An Interesting Breakfast Conversation
Space An Interesting Breakfast Conversation LP (Arch, 1984)
Sometime in the late 80s, I was sitting in the loft space that I called home, listening to KPFA on a radio rigged with some crazy homemade antenna when I heard a magical abstract collection of horns and vocals. Saxophones gobbled and blurped, while a vocalist hiccuped, galoofed, and soared. The song ended and a crowd cheered. A couple more songs of similar brilliance passed and the host announced that the group playing live on the air was called Space (I am not sure if the performance was archived or in real time). I drank my coffee, hopped on my bike, and peddled down to a local record store, one that specialized in jazz. I found a copy of Space's first album for a whoppin' $2.50, bought it, brought it home, and dropped needle. For the next couple weeks I was transfixed.
A couple years prior, a local poet had given me his collection of Art Ensemble of Chicago albums, thinking that a young lad like me would be captivated by such noise. I was. So when I saw that one third of Space was AEC member Roscoe Mitchell I was excited. The second horn player, Gerald Oshita, I had never heard of but dug his sounds once I heard them. However, the real kicker for me was Tom Buckner, player of "extended voice."
Singing is hard to do well. There are plenty of people with good voices who never get the magic of singing down (and some with "shitty" voices who do quite well). Take the voice and use it in music as an instrument that does much more than sing and you can count the successes on your fingers and toes. Tom Buckner is one of the successes. Listen to the three cuts posted and you will hear but a slight bit of what Buckner can do. He has a resume that reads like a who's who of free jazz and experimental composition, one that is so strong that the man is due a cover photo on The Wire.
So hear you go, a bit of vocal strangeness and a healthy dose of experimentation.