TEST and Roy Campbell: A throwback to a fantastic night at Brooklyn’s Hinton House

Indie Jazz label 577 records has just released the new TEST and Roy Campbell Jr. album, recorded live at the Hinton House. The live recording of the performance took place in April, 1999.

According to Jazz Times, Roy Campbell Jr. was considered a favored player among the free jazz aficionados. He was praised for his adventurous approach and mixing of genres including world music, hip-hop, and reggae. Unfortunately, Roy Campbell Jr had passed away on January 9th, 2014, at 61 years old.

Campbell was joined by bassist Matt Heyner, drummer Tom Bruno, and saxophonist Daniel Carter, with Sabir Mateen also playing saxophone alongside the group. According the album notes, this performance was a benefit gig to repair the No Neck Blues Band’s van. John Fahey, Lee Ranaldo, and No Neck Blues Band joined the stacked lineup at their loft, The Hinton House, and raised the ‘bread’ to fix the van. Spirits were lit with a listening and enthusiastic audience. The cathartic energy rising.

The performance and energy were frantic and steadily increasing as the show went on. Listeners tuned in to the live performance clearly enjoyed the free-jazz and the atmosphere Roy Campbell Jr. and company provided.

TEST occupied the public space of New York City. TEST’s typical audience was a passerby on a subway platform, a curious security guard on a smoke break in midtown, or the most ‘in the know’ subset of gig-goers. TEST, distinctly honed their working band approach, by actively gigging multiple times a week across the NYC subway map.

When TEST performed at a venue, listeners would witness the bullseye acumen of a working band. This ethos of the band choosing to ‘play anywhere/all the time’ separated TEST from other groups.

One of the hardest working musicians in the scene, Campbell lived at the north end of the Bronx, but nightly could be found downtown, uptown, or somewhere in the middle playing weekly at venues such as Lenox Lounge, The Pink Pony, Brecht Forum, Tonic, Knitting Factory and CBGB’s Gallery.

The free-jazz album has left listeners feeling nostalgic for the time. The Test and Roy Campbell album has given jazz aficionados the opportunity to live in that moment of free-jazz history. The album is now on Bandcamp.

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