Noah Howard - Quartet to At Judson Hall Revisited

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2023 release

If NYAQ were under-appreciated because the quartet split up too soon, in the case of Noah Howard it is more likely he missed out because he arrived rather too late. His first album, Noah Howard Quartet (ESP Disk, 1966), was recorded in January 1966, when Howard was 22, and was released later that year, a considerable time after such revolutionary free jazz classics as Eric Dolphy's (Blue Note, 1964), Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity (ESP Disk, 1965) or John Coltrane's A Love Supreme (Impulse, 1965). As a result, Howard was considered to be part of the second wave of free jazz.

Howard's first album comprised four of his compositions played by a pianoless quartet with the front line of Howard's sax and Ric Colbeck's trumpet being redolent of Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. The spotlight is on the horns' soloing much of the time, with some very impressive passages in which their lines weave in and out of one another. Good as it is, with a running time under 30 minutes the album leaves one wanting more...

Fortunately, in October 1966 ESP Disk had the good sense to record a six-member Noah Howard group live in concert at Judson Hall in New York City, with trumpet, piano, cello, double bass and percussion joining Howard's alto saxophone. With two extended pieces totalling over 36 minutes, the music was a considerable improvement on the debut album, notably Dave Burrell's piano which underpinned the ensemble. As before, the compositions were by Howard, with "Homage to Coltrane" being particularly poignant and more structured than his earlier work. For some reason, the live album was not released until 1968.

The two albums which comprise this release document the beginning of Howard's career which was to continue until his death in 2010. They make a good introduction to his music but are not his finest work. We must hope that ezz-thetics manage to release further instalments of Howard's story, commencing with the scarce but much-praised The Black Ark (Freedom, 1972).

John Eyles  - Allaboutjazz

Henry's Street; Apotheosis; Apotheosis Extension 1; And About Love; This Place Called Earth; Homage to Coltrane.

Noah Howard: alto saxophone; Ric Colbeck: trumpet; Scotty Holt: double bass (1-4); Dave Grant: percussion (1-4); Dave Burrell: piano (5-6); Catherine Norris: cello (5-6); Norris "Sirone" Jones: double bass (5-6); Bobby Kapp: percussion (5-6).


SKU 752156115229
Barcode # 752156115229
Brand ezz-thetics / Hat Hut Records

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