Jazz Composer`s Orchestra, The
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Austrian composer/trumpeter Michael Mantler (born in Vienna in 1943, he is 70 years old at this writing) and his wife at the time, Carla Bley (born in Oakland, California, on May 11, 1936; she is currently 77 years old) were instrumental in developing within jazz the idea of self-sufficiency and independence from established record companies. Their creation of the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra, with recordings released on their own label, was the culmination of this endeavor, and the first recording was one of the masterpieces of creative music in the ‘60s. Mantler had come from the European avant-classical tradition and sought to provide an orchestral framework supporting some of the most advanced musicians in avant-garde jazz – and he succeeded magnificently.
His style tends toward the brooding and darkly romantic with harsh, cynical edges, a perfect foil for the robust, shackle-breaking improvisations found herein. The band heard here features such stars as Archie Shepp, John Tchicai, Paul Bley, Steve Lacy, and Eddie Gomez. As mentioned in the original liner notes and listed in discographies, four more selections were performed during the concerts (“Communications No.3” on December 29, 1964; “Radio”, “Loose Latin” & “The Lonely People” on April 10, 1965), but none of them was ever issued and it is not known whether these recordings remain in existence.
Michael Mantler (tp), Roswell Rudd (tb), Willie Ruff (fhr), Steve Lacy (sop),
John Tchicai, Jimmy Lyons (as), Archie Shepp (ts),
Fred Pirtle (bar), Paul Bley (p), Eddie Gomez (b),
Milford Graves (d), Carla Bley (arr).
Recorded in performance at Judson Hall, New York, December 29, 1964.
On “Day [Communications No.4]” & “Communications No.5”:
Michael Mantler, Ray Codrington (tp), Roswell Rudd (tb), Steve Lacy (sop),
Makanda Ken McIntyre (fl), Robin Kenyatta, Jimmy Lyons (as), Bob Carducci (ts),
Fred Pirtle (bar), Paul Bley (p), Steve Swallow, Kent Carter (b), Barry Altschul(d).
Recorded in performance at Contemporary Center, New York, April 10, 1965.