Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - Communications 1968

The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - Communications 1968
1974 Issue.JD 3001, JDA 311/312


German-born composer/trumpeter Michael Mantler and his then-wife Carla Bley were instrumental in developing within jazz the idea of self-sufficiency and independence from established record companies. Their creation of the Jazz Composer's Orchestra, with recordings released on their own label, was the culmination of this endeavor, and the first recording was one of the masterpieces of creative music in the '60s. Mantler had come from the European avant-classical tradition and sought to provide an orchestral framework supporting some of the most advanced musicians in avant-garde jazz -- and he succeeded magnificently. His style tends toward the brooding and darkly romantic with harsh, cynical edges, a perfect foil for the robust, shackle-breaking improvisations found herein. The cloudy, roiling swirls that open "Communications #8," echoed by Bley's stabbing piano chords, lay the groundwork for inspired soloing by Don Cherry and the pre-Last Tango and still extremely fiery Gato Barbieri. Subsequent pieces include an amazing feedback showcase for Larry Coryell and a gorgeous, somber work featuring bassist Steve Swallow and trombonist Roswell Rudd. All of this is a preview for, well, "Preview," an utterly incendiary flight by Pharoah Sanders over a pounding rhythm by the orchestra, a piece that will leave the listener bruised, battered, and exhilarated. Except that the best is yet to come: a 34-minute, two-part composition, a concerto for Cecil Taylor and orchestra, that finds the pianist at the height of his powers, just beginning to enter the third phase of his development where he fused ultra-high energy playing with rigorous logic and heartbreaking beauty. The breadth of this piece, its expansiveness, and its tension between order and chaos is one of the single high watermarks of avant-garde jazz. Communications is a masterwork in and of itself and laid the basis for stunning work by others in decades hence, notably Barry Guy and his London Jazz Composer's Orchestra. It's an essential document for anyone interested in avant jazz and late-20th century creative music.
By Brian Olewnick, All Music Guide.
Gato Barbieri– Sax (Tenor)
Carla Bley– Piano
Ron Carter– Bass
Don Cherry– Cornet
Larry Coryell– Guitar
Andrew Cyrille– Drums
Richard Davis– Bass
Eddie Gomez– Bass
Beaver Harris– Drums
Jimmy Knepper– Trombone
Steve Lacy– Sax (Soprano)
Jimmy Lyons– Sax (Alto)
Michael Mantler– Conductor, Producer, Coordination
Roswell Rudd– Trombone
Steve Swallow– Bass
Lew Tabackin– Sax (Tenor)
Cecil Taylor– Piano, Liner Notes
Julius Watkins– French Horn
Howard Johnson– Tuba
Reggie Johnson– Bass
Steve Marcus– Sax (Soprano)
Charles Davis– Sax (Baritone), Baritone
Alan Silva– Bass
George Barrow– Sax (Tenor)
Randy Brecker– Flugelhorn
Kent Carter– Bass
Bob Cunningham– Bass
Bob Donovan– Sax (Alto)
Stephen Furtado– Flugelhorn
Al Gibbons– Sax (Soprano)
Paul Goodman– Engineer
Charlie Haden– Bass
Paul Haines– Liner Notes
Gene Hull– Sax (Alto)
Jack Jeffers– Trombone (Bass)
Lloyd Michels– Flugelhorn
Bob Northern– French Horn
Reggie Workman– Bass
Pharoah Sanders– Sax (Tenor)
John Tchicai– Saxophone
Frank Wess– Sax (Alto)
Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell– Trumpet
A1. Communications #8 13:52
A2. Communications #9 8:08
B1. Communications #10 13:26
B2. Preview 3:23
C1. Communications #11 - Part 1 15:10
D1. Communications #11 - Part 2 17:47

No comments:

Post a Comment