Jazz Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

October 22, 2008

"Things To Come From Those Now Gone" - Muhal Richard Abrams

I was fortunate enough to find a copy of this at my city library, it truly is a treasure.  I've listened to it three times completely through since obtaining it four days ago.  I've always been into stuff by Abrams or other artists involved with the AACM, but I haven't been able to get me hands dirty in a lot of recordings.  This particular album contains eclectic cuts with styles ranging from abstracted blues, free-form improvisation and even hard bop.

We start off with a subtly beautiful ballad called Ballad For New Souls, which has a tone that is comparative to a score that may have been composed for an Eames film.  The following song, the title track, starts off with a heavy tom section for a minute and a half before ripping into a thunderous assault of free improvising collectivism.  The horns flow freely while Abrams leads them with brilliant comping.  The track appears to be quicker than it is and then we step away  while Ella Jackson sings a short, slow tempo piece complementing Abrams called How Are You?.  

I particularly fell in love with the closing cut, March of The Transients, which is a strongly written composition with the intensity that could be paired with an action movie sequence.  It's stylized more like hard/post bop, comparable to Joe Henderson or Andrew Hill.  Abrams' solo floats freely and is followed by the horn ensemble reminding us of the theme using basic chord changes.  The band then trades eighths with the drummer a few times before returning to the composition closing out the album.
1972 - Delmark.
Muhal Richard Abrams - piano; Wallace McMillan - flute, sax; Edwin Daugherty, Richard Brown - sax, Emanuel Cranshaw - vibes; Rufus Reid - bass; Steve McCall, Wilbur Campbell - drums; Ella Jackson - vocals.

October 10, 2008

"Let Freedom Ring" - Jackie McLean

Jackie McLean's 1960s Blue Note albums are never fail high energy performances and well entertaining. I remember reading in Blue Note Records: The Biography that he struggled and was self-critical during his mid hard bop period with finding a comfortable sound. It wasn't until Ornette Coleman was on the scene allowing McLean to develop his style. In this LP, and others like Destination Out! (1963) and New and Old Gospel (1968, which features Coleman solely on trumpet), you can really here the influence in his horn. The band is swinging, especially Billy Higgins on drums. There's the classic hard bop sound, but McLean's playing dips further into uncharted territory with squeaks, grunts, and more free playing than his other hard bop contemporaries.
1962 - Blue Note.
Jackie McLean - Alto Saxophone; Walter Davis, Jr. -Piano; Herbie Lewis - Bass; Billy Higgins - Drums.