83

Noah Howard Quartet: At Documenta IX

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
The discovery (or rediscovery) of the music of Noah Howard is an experience in the most soulful avant gardist since Albert Ayler. Howard, born 1943 in New Orleans, participated in the New York free music scene of the 1960s recording for ESP and performing with Archie Shepp, Frank Lowe, Rashied Ali, and Sun Ra. He has lived as an American Expatriate in Europe for several decades.

His music from the 1960s and 70s, to the delight of fans, has begun to resurface. This live recording made in 1992, at the art exhibition Documenta IX in Kassel, Germany, finds Howard in top form. He is accompanied by basist Jack Gregg (Marion Brown, Sonny Simmons, and Jack DeJohnette), drummer Chris Henderson (Sun Ra, Ray Anderson) and pianist Michael J. Smith (Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton). The recording opens with the very organic “Kentucky.” Howard’s quartet tracks the music of John Coltrane throughout; favoring Coltrane’s composed free music. Howard relies heavily on his Gospel roots to tell spirited stories here. Smith’s piano favors McCoy Tyner-meets-Cecil Taylor runs throughout. His rhythmic pounding and pink-pink of the ivories emphatically accent Howard’s lyrical passages and his fire-breathing insights.

The music here is mostly composed, but the quartet ventures into instant composition on “Night Trip.” Howard opens with a 3-minute solo passage followed by a slightly incompatible improvisation. The listener here (and probably in the audience) feels that this band wants to swing. They oblige. Howard roars through “Masai” and “Phoenix,” carrying on a bluesy outside music. The ballad “Lovers” rounds the disc out with gentlest touch possible. Noah Howard is both a rediscovered voice of the 1960s and a modern master of jazz.


Track Listing: Noah Howard – Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone; Michael Joseph Smith – Piano, Keyboards; Jack Gregg – Bass; Chris Henderson – Drums.

Personnel: Kentucky; Karma; Joy; Night Trip; Masai; Lovers; Phoenix; Bush Talk.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Boxholder Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Evergreen (Canceled World)" CD/LP/Track Review Evergreen (Canceled World)
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Emily’s D+Evolution" CD/LP/Track Review Emily’s D+Evolution
by Mark F. Turner
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Troy Collins
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "I'll Be Seeing You" CD/LP/Track Review I'll Be Seeing You
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!