Late-March sees the release of the majestic Walthamstow Moon (’61 Revisited) by the great saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist John Edwards, and guitarist John Russell, above, left-to-right. Released on the Byrd Out label on vinyl, limited to 300 copies, tracks on side 1 are Mirth, Leonine Aspect, and Marvel; Saturnine Aspect, Maud, and Walthamstow Moon on the reverse. The revisiting in context is more than a homage, think of it as an ignition, an acknowledgement, reflection, a connection, a warping of time and space all rolled into one. In part the revisiting is because on 17 November 1961 John Coltrane played at the Granada Theatre in Walthamstow, north east London, on a Jazz at the Philharmonic tour organised by Norman Granz that 55 years and six days later Evan Parker returned to in spirit as he had attended the Granada gig and would be inspired by it sufficiently to make a pilgrimage to the same place, 186 Hoe Street E17, now home to the Mirth, Marvel & Maud venue. Free improv means a certain respect for the moment, for the act of creation in all its aspiration to completeness, concision and communication, collective ideas that intermingle and develop in the real time social laboratory that makes use of all the raw materials of distilled musical knowledge belonging to the participants at their disposal in a sense translating the acquired expertise, ideas, and above all life force and pouring it out to peers and audience alike to mutually experience, draw on and witness. Factor in time here and a lifetime of groundbreaking accomplishment by Parker and the spirit soars just listening, feeling.
A giant of the music there is a tribute to pianist Misha Mengelberg, who has died, on the Reverb site. I fondly recall a brief, mind blowing, chat with him backstage at the Bath festival many moons ago. He will be greatly missed on the Netherlands avant jazz scene and far, far beyond. SG
Eno. So revolutionary in a way to deconstruct the passive listening habits of the bourgeoisie. So modern and yet tapping into an ancient sound that tech only enhances. Ahead of his time by diving headlong into the vast spaces of the sonic background he is not much talked about at awards ceremonies apart from by the real music fans muttering on the fringes away from the main gaggle of the biz trying somehow without the aid of headphones to filter out all that blare. You cannot really do ambient among braying overpaid music executives, a distraction from the deadly serious business of backslapping. I was thinking of Polar Bear’s Seb Rochford who has worked with Eno, someone who also does not do smooth and might tune out into his own spiritual space in despair at app-driven music in restaurants that has become a reductionist absurd distortion of Ambient and just a fill-the-air-with-stuff functional often minimalist pouting ‘mood magic’. Eno knew, knows, like the time and silence philosophy of the ECM label and to an extent the remix experimentations of the Punkt school of improvisers that repetition and patience, a wait for the moment lost there but always to be found by exact listening, drives our craving for new music and its constant reinvention. He lets his enduring sounds invade the pores, without the perfume of pat phrases on a classic of the late-1970s, false promises, naive hope, all that yeah, yeah, yeah.