• In 'Antiquity,' The Modern Roots of Aethereal Bace

    July 8, 2010. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    (Image Credit: SteepleChase Records)

    Today's NPR Music Favorite Session features a group called Aethereal Bace, a trio of one saxophonist and two drummers.

    Two very important musicians are central to the development of this group: saxophonist Jackie McLean and drummer Michael Carvin. In 1975, they released a duet recording called Antiquity for Inner City/SteepleChase Records. It is a very good record. Here's a taste of it:

    "Antiquity: The Hunter And His Game," by Jackie McLean and Michael Carvin, Antiquity (SteepleChase/Inner City). Jackie McLean, alto saxophone; Michael Carvin, percussion. New York, N.Y.: Recorded Oct. 30, 1974.

    Who are these musicians?

    Michael Carvin is a master musician and educator who gets little recognition beyond those who know his formidable coaching method of drum rudiments. He has taught the A-list of modern jazz drummers over the last 30 years. His pupils have included Nasheet Waits and Eric McPherson, the rhythm behind Aethereal Bace and many a great recording, including the aforementioned Two Top (Piano) Trios released recently.

    Jackie McLean influenced a lot of saxophonists, especially those who sought his tutelage at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, where McLean founded the Department of African-American Music in 1980. (It was later renamed the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz in his honor.) Wayne Escoffery, who played the Village Vanguard recently, went there. So did Steve Lehman. Abraham Burton, the saxophonist in Aethereal Bace, received his degree in music and performance there too. And Eric McPherson, McLean's last drummer, studied on scholarship. He is now a faculty member at Hartt.

    This is just to say that a lot of today's music owes a great debt to McLean and Carvin. Their recording of Antiquity is a testament to how much music can come out of them, literally and figuratively.

    Related At NPR Music: The Aethereal Bace Favorite Session, in case you missed it.

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