Here’s an exceptional album from a true Avant icon! Marzette Watts is an obscure artist who seems to have tragically suffered considerable misfortune & scoundrels luck with his career despite phenomenal creative qualities. This historic & brilliant album is a testament to his fantastical capacity & has marvellous contributions from it’s fellow participants, a line up to die for with Sonny Sharrock, Byrad Lancaster, Clifford Thornton, Henry Grimes, JC Moses & Karl Berger. Superb, seething, raucous & edgy politically charged & revolutionary soaked Free-Jazz/Avant-Garde with hugely pleasing sound production. As documented in the accompanying CD booklet, Marzette was a vehement radical & political activist, actually being expelled from his home state of Alabama for his formulation & membership of the black civil rights group Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee. He was also an oil based abstract expressionist painter & is famed by a notorious, tragic & drastic incident when he destroyed most of his paintings from frustration at not getting the recognition or opportunities he felt were warranted.
The album opens with “Ia”. after a slow overture “Ia” swiftly erupts into the kind of frantic sonic pejoration & super energetic pandemonium slathered freak-out, thick with urgency & committed rigour we would anticipate from the cast, with the musicians colliding, converging & soloing in a scrum of storm vapour & improvisational molten swell. Fantastic contributions from everybody, but Watts & Lancaster smoulder like rectorial mad-men in a brilliant depositional gambit of force. Fantastic playing, fast, intense, hyper-oscillating, spasticated & utterly unbidden, when the two eventually clash & get into a giant horn-fight with the auxiliary bolstering of the other musicians & the superb J.C. “mothafukkin” Moses’s hard driving swing hurtling the clangour forward into clearly classic testimony. Astonishing & magical, complete with whooping just to overdrive the ecstatic, unbridled barrage. The track relents about 6.20 slowing into an uncertain largo before J.C. comes in with a stomping sturdy pattern & Karl Bergers vibes take off….DOPE!!! what an opener, lets put everybody on their arse & have the entire junto show what it can do in no uncertain terms.
The second track Geno just dithers round. Uneventful, pensive wandering, it may hold something for some but this stuff is honestly boring & hesitant for me.
The superbly appellated Backdrop For Urban Revolution brings things to a close, hopefully after chasing the cops outta’ town & burning down the banks Ha! It starts slow, displeased citizens congregating exchanging sentiments of aggravation. This is loose Avant-Garde that then ignites into full confrontation at about the four minute mark before pulling back & allowing more concentric soloing & performance priority to Thornton on the trumpet! Again the flair up interlocks before ebbing & allowing Mr Sharrock (the absolute pioneer of Noisecore guitar-shred) to beguile with his agitated discordant scolopendric fret tremors. It’s not as intense & far-out as his pioneering fury that would come just two or three years later (Monkey Pockey Boo) but for goodness sakes this is only 1966! Listen to this guy! Berger follows with more soloing over group assistance. At 10.22 Sharrock returns with increased dissonance, strangling, spazzy, noisy, jangling amorphous roil that’s so far ahead of it’s time. The disorganized rising & falling running skirmishes continue with peaks of consummate flip-out that always deflate, regain composure then forfeit it again. Moments of utter brilliance abound in this inconsistent, miscellaneous emotionally disorderly stretch of unnerving Avant-Garde, rotating different formations of group participation & soloing. For me, a more direct free for all would have been better, especially with such a fantabulous cavage of musicians who clearly play so well together, but never the less this is evidently excellent material.
It’s very apparent that this is a cult album. Most of the music is also considerably awesome & amazingly still sounds fresh even though it’s goddamn 1966, a remarkable achievement. All musicians perform exceptionally & for me the inclusion of Sharrock, especially in a unit/agenda with such abandon is essential listening. Watts & Lancaster also deliver some of the most frenetic & divine sax-singe & JC Moses is a tremendous drummer with a lot of character/personalization & a great feel/vibe to his playing. I think he was one of the best actually & a lot of his stuff on this CD strays way out of the traditional sphere, successfully too. Classic shit!!!