[LAU] OT: ed blackwell on musical saw (WAS: Double bass (Kontrabass) Recommended listening.)
dlphillips at woh.rr.com
Sat Jun 7 07:31:43 EDT 2008
bernie arai wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 7:41 AM, Dave Phillips <dlphillips at woh.rr.com
> <mailto:dlphillips at woh.rr.com>> wrote:
> Not quite as weird as seeing
> Ed Blackwell play a saw solo with Mingus, but still pretty strange
> there are two aspects to that statement that i'm very interested in!
> first, when did you see blackwell playing with mingus? i though danny
> richmond pretty much played every mingus show for the last thirty odd
> years of the band. second, obviously, is when did blackwell statr
> playing saw? i wonder if there are any recordings...
We saw Mingus twice in the 70s, once in a club in Cleveland (I forget
the name) and once at Gilly's in Dayton. Blackwell played with him on
the Cleveland gig, Danny Richmond was with him in Dayton. And as far as
I can find, there are no recordings of Blackwell with Mingus. :(
We met Mingus, even took him out for dinner a few times. At Gilly's I
met his pianist of the time, a young Don Pullen. I had a wonderful time
with him, just talking with him on his breaks. The audience probably
numbered in the low twenties, it wasn't much of a turnout, and Don was
very generous with his time.
Btw, Mingus went into quite a spiel about treating the saw as a musical
instrument. Blackwell's solo was very sweet, as I recall, and it was a
serious performance. I also recall that the other members of the group
seemed terrified of Mingus.
Between Cleveland and Dayton we caught some amazing shows back then. I
saw the Cecil Taylor trio at Gilly's, met Robert Jr. Lockwood in Kinsman
(a suburb in Cleveland), and hung out with Pharaoh Sanders when he was
artist-in-residence at Western Reserve (!). The Cecil Taylor gig was
memorable: He played two sets, one "tune" per set, and each set lasted
about 45 minutes. Suffice to say, The Man was awesome. The club was
nearly empty then too, maybe about fifteen people in all, counting some
whores and their pimps.
But truly one of the oddest shows we ever caught was Sun Ra performing
in the basement of a Lum's restaurant in Ann Arbor MI. We were hanging
out in Ann Arbor, someone noticed a sign that announced Sun Ra playing
that evening at Lum's. Lum's is long gone now, it was a franchise
restaurant specializing in the Standard American Diet (the SAD), and it
was the last place where anyone would expect to see Sun Ra. So we called
the restaurant, found out it was true (the owner was a Sun Ra fan and
managed to snag him for a one-nighter), and we went. It was
unforgettable, on a par with seeing Captain Beefheart. It was the full
Arkestra too, there was hardly room for the audience (it was a packed
room, I'm happy to say).
I was lucky, I got to hear a lot of my heroes in live shows back then.
Here's one of my favorite stories about the difference between shows
then & now: In 1970, January I think, my brother and I went to Detroit
to catch a show at the Grande Ballroom. The show opened with an
excellent group from Ann Arbor, name long forgotten, that played a very
progressive jazz/rock blend years before I heard the word "fusion".
After them, a newcomer from England, a fellow named Joe Cocker, who had
an extraordinary band (they got two encores) and was in top form
himself. After Joe, The Who, when they still had Moonie on the kit. They
had recently released Tommy, and they performed a good chunk of it that
night, along with a good selection of their hits. It was a superb
performance, another unforgettable night.
Oh yeh, the difference: My ticket cost $6, and no, I didn't forget any
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