Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rest In Bass

My 48th birthday (and the one-year anniversary of this blog) started off on a sad note when I awoke Saturday morning (10.25.2014) and learned of the passing of the magnificent bass behemoth Jack Bruce at the age of 71. 
Obviously this is devastating news and I shouldn't have to tell you who Jack Bruce is/was. From Graham Bond to Cream to the Tony Williams Lifetime to the Carla Bley Band to his own groups, he should need no introduction and no explanation. One of the world's foremost songwriters and bass players of the last 50 years, period.
When I got back home later on I started to think about a suitable homage, and I got into this absolutely mind-frying, balls-to-the-wall performance from when Jack first assembled his all-star band with Billy Cobham, David Sancious and Clem Clempson at the outset of the 1980s. 
This concert, broadcast over WNEW-FM in NYC live as it happened and captured direct to Maxell cassettes off the air, dates from a few days before this band even had a record out and finds all four virtuosi ready to blow up the Bottom Line... which they do over the course of the next 103 minutes, sending the packed club into complete pandemonium, which you'll hear all up and down the tape.
This master cassette was taped with Dolby B noise reduction back in the day so I took a good few hours with it and went about putting the high end into a punchier place. Using Sound Forge 9 I was able to find a way to make the drums somewhat more present and resurrect the treble some, giving it more life and unleashing more of its (not insignificant) power without altering it too much.
Unless WNEW taped this themselves as it went out and archived it, I don't think there's a pre-FM source of this, given the one-offness of these old Bottom Line broadcasts, but who knows? There was a (horrifying-sounding and incomplete) Italian bootleg CD of some of this show out back in the mid-1990s when there was that interregnum in copyright law over there, but this right here may be as good as it gets for this one barring someone having captured it, say, onto a reel-to-reel off the air or somesuch. 
Jack Bruce & Friends
The Bottom Line
New York City, NY
early show
EN FM remaster

01 White Room
02 Jet Set Jewel
03 Post War
04 Born Under a Bad Sign
05 You Burned the Tables On Me
06 The Loner

Total time: 45:23

01 Running Through Our Hands
02 Theme for an Imaginary Western
03 Bird Alone
04 Politician
05 Sunshine of Your Love
06 NSU
07 Jack Bruce interview fragment

Total time: 57:37

Jack Bruce - bass, vocals
Billy Cobham - drums
David Sancious - keyboards, guitar, vocals
Clem Clempson - guitar, vocals

EN remaster of an FM master cassette capture of the original live simulcast
All conjecture aside, this is the real thing, and all we know exists as far as a live document of this incendiary group at its inception, so please do enjoy this remaster of what can only be termed a take-no-prisoners performance. I hope it makes some fraction of a fitting tribute to the Maestro who left us yesterday with a lifetime or twelve worth of the very finest sounds.--J.