Thursday, April 29, 2010

April's "Forgotten" Music: FREEDOM NOW SUITE, the Max Roach Group



My radio show over three stations was also called Sweet Freedom, and the original recording of this suite, composed by Max Roach and Oscar Brown, Jr., was played either on the first or early spisodes of the show on all three stations. It's available, in the original Candid Records packaging (I have the 1980 CBS reissue), thoughs it has been intermmittently out of print over the years.

Above is a link to a (rather oddly edited, at first, with a snippet of "Love for Sale" abruptly cut off) Belgian tv performance of the suite, which is an interesting alternate take, for me, and not quite up to the album, but still eminently worth hearing (and seeing). Clifford Jordan here is excellent, but Coleman Hawkins on the original recording of "Driva' Man" is necessary listening. (It might be tough for this to dislodge my loyalty to the album after thirty years of affection for that version.)

See Scott Parker's blog for more of this month's "Forgotten" Music.

And, for a bonus for some interesting Lost (or at least floating-about) music aggregated, check this blog: http://grrlbandgeek.blogspot.com/. At least this Bangs/Bangles and Jane Wiedlin fan was happified.

12 comments:

Evan Lewis said...

Hey, I usually have trouble with anything more sophisticated than "Louie, Louie", but this sounds pretty cool.

Scott Parker said...

My tastes in jazz usually run to beats that are a bit less free than this but I have to say, there's something powerful to this suite. The spareness leaves room for some raw emotion there, and I'm not just talking about Lincoln's vocals.

And I've always been impressed with how drummers like Roach--who may only have a snare, bass, two cymbals, hit-hat, and a couple of toms--who can do so much with so few drums as opposed to the modern (usually rock) drummers who have scores of percussive instruments and still can't touch the proficiency of folks like Roach. Day-um!

Todd Mason said...

Evan--the suite is visceral music.

Scott--Well, while Roach was (characterisitcally) not completely satisfied with the final result (there was never any work of his own that he seems to have been utterly satisfied with), the studio sessions and this performance are certainly indicative of him and his cohort in good form (Lincoln and Roach were married at this time).

More drums make it easier to hit some sort of head, but not much else unless one is making use of tuned drums...most rock drummers just aren't freed up enough to improvise engagingly (Keith Moon, particularly early in his career, being among the few notable exceptions).

K. A. Laity said...

Well, I'm a sucker for the drums and this was a real nice piece that never once reminded me of the bit from The Fast Show (okay the host at the start did a bit). And Abby Lincoln, wow. I think it's taken me a while to appreciate jazz -- about the only exposure to it I had -- other than Vince Guaraldi annually -- was probably my dad's Dave Brubeck album. I am ignorant. But I've learned a bit since Keith Moon was my be all and end all.

Abbey Lincoln's "Africa" (aka TM) said...

So your folks had TIME OUT or perhaps DAVE BRUBECK'S GREATEST HITS and that was absolutely it, aside from Peanuts cartoon soundtracks, huh? MISTER ROGERS was another early input for me. The DB Quartet was among the first jazz I was passionate about...though the Count Basie Orchestra did the first jazz album I bought for myself.

There's a Lot of Max Roach (and other percussionists...Philly Joe Jones, the DBQ's Joe Morello, Elvin Jones [drummers are only allowed to have about five different names], Art Blakey, and so many more, including such less flashy but impressive folks as Connie Kay] and Abbey Lincoln awaiting you. The yearned-for myth of Africa in Lincoln's PEOPLE IN ME track "Africa" alone...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6n5Lx-qb4R0 or hit the link on the header.

Todd Mason said...

And thanks for the FAST SHOW link. "Acid skiffle" is almost inevitable...

K. A. Laity said...

You know, there was probably more than I realise because I absolutely adored Buddy Rich (always the drummers) whom I knew from the Tonight Show and between that and Merv Griffin I probably got stuff at an impressionable age that stuck in the brainpan somehow. Now I mostly know only Scandinavian jazz folk (in fact, mostly Finnish) and they're entirely singular. But I suppose most good artists are.

K. A. Laity said...

That's er, folks in jazz who are Scandinavian, not a new field of jazz folk which I suppose is out there...

Todd Mason said...

Scandahoovian Acid Skiffle, in fact. There are some impressive jazz players from those nations, none of whose names I feel competent to spell at this hour w/o proofing them against Google.

Todd Mason said...

The late Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen is almost certainly the Scandinavian who's made the largest impression on the Scene in the States.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Interesting.
P.S. I got an Aimee Mann CD.

Todd Mason said...

I hope you like it, and suspect you might. She's not too fond of her Til Tuesday work any longer (her initial splash on the charts in the '80s), but it's not Too shabby nor mannered...I have yet to listen to her art-punkish recordings before that.