Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Hard to go wrong with blue note
Stargrazer | deep in the heart of Michigan | 04/14/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While I may not be the most qualified person to review a jazz CD since I have an aversion to overly academic analysis of music, I find this album quite enjoyable. I may not be able to distinguish a good jazz album from a great jazz album, but I do have ears and a mind, and I fully enjoy this Byrd release. The music has the same late-60s feel as much of the contemporary Blue Note jazz put out by Herbie Hancock, among others, during that time period. To my ear, the percussion comes more to the fore, especially on the title track. Following that is the lyrical "I Love the Girl." Very evident is Byrd's commitment to play the compositions of young writers, like Mitch Farber's "Uptowner" and Charles Hendricks' "Weasil." Both are great tunes which may not have seen the light of day without a champion like Donald Byrd. Notably, this is Duke Pearson's first record using an electric piano. Understand that although I give this three stars, it is a very strong three stars. The dark funk of albums like "Ethiopian Knights," released just a few years later, is barely hinted at. Byrd was mining a different groove with "Fancy Free," making his fusion work of the seventies almost as much of a surprise as Hancock's "Head Hunters" must have been. If you enjoy Donald Byrd, you will not be disappointed."
Aaron Zamarron | Belleville, MI United States | 02/18/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Starting out with a spectacular fresh and airy sounding piece, "Fancy Free" is the kind of song you'd want to hear on the first day of spring. It starts out with a fast and steady beat on bongos, and a beautiful first-thing-in-the-morning flute establishes the melody. Something to sip your coffee to. That song and Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" are really great morning songs. There is also a wonderful saxophone solo later on too. Oh yeah, and Donald Byrd's trumpet solo. The 12 minutes go by so fast. It's just made so nicely, it seems like it could go on forever and you wouldn't care.Here and everywhere throughout this record are great electric piano accompaniments that make the record sound so warm, especially in "I Love the Girl" because it's a slow ballad that leaves extra room for flourishes. The last two tracks are more bluesy grooves and go with the other songs nicely, but do not stand out quite as much as "Fancy Free". "Weasel" sounds like it could be a backing soundtrack to some sort of cop show. Maybe the last two don't stand out because they're more predictable, or maybe I just prefer the light, airy sound better. That combination of flute and bongos is always so great though! The other songs here don't have any of that unfortunately. One thing that came to mind also is that Donald Byrd's solos don't strike me as being very engaging. Listening to the record and not being familiar with Byrd until this purchase, I thought he was a saxophonist or pianist because that's what it seemed like was being emphasized. Reading that he was a trumpet player, I was surprised. I commend him for putting together such a nice ensemble though. He is definitely a good band leader.I'm giving this a three because "Fancy Free" is what makes this album so marvelous. The other tracks are not bad at all, but they just don't convey the beauty that it does. This album is worth buying just for the title track."
A Blue Note Classic
Cedric the Electrician | Los Angeles, CA USA | 04/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If I could only have only one music available for listening it would be jazz music. There is an elite collection of jazz songs that really stand out. Just to name a few: Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," and "Speak Like a Child," Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder," Miles Davis' "All Blues." I might get an argument or two, but Fancy Free ranks right up there. "The Uptowner" is my other favorite from this disc. "I Love the Girl" is a step off the pace but still makes for good listening. It just doesn't make the cut when it comes to getting copied into my "iTunes" library. Overall a very solid disc well worth a twenty dollar bill but probably not $40+."