-like skronk too as the opposite side of the coin - Pharoah often does this and I love it. It was through the skronk on these albums that finally got me into Frank Lowe's BLACK BEINGS, Brotzmann's NIPPLES, that three-disc ALAN SILVA BYG I can't remember the name of, and many others.

I learnt to love the skronk by learning to feel it rather than think about it. Within the course of a year it became the complete opposite of my original experience: it became therapeutic and cathartic listening, like a good ear-syringing, and Pharoah's albums were responsible for that. I still haven't been able to get into JC's ASCENSION though, but I do love SUN SHIP and MEDITATIONS.

With regard to other BYG Actuel records, Arthur Jones' SCORPIO is a blinder, as is Delcloo/Jones' AFRICANASIA, the JOACHIM KUHN's are very listenable. Cyrille's and Lyon's are nice. Lotsa great LPs there, all seemingly recorded in the space of a year, between 1968-9.

The BYG led me to the Philly Jazz label (Byard Lancaster's EXODUS, Sunny Murray's APPLECORES), and Charles Tyler's AK-BA Records which includes his own marvellous VOYAGE TO JERICHO; and Mustevic, which Soul Jazz seem to be getting round to.

My big faves over the last ten years or so have been pretty consistent though -- Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra.

francesco
06-11-2004, 08:05 AM
for those interested in Alice Coltrane Impulse! Japan just reissued the entire Impulse! catalog (in mini lp covers) including the never before reissued "Hunthington Ashram Monastery" (sorry for the spelling, i don't have the cd here with me!) and "Lord of Lord". You can find them on Forced Exposure or Amazon.jp and probably in other good stores if you need them.

ciao da francesco

skreeeeeeooooooytttbbbssh
07-11-2004, 12:47 PM
One thing that comes out when reading through some of the replies is how shronk really comes out as a scare word -- much 'free' stuff is seen as angry, or just noise, but Ayler is really melancholic and tuneful! he had 3-4 phases in his short life when he tried different approaches to his music so I'm wondering what your friend has heard. Also ornette always sounded very tuneful to me -- esp on those quartet albums in the early 60s. Additionally, much of this is seen as political/serious element and while that is true there is a prankster, joking element to much of it -- anthony braxton plays the ballon on a BYG release; cecil taylor introduced his vocals -- a bunch of shrieks and barks and nonsense -- later on.

I'm not saying that some of it isn't difficult for some, and some orchestral jazz like alan silva I can't quite get into but -- cecil and art ensemble/braxton introduced elements from post-war classical into their work (cecil has been said to be 'too european' as a way to dismiss him but if you put cecil taylor unit 'it is in the brewing luminuous' side by side with rihm's (german contemporary composer) 'jadgen und formen' there is that same kaleidoscopic quality), art ensemble are very spacious, their handling of silence could be similar to new york school type composers (I actually love 'sound' as much as most art ensemble I've heard) and sun ra was an amazing organizer of large-scale sound, listen to 'it is frobidden' and how he the diff elements come in and out, all the contributions, whether abstract or song like, really fitting in...there are all sorts of things to it, like when eastern classical modes have also been used by alice coltrane -- I wouldn't say she's easier than the 'harder' stuff, a gd drone can be just as diff to get into (also discuss -- that final coltrane quinet prob has some of the most fascinating music that john or alive or pharoah sanders ever made).

I like marion brown but don't have much so thanks.

Other BYG -- Frank wright 'one for john'

the two milford graves albs on tzadik are joyously abstract.

peter brotzmann/hamid drake w/mahmoud gania (playing the guembri) on okka disk is a must -- great cross-culture meet up.

Woebot
08-11-2004, 08:17 AM
As the original-- though no longer-- host of the "kozmigroov" pages, I'm somewhat curious to know how this concept induced such a colourful reaction.

Not being at all defensive and would be happy to clarify my own reasoning...

such a reasonable response deserves a thorough reply! it's a extremely useful website and no personal offence intended of course...

what i don't like about the "kozmigroov" concept is i'm sure exactly what makes it a useful term for many. i dislike the way it rolls together a whole range of music krautrock/jazzfunk/some reggae etc ad infinitum which, although bears superficial similarity to itself ("the spaced-out groove"), is essentially extremely distinct culturally/socially/philosophically. to me it's precisely like the food one gets in "fusion" restaurants. not indian. not thai, not chinese but a godawful collision of the lot.

again terms like "kozmigroov" can be useful to get a handle on things, but when they're in danger of turning what they describe into a browny grey formless sludge, then from own personal perspective, they cease to be profitable markers.

heiku
08-11-2004, 05:26 PM
such a reasonable response deserves a thorough reply!
Heh. Now those are eight consecutive words that you'll never read on ILM...


what i don't like about the "kozmigroov" concept is i'm sure exactly what makes it a useful term for many. i dislike the way it rolls together a whole range of music krautrock/jazzfunk/some reggae etc ad infinitum which, although bears superficial similarity to itself ("the spaced-out groove"), is essentially extremely distinct culturally/socially/philosophically.
I agree with you, in the sense that the concept has become too broad to be a reliable utility. Many have positioned their own idea of what it should encompass, whether it be on kozmigroov-l, the Kozmigroov website, Signal to Noise (implicitly) or GEPR (formal definition.)

I relinquished editorial control of the website a few years back and can partially dissociate myself from the current editorial focus. I did however draft the original overview and most of the conceptual examples remain. I still stand by these-- except for the more recent suggestions, which were not of my choosing. The caveat here is that not all of the work of each musician/group is representative. While the list includes some "krautrock" groups such as Embryo and Dauner's Et Cetera, these choices were far more jazz-based than their contemporaries. Same goes with jazzfunk not all have the free approaches that differentiate them from the more standard jazzfunk (itself already a fusion, I realize.)

My take on it? I hear a commonality with, for example, Ornette's Dancing In Your Head, Pharoah Sanders' Karma, Miles' On The Corner, and Don Cherry's Brown Rice. Quite simply put, it's (relatively) complex collective improv with a straightforward rhythmic groove that ties it together. Historically, this was the original jazz fusion before it was reduced to the muso maneuvers of jazzrock and the uninspired slickness of mid-70s jazzfunk. It saw some life again in the late 70s/early 80s by Sun Ra, Ornette/Prime Time, then was mostly abandoned until the mid 90s. Now back in strong health with the likes of Eivind Aarset (Norway), Collectif Slang (France), Matthew Bourne's Electric Dr M (UK), Burnt Sugar (USA). See also Dave Douglas' Freak In ensemble or Zorn's Electric Masada.

I'm currently working on a position piece for Deep Water where I hope to further resolve this murkiness. And for the record, I prefer the term "free fusion" to "kozmigroov."


again terms like "kozmigroov" can be useful to get a handle on things, but when they're in danger of turning what they describe into a browny grey formless sludge, then from own personal perspective, they cease to be profitable markers.
Absolutely. See also Krautrock, prog rock, modern composition, electronica, etc. I'm sure Simon has similar feelings re. the misappropriation of the post-rock signifier.