10 Seconds: Faye MacCalman
"Thanks George, for asking me to do this. It’s been quite a deep dive for me in many ways contemplating all my influences and reflecting on what I search for in music, who inspires me… wish I could have included more - Prince, Fiona Apple, Pixies, John Coltrane, Bjork..! But for now these are my picks, enjoy my tapas board of 10 second bites."
1. Vi Redd - Evil Gal's Daughter Blues (1'59" - 2'09")
From Vi Redd - Lady Soul (1963)
"Very difficult to get this down to 10 seconds, but going with a clip of her playing saxophone because I think Vi Redd’s work as an instrumentalist especially is so under the radar, she’s one of my all time favourite musicians, especially because of how she seamlessly combined the saxophone and voice.
I love the rasp, soul and unapologetic feel of her sound and how she doesn’t try to sound like anyone but herself, which I’ve found really inspiring and refreshing to listen to given what a male-dominated environment she was working in. And in this 10 seconds she is going IN with so much life-affirming attitude! Not included in the 10 seconds, but I also love that the lyrics are like an anti-romantic and super fun song about being a female nightmare. VIBES."
2. Henry Threadgill Very Very Circus - Hope A Hope A (6'20" - 6'30")
From Henry Threadgill Very Very Circus - Spirit Of Nuff...Nuff (1991)
"When I first heard Henry Threadgill’s compositions, I felt a wave of relief and inspiration like I’m stepping into a version of jazz where absolutely anything is possible and he’s building his own rules. This whole ensemble is full of incredible musicians, I’m obsessed with the light-but-heavy drums on this (Gene Lake), the pointy and precise but wild and free trombone solo (Curtis Fowlkes), and well I could go on about everyone on this. By this point so much energy has built up in this track and every note sounds unexpected and also like it fits perfectly at the same time."
3. Eric Dolphy & Booker Little - Booker's Waltz (5'50" - 6'00")
From Eric Dolphy & Booker Little - Memorial Album: Live at the Five Spot (1961)
“There’s so much feeling in this! Eric Dolphy is one of my woodwind heroes and here’s a tiny bit of why. He somehow manages to make a bass clarinet sound like its flying but still rooted with the band at the same time, and this song and band are amazing."
4. Morphine - In Spite of Me (1'45" - 1'55")
From Morphine - Cure for Pain (1993)
"This song is beautiful, this band were incredible and underdogs at the same time, never seeming to be hyped enough for what they did, which makes me like them more. I actually came to Morphine by people assuming my trio Archipelago were inspired by them, but I hadn’t heard them before forming the band. They’re a huge inspiration now though! This song is so gentle but dark and feels like it gets at so many indescribable emotions you go through when you’re dealing with loss. ‘For a long time I thought that you’d be coming back to me. Those kinds of thoughts can be so cruel’. I’mma go cry now."
5. Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders (3'12" - 3'22")
From Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders (2020)
"I went to see Mary Lattimore playing live a few months ago in Newcastle and it was one of the best shows I’ve been to. These cascading harp lines and echoes are like some glacial structures where you lose all sense of earthly time, totally magic."
6. Coleman Hawkins - In A Mellow Tone (4'00" - 4'10")
From Coleman Hawkins - The Genius of Coleman Hawkins (1957)
"I was listening to Coleman Hawkins the first time I started getting into jazz, and he remains one of my ultimate guides for playing melodically with fire and warmth. Here you really hear that sound and all the shapes he’s building with his lines, the more I listen to this the more I think he was actually playing pretty free and moving in all directions."
7. Matana Roberts - Amma Jerusalem School (3'03" - 3'13")
From Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile (2013)
"Matana Roberts’ playing and composing had me mesmerised when I first heard it. I had never heard someone blending songs, improvisations, band leading and storytelling in that way, and all these different layers are working together beautifully here. It’s got that influx, alive feeling; the sounds are free but locked in, the spoken word is merging into song, everything sounds wide open and almost joyful, but is underpinned by the retelling of first hand experiences of colonialism."
8. Joni Mitchell - Down to You (0'56" - 1'06")
From Joni Mitchell - Court & Spark (1974)
"Whenever I’ve felt lost, this song has been like a friend that is being kind but also real with you how we’re all flawed. There's these luscious almost orchestral textures but there’s also lots of space and everything feels like its moving in its own time, like taking a breath in and out. The lyrics are thick with wisdom and this 10 second clip is one of my favourites - ‘Constant stranger, you’re a kind person, you’re a cold person too. It’s down to you.' "
9. Esperanza Spalding - You Have To Dance (0'49" - 0'59")
From Esperanza Spalding - 12 Little Spells (2018)
"A track which never fails to make me wanna dance and sing along with it, and I love when blocks of riffs move interlock together like when Esperanza’s vocals come in here. I am in total awe of Esperanza Spalding for how she is always evolving and not afraid to show that in her music."
10. Self Esteem - How Can I Help You (1'36" - 1'46")
From Self Esteem - Prioritize Pleasure (2021)
"To start with, choosing to loop ‘I don’t know shit’ is just an amazing and hilariously iconic choice. Then there’s the raucous angry sound of this which is liberating, it’s life giving to hear women’s experiences of power dynamics with men summed up so playfully and cuttingly at once without any self-consciousness or apology."