Download live Hampton Grease Band from 1970/71, coz the world needs more Grease!

The Hampton Grease Band’s sole album, 1971’s sprawling double LP, Music To Eat, stands as the finest document of Post-Psychedelic, long form, Southern Fried Experimental Cosmic/Comic Jazz Rock spew, to dare walk the line between The Mothers of Invention and the Allman Brothers. Not surprisingly both acts were also fans of the Grease Band’s complex structures and twisted humor, with Zappa signing the band to Bizarre/Straight Records (for an unrecorded album, as the group disbanded shortly thereafter), and the Allman Brothers recognizing their talents after sharing the stage at various Atlanta based gigs. So…take music that is somehow undeniably Southern in nature and tightly arranged but exploratory in form, add a healthy dose of the playfulness and wit of early Zappa with the Surrealist/Dada inspired lyricism of Don Van Vliet, underpinned by a band both as tight as either The Mothers or Magic Band, but as comfortably loose as the best, lost to history, juke joint combo to ever sweat it out on the chitlin circuit, and you’ve kinda got an idea of the magic of the Grease Band, and it’s captain, Col. Bruce Hampton.

Here’s a gig recorded at The Atlanta Sports Arena. After a little research, I’m uncertain of the year. According to a clip below, Bruce thinks it’s 1969, and I’ve seen 1970 listed as a possibility, but I received it attributed to 1971. Dates aside, this is clearly a stellar example of the Grease Band’s many skills. (edited with corrected info here) Guitarist Harold Kelling departure turned the Grease Band into a single guitar group, with Glenn Phillips deftly taking the reigns with bursts of Sonny Sharrock levels of intensity combined with melodic sensibility. Playing the smoother vocal foil to Bruce’s raspy, intense delivery, are , I believe, the aforementioned Kelling and drummer, Jerry Fields. The set gives perhaps an even greater look at the influences which spawned the band, with a gamut of sounds even more diverse than the album, including a fairly traditional read of Roger Miller’s, King of The Road, and a balls out Rock Around The Clock. Suffice it to say, fans of Music To Eat, starved for further evidence of Grease Band genius, are gonna wanna stuff themselves sick on this psychedelic smorgasbord.

Also, I’d be remiss to not state my belief that Sun City Girls and the Meat Puppets must have imbibed numerous chemical/natural concoctions while baking in the Arizona sun listening to Music To Eat.

(uncheck the “Download with Secured Download manager” box before downloading)

Here’s an interview from 1971, and a couple of other live tracks of unknown origin, including a Hendon that turns into the Andy Griffith theme.

Also, this 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival set was uploaded to youtube just last week, and may be the best of all. “What do you need Rock festivals for when you’ve got that up in Atlanta?”

Last but not least, a couple of clips from the Basically Frightened, Bruce Hampton documentary…

Post-Grease Band awesomeness, The New Ice Age. Have you ever had sex with Durward Kirby?!


Aguirre Records to reissue iconic Shandar Records label discography

Throughout the early-mid seventies, Shandar Records released legendary recordings from masters of Free Jazz, Minimalist, Drone and Avant scenes including La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Charlemagne Palestine, Cecil Taylor, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pandit Pran Nath, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Ragnar Grippe, Dashiell Hedayat and Sunny Murray. The first two announced in the Les Series Shandar are Steve Reich’s Four Organs/Phase Patterns and La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela’s Dream House 78’17”, available on Feb 24th . Reissues are limited to 1000 copies, and expect that first round to sell out immediately, so plan accordingly. Head to discogs for the complete Shandar listing…

Cecil Taylor residency/retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, April 15-24

From the Whitney website: “This residency will feature a series of live performances amid a retrospective environment that will include documentation of Taylor’s career, including videos, audio, notational scores, photographs, poetry, and other ephemera.”

Curious as to whether, and hopeful that, Cecil will be joined by some former associates. Either way, I really wanna try to make this.



The definitive tome on the Sun Ra galaxy, Omniverse – Sun Ra, expanded and republished!

Originally published in 1994, with a $100 price tag (which has risen dramatically since, on internet auction sites), Omniverse is the quintessential reference guide for anyone interested in navigating the oft confusing spaceways of Sun Ra’s interstellar influence. The chronological discography alone, should be worth the price of admission. Available in the US, any day now,  via , though not currently listed.


Happy birthday, Don Cherry

Best known for his work with Ornette Coleman, and pioneering World Fusion Jazz, Don Cherry has also played with an impressive and diverse list of collaborators (see links below), including John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Dewey Redman, George Russell, Karin Krog, Terry Riley and Krzystof Penderecki, to name but a few.

Krzysztof Penderecki






Happy birthday, Pharoah Sanders

An absolute colossus of the saxophone, Pharoah Sanders is the heir apparent to the Coltrane legacy, combining musical exploration and spirituality in a unified expression. Sanders work from the sixties through the mid-seventies, both as leader and with both Coltranes, speaks to me on a very personal level. It’s the kind of music that can make you feel part of a much larger whole, at least it certainly does for me. Of course, I did have an insane out of body psychedelic experience to Sanders’, Thembi, once, but I was playing it for it’s aforementioned properties to begin with…. so yeah, I may be a little biased.

This is an all too brief clip of prime Pharoah, in a quartet setting with Lonnie Liston Smith on Norris Jones, aka Sirone on bass, and Majeed Shabazz on drums. I need to see this whole set!

Tauhid is my favorite Pharoah record, and a huge influence on both the MC5 and THe Stooges, due in no small part to Sonny Sharrock’s ferocious guitar.

Izipho Zam, Pharoah’s only release with the highly collectible Strata East Records, also features Sonny Sharrock, and vocalist, Leon Thomas, and is one of the heaviest sessions in the Sanders catalog.

A couple of tracks from his Coltrane tenure…

And here’s one with the final member of the saxophone holy trinity, Albert Ayler.

Pharoah also contributed to two Don Cherry records…

Leon Thomas vocals also grace one of Sanders most recognized tracks, The Creator Has A Master Plan.

The album that took me, and my gf of the time, to heretofore unseen worlds, Thembi, which perhaps not so coincidentally features the song Astral Travelling.

And one of several Alice Coltrane records on which Pharoah is featured…

Pharoah cuts loose with the poet/prophets of Black Power, The Last Poets.

Pharoah reunited with Sonny Sharrock for the guitarist’s classic, Ask The Ages.

A stunning performance in an abandoned tunnel…

Let loving never cease…

Happy birthday, Billy Higgins

Drummer Billy Higgins has an exhaustive resume, providing rhythm for everyone from John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Donald Byrd, Grant Green, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Harris, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Sandy Bull, Don Cherry, and perhaps most notably, with Ornette Coleman. That barely scratches the surface of Higgins career collaborations. Through the sixties, it’s almost easier to find a Jazz record on which he’s not playing.

Love the quartet lineup on this session: Ornette, James Blood Ulmer, Sirone and Billy. I’m fascinated with the Coleman/Ulmer recordings.

Here’s another great quartet,from a decade earlier: Sonny Rollins, Don Cherry, Henry Grimes and Billy

Happy birthday, Lester Bowie

Best known as the trumpeter for the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and a key member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. This is amazing footage of AEC at their prime, and a highly recommended watch.

It’s poet and political activist Amiri Baraka’s birthday

“Wise I” – Amiri Baraka

WHY’s (Nobody Know
The Trouble I Seen)

If you ever find
yourself, some where
lost and surrounded
by enemies
who won’t let you
speak in your own language
who destroy your statues
& instruments, who ban
your oom boom ba boom
then you are in trouble
deep trouble
they ban your
oom boom ba boom
you in deep deep


probably take you several hundred years
to get

Frenetic Free Jazz and verse, from Baraka’s 1972, It’s Nation Time – African Visionary Music, released on Motown subsidiary, Black Forum, and featuring Idris Muhammad, Lonnie Liston Smith, Gary Bartz, James Mtume, Reggie Workman and numerous others.

Baraka’s intensity is really on display here, with a backing band of some of the era’s greatest Jazz innovators; Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray, Don Cherry, Henry Grimes and Louis Worrell. Released on Baraka’s own Jihad Records, as Sunny Murray’s debut LP, Sunny’s Time Now

Back when Baraka was still known as Leroi Jones, he wrote the excellent, Blues People: Negro Music In White America, tracing the African roots of Blues and Jazz, and their eventual incorporation into White American society.*Version*=1&*entries*=0

“The artist’s role is to raise the consciousness of the people. To make them understand life, the world and themselves more completely. That’s how I see it. Otherwise, I don’t know why you do it.”

Album of The Day: Mtume Umoja Ensemble – Alkebu-Lan: Land of the Blacks (Live at the East)

Deep, Afrocentric, Spiritual Jazz spread across two LPs, on one of the greatest labels for such, Strata East. Recorded in 1971, as Mtume had just begun his four year stint with Miles Davis, Alkebu-Lan features some of the giants of the era, including Gary Bartz, Stanley Cowell, Leroy Jenkins, Ndugu, Buster Williams and Andy Bey. The album is a cohesive document of that era’s style, bringing together poetry and chants, percussive tribalism, free form blowouts, cosmic electric piano and modal grooves, so successfully that the pedigree of those involved need not be questioned. The vibe is similar to a smaller (though we’re still talking thirteen players, collectively), less space oriented, Sun Ra Arkestra performance.

While I’ve heard much of the Strata East catalog, this LP escaped my notice until recently. I gotta say, this is near the top of the Strata East heap. It’s got pretty much everything I look for in this type of album, and for fans of such, is obviously highly recommended, although an original will set you back at least two bills. {By the way, who has the rights to Strata East, and when are we going to see some legit reissues, and unheard treasures from the vaults?!). Also, unlike many other artists in the Free Jazz medium, Mtume managed to parlay his talents to the Top 40 with his solo released, Notorious B.I.G. sampled, Juicy Fruit, and as producer and writer of Stephanie Mills, Never Knew Love Like This Before.