The greatest week in avantgarde jazz?

There’s a question mark at the end of this feature title – but it probably doesn’t need to be there. In one week in August 1969, a group of American musicians holed up just north of Paris produced over 12 albums worth of material. The writer Britt Robson has produced an absorbing feature for Red Bull Academy Daily and it’s so good it deserves to be read by our CJ listeners. You can check out the article here. It begins like this…

Thank God somebody bought Lester Bowie’s couch in the spring of 1969. And his chairs, bed and desk. Otherwise, the most glorious week in avant-garde jazz history would never have happened. “Lester was selling all the furniture in his house to take the band to Europe,” recalls saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell of his trumpeter-friend and cohort. “He put an ad in the [Chicago] Defender, ‘Musician sells out.’”

jazzactuel compilationMuch of the music was to appear of the BYG label, a short lived but influential avantgarde jazz imprint founded in Paris by Jean Georgakarakos, Jean-Luc Young and Fernand Boruso. You should still be able to find the 3CD collection called JazzActuel: a collection of avant garde/free jazz/psychedelia from the BYG/Actuel catalogue of 1969–1971. It was released by Charly Records in the UK.

[With grateful thanks to Britt Robson for his insightful writing. You can find more of his work on the Wondering Sound blog.]

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