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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.


Cecil Taylor Unit – Dark To Themselves
For some reason, his records were easy for me to find, but I think Dark To Themselves was the first LP of his that I found. I absolutely flipped out over it, and again, lay on the bed with my headphones, it was almost psychedelic, and so immersive, and so many ideas – this river of ideas. For some reason, that record in particular really struck a chord, and I would buy anything I could get my hands on.

With the FMP box [In Berlin 88], I knew that it was coming out, and I knew that it was going to be outrageously expensive. I trekked for an hour to this specialist jazz store that didn't have any free jazz at all, but the guy said that he would be able to get it for me. So I put down a deposit, and I think it took me about six months to pay it off, I would pay $10 a month. So when I finally got it I was a happy boy.

I started playing free jazz live about a year after that. At the time I was studying in a Rabbinical college because I was really interested in in Jewish mysticism, because of John Coltrane, actually. I was at this Dewey Redman concert, and this Australian saxophonist was playing, he had a local group. The next day, I bumped into the same sax player at college – this guy who I saw playing with to Dewey Redmam actually walked into the college to study as well. And he's a lot older than me, so I’m like: what the hell is this guy doing here? He played with Dewey Redman last night! So I walked up to him, and I said, I saw you playing last night. And he's like, 'what the fuck are you doing here?' And I was like, 'what the fuck are you doing here?'

He was a Russian immigrant who was on one of the first Australian free jazz records, he was in a band called Free Kata. And his name was Edward Bronson. And he said to me, do you want to play, my sax is in the car? And I had a drum kit set up in my dormitory that I was staying in, so we just went in there and went absolutely nuts. So I started working with him, with some other young friends of mine as well, and those were really my first experiences of playing live in Sydney.