Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Azimuth - 1978-02-06, Bremen, Germany

Vaporwave, decades before that was a thing?

College faculty or jazz band?
Throughout the 70s, ECM released some pretty wild stuff: albums by free jazz groups like Circle, minimalist works by Steve Reich, and box sets of Keith Jarrett piano recitals. It was pretty heady stuff!

But for my money, the most fascinating thing they released was the first Azimuth record. It combined John Taylor's keyboards, Kenny Wheeler's trumpet and Norma Winstone's wordless vocalizing. To call this jazz is really taking the term to the breaking point: it doesn't swing, or sound like anything Duke Ellington might have recognized. It's not exactly ambient - it's nowhere near passive enough - but it's plenty atmospheric.

If I'm being totally honest, the music reminds a lot of what the kids call vaporwave: the hazy, atmospheric electronic music builds and valleys, working through old forms and blah blah blah. It's one of those micro-genres which pop up, then go away after a few years (see: chillwave). But the way pulsating keyboards, hazy siren-like vocals and the blasts of trumpet ramp up the tension, letting it climax and collapse... their first record is ripe for re-discovery.

Anyway, today's share is the lone live session I've come across from this incredible lineup. Recorded live in Bremen, presumably for NDR, this is largely drawn from the first record. The version of "Azimuth" predictably is compelling, with Taylor's keyboards building up as Wheeler and Winstone call and respond to each other.

2 comments:

M. Milner said...

Azimuth '78: http://www115.zippyshare.com/v/MyLioPRG/file.html

anon'n'on said...

thanks mil