Documenting the Free Jazz Revolution (via Observer)

Full Title: The Quest for Fire Music: Documenting the Free Jazz Revolution (via Observer)

Tom Surgal is one busy dude. The percussionist colossus for space-jazz ensemble White Out—a free-improv outfit featuring his wife (analog synth player Lin Culbertson), and a rotating cast that counts Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Wilco’s Nels Cline—just finished a new record with Minutemen/Stooges bassist Mike Watt, will soon release Accidental Sky, White Out’s first record in four years, and has yet another touchstone to celebrate: he’s finally nearing fruition of his years-long quest to document the radically outré and criminally overlooked form of jazz known as the free jazz movement. ‘The whole revisionist trend being championed by Wynton Marsalis and his cronies have done everything they can to write this period of music out of history altogether.’

Surgal’s dubbed his documentary Fire Music: A History of the Free Jazz Revolution and as a scholar of the genre, he knows what he’s talking about. An alum of the Soho jazz loft scene made legendary by Sam Rivers’ RivBea Studio in the 1970s, and later, a ubiquitous noisemaking improviser and show booker in the downtown avant-garde jazz and experimental music lexicon, he’s just the impassioned and informed diehard to tell its story.

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