Archive for Arthur Blythe

McCoy Tyner in the 70s and 80s

Posted in clips, jazz, McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2013 by crownpropeller

Revision Note (Jan. 11, 2014): I have replaced the clip from Umbria 1985 with a working version.


McCoy Tyner at Jazz Festival Montreux, 1973

Still in the process of cutting large movie files taken from VHS cassettes into  clips, I noticed that my friend, the late Otto Flückiger has quite a lot of concert footage with bands either led by pianist McCoy Tyner or featuring him prominently. The reason for so much footage with Tyner in Otto’s collection is not necessarily because Otto was fanatic about Tyner.  Otto taped everything from the TV that was in what way ever connected to Jazz. And McCoy Tyner made a lot of tours in the 1970s and 1980s, his group was a regular feature on Jazz festivals around the world. So it really is no wonder that there is a lot of McCoy here.

Mainly to get a grasp of what is there, I have extracted all of the McCoy Tyner footage on these cassettes. Now that I am finished doing so, I thought why not present these rare clips on this here blog.

So here we go, starting with the earliest footage I found of one of Tyner’s own groups. Here is the McCoy Tyner Quartet at the  Jazz Festival Montreux, July 7, 1973

The band consists of Tyner (p), Azar Lawrence (sax), Juini Booth (b), Alphonse Mouzon (dr). The way I understand it, parts of this concert also have been released on an LP. Since I do not own this one, I can not tell you what exactly is being played here.

Going on chronologically we stay in Montreux with a clip from July 18, 1981 showing the concert of a band called “The New York – Montreux Connection:

The band: Arthur Blythe, Paquito D’Riviera, Jimmy Heath,Percy Heath, McCoy Tyner, Chico Freeman, Slide Hampton, Phil Woods, Ronnie Burrage, John Blake, Stanley Cowell, John Hicks, Steve Mc Call. Note that there is also an unidentified alto saxophonist taking a solo later in the program. He is adressed as “Paul ….”, but I can’t understand his last name. So if you have an idea …

Next are more than fifty minutes of the McCoy Tyner Quintet at the Saalbau in Aarau, Switzerland, on February 24, 1984:

The Quintet in this clip: McCoy Tyner (p), Gary Bartz (sax), John Blake (violin), John Lee (eb), Wilby Fletcher (dr).

In 1985 McCoy Tyner was in Europe again, with a new trio featuring bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Louis Hayes. At their apperance at the Estival Jazz in Lugano Pharoah Sanders was featured with the band. But the concert was started by the trio alone:

I do not have the whole concert, just three different parts from three different source VHS cassettes. The chronologically next portion of the Lugano concert is the one that features Sanders. I had alredy presented that one here some time ago, but for the sake of completeness, here it is gain:

I do not know if Pharoah Sanders was featured even longer on this concert, all that is here is the encore from that gig, featuring just the trio again:

Next up are two clips from Italian TV. Unfortunately quality is not too good here. Here are Tyner, Sharpe and Hayes at the Jazz Festival in Umbria 1985:

And here they are a year later at the Jazz Festival in Pescara:

In 1986 the trio also appeared on the German TV series “Jazz im Subway”, the Subway being a Jazz Club in Cologne:

I just have this excerpt from the show, showing McCoy playing a solo version of “You Taught My Heart To Sing” (Notice the funny subtitle, maybe someone from the TV station did not like the music?).

Last but not least a clip that was a personal surprise for me in more than one way. First: I did not know that Tyner played with George Benson – which he apparently did more than once. Secondly because I had dismissed George Benson as being  xxx (well I do not want to hurt any sensitive George Benson fans). But I actually like this one very much:

The above clip comes from the 1989 Montreux Jazz Festival. Besides Benson and Tyner you will see and hear bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Aaron Scott.


Some more Arthur Blythe (Montreux 1981)

Posted in Abdul Wadud, Arthur Blythe, clips with tags , , , , , , , on January 20, 2013 by crownpropeller

Some days after transferring this Arthur Blythe concert from VHS to video, I found parts off another Blythe concert that were filmed a year later at the Montreux Jazz Festival. So let this clip be a fitting tribute to festival founder Claude Nobs, who passed on January, 10th.

Here are Arthur Blythe as; Bob Stewart tu;Abdul Wadud cello; Kelvyn Bell g; Bobby Battle dr on July 18, 1981 at the Casino De Montreux in Montreux, Switzerland.

They are playing:

Strike Up The Band (starting from 0:00)
Shadows (starting from 5:18)
Bush Baby/unidentified tune (starting from 12:17)


Contemplation (starting from 33:06)


Arthur Blythe 4: Berlin 1980

Posted in Abdul Wadud, Arthur Blythe, clips, jazz with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2012 by crownpropeller

One of the musicians I must have seen playing most often in the late 1980s and early 1990s must be alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe – although I never saw him with one of his own groups.

Instead I heard Blythe several times with Roots, the “In The Tradition” band of Sam Rivers, Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, Nathan Davis, Don Pullen, Santi Debriano and Idris Muhamad which did the european festival circuit for a while. And I remember at least three concerts by The Leaders, the band that consisted of Don Cherry (later replaced by Lester Bowie), Blythe, Chico Freeman again, Don Pullen (later replaced by Kirk Lightsey), Cecil McBee and Don Moye.

A few years earlier Blythe had almost become a star when Columbia Records gave him a contract hoping that Arthur Blythe’s intelligent and deeply emotional handling of the whole alto sax history with his way of playing that is ornamental, biting and hard hitting all at the same time might have some sort of mass appeal – which it unfortunately did not have.

Over his long career Blythe has again and again worked (and still does) with tuba player Bob Stewart, with which Blythe also recorded (together with percussionist Ahkmed Abdullah) the LP Bush Baby in 1977, one of my favorite Blythe LPs:

Blythe’s abstractions and Stewarts funky, earthy bass lines always make a great combination. So I was really amazed to find on one of Otto Flückiger’s old VHS cassettes more than fifty minutes  of a concert the Arthur Blythe Quartet played at the Jazzfestival Berlin on November 1st, 1980. This is one of the classic Blythe groups from that time featuring besides Blythe and Stewart cellist Abdul Wadud and drummer Bobby Battle. They are playing:

Miss Nancy
Bush Baby

The last track is unfortunately not complete on the source tape, so I had to fade out during the drum solo (it just goes on for a few seconds). After that band also played Down San Diego Way and Break Tune. Maybe they will turn up on another VHS tape one day? Until then:


P.S.: And now a personal ad, directed to those living in Berlin: On tuesday October 23rd 2012 I’ll be spinning the wax at the Club Monarch, after the reading performance by the Verbrecherversammlung at Skalitzerstrasse 134. So if you are in the mood for some jump, jazz and jive,, I’ll be glad to see you!