Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy "Twilight Dreams"


Long the LP of myth and legend, Twilight Dreams first came into my life as a fable. As a young trumpet player, the tale of mystical all brass free-dixie re-imaginations of pop standards like Thriller (heard by a friend of a friend of a friend...) seemed just beyond the realm of grasp that when I accidentally stumbled upon a copy of this at a rather shoddy used record store on the L.E.S. shortly after my move here, there was no way i was going to let it pass me by. Enjoy.

1. "I Am With You"
2. "Personality" (Logan, Price)
3. "Duke's Fantasy" (Waldron)
4. "Thriller" (Temperton)
5. "Night Time (Is the Right Time)" (Herman)
6. "Vibe Waltz" (Lacy)
7. "Twilight Dreams"

Recorded April 1987 at Rawlston Recording Studios, Brooklyn, NY for Uk based Venture label.

Lester Bowie: trumpet
Vincent Chancey: french horn
Frank Lacy: trombone
Steve Turre: trombone
Malachi Thompson: trumpet
Rasul Siddik: trumpet
Stanton Davis: trumpet
Bob Stewart: tuba
Phillip Wilson: drums

[320kbps]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Albert Ayler "Swing Low Sweet Spiritual"


As far as details go for this Ayler record on the web, it seems but a footnote, with minimal said of even its existence. I suppose that's due in part to its Dutch heritage, pressed by what is now a surely long-defunct Osmosis Records of Amsterdam from very early in Ayler's short-spanning career. Ayler (here on both tenor AND soprano) is joined by Call Cobbs on the keys, Henry Grimes on bass and the always-welcome Sunny Murray at the kit and was recorded by Phil Iehle at Atlantic Studios on February 24th in New York. Dates seem to indicate that this was recorded the same day (but different ensemble, of course) as 1964's Spirits and has been re-released in some capacity via 1995's long-discontinued Goin' Home CD.

A rare gem courtesy of a dear friend upon my birthday, the rip is a bit dirty as the record has accumulated it's share of memories over the last 45 years as it's traveled across the globe, which no amount of studio trickery would be up for removing, but I digress. Truly a testament to a man who spoke through his instrument, Swing Low Sweet Spiritual is one of those very rare very moving records that evokes a level of pure emotion so rarely captured to wax. What's most striking here is how remarkably restrained the album feels in comparison with his later wilder improvisations, straying hardly from the themes at all. Yet still, it remains definitely Ayler at its core.

The appearance of two takes of Old Man River struck me as strikingly foreboding though, especially given the nature of the album. The accompanying text from the sleeve in turn reads somewhat like a Robert Langdon clue:

ALBERT

THE FIRST GREAT PAST FROM THE FAST GENERAL PASTS WAS ALWAYS MID MELODY IS ALWAYS MID MELODY

TIMBRE FETTERS SPLINTERED THE LENGTH OF THE HISTORICALLY GNAWN

INVOCATION IN NO OLD KNOWN SENSE, THIS TRANSMISSION REMARKABLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SIEVE

WHATEVER IT WAS TURNED AGAINST HIM ATTEMPTING TO SHED ITS OWN ILLUSIONS AND WHOLLY INCAPABLE OF INTERFERING WITH HIS APPROACHES TO A WITHDRAWING EARTH

IT'S THE EXPOSED PULP CHAMBER DELIVERS US TO AN INSTANTANEOUS NO-NAME BASIS

AREAS OF ACCUMLATED SWEAT UNRELATED ANATOMICALLY BUT RELATIVE IN THEIR HUMILITY: ice-cold cirgarette

I'm telling!

Paul Haines

[320kbps]