Much of this recording is a paradox. Its title -- it is called Live at the Glenn Miller Café, but this music is about as far as possible from the mellifluous sounds of the swing trombonist. Its credits -- Arthur Doyle is the leader, but he does not play on the first three tracks. Doyle himself is an enigmatic, even erratic and controversial figure, at best a poor man's Peter Brotzmann. Doyle generally skirts the fringes of musical respectability, blowing freely with little center or focus. While he performs best on tenor sax, here he also occasionally picks up his flute or worse, yodels in a disconnected, seemingly meaningless way. That said, this is one of his better-recorded displays, with some intense work on both tenor and flute. Veteran Sunny Murray, while past his prime, is nonetheless highly effective, keeping the saxophonist on target. This recording also documents the final performance of the late alto saxophonist Bengt Frippe Nordström, an important, though underrecorded, Swedish free improviser. His style is related to that of Doyle, though more melodic, with Albert Ayler's influence evident. This is an important album for a rare glimpse of Nordström, and for an unusually coherent Doyle. While it may not convert Doyle's detractors, it should satisfy his admirers. The sound quality is remarkably good considering this was a live date.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy