2014 Issued in stout CD packaging with a wide spine, a 28-page booklet tucked inside the front pocket and handsome photographs of Jimmy Giuffre in mono and colour on several of the panels as well as dotted inside with pictures of his playing partners and his wife these are previously unreleased recordings of Giuffre’s dating back to 1965, the trio recorded at Judson Hall (later the CAMI Hall) featuring Richard Davis possibly the Out to Lunch bassist’s only public or studio appearance with Giuffre, Bob Blumenthal in the notes gathers from Davis, and drummer Joe Chambers who a few months before the trio set performed with Archie Shepp and John Coltrane on what would become the seminal New Thing At Newport.
Joe Chambers is also on the now demolished Wollman Auditorium Columbia University-recorded quartet set from earlier in 1965 with Giuffre, pianist Don Friedman, and Barre Phillips (the Californian bassist who would also be on New Thing at Newport). Giuffre back-announces the first track ‘Syncopate’ before introducing the next tune, Ornette Coleman Hillcrest era composition ‘Crossroads’, the only composition here on both CDs not by Giuffre. The clarinettist/saxophonist speaks again at the beginning of ‘Drive’ the longest piece of all here, Giuffre on tenor saxophone fashioning a style that Joe Chambers speaking to Bob Blumenthal in the notes says amounts to “what Jimmy called ‘free counterpoint’.” Chambers is quoted as saying, referring to how Giuffre composed: “He wrote out full scores, including drum parts. I still have those scores in my files, and it’s fascinating to see how he lined up the counterpoint, with drum parts written as another voice.”
The earlier quartet recordings from 1965 of this textbook jazz reissue found on disc two include four of the tracks included on the trio disc. The ones not on the trio disc are ‘Three Bars in One’, and ‘Cry Want’ (the Ornette tune is not repeated). The addition of the piano of Don Friedman warms or rather thickens the sound certainly on ‘Syncopate’ paradoxically making it even more avant garde! Phillips’ bowed bass near the beginning of ‘Quadrangle’ injects a different point of entry after Giuffre’s exploratory clarinet probings while Chambers makes dramatic entries now and then on the track rather than keeping a regular beat more in the manner of an orchestral timpani player. Later the drummer’s approach is radically different.
‘Three Bars In One’ is Giuffre in a nutshell at once crowding everybody in (an exercise in collision to an extent) but panning out as well to thrive on the space that the writing creates as a clever contrast. The keening ‘Cry Want’ is the closest to Giuffre’s ‘The Train and the River’, here a brief glimpse at the beginning of that lonesome number’s atmosphere if not rhythm. Friedman’s accompaniment, when it comes in, quietly rolling behind him along with a ponderous Phillips and Chambers, the four painting pictures you’ll never see in any exhibition. SG
Photo: Fred Seligo © Delia Seligo Archives/CTS Images
Released on 19 May