Archive for Zurich

Archie Shepp 1998 and 2013

Posted in Archie Shepp, clips with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2013 by crownpropeller

shepp1Archie Shepp at Rote Fabrik, Zürich, November 29, 2013

When I began to listen to Free Jazz in the early eighties one of my favourite sounds was the hoarse wail of Archie Shepps saxophone. I remember afternoons where I listened to his version of “The Girl From Ipanema” from the “Fire Music” LP again and again and again, turning the volume a little more up after every chorus. I loved – and still do – the mixture of tunes deeply rooted in african american popular culture (ok, not the case with “Ipanema”) with Shepps aggressive but soulful cry. In those days I listened to Shepp when I needed something more earthy than Coltrane or Albert Ayler, my other favourites of that time.

When I was still living in germany, I had the chance to see Shepp every other year, mostly with his quintet. This changed when I moved to Switzerland in 1991. From that point on I saw Shepp only three times. The first time in Bern, sometime in the early nineties. This was a duo concert with Jeanne Lee. This started great with some solo songs by Lee, a tenor long solo by Shepp and a true duet number. After that, things got a little weird because Shepp had brought a tape along featuring drums, bass and piano. The latter was played by Shepp himself. It was nice, but rather devoid (naturally) of sontaneous interactions between Lee and the virtual band.

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Archie Shepp at Rote Fabrik, Zürich, November 30, 2013

The next time I saw Shepp was on July 31, 1998, when he played at the Aktionshalle of the Rote Fabrik in Zürich with his quartet featuring Richard Clements, Wayne Dockery and Steve McCraven. I remember that concert as having been great and a listen to the soundboard tape that someone gave me much later tells me I am right. I went to this concert with my friend, the late jazz researcher Otto Flückiger . As followers of this blog may know, Otto tried to document – on tape and later on video – every jazz concert he witnessed. He filmed parts of the concert, sometimes only one minute long, sometimes longer. Amongst all the footage I only found one complete track. Since the audio from Ottos camera was not too good, I decided to synchronize the video with the sound from the tape.

So here’s Archie Shepp and his quartet in 1998 doing “The Reverse”, a little rap inspired tune by Shepp. If you want a nice regular issue of this track, be sure to check the three versions of this tune (two of which feature Hip Hop legend Chuck D. of Public Enemy fame) that are contained on Shepps 2CD “Gemini” released on his own label, Archiball.

And then finally two weeks ago Shepp played at the Unerhört! Festival with pianist Tom McClung. This took place at the Rote Fabrik again, but this time at the Clubraum, another Hall of the cultural space that used to be a factory.

shepp3Tom McClung at the Rote Fabrik, Zürich, November 29, 2013

 shepp4Tom McClung and Archie Shepp at the Rote Fabrik,
Zürich, November 29, 2013

I filmed only parts of the concert because I realized that handling the camera all the time keeps me from enjoying the music  – which I did very much. As with the Matana Roberts concert last year, it looks like a witnessed a totally different concert than the reporter from the smaller of the two local newspapers, who wrote about Shepp’s “intonation problems”. If there were any, they did not disturb me at all.

So here are Shepp and the great pianist Tom McClung playing “The Stars Are In Your Eyes”, a tune of which Shepp announced that he did write it for Sarah Vaughn, but never had the opportunity to give it to her:

The next clip gives you the duo playing Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’” with Shepp also singing. I did not film this song, but made up a little picture show accompanying the audio recording:

I took up the video camera again only to catch the encore, a beautiful version of Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight” – which in fact it was when the concert ended:

Enjoy!

Curtis Fuller in Zürich (2013)

Posted in clips, Curtis Fuller, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2013 by crownpropeller

Oh, how I love to get some authentic live hard bop! Even better if this happens on a tuesday, the day of the week on which I spent almost twelve hours in the office usually coming home tired and beaten. But last tuesday was different, as Jazzclub Moods, which is just around the corner from my office, presented a concert with legendary trombonist Curtis Fuller (born 1934) and his sextet. Fuller is of course mostly known for his work on several sessions with John Coltrane (e.g. “Blue Train”) and for his work in the Curtis Fuller / Benny Golson Jazztet. I think that Fullers 1950s and early 1960 sessions for Blue Note and Savoy belong to the best hard bop sessions of their time.

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Curtis Fuller at Jazzclub “Moods”, Zürich, Switzerland, February 12, 2013.
©Armin Büttner (click to enlarge)

Besides Fuller the band consisted of young(er) men. The other horns were german tenor saxophonist Ralph Reichert and trumpeter Joshua Bruneau from Vermont. Continue reading

James Blood Ulmer in Zürich, 2013

Posted in Blues, clips, James Blood Ulmer, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2013 by crownpropeller

During all of the 1980s, one of my favorite musicians was guitarist James Blood Ulmer. At that time he was playing with his band Phalanx (with tenor saxophonist George Adams) as well as with his “Odyssey” Band, featuring violinist Charles Burnham and drummer Warren Benbow. I managed to see Phalanx live several times then, but I never got to see the Odyssey band.

I lost my interest in Ulmer a little after his 1990 release “Blues All Night” which in my ears was totally overproduced and sounded much too clean. Although I bought the Music Revelation Ensemble’s 1994 CD “In The Name Of” when it appeared (a great album by the way), I never came to see Ulmer live again since 1989 or so. So it really was a nice surprise when I opened up the morning paper last wednesday and noticed that James Blood Ulmer’s “Black Rock Experience” was to play at the Moods Jazz Club in my town that night. The band as announced was to be Ulmer with bassist Mark Peterson and drummer Grant Calvin Weston and singer Queen Esther. I somehow had the feeling that the music might be in the vein of the “Blues All Night”, which I relistened just before going to the gig only to find out that I still do not like it too much.

Much too my surprise the personnel for this evening turned out to be Ulmer with the old Odyssey band: Charles Burnham and Warren Benbow. And featuring Queen Esther. And it turned out to be a great evening of deep Blues from earthy to abstract, splashed with dots of free funk, and salted with harmolodic spices.

I made some nice photos during the concert, which was started off by Ulmer doing a slow and melancholy – nearly painful – solo rendition of the U.S. National Anthem.

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(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

After that he brought the band on:
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(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer and Warren Benbow at “Moods”,
Zurich, January 23, 2013. © Armin Büttner

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(click to enlarge) Charles Burnham at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

queen_esther

(click to enlarge) Queen Esther at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

I had a tele lens on my camera, that is why you never get to see the whole band at once.

ulmer_benbow1

(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer and Warren Benbow at “Moods”,
Zurich, January 23, 2013. © Armin Büttner

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(click to enlarge) Charles Burnham at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

I would have loved to hear more of Queen Esther who really has a great voice. One of the evening’s highlights was her acapella rendition of “We’ll be Together Again”.

queen_esther_2

(click to enlarge) Queen Esther at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

While drummer Warren Benbow had an indifferent look on his face during the whole evening and never even had a faint smile on his face (absolutely no indifference in his playing though), violinist Charles Burnham got really involved:

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(click to enlarge) Charles Burnham at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

Although I originally did not plan to – else i would have taken a small tripod – I filmed parts of the concert. I had a very unconvenient standing position so you might get seasick when watching the three tracks I have edited down from the footage. I would say that the nauseating shakiness takes any commercial potential out of this clip, but if someone with the right to object objects against this video being on youtube, I’ll be taking it down in a hurry.

I managed to come a little closer and take some nice shots of Ulmer after the concert when he was selling and signing CDs from the stage.

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(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

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(click to enlarge) James Blood Ulmer at “Moods”, Zurich, January 23, 2013.
© Armin Büttner

Enjoy!

Matana Roberts: Mississippi Moonchile (Zürich 2012)

Posted in clips, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by crownpropeller

In February 2011 I went to see and hear alto saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts with her group playing  «Gens de Couleur Libre», the first chapter of the “Coin Coin” series in which Roberts deals with the life of her family and the traces oher ancestors left in Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since I liked Roberts take on Free Jazz very much, it was clear that I was going to the Rote Fabrik on march 22 of this year, when Roberts was presenting “Mississippi Moonchile”, the second chapter of the series which is dealing with the beginning of the 20th century. This time besides Roberts the Coin Coin Band consisted of Jeremiah Abiah (voice), Jason Palmer (trumpet), Shoko Nagai (piano), Thomson Kneeland (bass) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums).

I liked the “Moonchile” concert very much and I was happy to have my camera with me to document it.

After the concert Matana Roberts was so nice as to sign her  10 inch 2LP set for me which was recorded on one of the  «Gens de Couleur Libre» concerts (she also signed two copies for friends of mine who unfortunately could not come to the concert). This beautifully designed record  contains the first part of the “Coin Coin” series – and is hereby recommended very much. Free Jazz is not dead!

Documenting Don Redman’s 1946 European Tour

Posted in documents, Don Redman, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2012 by crownpropeller

Page 2 of Don Redman concert review in swiss  “Film, Radio Jazz” magazine No 1, 1947.
From the Otto Flückiger Collection

Ever since the day i wrote this post about the 1946 european tour by Don Redman and his orchestra, I had the pleasure to work with the very fine jazz researchers such as Leif Bo Petersen, Anthony Barnett, Howard Rye, Mario Schneeberger and Dieter Salemann to make the story complete. With the help of jazz fans and researchers from different european countries and the USA we tried to gather all the known information about this tour in one place. In doing so we were able to correct a lot of misinformation  – discographical and otherwise – that has been around for some years now. Private as well as institutional collections allowed us to use their material including many rare photographs, newspaper ads, concert reviews and other related articles.

Tyree Glenn in Geneva, Switzerland,  photo probably by Freddy Bertrand.
From the Otto Flückiger Collection

You can see the results of our work (and hear some very interesting music!) if you go to the Don Redman’s 1946 European Tour page. Of course this is a work in progress, If you feel that you have something to add to the story, it would be nice if you would use the comment section over there.

Ad for the Bern concert, unidentified newspaper.
From the Otto Flückiger Collection

Matthew Shipp / Sabir Mateen, Zurich 2012

Posted in clips, Matthew Shipp with tags , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by crownpropeller

Althouh this blog is subtitled “Jump, Jazz, Jive, Vintage R’n’B”, from time to time what you get to see and hear here is some classic Free Jazz. After all this the music that I started out with when I became a jazz fanatic – working my way back in time (from Albert Ayler to Coleman Hawkins, from Sun Ra to Duke, Basie, Lunceford).

Now two weeks ago at the Taktlos Festival which is dedicated to improvised music they had pianist Matthew Shipp again (he was at the Taktlos in 1998). This time he was playing in a duo situation with clarinetist/saxophonist Sabir Mateen. I am offering you a fifteen minute excerpt here. The stupid split screen effect comes from a column in the room. What was I thinking when I placed myself there? A reviewer from one of the local newspapers called this “classic boring free jazz”. Well, classic, yes. Boring? Not for me, I enjoyed it very much. But decide for yourself:

Enjoy!

R.I.P. Red Holloway

Posted in 45 rpm, clips, jazz, Red Holloway with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by crownpropeller

Red Holloway and Norbert Schneider, March 26, 2010.
Photo: © Armin Büttner

With sadness i received the news of tenor saxophonist Red Holloway’s passing yesterday, aged 84 (details can be found here). I met Red three or four times during the last fifteen years, as he was playing in Europe every other year. In the last ten years or so he was playing with the Blue Flagships band (look here for a video clip from 2002 with Jimmy Coe and Red Holloway). I remember Red Holloway as a very sweet gentleman. I fondly think of one afternoon in the mid nineties when Red was playing in Basel or some place near Basel – I guess with the Frank Muschalle Trio. Continue reading

Count Basie in Zurich 1959

Posted in clips, Count Basie, jazz, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2012 by crownpropeller

As in 1956, the Count Basie Orchestra also visited Switzerland in 1959. The concert they gave at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on February 6 was filmed – probably for the swiss television company. In Otto Flückiger’s archives I found a VHS tape with the TV broadcast from the Kongresshaus. Since I noticed that “The Midget” from this concert already can be found on youtube, I decided to offer you something else. So here you have the opening part of the TV broadcast. The orchestra starts with Basie Boogie, and after that they play Neal Hefti’s Lil’ Darlin’.  The latter is especially remarkable because it offers the rare opportunity to hear as well as see a solo by  Wendell Culley (1906–1983), as Basie usually gave most of the trumpet solos to Joe Newman or Thad Jones.

The personnel on this date: Wendell Culley, Thad Jones, Snooky Young, Joe Newman (tp); Henry Coker, Al Grey, Benny Powell (tb); Marshal Royal (as,cl); Frank Wess (as,ts,fl); Frank Foster, Billy Mitchell (ts); Charlie Fowlkes (bar); Count Basie (p, ldr); Freddie Green (g); Eddie Jones (b); Sonny Payne (dr).

Enjoy!

Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge in Europe, 1949/1950

Posted in Coleman Hawkins, jazz, Roy Eldridge with tags , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2012 by crownpropeller

After the Don Redman concerts in autumn 1946 nothing much happened in Switzerland in regard to modern jazz directly from the USA. One of the most important events in this context was Coleman Hawkin’s tour through several european countries in late 1949 and early 1950, among them Switzerland, where Hawkins had spent some time during the 1930s.

It is not quite clear to me from when to when the tour lasted; according to John Chilton’s “The song of the Hawk”, Hawkins flew from New York to Paris on November 29. He shortly rehearsed his group  – James Moody on second ts, Nat Peck (tb), Hubert Fol (as), Jean-Paul Mengeon (p), Pierre Michelot (b) and Kenny Clarke (dr) – after that they played the Edouard VII Theatre in Paris. On November 30 they appeared in Bern, on December 1 they played in Zurich. On December 3 the Hawkins band played in Lausanne, this concert was released at sometime in the 1990s as TCB CD 02132.

Here’s the program for the swiss part of the concert that I found in the Otto Flückiger collection. As you see the front page was signed by Hawkins himself.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Although the Be Bop revolution had shaken the american jazz scene already four years earlier, a lot of european critics still did not know what to make of the “new” sounds that altogether were not so new all. Typical for the times is the following review of the Zurich concert– signed by one “-li” – which appeared in an unidentified newspaper (apparently the reviewer took Nat Peck as another french man).

Here is a translation of the above article:

Be Bop at the Kongress-Saal
About the jazz concert with Coleman Hawkins

That a Coleman Hawkins has subscribed to Be Bop is really surprising. It is a pity when you think of the good records this artist of the tenor saxophone has published – for example his famous Body And Soul!. This piece which was played in a crippled version on December 1 is a good indicator of this aberrance in jazz. This unmotivated music that does not consider harmonic and rhythmic laws was even tiring to jazz fanatics. The thousand listeners missing – who are always there when good authentic jazz is played (i.e. Sidney Bechet, Armstrong) and are able to fill the Kongress-Saal – proofed with ostentation that the audience in Zurich does not agree with this kind of jazz. Let us hope, that this silly fashion will not hold its ground for too long, as it would not be able to attract more people to jazz.

Ok, some of the participants were good musicians, especially the black ones. Drummer Kenny Clarke, who is not just anybody,  was brilliant during his solos, and received the most applause by far. This shows that the audience who was attuned to sensation was really satisfied only by him. Unfortunately he found a lot of fun in being louder than his colleagues, forgetting that it also applies to jazz that the drum set must not be the main instrument after all. From the start second tenor saxophonist unwillingly made some mistakes ["Canards" meaning "ducks" is a french slang word] which he repeated often during the concert. Obviously this does not matter in Be Bop – because Moody  apparently belongs to the greatest exponents of this style. Technically he was extraordinary, but he could not reach Hawkins in any way. The other four french musicians blended into the ensemble well, but it has to be said also: What is based on the instinctive naturalness of the negro often seems laughable with white people. The whole concert was tiring not the least because there were no soprano instruments in the group and the whole thing appeared monotonous – but that’s what Be Bop is. -li

Hawkins, the poor victim of a “silly fashion”? As you know – without me going into detail – nothing could have been further from the truth. It would have been better for “li” if he had just relaxed and enjoyed the pieces in Hawkins’ repertoire that might have better suited his tastes.

Here I am offering you a rendition of “Sophisticated Lady” as played by Coleman Hawkins, that you might not have heard before.

COLEMAN HAWKINS: SOPHISTICATED LADY


(Please excuse the digital noise, the source CD is slightly damaged)

It was recorded for broadcast around the time in question, although the exact provenance is unclear. I have this from a CD-R in the Otto Flückiger collection, the notes to which carry irritating data:

Track 13: Roy Eldridge/Rec. Zürich 1950/Sophisticated Lady

Track 14: Coleman Hawkins/Rec. München [Munich] 1949/Rockin Chair

As you see right away, something must be wrong here, as “Sophisticated Lady” is the Hawkins track, whereas “Rockin’ Chair” belonged to Roy Eldridge – it used to be Eldridge’s feature number when he was with Gene Krupa. But what about the dates and places?

The next date mentioned by Chilton for Hawkins’ tour is December 11, when the band played in London. Afterwards there was a jam session after which a writer from Melody Maker asked Hawkins what he thought about bop. His answer is quoted in Chilton’s The song of the Hawk: 

Bop? Man, I ain’t never heard of bop! What is this bop? I understand it as a name, the name of a street. Bop Villa and next to it you got Pop Villa. Do I like the sound of the word? Yes, it sounds all right. I don’t know any bop music. I only know one music – the music that’s played. There’s no such thing as bop music, but there is such a thing as progress. What you are talking about is probably a commercial phrase, huh? A phrase that has been used to make something sell.

On December 13 Hawk played in Brussels. On December 21 the band recorded seven tracks for Disques Vogue in Paris – where Hawkins also spent Christmas. According to Chilton, Hawk played in Germany  in January 1950 and – later in the month – with local musicians in Sweden. After that he returned to the USA.

So for the Hawkins track above, neither Munich 1949 can be right (as the band played Germany in January 1950) nor Zürich 1950 (as the band played Zürich on December 1 1949).

So what about the Roy Eldridge track? Have a listen:

ROY ELDRIDGE: ROCKIN`CHAIR


(Please excuse the digital noise, the source CD is slightly damaged)

I am not able to find out whether Eldridge was in Europe in 1949. Judging from his discographical entries he must have spent most of the year in the USA. But in 1950 Eldridge  was touring Europe with the Benny Goodman orchestra for six weeks. From May 10 to May 12 1950 they were playing at the Kongresshaus in Zürich. It seems that Rockin Chair was the Eldridge feature number for this tour, it was also played at Benny Goodman’s Lausanne concert on May 13 (released as TCB (Swi)02142). Unfortunately I do not own the Goodman TCB CD, so I can not compare the versions of “Rockin’ Chair”.

Of course another possibility is that the mix-up on the CD notes is complete chaos, and that the Hawkins track is from Zürich,  December 1, 1949, whereas the Eldridge track is from Munich, 1950.

So, can anyone identify the provenience of these two tracks? Does anyone know when (or if) Benny Goodman’s band played in Munich in 1950?

Any help is welcome.

Valaida Snow with Derek Neville’s band

Posted in clips, jazz, Valaida Snow with tags , , , , , on November 12, 2011 by crownpropeller

Looking through a bunch of photographs from the archives, I found several photos taken by Hans Spreng when Valaida Snow was playing at the Sihlporte, Zürich, in summer 1937, . These photos are so beautiful that I decided to make a small movie clip from them (with my very small Adobe After Effects knowledge). You can see as well as hear Valaida and (from England) Derek Neville’s Orchestra. “The Mood That I’m In” was recorded  in London on July 7 1937 and the personnel is:

Valaida Snow (voc, tp); Derek Neville (as, bar, ldr); Johnny Claes (tp); Reggie Dare (ts); Gun Finley (p); Norman Brown (g); Louis Barreiro (b) and Ken Stewart (d). Almost the same band seems to be on the photos – though I cannot make out the guitar player. Maybe he is the one blowing on a glass in one of the photos?

Enjoy!

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