charles mingus – all the things you could be by now if sigmund freud’s wife was your mother (1961)

From the record Charles Mingus Presents C.M., recorded 20 October, 1960at ‎Nola Penthouse Sound Studios, New York, with the wild Eric Dolphy on alto/bass clarinet, Danny Richmond on drums, and Ted Curson on trumpet.

johnny dyani, don cherry, & okay temiz, live on french tv (1971)

MBIZO DAY – today, Wednesday 30th November

The Pan African Space Station (PASS) will host a 24 hour live broadcast of music written and/or performed by healer, musician, composer and painter Johnny Mbizo Dyani (30 November 1945 – 24 October 1986), as well as rare interviews with the artist and comments by people who knew and worked with him.

TUNE IN HERE from 12:00 midday (GMT+2) today, Wednesday 30 November till midday on Thursday 1 December.

This listening session is in celebration of Mbizo’s life work and in commemoration of 30 years of his passing.

During his short life, Mbizo helped to establish the Blue Notes, a group he co-founded with Chris McGregor, Louis Moholo, Mongezi Feza, Dudu Pukwana and Nic Moyake, as the one of the most innovative and powerful forces in jazz. Or more precisely, what he called the SKANGA (a family of black creative musics). Mbizo was a highly sought-after bass player and vocalist who performed with some of the music’s most important figures, including Don Cherry, Abdullah Ibrahim, David Murray, Mal Waldron, Famoudou Don Moye, Khan Jamal and many more. He recorded over 70 albums.

In addition to Chimurenga people, selectors and speakers include Keorapetse Kgositsile, Lefifi Tladi, Marcus Wyatt/Blue Notes Tribute Orkestra, Louis Moholo, Lesego Rampolokeng, Ikapa Jazz Movement, Tete Mbambisa, Maakomele Manaka, DJ Mighty, Tumi Mogorosi, Dala Flat, and many more.

And check out this wonderful performance from July 1971, broadcast live on French television.

louis moholo’s 4blokes, live at straight no chaser, cape town (15 january 2016)

It’s weird how the recording industry warps experience. We can sometimes forget that every recording is only one iteration that was captured and set in stone as “The” Definitive Performance, when really it just happened to be captured that particular time among many, many other possible times. Records, like photos, pluck moments out of time and concretise them… And they are the only thing we’re left with later to glimpse a whole era. That’s why densely detailed archives such as Ian Bruce Huntley‘s, where there were many recordings of the same bands made during the same era, are so interesting. I’ve posted here, and in the preceding post, recordings of the same band on two consecutive nights.

One of the lovely things about everyone having a camera in their pocket on their phone is that this is not something that is rare anymore, and the democratisation of shared experience is a very powerful and positive thing. One of the horrible things is that there is just such a volume of recorded stuff (much of questionable quality) being generated that the brightest nuggets of wonder can be drowned in the dross… Too much recording and we have a shaky, pixelated backup of every moment kept on hard drives, that no one ever has time to live through twice, to the extent that everything melts into undifferentiated, indigestible “big data” and can only be apprehended as statistics. I feel very ambivalent about it.

I think it’s really important that, whenever possible, we still have experienced photographers, videographers and sound recorders assigned to do this stuff, so that in years to come what we are left with are some beautiful and considered recordings, and not just a haunted avalanche of muddy glimpses.

louis moholo’s 4blokes – ghosts/you ain’t gonna know me ‘cos you think you know me (16 january 2016)

An incredible gig at Straight No Chaser, Cape Town, South Africa, 16 January 2016.

This moves into two songs: first ‘Ghosts’ by Albert Ayler at 7:00 and then ‘You ain’t gonna know me ‘cos you think you know me’ by Louis Moholo at 14:00. The 4blokes are:

Louis Moholo: Drums
Shabaka Hutchings: Tenor Saxophone
Kyle Shepherd: Piano
Brydon Bolton: Double Bass

“so you think you can play with me” – the louis moholo-moholo legacy project (7 october 2016)

This promises to be an interesting evening in the company of a living legend…

moholo-legacy-projectIf you’re a young musician and fancy getting involved this coming Friday, get hold of Terry-Jo Thorne ASAP.
They need (and some positions are already filled):
2 x drummers,
2 x Guitarists with own amps
2 x Pianists
2 x Bassists with own amp
2 x Trumpets
2 x Alto sax
2 x Soprano sax
1 x Flute
3 x male singers

albert ayler – spirits (1964)

Please play this over the last few bars of the Bargeld below. (That’s how I would play it for you if I were playing it for you.)

The third track from Ayler’s Spiritual Unity (1964).

The critic Ekkehard Jost wrote that “Ayler’s negation of fixed pitches finds a counterpart in Peacock’s and Murray’s negation of the beat. In no group of this time is so little heard of a steady beat […] The absolute rhythmic freedom frequently leads to action on three independent rhythmic planes.” Maintaining these qualities required deep group interaction, Ayler himself said of the record, “We weren’t playing, we were listening to each other”*.
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*from: Wilmer, Valerie (1977). As Serious As Your Life: The Story of the New Jazz. London: Quartet. p. 105.