Sunday, November 07, 2010

11.7.2010, FTW

Woke up in the middle of the night the other night and sat down with the Tele to figure out the intro bit to the opening track from Charlie Haden and Hampton Hawes' As Long As There's Music that I'd had stuck in my head for a couple of days. When I put the album on this morning, I was pleased to note that I'd learned it in the correct key (F). Perhaps I'm becoming a better musician as I get older. Or maybe just lucky. (And knowledgeable that keyboard players like C and F the way guitar players like E and A.)

I've been on kind of a jazz pianner kick the last couple of days, since Big Jessie from work picked up Don Pullen's 1976 solo piano album Healing Force from Recycled in Denton for me. (Thanks, Jessie!) For some reason (UNT jazzcats divesting?), that store has a shit-ton of CDs on the Italian Black Saint label, which released loads of stuff by U.S. avant-gardists back in the day (not the least of which were the first Old and New Dreams LP and the opening triptych of masterworks from David Murray's Octet).

I first owned Healing Force back in our Bicentennial year, when I'd temporarily forsaken rockaroll to become a jazz snob and Monday night wrestling fan. Pullen (1941-1995) was Mingus' pianist in his last great band, with George Adams on tenor, Jack Walrath on trumpet, and Dannie Richmond on drums, and later co-led an estimable band with Adams that included Richmond. I first heard "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress" on Changes Two, and it took me awhile to get used to Jaki Byard's more tradition-bound approach on the versions by the '64 Mingus band that I've collected since then after hearing Pullen's freewheeling attack.

Pullen's style was saturated with gospel and blues, as well as an "outside" approach he claimed he formulated before he ever heard Cecil Taylor. You can hear all of that on Healing Force, as well as a lyricism that's substantial, not saccharine, which I find calming at times like now, when my mind's racing. I also dug him on a Black Saint album called Capricorn Rising that featured Sam Rivers on reeds and was more intense.

Alternating spins of Healing Force with Joe and the Sonic Dirt From Madagascar's beautifully ethereal And then..., which has become like a narcotic to me this past week. Luckily you can't OD on musical goodness.

ADDENDUM: I just ordered the Gestapo Khazi record from Dead Beat because Jenkins from Doc's said none of his distributors had it.


Blogger zebtron said...

I love Pullen's ability to play 'out' and swing like crazy at the same time. Don't know if you've heard "Plays Monk", originally on a pretty obscure label but recently re-released
( It may be my favorite solo work of his.

4:38 PM  

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