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Jazz / Free Jazz
Huge catalogue of free improvisation from 1979 to today, with a focus on Soviet musicians.
Recorded in London in 1985. Includes the whole of LP LR 127 "Nicols 'n' Nu" and half of LR 145 "Don't assume."
DOWN BEAT wrote of Maggie Nicols: "She is more than the best singer since Rita Reys; she is truly on par with Betty Carter, Sheila Jordan, and Jeanne Lee, the best of the American post-modernists." "... she is terrific enough to make up for England's having inflicted Cleo Lane on us."
Peter Nu / piano
Maggie Nicols / voice
Artwork by Lora Denis. Recorded by Chris Lewis. Produced by Leo Feigin. Remastered for CD by Alan Mosley.
Maggie Nichols & Peter Nu – Nichols'N'Nu
A world premier performance by the Arizona State University Percussion Ensemble directed by Dr. J. B. Smith. Recorded Feb 6, 1994 in the Music Theatre at the Arizona State University School of Music, Temple, Arizona. For ten percussionists, slide projections, constructed environment and tape.
Recorded February 6th, 1994 in the Music Theatre at Arizona State University School of Music, Temple, Arizona by Clarke Rigsby.
Anthony Braxton – Composition No. 174 Arizona State University Percussion Ensemble
"Most Ghost Trance Music performances begin with the entire ensemble in unison at the opening of the work. What happens afterwards, however, differs widely depending on the piece, the make up of the ensemble, and the ever changing performance practices. At designated points of the line, often in looped sections, one may decide to switch to an improvisation, play a secondary / tertiary piece, or play the melody at a different tempo. There are no fixed rules pertaining to when this happens or for how long, and it may also be done individually or in groups.
Composition n. 247 is one of the few Ghost Trance Music works tailored for a specific instrumentation: two saxophones and bagpipes (Anthony Braxton, James Fei, and Matthew Welch). It's been recorded live, and the striking quality of this recording will be evident immediately upon first hearing. "The music on this disc is unlike anything I have participated in, in terms of mental and physical endurance, mobility between different sets of material, and sheer sonic intensity."
- James Fei, NYC, December 2000.
“Ghost Trance Music” is a phrase one hears bandied about in the rather occult discourses of Braxtonologists, but this piece really makes sense of the term. Using the bagpipes not only for their sound but, it seems, their whole tradition, he creates a continuously flowing stream of notes rooted in a regular semiquaver rhythm. At the most simplistic level, this is certainly hypnotic stuff, and when one gets a way into the piec’s hour-long duration, time really does seem to dilate a bit. - Metropolis Free Jazz
Anthony Braxton / soprano, f and alsto saxophones; e flat and contrabass clarinets, right channel
James Fei / soprano and alto saxophones; bass clarinet, left channel
Matthew Welch / bagpipes
Recorded in Middletown, Connecticut, May 15, 2000 by Jon Rosenburg. Engineered by Stan Wijnans at LMC Studio, London.
Anthony Braxton – Composition N. 247
"Recorded one day before the already famous duo performance by Anthony Braxton at the London Jazz Festival, this recording features five improvised pieces. The addition of Paul Rutherford to the two saxophone virtuosi changes the muusic in the most dramatic way and offers a sound of unending surprise."
Recorded May 22, 1993. Live At the Bloomsbury Theatre (London Jazz Festival)
1. The Honker - 18:042. Arkanther - 10:373. Axtarkrut - 8:234. Vanuthrax - 9:495. The Breaker - 6:38
Anthony Braxton / Evan Parker / Paul Rutherford – Trio (London) 1993
"Alexander Kan’s liners do a good job of setting the stage occupied by these pre-perestroika musicians; he recounts scenes that read like LeCarre. And indeed the strongest impression of this music is its urgency. Cliched reflections about the tormented Russian anima are almost unavoidable, but the fact is that music has great immediacy for people in times of crisis; I have seen it in such unromantic settings as an RAF base on the eve of the Falklands gambit.
This urgency is what compels Vyacheslav Ganelin (piano, various instruments), Vladimir Tarasov (percussion) and Vladimir Chekasin (saxes, various) to free improvisations of sustained focus and intensity at live sets recorded in Leningrad and West Berlin. The latter appearance greatly impressed the Western critics, and the music stands up well. These men are playing for their lives, and have no time to worry about whether this or that transition might be difficult. As a result potential pitfalls vanish into thin air as they achieve a kind of mobility rare outside of Sun Ra and a freedom that must have been sweet indeed." - Duck Baker
Vladimir Tarasov / drums, percussion, bells, talking drumVyacheslav Ganelin / piano, bassett, guitar, percussionVladimir Chekasin / as, ts, wooden flute, cl, bassett-horn, percussion, voice
Part 1 recorded live in Leningrad, Nov 5, 1980. Part 2 recorded live in West Berlin, October 29, 1980. Tapes remastered by Alan Moseley. Special thanks to Liz Trott for smuggling out the tapes.
The Ganelin Trio – Ancora Da Capo
"First 38 minutes were previously released on LP, but now long unavailable. The second part, "My brothers the wind and sun n.9", is a newly discovered piece of over 20 minutes, previously unreleased.
Total time: 59'02. Essential Sun Ra, avant-cosmology. Hungry East German audience (1986) flies off to travel the spaceways."
"A Night in Berlin" recorded live in Berlin at Friedrichstadtpalast on June 28, 1986. "My Brothers The Wind and Sun" recorded live, possibly at the Knitting Factory, NYC, Jan 30, 1988, or in Europe 1990.
Sun Ra and His Cosmo Discipline Arkestra – A Night in East Berlin/My Brothers the Wind and Sun No. 9
""6ix" is a group of six musicians: Jacques Demierre on piano, Urs Leimgruber on saxophone, Okkyung Lee on cello, Thomas Lehn on synth, Dorothea Schurch voice and singing saw, and Roger Turner on percussion. The music is a subtle reminder of what each improvisation should strive for: explore a little bit further - almost even further - than the previous piece of music you played. When it seems impossible, try to give a little bit more. The music is an intimate and fascinating conversation between six musicians. To be engaged in the conversation one has not only to speak but listen as well."
Jacques Demierre / pianoOkkyung Lee / cello Thomas Lehn / synthesizer Urs Leimgruber / soprano saxophoneDorothea Schürch / voice, singing sawRoger Turner / drums, percussion
Recorded on June 23rd, 2001 at Radio-Studio DRS, Zurich. Edited and mastered by Martin Pearson. Artwork by Olga Kokcharova.
6 i x – almost even further
Written in Woodstock between August 1979 and September 1980 and dedicated to Stockhausen, Composition 96 is a piece for orchestra and four slide projectors intended, says Braxton, "to celebrate the composite inter-relationship between dynamic symbolism and positive world change."
Composition 96 is, says Anthony Braxton, a key work in his music's evolution. This is true both on the structural level, where 96 is "a point of definition" in his development of "multiple line musics"; and on the spiritual or "vibrational" (to use Braxton's term) level where it is the second in his series of "ritual and ceremonial" pieces in which he employs "correspondance logics" to explore music's links with colour, shape, symbol, gesture, astrology and numerology. The visual components of Composition 96 are based on "12 symbols from various world culture religions and/or mystical teachings" (the remaining 4 symbols being created by various combinations of the original 12).
The Composers and Improvisors Orchestra are:
Denny Goodhew / alto saxDeborah De Loria / bassScott Weaver / bassRay Downey / bass clarinetMarlene Weaver / bassoonMarjorie Parbington / celloPage Smith-Weaver / celloScott Threlkold / celloPaul Pearse / clarinetBill Smith / clarinetBob Davis / english hornDenise Pool / fluteRebecca Morgan / fluteNancy Hargerud / fluteRichard Reed / french hornMotter Dean / harpAileen Munger / oboeLauurri Uhlig / oboeEd Hartman / percussionMatt Kocmieroski / percussionJulian Priester / tromboneScott Reeves / tromboneDave Scott / trumpetJames Knapp / trumpetRick Bynes / tubaBeatrice Dolf, Betty Agent, Jean Word, Sam Williams / violaJeannine Davis, Julian Smedley, Libby Poole, Mathew Pederson, Becky Liverzey, Jeroen Van Tyn, Mary Jacobson, Sandra Guy / violin
Written for 37-piece orchestra and four slide projectors by Anthony Braxton. Recorded by the Composers and Improvisors Orchestra at the Cornish Institute, Seattle, Washington, May 30, 1981 and dedicated to the master composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Conducted by Anthony Braxton. Published by Synthesis Music. Produced by Leo Feigin. Remastered by Alan Mosley.
Anthony Braxton – Composition 96
"Saved from oblivion by Anthony Braxton himself this recording can't be more welcome, for at the time of the release other Braxton's solo CDs are mostly unavailable. But make no mistake: the thing that will strike your ears is how absolutely contemporary this music sounds. Recorded twenty four years ago it sounds as if it has been recorded today. It was a long concert, but we managed to save every sound by editiong out bursts of applause after each piece. Yet it happened to be the longest recording in the entire Leo Records catalogue: 78'02."
"Not released until 24 years after it was recorded, this classic solo album by one of the giants of the saxophone is a welcome addition to Anthony Braxton's discography. Performing solely on alto sax, there is a searing lyricism and a surprisingly jazz-oriented underpinning to even the most abstract of Braxton's improvisations. While most of the compositions are originals, the two that are not -- "You Go to My Head" and "Impressions" -- reveal Braxton's remarkable ability to delve deeply inside a song's structure and make it his own. In later years, Braxton often revealed a mellow tinge to his playing, even in solo performances. The instant release, though, reveals him in an energetic mood, and should satisfy those who appreciate his more radical side within the "mainstream" of the jazz avant-garde. He barks, screeches (though only occasionally and in characteristically good taste), and shows some outstanding technical skills, including incredible speed. While he has recorded some of these compositions elsewhere (for example, as Steve Day writes in the liner notes, four of the compositions appear on the impressive Alto Saxophone Improvisations 1979), Braxton is in peak form on this one and the results are uniformly excellent. Braxton enthusiasts (and others, too) will want this in their collections." - Surfing the Odyssey
Anthony Braxton – Solo (Koln) 1978
Sold out as a CD, we're pleased to add this classic duo's second release to the shop. Dada-da follows the debut vinyl release (also on Leo) Ammo, and was recorded in London by Emanem's Martin Davidson.
Phil Minton / vocals
Roger Turner / percussion
1. Ah Ha - 2:192. Wa Wa - 3:503. Lala La La La - 5:184. Car - 4:475. Za Za - 10:386. Chacha Cha - 13:197. Ba Ba - 3:588. La Du Da - 5:369 . Dee Da - 4:3310. Da Da - 0:35
Recorded at the Singapore Pedang, London, 18 January, 1993 by Martin Davidson. Artwork by L. Denis. Remastered by D. Bernez.
Phil Minton And Roger Turner – Dada da
"This recording was released in 1984 as an LP with the same title and was unavailable for fifteen odd years. In artistic terms, it was a shocking statement from Phil Minton and Roger Turner which scared a lot of people. Now, years later, the recording sounds as if it has been recorded today. It has not lost any of its artistic qualities and stood the test of time. The work of great originality and integrity."
"Upon its initial LP release, this 1984 improvising session turned more than a few heads. And it would take a fertile imagination for one to reconcile the duo's rendition of Monk's "'Round About Midnight with the original, for example. Armed with boyish enthusiasm, the artists pursue a wanton spirit through their surrealistic game plan. Of course, British freestyle vocalist Phil Minton is a well-known improviser since the advent of this date with his fellow countryman, percussionist Roger Turner. But this recording still resides as an attention-grabbing document." - All About Jazz
Phil Minton + Roger Turner – Ammo
"Solo performance by the brilliant pianist paying tribute to John Coltrane. Recorded in London, Logan Hall, 1987.
Seven pieces, four of them by Coltrane. This dedication has been inspired by the mystical experience where the pianist felt the presence and guiding of Coltrane's spirit. A new romantic side of Marilyn's talent. Outstanding reviews."
"Hearing Marilyn Crispell play solo piano is like monitoring an active volcano,” wrote Jon Pareles in the New York Times. “She is one of a very few pianists who rise to the challenge of free jazz." Crispell, who was born in Philadelphia in 1947, is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music where she studied classical piano and composition, and has been a resident of Woodstock, New York since 1977, when she came to study and teach at the Creative Music Studio.Crispell discovered jazz through the music of John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor among others. For ten years she was a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet and the Reggie Workman Ensemble and has been a member of the Barry Guy New Orchestra and guest with his London Jazz Composers Orchestra, as well as a member of the Henry Grimes Trio, Quartet Noir and Anders Jormin's Bortom Quintet. Crispell has described how, through playing with the Braxton Quartet, she “began to think more compositionally and pay more attention to space and silence”. Besides working as a soloist and leader of her own groups, Crispell has performed and recorded extensively with well-known players on the American and international.
Marilyn Crispell – For Coltrane
"Kuryokhin's reputation as the enfant terrible of the Russian avantgarde may have deterred some listeners from checking his work. This release should change that. Behind its ungainly title lurks his most accessible music to date, a frothy concoction of wit, whimsy and flashing virtuoso power delivered at time with madcap elan." Graham Lock.
Recorded 4 June, 1991 in London
Sergey Kuryokhin - Some Combinations Of Fingers And Passion
"Recorded live in Venice in 1977, these rare solo performances find Ra revisiting all facets of his career. With Ra there was never the divide between entertainment and art that marks the performances of younger, more self-conscious tone scientists, a term he preferred to musicians. Thus when he plays a simple blues he brings more dissonance to his left handed feints then you usually associate with the traditional sounds. When he performs his own "Angel Race," he begins by singing variations on the outer space theme." - All About Jazz
Sun Ra / piano
Recorded live at the Teatro La Fenice, Venezia, November 24, 1977.
Sun Ra – Piano Recital
"Originally released as a bootleg LP entitled Among the People. The Art Ensemble is at its best, in top form, in front of the ecstatic Italian crowd."
"Half the recording is “Tutankhamun,” with a lyrical, slow Lester Bowie trumpet solo with characteristic emotive interjections, then a fast, melodic bass sax solo, presumably by Joseph Jarman, that bubbles like lava; when Bowie reenters, the group bounces along like a far-fetched version of a Gerry Mulligan quartet. “Illinstrun” is a quiet percussion piece, initially with tinkling metal sounds; over halfway through, the atmosphere suddenly, almost imperceptibly, changes to mysterious, indescribable sounds, with Malachi Favors bowing his bass alone at the end. Aggressive, vivid percussion led by Famoudou Don Moye opens “A Jackson in Your House”; the alto solo, consisting of edgy motivic variations, is presumably by Roscoe Mitchell, and the comic theme statement is by toy-store instruments." - Jazz Times
Malachi Favors Magoustous / bass, melodica, percussionFamoudou Don Moye / drums, percussionJoseph Jarman / saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, vibraphone, percussionRoscoe Mitchell / saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, clarinet, percussionLester Bowie / trumpet, percussion---Recorded live in Milano, August 1980
The Art Ensemble Of Chicago – Live in Milano
The Sun Ra Arkestra in Chicago on September 25, 1978 - Volume 2 from the Waitawhile Sun Ra Archive. 18 compositions mixing untitled improvisations with Sun Ra's pieces and jazz standards.
Danny Davis / alto saxophone, flute Marshall Allen / alto saxophone, piccolo fluteDanny Ray Thompson / baritone saxophone, flute Eloe Omoe / bass clarinet, fluteJames Jacson / bassoon, flute, percussion Atakatune / congas Luqman Ali / drumsDale Williams / electric guitarSun Ra / organ, synth, beamJohn Gilmore / sax, clarinet, vocals Damon Choice / vibraphoneJune Tyson / vocals
Recorded live in Chicago on September 25, 1978 - engineer unknown.
The Sun Ra Arkestra – Springtime in Chicago
"Complete performance by the legendary trio of their seminal composition Semplice (57 minutes) plus three encores." "The Ganelin Trio created some of the best improvised music ever played in the old Soviet Union, which you may think is like saying they're the best country music singers in the Metropolitan Opera company until you hear this disc. Recorded live in Moscow in 1983, this performance consists of Ganelin's fifty-seven minute "Semplice," plus three relatively brief encores." - All About Jazz
"Maybe not since the first Ornette Coleman records appeared has Western European jazz experienced quite such a shock of the totally unexpected as the Ganelin Trio produced." - The Wire
Vladimir Tarasov / drums, percussion, hornVyacheslav Ganelin / piano, keyboards, flute, horn, percussionVladimir Chekasin / saxophone, clarinet, flute, percussion
Recorded live in Moscow 20th November 1983. Remastered by Alan Mosley. Photos by Hans Kumpf. Special thanks to Olivia Lichenstein for smuggling this recording out from behind the iron curtain.
The Ganelin Trio – Con Affetto
Seven original compositions plus two bonus tracks previously unissued.
"36 minutes of the Man from Saturn and his Arkestra - the length of a good LP in the old days. Plus, how can any Saturnian resist the lure of a Ra disc recorded in the shadow of the Sphinx herself, right in Cairo? Top it off with 33 more minutes of Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band, and you've got a real treat.
This is Ra in 1983 and 1984, sounding surprisingly close to the tight Ra band of the Fifties, rather than to the later, looser ensembles. To be sure, there isn't a lot of intricate ensemble work on these three Ra tracks, but the heads do have a bit of a throwback bop feel. Plus, "Egypt Strut" and "Dawn" both feature John Gilmore solos of terrific architectonic coherence and passion, and Marshall Allen chimes in on flute just as mellifluously. The Sun himself contributes a keyboard solo of ringing power on "Egypt Strut." "Watusa," meanwhile, is a feast of percussion in the grand Ra fashion.
The Cairo jazz ensembles, which range from 21 members ("Ramadan") to five ("Oriental Mood,") hold up their end of the disc wonderfully. This is energetic and deeply sincere jazz with a marvelous Middle Eastern feel, complete with chanting on "Ramadan." All the instrumentalists are first-rate, especially pianist Khamis El Khouly, especially on "A Farewell Theme."
A great one. A feast. Don't miss it." All About Jazz
The Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab In Egypt