home » cd catalogue » Mongezi Feza - Free Jam » Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

Mongezi Feza - Free Jam

Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

I have fond memories of driving round dear old Stockholm last November with Ayler Records' Jan Ström as he pointed out various places of local interest ("that's where I first saw Frank Lowe busking.."), and can imagine his enthusiasm when he came across the recordings released as Free Jam.
For an indefatigable champion of Swedish jazz and compulsive record collector like Ström - his personal archive includes over a thousand unreleased recordings - being able to bring out two hours of action-packed music featuring expat South African trumpeter Feza and one of Sweden's finest (and largely unsung outside the country) free jazz outfits was an opportunity too good to pass up.
The cherry on the cake is the presence of Turkish percussion whiz Okay Temiz, who had been rehearsing in Stockholm at the time with Feza and bassist Johnny Dyani in a short-lived trio called Music For Xaba (if you have any tapes of them, Jan, we're waiting).

Recorded in November and December 1972 in a workshop rehearsal space, the discs pit Feza's fiery trumpet and Temiz's percussion against an exemplary group of Swedish musicians, a quartet featuring Bernt Rosengren (on saxophones, flute and piano), Tommy Koverhult (tenor, flute, euphonium), Torbjörn Hultcrantz (bass) and Leif Wennerström (drums). On the strength of this set, I'd certainly like to get my hands on the Rosengren Quartet's 1973 double LP on EMI Harvest, Notes From Underground (if anyone is visiting Stockholm in the near future, check out Harald Halt's awesome record shop Andra at Rörstrandsgatan 25 - though take plenty of cash, as credit cards aren't accepted - I imagine he'd have a copy but I wouldn't like to guess the price).

Meanwhile, here are 119 minutes of furious free form jamming, and if you thought jamming was synonymous with noodling or just tooling about, think again. Powered forward by the terrific three man rhythm section - Temiz's credentials are well known, but you might want to know that Wennerström was the house drummer at the Golden Circle in 1960s and played with everybody, and Hultcrantz's name will be familiar to Albert Ayler completists as the bassist on the saxophonist's first recordings in October 1962 - Feza is in his element (the general modus operandi and much of the thematic material is after not dissimilar to that used by Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath), but Rosengren and Koverhult aren't content to play second fiddle to their visiting guest.
One might regret not being able to hear the group tackle a more structured composition, but when the music flows as freely as this, it seems churlish to complain.