James Chance, one of the most iconic players of NYC’s “No Wave” scene, married the avant garde improvisational free jazz of Ornette Coleman to jagged, angular funk riffs that were straight out of James Brown, creating a squalling brand of chaotic jazz-punk-funk unlike anything that had been heard before. Chance and his band, The Contortions were one of the most unique groups gigging around New York from the mid 1970s until the early 1980s. James Chance and The Contortions also performed as James White and The Blacks, but it was essentially the same group of musicians.
Seen here, Chance and The Contortions perform at Max’s Kansas City in 1979. Another great clip from Paul Tschinkel’s long-running Innertube NYC public access TV show. He’s got to let his vast archive escape one day. It’s a treasure trove of the punk and post-punk era of NYC music. There’s obviously nothing else like it.