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Mosaic Select: John Carter & Bobby Bradford (MS-036)Mosaic Select
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies
3 CDs - $44.00
Saxophonist/clarinetist John Carter was associated with Ornette Coleman in the '40s in their shared hometown of Fort Worth. Coleman moved to Los Angeles in the early '50s as did Dallas trumpeter Bobby Bradford who would work with Ornette sporadically for the next 20 years. Carter moved to LA in 1961 and eventually found in Bobby Bradford an ideal collaborator.
Initially calling their quartet The New Art Jazz Ensemble, they made their debut album Seeking in 1969 for the small Revelation Records. Their music was very much in the same orbit as Ornette's with darting linear compositions and freedom from chordal structures blended into a marvelous fresh sense of swing and blues roots.
Carter's virtuosity on clarinet, flute and saxophone sets the benchmark for the music that this group strives for and achieves. Distinctive for their rich vibrant tones and articulation, Carter and Bradford bring a variety of colors, moods and rhythms to their vibrant brand of modern jazz. They manage to achieve an air of precision with a music that thrives on interplay and looseness. Every performance resonates with beauty and adventure.
This set includes both Carter/Bradford albums on Revelation (the other is Secrets as well as two unissued sessions from 1971 and a 1979 duet studio session which label co-founder Jonathan Horwich taped at Westlake Studios in LA. These new discoveries (almost two hours of unissued music) greatly expand the Carter/Bradford output, which was heretofore known to be only two albums each on Revelation and Flying Dutchman.
Bill Hardy and I began Revelation Records in the mid1960s in an effort to provide unrecognized and deserving jazz musicians an opportunity to record in a relaxed setting, under their own direction and choice of instrumentation. That's exactly what we have here with Revelation's Carter/Bradford material.
To give an overview, we first recorded John and Bobby on 16 January 1969 at Occidental college (where I attended and Bill taught) in California. The result was our first album of the group, Seeking, which comprises most of Disc One of this compilation. Later Bill recorded the group on 4 April 1972 at Occidental. This resulted in our second and last album of them, Secrets, which comprises most of Disc Two of this compilation. Then, on 7 July 1979, I recorded John and Bobby in a duet after visiting Westlake Studios in Los Angeles and seeing the very room where Stevie Wonder recorded Innervisions. I wanted to record the best West Coast, avant-garde group in that very same room-as a sort of contrast. And although this was clearly a formal studio, we kept it relaxed and laid back, per Revelation style, by using my own portable analog gear (just two microphones and one small but excellent tape recorder), and provided an atmosphere conducive to spontaneous creation. That session comprises all of Disc Three of this compilation. It has never been released until now. And the intimacy and communication between these two stellar musicians comes across loud and clear.
But there is more. From early 1969, the same time period during which Seeking was completed, Bill recorded further performances of the group. As you'll hear, they have the same flavor, instrumentation and wonderful improvisation as the material found on that first vinyl. These previously unpublished performances are included at the end of Disc One and as the first song on Disc Two.
In late 1971 Bill gathered John and Bobby's group together and recorded more performances at Occidental College. The date was 9 Nov 71 and this time the instrumentation included piano, giving a whole new feel to the group's work. These late 1971 performances also were never published except for one song, "Circle," which was issued on Secrets. These unpublished performances have been included at the end of Disc Two. One should not consider these as bonus tracks to the original vinyl. They are actually their own performances in their own time period. They are not outtakes. And more to the point, they stand on their own musically as you will hear.
I won't further comment on specific tracks, except to say that this music stands as some of the greatest improvised music ever created in jazz. John and Bobby were superb musicians, and when they formed a group together, great things happened. We're all very lucky to have that preserved here.
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"Thanks Mosaic. This is music I have both enjoyed and sought for quite a few years. Carter and Bradford, strong voices in modern jazz, are as worthy as any to be heard from their time."
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