Listening to Miles Davis can be habit-forming—you heard it here first. All I did was program a couple of his Newport sets and here I am this week playing something from the earliest studio session of the Kind of Blue band and then digging out a version of Footprints with the Lost Quintet at Antibes in 1969 on which in the course of an extraordinary solo Miles appears to be conducting Jack DeJohnette from the trumpet, going from soft to loud, inward to outward, whisper to blast with the drums storming behind him, and you can hear how that band was the culmination of a long line of development all the way from Miles’ beginnings to the coming simplification of his sense of line over rock beats and then the yowl of wah-wah, etc. How to follow that? How about a reunion of Basie, Pres, Jo and 5 by 5 at Newport ’57, the year after Duke’s triumph there, and Eddie Palmieri, Lee Morgan, Robert Glasper and Mozart too—all this can be yours on this week’s Updoc, 8PM Friday and noon next Tuesday, Take the A Train time; after which, as I do every couple of years, I play the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s masterwork—recorded in Paris just days after Miles ripped things up down south—called People in Syria, I mean People in Sudan, I mean People in St. Louis, I mean, you know what I mean, and Roscoe Mitchell must have been paying attention to Morton Feldman to make such sense, or do I mean Sorrow, from such a length of sound and silence. Pull the plug on the bicycle horn when you’re done, fellas, and let us sit here in this world and think on Mercy.
You know it’s an old canard that “if Clifford Brown hadn’t died. Miles Davis would have been working in the Post Office,” and the proof, if you need it, is Miles’ 1955 duet with Theloninous Monk on ‘Round Midnight at Newport, recently issued on the Bootleg Series Volume 4 box set—maybe the first time Miles Davis as we know him emerged full-scale on record: the sound startles you awake immediately: suddenly he’s all there, with nothing missing—George Avakian heard it and signed him to Columbia—while sweet Clifford Brown still had a year to live before his shocking end on the highway. In his excellent Miles bio, John Szwed writes that one night in a Detroit club when Brownie was sounding all his joyous gold, a sick Miles Davis only halfway through kicking his heroin habit sidled in and stilled the club with a single piercing ballad, stiletto crescent moon to Clifford’s solar gold, night to Brownie’s day. There’s something of that haunting the Newport duet with Monk, which kicks off this week’s Updoc—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Rhode Island summer time—followed by a Brownie and Max set, followed by Miles’ quintet at Newport in ’66, followed by the Icelandic expanses of Anna Thorvaldsdottir and some trio virtuosity from Robert Glasper, followed by, well . . . I don’t have to list it all, you follow?
When I went to the Sacred Music Festival in Fez in 2006, the Azeri vocalist Aygün Baylar was unmistakably the star of the show: a small round bundle of joy with a voice to die for, who I was sure would hit the relative bigtime on the world music circuit and scatter brilliant recordings like a scad of frisbees throughout the global audiosphere. If it happened, I missed it, and this week, when I went looking for more of her music to play on the show—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Lower Manhattan kebabçı time—I had to go back to the record she made in Spain the same year as her knockout appearance in Fez. Between Heaven and Earth, it’s well-named, and this time I played the long track about first love, in which the human and the divine are inextricably confounded. It’s the first twelve minutes of the show and if you miss it it’s your tough luck. I could have looped it for two hours but decided instead to play some new Nicholas Payton, a still vivid Trip from Art Pepper, some composed pieces from our friends Béla and Dmitri, and the second half—Pursuance and Psalm—of the totally committed burnout of the version of A Love Supreme Branford Marsalis recorded live in Amsterdam in 2003 and released a few months ago for the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s original. It’s a mug’s game to compete with that Mount Everest, but it’s a pleasure to hear four fine musicians give their all and then keep going, between heaven and earth and as the world turns.
When I was a kid learning my way into jazz back in, you know, That Decade, I was hot on the trail of Trane and Sonny and Ornette and Mingus and Cecil and those guys, but the bread and butter and meat and potatoes that kept me going was cooked up by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Later in life, when he was so deaf he had to play drums by visual cues and vibrations through the floorboards—years before Evelyn Glennie, mind you—he used to make the speech more often than ever: “You don’t see any sheet music up here on the stage. This music comes direct from the Creator to you,” and despite the cost of the years or because of it, sometimes it was even more audibly true than ever. On this week’s Updoc, though—Friday at 8 PM and noon next Tuesday, Harlem’s Disciples time—we stick and mallet with peak-period Buhaina and his associated delights. For some reason, I programmed three intensely melodic 20th-century string quartets for contrast, composed by Bacewicz, Adès and Weir respectively, and if you can make sense of the juxtaposition please let me know. In the meantime, do let Mr. Blakey lift you like a pressroll and drop you into a new chorus of your life more enriched and invigorated than ever. Really, it happens all the time.
|Song Title||Artist||Album Title||Composer||Record Label|
|In the Morning||Stefano Battaglia Trio||In the Morning||Alec Wilder||ECM|
|When I Am Dead My Dearest||Stefano Battaglia Trio||In the Morning||Alec Wilder||ECM|
|The Impossibility of Silence||Andy Sheppard Quartet||Surrounded by Sea||Andy Sheppard||ECM|
|Vignette||Gary Peacock Trio||Now This||Gary Peacock||ECM|
|Lost||Mathias Eick||Midwest||Mathias Eick||ECM|
|Home||Maria Schneider Orchestra||The Thompson Fields||Maria Schneider||Artist Share|
|Vesper||Marshall Gilkes & the WDR Big Band||Köln||Marshall Gilkes||Alternate Side|
|Old Afro a Baba||Omar Sosa||Ilé||Omar Sosa||Otá|
|Lament||Omar Sosa||Senses||Omar Sosa||Otá|
|Mahini Mei||Bolo||Bolo||Ali Farka Toure||bolomusic.org|
|I Climbed The Top Of The Mountain||Checkpoint 303||The Iqrit Files||Traditional Palestinian||Kirkelig Kulturverksted|
|Israelites||Monty Alexander and Ernest Ranglin||Rocksteady||Desmond Dekker||Telarc Jazz|
|Exodus||Monty Alexander||Goin’ Yard||Ernest Gold-Bob Marley||Telarc Jazz|
|In 1948||Checkpoint 303||The Iqrit Files||Traditional Palestinian||Kirkelig Kulturverksted|
|Shalom Aleichem||Avishai Cohen||Aurora||Traditional Jewish||Blue Note|
|Viva la Guantanamera||Hip Hop Hoodíos||Carne Masada||Hip Hop Hoodíos||Jazzheads|
|Nothing Less Than Freedom||O-Maya||O-Maya||Destani Wolf||O-Maya (self release)|
|And So Have We||Gilad Atzmon and The Orient House Ensemble||The Tide Has Changed||Gilad Atzmon||World Village|
|My Homeland||Checkpoint 303||The Iqrit Files||Traditional Palestinian||Kirkelig Kulturverksted|
|Buscando Paz||O-Maya||O-Maya||Bill Artola-B. Quincy Griffin||O-Maya (self release)|
|Interludio II||Omar Sosa||Eggun||Omar Sosa||Otá|
How to beat the heat and keep it musical? Well, there’s Miles and Gil’s cooling version of Summertime, but that’s just an introduction—of this week’s Updoc, Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, New York oven time. Or you could go the other way entirely: Claude Debussy seemed to sustain the humid heat of his late-August birthday through his too-short lifetime’s wonderworks, up to and including the last sonatas he composed during the Great War and the onset of his cancer. The violin and cello sonatas sound like composed improvisation, in deeply expressive though still graceful performances by contemporary, mostly French virtuosi. In between them the show sets the burning, icy blade of the Miles Davis Quintet’s Newport set from the summer of ’67: beset by a hyper-aggressive Tony Williams, Miles seems halfway between linear improvisation and the blastier style he’d bring to his forthcoming electric bands, while Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Ron Carter perform their accustomed calisthentic miracles. If that doesn’t sound like two hours on its own, you’re right. Tune in for a handful of jazz surprises while you wonder if it’s time for another cooling draught and if perhaps there should be a sprig of mint in it.
When I hear that level of intimacy and daring I simply cannot turn aside: Charlie Haden and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, recorded live in Tokyo in 2005, something Charlie wanted released before he split but here it is now, live as you can get it. So I lead this week’s show off with one track—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, New York Miso time—and play two more, about half the album altogether, which is called Tokyo Adagio, and though it features other tempos too, all my picks are slow. Get ready to have your breath taken away and given back all different. Along with those selections there are exhalations from any number of brotherhoods of breath, mostly issuing from saxophones—Dudu Pukwana, Lee Konitz & Jimmy Giuffre together, Trane, Joe, Bartz, and who am I leaving out? Tune in for the answer, along with two classical ferocities—another Bartok string quartet and Stravinsky responding to World War Two with an orchestra and lots of bite and ice—and I hope a welcome change of mental weather.
In the last of the present series Howling crams in a few guitar heroes, reveals a singer named after his address and finds a way to get Cliff Richard onto the porch. He may be disappearing for the summer but he’s leaving you with an hour of some of the finest blues ‘n roots you’ll find on the net
|Sugar Pudding||Memphis Jug Band||Walk Right In||VIDEO|
|Walking With The Wolf||The Kentucky Headhunters With Johnnie Johnson||Meet Me In Bluesland||VIDEO|
|Trouble||Muddy Waters||Brass And The Blues||VIDEO|
|Lord Have Mercy When I Come to Die||Tom Feldmann||Delta Blues & Spirituals||VIDEO|
|Whoopee Blues||King Solomon Hill||The Paramount Masters||VIDEO|
|Hobo Blues||Cash Box Kings||Holding Court||VIDEO|
|Set Me Free||Bernard Allison||In the Mix||VIDEO|
|Lovey Dovey (Featuring Jr. Watson)||Johnny Tanner||Juke Joint Rambler||VIDEO|
|Hawk Squat (Alternate)||J.B. Hutto||Hawk Squat||VIDEO|
|Hard Times (Come Again No More)||Ian Siegal||The Picnic Sessions||VIDEO|
|She Never Could Resist A Winding Road||Richard Thompson||Still||VIDEO|
|Drown In My Own Tears||Ray Charles||Step Right Up||VIDEO|
|I’ll Always Love You||Floyd Dixon||Marshall Texas Is My Home||VIDEO|
|Sweet Virginia||Rolling Stones||Exile On Main Street||VIDEO|
While scanning for traces of thematic continuity in this week’s Updoc—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Lincoln Center time—I came upon strands of social consciousness intersecting flows of pure aesthetic pleasure, and that was, like, really okay with me. So opening with Jeff Tain Watts’ new version of Driva Man when we aired the classic Max Roach/Abbey Lincoln version last week, and chasing that with selections from Stanley Cowell’s impressive solo piano suite Juneteenth, then pursuing that with the jailhouse hopes and stresses making up the text of Frederic Rjewski’s classic Coming Together, did not seem at all discordant, except where appropriate, as was music from James P. Johnson, Bessie Smith, Artur Schnabel playing that Beethoven cat, Julius Hemphill, Arthur Blythe, a Bartok string quartet, or a pointillistic deconstruction of all the things Masabumi Kikuchi was and might still be after his lamented death the other day. Meanwhile, the saxophone-stream had been heading, unobserved, for a conclusion more radical than anything in the preceding proceedings. Roscoe Mitchell’s records for the Nessa label tend to be long-considered projects meticulously brought off—the epochal Nonaah is a good example—but this time Mitchell and his quartet played a memorial concert for Chicago’s own Fred Anderson and it seemed to hit the spot as is. A piece of it takes up the last quarter-hour of the show, and while it may send casual listeners reaching for the button, those who stay on and really listen may enjoy a revelatory ride.
This week Howling’s explaining the Ashes, proving a cure for insomnia and NOT getting his handkerchief out. What does this all mean? Its just a load of nonsense but in-between he does play and hour of the finest blues ‘n roots you’ll probably come across on the net.
Rev Gary Davis “Hey, is that Rory Block?”
|I Guess You’re satisfied||Roosevelt Antrim||I’m Pretty Good At It (1937-1953)||VIDEO|
|Roadhouse Rosie||Dave Hunt||Whiskey and Demons||VIDEO|
|Can’t Keep a Good Girl Down||Tommy Castro||Can’t Keep a Good Girl Down||VIDEO|
|If I Had A Hammer||Ruthie Foster||Let It Burn||VIDEO|
|Way Down In The Hole||Sean Taylor & Danny Thompson||Live @ Hebridean Celtic Festival 2014||VIDEO|
|Lo, I Be With You Always||Reverend Gary Davis||The Pedant Sessions||VIDEO|
|Sigh Of The Whipperpool||Catfish Keith||Put On A Buzz||VIDEO|
|Grooving Together||EB Davis Superband||Live At The A-Trane Berlin||VIDEO|
|Seventh Son (Dixon)||Mike Vernon||Just A Little Bit||VIDEO|
|Deepest Shade of Blue||Poppa Dawg||What You Got||VIDEO|
|Close to Home||Greg Izor & the Box Kickers||Close to Home||VIDEO|
|Skinny Mama||Big Joe Williams||All The Masterpieces||VIDEO|
|I’ve Got You In The Palm Of My Hand||Mike Bloomfield||From His Head To His Heart To His Hands||VIDEO|
|Crossroads Blues||Terry Evans & Hans Theessink||True and Blue||VIDEO|