This posthumously released recording of Coltrane’s “classic quartet”, (Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones, and McCoy Tyner,) is viewed as a transitional album, between Coltrane’s modal and devotional work of the early 60s and the more ecstatic devotional work of the mid to late 60s. (Also, Impulse redid the track listings for the CD reissue, replacing “Dear God” with “Welcome” and “Vigil” from the same sessions, but originally released on the Kulu Sé Mama album.) The soloing on Transition isn’t really so far from that on “The John Coltrane Quartet Plays”, it’s more that the extended songs, “Transition” and “Suite”, discard most of the traditional Jazz trappings of “head-solo-head” for a more organic approach. An extension of “A Love Supreme”, really.
Mrs Flannestaed disapproves of this particular exercise in nostalgia, but I enjoy it.
My understanding of the Wrangler project is that one of the members (Benge) has a junkyard (or museum) of pre-digital electronic instruments and effects units. Stephen Mallinder (1/3 of the band Cabaret Voltaire) was visiting, and they got the idea to form a band using these instruments as sound sources.
If, like me, you have some nostalgic fondness for Microphonies era Cabaret Voltaire, you may enjoy this. Otherwise, it will probably not do much for you.
Bells For The South Side (Disc 2) by Roscoe Mitchell.
When we lived in Madison, WI, Roscoe Mitchell was a professor in the music department at the University of Wisconsin. He would frequently bring the groups he was involved in through town, and I was lucky to see many permutations of his sound.
We were also lucky to be close enough to Chicago that it was close enough to drive down and see many more concerts related to the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The concerts documented on this recording were recorded as part of an exhibit, called The Freedom Principle, at the Museum of Contemporary Art celebrating the contributions of artists associated with the AACM to world culture.
Roscoe Mitchell, and the AACM, have been a huge part of my musical mind space for many years, and this release is a sort of summary of his work, from what has passed, to what is to come.
Bells For The South Side (Disc 1) by Roscoe Mitchell.
At some point, during the first track on this album, “Spatial Aspects of Sound”, I found myself asking, “What differentiates a discrete series of sound events from music?” Which reminded me of a workshop I attended with Ben Goldberg, where we talked about using silence, as well as sound, with intent, in your playing.
I’ve been following Japanese drummer Tatsuya Yoshida for quite a while now and few of his (many) projects are as intriguing to me as SAXRUINS. His drumming combined with the multi-tracked sax stylings of Ono Ryoko is an astounding thing to hear. Simply imagining the work that went into a single person recording all the sax tracks on this album is, uh, daunting. So much detail!
On a practical level, Ono Ryoko’s sax arrangements give a more open feel to Yoshida’s compositions. As if Frank Zappa had been run over by the Magma tour bus with John Zorn at the wheel.
Solo electric guitar recordings of theme and variation on various American songs.
From Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman through to Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner, largely Orcutt takes intervals from the songs and creates melodic variations on their themes over the chords. Jazz, in other words, but not. Compelling, original, and moving.
Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come by Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons, and Sunny Murray.
One of the key recordings of Cecil Taylor’s career, and one of the key documents of “Free Jazz”, the concerts recorded at Cafe Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark in November of 1962 are the first recorded expressions of the true vision Taylor would pursue (and continues to pursue). Astonishing and beautiful. To have been in the audience!