October 19

I now own my first avant-garde or free jazz album:

Black Suite by Jacques Coursil.

One of the unknown quantities I picked up in my recent pick… this album was on the Actuel BYG label, pressed in France. I had high hopes for further jazz enlightenment.

The album, clocking in at 31 minutes, consists of 2 songs: Black Suite part 1 on side A and Black Suite part 2 on side B.

The sextet players included only the artist on trumpet, an alto sax, a contrabass clarinet, piano, bass and drums.

The record cover is silky smooth, glossy and flawless. The vinyl, in both a paper and anti-static sleeve, was jet black and appeared to be near mint condition.

After a session in the spin clean, I put the album on after spinning a series of new jazz records from this pick. My wife and I were enjoying a laid back and cozy coffee fueled morning of jazz.

All started off well enough! The lead-in groove to the album played noiselessly (which is a great indication of record quality in my book) and, as the instruments began to reveal themselves, the beautiful sounds of the six players came into focus. “This is going to be good!” I thought to myself

After a period of some minutes where the band appeared to be tuning their instruments and becoming acquainted with one another, several more minutes of tuning and becoming acquainted with one another ensued.

Once things really got going, this album reminded me of Traffic. No, not the Steve Winwood, Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi Traffic; actual traffic… as in cars screeching and squawking and honking and trying to get through a congested intersection!

We lasted less than 10 minutes. My wife and I looked at each other and both decided it was time to move on.

I’ve since given this album another try and found it to be the same disjointed conglomeration of sounds that I I perceived in the first go round.

I don’t mean to judge this type of avant-garde (or free jazz) negatively, just because I don’t possess me musical chops to understand it. I guess I just prefer my music with a bit more structure.

All is not lost! This album had quite a good Discogs value… which I will be relying on to accrue store credit for my more simplistic musical tastes.

I’m sure someone will love this beautiful copy of this eccentric album.

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