Posted: Monday, 31 August 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , ,

This album, which in the imaginary world of jazz critics has been spirited off to many a desert island, represents one of the genre's supreme paradoxes. It is a music in which the way is led by certain individual figures, most of them bandleaders. Drummer Billy Hart rarely records on his own, but has been in many great bands. Somehow, in this rare outing as a bandleader for the extravagent A&M Horizon series, he manages not only to make his best album, but the best album of partipants such as Oliver Lake, Don Pullen, Dewey Redman and Hannibal Marvin Peterson, all known as bandleaders in their own right. Bassist Dave Holland also is present as a player and composer, and while this album doesn't better Holland's Conference of the Birds, it is certainly on par with that masterpiece. These comments are offered not as a sniveling jazz critic counting great moments on an abstract abacus, but as a lifelong fan and listener to the music who recognizes there are really very few of these sorts of special records.
There are a variety of factors enhancing Enchance. Obviously, the players present are all individual stylists who bring personality, strength and spirituality to all their performances. Lake has a composition at the beginning and the end of the record, while the others including Hart come up with one tune each. This gives the program a tremendous variety, along with the use of material coming from several different sessions with overlapping but not identical instrumental line-ups. At the same time it is a remarkably consistent album that never gives the sense of jumping around from session to session or from the psyche of one creative mind to another in terms of the compositions. Hart's taste looms large over the entire project, since it has been his taste in projects as a percussionist that led him to contact with the players that are featured to begin with. He drums brilliantly throughout, including plenty of solo spots.
"Diff Customs", the opening track, is one of Lake's best jazz heads and the type of performance that, in the pre-cellular days, made car listeners pull off the road to either seek psychiatric care or call the radio station to find out where the album could be bought. The great studio production, obviously sparing no expense, is a real treat for fans of this type of music since every instrument can be heard so clearly, and so dynamically. Sometimes it is amazing how much material, including solos, ensemble transitions and thematic statements, can be packed into less than three minutes, the length of Redman's "Corner Culture". The rest of the pieces range between four and nine minutes, and there really is not a dull moment. The album actually seems be something like the essence of so many enjoyable directions in improvised music during this period and is full of the excitement such activity is known for when the action on the bandstand is at its best.
:::Review by Eugene Chadbourne:::

Billy Hart - Enchance (1977)

1. Diff Customs 5:44
2. Shadow Dance 7:43
3. Layla-Joy 6:55
4. Corner Culture 2:47
5. Rahsaan Is Beautiful 4:31
6. Pharoah 9:31
7. Hymn for the Old Year 8:48

Billy Hart - drums
Oliver Lake - alto saxophone
Dewey Redman - tenor saxophone
Hannibal Marvin Peterson - trumpet
Eddie Henderson - trumpet, flugelhorn, koto
Don Pullen - acoustic piano

:::Deer Wan:::

Posted: Saturday, 29 August 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , ,

Kenny Wheeler's beautiful sound on trumpet and his wide range are well-displayed on his four compositions, three of which are given performances over ten minutes long. With the assistance of ECM regulars Jan Garbarek (on tenor and soprano), guitarist John Abercrombie, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and (on one song) guitarist Ralph Towner, Wheeler emphasizes lyricism and romantic moods on this fine set of original music.

:::Review by Scott Yanow:::

Kenny Wheeler - Deer Wan (1977)

1. Peace For Five 16:27
2. 3/4 In The Afternoon 5:50
3. Sumother Song 11:25
4. Deer Wan 10:04

Artwork By [Cover Design] - B. Wojirsch
Bass - Dave Holland
Composed By - Kenny Wheeler
Drums - Jack DeJohnette
Electric Guitar, Mandolin [Electric] - John Abercrombie
Engineer - Jan Erik Kongshaug
Guitar [12 String] - Ralph Towner (tracks: 2)
Photography - Klaus Knaup [Front Cover], Roberto Masotti
Producer - Manfred Eicher
Saxophone [Tenor, Soprano] - Jan Garbarek
Trumpet, Flugelhorn - Kenny Wheeler


Posted: Tuesday, 4 August 2009 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , , ,

This is the second of two performances from February 1975 at the Osaka Festival Hall in Japan. This is the evening show; the Columbia release Agharta was the afternoon show. Pangaea is comprised either as a double LP or double CD of two tracks, "Zimbabwe" and "Gondwana." Each is divided into two parts. The band here is comprised of Sonny Fortune on saxophones, Pete Cosey (who also played synth) and Reggie Lucas on guitars, Michael Henderson on bass, Al Foster on drums, James Mtume on percussion, and Davis on trumpet and organ. The band, no doubt inspired by their amazing performance earlier in the day, comes out swinging, and I mean like Muhammad Ali, not Benny Goodman. This is a take-no-prisoners set. Davis seems to be pushing an agenda of "What the hell is melody and harmony? And bring on the funk -- and while you're at it, Pete, play the hell outta that guitar. More drums!" If there is anything that's consistent in this free-for-all, as everybody interacts with everyone else in an almighty dirty groove & roll while improv is at an all-time high, it's the rhythmic, or should we emphasize "polyrhythmic," invention. Mtume and Foster are monstrous in moving this murky jam session along ("Zimbabwe" is one set, and "Gondwana" is the second of the evening) some surreal lines. When Cosey's not ripping the pickups out of his guitar, he's adding his hands to various percussion instruments in the pursuit of the all-powerful Miles Davis' inflected voodoo funk. And while it's true that this set is as relentless as the Agharta issue, it's not quite as successful, though it's plenty satisfying. The reason is simple: the dynamic and dramatic tensions of the afternoon session could never have been replicated, they were based on all conditions being right. Here, while the moods and textures are carried and the flow is quite free, the dramatic tension is not as present; the mood is not quite so dark. And while the playing of certain individuals here may be better than it is on Agharta, the band's playing isn't quite at that level. That said, this is still an essential Miles Davis live record and will melt your mind just as easily as Agharta. People would complain on this tour that Davis played with his back to the audience a lot -- Lester Bangs went so far as to say he hated his guts for it. But if you were this focused on creating a noise so hideously beautiful from thin air, you might not have time to socialize either.
:::Review by Thom Jurek:::

Miles Davis – Pangaea (1975)

Disc One

1. Zimbabwe - 41:48

Disc Two

1. Gondwana - 46:50

Bass [Fender] - Michael Henderson
Congas, Percussion, Drums [Water], Performer [Rhythm Box] - Mtume
Directed By [Album & Cd] - Keiichi Nakamura
Drums - Al Foster
Engineer [Assistant] - Mitsuru Kasai , Shuichi Takamoto , Takaaki Amano
Engineer, Engineer [Cd Remix] - Tomoo Suzuki
Guitar - Reggie Lucas
Guitar, Synthesizer, Percussion - Pete Cosey
Other [Contemporary Jazz Masters Coordination] - Amy Herot , Gary Pacheco , Mike Berniker
Other [Liner Notes] - Kevin Whitehead
Other [Package Coordination] - Tony Tiller
Producer [Album] - Teo Macero
Saxophone [Soprano, Alto], Flute - Sonny Fortune
Trumpet, Organ - Miles Davis