Saturday, April 30, 2016

Jazz April: week 4 listening

Don Cherry: Complete Communion (Blue Note)
It had been quite a while since I last gave this spin, and the passing of Gato Barbieri was my prompt. Listening to this a few times throughout the week made wonder why I haven't listened to this album more over the years. The music free yet well grounded and compositionally strong - the album features two 20 minute suites each comprised of 4 parts. Solid playing from all - Henry Grimes and Ed Black are a great rhythm section pairing, Barbieri seems to take a lead from Ornette and then shifts it into his own areas, and it nicely compliments Cherry's playing. Definitely worth checking out if you haven't already.

Yusef Lateef: Eastern Sounds (Prestige) & Into Something (Prestige)
Of these two albums recorded in 1961, my preference was leaning slightly towards the latter. The rhythm section (Herman Wright and Elvin Jones) kick things along a bit more. It's a little more straight ahead and has less variety than (3 blues, a rhythm changes and 3 standards) Eastern Sounds, and perhaps that was the mood I was in the couple of times I listened to the album this week. Later in the week I gave Eastern Sounds another run and got more into it. The variety is its strength but I could help wondering how the album would sound with the Wright/Jones rhythm section. Barry Harris is on both albums but, outside of the standard tunes, I don't feel he was best suited for this music. His comping is fine, but I haven't been able to get into is improvising. One thing that hung with me from these two albums was Lateef's tenor tone on the ballads.
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (Impulse)
More specifically The Complete Masters Super Deluxe Edition..... and even more specifically the six takes of "Acknowledgement" from the sextet session. That they didn't get past the opening movement is telling, and the additional saxophone (Archie Shepp) and bass (Art Davis) seems superfluous. However, how would we react to these sextet tracks had we not heard the original work (or if it never existed)?

Sal Mosca: Too Marvelous for Words (Cadence)
Disc 4 is from a concert in Rotterdam and showcases 10 originals by Mosca (the disc ends with "You Got To My Head"). Sal's virtuosity is in service of the music rather than pyrotechnic wizardry. Tour de force doesn’t seem apt as he makes it seem so effortless. Lets hope that this set (and last years release on Sunnyside The Talk of the Townbrings Sal some well overdue attention. 

Don Cherry: "Mu" first part/"Mu" second part (Actuel)
After giving the above Cherry album a couple of runs, I pulled out this duo with Ed Blackwell. Whenever I hear this album I get the feeling that it's just a couple of friends who got together to play some music and decided to record it (there's a casualness about it that appeals to me). As I closely listen to Blackwell, the more I enjoy his playing.

Ned Rothenberg's Sync: Port of Entry (Intuition)
Aside from being a fan of Rothenberg, the instrumentation of Sync was what drew me to this group - alto sax/clarinets/shakuhachi along with Jerome Harris (acoustic guitar & bass) and Samir Chatterjee (tabla & percussion). Although this one deserves more listens, my initial impression left me wanting for a bit space and I wanted to like it more than I did. Since recording this back in the 1997/98, Sync have recorded a couple more albums and I'm keen to hear how they developed.

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