An essential 70s Black Saint album from New York saxophonist Julius Hemphill in a trio with Abdul Wadud on cello and Don Moye on percussion, merging blues, free jazz, free bop and inspired approaches to improvisation, reissued on vinyl LP with a CD copy included.
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Label: Black Saint
Catalog ID: BS 520004LP
Squidco Product Code: 18715
Format: LP + CD
Packaging: LP with CD
Recorded at Generation Sound Studios in New York city, New York in November, 1977, by Tony May.
Julius Hemphill-alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
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1. C 6:27
2. Mirrors 7:03
3. Long Rhythm 5:00
1. Plateau 8:58
2. G Song 8:23
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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"One of the great titles in the modern jazz chronology, Hemphill utilizes raw materials of iron-wrought bop, hard-edged but swinging rough-cut diamonds, and the red clay of improvisation, which produce a residual effect going well beyond the mainstream of jazz, but stay this side of chaotic inflammations. Hemphill calls it "vigor to reflection to vigor," an apt description for the deep well of unfiltered ore mined by the alto saxophonist, cellist Abdul Wadud and multiple percussionist Famoudou Don Moye on this set. These five tracks, all composed by Hemphill, breathe with the vitality of a raging bull, yet are smart and centered in traditional jazz language. The supercharged free bop opener "C" roars with delight, as Hemphill adopts a stance quite reminiscent of Charlie Parker in its fluidity, originality and unabashed viscosity, never breaking down. Washes of cymbals, louder than the other two musicians, take "Mirrors" into a different realm altogether, cello and sax fighting for their space, and succeeding especially as it initiates a free excursion. A unison line during "Long Rhythm" leads to an easy swinging theme, and showcases Hemphill's tart, sweet sound while a forward-moving idea is pushed by Moye. More serene and spatial is "Plateau," with many themes ebbing and flowing in and out, accented by some overblown harmonics from Hemphill. The leader switches to soprano for "G Song," which features a bluesy cello groove by Wadud, flavored by Oriental modalities and a sweeter sound from Hemphill. Moye's arsenal of "little" percussion instruments -- bike horns, duck calls, woodblock, bells, whistles, etc. -- is displayed in a free section that has to be heard; there's no apt way to describe the pure, unadulterated improvisation that is also eminently listenable and in a way, quite humorous. This could be the best Hemphill recording, save perhaps Blue Boye. The economy of the trio, and their utter brilliance, brings out the best in Hemphill, and stands as a landmark recording in the second wave avant-garde movement of the '70s."-Michael G. Nastos, All Music
Get additional information at All Music
• Show Bio for Julius Hemphill
"Julius Arthur Hemphill (January 24, 1938 - April 2, 1995) was a jazz composer and saxophone player. He performed mainly on alto saxophone, less often on soprano and tenor saxophones and flute.
Hemphill was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and attended I.M. Terrell High School (as did Ornette Coleman). He studied the clarinet with John Carter, another I.M. Terrell alumnus, before learning saxophone. Gerry Mulligan was an early influence. Hemphill joined the United States Army in 1964, and served for several years, and later performed with Ike Turner for a brief period. In 1968, Hemphill moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and co-founded the Black Artists' Group (BAG), a multidisciplinary arts collective that brought him into contact with artists such as saxophonists Oliver Lake and Hamiet Bluiett, trumpeters Baikida Carroll and Floyd LeFlore, and writer/director Malinke Robert Elliott.
Hemphill moved to New York City in the mid-1970s, and was active in the then-thriving free jazz community. He gave saxophone lessons to a number of musicians, including David Sanborn and Tim Berne. Hemphill was probably best known as the founder of the World Saxophone Quartet, a group he formed in 1976, after collaborating with Anthony Braxton in several saxophone-only ensembles. Hemphill left the World Saxophone Quartet in the early 1990s, and formed a saxophone quintet.
Hemphill recorded over twenty albums as a leader, about ten records with the World Saxophone Quartet and recorded or performed with Björk, Bill Frisell, Anthony Braxton and others. Late in his life, ill-health (including diabetes and heart surgery) forced Hemphill to stop playing saxophone, but he continued writing music until his death in New York City. His saxophone sextet, led by Marty Ehrlich, also released several albums of Hemphill's music, but without Hemphill playing. The most recent is entitled The Hard Blues, recorded live in Lisbon after Hemphill's death.
A source of information on Hemphill's life and music is a multi-hour oral history interview that he conducted for the Smithsonian Institution in March and April 1994, and which is held at the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Hemphill)
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• Show Bio for Abdul Wadud
"An outstanding cellist, Abdul Wadud (born April 30, 1947 as Ron (Ronald) DeVaughn in Cleveland, Ohio) has concentrated solely on the instrument since the age of nine, and never decided to double on bass. His plucking and bowed solos have been featured in jazz and symphonic/classical settings, and Wadud's easily the finest cellist to emerge from the '60s and '70s generation. He studied at Youngstown State and Oberlin in the late '60s and early '70s. He played in the Black Unity Trio at Oberlin and met Julius Hemphill; the two subsequently worked together well through the '80s. Wadud played in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in the '70s, and earned his master's degree in 1972. He played with Arthur Blythe for the first time in 1976, and has since maintained a working relationship with him. He also worked and recorded with Frank Lowe, George Lewis, Oliver Lake, Sam Rivers, Cecil Taylor, David Murray, Chico Freeman, Anthony Davis, and James Newton in the '70s and '80s. Wadud, Newton, and Davis were in both the octet Episteme and a trio from 1982 to 1984. Wadud recorded as a leader for Bishara and Gramavision in the '70s and '80s, and in a duo with Jenkins for Red in the '70s. He has one session currently available on CD."-All Music (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/abdul-wadud-mn0000488728/biography)
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• Show Bio for Don Moye
"Famoudou Don Moye, (born May 23, 1946) is an American jazz percussionist and drummer. He is most known for his involvement with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and is noted for his mastery of African and Caribbean percussion instruments and rhythmic techniques.
Early life and Detroit Free Jazz
Moye was born in Rochester, New York and performed in various drum and bugle corps during his youth, as well as church choir. Moye has commented that he really "didn't have an affinity for the bugle ... and just kind of gravitated towards drums." He also took violin lessons during this time. Moye was exposed to jazz at an early age since his mother worked for a local social club that had a jazz club next door that hosted musicians such as Kenny Burrell and Jimmy McGriff. His family was also musically inclined; his uncles played saxophones and his father played drums. Also, his mother used to take him to various performances as a child, such as "opera under the stars" and to see Mahalia Jackson.
Moye went on to study percussion at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Moye lived in a building with trumpeter Charles Moore, who became his mentor. Moye also played in the groups African Cultural Ensemble, which included musicians from African countries such as Ghana, and Detroit Free Jazz, which was Moore's band. It was at this time that he first encountered the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) due to the revolving door of musicians in and out of Moore's residence. In early 1968, Moore's band traveled to Europe and Moye decided to live there for the next couple of years, touring and visiting the continent as well as Northern Africa.Art Ensemble of Chicago and The Leaders
By 1969, the AEC had augmented into the percussion-less quartet of Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman (saxophones), Lester Bowie (trumpet) and Malachi Favors Maghostut (bass). The group crossed the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in Europe to perform throughout the continent. Moye at the time was rehearsing and performing in Paris, France, at the American Center for Students and Artists, where musicians such as Art Taylor and Johnny Griffin practiced collectively. When Mitchell met with Moye again at the Center, he asked Moye to join his group, which was already known as the Art Ensemble of Chicago and had issued several recordings including three releases on the European label BYG Actual. These recordings did feature percussion but all percussion was played by Mitchell, Bowie, Favors, or Jarman.
After Moye returned to the States in the early 1970s, he played with the Black Artists Group in St. Louis, Missouri before settling in the Chicago, Illinois area. He was also in a duo with fellow percussionist Steve McCall who later was a member of Air with Henry Threadgil while still playing with the AEC. In the mid-1980s, Moye joined The Leaders, a jazz group consisting of AEC member Bowie, Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, Cecil McBee, and Kirk Lightsey. Moye has also recorded numerous solo albums as leader of his own band. Moye toured and recorded again with the AEC in the 1990s, which was dealt a blow with the 1999 death of Bowie. Famadou Don Moye refers to his own style of drumming as "Sun Percussion". Other groups he led in the '90s include the Joseph Jarman/Famoudou Don Moye Magic Triangle Band and the Sun Percussion Summit (with Enoch Williamson), the latter of which was "a group dedicated to exploring the traditions of African-American percussion music." "-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Moye)
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