Byard Lancaster Unit – Live At Macalester College CD

Byard Lancaster

Byard Lancaster was one bad-ass mothafucker!! An extremely flammable reedman that heaped masses of revolutionary zest, black radicalism & uncompromising spiritual/existential liberational topography into his music. Maybe that’s why we did not hear as much from him as we so obviously should have done? (a-la Clifford Thornton?) That’s another conversation. Here you have six tracks recorded between 1970 & 1973, three of which are live performances at Macalester college. The personnel & instrumentation varies but Lancaster is joined on all cuts by a drummer called J.R. Mitchell & the majority of the action is explosive. The first track “1324” wastes very little time & quickly has Lancaster disgorging an extraordinarily severe harangue from the volcanoes nozzle over J.R’s ictus, choppy & erratic fast paced momentum. & it just smoulders on & on, pretty much for the tunes entire duration (16.30). sections get really intense, like a scream within a scream within a scream, Byard is absolutely knock-out with some of the most strenuous vociferation ever ejected with a really tangible recalcitrance, FUCK-YEAH!!! The bassist is a cat called Calvin Hill & he is on electric bass! the basses sound is quite funny, unfitting & almost puny/comical against the adjacent ferocity. But it actually to me becomes a kind of novelty & I really enjoy the energy & out of placeness of it’s presence. The second track is a much briefer & melodious affair with a piano even included (cue spiritual slush). Then you hit “War World” & Lancaster just extirpates molten overspill to the absolute maximum, perhaps beyond it even. SERIOUS!!! The later tracks drag in a cross-fuse of more Avant-Garde & experimental styles, Coltrane “Spiritual Jazz” elements & the usual fury & mania. It’s totally nuts, out-of-control & all over the shop! This is a great disc with tremendous variety & a reliable & replete repertoire of gun-powder excess for all you human-torches out there that want the hectic shit! It’s well packaged & has excellent liner notes from Lancaster as well as extensive photographs. The album has also been dedicated to Sunny Murray as “the father of avant garde drumming” whom Lancaster played & recorded with conducing the inevitable furnace-floor results. The album was originally released on Dog Town records but has been reissued with two more tracks here on Porter Records.

Rekd – 1970-1971 (reissue in 2008)

Label – Porter Records