Be Happy, Dance, Fuck, Fight
DEWEY REDMAN, 1931-2006

Dewey Redman
BYG/Actuel : 1969

DR, musette; Malachi Favors, bass; Ed Blackwell drums.

Keith Jarrett
Fort Yawuh
Impulse : 1973 [buy]

KJ, piano, soprano sax; Dewey Redman, tenor sax; Charlie Haden, bass; Paul Motian, drums; Danny Johnson, percussion.

Dewey Redman
The Ear of the Behearer
Impulse : 1974 [buy]

DR, alto sax; Ted Daniel, trumpet; Jane Robertson, cello; Sirone, bass; Eddie Moore, drums, Danny Johnson, percussion.

Dewey Redman
Impulse : 1975

DR, tenor sax; Sirone, bass; Eddie Moore, drums.

RIP, Dewey Redman.

We don’t have a whole lot to add to the excellent obits that have been posted elsewhere; see the entry below for several links. But we wanted to pay tribute to a wonderful musician whose contributions to jazz have been woefully underplayed. Dewey Redman boasts an impressive resume including important stints with Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett. And many of his contributions as ‘der are no less remarkable.

“Tarik” comes from his second release under his own name. This classic BYG session was overlooked at the time, but has grown in esteem over the years thanks to reissues and its inclusion on Thurston Moore and Byron Coley’s excellent Jazzactuel box set back in 2000. The title track showcases Dewey’s superb musette playing. It creates a distinctly Eastern vibe, buzzing and prayerful in its concentrated execution.

Redman was part of one the great (if under-hyped) groups of the 1970s, Keith Jarrett’s so-called American quartet. For much more on this crew, see Do the Math. The track here, from the live Fort Yawuh, features a typically tremendous Redman statement on tenor.

The Impulse sessions Redman did in the mid ’70s are also prime material. Ear is an incredibly varied session, including everything from textural songs that slowly unpeel their layers, to fast, free-bop-like blitzes, to soulfully modulated blues vamps. We’ve selected the brief but powerful “Sunlanding.”

Recorded the following year for the Coincide album, “QOW” features a stripped-down trio charging through a rollicking free funk tune. It’s one of the great – and rarely discussed – examples of the genre. Fans of Dogon A.D. won’t want to miss this.

* * * * * * *

Here’s a brief personal reminiscence about Dewey from our friend Harold Yen:

The only time I met Dewey Redman was in the mid-90s at a small avant-garde jazz venue in Berkeley, California. It was just on the heels of his son’s meteoric rise from promising Yale law student to young lion phenom, and all the press at the time made hay of the fact that his father, whom he didn’t know growing up, was also a jazz musician. That night Dewey cheekily referenced this when he introduced himself to the audience as “Joshua Redman’s father.”

After the gig, a group of us aspiring musicians approached him and I asked him about his signature tone. He took a deep breath and put my hand on his belly as he exhaled. It stayed hard as a rock. “It all comes from the diaphragm,” he said. Dewey once said in an interview, “If you got the technique and I got a good sound, I’ll beat you every time. You can play a thousand notes and I can play one note and wipe you out.”

Three weeks ago, at Central Park’s Summerstage festival, Dewey wiped us out for the last time. The occasion was the somewhat dubious comeback gig of Asha Puthli, whose ethereal vocals on Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction album have become stuff of legend. But, Asha’s bizarre persona, awkward banter and slicked-out funk/r&b backing band made the show embarrassingly amateurish. By the time she introduced her special guest, the crowd had dwindled from 600 to about 60.

But magic happened when Dewey took the stage and delivered a two minute unaccompanied introduction to Harold Arlen’s standard, “Out of This World.” His tone was as beautiful as ever — earthy, yearning and mercurial. It was the sound of humanity, wiping out the synthesizers and over-amplified guitars. It was a sound that most of the remaining audience had likely never heard. But they responded instinctively to his playing by making more noise for him than they had all day.I noticed off-stage, hidden in the shadows, Ornette himself sitting and listening. It made me feel so good to see the two of them together. They had come a long way, two childhood friends from Fort Worth. Dewey’s beautiful music and generous spirit will be missed.

* * * * * * *

Some quotes from Dewey Redman:

“The heart of the matter is sound. No matter what I’m playing or how I’m playing, I always strive for a good sound. Technique is meaningless without a good sound.”

“My ambition is not to be recognizable and this is not easy. I would like to play music in whatever style I choose and play it well. Each time that I play, I want to do it differently but well. It’s easy to play favorably when one plays in a certain style, in a single way, but it is not so simple to play 50 different styles and be good in each of those styles.”

“I’ve never read a review where the guy seemed to know what I was trying to do. It’s always that I use some kind of funny effect or a growl or holler. But it’s not a fluke, it’s something that I studied, and I have never heard anybody else do that.” [on vocalizing through his horn]

“Music is the most powerful force I know; it’s the only force that can make you cry, laugh, be happy, dance, fuck, fight. It can do strange things to people. Music is the only pure thing that’s left because everything else is so corrupted, and being a Black jazz musician in America is hardly a lucrative thing. I’m happier when I’m playing than when I’m walking to the bank, and I’m happy doing that, too. But the two don’t hardly go hand in hand.”

“I never think of it as making a living, really – and you have to face that fact. I spend most of my time thinking about music, and I believe that if you have faith in music, if you’re sincere and honest about what you’re doing, you’ll be provided for. And so far, it has worked out.”

& & & & & & &

It’s been exciting to see all the amazing lists generated by Dave Douglas’s comments about jazz in the 70s and 80s and Ethan Iverson’s list of personal favorites. Do yourself a favor and check ‘em out, along with the Bad Plus’ follow-up posts, now in progress.

Please do not sleep on some rich and amazing contributions to the ’73-’90 jazz record confab from the following–
Steve Smith;
Darcy James Argue;
Pat Donaher;
David Ryshpan;
Ethan Iverson & Co., volume 1;
Ethan Iverson & Co., volume 2;
Ethan Iverson & Co., volume 3

We’d like to thrown our own hat in the ring, in a limited way. We hope our recent Muhal Abrams and Marion Brown entries are examples of more great ’70s and ’80s jazz. And we’d like to make it plain that we think jazz in the 1970s was every bit as good as jazz in the 1960s. It may not have been as (outwardly) culturally significant, and many of the gems might have been released on tiny labels, but title-for-title the decade holds its own. And for sheer variety, it’s pretty much unbeatable. See this list, a decade’s worth of favorites from an Italian fan, writer, and obsessive list-maker, to get the wide view.

As for the 1980s, well, like the rest of music during that decade, many otherwise fine jazz recordings suffered from poor production choices that now sound hopelessly dated. But there are still more stellar recordings out there than most people might recognize. Stay tuned and over the next year we’ll be throwing out plenty of examples so you can decide for yourself.

In the meantime, and despite the formal closing of the invitational, here are a few key artists and albums from the ’70s and ’80s that haven’t turned up on the other lists (so far). They’re more examples of the incredibly diverse and rich offerings of the period:

Air – Lore; Albert Mangelsdorff; Alexander von Schlippenbach; Alice Coltrane – Transfiguration; Amina Claudine Meyers; AMM; Anthony Davis; Arthur Blythe – Fulton Street Breakdown and Bush Baby; Bennie Maupin – Jewel in the Lotus; Bill Dixon – Considerations I; Billy Bang; Butch Morris – Dust to Dust; Charles Gayle – Touchin’ on Trane; Don Cherry – Brown Rice and Relativity Suite; George Lewis – Homage to Charles Parker; Globe Unity Orchestra; Henry Threadgill – Rag Bush and All; Herbie Hancock – Sextant; Horace Tapscott – The Dark Tree; Larry Young – Lawrence of Newark; Lester Bowie – The Fifth Power; Marilyn Crispell; Michelle Rosewoman – Quintessence; Miles Davis – every single thing he recorded until his retirement in 1975; Randy Weston; The Revolutionary Ensemble; Ronald Shannon Jackson – Mandance; Rova Saxophone Quartet; Sam Rivers – Crystals and Hues; Sonny Sharrock – Guitar, Seize the Rainbow, and Ask the Ages; Sun Ra – Lanquidity, St. Louis Blues, and Disco 3000.

–Apologies if some of these were listed elsewhere already, or miss the date cut-offs.

–And what are some of your favorite jazz titles from the 70s and 80s?

Category Dewey Redman, tributes

27 Responses to Be Happy, Dance, Fuck, Fight
DEWEY REDMAN, 1931-2006

  1. Thanks for posting some great Dewey Redman. Momentum Space with Elvin Jones is also a must-hear tour de force, IMO. As for lists, it’s complicated! What I’d love is the entire jazz catalogue from 1970-1989 so I could pick from there. One thing to notice, culturally: “creative” or “new” music had its decades in the sun in Europe and Japan, where it was much more culturally significant on the face of things than here. Hat Hut, FMP and Black Saint/Soul Note labels managed to document entire swaths of America’s amazing music when the apathy on our side of the Atlantic was pretty crushing. Economically, new models of self-production and distribution rose up (and sank down) such as Artist’s House, Caravan of Dreams, etc. The ’70s and ’80s also saw the remarkable expansion, refinement, distillation and advancement in concept and execution of major, indispensible figures: Braxton, Coleman, Art Ensemble, Cecil Taylor (whose late ’70s unit with Shannon Jackson/Sirone/Lyons/Malik/Ameen is one of the finest in the history of the music). There was also the New York Loft Jazz scene hosted by Sam Rivers (captured on Douglas’s Wildflowers series)…anyway, it seems to me that making lists is never as inclusive as I’d wish.

    Peter Breslin

  2. I saw Dewey Redmon with Keith Jarrett’s “American Quartet” in Iowa City in 74 or 75. They played to a raucus student union crowd that managed to evoke the usual lectures from the stage on clapping after solos (which I agree with) and the coughing lecture, which only seems to get more coughing from the audience.
    After each lecture I kind of got the “i’m being sent to the principal” feeling, you know, butterflies, hot flash, feeling of doom. Not able to concentrate on the music at all. For fear something may happen to make the music stop again.
    After Jarrett’s second lecture on coughing and the crowd was scolded into submission, Dewey leaned down in his mike and coughed, real loud, everyone even Jarrett laughed and the rest of the night was great.
    I’ve loved him ever since.

  3. RE: “Misfits,” Sweet Jesus, I wish Keith wouldn’t step on Dewey’s solo like that. Tell you what Keith, let’s make a deal — we promise we won’t clap mid-tune or cough, if you promise you won’t put the goddamn soprano sax in your mouth.

  4. thanks for that DJA. I wanted to say it, but my momma raised me to be nice. This is the problem I have with the entire Jarrett/Redman/Haden/Motian catalogue. There are far too many moments of excruciatingly embarrassing “Jarrett-isms” for me to rank the body of work as high as some want to in retrospect. Jarrett’s ego is the size of Montana, and he too often noodles like the “artiste” that he thought himself to be at the expense of his brilliant sidemen. Many of his compositions are weaker than wet loo roll. Try this: play “Shades of Jazz” (killer Redman solo! which follows a typical meandering and oh-so-Romantic Jarrett statement) and then throw on “Ghosts” by Ayler with Milford Graves. Night and day.


  5. Yeah, that’s a bummer. One can almost hear Dewey’s eye-roll.
    Ever grok “Great Bird,” with KJ overdubbing himself on soprano? Yeesh. How’d this group stay together so long?

  6. Excellent Dewey Redman tribute. thanks for this!

    I also second most of the albums you added to the ’73-’90 discussion. A few more came to my mind. I’d throw in the World Saxophone Quartet’s Dances and Ballads. Carla Bley’s Social Studies. The Lounge Lizards’ No Pain for Cakes, which may not be strictly jazz or improvisation-based music, but was influential in bringing to the fore the Downtown NYC scene’s interest in Klezmer, Eastern European Jewish and Roma folk music, and Tango Nuevo. Don Byron’s Tuskegee Experiments. One of James Blood Ulmer’s early ’80s recordings â?? either Odyssey, Are You Glad to Be in America?, or Freelancing (pick one). And Zorn’s Big Gundown (not strictly jazz, but a huge milestone in Zorn’s career and influential in expanding the musical/cultural reference points picked up on by the avant jazz scene of the late ’80 and early ’90s).

    Because I’m particularly interested in the experimental fusions of jazz, hip hop and electronica b/t 1982 and present, I’d throw Herbie Hancock’s Thrust in with Sextant and add 1983’s Future Shock (w/ Laswell & master old school master turntablist D.St.). In that vein, add the first (’83) Golden Palominos album (w/ D.St., Laswell, Zorn). All of the above were well ahead of the curve and influential in bringing jazz into hip hop and electronic music (or visa versa).

  7. I may be in the minority here, but I find little to complain about with Jarrett’s ‘American Quartet’, including his soprano playing. Granted, iirc, “Expectations” might have been the second jazz album I ever bought (after “Science Fiction”) in the summer of ’72 at 17 yrs old so there may be a heavy nostalgia factor for me but that group, unlike his solo work (which, aside from “Facing You”, I’ve long since disposed of), strikes me as solid through and through. As he was with Ornette’s silvery tones, Redman’s gruff wooliness was an excellent foil, in this case for Jarrett’s romanticism. “Common Mama”, baby! Jarrett could be a dick and was a noodle-master supreme, but that was a helluva group.

    OK, 20 favorite jazz albums of the 70s, alpha by person/group:

    AECO – Les Stances a Sophie
    AECO – Phase One
    AECO – Bap-Tizum
    AECO – Fanfare for the Warriors
    Bley/Haines – Escalator Over the Hill (yeah some 60s material, but…)
    Braxton – New York, Fall, 1974
    Braxton – Dortmund (Quartet) 1976
    Braxton – Trio & Duet
    Coleman – Science Fiction
    Coleman – Skies of America
    Coleman – 1971 (boot on the Spanish Black Bird label)
    Ellington – New Orleans Suite
    Hemphill – Coon Bid’ness
    Holland – Conference of the Birds
    Ibrahim/Dyani – Good News from Africa
    Lewis – Homage to Charles Parker
    Mingus – Let My Children Hear Music
    Taylor – Indent
    Taylor – Silent Tongues
    Tyner – Sahara

  8. re. KJ American Quartet, I’m with Brian on this one. In terms of the broad sweep sound and styles of that group’s recorded music, I don’t think there have been many acoustic groups that have matched them, ever. There was strength in the members’ diverse – and often conflicting – voices and approaches (Check “Melting the Ice” from extended Fort Yawuh sessions). Maybe I’m young and naive and never got to see them live time round, but the American Quartet excites me more than the rest of Jarrett’s career, including the Standards Trio.

    For albums from the 70s and 80s, I’ll stick my oar in for two discs by Kenny Wheeler – “Song for Someone” 1973 (re-released recently on Evan Parker’s Psi label) and “Gnu High” 1976.

  9. Excellent tribute to Dewey – I was listening to his playing on the new Jane Bunnett disc (Guantanamo Blues) the day before reading of his passing and he really sounded good. This afternoon, I pulled his 1980 collaboration with Ed Blackwell on Black Saint Live in Willisau (released in 1985) and let that wash over the house.
    As for the list (and I have not yet read all of them), let me add “Brahma” (Sackville) by Barry Altshul – Ray Anderson – Mark Helias, “Ming” (Black Saint) by the David Murray Octet, “Spirit Sensitive” and “King of Mali”, both by Chico Freeman on India Navigation. I’m sure there’s more.

  10. Oh yeah I have deep deep regard for the American Quartet. Fort Yawuh gets a lot of the good press but my favorite was Treasure Island, I knew that record backward and forward, and when it was reissued with extra minutes I learned it again.Those two records were two of my first jazz albums and were beneficial to me as I worked backward from it to the artists that influenced them. It was a good touchstone. Enough of Keith’s pastoral folksy melody lines (to keep my pop oriented ears happy) mixed against the ornette-ish rave-ups.

    My favorite records from the 70’s was a mixed batch. I loved Bad Benson by George Benson on CTI so I bought other CTI releases and was rarely as happy. Baker/Mulligan at Carnegie Hall was an exception

    I remember loving the Crusaders and still put on that green double album (Southern Comfort?) when I want to remember what Missy Mitchell’s perfume smelled like.

    So I was a big Jarrett fan and my brother gave me some Miles albums that he hated (Get Up With It, Agartha) that I really enjoyed. But other than that I was kind of stabbing around in the dark blindly. Mostly buying funkier and popish stuff(hey! I was 16 and all my friends were digging the first couple Kiss albums!) But then one summer I got two records that got me on a path to enlightenment.
    They were Dexter Gordon’s Homecoming – Live at the Village Vanguard and Miles Davis – Water Babies.
    The Gordon I loved almost as much for Woody Shaw as much as Dex, and I was dismayed to find how seldom Dexter matched up with a horn player.
    Water Babies (late sixties outtakes) was intersting because it came with no liner notes and I’d never heard the two periods that they were outtakes from, nor did I know they were outtakes at all, for all I knew Miles was getting mellow compared to my two Miles albums in my collection. I can laugh now, my ignorance, but I bet I play that album once a month.

    Some other indespensible 70’s records for me.

    Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter – Joni Mitchell
    (this is the record she sent to Mingus to introduce herself)
    Sargasso Sea – John Abercrombie & Ralph Towner
    Gnu High – Kenny Wheeler
    Conference of the Birds – Dave Holland
    Trident & Fly With the Wind – McCoy Tyner
    Nude Ants – Keith Jarrett
    Social Studies – Carla Bley
    Apogee – Pete Christlieb (with Wayne Marsh)
    Paris Concert – Circle

  11. nostalgia may or may not ultimately furnish perspective, when it comes to my favorite 70s/80s recordings. It sounds like Jarrett’s quartet provided an entry to jazz for more listeners than I realized. By the time his quartet was releasing albums I was enthralled by less slick stuff. The KJ q-tette is slick. Packaged. Shiny. and why fuck with Charlie Haden’s fat bass sound? One of the finest acoustic tones since Wilbur Ware, and on many of those KJ recordings it’s all thinned out, buzzing, sometimes lost in the mix. My listening experience then and now is to wait for Dewey Redman to take one of his usually short solos. Okay, enough with beating a dead horse…


  12. Great links… love those lists. Here are a few more great 1970’s-80’s jazz albums off the top of my head that I don’t seem to see elsewhere…

    Two of my all-time favorite Bill Evans albums (I strongly disagree with those who dis his late stuff, obviously…):
    You Must Believe in Spring (1977)
    New Conversations (1978)

    And Pharoah Sanders: Deaf, Dumb, Blind (1970) and Journey to the One (1980)…

    How ’bout Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Blacknuss (1971) and The Case of the 3 Sided Dream… (1975)

    There’s always George Russell: Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved By Nature (1980)

    And finally, the inevitable: Herbie Hancock: Future Shock (1983)

  13. Great lists from everyone – a few of these titles are new to me and I’m excited to look into them. Can’t believe we forgot Zorn’s “Big Gundown” which is a totally essential slice of 80s “jazz” and jazz. Cool that late Ellington was noted as well. I always forget how interesting those albums are. And nice to see several references to Kenny Wheeler who’s always seemed undersung to me. How do you guys rate his “Windmill Tilter” album?

    Also love the back and forth about Jarrett’s quartet – it’s almost the only Jarrett music that I can listen to these days. I was fairly late coming to it, having to overcome prejudices developed by leperous neighbors who played “The Koln Concert” night and day. Like David Jordan, the gateway drug for me was electric Miles. “Live-Evil” re-hardwired my ears at an impressionable age and I’m forever grateful. For a long time, the fact that Jarrett played with Miles was his only saving grace in my book.

    And – getting back to Dewey – anyone know if Jarrett has offered any comments about Mr. Redman’s passing?

  14. Two things: re: 70s Rahsaan, the real killer album for me was “Natural Black Inventions: Root Strata”, originally issued on Atlantic, currently (? still) available as part of a 3-disc set on 32Jazz called, iirc, something like “dog Years in the Third Ring”. Amazing record. When friends ask for a single (short) track that epitomizes modern jazz for me, I often choose “Black Root” from that album.

    And Jarrett with electric Miles is great but what consistently shocks me is how incredible, and incredibly warped, Corea is on some of those records. So far away from the pap he’d soon produce that you just can’t believe it’s the same Scientologically-challenged numbskull. Great distorted e-piano all over the place.

  15. Dog Years in the Fourth Ring, it looks like, and it looks amazing. And, naturally, not in print. 32 Jazz is no more, correct?

    It is stunning how quickly the wack-to-pap worm can turn. Exhibit B: Bob James. Perhaps an unfair comparison, but the guy went from ESP to CTI in the blink of an eye.

    And re numbskull: ha!

  16. I believe that Natural Black Inventions is at least still available on one of those Collectibles label “2-albums-on-1-CD” deals along with Kirk’s The Inflated Tear… however you lose all the great live “bootleg”-ish material that filled the other 2 CDs of the 32Jazz set.

    Hell, all of his albums were pretty much great, weren’t they…

  17. I’m siding with Brian on his Rahsaan pick. Collectibes did a single disc reissue in 2004 of NATURAL BLACK INVENTIONS: ROOT STRATA coupled with THE INFLATED TEAR. Surprisingly there were no missing tracks or any of the usual shoddy packaging for which Collectibles has become infamous. Prolly your best approach as 32Jazz is way gone and even ghosts of the label are elusive.

    ledrew, there was a nine year gap between EXPLOSIONS and BJ1! Many others (eg Herbie, Lonnie Liston Smith) went mersh in a much shorter time. What was most disappointing about James was the seeming ease in which he shook off his avant leanings; some of the most intriguing listens occurred when the avant jazzers tried to go commercial but were unable to fully lose their edges. Late 70s’ Ra platters and the first two from Jamaaladeen Tacuma immediately spring to mind. Others?

    Great lists everyone. I’ll ante up the 1988 self-titled release by Music Revelation Ensemble and DEEP by Amalgam. Still waiting on FMR to reissue the latter’s massive WIPEOUT set.

  18. I think in the 70’s CTI would have been real seductive to an artist, clearly a lot of production money, the packaging was absolutely first rate. Great distribution.
    ECM, CTI and a few other labels in the 70’s you kind of new what you were getting if you picked up a record with their imprint.

  19. man, I love reading this thread. great stuff everybody.

    when i threw out my additions (and yeah, i was surprised that no one else had yet added Zorn’s Big Gundown) i had this gut feeeling that i was missing something big. And it was RASHAAN! Yeah, NAtural Black Inventions, and I’d also second Stephen’s (V. Funk’s) mention of The Case of the Three Sided Dream, partially for nostalgic reasons, partially b/c it’s a great album, and partially b/c it has two killer “freak” versions of his signature tune “Three For the Festival” (“look at it, look at it!”)

    Ironically (or maybe just coincidentally), it hit me that I’d forgot about Rahsaan when i had my iPod on shuffle and the Beastie Boy’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” (which samples “Freaks for the Festival”) came on. D’oh! (not sure if their are any other hip hop heads out there, but hey…) Bright Moments also has several, uh, bright moments, especially “Pedal Up” and Rahsaan’s chatin’ the audience up introduction to the title track (which i use as a quote at the bottom of my blog, fwiw).


  20. Again, much of this will have to do with one’s age and the directions one took at the time, but if I put together a Jazz favorites of the 80s list, there’s been a fairly strong shift in emphasis from the 70s. The work of many of the AACM folk, imho, began to tread water, the slack being picked up, to a certain extent, by European improvisors. Additionally, the category “jazz” became increasingly difficult to apply as musicians routinely borrowed from various genres, mixing and matching. (btw, I noticed AMM listed above–They’re just about my favorite ensemble ever, but I’d never call them “jazz”. Indeed, although most of the musicians came from jazz backgrounds and although they were specifically inspired by free jazz, they were explicitly not a jazz group) So, where one draws the line varies from person to person. I spent a good deal of that decade trying to find new jazz that was as exciting as the music I experienced in the 70s (and, through albums, from the 60s and prior) and, to an extent, it was there. But by ’90 or so, I was spending the majority of my time searching elsewhere (non-idiomatic free improv, contemporary “classical”, the downtown NYC scene, the latter of which–the Zorn-oriented crowd–has long since atrophied for me.)

    Anyway, here goes. 80s jazz favorites, alpha:

    Air – 80 below 82
    Bailey – Aida
    Bailey – Drop Me Off at 96th
    Barefield/Holland/Tabbal – Live at Nickelsdorf
    Bengt Berger – Bitter Funeral Beel
    Breuker Kollektief – In Holland
    Breuker Kollektief – Driebergen-Zeist
    Breuker Kollektief – WBK (on About Time)
    Davis – Episteme
    Davis – Variations in Dream-Time
    Guy – Double Trouble
    Guy – Harmos
    Hanrahan – Desire Develops an Edge
    Last Exit – Last Exit
    Mitchell – Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancin’ Shoes
    Parker/Rowe/Guy/Prevost – Supersession
    Taylor – Fly!Fly!Fly!Fly!Fly!
    Taylor- Looking (Berlin Version) Solo
    Zorn – The Big Gundown
    Zorn – Spillane

  21. It’s cool to see Rahssan come up so much – I’m more familiar with his ealier work (“Rip Rig & Panic”! “We Free Kings”!) and tend to overlook too much of his later stuff. Nice to be reminded of the guy’s brilliance.

    Also interesting b/c Dewey strongly hinted that he felt Rahssan had ripped off his technique of singing through the saxophone and turned it into a “gimmick.” I’m not taking sides on that one, but it’s another link back to Dewey.

    And yeah, Matt, Drew and I are both hip hop fans. Sure there are more out there too, right? Heads might be too strong a classification for us, but we’re down with everything from the Beasties to Ghostface to Aesop Rock and we’re hoping the new DJ Shadow doesn’t suck as bad as the few preview tracks we’ve heard.

    And bringing the hip hop back to free jazz, anyone out there heard any of the Jungle Brothers “Crazy Wisdom Masters” tracks that their label buried back in the mid 90s? Some crazy quilt collision of avant jazz sensibilities and beats – really compelling stuff, at least the few songs I’ve heard.

  22. The rest of the American 4tet would sometimes hide Keith’s soprano! Can you dig it?

    But I still like it! This band does no wrong for me. Keith kept them together for a long time considering that they were all such (mis)fits.

  23. I guess I should’ve put all my favorites in one place, but I didn’t. Here are a couple additions that a relevant to my interest in vocal jazz (I’ll probably end up cleaning up typos and stick in on my blog, like I usually do).

    Carmen Mcrae – Fine and Mellow: Live at Birdland West. Recorded in 1986, this is my favorite record by my favorite jazz singer. It’s the gem of her final decade, which saw the culmination of her career-long metamorphosis to a sweet-voiced songbird with an unusual sensitivity to lyrics, into a bluesy, harmonically and rhythmically adventurous vocal improviser, now deep-voiced as well as deep in knowledge of music and life – as well as her retrenchment from the often-ill-advised contemporary pop influences of much of her ’70s work, in favor of the music that was closest to her ears and heart. This date is most obviously unique in presenting Carmen with the backing of a soulful organ-sax combo, rather than the typical piano trio, and the musicianship of this combo is much stronger than her usual group. But what really makes it special is just that it happened to be a date where everything just clicked, with the result being a near-perfect performance by both band and singer. With this performance Carmen achieved the quintessence of her approach, letting her voice simply be a conduit for musical though an emotion in all its variety. (BTW I blogged the contents of the Carmen McRae site I made about 6 or 7 years ago in order to learn HTML, and it includes another review of this record)

    Conjure: Music For The Text Of Ishmael Reed This Kip Hanrahan project is perhaps of more obvious interest to Destination Out readers, since the large repertory ensemble that contributes to the various tracks includes the likes of David Murray, Lester Bowie, etc. (see the artistdirect page for the full, mouthwatering lineup). Its not a perfect album (many of these musicians are known for playing imperfectly, after all), but overall, its one of the most successful attempts at poetry-‘n’ jazz – for the most part these are just good songs made from good poems. Most of the vocals are handled by Taj Mahal , here mainly in his Caribbean-tinged blues mode, as opposed to his blues-tinged Caribbean mode, and his combination of soulfulness and rhythmic sophistication make him a quite effective interpreter of this jazzy material (And, yes, I’ve blogged about this, too.

  24. Brian, great list, and interesting point re AMM. We’ll be getting to them soon enough, and will leave the categorizing to others more qualified, or interested.

    Doug W, as for attempts to go mersh without losing an edge, I’d offer 70s Miles as the prototypical example. Lost the kids after Bitches Brew, perhaps, but kept making challenging art that on some level or another had a nodding acquaintance with pop modes.

  25. Re: Miles from ’69 (or so) to ’75: It seems to me he didn’t lose the kids so much as lose his “straight ahead,” we *own* jazz and get to say what it is or isn’t, moldy fig audience. I guess he started losing this audience with the second quintet, actually. Pop and rock had already raided “Black Music” for a good while, several times over, and Miles turned the tables yet again, expropriating what he liked and of course completely transforming it. So ironic that the most aesthetically challenging music of his entire career got him accused of “selling out.” This period of his work and the critical reaction to it is a wonderful and hilarious study in just how idiotic Americans can be when given half a chance. (A quote from Downbeat’s 2-star review of On the Corner from when it was released: “I hate to think that *anyone* is so easily pleased as to dig this record to *any* extent.”)

    Of course, some of my favorite “out” musicians of the era rejected Miles’s music at the time as well. He was a real “problem” during this period and I still meet close-minded folks for whom this period is entirely unlistenable and a waste. Their loss, as it’s actually an example of one of the pinnacles of Miles’s creativity, originality and fire (with moments that are far more “out” than anything else being done at the time by anyone, period.)


  26. A delayed response, but more shout-outs for the great lists from Brian (Brueker! But of course! And must look into those Guy albums) and Doug W. (Amalgam!). Wonderful stuff from one and all, so thanks.

    And Peter – couldn’t agree with you more on the Miles tip. It’s amazing to me that some otherwise sane folks – from both the “straight ahead” and “out” communities – haven’t come around to his amazing elecric period of the 70s. It’s still impressive how much ground he covered in those few short years.

  27. Much love from my angle–for Dewey, of course…

    Re: Rahsaan–interesting points from the voices involved, but (perhaps) my personal favorite for later RRK is “Boogie-Woogie String Along for Real”–his post-stroke, one handed, autumn-year opus. Not a lot of the old virtuosity on this one (and fortunately the company is fine–Steve Turre picks up a lot of the slack), but the old Rahsaan spirit is as vivid as ever. As ‘bluesy’ as anything he ever recorded, IMO; topping off all of Rahsaan’s storied conflicts and frustrations with perhaps THE ultimate struggle–and he is victoroius, at last. The album ends with a brutal indictment of the Watergate scandal, proving once and for all that you can’t keep a good blind, half-paralyzed, (for this session, at least) wheelchair-bound, multi-instrumentalist, proselytizing jazz guru down.