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Tapscott, Horace: The Dark Tree  [2 CDs] (Hatology)

Pianist Tapscott with John Carter, Cecil McBee and Andrew Cyrille in a rare record of mostly original Tapscott compositions, significant music from a legendary player.

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product information:

UPC: 752156063025

Label: Hatology
Catalog ID: Hatology630-2
Squidco Product Code: 11777

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve 3 panels
Recorded live in Hollywood on December 14-17, 1989 by Peter Pfister.


Horace Tapscott-piano

John Carter-clarinet

Cecil McBee-doublebass

Andrew Cyrill-drums

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track listing:

Disc 1:

1. The Dark Tree 20:57

2. Sketches Of Drunken Mary 11:32

3. Lino's Pad 16:46

4. One For Lately 10:23

Disc 2:

1. Sandy And Niles 11:18

2. Bavarian Mist 13:16

3. The Dark Tree 2 18:30

4. A Dress For Renee 4:57

5. Nija's Theme 19:42
Related Categories of Interest:

Hat Art

Improvised Music
Quartet Recordings
Hat Hut Masters Sale

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"This was an important, revealing release when it was first issued in 1991.Now, with both Horace Tapscott and John Carter having passed on, it takes on even more significance with our knowing that they are beyond the vagaries ofman and Fate, and cannot contribute any more to our lives. On The Dark Treethey created music of power and drama, beauty and spirit. It's a shame wehad to wait so long to hear it, and now we should treasure it."-Art Lange

"Pianist Horace Tapscott has long been Los Angeles's great undiscovered legend. A very original stylist capable of playing bop, free jazz or anything in between, Tapscott does not sound like anyone else. Unfortunately he has made few recordings through the years and thus far none with his regular working band of the past decade, but his two Hat Art CDs partly fill the gap. Tapscott was teamed during a stint at Catalina's in Hollywood with clarinetist John Carter, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Andrew Cyrille. The lengthy renditions they give three of the pianist's compositions (along with trombonist Thurman Green's "One for Lately") allows listeners outside of L.A. a rare opportunity to hear Tapscott stretching out on records."-Scott Yanow, All Music

Artist Biographies:

"John Wallace Carter was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 24, 1928, and was a childhood friend of Coleman and drummer Charles Moffett. He earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1949, and a master's degree from the University of Colorado in 1956. He taught in public schools in both Fort Worth then moved Los Angeles in 1961, where, with Coleman's encouragement he formed a band, the New Art Jazz Ensemble (NAJE), with trumpeter Bobby Bradford in 1964.

Carter conducted orchestral versions of Coleman's work at UCLA in 1965, and he was initially a follower of the saxophonist's "harmolodic" approach to composition and improvisation. On the NAJE's 1969 album Seeking, he demonstrates great facility on alto and tenor saxophones, as well as clarinet.

The NAJE continued as a group until 1974 and released a total of four albums on the Revelation and Flying Dutchman labels. After the NAJE disbanded Carter played clarinet exclusively, and progressively came into his own voice as an improviser and composer.

In the late 1970s, he played in a group called Wind College with flutist James Newton and bassist Red Callender, and was the subject of a documentary, The New Music: Bobby Bradford and John Carter in 1980. He played at clubs and festivals in Europe and the United States, both as a leader and as a sideman, with groups that frequently included Bradford, Newton, and Roberto Miguel Miranda. In the 1980s he led the clarinet quartet Clarinet Summit, with Alvin Batiste and Jimmy Hamilton and with David Murray on bass clarinet. As an improviser, Carter came to share affinities with the work of other free-jazz clarinetists, such as Perry Robinson and Theo Jörgensmann.

In the 1980s, Carter focused increasingly on composition, starting with Dauwhe, an octet he recorded in 1982. The piece would become the first part of Roots and Folklore, and reveals his evolving approach to both instrumentation and creative improvisation. With focused interplay and overlapping of tones and ideas, Carter's clarinet takes an omnipresent position.

Carter and Bradford's musical relationship was not unlike that of Coleman and Cherry in their pianoless quartet. In this setting, Carter and Bradford embrace the composition's pastoral, evocative voices of tribal Africa while the sleekness and idiosyncratic horns swirl like apparitions above the manic, even brooding rhythm. Both experimental, yet familiar, Dauwhe augurs many of the ideas Carter later explored in the remaining volumes of his history: clashing cultures, forces of myth and predation, lust, and unadulterated beauty amid the chaos. Neither free music nor swing, this album shows elements of both, and has layers of ensemble work similar to massive conductions of Butch Morris.

Carter's compositions, intriguing in their varied instrumentation, draw on the folk wisdom of country blues, the sophisticated dances of swing, the figured bass of bebop, and the violent clashes of free jazz, all combined in careful doses. The five parts of Roots and Folklore explore deep feelings about the African diaspora, starting with Dauwhe, named for an African goddess of happines. This is followed by meditations on imprisonment in Castles of Ghana, the middle passage on Dance of the Love Ghosts, chattel slavery on Fields, and the youthful exuberance of Harlem between the World Wars in Shadows on a Wall. The works vary in instrumentation, and are both expressionistic and impressionistic.

Carter employed equal parts roots and folklore in his explorations of African-American historyhis attachments to what came before looks forward in both style and quality of style. Carter's work is articulate and allows for a sinister wilderness to penetrate even his most designed pieces, all of which are a statement about Africans who became African-Americans, and the immense losses in between.

John Carter, recorded the final chapter of Roots in 1989, and died of lung cancer in Los Angeles on March 31, 1991."

-Dark Tree (

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"Andrew Charles Cyrille (born November 10, 1939) is an American avant-garde jazz drummer. Throughout his career, he has performed both as a leader and a sideman in the bands of Walt Dickerson and Cecil Taylor, among others.

Cyrille was born on November 10, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York into a Haitian family. He began studying science at St. John's University, but was already playing jazz in the evenings and switched his studies to the Juilliard School. His first drum teachers were fellow Brooklyn-based drummers Willie Jones and Lenny McBrowne; through them, Cyrille met Max Roach. Nonetheless, Cyrille became a disciple of Philly Joe Jones, who in some performances such as Time Waits used Cyrille's drum kit.

His first professional engagement was as an accompanist of singer Nellie Lutcher, and he had an early recording session with Coleman Hawkins. Trumpeter Ted Curson introduced him to pianist Cecil Taylor when Cyrille was 18.

He joined the Cecil Taylor unit in 1964, and stayed for about 10 years, eventually performing drum duos with Milford Graves. In addition to recording as a bandleader, he has recorded and/or performed with musicians such as David Murray, Irène Schweizer, Marilyn Crispell, Carla Bley, Butch Morris and Reggie Workman among others. Cyrille is currently a member of the group, Trio 3, with Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman."

-Wikipedia (

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