Thursday, August 18, 2016

R.I.P. Bobby Hutcherson (1941-2016): World Peace


Bobby Hutcherson, the crystal-sounding master vibraphonist, is dead at 75.

An obituary on The New York Times remembers him as the "vibraphonist with coloristic range of sound":

"Mr. Hutcherson's career took flight in the early 1960s, as jazz was slipping free of the complex harmonic and rhythmic designs of bebop. He was fluent in that language, but he was also one of the first to adapt his instrument to a freer postbop language, often playing chords with a pair of mallets in each hand."

Bobby Hutcherson was extensively recorded for the Blue Note, both as the leader on superb albums such as Dialogue (with Andrew Hill and Sam Rivers) and as a sideman (always bringing a new identity to leaders' sessions) on indisputable modern classics of the 1960s, among which Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch! always passionately remembered by friend and foe.

After the end of his long tenure with the Blue Note, he went freelance, never stayed with any label for too long. However, one of his longest running projects since the late 1970s, was a touring all-star band, The Timeless All Stars, with Curtis Fuller (trombone), Harold Land (tenor saxophone), Cedar Walton (piano), Buster Williams (bass), and Billy Higgins (drums).

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

John McLaughlin Trio in Hamburg, Part II


Last year I unearthed a VHS tape of  John McLaughlin Trio in Hamburg, 1990, which I digitized and posted here, alas, the second half of the concert was missing

I'm glad to say that the second half, lasting for more than half an hour, and featuring the electric Jozy (even though played acoustically), was found on another tape of mine which I'm posting now. Aside form Jozy, there's an animated, highly exciting Indo-bop sort of scat, which is rather excellent.

Richard Cook and Brian Morton on this band:
"[McLaughlin] is punching out rows of notes which are almost as impressive for their accuracy as for their power. The themes are no longer as obviously visionary and Eastern-influenced and the guitarist seem content to re-run many of stylistic devices he had adopted from the days with Miles Davis through the ringing harmonies of Shakti and back out into a more obviously jazz-grounded idiom."

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Motif Records


Listening to Phil Schaap's podcast on Serge Chaloff (Feb 22, 2016), I came across a remark made by the renowned WKCR DJ who after playing a recording by Chaloff, called it a production of Motif Records, "a Boston obscure 78-era label".

The recording in question from April 16, 1949, entitled King Edward the Flatted Fifth, featured Boston-born Serge Chaloff (baritone sax), Charlie Mariano (alto sax), Gait Preddy (tp), Mert Goodspeed (tb), Ralph Burns (p), Frank Vaccar (b), Pete Derosa (d).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Charlie Parker, The Boston Radio Interviews


Bird speaks! Posted online recently as an episode from the Birdmaniac Birdflight show on New York's WKCR, the jazz historian and DJ Phil Schaap presented one of the very few surviving Charlie Parker's interviews in good audio quality, accompanied by Mr. Schaap's commentary and a wealth of information about the historic interview.

At the time of the interview, Parker, fresh from a triumphant concert in Toronto's Massey Hall, was engaged at Boston's Hi-Hat Club. On June 13, 1953, after a prior discussion, he showed up at the Boston radio station to be interviewed by John Fitch who was known on air as John McLellan.

During the course of the interview, McLellan tried to encourage, even unsuccessfully provoke Parker to talk more. (Listen to McLellan's biting remark about Dixieland music to which Parker remains indifferent if not defensive.) No matter how much articulation and encouragement is poured into the interview on McLellan's end, Parker, 32 at the time, remains detached if amiable. He seems to be only interested in "good music", having issues with categorizations and ranking fellow artists:

"Oh, I'd like to differ, I beg to differ, in fact. There's always room for musicians, you know. There's no such thing as the middle of the road, it will be one thing or the other -- good music or otherwise, you know. And it doesn't make any difference which idiom it might be in -- swing, bebop, as you might want to call it, or Dixieland -- if it's good it will be heard."
Parker, maintaining his calm and friendly attitude throughout the course of an interview which doesn't always go in right direction, gives insight into his world by some typically short, poetic statements:

"Most people fail to realize that most of the things they hear coming out of a man's horn, ad lib, or else things that are written, original things, they're just experiences, the way he feels -- the beauty of the weather, the nice look of a mountain, or maybe a nice fresh cool breath of air, I mean all those things."
Parker's knowledge of jazz history and his pedagogic precision in emphasizing the dates -- even if they are not exactly correct -- and his reluctance to talk ill of his colleagues and contemporaries are touching.