Glad Tidings

Grachan Moncur III and Jazz Composer’s Orchestra
Echoes of Prayer
JCOA : 1975

GM, trombone, voice; Carla Bley, piano; Leroy Jenkins, violin; Carlos Ward, sax, flute; Hannibal Marvin Peterson, trumpet; Stafford Osborne, trumpet; Janice Robinson, trombone; Jack Jeffers, trombone;  Perry Robinson, clarinet; Mark Elf, guitar;  Keith Marks, flute; Cecil McBee, bass; Charlie Haden, bass; Jeanne Lee, vocals; Mervine Grady, vocals; Titos Sompa, congas, talking drum; Coster Massamba, Frederick Simpson, Malonga Quasquelourd, Jakuba Abiona, percussion; Beaver Harris, drums.

Dear C,

Our recent silence probably speaks volumes. Imagine us enveloped in a weird bubble of our own devising. We’ve been hosting concerts in a new loft space and selling albums for Europe’s finest jazz label. We’ve been trying to master the delicate art of shilling-without-appearing-to-shill. We’ve been spinning too many plates at once. We’ve been struggling not to lose the plot.

Lately we’ve been waking up in the dead of night and wondering if we’re in danger of losing the music itself. We dream about it evaporating, like paint on unprimed canvas. Sometimes we look at the site and wonder what happened to all the entries simply dedicated to overlooked albums. Does everything these days have to be a sale or announcement?

The only way we know to combat these feelings is with more music. Our turntable is white-hot from nonstop use. Even a lingering touch will give you a blister. While one of us spins this every morning without fail, in better moods we’ve both been listening religiously to Echoes of Prayer by Grachan Moncur III and the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra.

Our key track has been “Angel’s Angel 1.”  While the entire album is a balm, weaving a rich tapestry of salty horn charts and percolating percussion, this piece is where everything coalesces into an effortless groove. It’s joyful without sounding corny. It’s transporting and rooted, earthy and spiritual. We picture the angel of the title high-stepping across the sky, weighed down with gifts.

It’s inspired us to revisit an old staple of the site – giveaways. Call it our karma solution. No doubt we’ll continue to struggle with finding a balance and we’re sure to wrong-foot it plenty. You know better than anyone: Life’s a bitch like that. But when we listen to “Angela’s Angel,” for as long as the speakers are moving the air, we also know that everybody gets their moment of grace.

Much love,
The boys from D:O

* * * * *


Oh shit! Next week, we’re giving away several brand new releases by the great Henry Threadgill — including a copy of Mosaic’s mammoth box set The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill. That’s 8 discs (count ‘em!) chock full of out-of-print material by Threadgill and Air, spanning two decades of work, and including one previously unissued album! This essential set will set you back $148 and we’re giving one away FOR FREE.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ll also be giving away two copies of Henry Threadgill’s brand new opus This Brings Us To, Volume II from Pi Records. It picks up where last year’s stellar volume left off, delivering the most exciting and developed music from his longstanding Zooid project.

Note that we’ll be giving away one copy exclusively via our new Facebook page – so come by and “like” us to be eligible for that.

Discussion5 Comments Category Grachan Moncur III, Jazz Composer's Orchestra Tags , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Responses to Glad Tidings

  1. I hope you fellas won’t guilt-trip yourselves too much. The preceding post paying tribute to Marion Brown is clear evidence that love for the music is still the big motivator at D:O. Besides, who in their right mind starts selling avant-jazz with the notion of getting rich, or even turning a profit? Keeping worthy music before the public is a service, so do what you you gotta do.

  2. Grachan Moncur III is in my top five of favorite unsung creative jazz giants (perhaps influenced slightly by the fact that I play trombone), and Echoes of Prayer is one of my favorites of his. It’s a crying shame that Moncur’s discography is sparse and mostly out-of-print. I highly recommend to anyone that hasn’t heard Mr. Moncur to check out his “Evolution” album on Blue Note, which was only released on CD a year or two ago. If you want a larger set of his work, his Mosaic Select set includes all of his Blue Note releases plus prominent side-man appearances on some of Jackie McLean’s Blue Note albums. Moncur is a great trombonist, but an even greater composer. I could listen to him all day! Great job guys!

  3. The complete Black Saint recordings of Henry Threadgill (including those with Air on that label) were remastered into a budget-priced 7-CD box by Cam Jazz earlier this year.

  4. good vibes galore in that track, lifted my spirits no end… thanks as always… and Henry Threadgill is a planetary treasure.

  5. echoes of prayer is a fantastic record, unique sounds and inspired playing (hannibal peterson’s solo has always knocked me out). thanks for sharing some of it…now if only mosaic would come out with the complete JCOA recordings… cheers!

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