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The Third Proposition

by Mark Helias' Open Loose

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Line Nine 08:40
Munchkins 08:57
Gentle Ben 09:33
Moto Proto 06:38


The Third Proposition

One of the archetypal ideas that I internalized as a musician who arrived on earth at the midpoint of the previous century, was that there was nothing to compare with the performances of bands that had labored long and hard on the road; developing deep musical muscles individually and as a group. For me, as a teenager coming of age in New Jersey, live albums were a source of intimacy with musicians I had never met or seen perform up to that point in my life. The energy, immediacy and chance operations involved in those recordings of live performances inspired me to great heights of imagination and a profound attraction to the power of live performance. I listened to John Coltrane "Live at Birdland" more times than I could count and the atmosphere of the document made a deep impression. The sound of Jimmy Garrisons bass, creating an orbital anchor to the powerful group sound, always astounded me. It is not unfair to hear him as the nexus of that music, especially if one is a bass player or someone who hears pitches below 200 Hz.
This recording is from a live performance by my trio Open Loose in February of 2000. It was a rare instance where the group got to perform for three intense weeks throughout France night after night. I say it was a rare instance because we constantly lamented the paucity of sustained touring not just from a financial standpoint, but because we imagined the level of development we could have possibly achieved if we could work in a sustained fashion as did previous generations of musicians. In the midst of the grind of such work a subtle and profound musical change occurs. We noticed it in the musicians of the 30's and 40's who played virtuosically and creatively as if it was like breathing. I saw videos of Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden in the middle of some eight week tour of Europe playing with a heart breaking intensity that wound me up like no other experience.
In the case of the early 2000 tour of Open Loose we got to work through the early part of the tour, hit our stride and then begin to go deeper as an ensemble. This recording is a document of the results of that process and I am proud and excited to share it with you. We are playing pieces that we had been inhabiting for some time and finding new sources of exploration in all of them. This performance took place at La Maison de la Radio in Paris and the recording happened to capture the music and the feeling. Tom Rainey and Tony Malaby played sublimely without overt effort... they were simply expressing eloquently what was happening at that time for them and us as a group. I happened upon these tracks recently after having not heard them for perhaps fifteen years and was stunned at the freedom and precision that I heard. The band was functioning at a high and effortless level and I hope that you benefit from hearing this recording.

Mark Helias
May 2020


released June 5, 2020

Mark Helias – Bass
Tom Rainey – Drums
Tony Malaby – Tenor Saxophone

Recorded February 7, 2000 at La Maison de la Radio - Paris, France

1. The 53rd Signal
2. Line Nine
3. Munchkins
4. The Third Proposition
5. Question Time
6. Gentle Ben
7. Expostulation
8. Last One In, First One Out
9. Moto Proto

All compositions by Mark Helias published by Radio Legs Music BMI, All Rights Reserved
except Tracks 1,4,7 by Mark Helias, Tony Malaby (Chubasco Music/SESAC), and Tom Rainey (Rhydm Bidness BMI)
RL 015

Cover Photo and Design by Mark Helias


all rights reserved



Mark Helias New York, New York

Mark Helias is a renowned bassist, composer and producer who has performed throughout the world for more than four decades with some of the most important and innovative musicians in Jazz and Improvised Music including Don Cherry, Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman, Anthony Braxton, Abbey Lincoln, Cecil Taylor, and Uri Caine.
Sixteen albums of his music have been released since 1984.
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