Word The Cat

Word the Cat

FreeJazz, NewMusic and Brown Rice

Posted by Chris on December 6, 2005 at 1:42 am  

So, here’s a load of Jazz from the late 60s til mid 70s. Impulse! have just issued a remix album – you know the score by now – Blue Note and Verve can’t stop doing it. Blue Note has been known to issue some horrible records but some of the remix LPs are quite strong… that’ll have to wait for another post tho.

Albert Ayler

Starting off with Albert Ayler… Jazz has always had an ambiguous relationship with Europe (more on that in a bit). That’s where Albert Ayler cut his first record in 1963; in Denmark with a group of Scandinavian musicians. He hooked up with pianist Cecil Taylor in Stockholm and returned to New York with him. In 1964 he released a trio record with Sunny Murray on drums and Gary Peacock on Bass. The record was called ‘Spiritual Unity’ it came out on the newly-formed ESP label and turned quite a few heads. The label sold itself on a promise on authenticity: “The artists alone decide what you hear on their ESP Disk” was the slogan at a time when production, tracklisting and packaging was tightly controlled by labels. Perhaps because of this, Sun Ra (who had been largely self-releasing at this point), Pharoah Sanders and later Marion Brown and Frank Wright released through ESP. By and large the label’s attitude in this respect didn’t extend to profit sharing.
This track’s from the ‘Spiritual Unity’ LP – poet Ted Joans famously likened an Ayler performance to someone shouting FUCK in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. That may well say more about Ted Joans than Albert Ayler though…

Albert Ayler – Ghosts (first variation) 5.9mb

Paris 69 – BYG Actuel

In 1969, when Albert Ayler had just been dropped by Impulse! and was in the process of being sectioned after a nervous breakdown, an entourage of musicians made their way to Algiers for the Pan African Music festival. After the festival they were offered recording time by Jacques Bisceglia, Jean-Luc Young, and Jean Georgakarakos’ newly established BYG-Actuel label in Paris. As a result over 50 records were made for the label by artists such as Don Cherry, Sunny Murray, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Archie Shepp, Anthony Braxton, Alan Silva etc. as well as by European avant-gardists like Daevid Allen and Italy’s Musica Elettronica Viva. The records have recently been reissued on CD and vinyl. This is a fine compliation of bits and pieces. Down here, Don Cherry plays around with a load of flutes, Sonny Sharrock drops unbelievably heavy guitar with his wife Linda on vocals and Claude Delcloo leads a large group with the mighty Arthur Jones…

Don Cherry – Teo-Teo Can 5mb

Sonny Sharrock – Soon 8.9mb

Claude Delcloo/Arthur Jones – AfricanAsia part one 7.1mb

The BYG-Actuel work soon came to an end, but, enjoying a level of critical respect they weren’t afforded at home many musicians stayed in Europe for a while. That’s how Art Ensemble of Chicago’s came to soundtrack Moshe Mizrahi’s film Les Stances a Sophie in 1970 featuring this track…

Art Ensemble of Chicago – Theme de YoYo 10.4mb

In Europe jazz was viewed as an exotic cultural product, a distinction which allowed it to bypass both high art/low art bias and the critical expectations of being ‘American music’ back home. The downside was the orientalizing gaze of a Europe which was in the process of letting go of its colonies. All this and more is the theme of ex literature professor Mike Ladd’s new LP on Thirsty Ear, ‘Negrophilia’. A good example of credible, non sample based jazzy hip hop…

Mike Ladd – Worldwide Shrinkwrap (contact zones) 5.1mb

Music Liberation Orchestra

Back in the US things are fucked up. Ghettos ablaze, troops being shipped en-masse to Vietnam and college students being mowed down by the national guard. In 1969 Charlie Haden (previously bassist with Ornette Coleman) pulled together a group of a dozen or so musicians to form strong politically-engaged group. Members included Carla Bley, Dewey Redman, Don Cherry, Andrew Cyrille and the Argentinian Gato Barbieri. The material drew heavily on leftist traditions, with covers of songs from the Spanish Civil War (below) and a new improvisation called ‘Song for Che’. Gato Barbieri went on to record one seriously hard record called ‘Latino America’ in 1973 with a group of Brazilian musicians for Impulse!

Liberation Music Orchestra – Song of the United Front 2.2mb

Gato Barbieri – Encuentros 14.1mb

Freddie Hubbard and Ilhan Mimaroglu

1971 and Freddie Hubbard drops his anti-war concept album with help from Turkish composer Ilhan Mimaroglu on organ and electronics (UMeanCompetitor hosts a Mimaroglu track in this massive post). This track is called ‘The Crowd’ and is part of a three song cycle with ‘Threnody For Sharon Tate’ and ‘This Is Combat, I Know’. This piece has layered readings from Soren Kirkegaard’s ‘The Individual’ and Fazil Husnu Daglarca’s ‘Bloodless’. Mimaroglu would work with Hubbard again on ‘Echos of Blue’. There’s an interview with him available here.

Freddie Hubbard & Ilhan Mimaroglu – The Crowd 9.7mb

Relativity Suite

A few musicians started assimilating non-western instruments, music and philosophy en masse in the 70s. So Alice Coltrane gets John Coltrane purists foaming at the mouth by overdubbing his music with Indian strings and chants by her guru Swami Satchidananda. Elsewhere Pharoah Sanders releases records like ‘Tauhid’; named after an arabic word meaning unity with God and featuring compositions named ‘Upper and Lower Egypt’ and the very sentimental ‘Japan’ featuring koto. This track is from Don Cherry’s 1973 LP ‘Relativity Suite’.

Don Cherry – Trans-Love Airways 10.6mb


In New York Sam Rivers was hosting sessions in his loft apartment which would go on to be released on a series of 8 LPs called the Wildflower series (Recently reissued on CD by Knitting Factory). This track’s from the 3rd LP…

Randy Weston – Portrait of Frank Edward Weston 12.6mb


  • Comment by 8,9,3 on December 6, 2005 at 11:44 am



  • Comment by Steph on December 9, 2005 at 11:45 pm

Yay Chris!!!!! Thanks for the music; warmth on a super snowy day :)

  • Comment by Dr Jon on December 29, 2005 at 1:53 pm

Top werk, Mr Chris, whoever you are.
Judicious, in fact.

  • Comment by Chris on December 29, 2005 at 11:35 pm

Thanks for the comments. There’ll be another free jazz post in the new year.
All the Best.

Leave a comment

XHTML: Permitted tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Word the Cat...