Thursday, November 18, 2021

Ave B Free Jam, 1967, Cook, Coursil, Gale, Robinson, Tintweiss


Surprises can be good. Unless it is a spam call for a car warranty or "you just charged $900 onto some credit card"? Oh? Musical surprises are usually a good thing. Just lately something of that nature came in the mail. It is a CD of a 1967 reel-to-reel tape of some important Free Jazz players jamming in New York. It is entitled aptly Ave B Free Jam or to give it its full title Avenue B Collective Free-Jazz Jam Session (Inky Dot Media IDM 2020 CD 005).  It was one of those special sessions where bassist Steve Tintweiss had a decent Tandberg tape deck and all five players came ready to play as they installed themselves in an apartment in the alphabet section of lower Manhattan. 

This is a happy outcome of those heady New Thing days in New York, where ESP disk was documenting the scene in a series of important releases. This tape might have been released by ESP then--like New York Eye and Ear Control, it has that total spontaneity, a leaderless, five-way collective of closely aligned free group improvisations. with exciting and effective mass sound expressions from the likes of Laurence Cook on drums, Jacques Coursil and Warren Gale on trumpets, Perry Robinson on clarinet and Steve Tintweiss on contrabass. Each contributes a great deal to this continuous wash of fire and energy. The Coursil-Gale trumpet twosome give us a flaming expressionist density that Perry Robinson adds to in his sound-colorful barrages of sound. Tintweiss and Cook give us tintense and continuous freetime that urges the other players onward and ensures that proceedings remain at high energy levels throughout.

Anyone who appreciates the New York New Thing explosion from those days will doubtless find this a substantial and rewarding romp. Each player contributes significantly to the whole while giving us a model of how such open improvs can generate excitement and great energy. Bravo!

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