Track Selection: Medley: Hag – Cymbalism – Oleo (10:45)
Haynes kicks off as he intends to continue, relentless propulsion, fizzling with brio and drive, sticks dancing on the cymbals, head-nodding double-time to keep up, as Strozier pulls up along side and then accelerates away on the alto. Great!
Frank Strozier (as) Ronnie Mathews (p) Larry Ridley (b) Roy Haynes (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 10, 1963
The drums are not natural vehicles for melody and harmony, and not an easy position from which to direct music, so of necessity Haynes opted to partner with up with an adventurous front line tenors like Roland Kirk on “Out of the Afternoon”, Booker Ervin on “Cracklin” or Frank Strozier here, performing on both alto sax and flute. Haynes’s drumming swings as infectious in support as when he solos. His crisp rolls and cymbal accents fit organically with Larry Ridley’s rock solid harmonic anchors, while Strozier and Mathews push the tunes along to their final destinations.
Vinyl: NJ 8287 – a second pressing on Blue/silver trident label, rare enough itself, if my failed pursuit of Hayne’s New Jazz “Cracklin'” release from the same year was anything to go by. The Purple label original New Jazz fetches up to $300 and it remains rare by my definition – only four or five copies a year come to market (in the whole world), so a second pressing from the mid to late Sixties is close enough for me.
That back cover: Writing on Cover alert! What possesses someone to write their name in large thick disfiguring felt tip on the back cover? R. Ruff? Is that a joke? Dada? Like the infamous “R Mutt” signature on Marcel Duchamp’s porcelain urinal “Fountain”
Off-topic, I came across one story I liked about the anarcho-performance artist Pierre Pinoncelli, who vandalised Duchamp’s subversive lavatorial ready-made work in the official Pompidou Paris art centre, by using it for its original intended purpose, before whacking it with a hammer (symbolic of an auctioneer’s hammer, he told the court), getting himself arrested in the process. How subversive is that? Subverting a subversive work of art that had become an establishment icon of subversiveness, which was only ever a serious practical joke on the art establishment of the day.
In another of Pinoncelli’s “performance art” he staged a hold up in which he robbed a bank of ten francs. He claims his original plan was to demand just one franc, but fell victim to the country’s terrible rate inflation. Separate the action from the monetary amount. Sheer genius.
R. Mutt, R. Ruff, you decide. I think it’s about the dog on the front cover woof woof, ruff.
Source: part of the late Brian Clark collection
Brian was apparently a keen “amateur” drummer and his collection reflected his passion for the drums. And who better than by Roy ‘Snap Crackle’ Haynes? Artistry without the grandstanding of the decades that followed – the instantly forgettable theatrical ten minute rock-concert drum solo – just enough time to boil the kettle and brew a nice cup of tea.
Strangely there were few Art Blakey in Brian’s collection, perhaps the Jazz Messengers were insufficiently drum-oriented. I tried Blakey’s “Orgy in Rhythm” once but it failed to hit the spot, unlike Paul Motian’s sublime time-points and tonal textures hanging suspended in space, or in the strictly come dancing field, Tony Allen, who I swear has an unfair advantage in having more arms and legs than any other drummer.
A bent piece of metal pipe with holes in it, called a saxophone, transforms human breath into a voice; drums extend the pulse of the heart beat; a piano exchanges ten for eighty-eight fingers, while the bass is the feet on which music walks. Instruments are physical extensions of human form and function that transform man into musician, the ultimate analogue source, flesh into vinyl.
Whilst a singing voice can be beautiful, how often does it compare with a stream of triplets and sixteenths soaring from Charlie Parker’s alto?
It strikes me that not only are records the new antiques, they are works of art, the equal of art framed on gallery walls. You are not just a mere record collector, a figure of fun and pity, poking around in dusty crates. You are, in that immortal expression of Charles Saatchi, an art-oholic, in search of a life-sustaining drink.
Photos updated JANUARY 1, 2017