Saturday, July 06, 2013


Skimpy true, but with the 4th of July holiday this past Thursday as well as the threat of real life taking over whether I want it to or not I just don't have the time to settle back and listen to and write up all of the music I want to and whenever I want to for that matter. Oh for a nice sub-zero day in January with about five feet of snow grinding the entire tri-county area to a I could use a few days stranded here just pouring through records 'n Cee-Dees 'n tapes 'n books having a fun time like I did when I was a kid, days I thought would never end but did no matter how hard I tried to keep that adolescent mindset up and running through baldness and societal turmoil! But alas things have changed, and not for the better if you ask me! Anyway despite all of the convolutions otherwise known as life I managed to crank out a post, and if you don't like it you know what you can do with an unexploded World War II torpedo and a jar of Vaseline.

Lotsa free jazz this time. I didn't plan it, but it just happened thanks to some new items that flung themselves my way, a couple courtesy of none other than PD Fadensonnen (see blog links at left, and buy whatever he has to offer!) as well as one from the Bill Shute pile (as opposed to Bill Shute's piles!) which ain't free jazz related but still fits in with the "gist" of this blog. Thanks be to thee, for if you didn't send these parcels I'd be ranting and raving about my cootie infestation for about ten paragraphs running.

As far as the mechanistics of this blog go, for some odd reason I can no longer post or "save" anything I wrote on the composing "page" unless I fill in the post title block that's directly located above the main area where I put my passions to print! I guess that because of this new stumbling block I'll have to go back to thinking up cornballus titles just so's I can get my usual blither blather out to you. If you ask me it's too bad blogger hadda do this to us, because I much preferred the large type titling that I had been using on and off for the past few years which I still believe looks fitting. But hey, until the people @ blogger give us the option back I'll have to abide by their rather stifling rule, and  as expected I'm sure you do not understand.

Not much else to cry about (and sometimes I do feel like doing a Johnny Ray imitation although not in a Michigan men's room), so here's this week's offering which I know you'll pass up faster'n an all expenses paid date with Anastasia Pantsios, but as the liberals like to say it's the thought that counts!


Although Mickey Ruskin's Lower Manhattan Ocean Club never earned the same underground boffiness status of the likes of CBGB, Club 82 or even Mickey's own creation Max's Kansas City it does live on in seventies under-the-consciousness status as being the homeplace of many an important underground gig. Not only had the infamous John Cale show with Lou Reed, Patti Smith, David Byrne and Allen Lanier taken place at this haunt, but the likes of Television and Alex Chilton among many other "underground" rock acts had played there during the club's rather short (1976-1978) lifespan. However, other than the B13 issue of Cale's live appearance reviewed a month or so back as well as a tape of the Chilton gig flying around there just ain't that much out there documenting this club's existence for people like us inna 'teens to settle back 'n appreciate thirtysome years after the fact. Except for this particular slab, that is.

David Murray never was one of my fave free jazz sax player. In my opinion he never had the overt energy and tumult that the likes of Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman and a few hundred more flipsters had inundated us with during the Golden Age of Splurt back in the sixties and seventies. However, on this New Year's Eve '77 recording Murray leads a grouping of free/loft faves for a show that was rather exhilarating and, like the underground rock that was permeating the club scene at that very same nanosecond, typifies the drive and utter brainscramble that was being touted as music moving into that next big direction that seemed so promising and forward looking at the time before it all tumbled into an even more underground strata with "light" jazz and post-fusion grabbing the spotlight at the expense of these tried and true believers.

This could be Lester Bowie's show as much as if is Murray's, especially on the Butch Morris composition "Obe" which'd figure since trumpet (well, cornet) was the method of Morris' madness. Bowie really shines here with some mighty driving stylings that evoke those hot solo albums of his (like the one he did for Muse called FAST LAST) long before the eighties seemed to turn not only Bowie's but a whole lotta similar-minded free players in less exhilarating directions. His spirit and energy almost makes Murray sound contrite in comparison, and Murray better thank his lucky charms that this new label didn't repackage his album as a Bowie one in order to sucker more people familiar with his aura into latching onto the thing.

Bassist Fred Hopkins keeps it up stellar-like (I could get into all of these Gary Giddins-inspired hyperbolic comparisons and praise saying that a certain phrase on "For Walter Norris" is reminiscent of Gary Holland's pace keeping on some Braxton tracks and all, but you didn't come here to be spoken down to now, did you?) and I've never been one to turn down listening to drummer Phillip Wilson, one of the unsung great wildmen on and off the stage either. And although the show lacks the bared-wire intensity of various avant garde excursions from the sixties until today, it does have that late-seventies jaded feeling that surely benefited from the lack of uppa-date technological recordings where you can hear every bead o' sweat drop from the player's forehead with amazing clarity. A boffo addition to the canon of free jazz greats, although I must admit that most of the music I've heard of this genre ain't anything to sneeze at so it's like this 'un's in good company, eh?
Various Artists-LIARS IN A STRANGE RAINY WORLD CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

Mid-sixties radio pop here, only I'm sure most of this never did get played beyond a few local spins on some creaky AM outlet before getting tossed into a box marked "1966" for Greg Prevost to discover a good thirtysome years later. Some familiar tuneage here true (the Castaways' "Liar Liar" and Bill Cosby's "Little Old Man," a strange inclusion in this company) and some of this is wimpier than the gooniest kid in sixth grade writing a poem using titles of Rod McKuen songs but the overall effect reminds me of a good evening of mid-sixties radio without alla the big hits of course. Some nice surprises here including the Four Squares' Beatle-alike "Don't You Know I Love You," Rockpile's "Black Bill" (which sounds so authentico that it coulda been a 1959 top forty spinner) and the Sevens' garage band pounder "What Can I Do." Some schmoozy inclusions as well such as the Dave Clark Five's "Theme Without a Name" are guaranteed to make your blood sugar surge so if you listen to this be sure to pee on your freshly baked cake and call it one will know the difference.
Various Artists-ELECTRICK LOOSERS 2 CD (no label, probably of German origin)

I tend to shy away from these six-oh compilations anymore since none of 'em and I mean NONE have the same sense of excitement or energy that the first ten volumes of PEBBLES or any of those BOULDERS that brightened up the very early eighties more'n a load of concurrent fanzines ever could. This 'un (taken from the PRAE KRAUT PANDAEMONIUM vinyl series volumes 2 and 3) is really no better'n the rest, but I decided to get it to see if a few of the tracks mentioned really lived up to all the lip service they got. They don't, but it's sure great hearing some downright classix such as the Kentuckys' "Old Hangman is Dead" not to mention the Dukes' "I'm an Unskilled Worker" again. I'm sure you remember that one about some low-class mop-pusher who fantasizes about being big and famous like everyone from Caesar, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Adolf Hitler and Richard Nixon which goes to show you the mindset of some of these German youth struggling with the post-war guilt complex or somethin'.  The rest just doesn't connect with the high energy factor in my mind which I guess shows how jaded I have become over the years because I get the feeling that this 'un woulda bowled me over had I heard it in 1979!
Various Artists-WORRIED MEN AND WOODEN SOLDIERS (Marching Through the Online MP3 Thrift Stores) CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

I'm breaking my new self-imposed rule to review only one Bill burn per week because sheesh, not only are these disques of his the mostest as far as dishing out the rarities but rilly, there just ain't that much out there to write up this week! Another hodgepodge of music put together in a way only Bill could conceive, with some old timey country, early-sixties pop misses, cover versions and other assorted fanabla that just might or might not get you all hot and bothered stashed onto this nice 'n shiny. Big names include Zoot Money, Edie Gorme (!) and Burl Ives (!!?!?!?!?) and even the instantly cut out classics don't seem to bug ya at all. Kinda got a kick outta British gal singer Twinkle's emotionless cover of "The End of the World," and to show you what kind of a sense of humor Bill has he even tacked on a console organ Christmas single at the end which, considering how I listened to this on July 4th, really brings the term "Christmas in July" new meaning! Makes me wanna put some roman candles on a Christmas Tree and watch the fireworks.

Even in these days when even free jazz's listening base has shrunken to a few old diehards and rock music is dead yet hasn't gotten the decent burial it once deserved, it's sure grand listening to some of the original scronkers continue to dish it out. Milford Graves has been at the forefront of the under-the underground of jazz for quite some time, and thankfully the guy never did bow out or scrambootch like way too many others in the avant jazz game because right now, in fact a good month or so ago, he appeared at the infamous (among people who would care inna first place) "Vision Fest" with a couple groupings that really made some fresh and invigorating sounds, and at a time when you thought all of this had ground to a halt long ago!

Graves' "Transition Trio" features the septuagenarian with two relatively new players, and in fact they're so new that I must admit I don't even know who these sidemen are! But whoever D.D. Jackson and Kidd Jordan may be, the pianist and tenor saxist are plenty hot and way in tune with the post-loft feeling in jazz that seemed to permeate those CBGB Lounge cybercasts that kept me in suspense (mainly because I never knew when the picture would konk out!) back in the earlier portion of the previous decade. The energy level approaches that of any jazz faves you might think of offhand, and I can't complain about it in the least---hot high energy power that should appeal to those of you who (like me) first dabbled toes in the new thing waters with a copy of Cecil Taylor's NEFERTITI, THE BEAUTIFUL ONE HAS COME album way back inna savage seventies.

The same night Graves played with the Transition Trio he also led the New York HeArt Ensemble, a group consisting of New York Art Quartet trombonist Roswell Rudd actually doing some nice bleats for a change, William Parker on bass, Charles Gayle on tenor and piano and LeRoi Jones himself Amiri Baraka actually reciting some poesy that I can't for the life of me make out, and for some reason I'm glad I couldn't. (I mean, who knows what this guy's up to these days, but I still get the feeling he's poop-deep into the hate jew whitey thing that's been bolstering his career for years!) Still a very powerful set that I'm sure most people who pay lip service to the new jazz will probably gladly do without, but folk like us, we know better now, don't we?
Andrew Hurst-SAD JOYS IN OVERDRIVE CD (no label---maybe Fadensonnen can tell us where to get it)

Subtitled "an introduction to the music of Andrew Hurst," this half-hour collection features music performed by Fadensonnen collaborator and artist in his own right Hurst who seems to be a loner genius in the tradition of way too many people who've been forgotten over the years. Dunno exactly how to classify him, but at times Hurst sounds like he's writing rough drafts for the New York group Jack Ruby and sequels to "Wild Thing" filtered through WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT. Definitely bedroom-level recordings with have a certain eighties-on underground deca-drive, and although there were a few things here that didn't quite jibe with me (such as the hickoid exploito "Starlite Motel") I felt fine basking in the glow of a current-day practitioner of underground music who doesn't smoke turd. Hurst has been doing these things since 2001, and maybe it's time he ventured outta the attic or wherever he records these things and tried for some honest-to-goodness meat 'n potatoes 'stead of the lite fluff I'm praising him with right now.
Hope to see you midweek with some pass-the-time book review, and who knows whether or not I'll be able to get my long-awaited mega-huge posting up in time for the weekend, the one I've been working on for years which is finally coming to fruition... Naw, it's too good for yez, so I'm gonna hold off on that for a few more months at the least. Expect the usual sogginess next time 'round.


PD said...

Just an addendum - anyone even tangentially interested in high energy free jazz would do well picking up the Charles Gayle Trio - Look Up on ESP DISK - I cant believe I slept on picking this one up - pure POWER ENERGY play from Gayle's golden year of 1994 with Michael Wimberly sounding like an 4 armed Machine Gun Thompson hopped up on enough military grade amphetamine to level buildings in his sonic path.

Glad you liked the offerings Chris - Be Well.


Andrew Hurst said...

Hey Chris,

Thanks for reviewing my record- I really appreciate it.

I'm glad it doesn't "smoke turd."

Much more to come, but in the meantime anyone interested in obtaining my music can contact me at

Take care,
A Hurst