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Phill Niblock – In Memoriam
On January 8 last, the sad news came in about the passing of filmmaker, multimedia artist and composer Phill Niblock. Niblock lived to the respectable age of 90. In December 2013, colleague Mark van de Voort dedicated a nice programme about Phill’s work on the occasion of his 80th birthday. But before and since his work would quite rightly be frequently discussed at Concertzender. We conclude this In Memoriam with a list of programmes in which his works can be heard. The common thread through the life’s work of Phill Niblock (1933-2024) was characterized by the continual stretching of physical tolerance during immensely loud performances and concerts. He believed that you had to ensure that you completely surrendered to the sound experience, both mentally and physically; a fact that required absolute surrender from the listener. Seeking a dialogue with the space in which he played his sounds played a crucial role. People who ever saw Phill work live will confirm that the experience was of a collective nature. Gradually, as a listener, you noticed the same experience as the people around you. The timelessness of Niblock’s music took on an extra dimension live, because you could completely let go of the feeling of space and time…, losing yourself, as it were. The combination of spatial dialogue and the volume adjusted accordingly also ensured that each performance could be considered unique. As a filmmaker, his images worked similarly to his approach to sound compositions, with distinctive use of color, time, movement and camera angles. Something that is often reflected in his favorite subject; the working man, whom he captured in detail in a often slow and serene manner. As a photographer, he would capture these characteristics in his early years with images of mainly jazz musicians. An artistic aspect of his life that would only receive recognition many years later. From 1985 he was also director of Experimental Intermedia, a foundation for avant-garde music based in New York. The platform would offer a stage to countless artists. Thanks to Phill’s power to bring people together from different disciplines and backgrounds, this yielded surprising and ground-breaking results. Fortunately, the Experimental Intermedia website states that the activities will continue in the spirit of Phill. The godfather of the drone is no more. The legacy that Phill Niblock leaves behind is as epic and charged as the sounds he worked with throughout his life as a composer. And those sounds will resonate in our heads long after. Thanks for everything Phil! Written by programme maker Mike Kramer. Photo: Jack Vartoogian. In December 2013, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, Mark van de Voort covered Phill’s work in the program Thema. The Framework programme recently reflected on the death of Niblock. Can be heard on the Concertzender itself on Monday, January 22nd, 2024 at 6:00 AM. In Concertzender Live on Monday, July 27th, 2009, live recordings can be heard during November Music in Den Bosch, where Niblock performed together with Thomas Ankersmit. On Wednesday January 31st, 2024 we broadcast an Electronic Frequencies special with works from the 2003 album Touch Food. And on Wednesday, February 21st, Mike Kramer himself will compile an Electronic Frequencies special with “A Rooks Pun” from the album ‘Working Touch’, which was only released as a USB stick in 2022. ‘Praised Fan’, also from ‘Working Touch’. And a work from 2006 entitled ‘Sethwork’. Last month both Resonator and X-Rated also reflected on Niblock’s death.
Jay Jay Johnson – Bebop Trombonist (2)
Saturday February 17th, 5:00 PM – House of Hard Bop. J.J. Johnson has been called the Charlie Parker of the trombone. He brought trombone playing to a level that could rival that of bebop brass players who played instruments with vents and valves. The 1950s were extremely productive. His discography would eventually amount to approximately one hundred albums, 42 of which were under his own name. June 6, 1955. In his studio in Hackensack (New Jersey), sound wizard Rudy van Gelder sits at his control table. The programme includes a recording for Blue Note Records, with trombonist J.J. Johnson, tenorist Hank Mobley, pianist Horace Silver, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Kenny Clarke. Six pieces are released to the world, under the title The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson, volume 2. You’re Mine, You opens the series of four pieces on this album at a slow pace. The trombone in the spotlight – Mobley only appears briefly in the opening and closing. No piano solo. In Daylie Double, an up-tempo Johnson original, almost all of the quintet members solo. Harmoniously it remains close to home, but the four shaped parts of eight sizes each are cleverly strung together. Pianist Horace Silver quotes a theme by Thelonious Monk in the last bars of his solo, which is immediately adopted by Johnson. No lack of variety. In Groovin’ – also by Johnson – the relationships between the two wind players are different. And Horace Silver immediately shows in the third bar that he has opened up the Soul register considerably – something he continues later, in his solo. Portrait of Jennie concludes this block. ————————- The record Dial J.J. 5 (1957) is a product of the Columbia label. In addition to Johnson, the quintet consists of Tommy Flanagan (piano), Wilbur Little (bass), Elvin Jones! (drums), and the Belgian Bobby Jaspar on flute and tenor. Jaspar moved to jazzophile Paris in the early 1950s. There were opportunities there. He played with local musicians, but also with musicians passing through, and Americans who settled for a longer period of time. There he met the vocalist/pianist Blossom Dearie, whom he married. In the mid-1950s he flew across the ocean and in no time played with people like Miles Davis, Toots Thielemans, Bill Evans, and therefore also with Johnson. In this hour you will hear nine of the ten pieces on Dial J.J. 5. Nine pieces, by eight composers: Johnson, Bobby Jaspar, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, George Gershwin, Bud Powell, Thad Jones and Burton Lane. (A few months after the release of Dial J.J. 5, the exact same line-up performed in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw on August 17, 1957. The recording of that concert was published in 2009 by the Dutch Jazz Archives (NJA), on the CD What’s New – J.J. Johnson. ) House of Hard Bop – Eric Ineke Click for the Newsletter about J.J. Johnson-Bebop Trombonist (1) Click for the Newsletter about J.J. Johnson-Bebop Trombonist (1) (photo: Bobby Jaspar with Blossom Dearie)
The Color Blue
Saturday February 10th, 2024, 6:00 PM – Vocal Jazz. “In the Vocal Jazz of February and March, attention will be paid to blues and bluesy songs, some of which will certainly be by composer Harold Arlen, the bluesy composer of the Great American Songbook.” According to programme maker Ineke Heijliger. Despite these winter months, her richly varied blue bouquets are composed of blooming and never-withering bluesy flowers. Today Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and eight other vocalists. Kitty Margolis is a musical all-rounder, and what Mel Tormé (photo) and the Buddy Rich Big Band do… one surprise after another. In 1988 Kitty Margolis is at the Jazz Workshop in San Fancisco. This performance by the 34-year-old singer will be her record debut: Live at the Jazz Workshop. The playlist consists of standards which she has the courage to scat ( verbally improvise ). “I speak two languages: English and scat.” During her unaccompanied use of All Blues – the Miles Davis composition, known from his iconic album Kind of Blue, in that waltz-like rotating 6/8 time – things threaten to go wrong. She starts a semitone too high, but corrects it quickly. It’s no small feat, singing the bass line of that piece. After the intro she continues with the lyrics that Oscar Brown Jr. at All Blues wrote: The sea, the sky, the you and I Sea and sky and you and I, we are all blues, All shades, all hues…yeah, we are all blues. After the theme comes the scat. Excellent accompaniment from a trio from the Bay Area, Margolis’ home base. Yes, the piano could have been better tuned, but oh well… think of it as an ‘atmospheric element’ of a jazz club. ——————————————– Blues in the Night, a song by composer Harold Arlen and writer Johnny Mercer, first appeared in the film Hot Nocturne (1941). It was one of the first popular songs to feature rural African-American dialect – “My mama done told me” – in combination with bluesy melody lines. The song achieved immediate success – within four months no fewer than six versions ended up in the charts. There are now many dozens of versions. Mel Tormé’s version with the Buddy Rich Big Band stands out because of the richly varied arrangement and the long duration of more than eight minutes. Recorded in 1978 on Together Again: For the First Time. A man thinks back to his mother, who warned him early on about bad women. “A woman will sweet talk/And give you the smooth eye/But when the sweet talking’s done…” The orchestral intro lasts one minute, filled with dramatic/cinematic fragments. Behind the first sung lines you hear warning orchestral sounds. After the last sentences of the verse, about the woman Who’ll leave you to sing/The blues in the night, the floor is given to a lonely tuba. Night and loneliness. The following lines of text are accompanied by a lone tuba, in which only the lonesome whistle of a passing train sounds. Then the image tilts; up tempo, strong orchestral sound, culminating in a long drum solo by Buddy Rich. After a few more contrasting blocks, the build-up to a thrilling finale begins. The pitch creeps up by a semitone no less than five times with a new bet. Orchestra and vocalist shout the blues. Wowww…! Details in the Guide. Vocal Jazz – Ineke Heijliger ​
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