For German readers: some thoughts and notes and quotes on the music I'm listening - to be found
on my new blog:

Also check out the great new, independent magazine get happy!?, reporting on music, movies and more:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

r.i.p. George Russell

News of George Russell's death have just been confirmed:

Jazz composer George Russell dies at 86

(AP) – 18 minutes ago

BOSTON — Jazz composer George Russell, a MacArthur fellow whose theories influenced the modal music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, has died.

His publicist says Russell, who taught at the New England Conservatory, died Monday in Boston at age 86 of complications from Alzheimer's.

Russell was born in Cincinnati in 1923 and attended Wilberforce University. He played drums in Benny Parker's band and later wrote "Cubano Be/Cubano Bop" for Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra. It premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1947 and was the first fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz.

Russell developed the Lydian concept in 1953. It's credited as the first theoretical contribution from jazz.

Russell is survived by his wife, his son and three grandchildren. A release says a memorial service will be planned.


This is very, very sad.

I will try and finally get around to sharing some of the live shows of his here. There have been several requests ever since I mentioned having shared them on dime.

Check out this older post for starters:

And if you're on dime, a first share is up already: Newport 1964 + 1966.

Harry Miller - BBC 1976 & 1977

Here's the promised re-share of the earlier Harry Miller post. The first session of that post has been commercially released on Reel Recordings, hence I took that first offering down and those tracks aren't included here. Sorry that it took me so long, I completely forgot!

The opening is made by the great bass player Harry Miller (1941-1983). He was one of the doomed South African exiles, but his forceful music, his thumping bass playing, his dynamic interaction with frequent parter-in-crime Louis Moholo (one of the survivors) continues bringing incredible pleasure to my life - and I hope many others' lives, too!

Miller's official releases on Ogun have been reissued in a great 3CD set that is - alas - out of print again, but if you're a fan, you'll absolutely need that! (info)
In addition to that, Cuneiform has a great Isipingo live recording available, very much worth buying!

Louis Moholo, by the way, has been featured in a couple of earlier posts here:
Louis Moholo/Keith Tippett/Julie Tippets & MinAfrica Orchestra - Sant'Anna Arresi 2008
Louis Moholo-Moholo Quintet - Roma 2007

Also, there's my South African blindfold test, posted last spring, and then there's this post with many useful links (I hope they're still good, too many to check them, sorry):
The Joy and Pain of South African Jazz

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :. : . : . : . : . :

Harry Miller Isipingo - 1976
Marc Charig (t), Malcolm Griffiths (tb), Mike Osborne (as), Stan Tracey (p), Harry Miller (b), Louis Moholo (d)
1. Family Affair (9:58)
2. Where Now Then? (9:53)

Harry Miller Quintet - 1977
Trevor Watts (as,ss); Alan Wakeman (ts,ss), Berni Holland (g), Harry Miller (b), Louis Moholo (d)
3. Orange Grove (9:22)
4. A Traumatic Experience (17:20)

TT: 46:34

#1,2: BBC broadcast early 1976
#2,4: "Jazz in Britain" broadcast 24-12-1977(?)

Lineage: FM > Sony reel to reel > standalone cd recorder > EAC > WAV > FLAC

Note on first broadcast (#1,2): There is probably a third piece missing for some reason I can't remember.



Harry Miller Isipingo - 1975

Mongezi Feza - trumpet
Nick Evans - trombone
Mike Osborne - alto sax
Stan Tracey - piano
Harry Miller - bass
Louis Moholo - drums

Whey Hey! (15:35)
Good Heavens Evans (11:59)

Source: "Jazz in Britain" broadcast 1975-02-24

These two titles have been commercially released on Reel Recordings:
And hence should not be circulating any longer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lee Konitz / Paul Bley / Bill Frisell / Han Bennink - Seattle 2000

This is a pretty good audience capture of a great quartet - or rather, of various combinations of four great musicians.

Lee Konitz had to cancel a gig (at Boston's Regattabar), but he seems to be on the way to recovery. The lastest news I have is Frank Kimbrough's comment here. I certainly hope Lee will hang in there. It seems Konitz caught a pneumonia. Actually, he's scheduled to play Birdland from tonight through to Sunday night. I certainly hope he's well again and will play! Any news and reports (and concert captures, too!) are most welcome!

Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Lee Konitz and Art Blakey at Birdland (photo: Marcel Fleiss)

Lee's voice is one of the most personal ones on alto sax ever, dry, witty, and what I admire most is him being a totally non-licks player, always inventing new lines on the spot, no matter what old chestnut (or Tristano favourite) he happens to play.
I was also fortunate enough to see him live once, about ten years back, when he was touring with the "Three Guys" (Konitz-Swallow-Motian). He played with no amplification, no mic, no nothing, while Motian (whom I only knew from Bill Evans' trio back then and expected a soft, melodic colourist...) happily bashed away. Yet Lee's sound and presence was immense and powerful, even though his tone was a delicate as always... (stories about Prez soaring away on top of the Basie band come to memory).

Art Pepper & Lee Konitz at Donte's, 1982

Here, Lee's mates are Bill Frisell, Paul Bley (an on-and-off collaborator for a while), as well as the great Han Bennink. Frisell, btw, has appeared on what was one of my favourite jazz albums for a long time, Angel Song, with Konitz, Kenny Wheeler and Dave Holland. Konitz sounds warm and full-toned in that setting - I remember the recording as being exceptionally warm and intimate, not quite the rule with ECM.

Here's a short write-up about Lee, on

Please note that the folder is named wrongly - this is from the 2000 Earshot festival (billed as "Bill Frisell w/Konitz, Bley, Peacock"). The files you'll download are erroneously named 1990!

Finally, please help filling the gaps in the setlist if you know more than I do!

Lee with Ohad Talmor in a more recent photo by Nicolas Masson

Lee Konitz/Paul Bley/Bill Frisell/Han Bennink
Earshot Jazz Festival
Seattle, WA (USA), On the Boards
October 24, 2000

Lee Konitz - alto sax
Paul Bley - piano
Bill Frisell - guitar
Han Bennink - drums

1. Stage Intro (0:58)
2. The Song Is You (7:30) [LK solo]
3. Body and Soul (10:35) [LK/BF duo]
4. unknown (8:50) [PB solo]
5. unknown (15:06) [HB solo]
6. unknown (8:42) [PB/BF duo]

1. Stage Intro (0:26)
2. All The Things You Are (7:20) [LK/PB duo]
3. I Can't Get Started (6:49) [LK/PB duo]
4. unknown (20:13) [BF/HB duo]
5. Improvisation (incl. Donkey & Ornithology) 23:59 [quartet]
6. Misterioso (5:54) [BF/HB duo]

TT: 116:19

Sound: A-
Source: audience recording
Lineage: cdr in trade--eac--flac level 6--dime.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Miller - London 1976

This isn't of great quality, but hey, you don't get a Harry Miller live recording every day, do you? So stop complainin' and dig the beautiful sounds of Harry Miller, Louis Moholo and their British cohorts, including the late great Mike Osborne and Keith Tippett!

The rhythm trio can be heard backing Elton Dean here.
Moholo & Tippett's recent Sant'Anna Arresi concert with the MinAfric Orchestra can be found here.
A great recording of Louis Moholo's Italian band of recent years is here.
And finally, Miller, Moholo, Charig, Griffiths and Osborne all were part of Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath when this show was recorded.

An MP3 version of this show is available over on inconstant sol.

Harry Miller's ISIPINGO
London (UK), 100 Club
December 20, 1976

Mark Charig - trumpet
Malcolm Griffiths - trombone
Mike Osborne - alto saxophone
Keith Tippett - piano
Harry Miller - bass
Louis Moholo - drums

>>> thanks to kinabalu for his setlist <<<

1. Medley [contents yet to be determined] (31:57)
2. Eli's Song (18:02)
3. Family Affair (8:34) [inc - from CD?]

TT: 58:35

Sound: B
Source/Lineage: audience recording -> tape -> CDR -> EAC -> FLAC