Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Superb live material spices up a mixed bag
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 04/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The cover of this CD shows Elvin with Art Pepper, Richard Davis, and Roland Hannah, his quartet for three-quarters of the eight tunes on the release. While that group generates some pretty good music, "Very Rare" is elevated by two live cuts that make up about two-thirds of the CD's 70 minutes.The live band features Elvin's frequently used two-saxophonist attack, this time with Frank Foster and Pat LaBarbera, both of whom are up to the rigors of playing behind Elvin's muscular and unrelenting attack on the drums. There's no piano to guide the way, but this date added Roland Prince on guitar. First time I've heard a guitar work with Elvin, and it's successful.The two live cuts are "E.J. Blues," a fixture In Elvin's repertoire: basically a blues head and then it's every man's job to step up and blow. Everyone concerned does, and well. The live band does even better with "Acknowledgement" and "Resolution" from Coltrane's "A Love Supreme." Foster and LaBarbera are firm adherents to Coltrane's approach, but they're far from mere imitators. Their solos here are muscular, driving tributes to the master. And Prince makes a huge contribution, playing long runs on guitar in a style clearly influenced by Coltrane. Meanwhile, Elvin boils everything along.The quartet stuff is solid, if uninspired. It's obviously a fine collection of talent, but Pepper seems oddly constrained throughout. There are some nice moments: "Zange" is a yearning composition that Pepper plays with strong emotion; there's a nice workout of "Tin Tin Deo." But the leadoff, Gene Perla's "Sweet Mama," suffers by comparison with the version delivered on Elvin's long-deleted "Live at the Lighthouse" on Blue Note, and much of the rest moves along nicely but without the spice of inspiration that the live cuts provide.This one might take awhile to acquire, but it's worth it, particularly for the powerhouse 41 minutes that the live material provides."