Thursday, 17 April 2008

Marion Brown - Porto Novo

I don't do this very often (mainly because I don't have superduper hi-fi equipment), but here's an out of print album for download.

It's Porto Novo, by Marion Brown, and it's ripped from my LP at 192 kbps.

The sound engineering on the LP itself is slightly strange, really amping up Bennink's drums (I'm guessing the guy was more used to dealing with rock/pop musicians than the likes of Han), but at the same time giving them a really strange, off-kilter quality that's hard to describe. I think Chris Corsano (of the Flowers-Corsano duo) calls it "fucked-up."

It's a fascinating record, one of the strongest examples of Brown's 'purer' free jazz style (before he began to move towards more lyrical explorations with the likes of 'Sweet Earth Flying' and 'Vista', and, eventually, straightahead jazz (on 'Live in Japan' and 'November Cotton Flower')). Good as his albums for ESP-disk are, and good as 'Three for Shepp', on Impulse, is, they don't hold a candle to this one.

Altena's none too well-served by the aforementioned sound engineering (in the trio passages, it's Bennink and Brown who dominate), but, when he gets the chance to solo, he's heard to good effect, often producing sounds one would tend to associate more with avant-garde classical music than with jazz.

Bennink has moved on a heck of a long way from the somewhat edgy straight jazzer trying to keep up with Eric Dolphy on 'Last Date': he sounds propulsive, confident, brash, energetic, without cluttering the music. His playing here isn't quite up to Sunny Murray levels of cymbal-splash noise-bash (and isn't trying to be); neither is it the Rashied-Ali magic carpet colouristic approach, but HB's own maverick kineticism.

And Brown? Well, despite his neglect, he was certainly as good an improviser the better-known 'New Thing' musicians Shepp and Sanders. All along though, he wasn't so much 'New Thing' as into his own thing - a good dose of classical influence, an interest in ethnic musics (which, admittedly, Sanders and Shepp shared), and, above all, a sparer approach than the other two musicians. Whereas Shepp and Sanders were well capable of emoting to great effect (the prelude section to 'Creator has a Master Plan', or Shepp's gorgeous, impressionistic reading of 'In a Sentimental Mood' (from 'On this Night', 1965)), Brown was more understated, relying on the carefully chosen phrase, on clear motivic development rather than the pure sound/smear/scream tactic. Listen to the phrase he plays in 'Improvisation' (which also crops up in his solo on one of the other tracks). Just perfect.

I won't bother with track-by-track analysis: you can find that out for yourself. And some of these tracks were posted (in a cleaner rip) on the destination...out blog a while back. But I thought people who haven't had the chance might like to hear the whole album.

Here's the link, then. Info and scans included with the music.


Undaground Tha Illest aka U.N.D.A. - Tha Bangkok Bully said...

Amazing album. I'm also studying sound/music at my university (Savannah College of Arts and Design). Once I get my blog up and running hopefully we can exchange some links on some good music. Peace.

Festoonic said...

Thank you! Been looking for this for years, and while I haven't heard it since about 1980 or so, I recall really like Bennink's playing on this. This is gonna be fun. Thank you again.

steve said...

Thanks very much! Been told this is Marion Brown's best album. Cant wait to give it a listen. all the best. cheers

Florian said...

Thanks for mentioning this album!! I'm listening to it right now (I have it on LP, too) and it's bloody amazing stuff. The drummer, man...THE DRUMMER!!!! Damn....especially side B ist mind-blowing. Take care!! All the best, Florian

OleMorris said...

Thanks for this album. I have most of Marion Brown's albums and I love 'em all - even his more 'poppy' stuff (like 'Vista').
I think he's so much underrated, a lot of people only think of him as 'the guy who played with 'Trane in "Ascension".
Thanks again.

Yoo Hoo said...

Thank you very much for sharing this! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Marion Brown's music is fantastic and this Lp is one of his best. Thanks for sharing my friend.