Reviews that mention Fred Hopkins

August 16, 2016

Brötzmann/Hopkins/Ali

Songlines
Trost TR 138

Brötzmann/Uuskyla

Dead and Useless BR>

Omlott Records MLR 003 LP

Now that he’s midway through his eighth decade and having recorded a catalogue of – at best estimates – 200 discs, the parameters of German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s adept dexterity is more discernible. Like the Hollywood actor typecast in tough guys roles until a scholarly examination of his work demonstrated his flexibility, the saxophonist’s persona has usually been viewed through a single lens as a blood vessel-bursting hard blower. That much is true, but just as actors like Billy Bob Thornton and Jeff Goldblum have shown they can excel in comedies as well as dramas, so too does Brötzmann have a more measured and almost whimsical way of performing. That aspect has become clearer during the past decade or so. But as these earlier recorded – but recently releases – discs confirm, the reedist was no more limited to fortissimo overblowing than Clint Eastwood was only able to portray to a laconic cowpoke. MORE

November 8, 2013

The Group

Live
No Business Records NBCD 50

Melodic Art-Tet

Eponymous

NoBusiness Records NBCD 56

By Ken Waxman

Although according to detractors, all free-jazz sessions sound alike, these high-quality dates from 1974 and 1986 put a lie to that supposition. Both also suggest why the music was never popular. Each CD shares trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah and features all stars. 1974’s Melodic Art-Tet included reedist Charles Brackeen, drummer Roger Blank, bassist William Parker and percussionist Tony Waters (Ramadan Mumeen). 1986’s The Group was saxophonist Marion Brown, violinist Billy Bang, bassists Sirone or Fred Hopkins plus drummer Andrew Cyrille. MORE

January 8, 2011

David Murray

Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club
Jazzwerkstatt JW 073

David Murray/Chico Freeman

With Özay

ITM Archives 920009

By Ken Waxman

Over the course of his career saxophonist David Murray has blown hot, cold, but mostly cool. Despite making hundreds of records, few are first class, although most reach a level of high competence. Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club – initially released in 1977 on India Navigation – is one of his best early discs, however. Meanwhile With Özay, from the 1990s, is a top-flight vocal CD, where despite the billing, Murray, Chico Freeman and other first-call jazzers provide sympathetic accompaniment to singer Özay. MORE

February 11, 2010

David Murray

Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club
Jazzwerkstatt JW 073

Peitzer Grand

Mit Vieren

Jazzwerkstatt JW 077

Thirty-odd years make a big difference in the improvised music scene, both in Europe and North America. In fact, one wonders if any of the participants on these two fine live CDs – not to mention the associated audience members – could have imagined the altered musical and political landscape of the future.

In that timeframe, as is proven by many of the tracks on Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club, it was the so-called avant-gardists in New York who were celebrating jazz’s past while contemporary players stuck to Bop and Fusion sounds. Meanwhile, as Mit Vieren demonstrates, the gap between East and West Germany was still a formidable chasm. That era’s version of political correctness made it necessary for even advanced German jazz combos to include foreign musicians among the players to ensure no band consisted of only participants from both sides of the Wall. MORE

October 28, 2002

TRI-FACTOR

If You Believe…
8th Harmonic Breakdown 8THHB 80004

KAHIL EL’ZABAR
Love Outside of Dreams
Delmark DG-541

Leading two regular bands obviously isn’t enough for Chicago-based multi-percussionist Kahil El’Zabar. Not only has he written poetry and film scores, taught at nearby universities and initiated arts presentations, but he’s also put together a series of ad-hoc musical groups.

Besides his regularly constituted Ethnic Heritage Ensemble (EHE) and Ritual Trio, he also organized the Bright Moments combo filled with Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians veterans and recorded exciting projects with 1960s tenor masters like Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp. Now these CDs showcase him in two more bands. Tri-Factor is a regularly constituted co-op trio, filled out by baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett and violinist Billy Bang. The other combo disc is more of bittersweet affair. A reunion between El’Zabar and a former duo partner, extensively recorded tenor saxophonist David Murray, it’s also the final recording session for bassist Fred Hopkins, who died at 51 of heart and liver disease a few months after the session. MORE