29 August, 2013


Alice Coltrane - Universal Consciousness (1971)

Alice Coltrane - Universal Consciousness (1971)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 270MB
Verve / Impulse! 24-bit remaster 2002
Recorded between April and June of 1971, Alice Coltrane's Universal Consciousness stands as her classic work. As a testament to the articulation of her spiritual principles, Universal Consciousness stands even above World Galaxy as a recording where the medium of music, both composed and improvised, perfectly united the realms of body (in performance), speech (in the utterance of individual instrumentalists and group interplay), and mind (absolute focus) for the listener to take into her or his own experience. While many regard Universal Consciousness as a "jazz" album, it transcends even free jazz by its reliance on deeply thematic harmonic material and the closely controlled sonic dynamics in its richly hued chromatic palette. The set opens with the title track, where strings engage large washes of Coltrane's harp as Jack DeJohnette's drums careen in a spirit dance around the outer edge of the maelstrom. On first listen, the string section and the harp are in counter-dictum, moving against each other in a modal cascade of sounds, but this soon proves erroneous as Coltrane's harp actually embellishes the timbral glissandos pouring forth. Likewise, Jimmy Garrison's bass seeks to ground the proceedings to DeJohnette's singing rhythms, and finally Coltrane moves the entire engagement to another dimension with her organ. Leroy Jenkins' violin and Garrison's bottom two strings entwine one another in Ornette Coleman's transcription as Coltrane and the other strings offer a middling bridge for exploration. It's breathtaking. On "Battle at Armageddon," the violence depicted is internal; contrapuntal rhythmic impulses whirl around each other as Coltrane's organ and harp go head to head with Rashied Ali's drums. "Oh Allah" rounds out side one with a gorgeously droning, awe-inspiring modal approach to whole-tone music that enfolds itself into the lines of organic polyphony as the strings color each present theme intervalically. DeJohnette's brushwork lisps the edges and Garrison's bass underscores each chord and key change in Coltrane's constant flow of thought.
On side two, "Hare Krishna" is a chant-like piece that is birthed from minor-key ascendancy with a loping string figure transcribed by Coleman from Coltrane's composition on the organ. She lays deep in the cut, offering large shimmering chords that twirl -- eventually -- around high-register ostinatos and pedal work. It's easily the most beautiful and accessible track in the set, in that it sings with a devotion that has at its base the full complement of Coltrane's compositional palette. "Sita Ram" is a piece that echoes "Hare Krishna" in that it employs Garrison and drummer Clifford Jarvis, but replaces the strings with a tamboura player. Everything here moves very slowly, harp and organ drift into and out of one another like breath, and the rhythm section -- informed by the tamboura's drone -- lilts on Coltrane's every line. As the single-fingered lines engage the rhythm section more fully toward the end of the tune, it feels like a soloist improvising over a chanting choir. Finally, the album ends with another duet between Ali and Coltrane. Ali uses wind chimes as well as his trap kit, and what transpires between the two is an organically erected modal architecture, where texture and timbre offer the faces of varying intervals: Dynamic, improvisational logic and tonal exploration become elemental figures in an intimate yet universal conversation that has the search itself and the uncertain nature of arrival, either musically or spiritually, at its root. This ambiguity is the only way a recording like this could possibly end, with spiritual questioning and yearning in such a musically sophisticated and unpretentious way. The answers to those questions can perhaps be found in the heart of the music itself, but more than likely they can, just as they are articulated here, only be found in the recesses of the human heart. This is art of the highest order, conceived by a brilliant mind, poetically presented in exquisite collaboration by divinely inspired musicians and humbly offered as a gift to listeners. It is a true masterpiece. The CD reissue by Universal comes with a handsome Japanese-style five-by-five-inch paper sleeve with liner notes reprinted inside and devastatingly gorgeous 24-bit remastering.

1. "Universal Consciousness" 5:06
2. "Battle at Armageddon" 7:20
3. "Oh Allah" 5:00
4. "Hare Krishna" 8:14
5. "Sita Ram" 4:47
6. "The Ankh of Amen-Ra" 6:09
Recorded at A&R Recording, New York City and/or at the Coltrane Studio, Dix Hills, New York

* Alice Coltrane — harp, organ
* Jimmy Garrison - bass (1,3,4,5)
* Jack DeJohnette - drums (1,3,4)
* Clifford Jarvis - drums (4,5), percussion (4)
* Rashied Ali - drums (2,6), wind chimes (6)
* Tulsi - tamboura (4,5)
* John Blair, Julius Brand, Leroy Jenkins, Joan Kalisch - violin (1,3,4)


27 August, 2013


Dans Les Arbres - Dans Les Arbres (2006)

Dans Les Arbres - Dans Les Arbres (2006)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 270MB
ECM info:
Guitarist Ivar Grydeland (born 1976 in Trondheim) and percussionist Ingar Zach (born 1971 in Oslo) have worked together since 1998. Both are innovative and adaptive players, exponents of extended technique, musicians who’ve modified their instruments to meet the needs of the music. In 2000 they co-founded the record label SOFA providing a platform for improvised/intuitive music and, often, bringing improvisers from Norway together with players from around the globe. Collaborators have included Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Barry Guy, Philipp Wachsmann, Tony Oxley, Jim O’Rourke, Phil Minton, Susie Ibarra and dozens more. Several of these have worked also with the large ensemble No Spaghetti Edition (NSE), of which Zach and Grydeland are core members.
Clarinettist Xavier Charles (born in France 1963) and Christian Wallumrød (born 1971) have both performed and recorded with the NSE. Wallumrød first collaborated with the Zach/Grydeland duo in 2003: they had approached him after hearing the ECM release “Sofienberg Variations”, feeling there was common ground to be investigated. In 2004 what would become the Dans les arbres quartet convened for the first time. In 2006, all four musicians recorded together on NSE’s “Sketches of a Fusion” album a project that underlined, for all participants, the potential of further collaborative work. In July of that year Charles, Grydeland, Wallumrød and Zach recorded “Dans les arbres”, the album, at the Festiviteten gallery in Eidsvoll, Norway.

1. La Somnolence
2. L'Indifférence
3. Le Flegme
4. L'Engourdissement
5. Le Détachment
6. La Froideur
7. L'Assoupissement
8. La Rettenue.

* Xavier Charles: clarinet, harmonica
* Ivar Grydeland: acoustic guitar, banjo, sruti box
* Christian Wallumrød: piano
* Ingar Zach: percussion, bass drum.


23 August, 2013


Elvin Jones - Elvin! (1962)

Elvin Jones - Elvin! (1962)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 250MB
Drummer Elvin Jones' first full-length album as a leader (reissued on CD in the OJC series) is different than one would expect when it is taken into consideration that he was a member of the fiery John Coltrane Quartet at the time. This sextet session, which also includes his brothers Thad and Hank on cornet and piano in addition to flutist Frank Wess, Frank Foster on tenor, and bassist Art Davis, is straight-ahead with a strong Count Basie feel. Jones is still recognizable on the fairly obscure material (only "You Are Too Beautiful" qualifies as a standard) and shows that he can cook in the fairly conventional setting. All of the musicians are in fine form, and two selections feature the rhythm section as a trio.

-1. "Lady Luck" (Jones, Frank Wess) - 6:19
-2. "Buzz-At" - 6:31
-3. "Shadowland" (Sara Cassey) - 4:06
-4. "Pretty Brown" (Ernie Wilkins) - 3:30
-5. "Ray-El" - 8:03
-6. "Four and Six" (Oliver Nelson) - 5:01
-7. "You Are Too Beautiful" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers) - 4:20
All compositions by Elvin Jones except as indicated

Elvin Jones - drums
Thad Jones - cornet (tracks 1-3, 5 & 7)
Frank Wess - flute (tracks 1-3, 5 & 7)
Frank Foster - tenor saxophone (tracks 1-3 & 5)
Hank Jones - piano
Art Davis - bass



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