August 8, 2017

Joseph Jarman (1966)


I always equated Song For with Art Ensemble Of Chicago's weirdest music. I guess part of the reason is because Roscoe Mitchell's solo album, Sound, was released the same year. For those of you who don't know that one, things get pretty weird; an entire track is toy train whistle free jazz. Jarman's album is a lot more rational than this. It's primarily the dark, earthy, and subdued kind of free jazz. The final track is really the only place where things start to venture into Roscoe Mitchell territory (cymbals, cantations, overblowing, and percussion--you get the idea). Another reason why this didn't click with me when I heard it three years ago is because I listened while driving; this is the kind of stuff I'd rather listen to in my basement on an overcast day. Song For gives me Jim Jarmusch and John Lurie vibes; makes me wonder if this material was ever used in pretentious experimental films. Like the works of those two guys, the music here exercises that relaxed radical freedom, but doesn't leave the listener totally alienated.

Song For