Reviews that mention Robert Barry

November 7, 2005


#40 Vienna & #41 Bernbeuren 2003
X-OR FR 013

Chicago Overtones
Hatology 613

Trombone, saxophone, bass and drums isn’t a standard combo configuration and when it’s put together as on these sessions, it’s because the musicians involved are looking for a particular sound. Trombonist Bob Brookmeyer helped create one rough archetype with baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan or tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims in the 1950s, while trombonist Roswell Rudd in partnership with either soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, alto saxophonist John Tchicai or tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp solidified the prototype from the 1960s on. MORE

March 8, 2004


Spaceship Lullaby: The Vocal Groups: Chicago 1954-60
Atavistic Unheard Music Series UMS243CD

Undoubtedly one of the most -- if not the most -- bizarre items in the massive Sun Ra discography, this CD showcases the pianist and infrequently members of his Arkestra backing up three pro-am Chicago vocal groups.

While there’s some grotesque fascination in listening to some of the 37 [!] songs the three sets of singers -- the Nu Sounds, the Lintels and the Cosmic Rays -- perform, you have to realize that many of the 74 plus minutes of music are merely of rehearsal tape quality. Plus true appreciation of the results must come with a certain tolerance for schmaltz. Before he took his band and cosmic visions to New York and later Philadelphia, Sun Ra was very much part of Black show biz in the Windy City. Thus much of the singing is given over to a cross section of pre-rock’n’roll standards and originals, some as cringe-inducing as “A Perfume Counter (in Paris)” and “The Wooden Soldier & The China Doll”, both sung by the Lintels. MORE

December 30, 2002


Music From Tomorrow's World
Atavistic Unheard Music UMS/ALP 237CD

Analogous to hearing Count Basie's band at Kansas City's Reno Club in 1935 or Charlie Parker's legendary stand at New York's Famous Door in 1953 with Thelonious Monk on piano, these newly unearthed tapes offer 17 Chicago performances from 1960 by Sun Ra's then tiny Arkestra.

Their fascination lies more in what the Arkestra isn't then what it is. Not yet the familiar, well-organized band of a dozen musicians plus, instead these tracks feature both a sextet and an octet, working through -- sometimes for the first time -- newly recorded or soon to be taped Ra compositions. Some of the tunes would become Arkestra classics; some would never be recorded or heard again. Additionally, since the first seven selections were taped at Ra's regular gig at the Wonder Inn at Cottage Grove and 75th on Chicago's South Side, you get to hear how the band functioned in a non-listening room circumstance. Mixing familiar show tunes, light classics, jazz syncopation and Ra inventions, the band showed that schtick and showmanship were upfront more than 40 years ago. MORE

June 7, 2001


Duets 2001
Thrill Jockey Thrill 101

Refutation of the hoary cliché that jazz is a young man's art happened a generation ago when Swing and Bop era giants like Coleman Hawkins, Pee Wee Russell and Dizzy Gillespie routinely turned out masterpieces in their fifties and sixties.

When many of the initial Free Jazz players reached senior citizen's status recently, the foolishness -- not to mention the sexism -- of that statement was brought into bolder relief. Steve Lacy, a sprightly 67, has insisted that "free jazz keeps you young". And certainly pioneers like Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Derek Bailey and the musicians featured here have shown that major musical statements can be made past some folks' 70th birthday. MORE