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Review: 'Jimmy Giuffre 3'
'Graz 1961'   

-  Label: 'Org Music'
-  Genre: 'Sixties' -  Release Date: '18.4.20.'-  Catalogue No: 'ORGM-2144'

Our Rating:
This double live album by the Jimmy Giuffre 3 was recorded live in Graz on the 27Th October 1961 and I assume although its not stated on the press release that this was originally a live radio broadcast as well. This is the first time this concert has been released on Vinyl and while Jimmy Giuffre is still probably best known for his appearance in the film Jazz On A Summers Day where he plays Saxophone. This trio who are considered to have been an incredibly ahead of the game as an improvising free jazz trio. By the time of this concert Jimmy was on Clarinet with Paul Bley on Piano and Steve Swallow on Bouble Bass.

The album opens with Carla Bley's Ictus a cool and gentle be-bop tune that helps to set the mood for where this concert is going.

Brief Hesitation sounds just as hesitant as the name might suggest with minimal adornment and barely there Piano from Paul Bley and it sounds like Steve Swallow is hardly plucking or touching the strings on his bass at all while Jimmy interjects a few notes here and there on his clarinet to create a cool and gentle mood.

The Gamut keeps things cool and laid back this is gentle and understated but in no way is it background music as the interplay between the clarinet and piano draw you into this sparse beauty until the close of the tune when Paul Bley sounds like he rakes his hands across the ivories.

The B-side opens with Suite For Germany which as it doesn't specify east or west I have to assume is about pre-war Germany and while it doesn't sound too Germanic to my ears the way the Bass keeps long periods of repetitive notes does presage Kraut Rock by a good distance before we get to the part of the suite that seems more elegiac. Toward the end of the suite it almost sounds like they are a slowly marching army with a low piano note almost like the bell tolling for the state of Germany.

At the start of trance you can hear someone dropping there bottle or glass as they start to take us on a journey into what would have been described as being Far out territory that reminds me of Mingus 3 with bird call like playing that has been joined by the birds outside my window and an Eastern vibe too it. There is also a bit where Steve Swallow plays what became the baseline to Siouxie & The Banshees Hong Kong Garden.

The C-side opens with Cry, Want that as the title suggests is a slow cry of hunger and pain to soundtrack a stroll through a desolate place as if your strolling through a city that's starving and the camera is panning into bombed out houses with people trying to get by and survive that eventually seems to be healing with beat of that piano as this becomes a really mournful blue piece that really goes deep during it's 10 minute stroll as another bottle hits the floor as it feels like they are at the end of some awful cry for help and better times to come an incredibly moving piece of music.

They then change the pace and pay tribute to Paul Bley's wife on Carla this is nice and upbeat a cool serenade like they are watching her walking around the room and are strutting at her pace and movements It also has some very quiet scat singing going on that are the first vocals I've heard on the album before it seems to go more into well the seduction section as the tune becomes more seductive and slowly builds to a climax.

Whirr as the title suggests has some good whirring clarinet and piano figures along with the insistent almost buzzing double bass plucks.

The D side opens with Temporarily that has some more quiet scat singing in among the various temporary parts of this piece. The roles seem to change and evolve through a very mellow mood to something a little more hectic.

Scooting About could be the soundtrack to driving around in an old Daimler smoking cigarettes through the alps to get to Graz and no I don't know how they got to Graz I'm just thinking about where these cats might Scoot About to what they are playing, as they pick up the speed coming down an alp, with the piano flourishes building on the hairpin bends and being enveloped by the alpine forest around them. Then it sounds like things have got a little hairy going up the next alp it gets a bit frantic with babbling scat noises that sound a lot like the voices Robert Wyatt used on Rock Bottom many years later as things even out as the ride ends.

The concert ends with That's True, That's True a cool goodbye with an almost lullaby feel to it like they are waving goodbye and putting you to sleep all at the same time, and this if freely running along and ending a great cool jazz album that certainly take the listener on a great journey.

Find out more at https://orgmusic.com/releases/jimmy-giuffre-3-graz-1961/
  author: simonovitch

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