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December 14, 2010


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Ed Howard

*It Had Been An Ordinary Enough Day In Pueblo, Colorado*: never heard that one, actually. AMM in the 70s is a weird gap in my listening in between the brilliantly noisy early stuff and the beauty of the Tilbury trio era.

Also worth hearing on ECM: Jan Garbarek's early 70s albums, particularly *Witchi-Tai-To* and *Triptykon*. Great, emotionally cathartic jazz.

But yeah, the best thing about ECM is probably that Four Shorts disc. I hope they eventually follow up with another installment.

Evelyn Roak

Indeed, pronouncements without engagement, not just a new issue in the world of commentary and criticism (one I myself have certainly been guilty of, though, haven’t we all?), though a pernicious one none the less. Dismissals without delving does nothing less than forestall conversation, the sparking of the latter being what one should aspire towards.

That said, I must take umbrage with the characterization that Richard Brody has indeed done the work of detailed consideration on these films and videos discussed. Yes, he has seen all the work many are willing to dismiss with little regard or attention, but, to this reader, one of the many problems that stems from his book is that the consideration is left wanting,

Details are drawn but the method seems one of hunting for the known, avoiding avenues offered by the work itself when it fails to conform to the alleyways already trod down. References, quotes, works go unread and avoided when they are crucial to not only an understanding but to the form and substance itself (a particular, and troublesome, anti-academic bias persists). The long arm of autobiography (even where self-portrait is the explicitly proclaimed schema) casts an all too encompassing, and excluding, shadow. The methodology and scholarship lacking, the readings arise off-base and ill-informed. Indeed, sometimes how we talk, even those who we think talk about fully, is not talking about but, instead, around. Perhaps I am doing the same myself, against my better plans.

An A) and a B).

A) The Old Place is a tremendous work which deserves a deep look in any assessment in this “later” period, engaging itself many ideas and questions this assessment undertakes.

B) ECM also released many years ago, prior to any DVD availability, a set similar to the Nouvelle Vague CD’s of Histoire(s) Du Cinema, the complete soundtrack of the videos along with a multi-language book of all the spoken text.

Kent Jones

Maybe the next installment could start with PUISSANCE DE LA PAROLE, a 1988 video piece made for, I believe, France Télécom, which has always haunted me. And there's LES ENFANTS JOUENT A LA RUSSIE, a kind of addendum to HISTOIRE(S). And GRANDEUR ET DECADENCE D'UN PETIT COMMERCE DU CINEMA starring Jean-Pierre Léaud and Jean-Pierre Mocky. And maybe GERMANY YEAR 90 NINE-ZERO? Good place to start.

As for music, the Charlie Haden-Keith Jarrett album JASMINE is nothing to sneeze at.

James Keepnews

Et alors, I really need to pay (even) more attention to ECM these days -- had absolutely no idea about the JLG/ECM connection. From 1970's THE MUSIC IMPROVISATION COMPANY to the recently passed Marion Brown's AFTERNOON OF A GEORGIA FAUN, through the Art Ensemble (and Mr. Mitchell's indelible late 80's FLOW OF THINGS), Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble to David Torn's PRESENZ (with his own slamming electro-acoustic ensemble of Berne/Taborn/Rainey), SAUDADES with DeJohnette/Scofield/Goldings returning to the neglected Tony Williams Lifetime songbook, et freakin' cetera, ECM's one for the ages. Wouldn't necessarily call them the Criterion of the music world...maybe the Kino...

Glenn Kenny

For the record, my projected ECM-bashing was strictly a rhetorical device and does not represent my personal view of the label, which for my money (and God knows I've spent plenty) never goes far wrong. Especial favorites include Bernie Maupin's "The Jewel In The Lotus" and Julian Priester's "Love, Love." Hell, I even dig some Ralph Towner discs. And I'm big on Jarrett's trio stuff, almost always. The duo record with Haden that Kent mentions is a fwiggin' masterpiece.

Joseph Neff

Can't resist mentioning Circle's PARIS CONCERT, Sam Rivers' CONTRASTS, Heiner Goebbels' THE MAN IN THE ELEVATOR (with Frith, Cherry, Lindsay, Charles Hayward etc.), Mal Waldron's THE CALL and FREE AT LAST, SANKT GEROLD by Paul Bley/Evan Parker/Barre Phillips, and REJOICING by Pat Metheny/Charlie Haden/Billy Higgins. And Meredith Monk's DOLMEN MUSIC, too. And a whole lot more...


If I may, a word for the defense; as part of an article on Godard that, for various reasons, I was never able to write, I actively sought out late period Godard to watch. In a one-week period, I saw PASSION, FIRST NAME: CARMEN (I had actually seen it years ago, but being younger and somewhat more foolish, I thought my opinion might have changed), DETECTIVE, OH, WOE IS ME (or if you prefer, HELAS POUR MOI), HAIL MARY, KING LEAR, and the segment he directed for ARIA (what I said about FIRST NAME: CARMEN goes for the latter two as well). None of them engaged me much on any level, with the exception of OH, WOE IS ME, and to a lesser extent HAIL MARY (which I disliked as a film but found interesting from a religious standpoint). Maybe later Godard films like NOTRE MUSIQUE and IN PRAISE OF LOVE are more successful in that respect (a former co-worker, who also is not a fan of later Godard, thought both of those were brilliant), but I don't think it's fair to slam all of us who prefer 60's Godard as "keepers of the treasury of conventional wisdom". As problematic as I find TOUT VA BIEN, for example (as politics, not filmmaking; as filmmaking it stands up with his best), I'd watch that again over any of those others I listed.

Then again, I also like Raymond Carver, so there you go.

Kent Jones

I believe Glenn and Evelyn were talking about summary dismissals, not someone like yourself who actually went to the trouble of watching the films. There's a lot more: HISTOIRE(S) DU CINEMA, SIX FOIS DEUX, JLG/JLG, SOFT AND HARD, NOUVELLE VAGUE, FRANCE/TOUR/DETOUR/DEUX ENFANTS, ICI ET AILLEURS, COMMENT CA VA, and lots more. For the record, most of TOUT VA BIEN was directed by Gorin because Godard was in the hospital after his accident.

At any rate, lipranzer should probably take a look at THE OLD PLACE, which is every bit as great as Evelyn says it is.

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