Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Steve Lacy - 1977-04-09 - Jazzbehne, East Berlin, GDR

Things have been a little busy with me lately - work stuff, transition stuff, etc etc - so I've been slacking in sharing, But not in listening, because god help me, I listen to way too much stuff. Lately, it's been Steve Lacy.
Straight horn, mostly straight posture

I don't know why, but I had this idea that Lacy was a free jazz type, a sort of peer to Anthony Braxton, and I avoided him for that reason. But after listening to Jane Bunnett's New York Duets, I went to Lacy, her main influence on the soprano, and found I was completely wrong about Lacy. Since then, I've been going hard on the records he made with Mal Waldron (indeed, Duets owes a debt to Waldron/Lacy's Sempre Amore), and the early stuff he did on Prestige records.

This share, however, comes from a different part of Lacy's career: the late 70s, when he was gigging around with a lineup including: Steve Potts on reeds, Irene Aebi on cello, violin and vocals, Kent Carter on bass and  Oliver Johnson on drums. This share came to me as one long file, but one site has the tracklisting as follows: "The Crust," "Papa's Midnight Hop," "The New Duck," and "Revolutionary Suicide." So, I suppose, no Monk staples like "Epistrophy," this time around. Still, I like this one a lot, hope you do, too! 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Richard and Linda Thompson - 05-01-1977, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London

Oh it's the madness of love...

I've been on a Richard Thompson kick lately, and thought I'd dig this tape out and give 'er another listen. What is it exactly? Well, it's a rough-yet-ready audience tape from May 1977, catching Richard and Linda Thompson working out some songs on the road, and has Richard's playing in fine form and both of them strong in voice.

But it's more than that, too: a lot of these songs never saw release. To the best of my knowledge, "The Madness of Love" is the only "new" one they released, and even then it was on the limited-edition Doom and Gloom From the Tomb cassette that went to fan club members, or something. It's too bad: the songs here are sharp, and I love the slow groove of "Madness..." and how RT turns in a slow, twisting solo. But there's more: the call and response chorus of "Rescue Me," and how it whips into the verses (there's an inspired RT solo, too), or the jazzy vibes of "Bird in God's Garden."

A few older songs are given a nice polish, too: "Night Comes In" builds in a slow burn, while "When I Get to the Border" has a ramshackle groove; sorta makes me wonder how Crazy Horse would cover it.

The sound's a little rough, but nothing a good pair of headphones (or just playing it really loud) won't fix. The music's great, however, and maybe someday Thompson will see fit to release these tunes. Until then, tho...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Charles Mingus - 1974-04-22 - Mackenzie Corner House, Toronto, ON

The 70s were not the strongest decade for Charles Mingus, but the peaks are quite good. For me, Changes One and Two are two very strong, overlooked records that feature a crack band of George Adams, Don Pullen, Dannie Richmond and Jack Walrath.

A few months before the Changes session, Mingus and his band - which also included Hamiet Bluiett on baritone sax for this date - rolled into Toronto. The gig was taped (by whom?), and part of it was broadcast on the radio. I don't have details, but I suspect Mingus' soundman taped the gig and it was broadcast over a NYC radio station. I can't imagine any station in Toronto playing this, except maybe the CBC, and this broadcast doesn't match their style (compare it to the Arthur Blythe or Bill Evans gigs they broadcast). 

 The set list? "Opus 3," which appeared on Mingus Moves. Yep. just one song, but it's a good one and a lengthy performance. It shows Pullen, Adams and everyone taking solos and stretching out; Mingus has a solo where he goofs around, drawing a few laughs from the crowd. It's a pretty compelling performance, and makes me wonder if there's more kicking around someplace. Hopefully! Maybe Sue Mingus has them in an archive, somewhere.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Jerry Garcia - 1982-11-09, E.M. Lowe's Theater, Worceste, MA (Early Show)

Jerry and Lisa

I'll be the first to admit it: I'm a lousy Deadhead. I like their shorter, more rockin' tunes than the lengthy, spaced-out jams. I liked those Road Trip releases where they'd have the best moments from a handful of shows. And when it comes to solo Jerry, I have a soft spot for the 80s.

These were not exactly great years for Garcia. Hooked on heroin and in poor health, he'd wind up in a diabetic coma before the decade was out. His marriage to Mountain Girl was in shambles and they didn't live together. And John Kahn was providing a notably bad influence on him when he was away from the band.

That said, when he was on in the 80s, he was really on. This show in Massachusetts is a great example, featuring him in prime form. I especially like this version of "Dear Prudence," which has his reedy voice full of emotion and some choice soloing: slow, deliberate and downright bluesy. There's more, of course: a jaunty "Tangled Up In Blue," and rockin' "Deal," and two sweet Motown covers. But if I'm being honest, I like to go back to this version of Prudence. Something about Melvin Seals' organ and the way Garcia's guitar licks mesh always does it for me. FWIW, the sound's great too: it's a soundboard, but not one where his guitar is buried in the mix.