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Parent Issue
Day
5
Month
November
Year
1975
OCR Text

One of the most cxciting and encouruBine aspects of lemporary popular imisic is the extent to which jazz element s ■ have become incorporated and accepted as a pari of thal mainstrcam. Surely it was unthinkable as little as tour years apo that jazz poscrpianisi llcrbie Hancock would top the pop charts in 1974 with a funky little dittv called "C'hamelcon." ie's ideas and success have spurred any number of imitators, and this was only to bc expeeled. In any art font), but perhaps in no other as in the evermutating discipline of jazz, there are innovators jnJ there are codifiers. The airv.ives, generally, are f uil of the Work of imitators, and the astnte listener may have already notieed a certain staleness in recent "jav-rock" releases. Business people and aspiring pop artists alike are aware that most people buy records (or anything) with which they're already familiar or which are similar to other records they've heaid. lt's only good sense, marketing-wise, to capitalize upon an existing desire and "give the people what they want." The records under discussion here are the producís ol artists who are most likely aware of popular trends and who deliberately seek to créate something new, to serve their own artistic needs first and not tome nebulous idea of "mast taste." Albert Ayler, the hugely-talented Afro-American saxophonist, was asked at one time why hc turned his back on be-bop, the prevalent ja idiom of his day. He replied, "lt's too simple, l'm an artist. I've lived more than I can express in bop te] nis." That explanation can probably serve just as well today as a key to the motivations pf the artists repfesented here. They are all innovators, part oí the left-wing qf the contemporary musical spectrum, and ii that doesn'1 nfccessarily guarantec consistent quality, it does insuie honesty and Ireshness. Th ree ol these si albums feature musicians associated nh the Aisociation lor the dvancemenl of Creative Musicians (AAC'M) an artists' cooperaiive out of Chicago formed in 19(-6 to nurture and organize the "Ne Musicians'' there and. whaf's more. to take the business matten of the creation, production, and distribution of their art into their own hands. The Paris Session The Art Ensemble af Chicago is (on this album) Lester Bowie, trumpel, flugelhorn, percussion; Roscoe Milcbell, numerous reeds, percussion; Joseph Jarman, reeds, percussion; and Malachi l'avors, bass, percussion. They've played theirmagnificent, thoroughly original music as the Arl I nsemhle since 1967 or so (including an appearance at the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues and Ja 1 estival) but had to leave this country in 1969 to discover it' Europe would bc any more X hospilable to the presentation of k (hal music than America had been. It was. apparently, and lliey recorded a inininium of hall a dozen albums Ihere, including ibis session. It is not one of their better eft'orts, primarily because they lack a drummer. Now, the A F.C is deep into pcrcussion. They come onstage with shakers, whistlcs, and bells trom every let on Ihe planet and use " them, usually, to ireat cotoristic and humorous effect. (Theii live performances are stunning.) And even considering all the "little jnstruments" in evidence, the "Paris Session" seems sluggish and uninspired compared to works like Les Stances A Sophie L. (on Nessa) or Fanfare For The Warriors (Atlantic). The differente is a drummer. They need a Philip Wilson nr a Don Moye at the traps to keep their motion together. Apart trom that, it's still odd that there's little here of their mucb vaunted, and absolutely essential. group empathy. However, there are nice tastes throughout of Bowie's singularly unadorned and affecting irumpet-playing and of I;avors' extra-fat hass antics. Still, skip this one, look tbr those others. and jump at the chance to see the Al (' perform live. Creative Construction Company The Creative Construction Company was an AACM offshool that resettled in New York City and recorded this is. like the Art r.msemtive improvisation and doesn't feature soloisis td the conventional extent. However, thcre isan organic ebb and tlow here, on the 34 minutes of "Muhal," that was lackinu on the Al C date. . This performance breathes. The music is texturally very dense but recorded well enough so that each player's contribution is remarkably clear. Highlights include Leroy Jenkin's (now with the Revolutionary Ensemble) pure, Miiizing violin work, and the superb bass album live in May, 1969. It ble album, music of ' playing one luis come lo expecl trom Richard Davis in any situation. Reflectativity Reflectativity is trumpelcr Leo Smilh's r second date as .1 leader. His sound, while uceasionally shrill and poinled, is mostly warm, sad, and 10 the poiüt The group Leo is working with now, the New Dalta Ahkri, plays music of taneoui cómposition, und thcre's litlle hcre in the way of conventiunul dynaniics, or of harmonie or linear development. But they sure do know how to use space, know when not to play, and I found that the silences created a sense ol tensión, of suspense, that was enougtl to carry me along. Side one, the title cut. is m memory of Duke Illington eme ui the warmesl tributes Tve heard. Anthony Davis, stfongly ïnHuenced by Monk and ('ecil Taylor, plays au encyclopedie piano solo: liery, ungular, occasionally dissonant, ilh matches of stride and ragtime audible. Il is etïectively driven by cymbal splaslies and bonging gongs. Side two is more written, still very eeonomieal. not to say sparse, and again very alïecting. Miere's ■ solid, 3 o'clock-in-thetnorning blue vibe to "Retleetativity" and well worth that time. Write Kabell Records (a sell-delermination outfit), P.O. Box 102, New Haven, Conn., 06510. Coon Bid'ncss is alt o-sax olïrsi tnajoi albura release us Coon Bid'ness phonist J ul i us Hemphill's leader, and it is the besl oí this bunch. llempliill grew up in I exas (the birthplace of mimerous bluosy, liurd-playiiif! saxophonisis), gigged with Ike Tumer, rand later moved tn Si. Louis where hc became a mcmbei of the Black Artisis Gcoup (BAG), the musicians' cooperative in ihai city. He tecotded skle two, "The Hard Blues." in 1972. It isabsolutely brillianl. llcmpliill scores simply but writes rich horn voicings over the basic blues. He then launches into one of the hurtincst, roaringest, mosl absorbing allo solos I've over lieard. There's ■ heartbreakin; wail to lus sound mach likc Ornette Coteman's. But lkniphill in original and he ucis "V singular help from Ahdul Wudad, cello nlavcd mosllv oi.icjlo) and llic creal Pliilin Wilson, drums. The lelections on sido onc. recorded . tliis c;ir, .irc each different and nteresting and feature HempliiU's unique compositional and arnnging skills and exceptional gxoup interplay (I egpecially like the way the three saxophonists interrclate). Coon Bid'ness is intelligent and cinotional and captivating straight through. Don') miss n. There's A Trumpet in My Soul Saxophonistconiposer Archie Shepp is ihe rand old man oi this group of New MusiLians. Once au unrepentanl fire-breather who kopt in close touch wilh lus deep blues rciols. he has. in the past live years, turned increasingly tO liig band arrangements. I OUI different people arrange the tunes on There's a Trumpet in My Soul. but not one is earthshakingly arresting. There are Iota of greal things happening anyway: Semenya McCord sintisjhe haunting mie tune ol her own Composition in ,i VOtce as slrong and purC .is sunlight. Archie plays his own "Samba da Rúa" with a huge, aehing sound that recalls Ben Webster. "Zaid" is lot! of strong pcrcussum trom drummer Bcaver Marris and bassist Jimmy l.arnson henmu more strom: solos by Archie. "Trumpet," t'inally. is varicd and cohesive, .1 tasteful combina'tion of avant-garde and mainstream elements. Infinite Sound Infinite Sound was a reedsban duo drom the Wel Coast) when thcy appcared at the Ann Arlmr Blues and Ja Festival in 1973. Since Uien Roland Your.gand Glenn Howell have added vocalisi Aisha Kahlil. '4'hey niake a lol of music lor lluee people. They're rem.irkably empathetic and do a 1 t ol things cofnparing and 1 ou trasting Aisha's flexible, pure voice and Voung's hom playirw. Ilie niusie is occasiohalry prograimnatic (dig the very evocatlve "I bc Ocean Moves Primitively") and a little too lliought-out, but it is meDon and very pretty. Bassist Howell siipplies the needed waimth, Write to 175(1 Areh Records, Box 9444, Berkeley, Ca 94709. Keep in mind that all these records assume a pauionate lisiener at the other end. Given your undivided attention, they will enrich your life and open up a vast whole world of music and feeling beyond the radio desert. JAZZ' THE AVANT-CARDE IS STILL 'OUT THERE' Art Ensemble of Chicago, The Paris Session, Arista-lrcedom Creative Construction Company . Muse New Dalta Alikri. Reflectativity, Kabell Julius Hemphill, Coon Bid'ness, Arista-I reedom Archic Shepp, There's A Trumpet In My Soul. Arista-Freédora Infinite Sound, Contemporary African-Amerikan Music, 1 750 Arch Records li' Ti 2 V ?HN CÖÜ f.