A comprehensive study companion to The Options Course, Second Edition
Capturing the groundbreaking Cecil Taylor Unit's second set at the Power Center, Michigan State University at Ann Arbor, on Thursday, April 15th 1976, this document was recorded for broadcast on WCBN-FM's Jazz Alive program. Featuring Taylor on piano, backed by his long-term sideman Jimmy Lyons (alto sax), David S. Ware (tenor sax), Raphe Malik (trumpet), and Marc Edwards (drums), it offers a fascinating glimpse into Taylor's uncompromising vision, and is presented here in its entirety, with digitally remastered sound, background notes, and rare images.
Just like the singular Cornell, just like the one later called Sunshine Daydream, just like hallowed Hampton, DeKalb stands legend on its own as one of the most sensational performances the Grateful Dead ever did do. Early tape-trading circles earmarked the show as upper-echelon and when you have a listen, we're sure you'll be inclined to agree. The original reel-to-reel recordings have been shined and polished to perfection, showcasing mighty fine fret work, sparkling keys, and unparalleled harmonies. In fact, we can hardly pick favorites - from start to finish, there's just too much good stuff!
In addition to its impressive musicianship, Brigham Young University Synthesis stands apart from most other college big bands due to its diverse and inventive arrangements. On this set, live from the 1996 Montreux Jazz Festival, the 20-piece orchestra (directed by Ray Smith) performs a program ranging from "Sing, Sing, Sing" (which has Smith featured on clarinet), to pieces by Miles Davis ("All Blues"), Sammy Nestico, Bob Mintzer, Pat Metheny, and Dizzy Gillespie. Even with all of the changes in styles, the band and its soloists adapt themselves quite well. Among the individual stars of this easily recommended big-band set are tenor saxophonist Mike Vance, trumpeter Brent Durland, and guitarist Joshua Payne.
Due to the second recording ban, Duke Ellington made no studio recordings in 1948, which makes the concert tapes from that year especially interesting. The Cornell University concert in December is especially interesting in contrast to Ellington's sixth annual Carnegie Hall appearance, which had occurred four weeks earlier and which had premiered such works as "Lady Of The Lavender Mist" and "The Tattooed Bride," which were repeated here. In the course of a difficult roadtrip, the band got a good reception at Cornell, and they played well. (Note that the group included tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, on his second and final sojourn with the band, which would last only until the spring of 1949).
Originally released on Amazon as a bonus disc for early purchasers of 2010’s The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9 and The Original Mono Recordings, Bob Dylan in Concert: Brandeis University 1963 saw a wide release in the spring of 2011. Unlike the archival concerts that have popped up in The Bootleg Series, Brandeis University 1963 isn’t a major statement. At seven songs, it’s brief and there’s no mythology behind the show; a recording wasn’t even known to exist until a tape was found within the collection of music critic Ralph J. Gleason in 2009. It may be minor, but as a live recording of Dylan between the release of his debut and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, it is certainly noteworthy, a glimpse of Dylan working folk festival bills unencumbered by fame or legend.