on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2016 13 Okt

The best jazz concert I ever saw in Paris

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | 2 Comments

1973. Or close. We had six days in Paris and lived in two quite rotten  appartments in Abbèsses. I was looking for a concert that lived up to my expectations of Paris‘ mythical history of jazz, and, by chance, I found a record store with incredible albums: the rarest works of Sun Ra, German hard core Free Jazz from FMP, a Michael Cuscuna label (that would pubilish gems like a duo album of Charlie Haden, the best Sunny Fortune album ever, and a brilliant Dave Liebman longplayer, with a fine version of the Beatles‘ „Within You, Without You“). The whole world in a little store. Of course all the early ECM stuff – and, unknown for my hungry ears, the French label „Palm“ which had its office just around the corner. I had never ever heard of a guy called Byard Lancaster III (who had just released an album on that label parisienne). The manager told me about this black American guy, he described his style, on the sax, on the piano. And he would play that week in a small theatre in „Mouffetard“ (maybe that was the name of the place, or the area, dunno). We went there. A French bass player who did a fine job, Steve McCall (the magician, on drums and percussion) – and the then unknown Mr. Lancaster. Later, when I was asked about the best concerts of my life, this evening always popped up from memory. It was free, melodic, soulful, it was running down every road of the avantgarde with blissful nonchalance – not hesitating to dive into some Ray Charles territory with heartfelt singing. At that time I still didn’t know the books of Julio Cortazar, but it still makes me shiver to think that this guy (who later became one of my favourite writers of post-war literature, a man who lived jazz) had been sitting two or three rows behind me. Maybe Byard Lancaster III became a teacher later, but apart from that old „Palm record“ I never again found anything of this man that even came close to the magic of that evening.

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  1. Hans-Dieter Klinger:

    Pre Horizons

    After reading this post it took seven steps to my record shelf. Now a fourty years old Horizon Vinyl is rotating on my turntable:

    David Liebman - Sweet Hands

    Only a few hours to Klanghorizonte

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Wonderful, Hans-Dieter!!!

    Yes, Horizon Records, I loved aome of their albums, also a double lve album by Paul Desmond where he already knew that cancer would do its work, and, in spite of that, he played with grace. Deeply affecting. Like the works by Stan Getz with Kenny Barron.

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