Sunday, February 26, 2023

VA - Wildflowers: Loft Jazz New York 1976 [1977] (3 x CDs)



VA - Wildflowers: Loft Jazz New York 1976 [1977] (3 x CDs)

Loft jazz (or the loft scene or loft era) was a cultural phenomenon that occurred in New York City during the mid-1970s. Musically, loft jazz was in many ways a continuation of the free jazz and avant-garde jazz traditions inaugurated by John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, and Sun Ra. However, it didn't follow any one particular style or idiom.

Three discs -70, 63 and 61 minutes each approximately. This music has been remastered and is crisp, clear and clean. These tracks also contain some of the warmth of the vinyl release, which is a real plus. The discs are held, bare, in half-cardboard sleeves, in a quadruple-fold cardboard sleeve, which is then slid into another cardboard sleeve. I won't go into my thoughts on packaging music this way-it would take too long. But it seems to be what a lot of companies are doing, so be it. The notes are short, but informative-mostly setting the scene when this music was recorded. There is no information on particular musicians, except who plays what instrument, on the various tracks. The cover photograph of Sam Rivers is great (but the original LP cover was better), as is the atmospheric shot of a concert inside Studio Rivbea (owned by Sam Rivers and his then wife Bea), and there are smaller color photos of a few of the musicians on this set.

This is a stupendous re-release for free-jazz, new music, avant-garde, outside jazz-or whatever people list this as. This was originally released on vinyl, on five separate discs, many years ago. Produced by Alan Douglas, many jazz listeners would speak reverently when referring to this music. It's been unavailable for many years, so it's a nice surprise to see it back in circulation once again.

There is so much great music collected here, that it's virtually impossible to single any one track (or tracks) out for recognition. The list of players reads like an encyclopedia of mid-seventies N.Y.City loft-jazz. Listeners familiar with this type of music will recognize names such as Sam Rivers,David Murray,Byard Lancaster,Henry Threadgill,Ken McIntyre,Anthony Braxton,Leo Smith,Randy Weston,Oliver Lake,Sunny Murray,Roscoe Mitchell,Jimmy Lyons,and on and on.

The music itself is presented in a fashion so that listeners won't be overwhelmed by too much too soon. The tracks (a number of which are long) that stick to a (fairly) regular rhythm are interspersed between tracks which are more abstract. Remembering when this music was recorded (May 1976), and where (Sam River's loft-studio), it still has the power to enthrall, excite and amaze anyone adventurous enough to listen. There is so much to listen for, so much to sink your teeth into, that repeated listening (a must) will amply reward anyone who likes this style of jazz. This is vital, important music, and should (hopefully) be heard by anyone and everyone with a passion for great jazz. Pick this up before it once again disappears, for this is one of the finest jazz re-releases this year. (Amazon)

It's history now. The venue is closed. The stage lost. No more heroes to emerge from there. Listen here to the ones that brought-in their talent and art. If you are remotely interested in Free Jazz or the Avant-Garde of the 1970's this is a wonderful record to start with. 



Track list


01 Kalaparusha - Jays 6:15

02 Ken Mc Intyre - New Times 7:48

03 Sunny Murray & The Untouchable Factor - Over The Rainbow 5:52

04 Sam Rivers - Rainbows 10:27

05 Air - Uso Dance 8:30

06 Flight To Sanity - The Need To Smile 10:48

07 Ken Mc Intyre - Naomi 6:34

08 Anthony Braxton - 73°-s Kelvin 6:45

09 Marion Brown - And Then They Dance 7:14


01 Leo Smith & The New Delta Ahkri - Locomotif No. 6 6:26

02 Randy Weston - Portrait Of Frank Edward Weston 9:19

03 Michael Jackson - Clarity Two 6:11

04 Dave Burrell - Black Robert 5:45

05 Abdullah - Blue Phase 12:37

06 Andrew Cyrille & Maono - Short Short 6:59

07 Hamiet Bluiett - Tranquil Beauty 5:47

08 Julius Hemphill - Pensive 9:54


01 Jimmy Lyons - Push Pull 5:35

02 Oliver Lake - Zaki 9:55

03 David Murray - Shout Song 2:49

04 Sunny Murray & The Untouchable Factor - Something's Cookin' 17:07

05 Roscoe Mitchell - Chant 25:22




  1. Thank you for this nice Sunday jazz Butterboy.

  2. Whoa...this is majorly cool. Thanks!

    1. Hi Rikker Mortis.
      I agree. It's a beautiful listen.

  3. Had these on lps, seemingly a lifetime ago!!

    1. Hi Paul,
      It's a lovely set. Enjoy them again.

  4. Thank you so much. I've been wanting to hear these since I watched a great doc on Free Jazz.

    1. Hi rrrkitchen.
      A beautiful set this is. A very choice find.