Moonscape - Michael Garrick
CATALOGUE NUMBER JBH022CD / LP
Until now, relatively little has been known or written about this recording, but there are a few facts which we can now enlighten you with.
This is a British modern jazz recording by the Michael Garrick Trio recorded in mid 1964. It precedes the October Woman recordings and was Garrick's first foray into longer sessions. The trio is as follows: Garrick on piano, Dave Green on Bass and Colin Barnes plays drums. One track was recorded with John Taylor on Bass instead of Dave Green.
Originally this six track mini album was privately pressed - almost handmade - on the obscure Airborne label, and was limited to 99 copies apparently for tax reasons, but few people have shed any more light on this or the tax benefits involved.
It is these circumstances that make this record nearly impossible to find. An original in mint condition could cost upwards of #1500 these days. If you are wondering how on earth I managed to find one, well I came back from holiday a few years ago and an email was waiting for me asking if I wanted to buy one. I'd heard about it, advertised for a copy in all sorts of funny places for some while, but nothing had ever turned up. Then this. The shop that had emailed me had been given it to sell on by an old friend of the producer. He'd been given it when the album was made and had never played it as he didn't really like jazz. The shop had googled "Michael Garrick" hoping to find a buyer on line, and the only two links that came up were to Trunk Records and the British Jazz database. This was back in 2003 - how things have changed. But back in 2003 there was no information around about it, no popsike, less gossip and all anyone could go on was the RRPG, and book price was a steep #300. I went to the shop, asked what they wanted for it and held my breath. Their answer was very reasonable, I breathed out, we agreed a price and I walked away with the record having no idea what on earth it was going to sound like. It was covered in this old grubby residue as it had been stored in a plastic sleeve, inside a thick hand cut paper sleeve. There is a special name for this scabby vinyl look, but I don't know it. I had the record professionally cleaned and took it home to play it. It was all a little odd, as very few people had ever actually heard it - 99 copies are never going to get you a large audience. The music did not disappoint, and it quickly managed to tick all my mental musical boxes. I recorded it on to CD, wrote about it on the recommendations pages, and stuck it on the record shelf. Since then I have been badgered by all sorts of people wanting CD copies, or offering me money for it. In about 2005 I approached Mr Garrick about issuing it. I think my approach was ill-timed and I quickly filed my reissuing thoughts away along with the record.
If we FFWD to early 2007, a VG+ copy of the record appeared on ebay. I got lots of emails. It sold for just under #1000 to Japanese collector. The day after the sale I got calls and emails from all sorts of other people, including Gerald Jazzman. He suggested that I approach Mr Garrick again, as a record this rare and desirable should really be heard. So, I got in touch with Michael, and a deal was struck shortly afterwards.
Trunk will be issuing the record in its entirety, and the tracks, all written by Michael Garrick are as follows:
A Face In The Crowd
Music for Shattering Supermarkets
Sketches Of Israel
Man, Have you ever Heard
The track "Sketches Of Israel" presented here is completely different from the version later recorded for "October Woman", where it was played as a samba. This was based on a poem as were two of the other tracks, and the poems will be printed along with the CD in the sleevenotes. All the tracks are just jazz by the way, there is no spoken word or vocals anywhere on the album. I only mention this because Garrick really made his name mixing poetry with jazz.
Oh my overview of Moonscape is obviously going to be biased, but I really do feel there is something very special going on here. It's an early journey into the new sound of jazz at the time, the players are responding to a sense of freedom and spontaneity, but there is a charming nervousness that peeks though which I love. Garrick's playing is fast, tender, and quite extraordinary.
The title of the album I find perfect, the space race had begun but we were still five years away from moonwalks, and lunar landings. But the title is very appropriate for the sound, even exact as you'd expect from Garrick; the jazz has a weightlessness sometimes, a feeling of floating out there somewhere very weird.
Overall, the album has that divine sadness that you find in all good British jazz recordings, a firm sense of melancholy envelopes you, and the album really blew me away recently as I quietly zipped around midnight London roads in my wife's electric car.
Moonscape will be pressed on CD with new notes from Michael Garrick, and will also be pressed on limited vinyl, 500 copies only worldwide.
SKETCHES OF ISRAEL
We went to the sands
at midnight to eat
fresh-baked bread and hear
the symphony of the sea.
Stars became shoals
of silvery angels
talking urgently -
but we didn`t understand.
In the confusion
of such surroundings
when sand is religion,
the sovereignty of
water is enthroned.
Houses with orange
brick faces: always
them like white belts.
Roads are driven
excitedly by thousands
of wild-eyed trees.
Parties same as anywhere.
for release: whisky,
an empty bottle of wine:
hangovers same as anywhere -
medication by blue-eyed skies.
All this meant more to me
than any girl,
though we never made love.
A FACE IN THE CROWD
I look for you in the crowd
You are not to be seen
Only a wave of salt-white faces
Images on a screen
Someone distant: can it be?
No, a trick, a figment
A simple longing of the mind
I feel the gaps you`ve closed
Spring open with a force which cracks
When comfort tumbles from its cosy latch
Then you appear, half an hour late
Apologies, a smile, a good excuse:
The longing I feel turns to irritation
And then to longing again
An indication of my love`s dimension.
Reproduced with the author`s permission.
MAN, HAVE YOU EVER HEARD
from JAZZ FOR FIVE
Have you ever heard the sun in the sky
Man have you heard it?
Have you heard it break the black of the night
Man have you heard it?
Have you heard it shouting its songs, have you heard
It scorch up the air like a pheonix bird,
Have you heard the sun singing?
Have you ever heard a man as black
As the blue of night
When he walks with the moon slung over his back
Through the moss blue night?
Have you heard a man like night like all
The world with the flames of a trumpet call
Like the sun has gone spinning?
Listen, for a man like a black sun walks
And the green world blazes;
The earth is on fire where a gold man stalks
With his trumpet like a red sun singing its praises.
Reproduced with the author`s permission.