That phrase in the title comes from critic Byron Coley in reference to saxophonist Noah Howard, an artist whose career began in the midst of fire music's heyday and continues right up 'til the present. Howard's a bit of a riddle: sometimes Earth-shattering in his brilliance, throwing colour through the air in new and unexpected combinations, conjuring church and brothel and NYC loft in the span of a few notes, while at other times he has seemed little more than a borrower, a gifted anthologist of techniques and tones originating with some of his better-known New Thing contemporaries (Ayler, Coleman, Marion Brown, etc.). But when he's good, he's very good. And as luck would have it, he was the subject of the latest episode of Now's the Time. I spun some of his best, including At Judson Hall, where the sound of his alto paired with Briton Ric Colbeck's trumpet is, at times, purely narcotic. Add Catherine Norris' cello, and you have something truly unique in the annals of free jazz. Worth hunting down. We also sampled liberally from Black Ark, where Howard's foil is a young and fiery Arthur Doyle.
Anyway, I'd like to think it all made for a pretty entertaining 90 minutes of radio. Judge for yourself:
Now's the Time - September 25, 2008: Noah Howard
I'm currently at a loss for a topic for my next show. Suggestions?