August 25, 2007

Heavy Metal Quartet: Live at Jazz Fest Berlin 1994

The trombonists Ray Anderson, George Lewis, Craig Harris and Gary Valente have cooperated continuously in various ensembles. There is, for instance, a record published by Hat Art, called Slide Ride. An earlier form of cooperation was the Heavy Metal Quartet, which unfortunately did not leave any traces in form of official recordings to posterity. George Lewis, who was occupied with teaching activities during the time of Jazz Festival Berlin in 1994, was replaced by tuba player Bob Stewart for this occasion. I recorded two pieces from this concert when they were broadcast on a German analog FM radio station in 1994 or 1995. The conditions of the tape storing and the ripping equipment I used were far from ideal, but the result is audible and the musicians are simply stunning! The two long pieces are both starting out from some structured, obviously composed riffs and then delve into free passages. Here a brief overview over the data:

Ray Anderson (tb), Craig Harris (tb), Bob Stewart (tu), Gary Valente (tb)
Recorded Jazz fest Berlin 1994
1. Radio speaker's announcement
2. Black Out and the Square Root of Soul (Craig Harris)
3. Ravening (Ray Anderson)
The entire recording is about 23 minutes long, saved as mp3 in 320 kb/s. There's an excerpt from Ravening - a rather free passage - in the jukebox at the side of this blog, the bitrate in this jukebox is only 192 kb/s.

Download (mediafire)

As so many things on this blog site, this post is inspired by and indebted to Lucky from Psychic Hut again. I need to thank him for being aware of the historical importance of a Heavy Metal Quartet recording and for his encouragement in making a rip of this.


Lucky said...

grazie mille, monsignore spring day for the big effort in ripping your old cassette for this!

i really regret that i erased so many live concerts i taped years ago... but i could only record in mono, and there were many interferences, too.

i'll tell you what i think about the heavy brass group.

p.s.: and francesco wasn't francesco!

Spring Day said...

Thanks to you too... Well, I was a bit astonished by the ripping result, it was better than I had expected. It seems, listening to the mp3 file sounds better than listening to the original tape, even though I didn't do any manipulations, noise reductions (which are usually making things worse anyway), whatever.
Actually, I knew the tape was stereo, but I wasn't sure if all the wires would be transmitting correctly, so I wasn't sure if I could record it in stereo in audacity. When I tried to do vinyl rips (with a differenet computer, though), they always ended up in a mono-track in audacity.
Hm, I fear I don't have too many other live recordings taped from radio broadcasts. I had a duo of Alexander von Schlippenbach and Aki Takase, but can't find it anymore. Most of my old tapes are recordings of "Radiophon".

Lucky said...

"Radiophon - Collagen aus Klassik, Rock, Jazz und Grenzbereichen", oh, ich liebte diese Sendung, und ich glaube fast, es gibt sie bis heute. Aber hier in Hamburg krieg ich das leider nicht mehr rein.

Der Klang Deines Rips ist wirklich ziemlich gut. Ich konnte früher nie in Stero aufnehmen mit meinem alten Philips-Kassettenrekorder, zudem rauschte es ziemlich stark - aber die Musik gewann dadurch fast noch mehr an Aura (ähnlich bei Vinyl).

Radiosender wie der SDR/SWR lassen ja soviel ungenutzte Schätze in ihren Archiven verstauben - wie leicht wäre es, diese Dinge in Kollaboration mit den Künstlern auf Platte oder vielleicht auch nur als MP3 auf ihren Homepages zu veröffentlichen. Aber irgendjemand müsste die Arbeit des Transferierens machen, und die rechtliche Seite ist wahrscheinlich auch nicht ohne...

centrifuge said...

good stuff man :)

of course now i'm drooling over the idea of hearing them with lewis, but still... thanks a lot for posting this little nugget! there's a lot of surface noise on the rip but a lot of detail was captured in the original recording so it's not a problem...

Spring Day said...

Well, that's not a compliment to me, but to the musicians, dear Centrifuge.
Yes, I'd like to hear them with Lewis too. Let's keep looking out for this Slide Ride album... Looking out for this quartet with Lewis doesn't mean to belittle the interesting work of Bob Stewart, sure. But with George Lewis it would be certainly be something different. And, about Lewis... he is supposed to have played in a tuba sextet called "Gravity". That must be gorgeous too, six (!!!) tubas and nothing else. That would be truly heavy metal... Anybody heard of that before?

Lucky said...

I have a CD from Howard Johnson, released on Verve and entitled 'Gravity'. It features 6 tubas (HJ, Dave Bargeron, Bob Stewart, Earl McIntyre, Carl Kleinsteuber and Joe Daley), but with rhythm section and without George Lewis. Maybe he played live with them, or there is another recording featuring him, dunno.

Lucky said...

P.S.: I forgot Marcus Rojas playing tuba on 2 tracks, as well. ;)

Spring Day said...

Hello Lucky,

that must be the one I meant. Sorry for the misunderstanding, George Lewis was not supposed to play with "Gravity". George Lewis is supposed to play with Gary Valente, Ray Anderson, and Craig Harris on "Slide Ride", and Bob Stewart supposed to play in "Gravity". All I knew about Gravity is what the radio speaker, who's introducing the Heavy Metal Quartet, says about them. So, how is this CD, is it good? Hm, so far I only know the Tuba Meisters, which are featured with a very short track on the Trikont Compilation "Texas Bohemia", but that's only four Tuba players. Six must be really impressive.