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July 12, 1967 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1967-07-12

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PAGE SIX

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

WEDNESDAT ITILY A. 199

THE MTC~h(~AN L LVaaaaa %.a ,. u,

YY.Ui/i\i'sa.7 Ald'i+s aUlu X 1000 1.70(

I

Festival

at

Newport:

The

Soun ds

of

Jazz '67

By DAVID BERSON
Special To The Daily
WPORT, R.I-As you stroll.
down the streets of this ocean-
side town, you get the feeling that
it really wouldn't be much dif-
ferent even if it wasn't the scene
of three of the largest music fes-
tivals in the world.
Near the center of town, its
narrow brick streets are lined
with tinywooden houses and on
its outskirts along the shore rest
incredible Gatsbyesque estates be-
longing to Eastern magnates of
various proprieties. For the past
14 years, Newport has weathered
annual invasions of festival fans,
somehow retaining its wispy
tranquility in the face of the
spasmodic assaults.
The jazz festival is a little dif-
ferent now, from seven or eight
years ago when jazz was the
music of the underground. The
visitors are a little older, a little
more subdued, more in search of
Fourth of July relief than aes-
thetic injection. The same goes
for the music.
THE SATURDAY afternoon pro-
gram was put together by Herbie
Mann "to show how jazz has been
affected by music of other cul-
tures" and vice versa. It was an
international program, and while
little of the music was gripping,
with that nice breeze and sun-
shine and notoriously p'etty girls
all over the place, it had its
moments.
Herbie Mann is not one of the
better flutists in jazz or in any-
thing else, but he is one of the
more clever men on the scene. He
selects his material and sidemen
carefully and is constantly chang-
ing his group's sound. He is cur-
rently on a Middle East kick and
employing an electric oudist
"which we found in an oudist
camp." Mann's group was joined
for several numbers by Michael
Olatunji, a Nigerian drummer,
and that was all nice, too.
But the only memorable musical
point of the afternoon was the
work of Mann's vibraphone play-
er, .a young Californian named
Roy Ayres, who played wonder-
fully clean and swinging long
lines in front of some powerful
bass work by Reggie Workman.
John Birks Gillespie, a middle
aged trumpet player occasionally
known as Dizzy, was also on hand
in the afternoon, joining Mann,
Olatunji, and the German trom-
bonist Albert Manglesdorff for
several choruses of "Night In
Tunisia." Diz, still the heavy-
weight champ and obviously still
the buff's favorite buffoon, con-
firmed prolonged rumors that
"Manteca" really does mean
grease and also announced that
he is once again a candidate for,
the presidency.
Gillespie returned in the eve-
ning'for a short set with his own
group and played a beautifully
constructed solo on an original
called "Winter Samba."
"The one we've all been waiting
for," the Buddy Rich Big Band
finished off the Saturday pack-
age with some very ordinary big
band riffs. Everybody kept wait-
ing, and as it turned out, J.B.
Gillespie once again saved the
day. Just before Rich was about
to kick off the band's last tune,
Gillespie strolled onstage and an-;
nounced that he wanted to play.
It was evident to that time, from

Rich's anonymous sideman, that
the drummer-leader does not
care much for competition. So
before calling for a blues for Gil-
lespie, he took upon himself the
unenviable task of playing the
dozens with The Great One.
The dozens match was rated a
toss-up by most, and so the blues
began with Diz drawing pop-eyes
from Rich's trumpet section.
When the tune and the applause
died down, Gillespie announced
that he would like to play again.
This was too much for Rich, and
he gave Diz a good verbal going-
over, seemingly sending on his
way to the wings.
Then Rich called off the band's
bread-and-butter chart, "West
Side Story Medley," and there
must have been a dozen old Negro
ladies weeping softly in the aud-
ience.
All seemed lost, until-lo and
behold-it became apparent that
Rich's trumpet section was wail-
ing with a strange buoyance. Yes
it was. And yes he was. Diz was
merrily sight-reading the first
part, his entire face puffed to
gigantic proportions, reaching for
mutes that weren't there, wink-
ing 'at all the photographers at
the edge of the stage, generally
having a ball, and leaving plenty
of room for Buddy Rich to end
the set and the evening with one
of t h o s e awesome superman
drum marathons that left every-
body wondering how many hands
the little guy has, anyhow.
THERE WAS a notable short-
age of new jazz at the festival,
and an overabundance of that o1'
1938 Savoy Ballroom sound from
the Woody Herman Herd, the
Milford Youth Band, a Japanese
band called The Sharps and
Flats, and Rich, proving that if
the big band business isn't dead
physically, it pretty much is
spiritually.,
The exception was a 21-piece
band from California led by Don
Ellis, who may be the first jazz
bandleader to have discovered
electricity. The orchestra features
an electrified reed section, elec-
tric piano, and Ellis himself plays
his four-valved trumpet with an
electronic pick-up and e c h o
chamber.
The band erupted through its
set propelled by four drummers
and three bass players. Add to all
of this some crazy time signa-
tures and material which includes
fugues, Turkish folk rhythms,
ragas, and boisterous Dixieland,
and you have what usually turns
out to be just another stereo-
phonic gimmick.
But Ellis has kept this band in
the big band tradition, utilizing
the good things of the past with
his own new ideas. Only about 600
people heard the band on Sunday
afternoon, after a very hard
morning rain, but they gave Ellis
a standing ovation and festival
producer George Wein immed-
iately announced that the band
would be back next year.
Albert Ayler . played before a
disappearing' audience on Friday
evening but was well-received by
those who didn't file out.
Rolf Kuhn, a German clarinet-
ist, turned in what was probably
the festival's most polished per-
formance of new music. He has
tremendous technical facility and
played a tightly knit set of
atonal music, weaving his horn

in and out of some brilliant piano
music by his brother Joachim.
The John Handy Quintet, mak-
ing its first appearance at New-
port, played two long pieces, the
first called "Tears for Ole Miss,"
a programmed piece which tried
to deniet James. M'eredifh' nd-

Hines, a tall, trim man who looks
about half of his 60-odd years,
played sturdy two-handed piano:
which was as fresh as it must+
have been when Hines was work-
ing for Louis Armstrong's Hot
Five in the late Twenties.

L' Upl'!ti a '5iv~i-" - ' Nina Simone produced a pow-
mission in the University of Mis- erfully emotional set. She is a
sissippi. It came complete with striking black woman who com-
blasts on police and penny whis- mands absolute involvement from
tles, a chorus of "Yankee Doodle," her audience. Her voice is deep-
and complete freezes by every- throated, but at moments so
body in the band in the middle gentle, it quivers. Miss Simone's
gifts are many, but perhaps her1
Handy's alto sound is pinched greatest is a sure harmonic sense
and often annoying, and despite with which she extends simple
all the action, the group rarely melodies into her own personal:
Jells. Vibist Bobby Hutcherson, style. Her piano seems almost
who has made some fine records baroque but yet fully rooted in
in the -last two years establishing the blues. Her only shortcoming:
himself as one of the best men on
the instrument, seemed particu-
larly frustrated and unable to
iustain his solos.
ONE OF THE MOST interest-
ing new groups at the festival was
the Gary Burton Quartet. Bur-
ton, a former jazz prodigy, who
made his .first record at 17, was
featured with Stan Getz at 19,
etc. He was, in general, a fair-
haired virtuoso about jazz, and
is now a long-haired virtuoso.
One suspects he discovered that
while barely out of his teens, he
was playing the same kind of
music that men twice his age were
playing when they were teen-
agers.
He and his guitarist, another
flowering youth named Larry
Coryell, played some beautiful
pieces written by the English
composer Mike Gibbs, interweav-
ing vibes and guitar through often
immensely complex yet swinging
lines in front of Steve Swallow,
bass, and Stu Martin, drums.
Coryell, who likes country blues
dug in deep and in an electric
fury, broke his strap and turned
up his amp for a wild feedback
solo.
There were some expected joys
at the festival from Wes Mont-
gomery's group and the Earl
"Fatha" Hines quartet. Mont-
gomery thumbed his way through
"Bumpin' on Sunset," "Tequila,"
and "Goin' Outta My Head,"
playing double stops as easily as
most guitarists play single notes. "JOHN BIRKS GILLESPIE, n

is some of her lyrical material,
which seems noticeably sloppy.
ONE OF THE built-in difficul-
ties with most jazz festivals is.
that the artists rarely get enough
time to get below the surface of
the music, sort of "Okay, baby,
you got 30 minutes. Get out there
and 'really get inta' somethin'."
This penalizes groups which de-
pend most on interaction, and
they often come out appearing
rather than performing.
Such was the fate of the Miles
Davis Quintet, which skittered
through "Ginger Bread Boy,"
"Circles," "Round Midnight" and
"So What," with everybody -
Miles, Herbie Hancock, Wayne
Shorter. Ron Carter and Tony

Williams-playing beautifully but!
without the unity that makes the
group probably the best in *jazz
today.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet
played three uneventful originals
and then walked off. Everyone
shouted for another number, and
so they played another uneventful'
tune and walked off again.
The man who made the best of
his time turning in the best per-

hands from the keyboard. Philly
Joe Jones is the trio's drummer,
and he is probably still the most
musical percussionist in jazz.
BUT IN TERMS of reaching the
folk, as they say, nobody at New-
port was more successful than
Lionel Hampton. Hampton and his
big band *ere the last group on
the bill, and the old'vibes player
seemed determined not to leave

By the time Hampton had gotten
into his fourth tune, Joe Newman
and Snooky Young were leading
the trumpet section in some Amer-
ican Bandstand clapping, Jimmy
Nottingham was tossing his horn
into the air, and Hamp was doing
the monkey at center stage with
his rotund pianist Mil Buckner.
Then tenor man Illinois Jacquet
came out in strange spirits, honk-
ing, screaming and waving his

i

without getting people dancing in horn as he stomped about the
formance of the entire festival, h ils
was pianist Bill Evans. At a time the aisles, stage. If you think that was weird,
when intensity is a favored com- Hampton managed to hit that you should have seen what hap-
modity and jazzmen are blowing thin line between getting the audi- pened when he started toward the
whistles and honking saxophones ence laughing at. him with some edge of the stage and tried to lead
and hammering on pianos to deadly funky arrangements and the band. Drummer Alan Dawson
achieve it, Evans builds tremen- laughing with him and his shouts was making funny faces.
dous heat with logical and flowing of "Yay! Yay! Yay!" and "This And people were dancing in the
lines, rarely lifting his eyes or next one's really gon' be a gaasss." aisles.

middlle-aged trumpet player occasionally known as Dizzy . . . still the heavyweight champ and obviously still the buff's baffoon . . B

4
*

"NINA SIMONE . . . a striking black woman who commands "DON ELLIS. . may be the first jazz bandleader to have discovered electricity."
involvement from her audience."

;.

I

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