A couple of years ago Porter Records released a 2000 performance of an all-star configuration of the Lou Grassi Po Band Live at the Knitting Factory Volume 1 (Porter 4051). I am just (happily) catching up with it so I am sharing the experience with you, my much appreciated readers.
Lou is of course on the drums, the always incandescent Marshall Allen makes his presence vibrate on alto and flute, then there's Paul Smoker on the trumpet, Steve Swell on trombone, Perry Robinson, clarinet, and the late Wilber Morris on bass.
Needless to say this was a formidable gathering of avant jazzmen and I am glad to say the results live up to expectations. Three longish segments fill the disk: two collective improvisations and a Paul Smoker piece, "LouRa."
You could just listen to Lou Grassi on the drums and get something out of it. He is inventive rolling thunder personified. But everybody is onto the main stem in classic new thing ways so there is much to hear. The group improvs are sometimes extraordinarily tumultuous in part thanks to Marshall's patently raucous war cries as inspiration, but there are plenty of spaces less dense as well.
It's a very good blow-out that I would have been very happy to have caught live. For all that there is the document disk available as consolation. Avant fans will find this one very stimulating, as I did.