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… your heart out

assemblage …


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IF THERE IS ONE THING THAT PROPELS THE PROJECTS THAT ARE PART OF YOUR HEART OUT IT IS A FASCINATION WITH HOW THINGS FIT TOGETHER. THIS IS NOT IN THE SENSE OF TAKING SOMETHING APART AND ANALYSING IT. IT IS, INSTEAD, ABOUT FINDING OUT HOW ELEMENTS LINK, OFTEN UNEXPECTEDLY, TO FORM A PICTURE OR STORY. IT IS ALL TO DO WITH CONNECTIONS.

2.

ANYWHERE ELSE BUT HERE TODAY IS ONE OF THE YOUR HEART OUT ACTIVITIES. IT’S A PROJECT THAT COLLECTS GREAT POP MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD. THE FACT THAT, APART FROM FEATURING IRREGULAR MIXTAPES, IT CONSISTS ONLY OF FILM/PERFORMANCES FROM THE 1960S AND ‘70S, MEANS THAT INEVITABLY IT IS INCREDIBLY SKEWED. BUT THEN ANY POP OVERVIEW IS WARPED. AND STILL THE EMERGING PICTURE OR STORY IS ONE THAT CHALLENGES PREVAILING OR ACCEPTED ACCOUNTS.

3.

PART OF THE FUN OF YOUR HEART OUT IS FOLLOWING CLUES AND TRAILS BEYOND THE PROJECT ITSELF. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, THE WONDERFUL MONICA ZETTERLUND CLIPS POSTED AS PART OF THE SWEDISH/SCANDINAVIAN SEQUENCE LED TO A LOST LP CALLED CHICKEN FEATHERS SHE RECORDED IN THE EARLY ‘70S WITH THE PIANIST STEVE KUHN AND THE CREAM OF THE SWEDISH JAZZ COMMUNITY. IT REALLY IS A LOVELY RECORD, AND IS PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING YOU COULD WANT OF A VOCAL JAZZ LP FROM THAT TIME. IT’S FUNKY AT TIMES. IT’S MOODY OCCASIONALLY. IT HAS A BIT OF EDGE. AND IT’S VERY MUCH POP IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY.

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5.

OF THE STEVE KUHN COMPOSITIONS ON THE MONICA ZETTERLUND RECORDING CHICKEN FEATHERS I RECOGNISED ONE SONG (RAINDROPS RAINDROPS) FROM A KARIN KROG LP. ODDLY, THE GREAT NORWEGIAN JAZZ SINGER KARIN KROG DIDN’T ACTUALLY FEATURE IN THE WORLDWIDE POP PROJECT. THIS WAS SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE WASN’T WELL REPRESENTED ON YOUTUBE. AND YET SHE WAS THE ONE NORWEGIAN PERFORMER I WAS REALLY FAMILIAR WITH. I FIRST CAME ACROSS HER THROUGH HI-FLY, A WONDERFUL LP SHE MADE WITH ARCHIE SHEPP IN 1976. TRACKING BACK I THEN FELL IN LOVE WITH WE COULD BE FLYING, AN AMAZING LP SHE MADE IN 1974 WITH STEVE KUHN WHICH HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY POPULAR WITH THE JAZZ DANCE COMMUNITY. YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT CONNECTIONS.

6.

STEVE KUHN IS A NAME I FIRST CAME ACROSS WHILE EXPLORING GARY MCFARLAND’S WORK. STEVE HAD PLAYED PIANO ON THE OCTOBER SUITE, A RECORD RELEASED IN 1967 ON BOB THIELE’S IMPULSE! LABEL. IT FEATURES SIX COMPOSITIONS WRITTEN AND ARRANGED BY MCFARLAND IN HIS INIMITABLE WAY. STEVE KUHN’S PIANO INTERPRETATIONS ARE THE MAIN FOCUS OF THE RECORD, BUT MCFARLAND’S STRING ARRANGEMENTS ARE BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL. IT REALLY IS A LOVELY RECORD, AND IT’S ACTUALLY ONE OF THE LPS THAT MADE ME REALLY APPRECIATE THE POSSIBILITIES OF THE PIANO IN JAZZ. THOUGH THERE IS AN ARGUMENT THAT THIS PARTICULAR SET MERGES JAZZ AND CLASSICAL, BUT IT FEELS A LOT MORE NATURAL THAN THAT SUGGESTS.

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8.

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN STEVE KUHN AND GARY MCFARLAND GOES BACK TO THE END OF THE ‘50S WHEN THEY WERE TOGETHER AS STUDENTS AT THE LENOX SCHOOL OF JAZZ. AMONG THEIR FELLOW STUDENTS WERE ORNETTE COLEMAN AND DON CHERRY. ON THE FACULTY WERE GEORGE RUSSELL, BILL EVANS, KENNY DORHAM AND THE MODERN JAZZ QUARTET. RETURNING TO HIS NATIVE NEW YORK IN THE EARLY ‘60S THE YOUNG STEVE KUHN WOULD SERVE TIME PLAYING WITH JOHN COLTRANE, STAN GETZ, AND ART FARMER AMONG OTHERS.

9.

ANOTHER IMPULSE! RECORDING STEVE KUHN PLAYED ON WAS OLIVER NELSON’S SOUND PIECES, WHICH WAS ALSO RELEASED IN 1967. NELSON BEING ANOTHER VISIONARY BOB THIELE HAD AS PART OF THAT REMARKABLE ROSTER. HE WAS ALSO INCREDIBLY PROLIFIC, AND ONE OF THOSE ESSENTIAL DOUG PAYNE DISCOGRAPHIES ON NELSON MAKES FOR FASCINATING READING. SOUND PIECES IS NOT THE MOST WELL KNOWN OF HIS WORKS, BUT IT FEATURES SOME FANTASTIC ORCHESTRAL SCORES AS WELL AS SMALL GROUP

SETTINGS THAT FEATURE NELSON ON SAX WITH STEVE KUHN, RON CARTER, AND GRADY TATE.

10. IN THE LATE 1960S, AMONG THE JAZZ COMMUNITY, THERE WAS QUITE A SIGNIFICANT CREATIVE EXODUS FROM THE STATES TO EUROPE, AND IN PARTICULAR PARIS AND SWEDEN. THERE WERE CERTAINLY A NUMBER OF JAZZ LABELS KEEN TO RECORD THE AMERICAN MUSICIANS, LIKE MPS OR BYG. THESE WERE LABELS NOT UNDULY WORRIED ABOUT COMMERCIAL ISSUES, AND THEREFORE WILLING TO LET ARTISTS TAKE CHANCES. AMONG THOSE EXILES WAS STEVE KUHN, WHOSE OWN ROOTS WERE HUNGARIAN/JEWISH. KUHN WHILE IN EXILE ACTUALLY GOT TO RECORD FOR BOTH MPG AND BYG AS PART OF TRIOS. HIS MPG SET FROM 1968 WAS WATCH WHAT HAPPENS, WHERE SILVER, ONE OF THE SONGS HE RECORDED WITH MONICA ZETTERLUND, WAS PREVIEWED. 11. IN THE LATE ‘60S KUHN LIVED IN SWEDEN FOR SOME TIME, AND WAS ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED WITH MONICA. IT WAS DURING THIS SPELL IN EXILE THAT HE ALLOWED HIS OWN CREATIVE FLAIR TO FLOURISH. I’VE SEEN KUHN CREDIT HIS LONG TERM ALLY, THE BASS PLAYER STEVE SWALLOW,

WITH ENCOURAGING HIM TO DEVELOP HIS OWN COMPOSITIONS AT THIS TIME.

THE SET WITH MONICA WAS IN SOME WAYS A MILESTONE ALONG THE WAY,

AND HE WOULD RETURN TO SEVERAL OF THE SONGS FEATURED A NUMBER OF TIMES DURING THE 1970S.


12. I HAVE NO IDEA WHETHER THE CHICKEN FEATHERS RECORD WAS A COMMERCIAL SUCCESS FOR MONICA ZETTERLUND IN SWEDEN AND BEYOND. CERTAINLY THE RECORD SHE IS BEST KNOWN FOR, AND I BELIEVE THE ONE SHE FELT WAS THE MOST REWARDING, WOULD BE WALTZ FOR DEBBY, THE 1964 LP SHE MADE WITH BILL EVANS. I BELIEVE THIS LP CAME ABOUT AFTER MONICA SET WORDS TO BILL EVANS’ SIGNATURE TUNE AND SANG IT AS MONICAS VALS. THIS CAUGHT EVANS’ ATTENTION, AND THE NOTORIOUSLY HARD-TO-PLEASE PIANIST WAS IMPRESSED WITH WHAT HAD BEEN DONE WITH HIS MUSIC.

13. 14. MONICA’S COLLABORATION WITH BILL EVANS IS A QUITE BEAUTIFUL RECORD. SHE BRINGS ELEMENTS OF SCANDINAVIAN FOLK MUSIC TO EVANS’ OWN MIX OF JAZZ AND CLASSICAL COMPOSITION, WHICH WORKS WONDERFULLY WELL. SOME OF THE JAZZ NUMBERS ARE EXQUISITE CHOICES AND RENDITIONS, LIKE THE DORY PREVIN/HAROLD ARLEN COMPOSITION SO LONG BIG TIME, BUT IT IS THE SCANDINAVIAN SELECTIONS THAT REALLY MAKE THIS A SPECIAL AND AT TIMES INCREDIBLY INTIMATE RECORD. THAT SENSE OF INTIMACY IS EVEN CAPTURED ON TV PERFORMANCES MONICA MADE WITH THE BILL EVANS TRIO, WHERE SHE FLIRTS OUTRAGEOUSLY AND SUCCESSFULLY (NOT ALWAYS THE SAME THING) WITH THE CAMERA. THESE FILM CLIPS, WHICH POP UP ON YOUTUBE IN THAT INVALUABLE WAY, ARE SOMETHING SPECIAL INDEED.


15. BILL EVANS, HIMSELF, IS SOMETHING SPECIAL. HIS RECORDINGS AND COLLABORATIONS ARE EXTENSIVE AND IMPRESSIVE. HIS EARLY ‘60S TRIO WORK, WITH SCOTT LAFARO AND PAUL MOTIAN, IS LEGENDARY AND THE PARTNERSHIP WITH GUITARIST JIM HALL IS EQUALLY AS REVERED. IT WAS HIS RECORDINGS WITH TONY BENNETT RATHER LATER THAT MADE ME PAY ATTENTION. AGAIN HE WAS SOMEONE WHO MADE ME WAKE UP TO THE IMPACT PIANO PLAYING CAN HAVE, AND HE MADE ME REALISE HOW EMOTIONAL AN INSTRUMENT IT CAN BE. BILL EVANS’ WORK IS AT ITS BEST WHEN IT HARDLY SEEMS TO BE THERE. THAT IS AN ART FORM IN ITSELF. IT’S EASY TO UNDERSTAND HOW GREAT AN INSPIRATION OR INFLUENCE HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE YOUNG STEVE KUHN.

16. AMONG BILL EVANS’ MANY COLLABORATIONS WAS THE 1963 RELEASE ON VERVE, THE GARY MCFARLAND ORCHESTRA WITH SPECIAL GUEST SOLOIST BILL EVANS, WHICH HAS SINCE BEEN REISSUED BY THE ÉL FAMILY WHO WERE SO INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING HIS WORK BACK INTO CIRCULATION. AT THIS TIME MCFARLAND WAS STILL FAIRLY NEW TO THE MUSIC BUSINESS, AND BY ALL ACCOUNTS HE WAS VERY MUCH IN AWE OF BILL EVANS WHO HAD, AFTER ALL, BEEN A MEMBER OF MILES DAVIS’ OUTFIT ON A KIND OF BLUE AND SO ON. THE ACTUAL PROCESS OF WORKING WITH BILL EVANS AT THE TIME WASN’T ENTIRELY SMOOTH SAILING EITHER, BUT THE RESULTING RECORD IS A GEM. THE ARRANGEMENTS MCFARLAND CAME UP WITH ARE REALLY LOVELY, AND FOR ONCE THE TONE OF THE MUSIC PERFECTLY FITS THE SONG TITLES: REFLECTIONS IN THE PARK, NIGHT IMAGES, TREE PATTERNS, A MOMENT ALONE. AND FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE VIBES FANS MCFARLAND’S OWN MUSICAL CONTRIBUTION IS A TREAT. 17. GARY MCFARLAND AND STEVE KUHN WOULD WORK TOGETHER AGAIN IN 1971 ON WHAT WOULD BE THE LAST, OR CERTAINLY ONE OF THE FINAL, RECORDINGS MCFARLAND WORKED ON BEFORE HIS TRAGIC, FAR-TOO-EARLY A DEATH. ALSO ON THIS SELF-TITLED STEVE KUHN SET WOULD BE RON CARTER, BILLY COBHAM , AIRTO MOREIRA, PLUS A SMALL STRING SECTION. THAT LINEUP SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. ON THIS SET, THE TABLES ARE TURNED AND IT IS STEVE KUHN’S COMPOSITIONS THAT ARE GIVEN MUSICAL SETTINGS BY MCFARLAND. THERE ARE SURPRISES IN STORE, LIKE STEVE KUHN GOING ELECTRIC (IT WAS THE FENDER RHODES ERA) AND SINGING (IN A SORT OF MOSE ALLISON WAY). BUT THE HEADLINE HAS TO BE ABOUT THE WAY MCFARLAND’S ARRANGEMENTS WORK SO WONDERFULLY, AND I GUESS CREDIT SHOULD GO TO THE ALL-STAR RHYTHM SECTION FOR NOT GETTING CARRIED AWAY. IT’S DISCRETE BUT ADVENTUROUS STUFF, WHICH IS WHAT WORKS BEST. THESE KUHN COMPOSITIONS ARE, INCIDENTALLY, THE ONES THAT WOULD FORM THE CORE OF THE MONICA ZETTERLUND AND KARIN KROG SETS.


18. I SUSPECT SENTIMENT PLAYED A PIVOTAL PART IN LISTENING TO KARIN KROG, VIA THE ARCHIE SHEPP (AND DON’T FORGET THAT HE IS MENTIONED ALONG WITH ROSWELL RUDD ON THAT MCLAREN/RHODES WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON T-SHIRT) CONNECTION, AND THE IMPULSE! LINK (AND THE SAME WOULD APPLY WITH THE IMPULSE!/GARY MCFARLAND STEVE KUHN-NECTION). THE WHOLE IMPULSE! FIRE MUSIC/NEW THING ANGLE HAD AN ENORMOUS IMPACT

ON ME WHEN THAT BEAUTIFULLY PACKAGED SERIES OF REISSUES APPEARED IN THE 1990S.

THE THRILL OF DISCOVERING THOSE ARCHIE SHEPP, PHARAOH SANDERS AND ALICE COLTRANE TITLES IS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT REMAIN WITH YOU. AND YOU CAN UNDERSTAND, SAY, 23 SKIDOO BEING UNABLE TO RESIST WORKING WITH SANDERS AT SOME STAGE, NO MATTER HOW LATE IN THE DAY. SO, IT WAS THAT THE IDEA OF ARCHIE SHEPP PASSING THROUGH NORWAY IN THE MID-‘70S AND WANTING TO MAKE A RECORD WITH JAZZ SINGER KARIN KROG SEEMED ENORMOUSLY APPEALING EVEN BEFORE I’D EVEN HEARD THE RECORD. I LOVED JAZZ VOCALS AND I LOVED SHEPP’S WORK, SO YEAH!

19. WHILE TO SOME IT MAY HAVE BEEN A BIT TOO POP, MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE ARCHIE SHEPP RECORD IS THE AWESOME ATTICA BLUES FROM 1972, WHICH FEATURED SOME LOVELY VOCAL WORK, AND AMONG THOSE PARTICIPATING WAS NORTHERN SOUL LEGEND , THE SINGER/COMPOSER JO JOSHIE ARMSTEAD, WHICH IS ONE OF THOSE BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FACTS THAT MAKE MUSIC SO SPECIAL IN THE WAY IT ALL FITS TOGETHER. IT REALLY ISN’T A GIANT STEP FROM ATTICA BLUES TO HI-FLY EITHER. IT ISN’T FAR FROM JO JOSHIE’S I GOT THE VIBES TO KARIN’S HI-FLY EITHER. THEY COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER PERFECTLY. AND IF THAT’S POP THEN I’M FOR IT.

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21.

NEITHER HI-FLY NOR WE COULD BE FLYING, THE ARCHIE SHEPP AND STEVE

KUHN COLLABORATIONS, REALLY PREPARED ME FOR HEARING KARIN KROG’S JOY. FROM 1968 IT’S BEEN REISSUED RELATIVELY RECENTLY ON KARIN’S OWN MEANTIME IMPRINT, AND IT’S ONE OF THOSE RECORDS THAT AS SOON AS YOU SEE IT YOU KNOW IT’S GOING TO BE PERFECT. I WOULD PLACE IT ALONGSIDE TIM BUCKLEY’S STARSAILOR IN THAT RESPECT. I’M NOT SURE WHERE WE ARE WITH STARSAILOR THESE DAYS, IN TERMS OF APPRECIATION AND AVAILABILITY, BUT FOR ME IT REALLY WILL ALWAYS BE ONE OF THOSE SPECIAL RECORDS: THE WAY IT SHOOK ME TO THE CORE AND YET LOOKED SO POP WITH TIM LOOKING SO LOVELY ON THE COVER. IT’S THE SAME WITH KARIN KROG’S JOY. THE COVER CAPTURES SOMETHING SO PERFECTLY, BUT ITS CONTENTS WHILE BEING INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL CAN SHAKE YOU UP.

22. 23. KARIN’S COLLABORATORS ON THIS 1968 SET ARE PRETTY MUCH THE YOUNG PIONEERS OF NORWAY’S JAZZ SCENE. KARIN ALREADY HAD A COUPLE OF LPS TO HER NAME. SHE WAS GAINING A BIT OF AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION,

AND IT SAYS ALL THE RIGHT THINGS THAT SHE CHOSE TO ENHANCE THAT WITH SUCH A DARING SET.

SURE, AT TIMES SHE SOUNDS THE CONSUMMATE, PROFESSIONAL JAZZ VOCALIST, ON THE INTIMATE INTERPRETATION OF ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT , BUT ELSEWHERE SHE REALLY GETS TO STRETCH HERSELF. THE OPENER, ANNETTE PEACOCK’S MR JOY, IS FANTASTIC IN A HAUNTING, HYPNOTIC, FUNKY, FOLKY WAY, AND THE CLOSING LAZY AFTERNOON IS JUST THAT AS KARIN PURRS PERFECTLY IN AN UNSETTLINGLY SENSUOUS WAY. ON THE BOLD MAIDEN VOYAGE KARIN’S SINGING IS MERGED WITH EERIE ELECTRONICS TO GREAT EFFECT, AS SHE USES HER VOICE AS AN INSTRUMENT IN A WAY THAT’S AS UNIQUE AS WHAT LEON THOMAS WOULD DO WITH PHARAOH SANDERS.


24. THE DIGITAL FORMAT CAN BE A VERY USEFUL WAY TO CONSUME MUSIC, BUT ONE OF THE DOWNSIDES IS THAT THE EXPERIENCE IS NEVER WHOLE. IT’S TEMPTING TO SAVE MONEY, BUT THEN YOU MAY MISS OUT ON SLEEVENOTES. THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE A GOOD THING. THE LINER NOTES FOR KARIN KROG’S JOY WERE WRITTEN BY JAZZ GIANT GEORGE RUSSELL, AND HE CREATES EXACTLY THE RIGHT SYMPATHETIC CONTEXT: “MY IMMEDIATE REACTION IS THAT KARIN HAS COME INTO HER OWN STYLE, A STYLE THAT HAS TO DO WITH REALLY BROADENING THE WHOLE DRAMATIC PERSPECTIVE OF WHAT HAS BEEN CALLED JAZZ SINGING.”

HE ADDS: “SHE ALSO SEEMS TO BE

QUITE FAMILIAR WITH WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WHOLE FIELD OF MUSIC

TODAY AND SHE HAS INCORPORATED INTO HER STYLE ELEMENTS OF THE POP APPROACH AND ELEMENTS OF NEW MUSIC.”

25. RUSSELL ALSO ARGUES IN HIS SLEEVENOTES FOR JOY THAT: “THE ONLY OTHER SINGERS THAT I’VE HEARD WHO ARE INTERESTED IN STRUCTURING A NEW MUSIC ARE SHEILA JORDAN AND JEANNE LEE. IT DOES SEEM IN A WAY THAT THESE THREE GIRLS ARE REALLY UPHOLDING THE IMAGE OF WHAT WE USED

TO CALL THE JAZZ SINGER, THEY ARE PERPETUATING IT, THEY SEEM LIKE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE CARRYING IT ON TO NEW LEVELS AT THIS TIME.”

INTERESTINGLY SHORTLY AFTER THESE NOTES WOULD HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED JEANNE LEE WOULD SING WITH ARCHIE SHEPP ON HIS FANTASTIC BYG RELEASE BLASÉ. ALMOST INCONGRUOUSLY, AND ALL THE MORE EFFECTIVELY BECAUSE OF THIS, ON WHAT IS A PRETTY FREE WORKOUT THE LYRICAL JAZZ STANDARD SOPHISTICATED LADY FEATURES QUITE BEAUTIFULLY.

26.


27. INTRIGUINGLY ARCHIE SHEPP WOULD RETURN TO THE SONG, SOPHISTICATED LADY, A DECADE OR SO LATER WHEN HE RECORDED WITH ABBEY LINCOLN, ANOTHER OF THE GREAT JAZZ VOCAL INNOVATORS AND SURELY ONE OF THE MAIN INFLUENCES ON JEANNE LEE’S SPECIAL WAY OF SINGING.

ARCHIE SHEPP

AND JEANNE LEE WOULD CERTAINLY RECORD AND PERFORM TOGETHER AGAIN, FOR EXAMPLE ON THE LIVE 1984 AFRICAN MOODS SET, WHICH

I

BELIEVE HAD DIFFERENT NAMES IN DIFFERENT PLACES, WHERE THEY WOULD REVISIT CLASSICS SUCH AS ROUND MIDNIGHT, BAHIA, BLUE MONK, AND OH YES SOPHISTICATED LADY.

28. THE LP WHICH ABBEY LINCOLN RECORDED WITH ARCHIE SHEPP, GOLDEN LADY OR PAINTED LADY DEPENDING WHERE IT WAS RELEASED, WAS THE FIRST SHE HAD RELEASED SINCE 1973’S WONDERFUL PEOPLE IN ME. THAT, IN ITSELF, WAS THE FIRST LP SHE RELEASED SINCE 1961’S STRAIGHT AHEAD. IN 1980 ABBEY WAS ALSO USING THE NAME AMINATA MOSEKA , AND SHE MADE THIS RECORD WITH A GROUP OF AMERICAN MUSICIANS WHO ALL HAPPENED TO BE WORKING IN FRANCE AT THE SAME TIME. TRUMPETER ROY BURROUGHS WAS TOURING WITH SUN RA, WHILE HILTON RUIZ, JACK GREGG AND FREDDIE WATTS HAD BEEN PLAYING WITH MARION BROWN. AND ARCHIE SHEPP JUST HAPPENED TO BE IN PARIS TOO. SO THEY GOT TOGETHER WITH ABBEY AND MADE THIS RECORD. ANYONE ANTICIPATING A FREE JAZZ EXCURSION WOULD BE DISAPPOINTED BY WHAT IS ESSENTIALLY A STRAIGHT AHEAD VOCAL JAZZ SESSION, FEATURING SOME CLASSICS, SOME OF ABBEY’S SONGS, AND A WHOLE THAT IS VERY SPECIAL.

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30. IN MANY WAYS THE ABBEY LINCOLN/ARCHIE SHEPP COLLABORATION IS NOT DISSIMILAR TO THE HI-FLY SET ARCHIE SHEPP RECORDED WITH KARIN KROG IN 1976. AGAIN HE JUST HAPPENED TO BE PASSING THROUGH OSLO, WITH BEAVER HARRIS, SO GOT TOGETHER WITH KARIN AND ARILD ANDERSEN TO MAKE A LOVELY VOCAL JAZZ RECORD. NOTHING EXTREME, BUT IT WORKS PERFECTLY. PERHAPS IT WORKS SO WELL BECAUSE TWO SUCH FEROCIOUS

TALENTS ARE USING THEIR ENERGIES TO CREATE SOMETHING VERY BEAUTIFUL AND EVEN QUITE ACCESSIBLE. INTERESTINGLY CARLA BLEY’S SING ME

SOFTLY OF THE BLUES IS REPRISED FROM KARIN’S SET WITH STEVE KUHN OF A COUPLE OF YEARS EARLIER. THIS IN TURN IS FASCINATING FOR SOMEONE LIKE CARLA COULD CREATE COMPOSITIONS AS MELODICALLY ATTRACTIVE AS SING ME SOFTLY OF THE BLUES AND IDA LUPINO, WHILE ALSO BEING ABLE TO CREATE A PIECE OF WORK AS EXTREME AS ESCALATOR OVER THE HILL. 31. CARLA BLEY’S ESCALATOR OVER THE HILL IS WHAT I WOULD PERHAPS CHOOSE AS A DESERT ISLAND DISC. THAT’S NOT TO SAY IT’S MY FAVOURITE RECORD, OR EVEN ONE OF THE BEST RECORDS EVER (THOUGH MEMORABLY I SAW A GREAT PIECE BY MARCELLO CARLIN CLAIMING JUST THAT. SEEK IT OUT!). BUT IT IS CERTAINLY A RECORD YOU COULD LOSE YOURSELF IN AND FIND SOMETHING NEW TO EXPLORE EACH TIME YOU REVISIT IT. PEOPLE SAY SIMILAR THINGS ABOUT ULYSSES AND FINNEGAN’S WAKE, I KNOW. PEOPLE MAKE THE CLAIM THAT THOSE BOOKS ARE A LOT OF FUN, TOO. AND YOU CAN SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT THE SPRAWLING SIX-SIDES (OR DOUBLE CD) OF ESCALATOR OVER THE HILL. IT MAY BE AN ABSURDLY AMBITIOUS (THAT’S A COMPLIMENT) PIECE OF MUSICAL DRAMA PAINSTAKINGLY PUT TOGETHER IN THE LAST FEW YEARS OF THE ‘60S AND ON INTO THE EARLY ‘70S. A FANTASTIC FOLLY PERHAPS? OR A DRAWING TOGETHER OF ALL THE CREATIVE FORCES AT WORK DURING THOSE TURBULENT TIMES? ALL THAT AND MORE, FOR SURE. 32. THE CAST LIST OF CARLA BLEY’S ESCALATOR OVER THE HILL SPEAKS VOLUMES. AMONG THE MUSICIANS WOULD BE DON CHERRY, CHARLIE HADEN, ROSWELL RUDD, GATO BARBIERI, JACK BRUCE, JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, AND PAUL MOTIAN. AMONG THE VOCALISTS, SINGING/RECITING PAUL HAINES’ WORDS, WOULD BE SHEILA JORDAN AND JEANNE LEE. ALSO TAKING PART, RATHER BRILLIANTLY, WOULD BE LINDA RONSTADT, PAUL JONES (WHO PLEADED TO PARTICIPATE!), STEVE FERGUSON (FORMERLY OF NRBQ), AND VIVA, THE WARHOL SUPERSTAR. EXPENSIVE AND EXPANSIVE, IT NEVERTHELESS SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN THE MELODY MAKER’S JAZZ RECORDING OF THE YEAR FOR 1972. A STARTLING WORK OF ART, BUT A LOT OF FUN TO EXPLORE.


33. THE MOST STARTLING TRACK ON JOY BY KARIN KROG AND HER FRIENDS IS KARIN’S MODE, AN EIGHT-AND-A-HALF MINUTE WORKOUT WHICH RIPS INTO THE SAME FREE JAZZ/FIRE MUSIC TERRITORY IMPULSE! WAS SHARING WITH THE WORLD. THERE ARE A SERIES OF WHOOPS AND WAILS ON THIS TRACK FROM KARIN KROG THAT ARE WORTH BUYING THE RECORD FOR ALONE, BUT IT’S THE EXPLOSIVE SAX SOLO FROM JAN GARBAREK THAT PROVIDES THE SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM. I DOUBT ANYONE AT THE TIME COULD HAVE ANTICIPATED GARBAREK WOULD GO ON TO BECOME PART OF THE JAZZ ESTABLISHMENT, BUT FOR THOSE WORKING BACKWARDS HIS PERFORMANCE AS A 21-YEAR-OLD HERE IS AS STARTLING AS SAY THE EARLY SCRITTI POLITTI RECORDINGS COMPARED TO GREEN’S LATER SUPERSLICKSTERISED WORKS. 34. JAN GARBAREK WOULD WORK WITH THE CORE OF THE JOY PERSONNEL, THE RHYTHM SECTION OF JON CHRISTENSEN AND ARILD ANDERSEN, MANY TIMES IN THE ENSUING YEARS. THEY WOULD REGROUP THE FOLLOWING YEAR, IN 1969, AS THE ESOTERIC CIRCLE TO RECORD A SET, PRODUCED BY GEORGE RUSSELL, FOR BOB THIELE’S NEW FLYING DUTCHMAN LABEL, WHICH WAS VERY MUCH IN THAT IMPULSE!/ESP CONTEMPORARY STYLE. THE STARTLING COMPOSITION, KARIN’S MODE, WOULD RESURFACE ON THIS RECORD. INSTEAD OF KARIN’S VOCAL IT IS TERJE RYPDAL’S GUITAR WORK THAT CHASES AND PERHAPS ECLIPSES JAN GARBAREK’S SAX PYROTECHNICS. IT IS RYPDAL’S PRESENCE NO DOUBT THAT HAS PROMPTED THE COMPARISONS WITH TONY WILLIAMS’ LIFETIME. 35. TERJE RYPDAL ONLY A YEAR OR SO BEFORE HAD BEEN PLAYING GUITAR WITH THE DREAM, AN OUTFIT VERY MUCH INFLUENCED BY CONTEMPORARY POP SOUNDS LIKE HENDRIX, THE RASCALS AND PINK FLOYD. THEIR 1967 LP, GET DREAMY, IS A LOT OF FUN, COVERS A LOT OF MUSICAL GROUND AND, ALONG WITH OTHERS SUCH AS SWEDEN’S THE TAGES’ STUDIO AND FINLAND’S BLUES SECTION, IT STANDS AS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THE SCANDINAVIAN PSYCHEDELIC RESPONSE. THERE’S ENOUGH JAZZ INFLUENCES AT WORK IN THE DREAM THOUGH TO MAKE THE CONNECTION TO THE WORK RYPDAL WOULD SHORTLY BE PART OF IN THE COMPANY OF JAN GARBAREK AND FRIENDS. 36. IN 1968 TERJE RYPDAL RECORDED HIS FIRST RECORD UNDER HIS OWN NAME, BLEAK HOUSE, WHICH FEATURED CONTRIBUTIONS FROM JAN GARBAREK. THIS OPENS WITH THE REMARKABLE DEAD MAN’S TALE, WHICH SOUNDS RATHER LIKE THE MISSING LINK BETWEEN THE ZOMBIES AND THE SORT OF THING TORTOISE AND THE SEA AND CAKE MIGHT BE DOING IN THE MID-‘90S.


37. A LOT OF TERJE RYPDAL’S BLEAK HOUSE RECORD SOUNDS LIKE IMAGINARY SOUNDTRACK WORK, AND WOULD SOUND WONDERFULLY AT HOME IN ANY OF THE ERA’S THRILLERS. THE TITLE OF ONE OF THESE TRACKS, WES, IS A BIT OF A GIVE AWAY, BUT THEN WHY NOT? IT’S ON THE APPROPRIATELY CHILLING WINTER SERENADE THAT THE YOUNG GUITARIST REALLY LETS RIP AND MOVES INTO UNSETTLING, DISSONANT TERRITORY. AND THEN, WONDERFULLY, IN CONTRAST, THE CLOSING TRACK IS JUST TERJE AND HIS ACOUSTIC GUITAR DOING A CHICO BUARQUE TYPE BOSSA THING, WITH SOME GORGEOUS FLUTE ADORNMENT. TERJE WAS HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY GARY MCFARLAND AT THIS TIME AND CITES AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL AS A RECORD THAT HAD A MASSIVE IMPACT ON HIM.

38. 39. AROUND THE SAME TIME AS BLEAK HOUSE APPEARED, JAN GARBAREK AND TERJE RYPDAL WOULD STUDY AND WORK WITH GEORGE RUSSELL, AND APPEARED LIVE WITH HIS GROUP IN OSLO PERFORMING THE ELECTRONIC SONATA FOR SOULS LOVED BY NATURE, AS RELEASED BY BOB THIELE’S FLYING DUTCHMAN LABEL IN 1969. IT MIGHT NOT BE THE MOST PLAYED RECORD IN MY COLLECTION, BUT IT’S ONE OF THOSE YOU JUST HAVE TO OWN. IT’S THE SORT OF THING YOU EXPECT ALL SUN RA’S RECORD TO SOUND LIKE BUT RARELY DO. IT WAS QUITE RADICAL IN ITS WAY FOR MIXING LIVE PERFORMANCE WITH TAPED (FIELD) RECORDINGS OF AN AFRICAN NATURE. FOR ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH RUSSELL’S WORK IT STILL COMES AS A REAL SHOCK, AND IT MUST HAVE BEEN A TREMENDOUSLY LIBERATING EXPERIENCE FOR RYPDAL AND GARBAREK (JON CHRISTENSEN IS FEATURED PLAYING DRUMS, TOO) TO BE INVOLVED WITH SOMETHING SO GROUNDBREAKING. AND AS WITH SO MANY OF THE IMPULSE! RELEASES HE OVERSAW CREDIT MUST GO TO BOB THIELE FOR PUTTING THE RECORD OUT.


40. THE NORWEGIAN NUCLEUS OF JAN GARBAREK, TERJE RYPDAL, ARILD ANDERSEN AND JON CHRISTENSEN, WITH SWEDISH PIANIST BOBO STENSON, WOULD BE AT THE CORE OF A SERIES OF RECORDINGS IN THE EARLY 1970S FOR WHAT WAS THE NEW JAZZ LABEL ECM, OR EDITION OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. HEARING THOSE RECORDINGS RELATIVELY RECENTLY, NEARLY 40 YEARS AFTER THEY WERE MADE, WAS SOMETHING OF A REVELATION, SHATTERING LONG-HELD PREJUDICES ABOUT ECM BEING SOMETHING STERILE, COLD, CEREBRAL, AUSTERE, ANTISEPTIC, AND GLACIAL. IN OTHER WORDS, APART FROM ADMIRING THE STRIKING SLEEVE ART, I DISMISSED ECM AS SOMETHING MORE EUROPEAN, NEW AGE OR NEO-CLASSICAL THAN THE AFRO-AMERICAN BLUES AND ROOTS I THOUGHT JAZZ WAS ABOUT. IT JUST REINFORCES THE DANGERS OF ACCEPTING STEREOTYPES HANDED DOWN. 41. THE FIRST RELEASES ON MANFRED EICHER’S ECM LABEL AT THE START OF THE 1970S WOULD BE ENTITLED FREE AT LAST AND JUST MUSIC. I SUSPECT THAT’S NOT ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL. ONE OF THE VERY FIRST ECM RELEASES WAS MARION BROWN’S AFTERNOON OF A GEORGIA FAUN, WHICH HAD A GREAT SUPPORTING CAST INCLUDING JEANNE LEE ON VOCALS, ALONG WITH BENNIE MAUPIN, ANDREW CYRILLE, CHICK COREA, AND ANTHONY BRAXTON. 42. I SAW A QUOTE FROM MAUPIN A WHILE BACK. WHEN ASKED ABOUT AFTERNOON OF A GEORGIA FAUN, HE SAID: “I HAD NO IDEA THAT MUSIC COULD EVEN SOUND LIKE THAT”. LOVELY. BUT IT’S NOT WHAT I THOUGHT OF AS THE ECM WAY. BUT THEN IF YOU GOT INTO, SAY, RELEASES BY ROUGH TRADE OR FACTORY AT THE END OF 1980S THEY WOULD GIVE LITTLE SENSE OF WHAT HAPPENED AT THE OTHER END OF THE DECADE WOULD THEY? INCIDENTALLY BENNIE MAUPIN’S OWN DEBUT AS A LEADER, ON THE BEAUTIFUL RECORD JEWEL IN THE LOTUS, FEATURING HIS MWANDISHI/HEADHUNTERS COLLEAGUE HERBIE HANCOCK, WOULD ALSO BE AMONG THE EARLY ECM RELEASES. 43. THE EARLY ‘70S TITLES RELEASED BY JAN GARBAREK AND TERJE RYPDAL REALLY BURN. THEY’RE FREE. THEY’RE FAR FROM CLINICAL IN THEIR EXECUTION. THEY’RE WORTH SEARCHING FOR. THE QUARTET APPEARS ON GARBAREK’S 1970 RECORDING, AFRIC PEPPERBIRD. STENSON JOINS THEM THE FOLLOWING YEAR ON SART. THEY ALL PLAY ON TERJE RYPDAL’S SELFTITLED 1971 SET. STENSON PLAYS WITH ANDERSEN AND CHRISTENSEN ON HIS OWN 1971 SET, UNDERWEAR. AND SO ON. THESE ARE ALL ELECTRIFYING RECORDINGS MADE BY YOUNG MEN GIVEN FREEDOM TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES AND EXPERIMENT.


44. 45. THE TERJE RYPDAL CONTRIBUTIONS ON THIS SERIES OF EARLY ECM RECORDINGS ARE PARTICULARLY STRIKING. FOR SOMEONE BROUGHT UP ON THE WORK OF ROBERT QUINE, THERE ARE TIMES WHEN IT’S IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO NOD ENTHUSIASTICALLY AT SOME OF RYPDAL’S WORK. THE OPENING TRACK OF HIS SELF-TITLED 1971 SET ON ECM IS CALLED KEEP IT LIKE THAT – TIGHT. IT’S TWELVE-AND-A-HALF MINUTES LONG, AND THE TITLE SAYS IT ALL. IT’S JUST AS FUNKY AS HELL. A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON BY MILES DAVIS SPRINGS TO MIND, BUT YOU’D HAVE TO STRIP OUT AN AWFUL LOT INCLUDING MILES. ANOTHER REFERENCE POINT MIGHT BE CAN, OR TANGERINE DREAM’S ELECTRONIC MEDITATION. CONRAD SCHNITZLER OR MICHAEL KAROLI DOING THEIR THING. YOU CAN IMAGINE JULIAN COPE NODDING ENTHUSIASTICALLY. I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA IF THERE WAS ANY INTERACTION BETWEEN THE KRAUTROCKERS AND THE SCANDINAVIAN JAZZ SCENE. I’M NOT SURE I NEED TO KNOW. 46. THE INVALUABLE BASS PLAYER ARILD ANDERSEN STEPPED FORWARD INTO THE ECM LIMELIGHT WITH HIS OWN LOVELY DEBUT, THE 1975 RECORDING CLOUDS IN MY HEAD. A YEAR OR TWO LATER, AFTER WORKING WITH ARCHIE SHEPP ON KARIN KROG’S HI-FLY, HE FOUND HIMSELF ALONE WITH THE SINGER SHEILA JORDAN MAKING A HEART MELTINGLY BEAUTIFUL LP SIMPLY CALLED SHEILA. THIS FEATURED A COUPLE OF THOSE STEVE KUHN NUMBERS THAT WE KEEP COMING ACROSS, PLUS A NUMBER OF JAZZ STANDARDS. SHEILA MAKES A CLAIM TO BEING THE FIRST SINGER TO JUST PERFORM WITH THE BASS, PRE-PEGGY LEE/FEVER, SO THIS LP MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

EXCEPT

THAT IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL. BECAUSE THIS WAS THE MID-‘70S, AND SHEILA WAS ONLY THEN GETTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE SUCH A BOLD RECORD. DAYS.

BUT THEN FORTUNE DIDN’T REALLY FAVOUR SHEILA IN THOSE


47. SHEILA JORDAN GOT HER FIRST REAL BREAK IN 1962 WHEN GEORGE RUSSELL CHAMPIONED HER. HE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN GETTING HER A DEAL WITH ALFRED LYON AND BLUE NOTE. BLUE NOTE WEREN’T REALLY INTO VOCAL JAZZ, SO HER PORTRAIT OF SHEILA IS SOMETHING OF AN EXCEPTION. BLUE NOTE GAVE HER THE FREEDOM TO RECORD WITH A SMALL GROUP: BARRY GALBRAITH ON GUITAR, DENZIL BEST ON DRUMS, AND STEVE SWALLOW ON BASS. AND IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE BLUE NOTE CONNECTION, AND STRIKING REID MILES SLEEVE DESIGN, THAT I BOUGHT THIS SET ON CD. IT SOMEHOW SEEMED TO CAPTURE PERFECTLY THE ROMANTIC NOTION OF THE NONCOMPROMISING, MOODY JAZZ SINGER BEING CONTRARY, SINGING THEIR HEART OUT AND NOT SIMPLY SINGING FOR THEIR SUPPER. IT ALSO LED INDIRECTLY TO SOMETHING OF A PASSION FOR FEMALE JAZZ SINGERS, BEYOND THE HOLY TRINITY OF BILLIE, ELLA AND SARAH. PORTRAIT OF SHEILA WAS CERTAINLY A HUGE FACTOR IN GOING ON TO EXPLORE THE WORK OF HELEN MERRILL, ANITA O’DAY, CHRIS CONNOR AND THE LADIES OF BETHLEHEM.

48. 49. I AM A HUGE NAT HENTOFF FAN, AND ALWAYS LOVE HIS SLEEVENOTES. FOR ME, HE IS ONE OF THE GREAT AMERICANS. ANYWAY, IN HIS LINER NOTES FOR SHEILA JORDAN’S PORTRAIT OF SHEILA HE WRITES: “SHEILA’S REPERTORY REFLECTS A KALEIDOSCOPE OF MOODS – THE RESILIENT BUOYANCY OF FALLING IN LOVE WITH LOVE, FOR ONE. HERE, AND ALL THROUGH THE ALBUM, SHEILA DEMONSTRATES HOW SECURE AN INNER SENSE OF SWING SHE HAS AND THE RESOURCEFULNESS OF HER MELODIC IMAGINATION. THE TENDER, INTIMATELY EVOCATIVE IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW IS BASED ON CHORD CHANGES USED BY BILL EVANS WHEN HE PLAYS THE TUNE. ‘GEORGE RUSSELL TOOK ME TO HEAR BILL,’ SHEILA RECALLS, ‘AND WHEN I HEARD HIM PLAY THIS, HE MADE ME CRY.’”


50. ALTHOUGH PORTRAIT OF SHEILA WAS SHEILA JORDAN’S FIRST RECORD, SHE WAS ALREADY BY 1962 AN EXPERIENCED SINGER. SHE HAD LINKS CERTAINLY TO CHARLIE PARKER AT THE START OF THE ‘50S, AND HAD PERFORMED IN A TRIO PERFORMING WORDLESS JAZZ VOCALS BEFORE LAMBERT, HENDRICKS AND ROSS. SHE JUST DIDN’T SEEM TO GET ON WITH THE MUSIC BUSINESS, WHICH IS PERFECTLY UNDERSTANDABLE. AND THIS MAY BE ONE REASON WHY HER DEBUT LP MAKES SO FEW CONCESSIONS TO POP. IT’S NOT JUST THAT THE SOUND AND SETTING IS STARK, IT’S MORE THAT THE PERFORMANCES DO NOT GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO BE LOVED. THIS UNEASY RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WAS NO DOUBT ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS SHEILA WAS INVOLVED WITH SO FEW RECORDINGS BETWEEN PORTRAIT AND THAT HAUNTING 1977 RECORDING WITH ARILD ANDERSEN AND HIS BASS. 51. THE BASS IS ACTUALLY THE PROMINENT INSTRUMENT ON SHEILA JORDAN’S PORTRAIT. STEVE SWALLOW ON THE BASS SEEMS TO TAKE MORE OF THE MELODY LINES THAN BARRY GALBRAITH DOES ON GUITAR. SWALLOW HIMSELF WAS ANOTHER YOUNG PIONEER AT THE TIME. DESPITE BEING IN HIS VERY EARLY 20S HE HAD NEVERTHELESS ALREADY BEEN PART OF AT LEAST TWO OF THE GREATEST RECORDS OF ALL TIME. HE HAD PLAYED WITH ERIC DOLPHY AND DON ELLIS AS PART OF GEORGE RUSSELL’S SEXTET ON EZZTHETICS AND WITH PAUL BLEY AS A MEMBER OF JIMMY GIUFFRE’S TRIO ON THE AMAZING FREE FALL. I’M SURE THERE ARE PLENTY MORE TO ADD TO THAT PAIR. ECM FAIRLY EARLY ON ACTUALLY ISSUED A COMPILATION OF THE JIMMY GIUFFRE TRIO RECORDINGS FROM 1961.

52.


53. AMONG STEVE SWALLOW’S COLLABORATIONS WOULD BE A 1966 SET WITH PETE LA ROCA AS PART OF THE STEVE KUHN TRIO ON THREE WAVES. THIS TRIO HAD WORKED BEFORE WITH ART FARMER AND JOE HENDERSON BUT THIS WAS, I BELIEVE, THE FIRST SET RELEASED UNDER STEVE KUHN’S NAME. IT’S A LOVELY LITTLE RECORD TOO, WHICH OPENS WITH CARLA BLEY’S CLASSIC COMPOSITION IDA LUPINO. THE NEXT TRACK IS AN AL COHN NUMBER CALLED AH, MOORE. NOW THIS IS A WILD GUESS BUT I SUSPECT THE TITLE IS A REFERENCE TO COHN’S WIFE, THE SINGER MARILYN MOORE, THE MYSTERIOUS SINGER WHO RECORDED THE WONDERFUL MOODY LP FOR BETHLEHEM IN 1957 (WHICH FEATURES BARRY GALBRAITH ON GUITAR, COINCIDENTALLY) BUT WHO APPEARS TO HAVE DONE VERY LITTLE ELSE, EXCEPT PERHAPS BE IMMORTALISED BY SONIC YOUTH. BOB THIELE’S FLYING DUTCHMAN LABEL WOULD REISSUE THREE WAVES IN 1975.

54. 55. STEVE SWALLOW WOULD ALSO JOIN STEVE KUHN ON HIS EUROPEAN ADVENTURES. HE IS FEATURED PROMINENTLY ON KARIN KROG’S WE COULD BE FLYING, FOR EXAMPLE, ALONGSIDE STEVE KUHN AND JON CHRISTENSEN, AND ALMOST STEALS THE SHOW. THIS REALLY IS A SPECIAL RECORD, AND

UNDERSTANDABLY A GREAT FAVOURITE AMONG THE JAZZ DANCE COMMUNITY.

IT’S DIFFICULT TO PICK OUT PARTICULAR HIGHLIGHTS AS IT’S ALL SO GOOD, BUT THE REMARKABLY UPLIFTING ADAPTATION OF JONI MITCHELL’S ALL I WANT IS LIFE AFFIRMING AND REALLY HAS A GROOVE GOING ON. KARIN’S

VOCALS HERE ARE EXUBERANT AND YOU CAN PRACTICALLY SEE HER DANCING ROUND THE STUDIO, REALLY GETTING INTO THE SPIRIT OF THE THING.


56. IF THERE ARE FUSION ELEMENTS AT PLAY ON KARIN KROG’S WE COULD BE FLYING, THEN THESE BECOME MORE PRONOUNCED ON TRANCE, A STEVE KUHN SET FROM 1974 WHERE THE LINE-UP WOULD FEATURE STEVE SWALLOW, JACK DE JOHNETTE AND SUE EVANS. THIS WAS THE FIRST OF A SERIES OF TITLES KUHN WOULD RECORD FOR ECM, AND IT IS VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I REALISE THAT THE WHOLE FUSION THING, THE FENDER RHODES SOUND, THE LATIN INFLUENCES, AND SO ON, IS CERTAIN TO DIVIDE OPINION AMONG MUSIC FANS. BUT ANY PREJUDICES, ANY FEARS ABOUT BLANDNESS OR CONCERNS ABOUT INSIPIDITY ARE SWEPT AWAY BY THE STANDOUT TRACK SOMETHING EVERYWHERE WHICH REALLY BURNS.

STEVE SWALLOW’S FUNKY BASS WORK ON THIS SONG IS SOMETHING SPECIAL.

57. APPROPRIATELY IT WAS ECM THAT PUT OUT THE PIONEERING FUSION RECORD RETURN TO FOREVER BY CHICK COREA IN THE FANTASTIC COMPANY OF AIRTO MOREIRA, JOE FARRELL, STANLEY CLARKE AND FLORA PURIM. YOU CAN PROBABLY START AN ARGUMENT IN AN EMPTY ROOM ABOUT FUSION. BUT IT’S LIKE ANY AREA OF MUSIC. THERE’S THE GREAT STUFF, AND THERE’S THE NOT-SO-GREAT STUFF. AND THAT FIRST RETURN TO FOREVER RECORD IS UP THERE WITH THE BEST IN ANY FIELD OF MUSIC. IT’S FANTASTICALLY FUNCTIONAL MUSIC. I LIKE A LOT OF THIS STUFF. I HAVE A HUGE FONDNESS FOR SO MANY OF THE RELEASES ON THE CTI LABEL, FOR INSTANCE. BUT IT’S NOT SOMETHING I HAD REALLY ASSOCIATED WITH ECM. THE SUCCESS OF THIS RETURN TO FOREVER RECORD DOWN THE YEARS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY ECM HAS BEEN ABLE HAD THE FINANCIAL FREEDOM TO BE MORE ADVENTUROUS IN ITS RELEASE PROGRAMME OVER A SUSTAINED PERIOD OF TIME.

58.


59. IN STARK CONTRAST TO STEVE KUHN’S TRANCE LP, ALMOST SIMULTANEOUSLY, HE RECORDED THE SOLO PIANO SET ECSTASY, I UNDERSTAND AT THE REQUEST OF ECM’S MANFRED EICHER FOR WHICH HE MUST BE APPLAUDED AS IT’S REALLY AN EXQUISITE AND VERY EMOTIONAL RECORD. IT’S THE SORT OF RECORD WHERE IT’S HARD TO RESIST USING WORDS LIKE ELEGIAC AND ELEGANT. AND WHILE KUHN REVISITS SOME OF HIS SONGS WHICH HE RECORDED WITH MONICA ZETTERLUND A COUPLE OF YEARS EARLIER THE TONE IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. IT’S TEMPTING TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS ABOUT LOST LOVE AND BROKEN HEARTS. WHETHER THAT’S RIGHT OR WRONG, IT IS STRIKING HOW SOME SONGS RECORDED IN DIFFERENT WAYS AND AT DIFFERENT TIMES CAN CAPTURE SUCH DIFFERENT MOODS. BUT THAT’S THE BEAUTY OF IT. 60. ANOTHER ECM STALWART OVER THE YEARS HAS BEEN THE SAXOPHONIST (AND MUCH MORE) JOHN SURMAN. ODDLY HE WAS SOMEONE I FIRST CAME ACROSS THROUGH HIS ASSOCIATION WITH SPRING HEEL JACK ON THE TITLE TRACK OF THEIR DISAPPEARED LP, RELEASED ON ROUGH TRADE IN 2000, WHEN THEY WERE JUGGLING DRUM ‘N’ BASS WITH MORE EXPERIMENTAL ELEMENTS. LONG BEFORE THAT SURMAN WAS SOMEONE WHO WAS VERY MUCH A PART OF THAT LATE ‘60S EXPLOSION OF ACTIVITY IN THE BRITISH JAZZ CIRCLE. THIS WAS THE TIME WHEN IT BENEFITTED FROM BEING CLOSELY ALLIED TO THE PROGRESSIVE SCENE, THE CANTERBURY CROWD, AND SO ON, WITH ALL THE CROSS-POLLINATION THAT TOOK PLACE. 61. AMONG THE RECORDINGS SURMAN WOULD BE PART OF WERE KEY ONES BY MIKE WESTBROOK, MICHAEL GIBBS, HARRY BECKETT, AND CHRIS MCGREGOR’S BROTHERHOOD OF BREATH. IN OTHER WORDS, HE PLAYED ON WHAT ARE NOW RIGHTLY REGARDED AS SOME OF THE BEST RECORDS EVER. THERE, HOWEVER, IS STILL SOME WAY TO GO BEFORE THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THAT BRITISH JAZZ GOLDEN AGE ARE FULLY APPRECIATED. THE VOCALIAN

LABEL DID SOME EXCEPTIONAL WORK SOME YEARS BACK SALVAGING SEVERAL OF THESE RECORDINGS, AS HAVE OTHERS SUCH AS JONNY TRUNK AND GILLES

PETERSON, BUT THINGS HAVE DRIFTED SOMEWHAT

62. .


63. I WOULD NOT PRETEND TO BE FULLY AWARE OF ALL THE RECORDS JOHN SURMAN HAS PLAYED ON. PERHAPS THE BEST KNOWN ONE WOULD BE JOHN MCLAUGHLIN’S EXTRAPOLATION, WHICH HE WAS VERY MUCH PART OF. FROM 1969 THIS PRE-DATED MCLAUGHLIN’S WORK WITH LIFETIME AND MILES DAVIS, AND MANY REGARD IT AS THE BEST BRITISH EXAMPLE OF JAZZ MIXED WITH ELECTRIC GUITAR, WHICH BY INFERENCE MEANS SHARDS OF NOISE DISRUPTING THE FLOW. THOSE APPROACHING SUCH THINGS FROM A NEW YORK NO WAVE/POST-PUNK PERSPECTIVE MAY FIND MORE TO DELIGHT THEM ON JOHN SURMAN’S OWN 1973 SET MORNING GLORY WHERE HE WAS JOINED BY TONY OXLEY ON DRUMS AND, RATHER NEATLY FOR US, TERJE RYPDAL ON GUITAR. AT TIMES PROCEEDINGS ARE FRIGHTENINGLY INTENSE AND UNSETTLING BUT STILL IN TOUCH WITH MELODIC JAZZ AND THERE BEATS A POP HEART.

THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN SURMAN’S SAX AND RYPDAL’S GUITAR IS SOMETHING WONDERFUL TO EXPERIENCE.

64. 65. TONY OXLEY HAD OFTEN PLAYED WITH ANOTHER JAZZ GUITARIST, DEREK BAILEY, REVERED IN ALL THE RESPECTABLE HIGH-BROW AVANT GARDE PLACES. BAILEY TOO, IN TANDEM WITH DAVE HOLLAND FOR EXAMPLE, WAS AMONG THE EARLY PEOPLE TO RECORD FOR ECM, NOTABLY ON THEIR IMPROVISATIONS FOR CELLO AND GUITAR. BUT IS IT SACRILEGE TO MAKE A CASE AGAINST BAILEY FOR LACKING RYPDAL’S POP HEART/ROOTS? SOMEHOW IT SEEMS DAFT TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT A DIFFERENCE IN BACKGROUND OR APPROACH. INTERESTINGLY ONE OF THE KEY FIGURES OF THE TIME IN TERMS OF PLAYING GUITAR, AND REINVENTING THE SOUND, ON JAZZ RECORDINGS WOULD BE CHRIS SPEDDING, AND HIS IS STILL A NAME THAT CONJURES UP AN IMAGE OF A RAK RECORDING ARTIST DONE UP IN MOTORCYCLING LEATHERS.


66. JOHN SURMAN’S OWN ECM DEBUT WAS 1979’S UPON REFLECTION, WHERE HE PLAYED ALL THE INSTRUMENTS HIMSELF. AROUND THE SAME TIME HE RECORDED THE EXCEPTIONALLY BEAUTIFUL CLOUD LINE BLUE SET WITH KARIN KROG. THIS WAS THE FIRST OF A SERIES OF RECORDINGS THE PAIR WOULD MAKE TOGETHER. THEIR CONNECTION CERTAINLY REACHES BACK AT LEAST A DECADE EARLIER THOUGH, WHEN THEY WERE BOTH PART OF THE DOWNBEAT POLL WINNERS’ OPEN SPACE RECORD ON MPS RECORDED IN NOVEMBER 1969. IT’S TEMPTING TO SEE THE PAIR’S EXPERIMENTAL WORK ON THIS AS A SORT OF BLUEPRINT FOR THE RECORDS THEY WOULD MAKE TOGETHER.

67. 68.

BACK IN 1969 JOHN SURMAN WOULD HAVE RECENTLY RECORDED HIS OWN

HOW MANY CLOUDS CAN YOU SEE? LP, RELEASED ON THE WONDERFUL DERAM LABEL. AS WITH SO MANY OF THAT GOLDEN AGE’S RECORDINGS THE LINE-UP IS ASTONISHING, READING RATHER LIKE A WHO’S-WHO. NO DOUBT RECORD COMPANIES THESE DAYS WOULD DISMISS SUCH AN APPROACH AS

ECONOMICALLY UNVIABLE, WASTING THE MONEY INSTEAD ON RIDICULOUS PROMOTIONAL PUSHES.

SO THE POWERS-THAT-BE AT DERAM IN THE LATE‘60S AND INTO THE EARLY-‘70S NEED TO BE APPLAUDED FOR SANCTIONING A SERIES OF FORWARD-LOOKING VITAL BRITISH JAZZ LPS FROM THE LIKES OF SURMAN, MIKE WESTBROOK, MICHAEL GIBBS, JOHN CAMERON, ALAN SKIDMORE AND HENRY LOWTHER. SURMAN AND CAMERON CERTAINLY HAD SINGLES RELEASED AND PROMOTED, TOO, BY DERAM ALONG SIDE ITS MORE OBVIOUSLY POP ACTS LIKE THE FLIRTATIONS AND HONEYBUS.


69. KARIN KROG, MEANTIME, AT THE VERY START OF THE ‘70S RECORDED AN LP, SOME OTHER SPRING, WITH DEXTER GORDON. IT’S A MUCH MORE CONVENTIONAL AFFAIR THAN JOY, BUT NEVERTHELESS IT’S A REALLY LOVELY, RATHER ROMANTIC RECORD. FAR MORE IN THE CLASSIC JAZZ VOCAL MOULD, THERE ARE TIMES WHEN IT’S JUST WHAT YOU NEED TO REFRESH THE SENSES. AND THAT IS THE GREAT THING ABOUT KARIN’S RECORDINGS. THERE IS THIS WONDERFUL BALANCE BETWEEN THE JAZZ/BLUES TRADITION AND THE COMPLETELY EXPERIMENTAL. THERE ARE NOT THAT MANY PEOPLE WHO CAN EXCEL AT BOTH. LIKE MOST OF KARIN’S KEY RECORDINGS THIS DEXTER GORDON SET IS NOW AVAILABLE ON HER OWN MEANTIME IMPRINT.

70. 71. KARIN’S 1979 POLYDOR RELEASE, HER COLLABORATION WITH JOHN SURMAN, CLOUD LINE BLUE, IS VERY MUCH IN THE EXPERIMENTAL CAMP. IT IS A BEAUTIFUL JAZZ RECORD, SO I DON’T WANT TO OVERPLAY THE ELECTRONICS ANGLE (PARTICULARLY AS KARIN WAS TREATING HER VOCALS ELECTRONICALLY BACK IN 1968 ON JOY) BUT IT IS PARTICULARLY APPEALING FOR THE WAY THEY WERE BOTH EXPERIMENTING WITH TECHNOLOGY AND IN

PARTICULAR SYNTHESIZERS AND ECHO EFFECTS THAT OCCASIONALLY SUGGEST WHAT WERE THEN CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED CONTEMPORANEOUS DUB AND POST-PUNK RECORDINGS.

THE RECORD, CLOUD LINE BLUE, APPARENTLY, WAS ALSO INSPIRED BY MODERN ABSTRACT POETRY, WHICH MEANT THAT KARIN HAD THE ADDED CHALLENGE OF IMPROVISING VOCAL MELODIES THAT WOULD FIT THE SONGS. IT’S NO WONDER THE ACTUAL RECORDING PROCESS WAS A DIFFICULT ONE, TAKING PLACE WHEN TIME AND MONEY ALLOWED, WITH LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT FROM RECORD COMPANIES.


72. AFTER CLOUD LINE BLUE THE NEXT KARIN KROG AND JOHN SURMAN COLLABORATION WOULD BE ON THE 1983 ECM RELEASE, SUCH WINTERS OF MEMORY, WHERE THEY RETURNED TO SOME OF THE LYRICAL AND MELODIC THEMES . THE ELECTRONIC INFLUENCE IS EVEN MORE MARKED ON THIS SET, AND KARIN IS CREDITED WITH USING A RING MODULATOR. IT REALLY IS A STRANGE, SPOOKY RECORD, AND ONE WHERE THE WORD HAUNTED COULD QUITE ACCURATELY BE USED FOR ONCE. THE SYNTHS SEEM TO SUGGEST WAVES AND WINDS, WHILE THE WOODWIND AND SAX WEAVES IN WITH KARIN’S RESTRAINED VOCALS AND CHORAL SINGING FLOATING IN THE BACKGROUND TO DISORIENTATE THE LISTENER. IT’S ONE OF THOSE RECORDS THAT BECOME QUITE ADDICTIVE, WITH NEW THINGS REVEALED ON EACH LISTEN.

73. 74. THE IRONY IS THAT AS ONE BROUGHT UP ON POST-PUNK SOUNDS, WHEN EARS, EYES AND MINDS WERE SUPPOSEDLY MORE OPEN THAN AT MANY ANOTHER

TIME, THERE WAS STILL AT THAT TIME A PREVAILING ARROGANCE THAT SAID THAT MUSIC BEING MADE IN THAT SPHERE WAS REALLY THE MOST

ADVENTUROUS, AND THE REAL EXPERIMENTAL WORK WAS BEING MADE IN THAT IMMEDIATE CIRCLE.

HISTORY, THANKFULLY, EVENTUALLY, HAS PROVEN THAT TO BE A FALLACY. WE NOW KNOW BETTER. AND IT IS NOW POSSIBLE TO START ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT TO WHAT EXTENT SOME OF THE SCENE’S PARTICIPANTS MIGHT HAVE BEEN AWARE OF SOME OF THE OTHER MUSIC OUT THERE, EVEN IF THE REVERED WRITERS WERE NOT.


75.

IN THE EARLY ‘80S WHEN THERE WAS A RESURGENCE OF INTEREST IN JAZZ

VOCALS AND LOTS OF WORDS WERE WRITTEN ABOUT TORCH SINGERS, JULIE

LONDON, PEGGY LEE ETC. BT IT SEEMS UNLIKELY ANYONE WORKING ON THE

POP PRESS WOULD HAVE HAILED A CONTEMPORARY RELEASE APART FROM SAY SOMETHING ON ZE OR BY RICKIE LEE JONES.

I CERTAINLY DON’T EVER RECALL

ANYONE IN HIP CIRCLES MENTIONING A CONTEMPORANEOUS RELEASE ON

ECM FROM STEVE KUHN AND SHEILA JORDAN. AND YET THE PAIR’S 1979 RELEASE, PLAYGROUND, IS A PRETTY MUCH PERFECT EXAMPLE OF DARK, MOODY JAZZ VOCAL AND PIANO WORK.

76. SOME OF THE SONGS ON STEVE KUHN AND SHEILA JORDAN’S PLAYGROUND ARE FAMILIAR: TOMORROW’S SON (TIME TO GO), THE ZOO (PEARLIE’S SWINE), POEM FOR NO. 15 (THE SAGA OF HARRISON CRABFEATHERS). THESE NUMBERS LINK BACK TO THE SUITE OF SONGS STEVE KUHN RECORDED WITH MONICA ZETTERLUND, GARY MCFARLAND, AND KARIN KROG IN THE EARLY PART OF THE ‘70S. LIFE’S BACKWARD GLANCE HAD APPEARED ON ECSTASY AND TRANCE, WHILE THE 11-MINUTES-LONG SONG DEEP TANGO HAD APPEARED ON KUHN’S 1977 ECM SET MOTILITY. YOU WOULDN’T GET AWAY WITH IT IN POP, BUT I DO LIKE THE JAZZ WAY OF WORKING WHERE COMPOSITIONS ARE REVISITED AND REINTERPRETED AND REIMAGINED. 77. STEVE KUHN AND SHEILA JORDAN’S PLAYGROUND REALLY IS A WONDERFUL SET, AND ONE OF WHAT WOULD BE A NUMBER OF COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN STEVE KUHN AND SHEILA JORDAN. THESE INCLUDE HOME, A STEVE SWALLOW-LED PROJECT RELEASED IN 1979 ON ECM. THIS WAS A SET OF ROBERT CREELEY POEMS SET TO MUSIC AND SUNG BY SHEILA. IT JUST SHOWS YOU HOW THINGS FIT TOGETHER. IT’S ALL ABOUT CONNECTIONS.

78.


Now cut up all the sections and fit them back together again in a totally different way! My apologies to those who know a lot more about these things … With special thanks to Per-Christian Hille … and to Andres Lokko who quite rightly said: “All roads lead back to Steve Kuhn …”

See and hear more at: www.butheretoday.blogspot.com And

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