Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Various Artists: Jazz Loft Sessions

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Hopefully this sampling of the fertile ’70’s New York loft jazz scene is just a teaser for a much needed boxed anthology. Snatching various performances from the highly influential, yet shamefully scarce five-part series, Wildflower Sessions (distributed by disco dynamo Casablanca), this magnificent retrospective gives full testimony that there was indeed a creative wellspring of jazz music that countered the post-Mr. Magic slush that typified the ’70s.

Bridging the gap between the ’60s high-voltage, New Thing and the ’80s frenetic, Downtown Scene, the New York’s loft jazz scene provided a bohemian boot-camp for young firespitters like David Murray, Julius Hemphill, Ken McIntyre, Hamiett Bluiett and Byard Lancaster as well as ad hoc laboratories for comparatively established artists like Randy Weston and Anthony Braxton. Recorded in Sam Rivers’ makeshift soundlab, Studio Rivea, these sessions include Hamiett Blueitt’s blustery, “Tranquil Beauty” and Byard Lancaster’s enchanting reading of “Over The Rainbow.” Guitarist Michael Jackson’s “Clarity” with its brooding lines performed by Oliver Lake and Fred Hopkins, is this set’s rare gem. Randy Weston’s offers a delectable Monk-inspired, “Portrait of Frank Edward Weston” while Anthony Braxton transports the listeners to the outer edges of jazz spectrum with “73 degrees-S Kelvin.”

There is a bold nakedness that separates these performances from conventional studio dates. Sometimes, the bareness reveals too much-David Murray’s under-developed, “Shout Song” and Kalaparusha’s ill-fated nod to funk on “Jays.” But despite minor flaws, Jazz Loft Sessions is essential listening.