Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Turned to my vinyl last night and almost didn't feel like playing this one, a 1980 recording on ECM. But did and found it to hold up much better than I'd've guessed. Not all of it--the aptly, hyper-ECMishly titled "Pastel Morning" is about as weak as one would suspect, but much of the rest is refreshingly gritty. If I recall correctly, this was the first ECM album to feature musicians who'd cut their teeth in the NYC loft scene (Chico Freeman and John Purcell), so it was something of a big deal at the time. I often find DeJohnette-involved productions to be better than I expect for some reason, including the very fine duo with Jarrett, "Ruta & Daitya". But I'm guessing I've just been lucky....

Peter Warren's appearance here prompted some reminiscences about, of all things, Chick Corea. I was quite a big fan early on in my jazz-listening life, having heard all the early ECM things, "Light as a Feather" and his late 60s recordings (Inner Space, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs", "Is", "Sundance"). Then, of course, came the extra-sappy, extraordinarily obnoxious version of Return to Forever (Ok, ok, I liked *gulp* "Hymn to the Seventh Galaxy"--I can barely bring myself to type that--when it appeared, but soon thereafter came to my senses) and things plummeted right off the cliff. Around that time, I became aware of the existence of the slimy belief system known as Scientology and Corea's involvement in same.

One day, when I was in Boston in early '75, I was walking around downtown when I was accosted by a charming young lady who asked if I had a few minutes to take a survey/test thing. Well, she was cute and charming so I said yes and followed her into a fancy, old townhouse in the Back Bay. I took the test (administered by some less winsome person...) and was presented with the results. It was only at that time I was informed that this was on behalf of Scientology. Yecch...Somewhere along the line, I'd made mention of my love for jazz and the woman said, "Oh, you like jazz. Have you ever heard of Chick Corea?" "Yes," I replied, "in fact, his music has gotten drastically worse since his involvement with it." and I left.

I soon divested myself of virtually every LP with Corea's presence, such was the disgust I felt for the, erm, religion. The one exception I can think of is the Circle "Paris Concert" and that only because of Braxton. (I've since gotten late 60s Miles CDs) Most of these, I don't regret a bit--I'm sure some of the 60s sides are OK but I can live without them as well as the first two RTF's, the piano improvisations, etc. I would kinda like to have back the Circle "A.R.C." trio recording, though (with Holland and Altschul), despite the Scientological significance of the title.

The other one I'd like to hear, and the reason for my digression, is Peter Warren's "Bass Is" on Enja:


Dammit for Corea's presence.

Not at all sure if it would hold up or not, but I'd be curious to find out.

5 comments:

Jim said...

omg brian aren't you psyched about the stars of the lid concert this friday?

Brian Olewnick said...

Hmmm...I'd been happily ignorant of these lids until now.

Jon said...

I saw the SOTL touring behind their first record, at what might have been the very first in-store show at the newly opened Other Music back in the day. I still have a nice pink t-shirt from that show.

Captain Hate said...

If I recall correctly, this was the first ECM album to feature musicians who'd cut their teeth in the NYC loft scene (Chico Freeman and John Purcell)

David Murray was on the prior Special Edition lp, or does he not count?

Brian Olewnick said...

You know, before I pulled out the LP, I was thinking that Murray was on it; that was probably in my head re: ECM/Downtown NYC. Don't know the record in question, but I assume you're correct.