Reviews that mention Bobby Few

April 6, 2013

Noah Howard Quartet

Live at Glenn Miller Café
JaZt Tapes CD-030

By Ken Waxman

More than a typical nightclub set in retrospect, the untitled tracks which make up this passionate and high-quality performance from 2000 also serves as an inadvertent retrospective of saxophonist Noah Howard’s long career.

New Orleans-born Howard (1943-2010), was a second wave New Thing player, who moved to Europe in the early ‘70s initially working with fellow expatriates like saxophonist Frank Wright and pianist Bobby Few, and then, following his move to Belgium in the early ‘80s, after time in Africa, gigging with jazzers from everywhere. His collaborators included Europeans such as Dutch drummer Han Bennink and French pianist François Tusque plus South African bassist Johnny Dyani. MORE

August 6, 2012

In Print

Music in My Soul
Noah Howard (Buddy’s Knife)

By Ken Waxman

Metaphorically, alto saxophonist Noah Howard’s musical life mirrored the history of jazz. Born April 6, 1943 in New Orleans, the music’s purported cradle, before his death on Sept. 3, 2010 in Belgium, Howard had travelled to San Francisco and New York, recorded for small labels like ESP-Disk, expatriated overseas, toured Europe, Africa and India, while developing ties with emerging local players. Completed just days before his death from a cerebral hemorrhage, Music in My Soul is written in the artless but competent prose of a constantly working musician with some haziness in chronology, spelling and details. MORE

December 5, 2011


Movement Between Clouds
Multikulti Project MPT 002

By Ken Waxman

Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. At least that’s how it appears since American clarinetist Perry Robinson has joined the Undivided combo, adding his voice to what previously had been an indivisible whole, despite every member being from a different country.

Not that there’s anything particularly grating about the playing of the clarinetist who has followed a singular path since the 1960s. However by appending another reed sound to that of Polish bass clarinet, clarinet and tarogato player Wacław Zimpel, means that tentativeness infects this CD, compared to the band’s stronger debut session as a quartet, recorded five months previously. As a matter of fact, figuring that this record of a Warsaw concert is programmed in chronological order, all five don’t seem to be fully in sync until the final track, the nearly 20-minute “What A Big Quiet Noise.” MORE

February 7, 2011


The Passion
Multikulti MPI 011

Augustí Fernández/Barry Guy/Ramón López

Morning Glory

Maya Records MCD 1001

Ozone featuring Miklós Lukács

This is C'est la Vie

BMC Records BMCCD163

Nils Ostendorf/Philip Zoubek/Philippe Lauzier


Schraum Records 11

Something in the Air: Global Combos

By Ken Waxman

Globalization, mass communication and travel have actually created certain situations where the standardization of everything from hamburger patties to drum beats can be experienced no matter where in the world a person is situated. Increased mobility also, for instance, allows like-minded musicians in different locations to exchange thoughts and ideas. Because of this, the 21st Century has seen the instigation of literal global ensembles; musicians who work together regularly but live in different cities, countries or even continents. MORE

May 8, 2008

Bobby Few

Lights and Shadows
Boxholder BXH 054

Veteran pianist Bobby Few, 72, has dual allegiance, sprinkling his improvisations with timbres that are alternately “inside” and “out” – and cumulatively inimitable. He shares that musical version of multi-tasking with others keyboardists such as Philadelphia’s Dave Burrell and New York’s Cooper-Moore or Raymond A. King.

Although the Cleveland-native had a series of high-profile gigs in the 1960s as sideman to saxophonists as different as tenor saxophonists Booker Ervin and Albert Ayler, and a decade-long stint as part of soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy’s sextet in the 1970s and 1980s, living in France since 1969 means that he’s less well-known than other pianists of equal – or lesser –talents. MORE

October 17, 2005


Kindred Spirits
Boxholder BXH 048

Heavenly Places
Boxholder BXH 049

Old avant gardists never die … they just begin playing standards. That’s a statement which experience has shown is more authentic than amusing. Witness the post-1960s career of a New Thing explorer like tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp for instance.

Pianist Bobby Few, best known for his 1960s and 1970s work with fire-breathing saxophonists such as Noah Howard, Frank Wright and Albert Ayler seems to have arrived at a variation of this strategy as well. For instance, KINDRED SPIRITS, the first of two duo CDs the Paris-based American expatriate has released with saxophonist and clarinetist Avram Fefer of New York, finds the two playing four Monk, two Mingus and one Ellington composition along with original material. MORE

June 30, 2003


Attica Blues
Impulse! AS-9222 024 654 414-2

Music Is The Healing Force of the Universe
Impulse! AS-9191 440 065 383-2

What you’re hearing on these two LP-length CD reissues, recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, is the metaphoric death throes of the New Thing as a popular music.

But wait, you say, didn’t the angry unmelodic, experimental New Thing itself murder jazz’s popularity when it hijacked the music and drove large audiences away? Not really. Like other pieces of revisionist history perpetuated by the neo-cons this tale has been blown out of proportion to make more miraculous the trad revival of the 1990s. MORE

September 2, 2002


Continental Jazz Express
Boxholder 026

Few and Far Between: Live at Tonic
Boxholder 029

Realistic as well as descriptive, the titles of Bobby Few’s two new discs succinctly sum up his position in the jazz firmament.

Although the Cleveland, Ohio-born pianist initially made his name recording with childhood friend Albert Ayler as well as other less experimental types like saxophonists Booker Ervin and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, lack of work for progressive stylists convinced him to move to Paris in 1969. Since then, his visits stateside have been “few and far between”. Furthermore, his long-time association with the bands of fellow American expats, first in a co-op band with saxophonists Frank Wright and Noah Howard, then for more than a decade with soprano saxist Steve Lacy, meant that he has long known the ins-and-outs of express train traveling on the Continent. MORE