Milford Graves - Bäbi LP
Release Date: November 10th, 2023
By the early '70s, Milford Graves had more or less stopped gigging. Having learned his lesson the hard way in multiple-night runs like a legendary Slugs' residency with Albert Ayler, he knew that the level of energy that he put out during a performance would be difficult to sustain over the long haul. A concert was a kind of absolute ritual for him, after which he would be totally spent, emotionally and physically. Graves rarely left anything on the table. Any musical performance was an opportunity to present an amalgamated version of all the things he had learned. He was an innovator and a teacher at his core, and the concert venue was one of his first classroom settings.
In March 1976, Verna Gillis invited Graves to perform on WBAI's Free Music Store radio show. For the date, he chose to present a trio lineup which he had been occasionally playing – featuring two saxophonists who were dedicated to the drummer's vision. Hugh Glover is almost exclusively known for his work with Graves, while Arthur Doyle would gain exposure later for an obscure record that he made two years later, Alabama Feeling, which would become a highly collectable item among free jazz enthusiasts.
Originally released in 1977, Bäbi remains one of Graves' most seminal recordings. The music played by the trio was ecstatic. Extreme energy music, buoyant and joyful. It relied on Graves' new way of approaching the drum kit, in which he had opened up the bottoms of his skin-slackened toms and eliminated the snare. Graves' art was always unblemished by commercial interests, and this album is its finest mission statement.
First-time vinyl reissue. Sourced from the original master tapes.