The passing of Denis Charles left many rifts on the landscape of creative improvised music one of which was the necessary demise of the trio he shared with Borgmann and Morris. Recouping the loss as best a possible the two surviving musicians enlisted the aid of Reggie Nicholson and embarked on an exhaustive but edifying 8000 mile tour of Europe and the States. This session taped, in the acoustically inviting Spirit Room (which at the time of this writing is the birth place of over 100 recorded documents of improvised jazz) transpired at the end of the tour with all the sights, sounds and experiences of the pilgrimage still crisp in the musicians’ minds.
The hushed quiet of mallets, vibrating strings and wispy tenor beckons the listener into a poignant collage of eulogistic sounds on “Goodbye Mr. Charles.” Borgmann’s initial tone is imbued with a melancholic sadness that is both dark and luminous and Morris’ demulcent plucking echoes similar sentiments. Denis Charles is indeed missed, but Nicholson’s percussive contributions, while demonstrating shades of the departed drummer, are wholly his own. His lengthy solo which comprises the center of the piece is bursting with the beauty of an advanced percussive imagination. Borgmann’s eventual return gradually increases in tempo, his horn sketching unctuous streams atop Morris’ earthen rhythmic pulse. Though nearly a half hour in girth the piece melts away with astonishing rapidity.
Spacious vistas of the American West are evoked on “Fathers and Sons” a tone poem built initially around a Native American drum pattern and chant. Morris’ muffled words and Borgmann’s suspirating saxophone exchange euphonious messages before the piece unfolds into more heated blowing. Soon after the increase in pace Borgmann accomplishes several switches to soprano and back to tenor without missing a beat. “Forecasts” is the shortest of the four of tunes as well as the most conventional in structure. Borgmann, again on tenor, blows blustery lines against a roiling rhythm of Morris’ adroit strums and Nicholson’s crashing cymbals. An unexpected quietude seizes the tune’s last several minutes with the trio wrapped in a reverie of rumination. The somber mood carries over into “Everything Falls Into Place” through Morris’ lengthy pizzicato solo that opens the piece. Borgmann’s tenor and a cadence of cymbals announce more turbulent directions before an eventual close The title of this final piece is in reality indicative of the entire disc. Quite simply this is music of both purity and grace. The end result of three souls who share in a deep loss, but also in an inspiring rejuvenation through the catharsis of music. The old trio may be a remnant of the past, but this new triumverate has a very promising future.
Track Listing: Goodbye Mr. Charles, Mothers & Fathers, Forecasts, Everything Falls Into Place.
Recorded at The Spirit Room, Rossie, New York, October 12, 1998.
Available through Cadence/NorthCountry Distributors (www.cadencebuilding.com)
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.