The Sun Ra Arkestra Performing Shadow World in a Concert in West Berlin

This video presents one of the most important free jazz groups ever: the Sun Ra Arkestra. They are playin a concert in West Berlin and performing the song Shadow World. It is not clear when this concert was recorded but the black and white pictures suggest it was in the late 1960s when german television still recorded and transmitted in black and white.
Sun Ra was always regarded as an excentric musician and many people have no access to this kind of music, they even say it is no music at all or that all musicians are fake, that they can’t play their instruments. However, this is not true. All musicians in the Sun Ra Arkestra were excellent on their instrument but just had no wish to play in the well known mainstream, repeating standard tunes and performing what everybody could accept. It is a fact that such great jazz musicians as John Coltrane took a couple of saxophone playing lessons from the sax player who appears in this video, John Gilmore might be his name, leave a comment if you know better.
The band was really avantgarde, watch that at the end they even come up with some rap – in the late sixties !

The Kronos Quartet Performing the Jimi Hendrix Tune Foxy Lady

This video features the Kronos Quartet performing a classic Jimi Hendrix song called Foxy Lady. The Kronos Quartet is a musical ensemble of four young musicians who play string instruments. They all have studied a classical concert music instrumentalist career but have joined in this quartet with the goal to perform not only the repertoir of typical concert music string quartets. Instead, they are also performing compositions and arrangements from other musical environments besides the mandatory classical set of compositions.
In this little clip they have chosen a piece by rock star and electric guitar playing pioneer Jimi Hendrix called Foxy Lady. This is not the only piece of Jimi Hendrix interpreted by the Kronos Quartet, they also perform his tune Purple Haze (and maybe some more, so far I’ve found the two mentioned ones on youtube).
Jimi Hendrix was the most important rock guitar player of his time and has contributed strongly to the evolution of the possibilities of the electric guitar sound. He is well known for his appearance on the Woodstock festival where he performed the Star Spangled Banner, the north american national anthem, in his very own style, being a part of the love and peace movement and producing sounds with his guitar that imitated the falling american bombs over Vietnam.

Atmospheres by Györgi Ligeti with Animation Video Art

This video shows a video animation over a piece composed by Gyorgy Sandor Ligeti (1923 – 2006) who has experimented with sounds beyond the ones conventionally produced by the traditional instruments of the symphonic orchestra.
Atmospheres was performed first in 1960 and forms part of the first electronic music pieces which certainly don’t have to do much or maybe anything with what more superficial people call electronic music (like what Chemical Brothers and many others perform).
This piece also was chosen by movie director Stanly Kubrick for some scenes of his masterpiece A Space Odyssey.

Ivry Gitlis Performing the Violin Solo Sonata by Bela Bartok

This video shows Ivry Gitlis, a phenomenal violin player, performing Bela Bartok’s sonata for solo violin. Many people can’t afford this piece (and some more of the compositions written by Bela Bartok) and even think that the violin player is playing out of tune. This happens because this sonata for violin includes microtonalities which means that the composer’s material is not limited to the well known twelve tones of the tempered piano tuning but also include more tones in between the standard twelve notes. Here the space between one note and the following one on the piano is subdivided into more subtle intervals. Naturally this kind of tune cannot be played on an accoustic piano while some synthesizers and keyboards do have a ‘bend wheel’ which would allow to play this piece.
Bela Bartok can be regarded as the most important hungarian composer and has an extensive oevre with compositions for many kinds of symphonic and chamber orchestras as well as for solo instruments. He also put special emphasis on the percussion instruments. His works for piano Microcosmos and Macrocosmos are mandatory repertoire for the beginning and advanced classical piano performer. In these and other compositions Bela Bartok recovers many hungarian, romanian and other folk tunes, treating and integrating them into the concert music repertoire.

Gong – The Legandary Band Performing Live in 2000

Gong is a group from the 1970s era and had disappeared for some while but has come back and this video shows the band Gong playing their first gig after their comeback in the year 2000. In this clip, Gong is performing the song Master Builder from their original album You. They still count with some of their original members: David Allen, Mike Howlett, Didier Malherbe and Gilly Smith.
The band’s concept has always been to play music beyond the mainstream. The band lived together in a commune in France after David Allen, born in Australia and who had founded the band Soft Machine, couldn’t enter the UK any more for legal reasons, decided to stay in France and to continue to experiment with musical sounds.
The band developed an unique style and was experimenting with lots of strange elements, specially focussing on improvisation as the vital part of music. They also liked to appear in rare costumes and still do so as you can see in this relatively recent video clip. The music is a combination of jazz and rock elements and can be regarded as part of fusion, the style from the seventies that concentrated on the fusion of jazz and rock elements, sometimes calles jazzrock too. However, they sure are a band that plays very progressive music, specially if you consider that they were playing this kind of sounds in the 1970s.

Electronic Music Band Tangerine Dream Performing Kiew Mission

This video clip presents the german electronic rock band Tangerine Dream with Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Johannes Schmoelling performing Kiew Mission which is the opening track from their LP Exit. This album was released in the early 1980s and illustrates the band’s concept. It is interesting to know that Tangerine Dream was a very experimental group in the sense that they always did improvise their concerts, so the same tune never sounded the same. Of course, there is always a well defined theme and mood in each of the pieces.
Tangerine Dream is stil active in the entertainment business and the band’s latest album is called The Five Atomic Seasons. It is a musical journey accomanying Mr. H. T. to an old Zen Monastery where he is getting introduced to the secrets of life and death. Tangerine Dream has been releasing several new albums in the last years and they are DVDs rather than CDs (Let’s forget the LPs belonging to another epoche of entertainment.)
Tangerine Dream’s Bandleader is Edgar Froese who has been experimenting with electronic sounds since the 1970s. The band has always used synthesizers and belongs together with Can to the first generation of german rock groups in the electronic music field while people like Karlheinz Stockhausen had been experimenting with electronic sounds since the synthesizer appeared in the music instrument stores. However, Stockhausen is ‘serious’ composer, he has studied composition on the conservatory. We have posted about him in this blog, see the video clip with his composition Kontakte.

Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society Performing Christmas Woman

Watch this music video clip with Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society performing their sond Christmas Woman on the Moers Jazz Festival (Germany) in 1994 with bandleader Ronald Shannon Jackson on the drums, Dom Richards playing the electric bass, Rob Reddy on soprano saxophone, James Carter playing the tenor saxophone and Jef Lee Johnson on electric guitar.
The Moers Jazz Festival is well known among jazz musicians and fans of avantgarde jazz music. Every year this region of Germany attracts musicians and jazz fans from all over the world and it’s efinitely worth visiting some of the concerts.
Ronald Shannon’s mother played piano and organ at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church while his father run a local record store and jukebox business. In 1966, his family moved to New York and Ronald Shannon entered New York University where he met cats like René McLean, Charles Sullivan and bass player Abdul Malik from the Thelonious Monk band.
In his carreer as a composer and soloist he has played with jazz giants including McCoy Tyner, Charles Mingus, Stanley Turrentine, Bennie Maupin, Betty Carter, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ray Bryant, Shirley Scott and others.
Ronald Shannon Jackson also is a recognized composer and many of his pieces have been performed by european and other concert music orchestras. And of course, Ronald Shannon Jackson is giving classes and has helped many now important jazz musicians to start their musical career.