Title - Markstown
Artist - Steve Tintweiss and The Purple Why
For those unaware, Steve Tintweiss, who is still active today, is perhaps best-known for his contributions to the avant-garde jazz scene of the late 1960s/early 70s when he was considered a very valuable sideman and a stimulating improviser.
As a leader, he enjoyed writing strong themes that led logically to free-form solos and exhilarating ensembles.
In 1967 he formed The Purple Why, a septet that also included trumpeter James DuBoise, Mark Whitecage on tenor and flute, baritonist Trevor Koehler, drummer Laurence Cook, and both Judy Stuart and Amy Sheffer on vocals.
Although the group, which lasted until the mid-1970s, made an impact at the time, the just-released MarksTown (Inky Dot Media) is the first documentation of the band to be released.
It consists of a pair of concert performances from 1968. Steve Tintweiss wanted Purple Why to be socially conscious and part of the late 1960s political movement like many of the rock groups and folk singers.
St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery: August 21th, 1968
1. Bells Intro (0:20)
2. Ramona, I Love You (4:52)
3. How Sweet? (3:55)
4. Contrapuntal (4:17)
5. N.E.S.W. up/down (5:22)
6. The Purple Why Theme (1:15)
7. Closing announcement (0:25)
The first half of MarksTown is taken from a performance at St. Marks Church that was part of a marathon weeklong benefit for the victims of the Nigerian-Biafran conflict.
The Purple Why was the only performing jazz group in a lineup that also included Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Country Joe McDonald, Jimi Hendrix and many others.
The band only had 20 minutes so they performed a medley of some of their pieces. Most memorable are the somber melody of Ramona, I Love You, Tintweiss bowed bass on Contrapuntal, and the fiery trumpet on N.E.S.W. up/down.
The Town Hall New York City: September 14th, 1968
8. Universal Heroes (1:49)
9. Just Be Mine (8:24)
10. Monogamy Is Out (10:17)
11. Space Rocks (9:33)
12. We Are All The Universal Heroes (0:25)
The second half of MarksTown features The Purple Why at their Town Hall concert of Sept. 14th, 1968 where they had more of an opportunity to stretch out.
Trumpeter DuBoise creates a particularly strong solo on Just Be Mine, the singers and Whitecage are in the spotlight on Monogamy Is Out, and the dramatic Space Rocks concludes with a memorable outer space ending.
Throughout this release, The Purple Why displays a musical personality of its own, but yet at all times this still highly talented bass player; that has featured on so many historical recordings with Albert Ayler, Patty Waters, Burton Greeene and many other innovators, keeps all these melodic constructs on time, in tempo and, given they were live shows, as sweepingly, sonically ornate as you could ever hope them to be.
Musicians: The Purple Why
James DuBoise - trumpet
Mark Whitecage - tenor saxophone and flute
Trevor Koehler - baritone saxophone, Judy Stuart - vocals
Amy Sheffer - vocals
Steve Tintweiss - double bass, melodica, vocals, composer, leader
Laurence Cook - drums