December 2, 2009 – 4:14 am

A rare sighting of Albert Ayler’s drummer Milford Graves live with David Murray.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Guelph Jazz Festival 2009 [no label, 1CD]

Live at the Co-operators Hall, River Run Center, Guelph, ON, Canada, September 13, 2009. Ex- FM stereo. There’s a low hum throughout.

This show came out of the blue. Milford Graves was part of the free jazz movement that started in New York City in the ’50s. Graves, 68, played drums on Albert Ayler’s Holy Ghost and Love Cry. There is no greater honor in free jazz. Graves’ pedigree includes recordings with Paul Bley and Roswell Rudd, Archie Shepp and many of the free jazz pioneers.

Canada’s Guelph Jazz Festival managed to convince David Murray, at the fest with his World Saxophone Quartet, to close the festival with a drum and sax duet with Graves. Murray and Graves are no stranger to each other. They made one album, The Real Deal, in 1991 but have never played together since except briefly for a Don Pullen tribute.

We wished we were there. Luckily Jazz Review had a writer who gave a first-hand account of Graves in action.

“Graves’ right hand rides the cymbal in a rapid rolling wave of highs, while the left hand in an arthritic looking posture, an inverted reverse hand grip that rolls in syncopated rhythms. These progressive beats run counter to what his right hand is playing. Most drummers would be doing this on their snare - Graves has the snare switched off and he rolls around the drums, that is standard for free jazz drummers but he is all over the set with this reverse grip rolling thunder that creates a rhythmic melody underpinning the changing tenor saxophone stampede of notes that Murray produces. The bongos that are set up between the tom toms are included in a manner that creates a separate rhythm. So now there are three rhythms, all flowing, the cymbal - the bongos, the toms and hi-hat. Add to that a separate element, the bass drum, there are two and at times they take on a heart-beat like pulse seemingly emulating the audience’s audible pulsation.”
- Paul J. Youngman

The drummer played exceptionally and used his two bass drums relentlessly, in the process offering three compositions seldom heard live. Graves, who teaches communications at Bennington College, Vermont, USA, chanted, danced, whirled about the stage in quite a number of different ethnic rhythms.

It was left to David Murray to give it all a purpose. Murray opened with The Long March To Freedom and it wasn’t long before he offered his dedication to the first Black American president with a new song, Yes We Can. It was stirring and reminded what free jazz fought for, breaking down jazz conventions and also commenting on social and racial justice.

Canadian radio knew they had a keeper and recorded the September 13 show. It was broadcast November 7 on The Signal with Laurie Brown. Thanks to Gilmore for taping and sharing this on the Dime.
- Professor Red

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. radio introduction (3.7MB)
Track 02. The Long March To Freedom (David Murray) (10.4MB)
Track 03. radio announcement (1.9MB)
Track 04. MG1 (Milford Graves) (13.5MB)
Track 05. radio announcement (440k)
Track 06. David Murray introduction (3.0MB)
Track 07. Yes We Can (new David Murray tune) (11.4MB)
Track 08. radio announcement (760k)
Track 09. Drum Dance (Milford Graves) (3.2MB)
Track 10. radio announcement (338k)
Track 11. MG2 (Milford Graves) (8.5MB)
Track 12. radio announcement (266k)
Track 13. Hail To The Chief (David Murray) (13.1MB)
Track 14. MG3 (Milford Graves) (9.8MB)

Milford Graves - percussion
David Murray - tenor saxophone, bass clarinet

The only time Graves and Murray recorded was an album released in 1991, Real Deal, for Japan’s DIW label. It’s hard to find so get it if you can. Buy it here.

  1. 3 Responses to “GHOST OF A CHANCE”

  2. hey bigo, now you’re talking again! i’ll get this!

    first post!


    By Ed Saad on Dec 2, 2009

  3. hey bigo, thanks! if it stops raining, i will play this walking. need to fix tags.


    By Ed Saad on Dec 2, 2009

  4. a nice share, bigo team, so thank you for this post.

    best, Kike.

    By Kike on Dec 4, 2009

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