295

Solo Saxophones: Roscoe Mitchell, Paul Flaherty & John Butcher

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count








Roscoe Mitchell
Nonaah
Nessa
2008


Paul Flaherty
Aria Nativa
Family Vineyard
2009


John Butcher
Resonant Spaces
Confront
2008


The solo horn concert was one of the landmarks of the early days of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. It wasn't without precedent (see Sonny Rollins on the Manhattan Bridge), but the Chicago collective of eclectic virtuosity made it repertory. AACM member Anthony Braxton was the first to release a solo saxophone record (For Alto, Delmark, 1968), but Roscoe Mitchell (who was the first person out of the AACM to release a record, with Sound, issued by Delmark two years earlier) has been no stranger to the call of the horn. He released Solo Saxophone Concerts on Sackville in 1974 and an expansive three-CD set, Solo [3], on Mutable in 2004. And in 1977, Mitchell put out Nonaah, a double album on Nessa and one of the most fascinating records in his long discography.

The album isn't entirely solo: It contains duos with Braxton and Mitchell's fellow Art Ensemble of Chicago member Malachi Favors, as well as a quartet with Henry Threadgill, Wallace McMillan and the Art Ensemble's Joseph Jarman and a trio with Muhal Richard Abrams and George Lewis (who reconvened for the excellent 2006 record Streaming). Central to the 1977 record is the title track, a fantastically knotty composition presented in solo and sax quartet versions. Mitchell isn't one to retrace his steps and "Nonaah" is one of the few pieces he's continued to revisit over the years. The two solo versions are variably brusque and hypnotic, whereas the quartet is perplexing in its open/composed structuring. Together, those would have been enough for an entirely satisfying LP, but the added solo and group pieces make the album a strong portrait of a restless artist. The new CD reissue adds a 35-minute solo concert from 1977, recorded in Berkeley, making for an indispensable document of Mitchell's '70s work outside the Art Ensemble.

The solo concert can be an interesting context for the most blustery of saxophonists. Freed of the drive of competing players, new sides often reveal themselves (witness David S. Ware's return to the stage last month at Abrons Arts Center). New Englander Paul Flaherty is a powerful voice in the Peter Br

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Guitars on Three Continents Multiple Reviews Guitars on Three Continents
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana Multiple Reviews Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe 2 Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago" Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel" Multiple Reviews Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel
by Doug Collette
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon" Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Duke Ellington on Storyville Records" Multiple Reviews Duke Ellington on Storyville Records
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 20, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!