359

Julius Hemphill: Blue Boye

Mike Neely By

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

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Left" CD/LP/Track Review Left
by John Sharpe
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Fusion Machine" CD/LP/Track Review Fusion Machine
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "All L.A. Band" CD/LP/Track Review All L.A. Band
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Butterflies Fly in Pairs" CD/LP/Track Review Butterflies Fly in Pairs
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 22, 2016
Read "Checkpoint" CD/LP/Track Review Checkpoint
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 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!