Bill Connors, Paul Bley, Jimmy Giuffre, & Lee Konitz Live in
Phasedin | New Jersey | 05/20/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It seems all of the releases on the NY based Improvising Artists Inc label of the late 70's are now out of print. Sad, very sad.
Jazz pianist Paul Bley started and ran the label for a few years-back in the vinyl era, I guess when he was living in New York. I guess all the work of running a record label got to be too much for Bley-he did after all have his own career as a musician in addition to running a label, but for a few short years he managed to put out a bunch of worthwhile recordings in a more experimental jazz mode. I believe Bley himself played at least a bit on all of the recordings issued by IAI although the leader of these record dates were often horn players Jimmy Giuffre and Lee Konitz.
I discovered this label and it's recordings initially though my love of Guitarist Bill Connors' ECM recordings-Connors was also a regular on several recordings for this label-during the same period he also was recording for the ECM labe (making this Connors' most prolific period).
What the "IAI Festival" was is a festival appearence by the artists from this label which occurred in San Francisco on May 19 1978.
The recording is short-less than 40 minutes. Then again, that was a typical running time for the vinyl era when this origianlly saw the light of day, and the CD reissue didn't add any new material. It's still worthwhile, however, as are all of the IAI recordings.
I don't know who was responsible for these late 70's recordings seeing the light of day again on CD-I have no information as to wheather Paul Bley was involved in these reissues or not, but it seems they were available only for a scant few years. So, if you can find copies through sellers or still in "record shops" and you have any interest in the above mentioned artists, I recommend you pick these up. I'm afraid they may never see the light of a laser beam again.
So on this recording from May 1978, we have here 5 tracks that have survived running 36:04.
The CD starts and ends with duet tracks by saxophonists Jimmy Giuffe and Lee Konitz, first playing Oscar Pettiford's "Blues In The Closet". then ending the Cd with a Giuffre/Konitz original called "From Then To Then". It's interesting to hear 2 saxophonists without any rhythm support and how they carry the music all on their own. Any fans of either of these 2 musicians certainly would want to hear this I would think.
Track 2 is another Giuffre/Konitz duet, a short original compoition called "The Sad Time" which has Giuffre switching from saxophone to bass flute and Konitz on alto saxophone-my favorite of these 3 duet tracks by these 2 hornmen. Very nice, but all too short at under 3 minutes.
Next up is the only appearence by guitarist Bill Connors-my favorite track of the CD-a Connors/Giuffre original called "Spanish Steps". This is a long track (over 11 minutes) which gives allot of space to Connors' classical guitar with Giuffree adding in his clarinet.
Track 4 features the Cd's only appearence by Paul Bely-and the only time you hear piano on this recording. "Enter Ivory" is another long track (again 11 minutes), an original track composed by Paul Bley (piano) and, again, Jimmy Giuffre who plays both soprano saxophone and flute on this one.
I can highly recommend this recording to anyone who is a fan of any of these musicians, even though it seems to have slipped between the cracks for fans of any of the 4 musicians who appear here. Let's hope it doesn't remain a forgotten gem forever.
With the short playing time i'm still recommending this one. How nice it would be if this got paired on a CD reissued with another out of print recording by these musicians from the IAI catalog-all of their releases ran pretty short and would be prime for a reissue of one of those "2 albums on 1 CD" releases.