All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

359

Julius Hemphill: Blue Boye

Mike Neely By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Julius Hemphill was the original leader of the World Saxophone Quartet (WSQ). He is also remembered for his extraordinary recordings with his own sextet, and for his work with the cellist Abdul Wadud to mention only some of his accomplishments. Hemphill died of diabetes in 1995.

Screwgun Records, a small label operated by the saxophonist Tim Berne, has recently released an early recording (1977) of Hemphill's entitled: "Blue Boye." This is a 2CD set of solo, and layered solo work, of this master musician/composer who accompanies himself on a variety of instruments. Hemphill is most known for his alto and soprano saxophone work. On this CD he also plays flute, and at times accompanies himself with clapping, hand percussion, and voice. "Accompanies" doesn't do justice to the duet and sometimes small ensemble feel of the music.

It is likely that Hemphill will ultimately be recognized as a major 20th century jazz musician and composer. With this in mind, "Blue Boye" is an invaluable addition to recorded jazz, but Screwgun Records can be thanked for releasing this CD set for more than historical reasons. Not only is it a quirky portrait of an American master early in his career, but it is also startling jazz.

Those who are familiar with Hemphill's saxophone virtuosity ranging from blues to bebop and far beyond will be on familiar ground. But the listener will also be treated to a flute/voice solo that slides jazz into slapstick comedy. The opening solo, alto cut on the second disc, "Kansas City Line," is alone worth the price of admission. Soulful, bluesy, subtle, and complex are adjectives I associate with Hemphill and this wonderful disc set only deepens my admiration for one of the truly neglected figures of modern jazz.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Screwgun Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop For Jazz

Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Julius Hemphill / Peter Kowald: Live at Kassiopeia
Julius Hemphill /...
NoBusiness Records
2012
buy
Dogon A.D.
Dogon A.D.
International Phonograph Inc.
2011
buy
The Hard Blues
The Hard Blues
Clean Feed Records
2005
buy
One Atmosphere
One Atmosphere
Tzadik
2003
buy
Eric Dolphy Eric Dolphy
reeds
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Cecil Taylor Cecil Taylor
piano
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Albert Ayler Albert Ayler
sax, tenor
Evan Parker Evan Parker
sax, tenor
Archie Shepp Archie Shepp
saxophone

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.