milford graves quartet, live on french television in 1973

Milford Graves Quartet, Live on French Television  (1973)

I’m a huge fan of French Television from the 60’s and 70’s. Some of the greatest visual artifacts of music culture are thanks to its efforts (a few of which, made up my very first post on this blog). Generally speaking, you have to acknowledge that France puts most countries to shame, with regard to its historically generous embrace of the avant-garde. While the majority of the international vanguard  labored in the shadows, forced to scramble for scraps, the French documented, archived, recorded, and placed them on TV – offering them new audiences on broad social and cultural scale – preserving them for all of time. Notably, they didn’t just do this for their own. They did it for all of the world. This video is one such case. The thought that anyone would put a performance like this on television, seems shocking today. But there it is, for all to see. I make no mystery of my affection for Milford Graves. His music occupies titanic proportions in my life. He is a force in history of Free-Jazz, and a personality with few parallels. This performance captures his quartet of under-recognized players at the height of its powers – ushering forth a writhing sea of sound. In addition to Graves on percussion and vocals, it features Joe Rigby and Hugh Glover on Sax, with Arthur Williams on Trumpet. I hope you enjoy, and it brings light into your day.

-Bradford Bailey



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