GEORGE LEWIS (TROMBONE) — Homage to Charles Parker

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GEORGE LEWIS (TROMBONE) - Homage to Charles Parker cover
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Album · 1979

Tracklist

A Blues 17:51
B Homage To Charles Parker 17:59

Total Time: 35:48

Line-up/Musicians

George Lewis - tenor trombone, programming
Douglas Ewart - alto saxophone, bass clarinet, cymbals
Anthony Davis - piano
Richard Teitelbaum - synthesizers

About this release

Black Saint BSR 0029 (Italy)

Recorded at Barigozzi Studios, Milano,1979

Thanks to snobb for the updates

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GEORGE LEWIS (TROMBONE) HOMAGE TO CHARLES PARKER reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

snobb
Trombonist,composer and Columbia University professor George Lewis isn't well known jazz musician, at least - really less known than he should be. AACM member from 1971,he played with everyone from Anthony Braxton to John Zorn, but as he once said in his interview "trombonists aren't a jazz stars".

Even between Chicago advanced jazz fans he is usually known by his solo trombone debut album, at he same time his "Homage To Charles Parker" somehow didn't receive enough attention (fortunately reissued on CD but by Italian Black Saint labels in early 90s - not the best time in label's existence history,so it's far not easy find). Probably its obscurity is one of a reason why this masterpiece isn't better known.

Recorded in very late 70s during quartet European tour,this album contains just two compositions. First simply titled "Blues" is almost 18 minutes long free form improvisation which could be the blues from parallel world. Lewis' rhythm-less quartet of two reedists(Lewis himself on tenor trombone and bass clarinetist Douglas Ewart),pianist Anthony Davis and Moogs wizard Richard Teitelbaum plays cosmic mini-suite based on almost psychedelic ambient synthesizers tunes with some bluesy reeds insertions,sometimes dreamy,in moments very free,but always beautiful. It's obvious that as tribute to Parker,this music doesn't use his music directly, more it tries to deliver the atmosphere of his music and of his time in general.Differently from some earlier Teitelbaum works, his musicianship here doesn't contain even traces of synths possibilities exploration against the musical content. Probably at late 70s initial fascination with the technology's opportunities is already gone and artist concentrates mostly on music.

Second and the last album's composition,"Homage To Charles Parker" (where Douglas Ewart switches to alto saxophone) is eight seconds longer than the opener. It contains more reeds(and as a result has more "jazzy" sound)and no interpretations of Parker material again.Darker and more influenced by academic music (in AACM tradition), this composition is dedicated to Parker's afterlife.It's darker, less ambient and is closer to contemporary creative music (or academic chamber and free improvisations hybrid).

In all, this album is one excellent example of breeding different musical genres in one without being eclectic or quirky and with accessible and intriguing final result. Years later Lewis revitalized this music for live performance in The Kitchen (with Davis Richards but also Matana Roberts, Reggie Nicholson, and Amina Claudine Myers). Still it stays comparatively unknown and it's a pity - this album could occupy a honorable place in advanced jazz pantheon of fame.

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