:::Electric Bath:::

Posted: Saturday, 13 February 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

Released in late 1967, Electric Bath shows Ellis already using the odd-metered rhythms and exotic instrumentation that will be trademarks of his big band for the rest of his career. Likewise, the album also shows him leaning a bit towards rock, although I think to a lot of young people parts of this album could sound like late show type jazz, or even Vegas styled big band lounge music. Although not as 'proggy' or rockin as some of Ellis' later work, he definitely was breaking the pre-existing big band mold with this recording by using electronic keyboards, percussion from around the world, and some influences from modern concert hall music as well.
Side one is the more aggressive side with Ellis and crew rocking out a bit old school style, with loud brassy punches and choruses, and a driving group of drummers and percussionists. This Side closes with the song Electric Bath,, something that might appeal to fans of Zappa's late 60s - early 70s big band music with it's snaky atonal melody and middle odd-metered groove section. Ellis' influence on Zappa's music is obvious during this time period.
On side two things get a bit more interesting when the big band fades to more of a background orchestra as percussion and echoed electric pianos provide atmosphere. Open Beauty starts like a modern acid jazz tune with spacey Fender Rhodes sounds before Ellis' mini-orchestra slowly fills in the background.
This side is the more 'exotic' side also with drums often replaced by congas, tablas and other percussion instruments, it also contains Ellis' infamous trumpet solo through an echoplex, one of the first jazz solos ever recorded this way. Loved by the California youth that Don was starting to appeal to, but hated by the jazz critics, this solo brought Ellis a lot of attention, but not all of it good.
The album closer, New Horizons, opens with neo-classical melodies before a beatnik bongo beat drives a trio of flutes in an intertwining cool jazz improv; five finger snaps! Later, mellow Debussy horn harmonies are topped with another Ellis horn solo while Mike Lang's electric piano echoes in the background.
Finally more hard groovin odd-metered horn driven jazz takes us to some modern orchestrated diversions and the final big horn showdown.
While fans of Soft Machine III thru V, and early Frank Zappa might find some music to like here, I think a lot of rockers would be turned off by some of the old school big band jazz sounds.

Don Ellis Orchestra - Electric Bath (1967)

1. Indian Lady 8:07
2. Alone 5:32
3. Turkish Bath 10:29
4. Open Beauty 8:27
5. New Horizons 12:21

Bonus Tracks
6. Turkish Bath (Single) 2:52
7. Indian Lady (Single) 2:58

- Don Ellis / trumpet
- Ruben Leon / alto sax, soprano sax, flute
- Joe Roccisano / alto sax, soprano sax, flute
- Ira Shulman / tenor sax, piccolo, flute, clarinet
- Ron Starr / tenor sax, flute, clarinet
- John Magruder / baritone sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet
- Steve Bohannon / drums
- Frank DeLaRosa / bass
- Alan Estes / percussion, timbales, vibraphone
- Bob Harmon / trumpet
- Michael Lang / piano, keyboards, clavinet
- Ron Myers / trombone
- Tom Myers / trombone
- Ray Neapolitan / bass, sitar
- Dave Parlato / bass
- Mark Stevens / percussion, timbales, vibraphone
- Glenn Stuart / trumpet
- Chino Valdes / bongos, conga
- Edward Warren / trumpet
- Alan Weight / trumpet
- Alan Wight / trumpet
- Terry Woodson / trombone
- Mike Lang / piano, clavinet
- David Sanchez / trombone

:::Complete Communion:::

Posted: Thursday, 11 February 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,

Not counting a couple of sessions he co-led with John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, Complete Communion was the first album Don Cherry recorded as a leader following his departure from the Ornette Coleman Quartet. It was also one of the earliest showcases for the Argentinian tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri, who Cherry discovered during a stay in Rome. While the music on Complete Communion was still indebted to Coleman's concepts, Cherry injected enough of his own personality to begin differentiating himself as a leader. He arranged the original LP as two continuous side-long suites, each of which incorporated four different compositions and was recorded in a single take. In practice, this meant that several melodic themes popped up over the course of each side; all the musicians free-associated off of each theme, engaging in intense, abstract dialogues before moving on to the next. As the album's title suggests, every member of the group not only solos, but shares the total space selflessly. Bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Ed Blackwell both play extremely active roles, especially Grimes, who solos powerfully and sometimes carries the main riffs. Often the music sounds more like a conversation, as opposed to a solo with support, because the musicians make such intelligent use of space and dynamics, and wind up with a great deal of crackling, volatile interplay as a result.
The leader remains recognizably himself, and his burnished tone is a nice contrast with Barbieri's fiery approach; for his part, Barbieri's playing has a lot of speechlike inflections, and he spends a lot of time in the upper register of his horn, which makes him sound quite similar to Ornette at times. As a whole, the project comes off remarkably well, establishing Cherry as an avant-garde force to be reckoned with in his own right.
:::Review by Steve Huey:::

Don Cherry - Complete Communion (1965)

1. Complete Communion 20:38
a. Complete Communion
b. And Now
c. Golden Heart
d. Remembrance

2. Elephantasy 19:36
a. Elephantasy
b. Our Feelings
c. Bishmallah
d. Wind, Sand and Stars

Bass - Henry Grimes
Cornet, Composed By - Don Cherry
Drums - Edward Blackwell
Saxophone [Tenor] - Leandro 'Gato' Barbieri


Posted: Wednesday, 10 February 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

Named after the Indian sacred book of creation, this (at first) studio experiment recorded very quickly their first album (within two months of their creation) and it was released on the small Aronda label in April 72. Graced with an impressive artwork, the quintet's album develops an impressive sung jazz-rock that embodied almost every aspects of the genre, but there is a general Canterbury feel pervading through the album.
Dzyan's jazz-rock spectrum ranges from the full-blown early fusion ala Nucleus (the opening Emptiness) to the much rockier Dragonsong, the electronic and cello Hymn and the very vocal Bud Awakes (where the group shows an excellence sense of harmony). The first side of the albums holds two major tracks (one of which is slightly ethnic-sounding and strange: Wisdom) sandwiching a short one and is clearly my favourite. The excellent Fohat's Work (not really Gong here, although the sax.) is maybe the album's most accessible track with clear-cut solos, while Dragonsong has vocals that can resemble Wyatt's in SM's Third or Rock Bottom, but this dramatic piece can be considered like the highlight of the album as Bock's sax reminds of Malherbe and Karwalky's bass lines are driving the track at 100 MPH cruising speed. Comes a short Wyatt-esque interlude and then the album closes on the Rocking Back To Earth, indeed making come back from a great fusion trip as the artwork indicates.
By the time of their second album's recording, the group was completely different, being just a trio with only bassist Karwalki (who was the main writer anyway) left, but the sound of the group remained jazz-rock but veered much more towards experimental jazz mixed with ethnic music. Although this debut album is non-representative of Dzyan, it might just be their most accessible and a good intro to the band. Rounded up to the upper unit to reach the fourth star.
:::Review by Sean Trane:::

Dzyan – Dzyan (1972)

1. Emptiness (9:39)
2. The bud awakes (2:57)
3. The wisdom (10:21)
4. Foghat's work (6:31)
5. Hymn (1:12)
6. Dragonsong (7:31)
7. Things we're looking for (1:52)
8. Back to Earth (4:11)

- Ludwig Braum / drums, percussion
- Gerd Ehrmann / saxophone
- Reinhard Karwatky / bass
- Harry Kramer / guitar
- Jochen Leuschner / percussion, lead vocals