Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|George Adams, Don Pullen|
Live At The Village Vanguard Vol 2
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
High-energy, super quality live event
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Pullen-Adams quartet was, from the mid 70's to the late 80's, the standard bearer of so-called mainstream jazz. Only so-called, mind you, because these guys could be way out there. Except that, like Mingus (whose last band they graduated from), they tempered outness with blues, dissonance with melody, etc. This live set is particularly soulful, powerful & beautiful. It ends with the long-long version of Big Alice that's smart, deep & funky. Can't be beat!"
George Adams/Don Pullen Quartet tear up the Vanguard
Joe Pierre | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The George Adams/Don Pullen Quartet was one of the most exciting jazz bands of the 80's -- and one of only a handful of groups over the past 20 years that never succumbed to the "smooth jazz," substanceless fusion, or revivalist movements that dominate so much of what people call jazz today. This was due in large part to Don Pullen, whose rollicking adventures in jazz piano straddled the line between swing and avant-garde (with his trademark style characterized by rolling runs, clusters, and glissandi adorning an inevitable return to a straight ahead core melody), and George Adams whose soul-blues inflected tenor sax playing likewise typically included full-range explorations into squawks and upper register wails. In this sense, the pair, who cut their teeth together in the Mingus band of the 70's, were perfectly suited to one another. Cameron Brown (bass) and Dannie Richmond (drums, and also of Mingus lineage), made up the rhythym section of the band, always providing steady accompaniment. It is a pity that Pullen, Adams, and Richmond are all now no longer with us, and even more of a pity that so many of the quartet recordings (not to mention their solo efforts) are now out of print.
The Live at the Village Vanguard dates (sold separately as Volume 1 and 2) were recorded during their gig at the Vanguard on August 19, 1983 and put out on the Soul Note label. As live concerts, the music is often more freewheeling than their studio sessions and consequently, the energy level is quite high throughout. Unfortunately, the recording quality is less than perfect, with a fairly anemic sound pervading despite the obvious passion of the music and its players. Such is often the price of live dates however, and since these are out of print, but at least still findable, one can hardly complain.
Volume 1 includes four tunes -- The Necessary Blues (Thank You Very Much, Mr. Monk) (13'15"), Solitude (15'00"), Intentions (13'00"), and Diane (14'30"). The Necessary Blues is Pullen's Monk tribute that starts with him stating a theme, Adams repeating the stanza, and by mid-mark has both taking turns soloing around this theme with a casual but spirited and upbeat feel. Solitude is a Duke Ellington ballad that keeps all the players and particularly Pullen fairly reigned in, though Adams even in a slow, soulful ballad shows some gusto. With the Adams penned Intentions, we're back to trademark music by the Quartet, with a stated theme and sequential solos by Pullen, Brown (who always displayed a full and woody bass sound and is amply miked here), Richmond, and relatively little by Adams until a concluding belt. The set concludes with another ballad in Diane, a Mingus tune, whose pace deceivingly alternates between stroll and stride.
Volume 2 is the more exciting set, that starts with Saturday Night in the Cosmos (11'24"), a Pullen tune that opens with Adams on flute, and soon gets into Pullen's trademark piano improvisation -- hammering away with vamps and trills but all the while dancing around the tune's central melody. Adams returns on tenor at the half-way mark, and gets really fired up before going back to flute (with Brown repeating a strong, steady bass line that matches Pullen's left hand work) and then again back to tenor at the end of the tune. City Gates (17'37") is an Adams tune that starts with Brown's characteristic bass repeating a phrase, then has Adams taking control and going ballistic, following by Pullen doing the same. The energy gets cranked up even further by the third tune, the Pullen written The Great Escape (11'15"), which starts out frenetically and takes off from there with mad tenor and piano solos. Finally, Big Alice (17'50"), a Pullen favorite, has the band playing rhythmically around an upbeat melody, but with each further deconstruction of the restated theme, the playing gets more freewheeling with Pullen venturing near Cecil Taylor territory and Adams screeching ferociously before returning to earth by song's end.
This second set is the disc to get, with nearly an hour of fiery playing, but the two sets compliment each other, so why limit yourself to one? It pays to seek out these testimonials to the creative energy of jazz and the relative dearth of mainstream jazz players today who really have something exciting to say.
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 04/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pullen and Adams' long and fruitful association is on display in this fine '80s release. Adams, commenting on what it's like to play in a place filled with as much musical history as the Vanguard, said in the liner notes that he felt the spirits while he was playing. Sadly, he and Pullen are now among those departed spirits. The music on this disc, though, remains vividly alive.One of Pullen's best-known and most successful compositions was "Big Alice," which he performed in many times, places and styles. The version here is filled with unforced energy. Its hand-slapping, funky rhythms lead to a scorching solo by Adams, but Pullen actually takes the tune up another notch with a solo that goes inside and outside and shows his ability to truly reveal the piano as a percussive instrument. Sometimes a record can't capture the power of a live performance, but this one seems to capture most of the excitement that must have been in the room that night.It's also a great pleasure in listening to the record to hear the sympathy between the four players. Pullen, Adams, drummer Dannie Richmond and bassist Cameron Brown played together for many years, and their ability to move through different styles, tempos, and musical ideas effortlessly comes through.This is a good pickup for listeners not familiar with the joys of listening to these great musicians. May their spirit live on."