Tag Archives: Delmark

Rocoe Mitchell-sound


Mr. Mitchell is an absolute cleric of the sax, who took a credo of cacophony & spliced it with punctilious syncopation & compositional rigour. Mitchells innovation, intensity & ability are difficult to overstate as this very early album so irrefutably affirms. This man ejects some of the most histrionic extrusions i have ever’ ever witnessed. it’s zoic, less like an instrument & more like an animal cry…a very distressed or dangerously over-excited animal, some extraction not unlike a screaming chimp. in fact, i think this album also has the most shrill banshee like waling & uber tire-screeching, a fairly regular idiolect of Mitchell’s. for pure spacking off-road expostulations, Mitchell & some of the behavior within are going to be difficult to usurp. the guys just out of control! my only regret is that the major melting is all in stints & they are somewhat brusque. protracted ululations are not unfortunately the dish of the day, which is unfortunate because in this format with the tumble-weed drums & fumbling bass i could listen without end. again, i need to stress just how outlandish & OTT Mitchell’s solos are, i think that for pure expression & momentary theatrics, Mitchell is probably the don for Free-Jazz, yeah i think so, i don’t know anyone else that can divinate those kind of sounds out of a sax…it’s like his sax is biological responding to his breathing with it’s own unearthly screams…i love this guy!!!

As for the rest of the album & it’s performers, well this is a seminal & cult Free-Jazz/Avant-Garde record, so i could prolix for centuries, but in short, make sure you get this one & understand that it’s propelled to a real benchmark. the recording is excellent, especially for the wind instruments giving a really protrusive & ample effect/sound with decent grit. there are six other practitioners in the scrum, drums, bass, & two extras on horns. the signature accoutrements adorn through whistles chimes cowbells gongs etc. it’s a jubilant mad motley of labile rebounds & merging interference, self-sardonic with an almost toon like tinge…partially constructed, extensive improvisational-phasing along with a parenthesis of unity & synchronology the ACMM soloing appears in installments although on large always with at least one of the others sloshing in the back-ground.


who fucking cares, this albums dope & you need to get it rather than me scribing these explicandums. The drums come courtesy of Alvin Fielder, a drummer I have otherwise only experienced on Mitchells “Before There Was Sound” CD. on Sound, Alvin mostly plays disjointed tumble-weed & random percussionary patterns. There’s barely a steady beat/action, with drum cameos/actions mostly being lobbed, dropped & reamed in scattered pieces. it’ pretty variegated & supports the entire medley very well, but some sections have me craving more motion & activity. there’s no swing, from the drummer or anybody although there is a momentous effort & indeed success at keeping things multifarious & dynamic with incessant changes & shifts.


breaking down the track content, side one is by far my preference. Two stunning tracks Ornette 5.25 (with some of the most ridiculous sounds ever coaxed from the horns barrel) & The Little Suite 10.27 (a staggeringly facetious lampoon heavy floccule of Avant plurality with furors of obliterating fustian scorch) with plenty of seizures & theatrics as well as odd-ball flummox & endearingly peculiar hyper-eccentricity. the flip is somewhat subdued. “Sound”, an almost twenty minute Flot (vague, evasive non-direct Avant-Jazz), that meanders & gesticulates, brimming with experimentation & atmospherics but not much else. after about eight minutes in we get a wondrous bout of ineffable dramaticism from Mitchells horn only to ebb into more Flot. My impression is prolepsis, misdirection, incertitude (at least the sentiments stimulated in me from the material)… there’s some very interesting ideas, but I personally need more substance & action.


another very important notation to acknowledge is the albums name….”sound”…& what’s another term for sound? “noise” of course. & you better believe it because the demented deviations & cardinal ferocity displayed here are not’s to be fucked with. there’s even a passage on the second track “the little suite” where they play some kind of intentionally inane spoofish pasquinade of what sounds like caricatured European court music from a 70’s B-movie (it’s not even the 70’s yet), only to explode into abject off-road malfunction. this technique would be utilized profusely decades later by Noyzcore bands, with samples or musical passages covering a different style before dive-bombing into blasts & noise. Someone else was there a long’ long’ long time before. Classic’ classic head-wrecking & hugely futuristic/precocious indelibility.


Label: Delmark

Rekd: 1966

Art Ensemble Of Chicago-Live At Mandel Hall


Rapidly closing the holes in the AEOC back catalogue here. I recently picked up this brilliant disc. It’s been fractioned into four parts by name, but runs as a single consecutive take (76.24 minutes) of their 1972 live performance at Mandel Hall University in Chicago. It’s an especially excellent AEOC title & pretty much covers their colossal wealth of styles & abilities superbly well, from the lampooning pomp Jazz, multi-dimensional Avant-Garde, Afrocentric themes & patterns & of course total shock-wave blow-out oblivion hifalutin histrionics.
Ordaining with indomitable bombast, rowdy rock-esque & repetitive strike group syncopated stabbing. in seconds the components start fragmenting & free improvising giving way to a massive balkanization of free-spirited chaos & noise. An abrupt coordinated halt ambushes after about four minutes, ushering in hella’ larking from Bowie & the boys. This progresses to one of those wonderful cartoonish, classical Jazz piss-takes that AEOC do so well, with a levity, humour & exaggeration, but also, marvellous musicianship. The following 20 minutes is more sedated, travelling through a myriad of seasons, moods & styles with tons of different instrumentations, coacting, soloing in exploratory expounding, escorted by a constant variegation of bells, chimes, small percussion etc.

At about 34.30 the miraculous forces of molten omnipotence are summoned, this is the section I really want to focus on. It’s one of the most staggeringly extreme & strenuous blow-out, hell for leather, freak out episodes in Free Jazz history. Yes, EVER! These lot are renowned for their potency in sustained opalescent mayhem, but this paroxysm is a particularly profound performance in the paranormal. Perhaps the primary detonator here is Don Moye, who flails with such an intensity, insistence & preposterous peremptory percolation, divine dexterity & almost unimaginable macro innovations that JUST KEEP COMING, not to omit outrageous stamina & log splitting power surging & fluxing in a steady column of stupefying incendiary overspill, gushing gouts of ridiculously creative pyrocosm & super invention iridescence. It’s like his life depends on this performance, & somehow the ascendency & urgency keeps spiking. also his pedal work, punching through with these gigantic skin-splitters, altering the angles & trajectory, it is supremely impressive, glorious & outstandingly exhilarating with insane strength & extended physical vigour, but this inexplicable ebullition to me clarifies him as one of the greatest & hardest drummers of all time that mingled so many facets of the apparatus (stamina/diversity/distinction/speed/endurance) into one giant fizzing comet of irrecusable reification. Now that’s just the drums…can you imagine the combined hysteria prepotency of the four remaining members expostulating, simultaneously over this? Witness the impossible & be accosted by some of the most unthinkable, indefinable, paranormal pummelling & thermo-nova shock-shroud that swirls beyond the criteria of words. Perhaps AEOC at their most manic & effusive, sensationalist inferno, wit’ hella hollering n’ caterwauling just to shimmer & carbonize that bit harder. Splendacious, & this is from a disc 55 years + later, being present in the venue during such radiant turbulence must have been some serious out of body bollocks!!!!!!!!
After this cleansing tumult, the new galaxy is explored with percussive profusion, bell-showers & much larking on The Little Instruments. An African energy with abundant Avant-Garde experimentalisation & free-form flourishes with masses of bass improvisation from Favors. There’s a final twist with Moye laying down some hard breaks before the finish.
Proper sonic sorcery! these cats were just fuckin somethin’ else man!!!!!!! Lovely cover collage as well.

Rekd: 1972
Label: Delmark