Tuesday, September 17, 2013

DFSBP archives: Grachan Moncur III

I've been listening to a lot of podcasts and online audio interviews recently. I highly recommend Jeremiah Cymerman's 5049 Podcast (I've checked out about ten of these so far, and I've loved pretty much every one), Aisha Tyler's Girl on Guy interview with Clutch's Neil Fallon, the Luc Lemay (Gorguts) and Bill Steer (Carcass) episodes of the MetalSucks Podcast, and the Lemay appearance on the Invisible Oranges East Village Radio show (click on September 3 here). While I'm not equipped to put together snazzy-sounding, nicely edited content à la what's linked above, I do have a fairly extensive archive of audio interviews, some recorded live on air. Since most of these radio shows are interspersed with music, they play like readymade podcasts. As time permits, I'll be going back through and digitizing various programs from the vaults, e.g., the 2000 Steve Lacy show I posted back in February.

Next up is an installment of the WKCR Musician's Show, featuring trombonist-composer Grachan Moncur III, that dates from less than a month after the Lacy Q&A. This has to be one of my most treasured interview tapes. As with the late, great Walt Dickerson, Moncur was an artist who existed in a kind of mythical state in my mind before I was lucky enough to be able to meet him. (I made the connection via a wonderful woman named Glo Harris—the widow of the drummer Beaver Harris—my collaborator on a memorial show concerning Beaver, which featured in-studio appearances from Moncur, Rashied Ali and Wade Barnes, and call-ins from Andrew Cyrille and Jack DeJohnette; maybe that'll be my next post from the archives!) I didn't know Moncur's story; I only knew his records, and at that time I was completely obsessed with them, especially the 1963 Blue Note set Evolution, which I still regard as one of the masterpieces of the period, and of jazz in general. Grachan (for the record, it's pronounced "GRAY-shun") and I sat down for three solid hours of talk, music and off-mic reminiscing. It was a really special experience—for one thing, I'll never forget Grachan discussing how his experience of the Kennedy assassination related to the title track of Evolution, one of my favorite pieces of music ever. I was just a kid at the time of this interview—a month shy of my 22nd birthday—but Mr. Moncur treated me like a peer. I hope you enjoy the show. Here it is, in four installments:

WKCR Musician's Show with Grachan Moncur III: 7.19.2000 - Part I

WKCR Musician's Show with Grachan Moncur III: 7.19.2000 - Part II

WKCR Musician's Show with Grachan Moncur III: 7.19.2000 - Part III

WKCR Musician's Show with Grachan Moncur III: 7.19.2000 - Part IV


1) The easiest way to stream these files is by clicking the Streampad link (the blue bar) you see at the bottom of the page. You can also download them as MP3s.

2) The level on the title track to Aco Dei de Madrugada (played at about the 24-minute mark in Part III) was too high, so I cut that piece from the MP3. You can hear it here. The same goes for Echoes of Prayer (featured on Destination: Out back in 2010), announced right at the end of Part III and continuing into the beginning of Part IV; I'm pretty sure we played the majority of the LP, which you can hear in five parts here: I, II, III, IV, V.

P.S. I want to thank my Aa bandmate Mike Colin for reminding me of the existence of this tape. I have a fond memory of he and I going to see Grachan Moncur III play at Iridum in a band that included Moncur's old Blue Note comrades Jackie McLean and Bobby Hutcherson. They played the classic "Love and Hate" that night and Moncur took a solo for the ages. (Judging by this review, this must've been 2004.)

P.P.S. Steve Lehman's 2000 interview with McLean, recently posted at Do the Math, is well worth your time.


Bret Sjerven said...

Great, Hank. I was at that McLean/Hutcherson gig. - Bret

Jean K said...

Great interview - thanks Hank.