Rashied Ali at the Boltax (1979)

From 1978 to 1981 my friend, jazz researcher Otto Flückiger (1930–2006), went to the USA each year for up to three weeks to check out the jazz scene. Most of these trips led him to New York City where he checked out every jazz related event he could manage to visit – from gatherings of old swing veterans to extreme improvised loft sessions, documenting it all with a tape recorder and taking photos at every gig.

On Saturday, October 13th, 1979, Otto spent the evening at the Boltax Theatre in Soho, where drummer Rashied Ali’s Quintet  presented modal jazz, very much influenced by – of course – John Coltrane.

tapecover

 Cover of the MC on which Otto recorded parts of the Rashied Ali concert.

tape

The band consisted of Arthur Rhames  – misspelled by Otto – (ss, ts), Melvin Holder (ts), Tommy Smith (p), Radu (b) and of Rashied Ali (dr). Otto recorded some eighty minutes on that evening, but most of it is marred by talking and other background noise. But there is a piece which is a little bit more listenable, so I thought I could present it here. The name of the slow burning tune the band is playing here is unknown (at least to me):


As always, Otto took a handful of photographs (remember, the material was expensive then):

ali2

Rashied Ali at the Boltax, N.Y.C, October 13, 1979.
Photo by Otto Flückiger (click to enlarge)

group

Tommy Smith, Melvin Holder, Rashied Ali and Arthur Rhames at the Boltax,
N.Y.C, October 13, 1979. Photo by Otto Flückiger (click to enlarge)

raines

Arthur Rhames at the Boltax, N.Y.C, October 13, 1979.
Photo by Otto Flückiger (click to enlarge)

holder

Melvin Holder at the Boltax, N.Y.C, October 13, 1979.
Photo by Otto Flückiger (click to enlarge)

Seeing the tape recorders besides pianist Tommy Smith on the next photos, I wonder if one of them was Otto’s. I guess probably not, because it would not have picked up so much talk most of the time. Maybe the band members were also documenting it?

tommy_smith

Tommy Smith at the Boltax, N.Y.C, October 13, 1979.
Photo by Otto Flückiger (click to enlarge)

ali1

Rashied Ali at the Boltax, N.Y.C, October 13, 1979.
Photo by Otto Flückiger (click to enlarge)

On the above photo you will notice the neon letters “SRO”. Does anyone know what these letters stand for? It looks like “SRO” was a regular act at the Boltax. The “After Dark” section of “New York” magazine’s October 8 issue mentions “S*R*O” as “back again”. Strangely Rashied Ali’s appearance is not mentioned here;

afterdark_oct_8_1979

And to close our visit at the Boltax up, here is a photo of bassist Radu:

Radu

Radu at the Boltax, N.Y.C, October 13, 1979.
Photo by Otto Flückiger (click to enlarge)

Look forward for more documents from Otto’s travels at this place  in the near future!

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3 Responses to “Rashied Ali at the Boltax (1979)”

  1. thank you for the pictures! comparing a bit, it looks as if “Arthur Raines” is the musician much better known as “Arthur Rhames” who indeed played with Ali at that time…

  2. George "Guenti" Schmid Says:

    Greagt stuff, trust Otti to dig this out…..

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