Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

294

Bill Barron: Modern Windows Suite

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
When Bill Barron recorded "Modern Windows Suite," his first Savoy recording, he and Ted Curson both were fresh from the uncharted waters of working with Cecil Taylor. It shows. "Modern Windows Suite," the album of 1961 consisting of Barron's extended and interconnected works, joins the other 1961 Barron album, "The Tenor Stylings Of Bill Barron," to fill out the CD. Both conjoined albums exhibit a creative composer and saxophonist interested in challenging conventional approaches to the music by insisting upon dissonance in his themes, by tampering with tempos, by allowing soloists to improvise free in an extended fashion, by creating impressionistic musical descriptions of scenes or moods, and by interweaving various thoughts throughout the albums into a whole, dense fabric. In many respects, Barron's work reflects some of Mingus' approaches, but with a stripped-down, ironically conventional, instrumentation. While Curson went on to fame with Mingus, and especially his extraordinary work with Eric Dolphy on "Jazz Festival/Antibes July 13, 1960" for which he'll forever be remembered, Bill Barron continued in his modest way to explore the intricacies of the music with occasion recordings and teaching gigs, most notably and finally at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. The contrast between the two albums comprising this re-release is notable. "Modern Windows Suite," the vinyl album, is a challenging tone poem of four movements building upon shifting styles and unconventional intervals, most particularly major sevenths. According to Kenny Barron, his brother chose the major sevenths so that the soloists "can't use their standard licks." The inclusion of Cameron on baritone sax creates a dense fabric of sometimes unison statements and sometimes free concomitant improvisation. Seventeen-year-old Kenny Barron for the most part vamps behind the soloists, surely a prodigy able to accompany the free-jazz masters but not giving a hint of his mastery to come. On the other hand, "The Tenor Stylings Of Bill Barron" somehow was engineered for sharper and more assertive sound reproduction, clarifying the roles of the instruments within each piece. Furthermore, the compositions on the album are based upon single themes for the most part, instead of thed inter-connectivity that prevails on the "Modern Windows Suite" album. "Oriental Impressions," as expected, is based upon Far East intervals and modes; "Fox Hunt" unblushingly starts with Curson's announcement of the hunt; "Blast Off," referring to the interest in space travel at the time, allows, at last, Barron and Curson to improvise over blues changes. A part of the creative Philadelphia jazz scene of his generation, along with many other better-known artists, Bill Barron for too long has been overlooked as an innovator and contributor to the music. The Savoy re-issues may allow a new generation to recognize Bill Barron as one of the quieter but nevertheless valued sounds from that pivotal time.

Track Listing: When Bill Barron recorded "Modern Windows Suite," his first Savoy recording, he and Ted Curson both were fresh from the uncharted waters of working with Cecil Taylor. It shows. "Modern Windows Suite," the album of 1961 consisting of Barron's extended and interconnected works, joins the other 1961 Barron album, "The Tenor Stylings Of Bill Barron," to fill out the CD. Both conjoined albums exhibit a creative composer and saxophonist interested in challenging conventional approaches to the music by insisting upon dissonance in his themes, by tampering with tempos, by allowing soloists to improvise free in an extended fashion, by creating impressionistic musical descriptions of scenes or moods, and by interweaving various thoughts throughout the albums into a whole, dense fabric. In many respects, Barron's work reflects some of Mingus' approaches, but with a stripped-down, ironically conventional, instrumentation. While Curson went on to fame with Mingus, and especially his extraordinary work with Eric Dolphy on "Jazz Festival/Antibes July 13, 1960" for which he'll forever be remembered, Bill Barron continued in his modest way to explore the intricacies of the music with occasion recordings and teaching gigs, most notably and finally at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. The contrast between the two albums comprising this re-release is notable. "Modern Windows Suite," the vinyl album, is a challenging tone poem of four movements building upon shifting styles and unconventional intervals, most particularly major sevenths. According to Kenny Barron, his brother chose the major sevenths so that the soloists "can't use their standard licks." The inclusion of Cameron on baritone sax creates a dense fabric of sometimes unison statements and sometimes free concomitant improvisation. Seventeen-year-old Kenny Barron for the most part vamps behind the soloists, surely a prodigy able to accompany the free-jazz masters but not giving a hint of his mastery to come. On the other hand, "The Tenor Stylings Of Bill Barron" somehow was engineered for sharper and more assertive sound reproduction, clarifying the roles of the instruments within each piece. Furthermore, the compositions on the album are based upon single themes for the most part, instead of thed inter-connectivity that prevails on the "Modern Windows Suite" album. "Oriental Impressions," as expected, is based upon Far East intervals and modes; "Fox Hunt" unblushingly starts with Curson's announcement of the hunt; "Blast Off," referring to the interest in space travel at the time, allows, at last, Barron and Curson to improvise over blues changes. A part of the creative Philadelphia jazz scene of his generation, along with many other better-known artists, Bill Barron for too long has been overlooked as an innovator and contributor to the music. The Savoy re-issues may allow a new generation to recognize Bill Barron as one of the quieter but nevertheless valued sounds from that pivotal time. Modern Windows Suite: Men At Work, Tone Colors, Dedication To Wanda, Keystone; Blast Off; Ode To An Earth Girl; Fox Hunt; Oriental Impressions; Backlash; Nebulae; Desolation

Personnel:

Bill Barron, tenor saxophone; Ted Curson, trumpet; Jay Cameron, baritone saxophone; Kenny Barron, piano; Eddie Khan, Jimmy Garrison, bass; Pete (Sims) LaRoca, Frankie Dunlop, drums

Title: Modern Windows Suite | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Savoy Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "The Twilight Fall" CD/LP/Track Review The Twilight Fall
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Mist. Moss. Home." CD/LP/Track Review Mist. Moss. Home.
by Jim Olin
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Good Merlin" CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Polygon" CD/LP/Track Review Polygon
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Invitation" CD/LP/Track Review Invitation
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "Gledalec" CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor