New Music: Strange meeting
JAZZ PUNK CONNECTION THE CUBE BRISTOL
Tuesday 15 June 1999
In England, Ian Dury lifted the bass-line for "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll" from Charlie Haden's riff on Ornette Coleman's "Rambling", and Bristol's The Pop Group enlisted the services of the free jazz cellist Tristan Honsiger, taking sonic confrontation to its limits. Another Bristol group, Rip Rig and Panic, named themselves after a Roland Kirk album and featured not only a young Neneh Cherry, but sometimes also her stepdad Don, the famous Ornette Coleman Quartet trumpeter. With the pianist Mark Springer playing fractured arpeggios in the style of Cecil Taylor, and the free-jazz drummer Louis Moholo occasionally joining in, Rip Rig and Panic were perhaps the ultimate in punk-jazz fusion.
This event, conceived by Paul Horlick - who, as DJ Fat Paul and the boss of Swarffinger Records, is a considerable presence on the Bristol scene - attempted to map the points of intersection between punk and free jazz. As the legendary "lost" film about Sun Ra, Space Is the Place, was screened in The Cube's cinema, Fat Paul mixed up a sound-track from the likes of Albert Ayler and The Dead Kennedys, plus a heavy dose of Sun Ra himself. While you wouldn't really want to see the film again, even if someone paid you, the combination of freaky visuals and searing, rabid noise was very effective.
The highlight of the evening was provided by Mark Springer, who accompanied the closing stages of the film with a series of improvisations on a Roland keyboard, with Fat Paul mixing in excerpts from spoken-word recordings as a background. When the film ended, Springer improvised for a while against the screen's frozen video-projector logo, before packing it in as a bad job. When the projection started up again, a Black Sabbath video compilation was playing, with odd bleeps from the decks instead of the original sound-track. Near the end, a drunk man fell over in the stalls. It was that kind of night.
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