Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The mother of all blowing sessions
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 06/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To fully appreciate the glories of jazz, you've got to pay close attention. I admit that I don't always do this. I often treat it as background music. Doesn't work. Pieces of little merit seem consequential, while works of true genius sound opaque, unapproachable.Take Crowd Scene, a late album by the late, great Mal Waldron. Consisting of only two compositions, each nearly a half-hour long, it cannot be listened to casually. It must be engaged. If it is, it will yield, albeit maybe a little reluctantly, its ample rewards.Prime among these is Sonny Fortune, a very expressionistic alto sax player, given free reign on the title cut. I've always liked him, but seldom has he had the chance to cut loose as he does here. And let me tell you, his opening solo is nothing short of revelatory. Not least a showcase for his extreme upper-register gymnastics, his mid-horn multiphonics and smears, and his lower-register blats, it has an internal logic and beauty all its own. Anchored by Waldron's rolling lefthand figures, Fortune soars to magnificent heights before fading out and giving way to Waldron's own brilliantly conceived and executed solo, mostly executed near the bottom of the keyboard.Next comes Ricky Ford on tenor, also a quite declamatory player. His solo, while perhaps lacking the sheer brilliance of Fortune's, has its own pleasures, especially once he really gets it going. He has a very attractive mid-register sinuousness as well as his own unique upper-register assault that can be very compelling. Reggie Workman, a stalwart in avant/free settings, delivers a quite astounding bass sole, full of buzzes, bent tones, cracks, slaps, and striking intervalic leaps. Moore, who passed away on the bandstand not long after this session, finishes up with a very energized short drum solo, after which piano, bass, and horns reenter with a rousing restatement of the head. All in all, a simply astounding half-hour of music."Yin and Yang," the more conventionally melodic of the two pieces, opens with a very attractive head after which Waldron launches into a rhythmically challenging albeit fluid solo. Fortune follows with a typically fiery solo, notable for its beguiling circularity and astonishing upper-register flights of fancy. When he's done, one is left with the feeling that Ford will be hard pressed to top it. Thankfully, we're given a little breathing space in the form of an intriguing bass solo by Workman, featuring lots of sprung rhythms. When Ford enters, things immediately heat up to a boil. He rips off phrase after seering phrase, demonstrating why he is considered among the very top players of his generation. With a somewhat more melodic conception than Fortune, it's fitting that he brings things around to their beginnings.If you like jazz that provides its players with a huge canvas to explore their musical imaginations, you will absolutely revel in this disc."