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.”

Caffeine

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.

Warning

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 !

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

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Tracklist:
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

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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

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

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Tracklist:
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

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Alternate front+back cover

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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 !

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Alternate frontcover

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

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Tracklist:
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

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originalfrontcover1969

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)

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

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Tracklist:
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

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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

FreeJazz02Personnel:

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

BackCoverTracklist:
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

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