Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Noah HOWARD - Quartet 1966

Noah HOWARD - Quartet 1966
ESP 1031


In this pivotal recording in the development of early avant garde jazz, Howard proves himself as an innovator who boldly goes where Ornette Coleman, Marion Brown, or Frank Wright did not fear to tread. His alto saxophone sound and ideas clearly mirror Coleman, reaching for upper atmospheric, warp signatures, and also playing warm lyrical phrases. This is a free-bop excursion with raw trumpeter Ric Colbeck, well-regarded but undermixed bassist Scotty Holt, and unheralded drummer Dave Grant. Four pieces comprise this disc totaling just under 30 minutes, with no alternate takes or previously unissued material tacked on. "Henry's Street" (perhaps for Henry Grimes) starts with a repeated four-note phrase which merges to free-bopping lines with Grant swinging hard. This is where Howard's sound can be favorably compared to that of Coleman, as he uses clipped phrasings and upper register sonic blasts. A hefty, audible bass solo from Holt and cavalry military quotes from alto and trumpet conclude this ear opener. "Apotheosis" and "Apotheosis, Extension I" are quite dissimilar. The former is reminiscent of Coleman/Don Cherry approximate themes in a solemn, soulful unison tack leading into impressive interplay between the horns; the latter is a free, bluesy statement followed by soulfelt blowing and highly intense squawking. "And About Love" is lighter with its loose, compact, and fragmented associations. Grant's drumming is more urgent underneath the surface while Howard and Colbeck play sweet and sour segments leading to a free ending which is simultaneously raw, rambunctious, and highly concentrated in melody. Over the years Howard has become a tragically neglected figure, but remains a European-based icon who still records and occasionally visits the States. This is his debut recording, and a stark reminder of how he was in on the ground floor of this progressive movement.
By Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide.
Noah Howard- Alto Sax,
Ric Colbeck- Trumpet,
Scotty Holt- Bass,
Dave Grant- Percussion.
A1. Henry's Street 7:22 
A2. Apotheosis 6:57 
B1. Apotheosis Extension I 8:21 
B2. And About Love 7:09


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