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Baker's Dozen

Impulse purchases: Oren Ambarchi Jazz (Fusion) Baker's Dozen
Jennifer Lucy Allan , August 7th, 2019 08:10

The musician, label head and self-described record obsessive has eyes bigger than his stomach in his own Proustian boulangerie of jazz and fusion records. By Jennifer Lucy Allan.


Power Tools – Strange Meeting
Soon after I finished school in Sydney age 17, I found myself in New York. I just wanted to be in New York, so many records I was into were recorded there, and everything seemed to be happening there – this was in the late 80s. And one of the first gigs I saw was Power Tools. The reason I went was because of Bill Frisell. I had probably seen him once or twice before in clubs with five people in the audience. It was at the bottom line, and I remember sitting with a friend of mine, and we saw the drum kit. And it looked like a metal drum kit, and what the hell is this obscene drum kit doing on the stage with this Bill Frisell group?

This guy sitting next to us just said: "Have you seen Ronald Shannon Jackson? Who are your favourite drummers? I said, Tony Williams, and Jack DeJohnette, and he just pointed to the drums, and said, 'wait till you see this guy'. Then when they go on stage, Melvin Gibbs the bass player leant down and said to me, 'Hey, man, your head is right in the firing line of my bass amp'. It was super powerful and exploratory. It had electronic guitar experimentation from Bill Frisell, and I've always been into electronics and weirdness. He had a few effects pedals, where he would slow down what he was doing, or flip it backwards. It was very rock, very aggressive at times, but ethereal too – all these things at the same time. And all of that was really eye opening and exciting to me as an 18-year-old. I didn't even think about playing at that time. It didn't even enter my mind. I was a kid from Australia, and thought I can't play here, no way. So I was the guy in the front of every show, sitting there recording it, and listening to it over and over.