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Jack DeJohnette - Special Edition CD (album) cover

SPECIAL EDITION

Jack DeJohnette

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.52 | 4 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The early 80s was an interesting time for real jazz, although the genre had been suffering from an onslaught of confusing commercial concerns since the late 60s, the new decade saw a fresh approach as a lot of artists began to re-embrace the music they loved unfettered by conformist musical trends. Throughout the 70s jazz musicians had to struggle with the whole fusion question (should I or shouldnt I, and if so, how much), which became more complicated in the late 70s when many artists considered even more profitable sell- outs in the form of dinner jazz and/or pop-funk. This fusion branch of jazz, marred with motivations that were often muddled by monetary concerns, was matched on the traditional side by bands that became increasingly conservative and irrelevant as they clung to jazzs past in grouchy stubbornness.

The always vibrant New York City jazz scene was the first to shake things up when Ornette Coleman and Blood Ulmer unleashed their new gutsy avant jazz rock in 1976. This broke the door open and many jazz veterans saw a chance to revitalize themselves by turning from watered down bland fusion to real jazz on acoustic instruments with modern avant-garde influences and fresh ways of combining jazzs past with new directions.

Although Jack DeJohnette helped invent jazz-rock in the mid to late 60s with Charles Lloyd, and later with Miles Davis, by 1980 he is playing pure jazz on this record that sounds great and relevant for the first time in over a decade. The music on here is well composed avant- garde jazz that is thoughtful and humorous and a far cry from the sonic blast approach to avant jazz that was prevalent in the 60s. Unlike 60s avant jazz, much of this record is more similar to 20th century chamber music in its balanced use of composition and improvisation. The humor comes across in corny riffs that get stuck like a broken record while a horn soloist goes off. The compositions pull from a wide range of influences including Eric Dolphy, Sun Ra, 20th century composers, Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and others. One cut even seems to mimic Phillip Glass somewhat. My favorite tune is a cover of Coltranes swingin classic, India. The always extraordinary David Murray plays an excellent bass clarinet solo on this one. Overall, the double horn approach on this album adds a lot. I saw this band live in Houston when they toured to support this record. The musicians seemed to be in great spirits, the two horn players in particular seemed pleased that they didn't have to play over any rock like amplification, allowing them so much more subtle expression in their playing. DeJohnette too was able to bring out the beautiful orchestral approach to his playing without having to resort to pure power. This is a great record if you like modern avant flavored jazz composition and improvisation

js (Easy Money) | 4/5 |

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