Archive for the Roscoe MITCHELL Category

Roscoe MITCHELL Sextet – Sound 1966

Posted in JAZZ, Roscoe MITCHELL on December 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Roscoe MITCHELL Sextet – Sound 1966
1996 Issue.


Sound is the debut album by free jazz saxophononist Roscoe Mitchell recorded in 1966. It features performances by Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, Maurice McIntyre, Lester Lashley and Alvin Fielder. The CD reissue includes two takes of “Sound,” which were edited together to form the original LP version, and an alternate take of “Ornette.” The album was identified by Chris Kelsey in his Allmusic essay “Free Jazz: A Subjective History” as one of the 20 Essential Free Jazz Albums.
One of the first bold statements to come from Chicago’s AACM underground of the 60s — a tremendous debut effort from the young Roscoe Mitchell! The album’s got a “sense of the new” feel that’s as gripping as anything recorded by ESP or Impulse around the same time — a rule-breaking, freely-creative approach to jazz that builds strongly off the changes already wrought by Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and Archie Shepp! The format is somewhat like the Art Ensemble Of Chicago at times — with measured horn work from Mitchell on alto, clarinet, and recorder, Maurice McIntyre on tenor, Lester Bowie on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Lester Lashley on trombone (as well as a bit of cello). Some tracks — like the brilliant “Sound” — offer a slow-building exploration of tones and textures — while others, like the blues-joke “Little Suite”, or the harmelodic “Ornette”, show a wry sense of humor that would become a Chicago avant hallmark as the years went on!
From Dusty Groove.
With Sound, saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell unloosed blazing glory in 1967. Expressing an emphasis on music as, of course, “sound” rather than “tune,” Mitchell’s sextet starts with an immediately fast gait. The quickness is undergirded by Malachi Favors’s bass and Lester Lashley’s cello on “Ornette,” of which an alternate take opens the CD. Here Lester Bowie’s trumpet is early in the cycle of exploration that gave the Art Ensemble of Chicago–of which both Bowie and Mitchell are charter members–such a slurry brass force. Tenor saxophonist Maurice McIntyre develops his twisty solo logic from chunks mulled over, shredded, and unpacked. Mitchell’s alto cuts quickly and incisively, as well as providing eerie and lengthy sheets of notes in “Sound 1,” where Lashley takes up trombone and provides a slippery brass skyline, with Alvin Fielder’s malletted cymbals providing the blustering clouds.
By Andrew Bartlett.
This album released in 1966 is a monumental effort. Not only is it the first recorded music to emerge from the groundbreaking AACM it changed the face of free jazz and sent it into new and unexplored territory that would be further expanded on by The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Anthony Braxton among others. At any rate “Sound” is essentially an Art Ensemble….recording minus Joseph Jarman. The cd issue contains alternate cuts of “Ornette” and the two versions of “Sound” are seperated. On “Ornette” Mitchell pays homage to the master; high energy Ornette inspired tonal jazz, music that bombards from all sides. On “Sound” the breakthrough on this album the musicans alternate soloing interspaced with periods of silence. At times the intruments wail over crashing cymbals and other times they cry as if in agony. A very moving experience indeed. The piece is not without structure though, there is a method to Mitchells madness. The “Little Suite” employs the various little instruments that later became a signature for the Art Ensemble of Chicago. All in all this is a landmark recording and deserves to be on the same shelf as Colemans “Free Jazz” and Coltranes “Acension”. Mitchell has never ceased to amaze both as a muscian but more importantly as a composer and this is an important record that both documents the beginning of Mitchells career as well as The Art Ensemble of Chicago.
After the manic energy of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, and the late Coltrane, SOUND introduced an entirely different approach to the developing free jazz avant-garde — the deliberate use of space and the elimination of the pulse. Of course, this was not accepted within the parameters of “jazz” by many, but it shared that fate with all of the above-mentioned innovators. Though I know Mitchell has denied the connection, his sound innovations created common ground with the European avant-garde in the form of improvising groups like AMM and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (which included Evan Parker), as well as the experimentalists of the classical tradition.

This recording of Roscoe Mitchell’s compositions was the first recording by the new AACM, Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, which at first centered around pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams. Robert Koester’s Delmark label was important in documenting the AACM in those early years, recording Abrams, Anthony Braxton, and others. This delmark CD reissue, from 1996, the 30th year anniversary of the original recording, is a remarkable expansion of the original vinyl edition. First, an alternate recording of “Ornette” is added. Second, the original “Sound,” as it turns out, was a splice from two recordings — here we are presented with both versions in their entirety, one 26’26, and the other 19’20. “Ornette” is the most conventional of the three compositions, and serves as a gateway into the realm of pure sound abstraction of the title track. “The Litte Suite,” which introduced what became a core element of the Art Ensemble’s repertoire in later years, a bewildering battery of little percussion instruments, whistles, harmonicas, and so forth, brings a humorous note, which would also become so key to the AEC sound palette.

SOUND is attributed to the Roscoe Mitchell Sextet, but it already features Malachi Favors on bass and Lester Bowie on trumpet. Joseph Jarman would soon join Mitchell, Favors & Bowie in what was originally called Roscoe Mitchell’s Art Ensemble. They left for Paris in 1969, where Don Moye joined, and “Chicago” was added, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago was born.

SOUND may not be as well-known as Ornette’s THE SHAPE OF JAZZ TO COME, or Coltrane’s A LOVE SUPREME. It may be only slightly more obscure than Cecil’s UNIT STRUCTURES, come to think of it. But the point is, it should be more widely known — it’s not easy listening music, it is a voyage into the unknown. It represents the creative spirit of music at its best.
By R. Hutchinson.
Sound, Roscoe Mitchell’s debut as a leader, was an early free jazz landmark and an enormously groundbreaking album in many respects. Historically, it marked the very first time that members of Chicago’s seminal AACM community appeared on record; it also showcased the early chemistry between future Art Ensemble of Chicago members Mitchell, Lester Bowie, and Malachi Favors. Arrangement-wise, it employed a number of instruments largely foreign to avant-garde jazz — not just cello and clarinet, but the AEC’s notorious “little instruments,” like recorder, whistle, harmonica, and assorted small percussion devices (gourds, maracas, bells, etc.), heard to best effect on the playful “Little Suite.” Structurally, Sound heralded a whole new approach to free improvisation; where most previous free jazz prized an unrelenting fever pitch of emotion, Sound was full of wide-open spaces between instruments, an agreeably rambling pace in between the high-energy climaxes, and a more abstract quality to its solos. Steady rhythmic pulses were mostly discarded in favor of collective, spontaneous dialogues and novel textures (especially with the less orthodox instruments, which had tremendous potential for flat-out weird noises). Simply put, it’s an exploration of pure sound. It didn’t so much break the rules as ignore them and make up its own, allowing the musicians’ imaginations to run wild (which is why it still sounds fresh today). Sound’s concepts of texture, space, and interaction would shortly be expanded upon in classic recordings by Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and others; the repercussions from its expansion of free jazz’s tonal and emotional palettes are still being felt. [Delmark’s CD reissue includes two takes of “Sound,” which were edited together to form the original LP version, and an alternate arrangement of the briefer free-bop tribute number “Ornette.”]
By Steve Huey. AMG.
Roscoe Mitchell- (Clarinet, Alto Sax);
Lester Lashley- (Cello, Trombone);
Lester Bowie- (Harmonica, Trumpet, Flugelhorn);
Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre- (Tenor Sax);
Malachi Favors- (Bass);
Alvin Fielder- (Drums, Percussion).
01. Ornette – (previously unreleased, alternate version) 5:44
02. Sound 1 26:36
03. The Little Suite 10:27
04. Ornette 5:29
05. Sound 2 19:24

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