jazz

Coda by Yusef Komunyakaa dedicated to Charlie Parker

Coda  

Charlie, there’s always another story

& this morning I’m searching again

for that photo of you & Einstein

horsing around for the Rolleiflex.

Or, maybe you’re only living

in New Hope with Chan, & on the bus

reading The New York Times,

heading to a gig in the Big Apple.

Or the Charlie in this story is Chaplin

clowning for the camera with Albert.

Or, maybe, I’ll search on the web

to see if I can buy a glimpse

of you from the other side,

while “Relaxin’ At Camarillo—Take C”

fills the room. That damn photograph

is still bugging me. He’s on his violin

& you’re on alto. Kansas City Lightning,

man, I think you already know Monk

& Baroness Pannonica are gone, too.

They took the plaque off the house

on the corner where you used to live

across from Tompkins Square Park,

but you’re still the most famous

guy on the street around here.

 

Jason Moran Live bei Tribes

A special post for our German friends. To view the details on Jason Moran's appearance at Tribes in English, and how you can secure your seat, go here.

Jason Moran Live bei Tribes 

Sonntag, 29. Mai, 17h00-19h00, 15 $ am Eingang

Begrenzte Platzzahl, bitte reservieren

Pianist, Komponist und Bandleader Jason Moran, dessen kühner und genre-übergreifender Jazz die unterschiedlichsten musikalischen Richtungen kombiniert, widmet Tribes ein Solokonzert am Piano. Moran wurde in Houston, Texas, geboren und zog mit 18 Jahren nach New York, um mit Jaki Byard an der Manhattan School of Music zu studieren. Nach seinem Abschluss bekam er einen Plattenvertrag von Blue Note Records, mit denen er seither acht von der Kritik gefeierte Platten produziert hat, darunter sein jüngstes Album TEN. Moran wurde 2010 mit dem McArthur-Preis ausgezeichnet und hat mit zahllosen Ikonen des Jazz zusammengearbeitet: Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Greg Osby, Cassandra Wilson, Dave Holland, Paul Motian und vielen anderen mehr. Daneben arbeitet er mit zahlreichen visuellen- und Performancekünstlern wie Joan Jonas, Kara Walker, Adrian Piper, Glenn Ligon und Adam Pendleton zusammen. Mit Neuinterpretationen klassischer Werke und eigenen Kompositionen erweitert er die Grenzen des Jazz und spielt eine herausragende Rolle in dessen Entwicklung im 21. Jahrhundert.

 

William Parker is Raining on the Moon

William Parker's Raining on the Moon -- January 26 and 27, 2006, The Stone

 

 

It's an unusual feeling at a jazz show -- at least in the circles that bassist William Parker moves -- to smile with recognition at the first few notes of a favorite song, or to hope to hear a loved cut off the band's record, but then William Parker is not the usual free jazzer. Over two nights at The Stone (during the month he curated at the stark-yet-intimate East Village venue), Parker presented a solid quintet with melodies, hooks, even false stops and sheet music. And, notably, a singer -- not a vocalizer, but a strong, emotive singer delivering Parker's lyrics.

 

The words might not be the central point to Raining on the Moon, but they are the selling point. In addition to composing, leading bands, playing in countless other groups and being a master of the double bass, Parker has long been a writer of poetry and prose, occasionally even publishing chap books of his texts. He has on occasion -- as with his Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra -- incorporated  lyrics into his compositions, but with Raining on the Moon, Parker is very much a songwriter in addition to his other hats. His incisively simple words become gospel in the hands of singer and dancer Leena Conquest. When she sings the bluesy "Who made the land? / God made the land / Who owns the land? / Mr. Johnson owns the land," it becomes a critique of capitalism on the head of a pin. Parker's lyrics at times are the sort of nutshell polemics people once recognized in "Humpty Dumpty" and "Ring Around the Rosie," and Conquest moves them from idealogy to tautology.

 

While Conquest's delivery is poetic, it's saxophonist Rob Brown who provided much of the emotive impact. Brown found stylistically appropriate voices for each of his solos, ranging from mourn to fury on his alto. Brown and Lewis "Flip" Barnes, the band's trumpeter, know Parker's music well. Both are members of the Little Huey big band, and employed that groups band-within-a-band style of vamping to the quintet. They created backing lines and flourishes on the spot, reading each other with seemingly telekinetic cues. The group was more than ably rounded out by Chicago drummer Hamid Drake, also a regular part of Parker's projects.  For the first of their two nights at The Stone, they played songs from their self-titled 2002 record and a couple that had been performed by Little Huey. But a suite of songs filled with tears and hope and prayer (one with lyrics by Conquest) dominated the second night. It was a different feel for the band, more somber, with their hearts further down their sleeves. The band rarely performs, so the presentation of new material gives hope that a new album might be in the works. Which would be welcome. William Parker has appeared on scores of releases, but the lyricist inside him needs more records.

 

Kurt Gottschalk

There are two kinds of festivals within the six nights (and one day) of the Vision Festival. There's the festival for people who travel to get there and the festival of people who travel to play. Vision is the highest concentration of New York energy jazz in the world, a fact that year after year seems to eclipse its "world class" (if there's reason to use such a phrase) nature. It is at once a chance to hear within a tight schedule (this year sticking closer to advertised times than ever) the cream of NYC's hard improv: Sabir Matteen, Roy Campbell Jr., William Parker, Borah Bergman, Daniel Carter, Rob Brown, Steve Swell, Billy Bang, Henry Grimes and (for the last time as such) the David S. Ware Quartet. But their presence, and that of such perennial associates as Kidd Jordan, Hamid Drake, Bill Dixon and Joe Morris, shouldn't overshadow the sweet surprises each year brings.

"The House that Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records"

elling the story of the label that more than any other brought the new, high-energy jazz of the 1960s to the listening public was a logical next step for author Ashley Kahn. His 2002 book A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album is a remarkable and highly readable piece of jazz history. To follow it up, Kahn dove deep into the label that made the album, and arguably the careers of Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp and Pharaoh Sanders possible.

The House that Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records

There's something to be said for overcoming a color scheme. Red-and-green means Christmas, yellow-and-black looks like a bumblebee, and orange-and-black more often than not means Halloween. But in the 1960s -- and still today for a cadre of jazz faithful -- the combination of orange and black means something very different: Impulse! records and, by association, the great John Coltrane. The orange and black spines of the label's releases stood out on the record shelves and became such an enigma that fans began wearing the colors like avant garde mascots.

Deep in a Dream

Since its humble beginnings in New Orleans at the turn of the last century, Jazz music had always implied certain release--the abandon of unfettered expression free of the constraints of a social construct that strictly controlled the movement of the black people with whom it originated. Prohibited from the drawing room couture of the white population, it would wind its raucous, syncopated way from the burial plots of the recently deceased to the brothels and blind pigs of the red light district known as Storyville. Taking with it the infectious appeal of the forbidden, the cachet of the demimonde, a smoky, boozy, and ribald license that promised itself to all who would go this route.