Another One Gone

When my alarm went off this morning, I didn’t hear the familiar tones of Phil Schaap and Charlie Parker, but instead the familiar chalameau register of Jimm Giuffre’s clarinet. I figured he was gone. So he was.

It’s the Jimmy Giuffre memorial broadcast on WKCR today, and give a listen if you have the chance. A hard swinging but quiet musician, elegant, lyrical and bluesy, he was also a quiet radical in an era of radical jazz. His trio with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow was no less avant-garde than Ornette Coleman‘s or Cecil Tayor‘s ensembles. Their reunion on Owl records (reissued on Sunnyside), almost 30 years later produced some of the best, and best-focussed, freely improvised jazz on record. And quiet and lovely too.

Here’s a clip with another excellent trio, featuring Jim Hall on guitar:


I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.