The Art Ensemble of Chicago play tonight at Café Oto, but I’m too late to get tickets, they’re all sold out. Instead I remember their performance at The Roundhouse in 1982, as part of the Camden Jazz Festival. They were astonishing and spectacular, unlike any other band, and able to encapsulate the whole history of jazz with wild improvisations and swinging ensemble playing and breathtaking solos. They were sweet and fiery and dynamic and funny and possibly the best band I ever saw. Here are four videos from Polish television of a performance in Warsaw, probably from the same tour, and the closest I can find to my memory of that fantastic night in Camden. Continue reading “Art Ensemble Of Chicago”
To celebrate Carla Bley‘s appearance tonight at the Wigmore Hall as part of the London Jazz Festival here’s a recording from 30 years ago when the LJF was known as the Camden Jazz Festival. The Lord Is Listenin’ To Ya, Hallelujah! was written as a tongue-in-cheek gospel showcase for Gary Valente’s gloriously raucous trombone. This performance was at the Roundhouse and I was in the audience that night with a big smile on my face. I’d been a huge fan ever since I first heard Escalator Over The Hill as a teenager and wanted to run away from home to join Carla’s circus. Praise the Lord for Carla Bley!