Every aspect of Albert Aylers’ Spiritual Unity (ESP) changed my listening life, but the biggest shift came from Sunny Murray’s drum work. I understood free jazz and I understood drum improvisation (I thought), but I still had incorrect notions about drums and time-keeping. Murray took nonstop equal-footing intermingling improvisation to a level I had never imagined. I suddenly realized drums could be melodic. That there could be intuitive mutual timekeeping. For some boneheaded reason I never picked up this obviously crucial disc.
I agree with Peter Margasak about 90% of the time, and sure couldn’t do any better than this on the surprise appearance of a mid-’70s Hermeto Pascoal album. All I can add is that I did not expect to find a new album of Tropicalia/Psychedelia/Jazz-fusion of this intelligence and deft construction for the rest of my life.
For serious New Orleans fans: Kermit Ruffins/Irvin Mayfield, A Beautiful World (Basin Street). Nothing groundbreaking, but seems like half the performers in town are on it.
Clever Concept of the year: Brian McCarthy Nonet, The Better Angels of Our Nature (Truth Revolution Recording Collective). Improvised versions of McCarthy originals like “Shiloh,” and numbers like “The Battle Hymn of the Old Republic.” Best tracks – blues and spirituals.
Leading double disc with a superior single disc inside: Blue Note All-Stars, Our Point of View (guess). Biggest problem is that a fully solid group personality never quite develops.
Brazilian Vocal of the year: Sazbrina Malheiros, Clareia (Faroul). Not jazz, I suppose, but with elements and makes vintage styles seem fully contemporary.
Vocal Album runner-up. Eliane Elias, Dance of Time (Concord). Jazz, I insist, with plain Brazilian elements.
Local Jazz album of the year: Mark Zaleski Band, Days, Months, Years (self-released). I especially enjoy the ease and enjoyment of the one-time rock/soul fandom that crops up on occasion.
I could not do any better than this.
Except to add a sad note — Avakian lived long enough to see albums and liner notes go out of fashion.
Everything had cooler logos in the ’70s:
About an item from last week’s, actually.
Now that I’ve listened to the American Epic box, I have to underscore that you need to get it for the sound alone. This is the way I’ve always wanted these vintage sides to be. I’ve never heard the voice-to-voice and voice-to-instruments relationships so natural and consistent. They’ve been cleaned up and clear before, sure, but voices and instruments in particular seemed out whack even so. Not here.
I’m not enough of a tech head to have anything to say about the methods used on the recordings, and it may be too late in the game for the recording industry in general, but at least these sides are here.