LOW STOCK LEVEL
Church Number Nine
This is the free jazz record that everyone wants. Its long, mythic history is shrouded and whispered about because of it rarity. Church Number Nine was recorded on March 7, 1970, but remained buried until it was released in 1973 on the Calumet label, a Parisian venture that instantly evaporated into thin air. Only 300 copies of the album made it into circulation; the rest were apparently destroyed. The line-up is one of free jazz's greatest, the same quartet as Frank Wright's legendary BYG Actuel outing One for John: Wright on tenor, Noah Howard on alto, Bobby Few on piano, and Muhammad Ali on drums. The opening track is a monumental 26-minute slab of holy-rolling free gospel. Heavily indebted to Albert Ayler, Wright's take on the spiritual is spiced up by adding additional percussion. This is when Wright and Howard are not blowing their horns to smithereens -- they both unleash an all-incinerating racket, an ominously heavy whirlwind of feverish, infernal blowing. Bobby Few is a standout in these sessions and exerts explosive and alternating churchy licks and furious clusters until the whole comes crashing down like the walls of Jericho under the blasts of the horns. The second piece comprises tight bursts of energy, ripping notes to pieces like there is no tomorrow. Possessed vocals from various members imbue the proceedings with an air of a possession ceremony amid the fractured tone-clusters of the torrential sonic storm. This record is heavy, ecstatic, and mind-blowing! Church Number Nine is without a single doubt one of the greatest free-blowing jazz discs ever to be put down on wax. One-time pressing of 300 copies. Faithful to the original.