Sing Me A Song Of Songmy: Hubbard Meets Mimaroglu
The late 1960s and early 1970s produced more than a few interesting meetings between jazz and electronic music. From Sun Ra to Archie Shepp and Miles Davis, jazz expended into new territories situated beyond the contours of bebop, hard bop and post-bop. It is not an overstatement to say that Sing Me a Song of Songmy (1971), Freddie Hubbard and Ilhan Mimaroglu’s “fantasy for electromagnetic tape,” represents one of the most potent manifestations of this new music.
Hubbard, an established band leader in his own right, spent most of the sixties working in New York City alongside innovative artists such as Don Cherry, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman. The jazz trumpeter moved between the positions of leader and sideman with ease and proficiency. A prolific musician, he released dozens of albums – some of which were more commercial than others – during a career that spanned half a century.
On this 1971 release, Hubbard benefited from the vision of Mimaroglu, a Turkish-born electronic musician and a producer at Atlantic Records. Mimaroglu performed most of the work at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. Using the equipment at his disposal, he infused a considerable amount of musique concrète, tape-based music and electronic sounds into Hubbard’s jazz piece. Mimaroglu was consequently accorded composition, arrangement and production credits on the album.
Sing Me a Song of Songmy is a 41-minute jazz opus augmented with tape collages, string orchestras, recitations and electronic interventions. It is a powerful musical statement with strong political undertones. It is meant to resonate loud and clear. Section titles such as “Threnody for Sharon Tate”, “This is Combat I know” and “What a Good Time for a Kent State” (and poems such as Lullaby for a Child in War as well as Before the Bombs Struck the Dark Breasts) help situate this collaborative effort within its post-1968 context.
This is one record that should not be overlooked.
Category: 2009-2010 Archives