David Lee Jr, “Wymbo-Ngoma,” Evolution, 1974.
The Clarinet Summit, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” Southern Bells, 1987.
Julius Hemphill, “Skin 2,” ‘Coon Bid’ness, 1975.
Julius Hemphill, “Dogon A.D.,” Dogon A.D., 1972.
Jamie Saft Trio, “Sturiel,” Astaroth: Book of Angels Vol. 1, 2005.
The Ex + Tom Cora, “Dere Geliyor Dere,” And the Weathermen Shrug Their Shoulders, 1993.
Max Roach, “Freedom Day,” We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, 1960.
Marty Ehrlich’s Dark Woods Ensemble, “Tribute,” Live Wood, 1997.
The Live Wood set was recorded over the course of a European tour in 1996. The line-up for this tour was Marty Ehrlich, winds; Erik Friedlander, cello; Mark Helias, bass. The group has elsewhere included percussion, guitar, and other instrumentation.
I first saw Ehrlich perform in Andrew Hill’s sextet at the Knitting Factory in 1998. It was among the best shows I’ve ever seen, in no small part because of Ehrlich’s versatility and range, to say nothing of his attention to the other musicians. He is a consummate performer: assertive & gracious to both audience & bandmates.
Other recommendations: Dark Woods Ensemble, Sojourn (Tzadik, 1999); Marty Ehrlich,News on the Rail (Palmetto, 2005); Andrew Hill, Dusk (Palmetto, 2000).
I listen to a fair amount of jazz but am not a jazz-geek in the regular sense of the term: I don’t pour over liner notes, I’m not very good at remembering titles, and I tend to think of records/groups/performances in terms of their leaders and drummers, regardless of who else appears. I’m drawn to jazz mostly because of how it feels to listen to jazz, and one of the best-feeling composers and performers I’ve come across, Andrew Hill, died in April.
Though best known for his adventurous Blue Note LPs recorded in the 1960s, Mr. Hill’s career was consistent and seamless, whatever label- or promotion-related difficulties he faced along the way. In the course of the last 40 years, he continuously sought new arrangements for the instruments in his groups (including, at times, human voices), new rhythmic variations, new harmonic interplay.
He was, in his way, without peers, bridging an often-felt gap between the genre’s freer and more conventional modes. He was and is as fine an entry into avant-garde music as I know of. His passing is a tragedy, to be sure, and no small loss to both the performing and listening communities.
“Hey, Hey,” Lift Every Voice, 1969.
“Mira,” Grass Roots, 1968.
“15 8,” Dusk, 2000.
Sun Ra Arkestra, “Nuclear War,” Freedom Rhythm & Sound, 2009 (Nuclear War, 1982).