Arts Desk

Mingus, Ra, and Ito

alp264mini250.jpgIt's been a great time for jazzheads, especially on the reissue front. First off, is a new Charles Mingus-Eric Dolphy live set just discovered and given the two-disc treatment on Blue Note as Cornell 1964. The label provides extended sound clippage here.

Atavistic recently issued Sun Ra's The Night of the Purple Moon. This small group outing from 1970 has never found its way onto CD until now. Best known for Ra's prominent use of his Roksichord. It's one of my favorite Ra records, if only because it's so different from the rest of his early work: quiet, sad, and so moody that Roman Polanski should have used it in this film.

John Zorn's Tzadik label has just released a double-disc collection of Teiji Ito's early experimental film scores. Teiji Ito: Music for Maya—The Film Music of Teiji Ito is my surprise for the month. I'm not a big "modern composer" guy, having tried and failed to dig the charms of Morton Feldman, etc. many times. I get suckered by the cool album covers, play the thing once, and then never return to it. I can appreciate Steve Reich but only in small doses. But this collection reminds of what I want those guys to sound like: warm, fraying at the seams, DIY.

If you like Moondog's fuzzy handmade sensibilities, you'll dig Ito's spooky sketches.

Special props go to Melody Records for digging up the CD for me over the weekend. I had called asking for it and after several failed search attempts, the clerk said he'd find it and call back. I didn't quite believe him. But a short time later, Melody called to say they had found the album in the rock section. They had the record waiting for me behind the counter when I arrived.

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  • Mark C.

    One should mention that the Sun Ra reissue features long-time Arkestra tenor titan John Gilmore on drums(!)
    That is, on the tracks with drums. However, he does have a tenor feature on 'Impromptu Festival', a joyous modal workout highlighting his hard-driving, rhythmic/melodic approach that so influenced the great John Coltrane a decade before.

    Glad this Saturn release finally made its way to CD. Ah, just in time to celebrate his 'Arrival Day' this month too. September 28, 1931. Space is the place.

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