Roscoe Mitchell Quartet – Celebrating Fred Anderson (2015)

FrontCover1Chicago saxophone icon Fred Anderson died in 2010 and since then his birthday has been celebrated by friends, admirers and colleagues. For the 2015 event saxophonist/composer Roscoe Mitchell assembled a quartet for a tribute. The quartet is completed by cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Junius Paul and drummer Vincent Davis. Mitchell prepared four original pieces and adaptations of two Fred Anderson compositions, Bernice and Ladies in Love. The concert was presented at Constellation in Chicago on March 27, 2015.

This concert, recorded live this year at a Chicago club, celebrates the 2010 death of Chicago saxophonist Fred Anderson. Unlike colleagues in the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Anderson stayed close to home most of the time through his productive life, owned, operating and playing in the Velvet Lounge. At different times, his combo included AACM luminaries like trombonist George Lewis and demon drummer Hamid Drake. Every year since his death, his musical soul mates celebrate his legacy with a concert like this.

If anyone qualifies for this gig, it’s brilliant reed player group leader and composer Roscoe Mitchell, who is to jazz music what the Hungarian composer Gyorgi Ligeti (d. 2006) was to ‘classical’ music, an artist of resolutely modernist bent who has always quested for new ways to express himself. This new album is one of Mitchell’s more adventuresome outings.

Fred Anderson

Thus, for the jazz novice, it is also one of his less accessible. It’s good, as almost anything Mitchell does is good. But it’s not easy to get into unless you’re already used to Mitchell’s innovations, which include the use of tone rows (Mitchell’s theme statement on “Cermak Road,” the final cut on the album, could have been written by Webern or Berg, except for the churning turmoil of rhythm underpinning it) and long passages of non-stop sax playing made possible by circular breathing. Mitchell’s associates on the album include Vincent Davis, a fiery drummer who has played with him fro a while, and newcomers Tomeka Reid on cello and Junius Paul on bass. Reid and Paul play their instruments with equal facility bowed and plucked. One of Mitchell’s compositions, “The Velvet Lounge,” is an extended solo outing for cellist Reid, playing arco: drummer Davis joins her halfway through and Paul on bass helps them wrap the piece up. Of the six songs, two are by Anderson, the other four Mitchell’s.

Roscoe Mitchell

Some of Mitchell’s playing on this lively album clearly qualifies as jazz, though of a distinctly modern persuasion, but all of it falls under the Mitchell’s Art Ensemble of Chicago used to categorize its music: this is “Great Black Music.” If you’re not used to Mitchell’s playing, it may take you a while to tune into this music but it’s the real thing. As is Mitchell, one of the most innovative, exciting –and best– musicians still performing. (And he’s 75!) —David Keymer)

Attention please: This is Free Jazz !


Vincent Davis (drums)
Roscoe Mitchell (saxophone)
Junius Paul  (bass)
Tomeka Reid (cello)


01. Song For Fred Anderson (Mitchell) 17.24
02. Bernice (Anderson) 10.40
03. The Velvet Lounge (Mitchell) 6.43
04. Hey Fred (Mitchell) 17.05
05. Ladies In Love (Anderson) 13.46
06. Cermak Road (Mitchell) 4.27

Fred Anderson2



29th Street Saxophone Quartet – Pointillistic Groove (1984)

FrontCover1The 29th Street Saxophone Quartet was an American saxophone quartet. Established in 1982, the ensembles members are alto saxophonists Bobby Watson and Ed Jackson, tenor saxophonist Rich Rothenberg (in recent years, Willie Williams), and baritone saxophonist Jim Hartog. The group has performed an eclectic repertoire, including jazz, show tunes, funk, rap, and original experimental works. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the band toured in Britain, Europe, Istanbul, Canada and in the United States.

In an early review of the band’s first extended engagement in New York City in 1984, John S. Wilson of The New York Times wrote, “The ensemble playing is clean, precise and tightly together, but the solos are filled with slashing, exuberant abandon. At times it is the very essence of loose, free jazz but it also uses the heavy, stylized sound of Stan Kenton’s saxophone writing. The four musicians are choreographed in shifting formations to spotlight soloists and in dance movements that extend the musical movements.”

The Glasgow Herald said “the ensemble’s cohesiveness and the high quality of solo playing made everything the four men played worthy of note.” The group maintained an international presence and recorded several CDs and is still in existence today. (by wikipedia)

29th Street Saxophone Quartet_01

The 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, a cooperative group that worked on and off into the mid-’90s before disbanding, made their debut recording in 1983 for Osmosis, a Dutch label. Although they had been working together since 1981 as a unit, they are still finding their way on this early effort, most of which was recorded live at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam. Each of the musicians wrote original pieces for these sessions. Alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, easily the most recognizable player due to his status as a prominent alumni of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, is also the quartet’s most accessible composer at this point, contributing two strong originals. Fellow alto saxophonist Ed Jackson (who had previously worked with George Russell, Ran Blake, and Jaki Byard’s Apollo Stompers) composed “Pointillistic Groove,” an uneven work with a conversational exchange between the horns and a tedious laughing sax routine that fails to hold the listener’s attention. Better is his stirring arrangement of “Anthropology.” Baritone saxophonist Jim Hartog penned the somewhat eerie “Still,” which makes great use of unison lines, as well as arranging the standard “Love for Sale.” Even though this initial effort doesn’t quite reach the heights of the group’s later recordings, fans of the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet will likely want to track down this now hard to find LP. (by Ken Dryden)

Exciting (partly free) jazz stuff !

29th Street Saxophone Quartet_02

Jim Hartog (baritone saxophone)
Ed Jackson (alto saxophone)
Rich Rothenberg (tenor saxophone)
Bobby Watson (alto saxophone)


01. The Curious Child (Watson) 6.06
02. Pointillistic Groove (Jackson) 12.58
03. Still (Hartog) 6.50
04. Love For Sale (Porter) 4.52
05. Bigfoot (Rothenberg) 6.23
06. Anthropology (Parker) 10.13
07. One Chance At Life (Watson) 3.21

“The Curious Child” recorded live at Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands, November 19, 1983. All other selections recorded live at the BIM-Huis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, November 25, 1983.



A curiosity about this release – recorded in Amsterdam, manufactured in the US but with only a Netherlands record label address on the sleeve. Until a “manufactured in The Netherlands” version surfaces, it would appear that one printing serviced the world, hence the listing under “country”.

Caffeine – Same (1994)

FrontCover1Caffeine is the eponymous debut album by the free improvisation trio consisting of Jim Baker on piano, Steve Hunt on percussion and Ken Vandermark on reeds. It was recorded in 1993 and released on Okka Disk. By the time of recording, Vandermark and Hunt were members of the NRG Ensemble.[1]Caffeine is the eponymous debut album by the free improvisation trio consisting of Jim Baker on piano, Steve Hunt on percussion and Ken Vandermark on reeds. It was recorded in 1993 and released on Okka Disk. By the time of recording, Vandermark and Hunt were members of the NRG Ensemble.

The Penguin Guide to Jazz notes that “‘with Baker and Hunt, Vandermark is slightly too exposed.”
The Chicago Tribune review by Howard Reich says “Baker’s restless pianism, Vandermark’s penetrating reed work and Hunt’s meticulous percussion perpetually react to one another in unexpected, novel ways.”
The Down Beat review by Bill Shoemaker states “Caffeine provides high-energy blow-outs followed by explorations of space and color. Baker’s first recorded outing is appetite-whetting, as he skillfully skirts Taylor’s long shadow.”


Ironically, Caffeine is the longest-lived project by reedist Ken Vandermark, and the least documented. It is an uncompromising trio rounded out by two of the most underrated Chicago musicians. Drummer Steve Hunt is mostly known for his work with the NRG Ensemble, and pianist Jim Baker has long been a mainstay of the Chicago scene. Baker produces rather linear lines with an uninterrupted flow of notes, and Hunt often uses percussive devices on his drum kit, creating a bustle. The two seem to have a privileged rapport, and Baker’s braininess acts as a foil for Hunt’s intuitiveness. Vandermark, still a little green, occasionally seems a little foreign to what they both cook, his playing being juxtaposed to theirs. The reed player gets credit, however, for his quite different approaches on each of the three instruments on this set of improvised music: clarinet, bass clarinet, and tenor sax.


It is on bass clarinet that he manages to best blend with his cohorts — maintaining an energetic flow without sounding forceful. On tenor, Vandermark is at his fiercest and most ferocious. The second part of “Landscape on the Events Horizon,” a clarinet feature, provides a rare occasion to hear him in contemplative mode. Overall, the music is extremely dense, despite the fact that the session only involves a trio and the musicians avidly seek to fill all the spaces. Despite its shortcomings, Caffeine manages to sustain the listener’s interest due to, in particular, Hunt’s and Baker’s attention to details. (by Alain Drouot)

Attention please: This is free jazz and when I write fee jazz I mean free jazz !


Jim Baker (piano)
Steve Hunt (drums, percussio
Ken Vandermark (reeds)


01. Two Car Garage 16.14

Landscape On The Events Horizon (46.58)
02. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 1) 10.11
03. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 2) 14.54
04. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 3) 8.55
05. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 4) 7.34
06. Landscape On The Events Horizon (Part 5) 5.20

07. Beyond The Gum Wrapper  9.45

All compositions by Baker/Hunt/Vandermark



Don Cherry – Live In Frankfurt (1968)

FrontCover1Trumpeter Don Cherry might have honed his craft when he played with Ornette Coleman in the late ’50s and early ’60s but he did not hesitate to flex his musical muscles on his own.

To call Cherry a trumpet player is not only misleading but does a great injustice to the musician. While he played the trumpet and cornet and assorted flutes, he was adept at the piano and even experimented with electronics.

So it was not a great surprise to find Cherry performing a free jazz-ish set with Steve Lacy at the Deutsches Jazzfestival in Frankfurt in March 1968 and then record the world-fusion Eternal Sunshine in November (with Albert Mangelsdorff and Sonny Sharrock among others).

In an interview, Cherry said: “The form of jazz where you had the composition, then the sax solo, trumpet solo, piano solo, drum solo, then trade fours – that concept doesn’t open up for surprises. And surprise is, to me, one of the most important things in life, for inspiration. I would write compositions so I could change those compositions. Or I’d have one artist solo in one piece and out of that piece we’d go to another, maybe never going back to what we started with.”

Not only that, Cherry appeared to be a very fair leader, allowing every member here to shine and the intricate interaction among the players was not lost on the appreciative Frankfurt audience. Listening to this set, one can just picture Cherry with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face.

Don Cherry died in Spain in 1995 due to liver failure. He was 58. (by bigozine2)

Thanks to Jazzrita for sharing this show on the Dime site.

Recorded live at the Deutsches Jazzfestival 1968, Volksbildungsheim, Frankfurt, Germany, March 24, 1968. Very good German FM recording


Karl Berger (vibraphone, piano)
Kent Carter (bass)
Don Cherry (cornet, bamboo flute)
Steve Lacy (saxophone)
Jacques Thollot (drums)


01. Tune In (Berger) 6.01
02. A New Folk (Cherry) 12.24
03. Bird Suite (Berger) 7.13
04. Going Home (Berger) (fade-out) 4.15


Alternate front+back cover


Marion Brown – Porto Novo (1969)

frontcover1This was one of altoist Marion Brown’s best recordings. Although a very adventurous improviser, Brown usually brought lyricism and a thoughtful (if unpredictable) approach to his music. Accompanied by bassist Maarten van Regteben Altena and drummer Han Bennink for this stimulating session (recorded in Holland), Brown stretches out on five of his compositions and is heard at the peak of his creative powers (by Scott Yanow)

Alto saxophonist Marion Brown has always existed on the periphery of avant-garde jazz. His lithe soloing has by and large eschewed the edgy, colorful flare-ups that constantly cap Ornette Coleman’s most brilliant runs. This trio session features Brown in ideal company, with then-youthful drummer Han Bennink and bassist Marteen Altena filling out the group. Together, the group trots the line between fluid motion and crisp execution, with Brown’s alto making pungent jabs amidst Bennink’s popping drumming and Altena’s rubbery bass. Most impressively, Brown captures the continuity from Johnny Hodges’ swing to the avant-garde’s high energy in his catholic sound and in this trio’s pouncing intensity. (by Andrew Bartlett)

Attention please: This is free jazz !

My copy is a re-release from 1975 by the famous Arista Records label. This album was original recorded in 1967 !


Alternate frontcover

Maarten van Regteren Altena (bass)
Han Bennink (drums)
Marion Brown (saxophone, percussion)
Leo Smith (trumpet, percussion)

01. Similar Limits 6.25
02. Sound Structure 6.10
03. Improvisation 5.50
04. Qbic 6.32
05. Porto Novo 11.55
06. And Then They Danced  16.05
07. Rhythmus No. 1 3.30

All compisitions by Marion Brown



Original frontcover from 1969


Chick Corea – The Song Of Singing (1970)

FrontCover1The Song of Singing is Chick Corea’s fifth solo recording, released in 1970.

The album features a trio with Barry Altschul on drums and Dave Holland on bass (together with Corea making up three fourths of Circle). The setting of the album is free and spontaneous with a few scripted pieces to keep everything on track. The lone piece composed by someone not in the band, Wayne Shorter’s Nefertiti is now considered a jazz standard. (by wikipedia)

This LP features the rhythm section of Circle (pianist Chick Corea, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul) playing rather advanced improvisations on group originals (highlighted by Holland’s “Toy Room”) and “Nefertiti.” Influenced by the early Art Ensemble of Chicago, this music is rather free and avant-garde but rewards close listenings. (by Scott Yanow)

Chick pairs with his Circle collaborators Dave Holland (bass) and Barry Altschul (drums) for The Song of Singing, a free-thinking trio album built on truly extraordinary improvisation. The spirit of the trio pulses through each tune, building from quiet tones to the refined beauty of the closer, Wayne Shorter’s “Nefertiti.” This is a next-level piano trio giving it all they’ve got.(taken from Chick´s website)


Barry Altschul (drums)
Chick Corea (piano)
Dave Holland (bass)


01. Toy Room (Holland) 5.51
02. Ballad I (Altschul/Corea/Holland) 4.17
03. Rhymes (Corea) 6.50
04. Flesh (Corea) 6.06
05. Ballad III (Altschul/Corea/Holland) 5.34
06. Nefertiti (Shorter) 7.05



Sam Rivers & James Newton – Flutes (1976)

FrontCover1Samuel Carthorne Rivers (September 25, 1923 – December 26, 2011) was an American jazz musician and composer. He performed on soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet, flute, harmonica and piano.

Active in jazz since the early 1950s, he earned wider attention during the mid-1960s spread of free jazz.

With a thorough command of music theory, orchestration and composition, Rivers was an influential and prominent artist in jazz music. (by wikipedia)

Sam Rivers and Joe Daley NYC - July, 1976

Sam Rivers and Joe Daley NYC – July, 1976

James W. Newton (born May 1, 1953, Los Angeles, California, United States) is an American jazz and classical flautist, composer, and conductor.

From his earliest years, James Newton grew up immersed in the sounds of African-American music, including urban blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel. In his early teens he played electric bass guitar, alto saxophone, and clarinet. In high school he took up the flute, influenced by Eric Dolphy.[2] In addition to taking lessons in classical music on flute, he also studied jazz with Buddy Collette. He completed his formal musical training at California State University, Los Angeles.

JamesNewtonFrom 1972 to 1975, together with David Murray, Bobby Bradford, and Arthur Blythe, Newton was a member of drummer (and later critic) Stanley Crouch’s band Black Music Infinity. From 1978 to 1981 he lived in New York, leading a trio with pianist and composer Anthony Davis and cellist Abdul Wadud. These three played extended chamber jazz and Third Stream compositions by Newton and Davis. With Davis, Newton founded a quartet and toured successfully in Europe in the early 1980s. Afterwards, he performed with a wide variety of musicians, including projects by John Carter and the Mingus Dynasty. Newton has released four recordings of his solo improvisations for flute. Since the 1990s Newton has often worked with musicians from other cultural spheres, including Jon Jang, Gao Hong, Kadri Gopalnath, and Shubhendra Rao, and has taken part in many cross-cultural projects.

Newton has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, L’Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris, Vladimir Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Southwest Chamber Music, California EAR Unit, New York New Music Ensemble, and the San Francisco Ballet.

He served for five years as Musical Director/Conductor of the Luckman Jazz Orchestra and has held professorships at the University of California, Irvine, the California Institute of the Arts, and California State University, Los Angeles. In 1989 he wrote and published a method book entitled The Improvising Flute. In 2007 he published Daily Focus For The Flute.

He has also composed classical works for chamber ensemble and orchestra, as well as electronic music. In 1997 he wrote an opera, The Songs of Freedom. Based on the knowledge of the deep tradition of “extended” jazz compositions and European contemporary music, Newton uses post-serial methods in composing.[vague] His compositions may be judged as specifically African-American not solely because of the presence of crucial idiomatic elements such as rhythm, pronunciation, and transformation of sound, but also because of their dialoguing between different cultures. In his compositional output, he specializes in chamber music and writing for unconventional instrumentations. He has also written a symphony and composed for ballet and modern dance. In 2006 he composed a Latin Mass which premiered in Prato, Italy, in February 2007.

This is a very rare album, released on Circle Records,  a German jazz record label established in 1976. Most albums have not been reissued.

And yes … this is free jazz …. if you know what I mean !

FreeJazz01Essence Part XI recorded live September 2, 1976 at the Bim Huis, Amsterdam
The Dean + Choir recorded live May 21, 1977 from Studio A Pacifica Radio, KPFK, Cahuenga Bl, N. Hollywood
Woman recorded live January 16, 1977 at the Smudge Pot, Claremont, California


On “Essence – Part XI”:
Joe Daley (french horn, tuba)
Sam Rivers (flute)
James Newton (flute on 02. – 04.)

01. Essence – Part XI (Rivers) 13.22
02. Woman (Bradford) 6.08
03. The Dean (alternate take) (Newton) 7.40
04. Choir (Newton) 4.29