Sunday, January 31, 2010
Rahsaan Roland KIRK & Al HIBBLER - A Meeting Of The Times 1972
Recorded on March 30 - 31, 1972
Despite his well-deserved reputation as an iconoclast and a musical revolutionary, the legendary reedsman Rahsaan Roland Kirk always exhibited a deeply felt respect for the history of jazz and its antecedents, whether by covering standards and spirituals or through projects such as this brilliantly realized collaboration with '40s vocalist Al Hibbler. Though overshadowed during his brief tenure with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Hibbler had a unique and unforgettable voice that pairs beautifully with Kirk's typically wide-ranging work on a variety of instruments, sometimes playing several reeds at once. The set's clear highlight is perhaps the definitive rendition of Ellington's classic "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me," but all nine tracks--including a slightly misplaced 1966 cut, "Dream," with vocalist Leon Thomas--are superlative. The first CD issue of this album also included the entirety of Ornette Coleman's ORNETTE, which features none of the same players.
On first glance this LP combines together a pair of unlikely musical partners; the unique multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Duke Ellington's former ballad singer Al Hibbler. However Rahsaan was very well acquainted with Ellington's music and he plays respectfully behind Hibbler on many of the standards, taking the wild "Carney and Bigard Place" as an instrumental. Hibbler (who did not record much this late in his career) is in good voice and phrases as eccentrically as ever on such songs as "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "I Didn't Know About You." One leftover selection from Rahsaan's session with singer Leon Thomas ("Dream") rounds out this surprising set.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
This is yet another of those beautiful albums in which jazz greats reach across the stylistic and generational divides and work beautifully with each other!
Ellington's legacy is, of course, a great starting point to glue together any two musical generations, but this album goes beyond that; showcasing eccentric and sadly underappreciated vocalist Hibbler in more then reverent company of the even more excentric multi-instrumentalist Kirk, with the added bonus of an extremely versatile and competent rhythm section consisting of Hank Jones (p), Ron Carter (b) and Oliver Jackson (dm).
Yes, this is definitely not a full-time Rahsaan Roland Kirk album (I must warn Kirk fans!), it is a gentle meeting of the times in which both parties contribute the best and the most sensitive extrovert and subtle jazz they can share with each other.
Mind you, only first 5 songs feature Hibbler, but his unique phrasing is really impresive, particularly on "Don't get around much anymore" and, my favorite number, "Lover come back to me", whereas Kirk uses his incredible tallent with taste, not showing off his ability to play more than one instrument at the same time. When he does his staff, he actually sounds like two (or even more) musicians working together very well.
Leon Thomas'vocal at the last song ("Dream") are not unpleasant but are no match to Hibbler's, nor do they work well with the original concept of the album.
However, all in all, this is great and imaginative music so some conceptual glitches shouldn't diminish the listening pleasure.
By Nikica Gilic.
Ron Carter- Bass
Charles Crosby- Drums
Major Holley- Bass
Al Hibbler- Vocals
Leon Thomas- Vocals
Oliver Jackson- Drums
Hank Jones- Piano
Lonnie Liston Smith- Piano
Rahsaan Roland Kirk- Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone
A1. Do Nothin` Till You Hear From Me 4:38
A2. Daybreak 3:12
A3. Lover Come Back to Me 3:48
A4. Don`t Get Around Much Anymore 2:53
A5. This Love of Mine 4:55
B1. Carney and Begard Place 5:34
B2. I Didn`t Know About You 4:01
B3. Something `Bout Believing 6:05
B4. Dream 2:30