about Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis's ensemble



The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles 

by Bob Gluck(2016) 


Chapter 7 The Revolutionary Ensemble 

第7章 レヴォリューショナリーアンサンブル 


Musical freedom is relative. The Miles Davis Lost Quintet was a model of a band fronted by a relatively nondirective leader who allowed his musicians substantial leeway to play as they wished. Circle took this model even further by beginning with the idea of a leaderless group that generated musical form even more substantially from interactions between its members. In Circle, individual freedom was balanced with the maintenance of group musical cohesion. The Revolutionary Ensemble expanded Circle's approach: individual and group configurations were malleable constructs, one giving way to the other without so much as a moment's notice. Collectivity could just as soon feature simultaneous and multiple individual initiatives as it could musical togetherness. Construction of a cohesive whole was constantly subject to instantaneous negotiation. Some might view this approach as anarchic, but the three musicians of the Revolutionary Ensemble functioned like a musical high-wire act, sounding sometimes like one voice and at other times like independent individuals coexisting in the same sound space. 




Introducing the Revolutionary Ensemble 



Among Anthony Braxton's most significant collaborators during the late 1960s in Chicago and Paris was violinist Leroy Jenkins. The two were members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians who, in search of greater support and performance opportunities, joined a 1969 European sojourn led by drummer Steve McCall and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Braxton and Jenkins were among the first AACM members to settle in New York City upon their return from Paris in 1970. Creative Construction Company, their collectivist ensemble that they founded in 1967 with Leo Smith, reunited, and performed a concert on May 19, 1970, at the Peace Church. 



The Braxton began to pursue his collaboration with Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Barry Altschul ― after touring the United States with Musica Elettronica Viva ― and Jenkins formed a new improvisatory trio, the Revolutionary Ensemble. The group included bassist Sirone (Norris Jones) and percussionist Jerome Cooper (who replaced founding member Frank Clayton). Despite its limited public performance opportunities, the band became one of the most vibrant open-improvisation vehicles during this era of dynamic, expressive music-making. 



Jenkins and Cooper first met in Chicago, albeit briefly. Cooper recalls: “[Pianist] Ahmad Jamal opened a club in Chicago called the Alhambra, but the club folded . The reason it folded was because he wouldn't serve alcohol, and you gotta have alcohol in Chicago. Me and a friend of mine went there for a jam session and a lot of the AACM cats were there. Leroy, Muhal [Richard Abrams] ... a lot of cats. I played, and Leroy played, but I couldn't hear Leroy because Leroy played violin and he had no amplifier. And I spoke to Leroy, and that was it. 

ジェンキンスとクーパーが、短期間ではあったが、初めて出会ったのはシカゴだった。クーパーは当時を振り返り「ピアノ奏者のアーマッド・ジャマルがシカゴに「The Alhambra」というクラブを開いた。だがすぐにたたんでしまった。酒を出そうとしないのだ。シカゴでそれはないだろう。私とその友達は、ジャムセッションをしようとそこへ行ったものだ。それにAACMの連中も沢山いた。リロイ、ムハル・リチャード・エイブラムス、沢山の連中がいたよ。私が弾く、するとリロイも弾く、だがリロイの音は聞こえてこない。バイオリンをアンプ無しで弾いているからだ。そのことをリロイに言っても、それっきりだった。」 



Jerome Cooper 



Fourteen years younger than Leroy Jenkins, “multi-dimensional drummer” Jerome Cooper grew up in Chicago. Like Jenkins (and many other AACM members and notable jazz musicians), he was an alumnus of “Captain” Walter Dyett's jazz program at Jean Baptist Point DuSable High School. His studies continued at American Conservatory and Loop College. Then, while in his early twenties, Cooper performed with Oscar Brown Jr. and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre. He recalls having been invited to join the AACM at the time, but declined to become involved. Cooper joined the European exodus of Chicago-based musicians, first arriving in Copenhagen and then Paris. Among the notables with whom he played during this period were Steve Lacy, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Alan Silva, Frank Wright, and Noah Howard. After a while, Cooper decided to move to New York City, where his association with Jenkins took off. He recalls: 




I was working a lot in Paris, but Paris around 1970 started to become a drag, and everybody was leaving and I was close to Roscoe [Mitchell] in those days. And I dug the idea, what I liked about the Art Ensemble [of which Mitchell was a member] was their cooperative effort, you know, everyone equal. And so I said, “Roscoe, you know, I'm interested in being part of a cooperative group.” And he gave me Leroy's number ... Meeting Leroy that one time [in Chicago] was the only reason that I had enough nerve when Roscoe told me to call Leroy, that's the only reason I called him. I thought, “He seems pretty cool,” so I called him up when I came back to New York and I went over his house, and he took me over to Sirone's [bass player Norris Jones, the third member of the band.] 





Sirone (Norris Jones) 



Sirone was raised in Atlanta, where he played as a teenager with saxophonist George Adams. Early in his career, he also played with Sam Cooke and Jerry Butler, and his broad musical background prepared him well to play a wide array of musical forms, including 




the gospel ... but the other music that I was introduced to early in high school was classical music. In some way or another if you are going to study music from a technical point of view you have to have the experience of European classical music. But I was very fortunate because my first teacher was a trombone player with a Dixieland group so I got on the job training ... I was listening to all sort of music, even hillbilly music ... in Atlanta the group that we had at this point, and this was in my latter teenage years was called “The Group” and we would be the opening band for all the main New York bands. 


ゴスペルとかもあった。でも高校に入ったばかりの頃に出会ったクラシック音楽も外せない。何かしら、技術的な面から音楽を学ぼうとするなら、やはりヨーロッパのクラシック音楽の経験がないとダメだ。その点、私は大変幸運だった。最初に出会った先生はトロンボーンがご専門で、ディキシーランドの音楽グループに関わっていた。そこで私は、職業訓練みたいたことを受けることができた。あらゆる音楽を聞いた。ヒルビリー(北米の民族音楽全般)だってしっかり聴いたよ。アトランタで、当時私が組んでいたバンドは、10代後半の頃で、名前は「The Group」と言った。ニューヨークをベースにしていた主なバンドの殆どについて、前座をやらせてもらったよ。」 


Upon moving to New York City at the invitation of Marion Brown, Sirone cofounded the Untraditional Jazz Improvisational Team with pianist Dave Burrell and saxophonist Byard Lancaster. In the late 1960s, Sirone performed and recorded with Brown, Gato Barbieri, Sonny Sharock, Pharoah Sanders, and Bennie Maupin before joining the Revolutionary Ensemble. 

マリオン・ブラウンの招きでニューヨークへ拠点を移すに当たり、シローネは、ピアノ奏者のデイヴ・バレルとサクソフォン奏者のバード・ランカスターとともに「The Untraditional Jazz Improvisational Team」を結成した。1960年代後半になると、シローネはブラウン、ガトー・バルビエリソニー・シャーロック、ファローラ・サンダース、ベニー・モウピンらと演奏活動を行い、録音も残している。これはレヴォリューショナリーアンサンブル加入前のことである。 



Founding the New Group 



At the time, in 1970, all three musicians were living downtown in New York City. Cooper: “Leroy was living on Bedford Street in Manhattan, in the West Village. And Sirone was living on Bleecker Street in the West Village, a hop skip from Leroy's house. And I was living across the street from the Fillmore [East]. I lived on Six Street, between Second and Third Avenue. During them days there weren't any lofts, meaning commercial lofts where they would have performances every week.” 



Sirone recalls that he and Jenkins had been playing with a larger group of musicians, some of whom he thought were not up to the task. 




We had some players that weren't hitting [playing well enough] at all and Leroy and I was walking and talking about music and I said “Listen man, I have no problem playing with you but those other cats, you gotta rid of them, they're not there, you know.” And he said, “What are you talking about, what are you thinking?” And I said “Let's have violin, bass and drums” and that's when he almost fainted and Leroy said “What do you think abut the name” and I said, “I dunno man. I dunno about the name” and he said “What about The Revolutionary Ensemble” and I thought he was crazy; three cats, but it worked. 




The ensemble's first rehearsal was at Artists House, Ornette Coleman's combination home and studio, where, according to Cooper, Jenkins was already spending a good deal of time. They also rehearsed at artist Fred Brown's, “going back and forth between there and Ornette's.” Brown was a noted painter, whose loft at 120 Wooster Street in Soho became a meeting group for numerous creative artists working in a variety of media. The year 1970 was pivotal for Brown, as he mounted his first solo exhibition in Chicago. Poet Felipe Luciano remembers Revolutionary Ensemble's rehearsals at Brown's loft. Luciano, cofounder of the Latino activist group the Young Lords, had recently joined the spoken-word ensemble the Last Poets. 




As I'm coming in the door [to Fred Brown's loft], Leroy Jenkins, Sirone is going “doom-doom-doom ...” not 4/4, 8/8, and Leroy's going “eh-eh, eh-ehhh, ehhh ...” and I'm not “beam me up Scotty” and Jerome plays with his face in your face: all I saw was his fingers. That was the first poem I wrote with Fred Brown. It was called “Fingers Moving.” After that, came the other poems, jazz poems. I remember Fred had inspiration; he would actually elicit poetry. That loft had the ability to take whatever spiritual energy you had, that you thought you had suppressed and Fred would squeeze it out of you. 


「フレッド・ブラウンのロフトにきて、ドアを入ろうとすると、リロイ・ジェンキンスとシローネが「ドンドンドン」などと弾き始めようとしていた。4拍子じゃない、8拍子か。それからリロイが「キーコキーコ」と演りだす。スター・トレックじゃないが「チャーリー、転送を頼む」とは言うまい。それからジェローム・クーパーが演奏する時は、顔をうんと近づける。おかげで彼の指しか見えなかった。」と、まあこれが、フレッド・ブラウンと最初に書いた詩だった。題名は「Fingers Moving」(指達は動いて回る)その後だった。どんどん出てきた。詩が次々と。ジャズの詩が。フレッドがよくインスピレーションを発揮したことを覚えている。実際に詩をつくることもあった。あのロフトは、自分のもつ霊感による力を、なんでも使いこなせるようになる、そんな力があった。自分が押しつぶされたな、と感じたら、フレッドが絞り出してくれるのだ。 


The context of downtown lofts as a setting for the Revolutionary Ensemble's rehearsals, and some of its performances, will be explored below. 




The “Jazz Loft” Scene in Context 



Leroy Jenkins, like Anthony Braxton, was at the vanguard of musicians moving to New York in the early to mi-1970s. Many were members of the various African American musical collective organizations that had formed in the 1960s, including the AACM in Chicago, Black Artists Group in St. Louis, and Underground Musicians Association in Los Angeles. 



These musicians' frequent encounters with clubs that refused to book artists who engaged in open improvisation were replicated in New York, so they began to take matters into their own hands. We've already seen how young, largely white musicians in the New York neighborhood of Chelsea banded together in informal settings away from clubs. A broader move was taking place among black musicians, just as it had in Chicago. Bassist William Parker explains: “People were finding storefronts, lofts, and creating and producing their own concerts because the established clubs were not that receptive to hiring them. So you had all of these musicians who instead of staying at home, came out and created work for themselves, performing and recording their music.” 



Music presented in the lofts tended to feature players dedicated to innovation and expression whose work was not constrained by marketplace demands. The commercial infrastructure that helped promote Miles Davis, including promoters like George Wein, the jazz press including DownBeat, and record companies with substantial budgets, was rarely accessible to loft musicians. Davis's Lost Quintet may have been an anomaly. While that band shared some aesthetic similarities with groups playing the lofts, it attracted attention and compensation due to Davis's personal reputation. It was not dependent on popular acceptance of the specific music it made. Lacking both the Miles Davis name and the interest of club booking agents, bands playing the lofts had barely gained traction within the jazz economy. This disparity in access to monetary sustainability meant that the economic gulf between these bands and Davis's exceeded their aesthetic commonalities. 



Lacking the organizational strength and sophistication of a true anomaly, the Art Ensemble perpetually found itself on unsteady ground. It turned its vulnerability into an asset, however, as it furthered its connections with an informal community of (mostly) black musicians in downtown New York City. A galvanizing event in the development of the loft scene was the 1972 New York Musicians Festival, which took place across multiple venues in the city. One of the key festival venues was Sam and Bea River's Studio Rivbea at 24 Bond Street. A saxophonist and composer, Rivers had mentored Tony Williams in Boston in the early 1960s and was briefly a member of the Miles Davis Quintet before Wayne Shorter joined. Rivers moved to New York City in time for the 1964 October Revolution in Jazz concerts, and opened Studio Rivbea in 1969 originally as an informal space focused on family and friends. It was at first a rehearsal space, replacing a public school Rivers had been using near his Harlem apartment. Beginning with the NYJMF, Studio Rivbea began to offer ongoing public programming. 

組織としての力と、本当の意味での異端の持つ洗練さが欠如していたことにより、アート・アンサンブル・オブ・シカゴは頻繁に活動が不安定な状況に陥った。しかしながら、このバンドは、ニューヨークのダウンタウンで活躍していた(大半が)黒人のミュージシャン達による非公式なコミュニティとのつながりを深めてゆくことにより、その脆弱性を自らの財産へと転換していった。ロフトでの音楽シーンが興隆を見せるその最中で、大きな刺激となるイベントが開かれた。1972年のニューヨーク・ミュージシャンズ・フェスティバルである。このフェスは市内の複数の場所を会場として行われた。このフェスの中心的な会場の一つが、サム・リヴァースとベアトリス・リヴァースの夫妻が手掛ける、ボンド・ストリート24番地にあるスタジオ・リヴビーだ。サックス奏者であり作曲家でもあるサム・リヴァースは、1960年代初頭にはボストンでトニー・ウィリアムスを指導し、ウェイン・ショーターが加入するまでの短い期間ではあったが、マイルス・デイヴィスクインテットのメンバーでもあった。夫妻がニューヨークへ移り住んだ際、丁度1964年に行われた「October Revolution in Jazz」に間に合う形になった。その後1969年にスタジオ・リヴビーを開設し、最初は家族や友人達に絞った身内で使うスペースだった。当初は練習場だった。それをサムのハーレムのアパートの近くで夫妻が使っていた公立学校に取って代わったのだ。NYJMF(New York Jewish Music Festibal)を皮切りに、スタジオ・リヴビーはその時々の公開事業を提供する場となり始めた。 


Jerome Cooper was a denizen of the Riverses's loft. “I used to go at three o'clock in the morning. Sam would always be up. I went back into their living area. The children were really courteous and nice. I really believed it was the love between him and Bea and their children. That's why the place was so hip.” He sums up the relationship between Rivers and the musicians with whom he played: “The reason I used to go there was about love. It was total love.” 



Unlike many of their peers, the Revolutionary Ensemble did not use Studio Rivbea as a performance venue. Yet the environment and circumstances under which musicians struggled to perform was something they shared.