Saturday, September 05, 2009

A POX UPON THEE, LIKE THERE IS UPON ME!Well, some of you have wanted to see a recent photo of the private-beyond-recognition me, so what better one'n this snap taken when a strange mark (which I had originally believed to have been the results of some hideous curse!) appeared upon my forehead! Originally I thought it was a pimple and jammed many a straight pin into the itchy sac hoping to drain it of pus, but all that come out was blood and bloody water after more than a few vigorous squeezings. The spot eventually went away (after a few months time) and all is well above the eyebrows, though I have the sneaking suspicion that the blemish will re-appear in a few months as a huge greenish-colored whitehead which I could then squeeze with ease thus putting "The Case Of The Persistent Pimple" to rest. I guess that's enough regarding my illustrious life that more than a few of you would most certainly want to emulate, if not imitate.

Between pimple-squeezing, nose-picking, boil-lancing, earwax-probing and other fun bodily sports I did manage to churn out a few reviews that I thought would satisfy you, at least until I can post some more record writeups and insights as the days progress. Right now I'm digging through a good portion of my old vinyl jazz collection on the hunt for forgotten atonal goodies (as you will see from this particular post), although I'm still making my way through the Shute burn-pile which contains a whole load of rarities that I and I'm sure you never even knew existed, at least prior to the Age of Digitation! I may continue to review a good portion of the booty Bill sent in these "pages" though I think a good hunkerin' slab will probably not make the grade, probably because I dunno if you really would want to read five whole paragraphs extolling the praises of ELMER FUDPUCKER AT THE NUDIST COLONY LETTIN' IT ALL HANG OUT. Maybe if I don't get enough responses from this post I will write one just to punish you!!! All kidding aside, I really am appreciative of the disques not only Bill Shute and Paul McGarry have sent me not only because they're saving me millions of dollars by sharing these obscurities, but because it's sure nice and heartwarming to know that some people out there wuv me unlike those mean and nasty bloggers out there who think bad and evil thoughts about me and for no good reason at that. To which I say fie on thee, and may all of your "relevant" and "meaningful" alternative records warp in the sun and may your compact disques rate a G+ rating according to GOLDMINE standards! In this day and age, can you think of a better rant of indignation???

Hmmmm, after that I think I'll just skeedaddle on to the record reviews (and for a change, they all are records, as in good ol' vinola just like mom used to make!)...

Cecil Taylor-SILENT TONGUES LP (Arista-Freedom)

Here's another one from the Rick Noll package from a month or so back which netted me a number of seventies-vintage free jazz albums that sure bring back fond memories of seventies-vintage free jazz albums! Solo Taylor live @ Montreaux July 2 '74 in front of what seems to be a small but appreciative audience that is so polite that nary a boo or even an "all right" can be heard during the very few silent spots. Taylor plays it loud and noisy proving that he didn't need a Unit to get his message across (no slight re. Jimmy Lyons and Sunny Murray), and his homages to Bartok played at lightning speed proves that he is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated scions of the new thing to have appeared during the mid portion of the previous century no matter what that Marsalis jerk might thing! (Yeah, Taylor's treatment on Ken Burns' Jazz documentary still gets to me like bad...but then again what can you say about a musical genre that shuns the likes of Taylor, Coleman etc. or at least treats 'em like cute freakshow wonders while praising to the hilt some of the wimpiest, weakest music ever transcribed?) Beautiful energy translated into sound, and you can tell that this one overcame me if only for that particularly florid piece of description so uncommon of a stable individual such as myself!
Anthony Braxton-ALTO SAXOPHONE IMPROVISATIONS 1979 2-LP set (Arista)

Have you ever sat through four sides of Anthony Braxton improvising on saxophone? Well I have, and best of all I lived to tell about it! All kidding aside this is a stellar side from the Dave Brubeck of the seventies (acc. to Richard Meltzer 'n that wasn't meant as a compliment!) back when the guy was so popular in the avant garde jazz world that Arista would be pumping out albums by him ever few months (a la Columbia and Miles Davis during his tenure as the king of the jazz heap) and all of Braxton's back catalog was being tossed out as us faster than you can say "RachelMaddoweatsbush!" Maybe not so surprisingly, Braxton borrows freely from his bop roots on many of these numbers so in between the atonal hard trills and utter bleats there are moments that do reflect that particular era of jazz's coming of age and (interesting considering Meltzer's derogatory comments) Brubeck sideman Paul Desmond himself! (An Dave Brubeck's own foray into the avant garde from '75 with Braxton in tow worth the time, effort and money?) A nice way to spend a good hour and a half even if Braxton is hardly a Roscoe Mitchell or Julius Hemphill, but then again, who is?

The above album got me thinkin' about just how big a name Anthony Braxton was on the late-seventies international hotcha jazz scene, and what better impetus could there be for me to grab this moldie outta the collection given how PARIS CONCERT was one of many albums rushed onto the market in the wake of Braxton's newfound fame and fortune! Yes, once the noted reedman made good at Arista it seemed as if just about every old label he recorded for, or at least some small outta-the-way company like Inner City or Muse that had tapes of him in action were (re)issuing his solo contrabass clarinet albums and duos with Joseph Jarman at the speed of light! Anyhoo, this 'un, courtesy of the German pristine jazz label ECM, was easy enough to spot for a good many years before fading away into flea market bins nationwide, and I sure remember looking at the tightly-shrinkwrapped album pondering exactly what feral and unnerving sounds could be heard on those two discs enclosed...then I noticed none other'n Chick Corea's name on the thing and figured that something certainly was amiss!

Actually the famed joybell isn't that much of a hindrance to this co-op which consists of, besides Braxton, bassist/cellist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul, even though his definitely classical leanings tend to raise this live sesh a few notches, if you know what I mean. Corea's playing is so perfect to the point of sterility that his associations with such free players as Braxton et. al. just damper the entire shebang. Oh, there are some great moments and at times shards of pure brilliance, but I sure would have preferred a more copasetic pianist on this session like a Muhal Richard Abrams or even a Paul Bley rather than the soon-to-go-commercial-all-over-the-floor Corea who would have been put to much better use leading some progressive pomp band of the day than mucking up the jazz world with his tinkletune inanities.

But other'n that this is a boss set with Circle doing the free play about as well as any group with Chick Corea in it could...not exactly in a "fire music" mode but with a good enough jazz/classical balance that doesn't quite make you wanna run crazy but doesn't make you wanna rip the album off the turntable either. Only real dud is side four's cover of "No Greater Love" which is just too pre-inspirational tuxedos and bow tie for my tastes, and most certainly yours.


Unknown said...

I found a not much worn the Hydra LP for $4.99 so I bought it, based on your recommendation. So far I've listened to one side. I was expecting some amalgam of Southern boogie and Stoogy glam. So far all I'm hearing is normal southern boogie. The record's sat on my turntable for a week. Any standout tracks to look forward to when I eventually flip it over to side two?

Christopher Stigliano said...

Well. considering how your opinion and mine vary widely I wouldn't know what to recommend. I do like the strong LP closer "Miriam" but I think you might beg to differ. Sheesh, you're probably wondering how Metal Mike Saunders could have been wrong all these years!

Ted Kennedy's Ghost said...

Pox, nothing. You can't fool me. That mark is from the laser-removal of your swastika tattoo.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Why would I want to remove that????

Anonymous said...

Corea's pretty good on Pete La Roca's "Turkish Women at the Baths". At least on that one he deigns to be supportive Pete's big sound. What a long way from that to Dave Weckl. Or Bobby McFerrin. Maybe we could blame Dave Burton.

Anonymous said...

That ELMER FUDPUCKER album is a significant cultural artifact! Hope you say something about it sometime--after all, BTC covers what no one else would dare to...
I've owned the Taylor and the Circle and the Braxton in the past (may still have the Circle in storage), and the wonderful thing as you remember is that all 3 of those were available REALLY CHEAP used or as cutouts back in the 70s and well into the 80s. Anyone who wanted to get into free jazz COULD rather easily back then with all the boatloads of promo copies of the Arista-Freedom catalog that flooded used record stores back in the day.
Even today, while I travel and check out used book-record-cd places, especially if I'm in a college town, I do find various used HAT-HUT/HAT-ART or other free-jazz, free-improv CDs for six dollars or so. And the European public-domain vintage jazz/blues labels such as Proper or Lone Hill or Gambit seem to be all over too (check your local "Half Price Books" store, if you have one). You can get a beautiful 4-cd set of 100 tracks by Wynonie Harris or 100 by the pre-1960 Bill Haley for under 20 bucks. I could go on and one...the point is, there is fine stuff out there to be had for not much money.

Hope you and yours are having a nice Labor Day weekend in the greater Hermitage/Sharon metroplex!