Jimmy Giuffre made waves in 1961-62 with the release of Fusion (Verve, 1961), Thesis (Verve, 1961) and Free Fall (Columbia, 1962). With pianist Paul Bley and a 20-year-old Steve Swallow on upright bass, the Third Stream innovator created the best music of his careertelepathic performances that continue to astound and inspire more than four decades later. As with so many great things however, the trio was short livedit would be thirty years before group that quietly rocked the jazz scene reunited.
The Life of a Trio: Saturday & Sunday documents the long-awaited 1989 reunion of Giuffre's remarkable group. Older, wiser and still stunningly in tune with each other, the threesome take up where they left off and the resulting double-disc of music is every bit as riveting as the original. Giuffre is playful yet reflective on "Black Ivory, the tones of his clarinet resonating over Bley's sweeping chords and strummed strings; out of a jaunting counterpoint his horn softly trills over a pulsing pedal from Bley, glissing to a bell-like high as the piano drops out: assured but vulnerable.
Both Bley and Swallow make remarkable contributions throughout the two sessions, pushing Giuffre into exciting territory before embarking on unaccompanied solos. "December is a doleful vehicle for Swallow's electric bass and the reflective mood he sets permeates the solo improvisations of Giuffre and Bley that follow. Sounding at times like a guitar, Swallow's playing is impeccablevirtuosic yet restrained.
Through all the solo and duo playing it's still, not surprisingly, the trio work that shines. Giuffre's soprano cuts through the dissonant cloud evoked by Bley and Swallow on "Sensing, meditating on a melodic fragment, soaring to the upper register before falling into lockstep with the piano and bass. The three make it clear that the life of a trio continues after the initial dispersion of its parts and that something great can always come of bringing together such like-minded souls.
Track Listing: Saturday: Clarinet Zone; Black Ivory; Owl Eyes; Endless Melody; Turns; Foreplay; We Agree; Clusters; December; Someone; Even Steven; By The Way. Sunday: Sensing; Monique; The Giant Guitar And The Black Stick; Industrial Suite;
Sanctuary Much; Tango Del Mar; The Hidden Voice; Mephisto; Where Were We?; Sweet Song; Scrambled Legs; Play Ball; Fallen Statue; Things; Two Singers; The Life Of A Trio.
Personnel: Jimmy Giuffre: clarinet, soprano saxophone; Paul Bley: piano; Steve Swallow: electric bass.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.