Liberation Music Orchestra came together in 1969 under the direction of Charlie Haden, inspired by songs of the Spanish Civil War, playing music arranged by Carla Bley in protest at the American war in Vietnam. This recording is of a concert in 2004 at the Jazz in Marciac festival in southwest France. The list of songs might appear elegiac but they’re full of fire and celebration – America The Beautiful (Traditional), Throughout (Bill Frisell), Amazing Grace (Traditional), This Is Not America (Pat Metheny), Going Home (Traditional), Adagio (Samuel Barber). They’re performing tonight at the Cadogan Hall, sadly without Charlie Haden, but very much in his name. I think there’ll be a lot of love for Charlie, and for Carla, and maybe too there’ll be some in memory of America.
Perfection is a tune by Ornette Coleman, one he performed but never recorded. It was transcribed directly from his alto saxophone by Bobby Bradford in the early 1960s, and given to David Murray in 1974. This recording was made shortly after Ornette Coleman died last year, and dedicated in his honour. Perfection is also the title track of an altogether stunning new album by David Murray (tenor saxophone & bass clarinet), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums) & Geri Allen (piano), who go by the name of MCA Power Trio. They’re joined on this piece by Charnett Moffett (bass) and Craig Harris (trombone). The trio are playing tonight as part of the London Jazz Festival at the Cadogan Hall.
Don Cherry would have been 80 today. I can’t let it pass without posting a little tribute. This film was recorded live at the Empire Theatre, Paris in 1979. Don plays doussn’gouni, pocket trumpet, piano, and he also sings. I’m not sure who the other musicians are but I recognise Trilok Gurtu on drums. It’s a wonderful performance. Don was always my favourite. Handmade and heartfelt music was his speciality. It seems now we need his healing spirit more than ever.
He never worried. About anything. Ever. It was amazing. If he saw someone else worrying, even a total stranger, he’d try to cheer them up. Tell them jokes. He was always raising people’s spirits, encouraging them. – Charlie Haden
Ronnie Duncan has been collecting art for more than 60 years, often supporting artists at early stages in their careers. Much of his collection – including works by Terry Frost, Alan Davie, Roger Hilton and Ian Hamilton Finlay – is displayed around Duncan’s home and garden near Otley. It was here that director Jared Schiller and cameraman Stephen Pook filmed “an evocation of the collector’s home”.
This little film appeared on my screen on Sunday, dropped by a passing bird, and instantly took root.
Documentary exploring the life and work of writer and art critic John Berger. The film is an intimate portrait of a man who has shaped our understanding of the concept of seeing.
Art, politics and motorcycles – on the occasion of his 90th birthday John Berger or the Art of Looking is an intimate portrait of the writer and art critic whose ground-breaking work on seeing has shaped our understanding of the concept for over five decades. The film explores how paintings become narratives and stories turn into images, and rarely does anybody demonstrate this as poignantly as Berger.
Berger lived and worked for decades in a small mountain village in the French Alps, where the nearness to nature, the world of the peasants and his motorcycle, which for him deals so much with presence, inspired his drawing and writing.
The film introduces Berger’s art of looking with theatre wizard Simon McBurney, film-director Michael Dibb, visual artist John Christie, cartoonist Selçuk Demiral, photographer Jean Mohr as well as two of his children, film-critic Katya Berger and the painter Yves Berger.
The prelude and starting point is Berger’s mind-boggling experience of restored vision following a successful cataract removal surgery. There, in the cusp of his clouding eyesight, Berger re-discovers the irredeemable wonder of seeing.
Realised as a portrait in works and collaborations, this creative documentary takes a different approach to biography, with John Berger leading in his favourite role of the storyteller.
At 19, Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002) was a gifted athlete on his way to becoming a football legend. But brutal injury during a game pushed him out of professional sports forever. No one except Pilar Belzunce, his lifemate, suspected at the time that the young Hernani goalkeeper was about to rewrite their destiny and become one of the greatest sculptors of the twentieth century.
A short documentary about Eduardo Chillida, borrowed from Spanish state television RTVE.
My sister rented a house in St Margaret’s Bay, Kent at the end of last week* and invited me too. I’d never been before and it was a wonderful surprise. It’s between Deal and Dover and great for walking along the cliffs, and there’s a nice pebbly beach too in the bay. Read more …
Quite by chance I found myself in Golden Square. I’d arrived early for lunch and rather than sit in the restaurant alone I walked around the block to pass the time. I should have known about the Marian Goodman Gallery, but it was a great surprise. It’s usually closed on a Sunday but they had opened specially because of Frieze London with a fantastic exhibition by Giuseppe Penone. The large piece on the wall was made of acacia thorns, like iron filings magnetised into the shape of a fossil leaf, or now that I look again perhaps it’s a pair of giant lips. Read more …
Where is this tree? I’d just bought a photo of it direct from the artist himself. Why hadn’t I asked him? I was kicking myself. It’s a magnificent photograph of a majestic tree, I felt obliged to pay it a visit. All I had to go on was the title – Quercione delle Checche, Val d’Orcia – so I searched online. There were a few references but without Italian or GPS they were not so easy to decipher. I reckoned it must be somewhere south of Pienza in the Orcia valley beside the road to Radicofani. So off we went. Read more …