Source: nessa records
(2-CD set) An expanded 2 CD reissue of saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell's most notorious recording outside of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. Nonaah (No nay ah) earned him a "Record Of The Year" award in the 1978 Down Beat critics poll. The music consists of a 31 minute solo concert performance of the title piece, two duets (one with Anthony Braxton, the other with Malachi Favors), a trio piece with Muhal Richard Abrams and George Lewis, two more Mitchell solo pieces (one from a concert, the other a studio recording), and a 17 1/2 minute version of the title piece with four alto saxophonists (Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Joseph Jarman and Wallace McMillan).
Source: by Steve Greenlee, JazzTimes
More than 30 years after it was originally recorded and released, Nonaah remains a difficult and wondrous listen. Remastered with several bonus tracks included, the album clocks in at two hours now and sprawls across two CDs. Throughout them, Roscoe Mitchell demonstrates how pliable and expressive one instrument, in his case the alto saxophone, can be.
This is the work that some critics named the best jazz record of 1978, quite an accomplishment for an album that features a horn alone most of the time, including on the fiery, 22-minute title track, which originally took up all of side one. Mitchell digs his heels in on the single line that constitutes the tune’s melody—a line first created for the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s “Fanfare for the Warriors”—until he finally allows it to stretch and develop. I’ve never heard this music on vinyl, so I can’t compare the fidelity to the original, but the sound quality of the Nessa reissue is absolutely beautiful. It sounds as thought it was recorded this morning, it’s so crisp.
Nonaah no longer seems as dangerous as it might have in the ’70s—we’ve been through David S. Ware, Evan Parker, Charles Gayle and many others since then—but as a statement of avant-garde improv it stacks up well against anything released in 2008. Mitchell’s duet with Anthony Braxton, playing sopranino saxophone, on “Off Five Dark Six,” still raises hairs. And Mitchell’s quartet of alto saxes—with Joseph Jarman, Wallace McMillan, and Henry Threadgill—that revisits “Nonaah” could conjure a cyclone any day, anywhere. The bonus material is illuminating, particularly the final cut, a solo performance of “Off Five Dark Six” where he seems determined to see how many different ways he can play one note. But I could have done without “Chant,” which is nothing more than Mitchell blowing the same short pattern over and over for nine minutes.
1.1. Nonaah 22:39
1.2. Ericka 8:15
Composed By – Joseph Jarman
1.3. Nonaah 1:24
1.4. Off Five Dark Six 4:53
Sopranino Saxophone – Anthony Braxton
1.5. A1 Tal 2La 8:46
Double Bass – Malachi Favors
1.6. Tahquemenon 5:47
Piano – Muhal Richard Abrams
Trombone – George Lewis
2.1. Improvisation 1 13:13
2.2. Ballad 4:43
2.3. Nonaah 17:46
Alto Saxophone – Henry Threadgill, Joseph Jarman, Wallace McMillan
2.4. Sing 6:12
2.5. Improvisation 2 3:42
2.6. Sing 7:42
2.7. Chant 9:15
2.8 Off Five Dark Six 7:23
Alto Saxophone, Composed By – Roscoe Mitchell
Art Direction, Design – Carla Nessa
Design [Original] – Arnold A. Martin
Liner Notes – Chuck Nessa, Terry Martin (2)
Photography By [Cover] – Roberto Masotti
Producer – Chuck Nessa
Recorded By [Berkeley] – Roscoe Mitchell
Recorded By [Chicago] – Stu Black
Recorded By [Willisau] – Walter Troxler
Remix, Technician [Digital Transfers] – Steve Wagner
CD reissue of double LP
Tracks 1.1-1.3: live in Willisau, Switzerland, August 23, 1976.
Tracks 2.1, 2.6-2.8: live in Mapenzi, Berkeley, January 15, 1977
Tracks 1.4, 1.6: Chicago, January 17, 1977.
Track 2.3: Chicago, January 22, 1977.
Tracks 1.5, 2.2, 2.4, 2.5: Chicago, February 22, 1977.
Tracks 2.4-2.8 previously unreleased.
Chicago recordings at Sound Studios, remix and digital transfers at Riverside Studio.
1.1. Nonaah (solo concert - Willisau)
1.2. Ericka (solo concert - Willisau)
1.3. Nonaah (solo concert - Willisau)
1.4. Off Five Dark Six (duet with Anthony Braxton)
1.5. A1 TAL 2LA (duet with Malachi Favors)
1.6. Tahquemenon (trio with Muhal Richard Abrams and George Lewis)
2.1. Improvisation 1 (solo concert - Berkeley)
2.2. Ballad (solo)
2.3. Nonaah (quartet with Joseph Jarman, Wallace McMillan and Henry Threadgill)
2.4. Sing (solo)
2.5. Improvisation 2 (solo)
2.6. Sing (solo concert - Berkeley)
2.7. Chant (solo concert - Berkeley)
2.8. Off Five Dark Six (solo concert - Berkeley)
Roscoe Mitchell: alto saxophone
Muhal Richard Abrams: piano
Anthony Braxton: sopranino saxophone
Malachi Favors: bass
Joseph Jarman: alto saxophone
George Lewis: trombone
Wallace McMillan: alto saxophone
Henry Threadgill: alto saxophone
"Hearing is Everything" Peter Watkins