Saturday, October 13, 2012

John Coltrane's "Ascension" at Dazzle (this week!)

EDIT *The show was last week and went great, go HERE to stream/download the audio for free*

I'm about to perform John Coltrane’s Ascension at Dazzle, in Denver, CO, Sunday October 21st at 7pm with a really great band featuring:

David Pope - saxophone
Peter Sommer - saxophone
Aakash Mittal - saxophone
Wil Swindler - saxophone
Josh Quinlan - saxophone
Ben Haugland - piano
Bard Hoff - guitar
Paul Elwood - banjo
Ryan Fourt - guitar
Matt Smiley - bass
Tony Saccomanno - drums
Britt Ciampa – drums

I arranged the music similar to when I did Ornette Coleman’s “Free Jazz” at Dazzle almost 2 years ago, which you can check out here:
I read as many articles as I could find on the piece, found charts from different sources, found different recordings, and did a fair amount of transcribing.  The end result was freer than when I did “Free Jazz” but it worked great.  I transcribed the inhead off of one of the versions, as close as possible with all the individual parts, except for the piano and drums, and then tried to figure out the pitch sets used in the collective improv before Coltrane’s solo, which is the first one.  Other than that I have the pitch sets written out for all the musicians to use in their interludes or solos if they want, and then improvised solos/backgrounds/interludes. I am worried that it has too much freedom and should’ve been more arranged, but I wanted to keep in intact to the original. My version has two drummers on it, because originally Coltrane wanted Rashied Ali to be on it with Elvin Jones, but Rashied Ali said no.  I listed all the different versions I could find of the piece below, and didn’t find much.  I’m sure there are other recordings out there, but all the “new age” album search results keep gumming up the works.

Thinking about the original recording, there are still a few original musicians alive.  McCoy Tyner is still recording and touring, which I got to see him perform with an all-star septet in Montreal at the Jazzfest the summer or 2007.  Pharoah Sanders is still alive and playing, I also saw him at the same Jazzfest that summer, playing mostly ballads and Coltrane tunes, with a really beautiful sound.  I didn’t realize Archie Shepp was still alive, and tours some according to his website, and puts out recordings with various European groups.  I’m not sure about the trumpet players Dewey Johnson.  He’s a mysterious trumpet player that seemingly was on the scene and then disappeared, or at least quit music.  He’s on Ascension, a Paul Bley record, and that’s all I found listed. 

Sadly saxophonist John Tchicai just passed away earlier this week, he was one of the alto saxophonists on Ascension.  He was some famous early free jazz recordings like the Coltrane large ensemble record, The New York Contemporary Five records with Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, Don Moore and J.C. Moses, The New York Art Quartet with Roswell Rudd, Milford Graves and Reggie Workman albums, Albert Ayler’s “New York Eye and Ear Control” with Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray, and collaborations with MEV, along with his own records.  He was an incredible player and will surely be missed. 

Before I depart this blog post, I have some stuff coming up.  I want to put together a Zorn tribute project, a one time concert of Masada, Naked City and COBRA, with maybe even a few of the guitar etudes.  Alongside this I’m starting to do a little writing and organizing of some free improv pieces, and want to put together a large collage piece based on Anthony Braxton music.  Also still looking into a Tim Berne project, but the music is very difficult, and it would take some dedicated players to play it.  My group Mad Ranks has some gigs coming up, playing 20th century contemporary music, and looking for more gigs to keep that group going.  Other than that, a possible recording project of some more avant music with MTM this summer (2013), hopefully!  These are all very exciting projects while hammering away at the straight ahead jazz.  COME TO ASCENSION!!


John Coltrane – “Ascension”

two separate takes with”

John Coltrane: tenor sax
Archie Shepp: tenor sax
Pharaoh Sanders: tenor sax
John Tchicai: alto sax
Marion Brown: alto sax
Dewey Johnson: trumpet
Freddie Hubbard: trumpet
Elvin Jones: drums
Art Davis: bass
Jimmy Garrison: bass
Mccoy Tyner: piano

Recorded June 28th 1965

*rashied ali (asked to  be on it, refused)

John Coltrane – “Live in Antibes 1965”

John Coltrane: tenor sax
Mccoy Tyner: piano
Jimmy Garrison: bass
Elvin Jones: drums

Recorded July 27th 1965

Rova Sax Quartet – “John Coltrane’s Ascension”

Jon Raskin: alto sax
Steve Adams: alto sax
George Cremaschi: bass
Lisle Ellis: bass
Donald Robinson: drums
Chris Brown: piano
Bruce Ackley: tenor sax
Glenn Spearman: tenor sax
Larry Ochs: tenor sax
Dave Douglas: trumpet
Raphe Malik: trumpet

Recorded December 6th 1995

Rova Orkestrova – “Electric Ascension”

Jon Raskin: bari sax
Steve Adams: alto sax
Fred Frith: bass
Ikue Mori: drum machines, sampler
Donald Robinson: drums
Chris Brown: electronics
Nels Cline: guitar
Bruce Ackley: soprano sax
Larry Ochs: tenor sax
Otomo Yoshide: turntables electronics
Jenny Scheinman: violin
Carla Kihlstedt: violin, effects

Recorded February 8th 2003

Harriet Tubman double trio  - “Ascension”

Brandon Ross: guitar
Melvin Gibbs: electric bass
Jt Lewis: drums
Ron Miles: trumpet
Dj Logic: turntables
Dj Single: turntables

Recorded April 29th 2011