Amoeblog

Rare Steve Lacy LP Shows Up In Hollywood

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 7, 2013 03:43pm | Post a Comment

Steve Lacy has always been one of my favorite horn players since I first hear him in the mid 70’s. He delivers a liquid, speech-like sound with his soprano saxophone which he plays exclusively.  Influenced by trad jazz players, Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk and Gil Evans, Mr. Lacy composes and improvises with a quirky sense of melody unlike any other player around at the time or since, and his compositions reveal his very personal way of telling his stories. His staccato yet fluid attack, and almost vibrato-less legato stands out within the history of his axe. He has made many, many records (hundreds) and almost each one has its own individual sound and ultimate expression. Straight up swing to musique concrete to free improvisation are where Steve could be found at any moment, often simultaneously. His accompanists range from sitar duos to big band improv to sax/synthesizer/ drum outings, exploring all avenues of audible art. He also made many solo concerts, with just his soprano sax perhaps speaking the musical dialog about what was shaking at the moment. These concerts and recordings are a wonderful document of this artist’s creative depth.

I am fortunate to have met Steve when I had an in-store appearance with him while I was managing Rasputin’s Jazz and Soul record store in Berkeley, California in 1981. Steve is second from left, just to my right in this photo of that day (Rick Gillman far left, Lacy, Frystak, Michael Finney far right).

A kind and soft spoken personality belied his passionate, forward surging playing style.  His many bay-area fans that day were in heaven to be near this musical icon, myself included. He played later in the evening at U.C.Berkeley to a packed house. Steve passed in 2004 at age 69 years young, and I was fortunate to see him play multiple times, always searching and swinging in whatever context he found himself in.

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Beaucoup Bins of Beautiful Boom

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 31, 2011 04:05pm | Post a Comment
Whazzup?! Tons of great records coming over our buying counter lately, much of it landing in "The Choice Bin," and circumnavigating my world. There's so much going on I don't where to start. Let's sample some of my choicest morsels of the past weeks and hope to nourish your auditory appetite!


Walt Dickerson

To My Queen
New Jazz NJ8283  1963 

A wonderful, somewhat neglected jazz music experience, with delicately grooving vibraphone and piano, gently singing over the percolating grooves of drummer Andrew Cyrille and bassist George Tucker. Andrew Hill on piano takes the passenger's seat to Walt Dickerson's moves on this date, and the results are a nice, ethereal journey that always swings and keeps the fire burning while keeping each note sensitive and meaningful. Cyrille's versatility here is a treat, as I'm used to hearing him mostly with Cecil Taylor, and his bubbling, bopping percussion is exemplary. The photo of Walt's "queen" on the cover sets the tone for this marvelous journey.
 
Steve Lacy Axieme Vol. 1
Steve Lacy

Axieme Vol. 1
Red Record VPO 120 1977

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All Enchanting Audio Artifacts Considered

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 2, 2011 01:02pm | Post a Comment
Hear Ye, Hear Ye!  Welcome to The Choice Bin, where only thee most "choice" long-play records traded in over our magnificent buy counter in Hollyweird are considered and discussed as art and a most logical slab of entertainment and inspiration. Now and again a noteworthy compact disc or book will slide across the buy counter, blip my radar and fall into my orbit, but it's 2011, so O.K.  I'll be your host as we ponder the spectacular and the insane. And if we're really fortunate, and nobody's glommed the goods, most of these gems will be available in Amoeba's "Buy Stuff" section, 'cuz after all....we're also a store! Follow the linkage...

Michel Redolfi Sonic Waters
Michel Redolfi

Sonic Waters
Hat Art 2002
(2-LP)


Mr. Michel Redolfii is, among other things, an architect of wondrous underwater acoustic installations...sometimes pools, sometimes oceans. This is a 2-LP set on the Swiss Hat Art label in a sweet little cardboard box package with lots of notes that documents Michel's electronic compositions done on a Synclavier II in the studio, and then being performed in a heated pool and in an underwater aquatic parks. The studio recordings are broadcast under the water through underwater speakers, while hydrophone mics pick up the transformation through the liquid medium, and it's natural mixing with underwater natural sounds. The stuff is eerie, gelatinous sonic stew that totally delights me with every listen. He calls it an "aerodynamic and amphibian" music. Indeed, Sire!

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David S. Ware's Surrendered: killer jazz quartet's languishing gem

Posted by J. Mark Beaver, August 26, 2008 02:40pm | Post a Comment
David S. Ware Surrendered
I have to say that I do understand how an album as solid as Surrendered could get lost in the shuffle. David S. Ware has been recording under his own name since 1988, and in groups led by legendary names like Cecil Taylor, Andrew Cyrille and Barry Harris since the early 70's. In these last 20 years of releases under his own name, Ware has released about an album per year. So, where to start? And what are the chances that an album or two might slip through the cracks and end up in Amoeba's Clearance section?

Ware is considered by many to be a technical (and perhaps theological) descendant of John Coltrane. His tenor is big and brash, in a mold not unlike Pharaoh Sanders, Arthur Blythe or Archie Shepp. His facility is masterful, never neglecting the changes and yet pushing and pulling at the melodic core of the composition. He plays the whole range: he dives off the pier and swims far enough from shore to nurture tension, but he never lets go of his lifeline-- the strong melody within a strong composition. In fact, that's what pulls me to Ware over and over again. His albums are always so full of real composition. Songs are what he and his teams bring to the table, in this case, the killer quartet made up of pianist Matthew Shipp, percussionist Guillermo Brown, and a man I consider to be essential listening any and every time one has the chance, bassist William Parker.

Surrendered starts strongly with a tone poem of sorts called "Peace Celestial." Matthew Shipp holds the core of the piece with piano meditations conjuring Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett at his more internal. "Sweet Georgia Bright" follows, and is the album's most traditional "bop" composition, and it's the lesser for it. This quartet's strength is in the idiom of the post-Coltrane continuum. Tracks like the aforementioned opener, "Theme of Ages," the loping title track with its slow, even build reminiscent of Charles Lloyd's "Night-Blooming Jasmine," and even, to a great extent, "Glorified Calypso," tour that greater territory of improvisational and textural possibilities that the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago liked to refer to as, "Great Black Music," rather than bind it within the limits and collected baggage of the term "jazz."

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