Saturday, June 13, 2015

Y'know, I was really caught off guard/surprised when I read on both the FREE JAZZ and STUPEFACTION blogs (linked up at your left) about the passing of jazz ultra-legend Ornette Coleman. Maybe not totally shocked considering how Coleman was deep into the octogenarian cycle which is saying something about the longevity of a jazz musician, but saddened over the plain ol' fact that we're all not just getting older but moving away from that bared-wire intensity of a past that gave us such fire musicians as Coleman, Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, Sun Ra and a whole passel more who have been written about and dissected beyond belief by people whom I don't even like for the past half-century or so.

Maybe it ain't so strange, but I have been thinking about Coleman a whole lot recently. Not only about his boffo bootleg album recorded live in Rome '68 that I had been contemplating digging outta the collection, but the beyond belief collaboration with Yoko Ono entitled "Aos" that appeared on the YOKO ONO/PLASTIC ONO BAND album back '71 way. I remember when the entire "Royal Albert Hall" Ono/Coleman show was offered up for auction on ebay back in the earlier days of this century...the winner walked away with about six hundred less dollars for the reel to reel but gained what I'm sure was a real mind-bending tape which I hope he makes available to the public more sooner than later. The mix of Ono's howls and Coleman's trumpet bleats really made for a rather blasted style that hasn't been duplicated since and really, it would be a humongous shame if something like this wasn't out 'n about especially in these comparatively controlled and decidedly anti-free jazz times.

Funny how I had been thinking a whole lot about Coleman during his final hours without even knowing he was on his last legs...I hope I wasn't responsible for his demise in any strange mystico way because of my ever-flowing memory.

But sheesh, the guy is no longer with us and although I ain't crying my eyes out or anything I do feel a slight bit of the ol' pangs. Coleman was about as important to my late-teens/early-twenties listening patterns as much as the hard-edged rock 'n roll of the day was, and if it weren't for Coleman we all know that the jazz avant garde might have developed slightly different than it had. I don't think it would have developed for better or worse but hey, I think it would have been altered in some way too convoluted for my ape-like brain to relay to you in any way/shape/form.

So here's to you Mr. C, and all of those used budget bin albums of yours that I bought up for years on end (and even a few newies) including those European imports that I thought captured you a whole lot better'n the legit platters ever could. Highly recommended in these times of mourning...the ESP live album, the WHO'S CRAZY session on Affinity, the Arista/Freedom LIVE IN LONDON set and even SKIES OF AMERICA which seems to be one platter that divided the Ornette lovers from those who listened to him just because it was the cool thing to do. Also DANCING IN YOUR HEAD and anything with James "Blood" Ulmer, of course.
Hmmm, think I got a nice 'nuff selection of spins to review this go' round. Nothing spectacular mind you, but I would fathom a guess that one or two of the platters up on the chopping block this weekend are good enough for (now get this!) repeat spins! Given my naturally curly curmudgeoness that's really saying something which frankly, I wouldn't want to admit in a millyun years. Again, a big heaping helping of thankitude goes to both Bill Shute and Paul McGarry, both of whom are a mighty boon to an ever-straining pocketbook that keeps getting drained in the face of those ever-rising CAP'N CRUNCH prices!

The Standells-LIVE ON TOUR - 1966 CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed)

It sure makes me feel good inna labonza (upper portion) to know that these lost for years kinda garage band recordings are finally making their way to my ears. Naturally this particular platter ain't no different! The Standells live opening for the Beach Boys during that fantastical year of 1966 doing their own (and others') hits a whole lot better'n I'm sure Anastasia Pantsios and other snob aficionados of the "classic rock" form would have expected. Sound quality is surprisingly good considering tapes like this usually rot away in storage until it's too late, and you don't even mind that the group's doing other people's hits especially if you're one of the few who (like me) really enjoyed THE HOT ONES despite catcalls to the contrary. Dig the especially high-larious version of "Gloria" with the spoken word segment highlighted by a whole lotta funny sound effects and bizarro asides.

Nothing to poop at here. For being a guy who never really cozied up to the Vibracathedral Orchestra perhaps because they were a new band w/o the trailblazing lurch of the originators, I find myself rather entranced by the group's ability to create a music of the spheres or whatever those brainy types call it that doesn't make me wanna throw up. Repeato-riff hypnotics that fall somewhere between the Seventh Sons and a middle eastern open air market just ripe for a suicide bombing. If you go for those side-long improvisations on the early AD II albums you'll be sure to like this heady dream music.
The Gentlemen's Agreement-UNDERSTANDING CD-r burn (originally on Soundflat, Germany)

Yet another modern rehash on mid-sixties concerns that doesn't sis-boom-bah me but it ain't bad either. Nice bossy English white-soul take that seems to hearken back to a whole buncha takes from the seventies on, yet as usual there's something here that ain't gripping me by the fanablas like it should. Funny, because these Gentlemen sound about as devoted to the cause as any of those yobs you used to see in old English moom pitchers back on weekend afternoon tee-vee. 'll give it a whole buncha "A"'s for effort even if ya know this 'un's destined for the bottom of the box where it's bound to keep my copy of the Hiroshi Nar CD company!
Sham 69-THE PUNK SINGLES COLLECTION 1977-1980 CD-r burn (originally on Captain Oi)

A lotta reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers think that Sham 69 were one of the spit-shiningest punk rock bands to have come outta the English scene during the dapper days of rebellion. Considering that I wasn't as much of a fan of the spikier bands of the day as I was the Pere Ubu/Roky Erickson/MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD triangle of snappy garage rock with frightening enough electronic undertones (maybe I should toss the Stiff/Radar Records contingent in there somewhere) I can't really share these readers' ebullience. However I can dig Jimmy Pursey and company's crash-through drag out music even if I don't see it standing up to some of the gnarlier examples of punk thud that were competing against 'em. Their version of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends" is even funnier than the Standells' "Gloria" sendup!

Mebbe if I took Frogese in High Stool I'd appreciate this 'un more (even if I was one who tended to think that the French were even more mincing than all of those English fags out there). Still how can ya fail with Serge Gainsbourg's whackoff take on European pop and various Top 40 moves as well as Anna Karina's sexy singing that's up there with them Bardot and Birkin bleats that Gainsbourg was also blessed to work (amongst other things) with. So good that it was easy enough to get the fact that these people hardly ever bathe outta my mind.
Paul Weller-SATURNS PATTERNS CD-r burn (originally on Parlophone England)

Innit that guy from the Jam who bored us with alla those dippoid albums throughout the eighties and nineties? Hmmm, he does a good turn on various mid-sixties British poptunes here with a few boring numbers tossed in. But the overall feeling is still a whole lot more tasty'n a whole lotta that British Weakly next-big-thing overhype that had upstart critics drooling buckets over the latest bright flash to make its way into the medium. Overall a rather decent effort that I wouldn't even think of purchasing, but that's why Paul McGarry sends me these things, right???
Various Artists-JOURNEY SCRAMBLE SOULBEAT FORGET CD-r burn (wish I can come up with as many variations on Bill Shute's name as he can with the titles of these disques he burns for me!)

Some real surprises here, such as who in heck are Hat and Tie (sounds like late-sixties English smart pop focused through early-seventies decadence) and John Ducan (kinda Andy Ellisonesque) anyway? And while I'm at it who were the Mersey Kids who did a commercial yet pleasing early/mid-seventies single that we all knew never would go anywhere. And why in heck did Roosevelt Grier (who actually had a fine singing voice) only warble on side "a" of his single since the flip was an instrumental???

Bill slipped some reggae (U Roy and Delroy Wilson) which is something he rarely if ever did before, and the typical r n b organ instrumental jive sure reminds me of some Holiday Inn lounge in Tulane for some reason or another. DMZ's "Out Of Our Tree" might be a bit obvious but so what, 'n for the life of me I can't figure out what the appeal is with Van Dyke Parks (he always seemed like one of those STEREO REVIEW critics fave types---and hooey to that!).

It all ends with some electronic workout versions taken from TOMMY, and for the life of me I don't know why.

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