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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy birthday

Will sure sound silly to most of you, but... as it VERY seldom happens - if I'm correctly guessing, it already and previously happened two times only - find it worth quoting and writing about it.

After a short, yet nice, 100% computer and mobile-free vacation, I today had a very pleasant listening session at my new studio - aka The Room - after an IPod-only diet for weeks.

I hauled to the new studio only a small part of my vinyl records collection - i.e. some jazz and some newly bought items, still waiting to be put in alphabetical order - under proper file in my larger home collection - so my listenings are quite limited in choice, these summer days... nonetheless, I love this unesay situation, as I'm finding hidden treasures which I only listened once in eons.

This morning I wished to listen to some Don Cherry's music - namely "Brown Rice" from mid '70s - which I used to listen to and groove in a lot, decades ago.

I found the shelf and, with above mentioned "Brown Rice", I also picked up some more obscure Don's stuffs - "Mu" - part 1 and 2 - on Byg Actuel label, a live on Wergo, a Blue Note titled "Music for Improvisers", "Orient" double-lp on Charly records and... a SteepleChase disc, formerly a Johnny Dyani Quartet featuring Don Cherry, Dudu Pukwana and Makaya Ntshoko, titled "Song for Biko".

I guess I only listened to this very disc once, so, like it was a brand new, freshly purchased wax, I put on the EMT 930st's platter and prepared to give it a curious listen... and... WOW, folks: what a disc!

Also the recording is VERY SteepleChase's quality, as I already appreciated several times with some Chet Baker, John Tchicai and Archie Sheep's vinyls I own: a broad soundtstage, superb dynamics and detail: goose-bumps a go-go!

Johnny Dyani's double bass is larger than life, BIIIG, DEEEEP sounding and the music is very reminiscent of some Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath Ogun's discs from early '70s... very South-African with its "kwela" folk-tinted melodies, but so fresh and intriguing and surprising new to be a timeless humble treasure.

The drummer, M. Ntshoko - also a fantastic player - was a Dollar Brand's group musician and his polyrhythmic textures are just amazing, always so fluid and relaxed, still keeping a sense of drama... its feeling reminded me of Louis Moholo, one of my most beloved drummers ever, always coming from South Africa and often appearing on superb Ogun's discs.

Their - Moholo and Ntshoko's - drumming isn't jazz, but much, MUCH more ancient sounding stuff... almost alien-sounding, always changing and ready to build and change a climax with a cymbal caressing... simply wonderful!

On first track, "Wish for Sunshine" and on second, that "Song for Biko", the quartet is truly swinging: Don Cherry's cornet keeps the voice I learned to appreciate in the years... it's Ornette Coleman and ethnic, Codona/ECM's sound and universal music... but, most of all, it's Don's VERY own voice.

A truly superb disc which deserved this fortuitous (re)discovery... it sounded so "proper" and "right", today and I enjoyed it a lot.

... and, Zen-like, or simply by chance - is it the same?!?! - I read on liner notes: "Recorded July 18th, 1978"...

... so: happy birthday!

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