Saturday, June 20, 2020

Dizzy Gillespie in Berlin

Dizzy Gillespie Quintet live at the Berlin Philharmonie
November 1980

Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), James Moody (tenor sax, flute), Ed Cherry (guitar), Michael Howell (electric bass), Tommy Campbell (drums).

Never been released before.

  1. St. Louis Blues
  2. Con Alma
  3. A Night in Tunisia
  4. Unidentified tune
  5. Tanga
  6. Tin Tin Deo
  7. Unidentified tune
Total Time: 1:17:20

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Chris Marker Picks His Favourite Bill Evans Songs

Chris Marker in Telluride, 1987. Courtesy of Tom Luddy.

Until midnight music is a job, until four o’clock it’s a pleasure, and after that it’s a rite.” – Chris Marker

There are only indirect hints as to what Chris Marker liked and did beyond his films. In studying the world of this elusive director, every sign invites us to scrutinize it carefully. Marker appears in small details, such as the mix CD which one day arrived on my doorstep. If the address on the parcel hadn’t confirmed the sender as Tom Luddy, co-director of Telluride Film Festival and a close friend of Marker’s, I could have taken it to be Marker’s personal gift from the beyond.

The CD cover gave little away: Sandwiching a photo of pianist Bill Evans was his name and the words "joue pour Guillaume" [plays for Guillaume], along with an illustrated image of the Markerian animal familiar Guillaume, a wise if mischievous-looking cat, holding sheet music. A lyrical filmmaker, who could also compose and play the piano, had compiled his favorite tunes performed by the lyrical jazz pianist and composer Evans (1929-80). The fascination with compilation is also evident in the films. Marker would often juxtapose material from various sources—news footage, computer games, photographs and songs—to remarkable effect.

Tom Luddy recalls conversations about jazz with the filmmaker, who used to tune in to KJAZ whenever he was in the Bay Area. One of his favorite satellite TV channels was Mezzo, playing classical and jazz around the clock. While the genre didn't feature much in his films, one could argue that jazz for Marker, like cinema, was something both personal and political. His jazz-related writings for Esprit (“Du Jazz considere comme une prophetie”) and Le Journal des Allum├ęs du Jazz seem to bear this out. Marker even made a small contribution to jazz literature by writing the narration for a documentary about Django Reinhardt directed by Paul Paviot, who'd previously produced Marker’s Sunday in Peking.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Art Farmer on Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman

A level-headed if largely unfavorable reaction to Ornette Coleman's Something Else!!!! LP, penned by fellow musician Art Farmer. Originally appeared in The Jazz Review (Vol. 2, No. 6, July 1959).

Ornette Coleman writes some very nice tunes, but after he plays the tune, I can't find too much of a link between his solo and the tune itself. From what I've heard though that's the way he looks at it. He apparently feels there shouldn't be too much concern about the tune and chord structure—they're prisons to him. He just goes on and plays what he feels from the tune.

There's Bird in spots in the timbre of his tone. Bird, however, wouldn't throw that particular timbre at you all night long. It's a real cry, a real shriek, a squawk. It doesn't seem valid to me somehow — to get back to what he does after he states the line — for a man to disregard his own tunes. It's a lack of respect. Maybe he'll eventually get to have more respect for his tunes.

Coleman doesn't know his instrument in the ordinary sense, but then, most of the alto players I know don't know their instruments in the way he does. He certainly plays in a different way and he makes combinations of notes I haven't heard.