David Murray (tenor saxophone) Olu Dara (trumpet) Fred Hopkins (bass) Phillip Wilson (drums). Recorded in concert at Ladies’ Fort, NYC, June 26, 1976.
I confess I am not big on the ’70’s New York Loft scene. That’s not a criticism of it, that is a criticism of me. Here in the UK a “loft” is somewhere you store boxes of stuff you really ought to have thrown away but can’t bring yourself to, for sentimental reasons. My loft contains a couple of boxes of Californian New Age vinyl and a pair of snakeskin platform shoes. The shoes still fit, but sadly, New Age no longer does.
New York Loft jazz exemplified by Murray and Dara is a pungent continuation of the free and avant-garde jazz traditions let loose by Coltrane, Coleman and Ayler, among others. Its the sort of music I feel I ought to like, but my heart belongs to something more tuneful and rhythmic. However, I am always willing to give anything a go – push the envelope, see if I warm to it. When this Murray tribute to Albert Ayler popped up in a shop, I thought, give it a try, pourquoi pas?
The selection Joanne’s Green Satin Dress has a catchy two horn theme and some nice playing from both Dara and Murray. It’s loose and spacious like the industrial space of its’ setting (Ladies Fort? Eh?) but with a certain backbone to the structure of the piece, making it the more accessible of the tracks. Others veer over the edge to my taste, I think I understand what they are trying to do, but I just don’t like it. However it’s not all about me, there are more than a few people who dig this stuff, Ayler, Loft Scene, and I think it deserves a posting, you can give your own viewpoint.
Vinyl: India Navigation IN-1026
An original pressing I assume, but we are past the era where these things are considered important. Still within the golden age of vinyl, it sounds good.
The more astute observer (pixel-peepers) may notice changes in label/runout photography, differentiating the run-out from the groove area, and better definition of the etchings. All part of the march of self-improvement – evidence-based forensics.
This search of the NY loft scene yielded not a lot of enjoyment for me. I might consign the record to my own loft along side the New Age albums, next to the platform shoes. See if it improves with age. If you are passionate about the NY Loft Scene, you can always put me straight.