Thursday, 18 June 2015

The CD Revival & Tony Williams

'I feel the strange urge to buy a CD...'

'Vampires fall to dust..crumpled cloth bodies on the glass
and metal streets'? What the hell is he going on about....?

That's me this morning, getting my fill of Bill, as I like to do regularly - inspired by the recent publication of some cut-ups collectively called The Travel Agency Is On Fire. More on that soon, perhaps even a scan of one, if you're good...

...but of course you're good, you're here, aren't you?

Now, the CD revival. Has it started yet? In Fopp this morning I noticed the posters saying 'Vinyl is killing mp3' - ha-ha, well, they're trying to sell vinyl, that's why - it was everywhere. I even flicked through a box of Jazz, pristine, sealed albums by the likes of Miles Davis...Money Jungle (Ellington, Mingus & Roach) was in there but I'm happy with my old vinyl version, thanks. These represses are for wimps, right? Yes, you have to have the get authentic crackles anyway... I went upstairs where they keep all the Jazz and found two Tony Williams albums on CD (Spring and Life Time) for £3 each. That'll do. I had them both on vinyl once upon a time but don't regret selling...I mean, I needed the money, being on the dole. I think that was when I sold them...or it could have been one of the times I've just looked at all the vinyl and thought 'Something's got to go' because it was crammed in and piled high, like the books. Besides, re-buying is an interesting experience, a return to what you once treasured and can appreciated again. It sparks awareness, whereas albums that sit neglected amongst many others are tragic and a waste of space. I know, we all have them and it's great when you notice a spine, a thin, worn out spine, perhaps, the name long since squashed to become unreadable, pull it out and realise it's a gem! (Such as Blues For A Stripper conducted by Mundell Lowe, the spine of which has nothing printed on it, being plain, wafer thin black, therefore well hidden on my shelves).

Tony Williams. You know, he played drums for Miles Davis in the 60s, when he was only 8, 12, 17. How anyone can be that good at such an age is beyond comprehension. I'd say his talent was 'God-given' if I believed in Him but since I don't, the magic remains a mystery. He wrote every piece on Spring and Life Time, so add that to his skills. These are deep records...contemplative at times, but also sparkling with energy, a la modal, if you don't mind. Well, I mean, not the usual Blue Note modernist swing thing. Sam Rivers is on both, so too is Herbie Hancock. Gary Peacock...Richard Davis...Bobby Hutcherson on Memory...skirting around, inside and out of what would be called 'Free Jazz'...contemplative and compelling.

It took me all afternoon to unwrap the CDs, mind, bringing back memories of when that was a regular occurrence. In this act there was a perverse kind of pleasure, I confess; picking at the sealed corner folds, tearing a tiny piece, then getting a nail under to rip off the rest. Have I sold the idea of buying a sealed CD yet? No? Never mind. I hope I've sold you the idea of these two Tony Williams albums anyway. Although I haven't spoken in any detail about them have a listen and decide for yourself...

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