Miles Davis—“The Buzzard Song”
Porgy and Bess (Columbia 1959).
Been diggin this albumPlayed 12 times.
"The people who were in the studio were screaming," recalled alto saxophonist Marion Brown of recordingAscension with John Coltrane. “I don’t know how the engineers kept the screams out of the record.” For as much of a quest as it was to attain some higher understanding of improvisation, of music, of sound, Ascension was an aggressive, unpredictable free-for-all; a punk-rock nose-thumbing at what jazz should be. Following in the steps of Ornette Coleman, Coltrane explored the outer limits on Ascension, an album so subversive, so expectantly divisive that the original liner notes were basically a lengthy caveat from author A.B. Spellman. This was playing and thinking at its most free, and the 11-man ensemble who recorded Ascension held nothing back on its two takes. In the jumble, Ascension features some of the greatest, fiercest jazz solos of all time, notably tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders’ fire-tongued flutters on the second take, drummer Elvin Jones’ delicate cymbal rumbles and crashing snares on the first, and, of course, Coltrane’s own unpredictable runs on both. It’s a love extreme.K.G.
Jean Dunand (French, 1877-1942), Marabout, c.1925. Painted plaster panel set in a metal frame, 122 x 67 cm.
Gibbon reaching for reflection of the moon
Author: Ohara, Koson (Japanese, 1877-1945)
Medium: Color woodblock print
Location: Freer and Sackler Galleries, The Smithsonian’s Museums of Asian Art