AACM pianist & singer give away CD at NYC show

Steve Colson, pianist/composer and band leader, with vocalist Iqua Colson —  a couple  members of American experimental music‘s cutting edge AACM for some 35 years —  give a rare performance quartet Saturday night (Feb 6) at NYC’s Thalia theater in Symphony Space. Everyone who attends gets the Colsons’ new CD, The Untarnished Dream, for free. One-time promotion? Start of a trend? Acceptance of reality?

I can’t remember pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, co-founder and main counselor of the AACM just inducted as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, or composer, reeds and woodwinds specialist Henry Threadgill, whose ensemble Zooid performs at the Jazz Gallery (NYC) Feb 11 through 13, ever giving albums away at performances, but it stands to reason that the Colsons, whose previous album Hope for Love was a duet released in 2004, could use some extra buzz. Steve, known as Adegoke for many years, has a thoughtful, muted touch, and in Dream focuses on inside-outside playing (meaning he doesn’t often break forms, but works subtle, unexpected ideas steadily into a flow), and Iqua takes an art song approach to lyrics and melody rather than flat-out swinging; they’ve maintained a steadfast if low profile on the scene, not necessarily by choice. Notables bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille — veterans of combos led by Blakey, Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins, Mary Lou Williams and Cecil Taylor, besides themselves — give substantial support and play solid solos on the album, as they will no doubt at the Thalia.

So why not send the pre-disposed listener who comes to a concert home with music much like what they’ve just heard? Then, when said listener tells a friend how good it was, he/she has the goods to prove the point. Of course this can be done via downloads, but a physical CD is a nice souvenir of a swell night out, right? And having a memorable experiential association with an acquisition burnishes one’s opinion of it. This is an ultra important consideration when a record is independently produced, available at DigStation.com and CD Baby but not at iTunes or Amazon for a couple of weeks and probably findable at only a few brick-and-mortar stores; it depends upon direct recommendations so much more. That’s the story with The Unvarnished Dream.
But remember when musicians used to use their performances as showcase events with which to launch their recordings, rather than provide the records to their fanbase as perks? This seems like a whole differnt set up. I wonder: What would Miles do now?

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