D:O [Heart] the 80s, Part One

Jeff Koons' Michael Jackson and Bubbles

DEWEY’S CIRCLE
David Murray
Ming
Black Saint : 1980
BUY

DM, tenor sax, bass clarinet; Olu Dara, trumpet; Lawrence “Butch” Morris, cornet; George Lewis, trombone; Henry Threadgill, alto sax; Anthony Davis, piano; Wilber Morris, bass; Steve McCall, drums.


MOON WALTZ

John Carter
Dance of the Love Ghosts
Gramavision : 1986

JC, clarinet; Marty Ehrlich, bass clarinet, flute; Bobby Bradford, cornet; Benny Powell, trombone; Don Preston, keyboards, electronics; Terry Jenoure, violin; Fred Hopkins, bass, Andrew Cyrille, drums; Osei-Tutu Felix, Kwasi Badu and Osei Assibey William (Ashanti Drummers), bells, percussion, vocals.


PEACE WARRIORS
Ornette Coleman and Prime Time
In All Languages
Caravan of Dreams : 1987

OC, alto sax, trumpet; Bern Nix and Charlie Ellerbe, guitar; Al MacDowell and Jamaaladeen Tacuma, bass; Calvin Weston and Denardo Coleman, drums.

FINDING MY VOICE

Hey, Drew here. I moved to New York City in January of 1991. I remember well the cold rainy day I drove the rented U-Haul down from Massachusetts, grimly clutching the steering wheel as I careened out of New England headed south. I specifically recall hoping, at one low moment while stuck in traffic, alone on Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, that nothing in the back was terribly damaged by whatever had just rammed into the truck’s rear fender. The contents of the truck were fairly typical: futon, aged dresser, boxes of LPs and cassettes (and a few CDs). Among the chowder: a page ripped out of the Village Voice the previous year.

I’m not really a clippings guy. While I certainly collect things, I’d be more apt to hold onto an entire newspaper from a historic day than a single article. But something about this page made it worth saving, and it has followed me from New York apartment to apartment. Now deeply yellowed and frayed, marked here and there with small dots, I’ve finally rendered it in a form that makes it easily preservable – and shareable. The page, dated August 28, 1990*, features the results of the Village Voice poll to determine The Best Jazz Albums of the 1980s. Hope you’re not tired of lists yet: there are 35 here, and just about each one offers something to chew on.

I could easily get lost in the names. I remember being particularly intrigued by John Carter’s five volume work, something called “Roots and Folklore.” A lot of folks liked it, but in those pre-Internet years I was never really able to get a bead on what this series of albums was all about. And as the years rolled on, it was harder and harder to find the music itself. It was only via this blog, a decade-plus later, and via the good graces of Steve Smith, that I could begin to get a handle on the genius and beauty of those discs.

We at Dest: OUT are incredibly pleased to present all the Voice lists this week, in two posts, along with music that draws from some of the most mentioned albums. We have found the whole thing to be surprisingly deep, the source of much great music. We hope the same is true for you. Enjoy the first half of the list:

Village Voice Best Jazz of the 1980s Poll  (Part One)
August 28, 1990


Bob Blumenthal, The Boston Globe
Tim Berne, Sanctified Dreams (Columbia)
John Carter, Castles of Ghana (Gramavision)
Dave Holland, Seeds of Time (ECM)
Ronald Shannon Jackson, Eye on You (About Time)
Steve Lacy, Prospectus (Hat Hut)
Henry Threadgill, Easily Slip Into Another World (Novus)
Steve Turre, Viewpoint (Stash)
Edward Wilkerson Jr., Eight Bold Souls (Sessoms)
World Saxophone Quartet, Revue (Black Saint)
John Zorn, The Big Gundown (Nonesuch)

Richard Cook, The Wire
Paul Bley, Tears (Owl)
Dennis Gonzales’s New Dallas Quartet, Stefan (Silkheart)
Joe Henderson, State of the Tenor, Volume 1 (Blue Note)
Andre Hodier/Martial Solal Orchestra, Jouvent (Carlyne)
Steve Lacy, Ballets (hat ART)
David Murray, Ming (Black Saint)
Evan Parker, The Snake Decides (Incus)
Cecil Taylor, Garden (hat ART)
Edward Vesala, Lumi (ECM)
Cassandra Wilson, Blue Skies (JMT)

Stanley Crouch, Notes of a Hanging Judge (Oxford)
The American Jazz Orchestra/Benny Carter, Central City Sketches (MusicMasters)
Betty Carter, Look What I Got (Verve)
Art Farmer, Something to Live For (Contemporary)
Tommy Flanagan, Thelonica (Enja)
Shirley Horn, Live at Vine Street (Verve)
Clifford Jordan, Repetition (Black Saint)
Wynton Marsalis, Black Codes From the Underground (Columbia)
Wynton Marsalis, The Majesty of the Blues (Columbia)
Max Roach, Bright Moments (Soul Note)
Sonny Rollins, G-Man (Milestone)

Francis Davis, Outcats (Oxford)
John Carter, Castles of Ghana (Gramavision)
Ornette Coleman, Virgin Beauty (Portrait)
Anthony Davis, Hemisphere (Gramavision)
Abdullah Ibrahim, African River (Enja)
Helen Merrill/Gil Evans, Collaboration (Emarcy)
The Microscopic Septet, Beauty Based on Science (Stash)
Don Pullen, New Beginnings (Blue Note)
Henry Threadgill, Just the Facts and Pass the Bucket (About Time)
World Saxophone Quartet, Revue (Black Saint)
Edward Wilkerson Jr., Eight Bold Souls (Sessoms)

Amy Duncan, The Christian Science Monitor
Michael Brecker (Impulse)
Betty Carter, Look What I Got (Verve)
The Lounge Lizards, Voice of Chunk (Legarto)
Carmen McRae, Carmen Sings Monk (Novus)
Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman, Song X (Geffen)
James Morrison, Postcards From Down Under (Atlantic)
Daniel Ponce, Arawe (Island)
Lew Tabackin, Desert Lady (Concord)
Henry Threadgill, You Know the Number (Novus)
Tick & Patti, Tears of Joy (Windham Hill)

Leonard Feather, The Jazz Years: Earwitness to an Era (Da Capo)
Toshiko Akiyoshi, Sumi-E (Insights)
Bird: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Columbia)
Jane Ira Bloom, Slalom (Columbia)
Mercer Ellington, Digital Duke (GRP)
Manhattan Transfer, Vocalese (Atlantic)
Branford Marsalis, Renaissance (Columbia)
Wynton Marsalis (Columbia)
Marcus Roberts, The Truth Is Spoken Here (Novus)
Turtle Island String Quartet (Windham Hill)
Sarah Vaughan/Count Basic, Send In the Clowns (Pablo)

Will Friedwald, Jazz Singing: America’s Great Voices From Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond (Scribners)
Tony Bennett, Astoria: A Portrait of the Artist (Columbia)
Betty Carter, Whatever Happened to Love? (Verve)
Kenny Davern, One Hour Tonight (MusicMasters)
Stan Getz/Chet Baker, Line for Lyons (Sonet)
Warne Marsh, Star Highs (Criss Cross)
Mark Murphy, Bop for Kerouac (Muse)
Art Pepper, The Complete Galaxy Recordings (Fantasy)
Frank Sinatra, She Shot Me Down (Reprise)
Mel Torme/Marty Paich, Live at Fujitsu (Concord)
Sarah Vaughan, Crazy and Mixed Up (Pablo)

Steve Futterman, Rolling Stone
Geri Allen/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian, In the Year of the Dragon (JMT)
Air, 80 Degrees Below ’82 (Antilles)
Arthur Blythe, Illusions (Columbia)
Jack DeJohnette, Album Album (ECM)
Marty Ehrlich, Traveler’s Tale (Enja)
Craig Harris, Tributes (Of The Cosmos)
Dave Holland, Triplicate (ECM)
David Murray, Home (Black Saint)
Bobby Previte, Claude’s Late Morning (Gramavision)
World Saxophone Quartet, Revue (Black Saint)

Gary Giddins, Village Voice
Muhal Richard Abrams, The Hearinga Suite (Black Saint)
George Adams/Don Pullen, Decisions (Timeless)
John Carter, “Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music,” five volumes (Black Saint/Gramavision)
Ornette Coleman, In All Languages (Caravan of Dreams)
Tommy Flanagan, Thelonica (Enja)
David Murray, New Life (Black Saint)
Max Roach/Dizzy Gillespie, Max + Dix: Paris 1989 (A&M)
Sonny Rollins, G-Man (Milestone)
Cecil Taylor, In Berlin ’88 (FMP)
World Saxophone Quartet, Revue (Black Saint)

Ira Gitler, Jazz Times
Pepper Adams, Urban Dreams (Palo Alto)
Al Cohn, The Final Performance, Volume One (Razmtaz)
Walter Davis Jr., Illumination (Jazz C ity)
Tommy Flanagan, Thelonica (Enja)
Barry Harris, For the Moment (Uptown)
Jimmy Rowles, Plays Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn (Columbia)
Zoot Sims, Quietly There (Pablo)
Sphere, Live at Umbria (Red)
Vienna Art Orchestra, From No Time to Ragtime (hat ART)
Phil Woods, The Macerata Concert (Philology)

Deborah E. Halper, United Hospital Fund
Kenny Barron, At the Piano (Xanadu)
Willem Breuker, Metropolis (Bvhaast)
Stan Getz, Pure Getz (Concord)
John Lewis, Kansas City Breaks (Finesse)
Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra, Make Me Smile and Other New Works by Bob Brookmeyer (Finesse)
Paul Motian, On Broadway, Volume 1 (JMT)
David Murray, Deep River (DIW)
Art Pepper, The Complete Galaxy Recordings (Fantasy)
Sonny Rollins, Falling in Love with Jazz (Milestone)
Roswell Rudd/Steve Lacy/Misha Mengelberg/Kent Carter/Han Bennink, Regeneration (Soul Note)

Senator Jesse Helms, Jefferson and Paine: Dupes for Communism? (Arlington House)
Chuck Berry, Roll Over Jolson (Parchesi)
Al Jolson, A Man and His Mammy (Reprise)
Al Jolson/Al Bowlly, Two Guys Named Al: The Jolie-Bowlly Sessions (Archie Rice)
Al Jolson/Duke Ellington, Black, Brown and Burnt Cork (Mills)
Al Jolson/Tipper Gore, We’re Clean! (MCA)
Al Jolson/Public Enemy, I Gotta Right to Sing the Jews (Def Vaud)
Don Lockwood/Lena Lamont, The Dueling Mammy (Monumental)
Arthur Miller, All My Jol-Sons (Kazan)
2 Live Crew, Free to Be Al Jolson, Clyde Tolson, Chuck Colson, Asa Yoelson, Benny Golsen, Jimmy Olson (Luke Kneebender)
John Zorn, News for Jolson (Cork ART)

James Isaacs, WBUR-FM Boston
Charles Brown, One More for the Road (Alligator)
Jerry Gonzales, Rhumba Para Monk (Sunnyside)
Andrew Hill, Eternal Spirit (Blue Note)
Shirley Horn, Close Enough for Love (Verve)
Steve Lacy, The Door (Novus)
Philly Joe Jones and Dameronia, Look, Stop & Listen (Uptown)
Helen Merrill/Gil Evans, Collaboration (Emarcy)
J. R. Montrose/Tommy Flanagan, A Little Pleasure (Uptown)
Caetano Veloso, Estrangeiro (Nonesuch)

Willard Jenkins, National Jazz Service Organization
Art Blakey, Album of the Year (Timeless)
Arthur Blythe, Light Blue (Columbia)
Betty Carter, The Audience (Verve)
Julius Hemphill, Big Band (Musician)
Dave Holland, Seeds of Time (ECM)
Freddie Hubbard/Woody Shaw, Double Take (Blue Note)
The Leaders, Mudfoot (Blackhawk)
Wynton Marsalis, Black Codes From the Underground (Columbia)
David Murray, Ming (Black Saint)
Sonny Rollins, G-Man (Milestone)

Lee Jeske, New York Post
Muhal Richard Abrams, Blues Forever (Black Saint)
George Adams/Don Pullen, Live at the Village Vanguard, Volume 2 (Soul Note)
Art Ensemble of Chicago, Full Force (ECM)
Ornette Coleman, In All Languages (Caravan of Dreams)
Abdullah Ibrahim, Water From an Ancient Well (Blackhawk)
Steve Lacy/Brion Gyson, Songs (hat ART)
Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman, Song X (Geffen)
David Murray, Ming (Black Saint)
World Saxophone Quartet, Revue (Black Saint)

Burt Korall, Drummin’ Man (Schirmer, forthcoming)
Miles Davis, Aura (Columbia)
Stan Getz, Anniversary (Emarcy)
Tom Harrell, Stories (Contemporary)
Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra, Make Me Smile and Other New Works by Bob Brookmeyer (Finesse)
Mel Lewis, The Lost Art (MusicMasters)
Wynton Marsalis, Black Codes From the Underground (Columbia)
Sonny Rollins, The Solo Album (Milestone)
Jimmy Rowles, Plays Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn (Columbia)
Bud Shank, That Old Feeling (Contemporary)
Mel Torme/Marty Paich, Reunion (Concord)

Jeff Levinson, Billboard
Muhal Richard Abrams, Blues Forever (Black Saint)
Art Blakey, Album of the Year (Timeless)
Ornette Coleman, In All Languages (Caravan of Dreams)
Jack DeJohnette, Album Album (ECM)
Gil Evans/Steve Lacy, Paris Blues (Owl)
Dave Holland, Seeds of Time (ECM)
Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman, Song X (Geffen)
Don Pullen, The Sixth Sense (Black Saint)
Tony Scott, Africa Bird (Soul Note)
World Saxophone Quartet, Revue (Black Saint)

To be continued on Wednesday….

And: What are your favorites from the 80s?

———-
* One of the things I can’t remember at this remove is how I came to have a Voice from 1990 when I didn’t live in NYC until the next year. Presumably I took a trip or two in an attempt to find the job that ultimately led me to move to the city. It’s always struck me as incredibly fortunate that of the few trips I took, one happened to coincide with this particular week, and issue.

Discussion11 Comments Category 1980s, David Murray, John Carter, Ornette Coleman

11 Responses to D:O [Heart] the 80s, Part One

  1. Those lists were real touchstones for me–and I still look at them occasionally. And, at the time, pre-Internet, pre-listmania, I hadn’t ever seen anything quite like them. The 10+10 list was especially terrific: Search the list for discs you like, and on that basis try the other discs lauded by the critic. Then, also buy the unsung heroes/undiscovered gems that the critic references. Some of those discs are some of my all-time favorite music. If you have trouble finding certain lists, let me know. I probably have them.

  2. Glad to see John Carter’s Roots and Folklore getting some resurgent interest … really an astounding achievement …

  3. Ah the ’80′s.
    I thought Arthur Blythe was going to be bigger.
    And I thought Wynton would be smaller.

  4. Excellent stuff, guys. I’ve seen the lists once before, but never found them again. And now they’re here. Lovely.

    Faves of the ’80s? Have to think about it, but right off the bat, Murray’s Ming would be right at the top, along with Air’s 80 Degrees… and Henry Threadgill’s Rag, Bush & All.

  5. I must have found the list on microfilm in a university library… but how did I know to look? This might have been where I first heard of 8 Bold Souls. I think John Carter was already on my radar. But my favorite album of the 1980s has to be Sean Bergin’s Kid’s Mysteries.

  6. Jesse Helms?

    I’m assuming this was a joke by the editors relating to some comment by Helms about Al Jolson. Anybody care to illuminate those of us too young to remember 80s political kerfuffles?

  7. great tracks guys, love the carter

  8. A couple I loved back then, but haven’t listened to in forever, are the first two Greg Osby records (Sound Theater and Mind Games). I’ll have to put them on and see if I still like them…

  9. LJ – I think the Helms joke has to do with his notorious racism and his (largely sucessful) attempts around this time to defund/discredit the National Endowment for the Arts. I’m guessing this is the editors answer to what sort of jazz Jesse might like…

    hey Brian! I’ve always admired Osby’s work conceptually but emotionally I can never seem to get a lasting foothold. I’ve always suspected that I haven’t heard the right albums yet to help me “get it.” Love to hear if those two hold up for you and are worth more investigation on my part.

  10. Shannon Jackson’s Eye on You — I could say this about a lot of records, but — wish I still had my LP of that!

  11. Each contributor’s list was prefaced by a reference to either the periodical or organization with which that contributor was affiliated, or, to a book written by that contributor, or to something else. (One contributor is identified as “New York Native”). The tongue-in-cheek nature of the Helms’ entry is underscored by the reference to the book he allegedly wrote: Jefferson and Paine: Dupes for Communism? (Arlington House). It was a political jab that the VV (and, I suppose, Will Friedwald), had made before; in “the ‘voice’ post-1969 jazz record poll” published in the August 1986 Jazz Supplement, one of the contributors was “William Rehnquist,” author of “How to Probate a Deed” (Arlington House). I believe he had a “challenging” restrictive covenant issue that got some publicity ….

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