Remembering Arthur Blythe

July 5, 1940 – March 27, 2017

The quartet in Berlin 1980

Personnel

Arthur Blythe: also sax
Bob Stewart: tuba;
Abdul Wadud: cello;
Bobby Battle: drums

One of the great champions of the music Arthur Blythe passed away this week.

For my 21st birthday, I went to see him at the Village Vanguard.

Then I went to every show of his the rest of that week.

It was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done in my life.

This was recorded November 1, 1980. The week I saw him was September 20, 1980 so this is pretty close to what he was up to at the time.Arthur Blythe

Thank goodness for recording and video

Here’s what Robert Palmer said about Blythe:

“He is sly; he teases the beat; toys with polyrhythms, and leaves gaping holes in the fabric of the music, only to come roaring back with plangent held tones or crisp pungent riffs.”

Not only do I don’t know what “plangent” means, I’ve never even seen this word before!

Here’s what it means:

Loud, reverberating, and often melancholy.
Synonyms: melancholy, mournful, plaintive;

Good call.

Thank you Arthur.

– Ken McCarthy