There’s a lot of very interesting “cultural activity” coming up in the next couple months in Detroit, but nothing definite is set as far as dates and times, so I’ll try to give a few teasers and come back with more specific information next time.
The success of Andrew Hill’s and Marion Brown’s concerts for the WSU Artists’ Society has spread around New York and, as a consequence, a number of forward New York musicians are writing about arranging concerts for themselves here in the immediate future. Pianist Paul Bley, one of the original members of the Jazz Composers Guild and the possessor of a number of fine recordings (among them FOOT LOOSE, on Savoy; BARRAGE, on ESP-Disk 1009; and appearances with Jimmy Guiffrie on Columbia and Verve labels) may be coming toward the end of this month. Then another exciting pianist, Burton Greene, another of the Jazz Composers Guild, whose ESP album will be out next month, will be here in early March, featured with the Detroit Contemporary 4. So those are things to look forward to, music lovers.
Your correspondent had the opportunity to travel to Chicago last week at the invitation of some of the forward young musicians there, and I had talks with the Chicago new/jazz leaders about arranging a series of exchange concerts between Detroit and Chicago “avant-garde” bands. The first shot on our end will be the appearance of alto saxophonist Joseph Jarman’s group at WSU Friday, March 18 and again at the Artists’ Workshop that Sunday (20). In between, on Saturday March 19, Jarman, Charles Moore (of the Detroit Contemporary 4), myself, and a number of other people will take part in a panel discussion on the new music in Ann Arbor, as part of the month-long Creative Arts Festival there.
And that night Archie Shepp’s quartet will be heard in concert again in Ann Arbor. More news on this next time.
The Detroit Contemporary 4, along with my wife and myself, made a highly successful eastern tour early in January. The band played concerts in Newark, New Jersey, for the Jazz Art Music Society there (where the band was joined by saxophonists Marion Brown and Pharoah Sanders, drummer Rasheid Ali, pianist Burton Greene, and other NY musicians), and in Toronto, where the quartet(with Marion Brown added) drew capacity crowds and spread the word of Detroit activity in the best possible fashion. As a result of the band’s reception there, the Bohemian Embassy in Toronto (a coffeehouse) is bringing in Andrew Hill this weekend for three days. Andrew will be supported by the Detroit rhythm section, bassist John Dana and drummer Ronald Johnson, both of the DC 4. Johnson will then travel to NYC for a Fontana recording date with Marion Brown.
Coming soon will be Marion’s ESP date (ESP-DISK 1022); Albert Ayler’s third ESP-DISK. called SPIRITS REJOICE, which has some of his most beautiful work so far on it; the second volume of Sun Ra’s HELIOCENTRIC; and a lot more.
On the music seen here in Detroit, the Artists’ Workshop (John Lodge at West Warren) continues its Sunday evening programs of music and poetry with such bands as the Detroit Contemporary 4, the Lyman Woodard Ensemble (HEAR this bands), Pierre Rochon’s unit, and guest artists, plus readings by poets Robin Eichele, Jim Semark, J.D. Whitney, Bill Harris, Allen Van Newirk, and other Detroit writers. A recent guest was Poet Ron Caplan, of Pittsburgh, who will soon be returning to Detroit to live and work in the Artists’ Workshop community. Teddy Lucas’ SPIKEDRIVERS will be heard at WSU in two afternoon concerts soon, one under the sponsorship of the WSU Artists’ Society. Keep your ears open for news of the time and place. This is one of the very best ‘folk-rock’ bands anywhere, and the people who failed to support their Midtown Theatre concerts really missed something. You shouldn’t get another chance, but this band wants to be heard!
Another Workshop project, the FREE UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT, got started last-week with quite enough response to make it well worth the time put into it by the Free U’s professors. When response gets great enough we can start sponsoring lectures and discussions on a number of contemporary subjects but until then, classes will go on as scheduled. Latecomers are still welcome and can take part just by showing up at the classes they might be interested in. A list of times and places for classes is posted on the Free U’s front window at 4857 John Lodge. Feel FREE to stop by at any functions there and at the Artists’ Workshop (same location). And until next time—keep your ears open—for your own sake.