Monday, April 15, 2013

The Group Live, 1986

The Group was a smartly aggregated new jazz avant improv outfit of great distinction. After all, it was Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet, Marion Brown, alto, Billy Bang, violin, Sirone, bass, Fred Hopkins, bass, and Andrew Cyrille on drums. Nice. That so many of them have now passed is a warning to those who think they will live forever. Get your projects in order, leave something behind you'll be proud of.

This band had/has every reason to be proud of what they were doing live in New York, September 1986. The tapes were running and The Group Live (No Business NBCD 50) is the result, a fine slice of this ensemble in fine form, doing various originals, A Butch Morris (RIP) composition and Mingus's perennial Pork Pie.

What is striking is how nicely the group dynamic flowed. It all lays well, relaxed, freely expressive, by all-stars more concerned with playing the music than getting jolts of ego boost. Every one of them were/are more concerned about the music than some sort of cheap aggrandizement. And it shows in the quality of what they did.

And so you get a goodly set of The Group at its best. The recording is clear, balance good and they are on top of it. What was I doing that night that I couldn't be there? Who remembers. Thank No Business for getting this out to us. It gives you something any of us would have been glad to leave behind before we headed for the stars and the great beyond!

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