And another thing I came across
This is from Point of Departure No. 25, from way back in October, 2009. No idea why it’s not popped up before (although maybe it has) but, yet again the L.S.E. concert gets another mention. This is an extract from a round table discussion between Chris Kelsey, Bill Smith (of the Canadian Coda magazine) and Dan Warburton, moderated by Bill Shoemaker. This is a bit of Bill Smith’s contribution:
‘Shoemaker: Journalism idealizes objectivity; yet so much journalism and criticism about jazz and other forms of experimental is agenda-ridden; the writer has a cause he or she wants to advance through their writing. Bill’s desire to “make the music go forward” encapsulates this well. The problem is that the way ahead shifts over the years. Certainly, the horizon in front of me when I first started writing about music in the late ‘70s is now but a dot in the rear-view mirror. How have your agendas changed over the years, and how are they reflected in both your music and your writing?
Smith: In the latter half of the sixties when I initially imagined a future in music, my living was made firstly in engineering as a draughtsman and then as a photographer for a city magazine, so jazz music was little more than a delightful hobby. Although I had already formed serious opinions regarding the “new” music of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor – my two favorite pioneers, I was never altogether enamored by John Coltrane, who had already achieved fame with Miles Davis and his own quartets; his music not seeming to be a radical departure.
Once again it’s because of Coda Magazine that I progress to the next stage of American history. Physically assembling the magazine was a social gathering of friends around a table with piles of pages and staple guns. John Norris had an enormous record collection covering two walls of his apartment, and one of the compensations for our work was to choose a recording from his vast selection. Stuart Broomer, at that time a rather precocious young man, chose one of Albert Ayler’s ESP recordings. Two weeks later I headed for New York City to investigate this amazing music. Fortunately he was appearing everywhere: The Astor Playhouse, Slugs, The Dom, and the Lincoln Center as a guest of John Coltrane at the “The Titans of the Tenor” concert. He would become my standard bearer. There was obviously no looking back.
By the end of that decade I had returned to England on an engineering contract and while there again came in contact with Albert’s music; a BBC-TV recording (that was erased and never shown) – which I reviewed in the Melody Maker. On the same journey I hung out with Chris McGregor and the expatriated South Africans in London, and Jeanne Lee, Ran Blake and Don Cherry in Paris. The very same Beuscher tenor saxophone accompanied me on this journey and I was very fortunate to receive casual lessons from Ronnie Beer. A most auspicious entry into the world of the “avant garde”.
Here, forty-odd years on, Albert Ayler is still my guiding light, a joyous ritual in which to regularly luxuriate, my constant connection with the unfolding history that I’ve been privileged to witness. Of course along the way there have been numerous discoveries and musical influences, the likes of Anthony Braxton, Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell, Joe McPhee, Evan Parker, Paul Rutherford, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble… the list go on.’
Last month I put the trailer from L’Homme Blessé on this page, courtesy of Dirk Goedeking. What I forgot to do was add the covers of the soundtrack single, featuring Ayler’s ‘Heart Love’ which Dirk also sent, with the following note:
‘“Heart Love” is coupled with “Falling Sun” by Rendez-Vous, a 1979 disco number. ... This is Albert’s 6th 7 inch (besides 1. Holy Family/Sadness, 2. Ghosts/Love Flower/Zion Hill, 3. Free At Last/New Ghosts, 4. New Generation /Heart Love and the single sided 5. The Lie). So if you own a jukebox, ...’