Monday, August 24, 2020

My ESP-Disk' Article Is Online Now

I've been writing for JazzTimes for almost 19 years and, outside of the Marshall Allen/Sun Ra Arkestra that marked my debut for the magazine, the article of which I'm proudest is on the site right now (there are no print copies being made at the moment). That would be a story about the ESP-Disk' label, its history and its current status as a living, breathing label that is still releasing music. You can find it right here. 

The article was a long time in the making. And I'm not just saying that because I interviewed ESP label manager Steve Holtje back in January (with a follow-up chat in May). When I was in high school, a used record store near to my house often stocked ESP reissues on the Base label. As a budding Albert Ayler fan, I snatched up New York Eye and Ear Control (the somewhat shambolic group improvisation album that featured his quartet, plus a few more guys) and Spirits Rejoice. Then there were the Fugs. Then there were other albums that I'd ponder and think I'd need to hear someday (Burton Greene, who reminded me of James Chance on the cover of the former's debut album). I've blogged at length on the label and various releases. In fact, my uncut talk with founder Bernard Stollman appears here too. 

Along with the story, there is a sidebar mentioning five choice albums in the ESP discography that don't always get mentioned but should be explored, four from the '60s and one from just a few years ago. Click here to read it.  You have to click through all the dots to see all five, plus pass a few ads, but the magazine could use the revenue so an extra click won't kill you. 

While you're there, also check out an article I wrote about Tropos, a group of younger musicians who just released a debut album, half of which consists of Anthony Braxton compositions. The issue also has a cover story on Pittsburgh's native son Errol Garner and a piece by bassist Melvin Gibbs on the changing nature of protests in jazz. All can be found on the main page.  

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