Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Great Music Hamstrung By Corporate Whim.
Michael F. Hopkins | Buffalo, NY USA | 09/01/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The music of pianist Randy Weston, particularly his
collaborations with trombonist/arranger Melba Liston,
rank among the finest achievements in all Music. Yet
this initial release of Weston's timeless anthem BLUE
MOSES, originally issued through the CTI label in the
1970s, is a major disappointment.
The album has great players, among them trumpeter
Freddie Hubbard, and the most authentically Jazz-based
work ever achieved by Grover Washington Jr. on record.
Weston's compositions here are among the finest he
has ever written. Liston's arrangements are clearly
top of the line.
Unfortunately, producer Creed Taylor -or some other
trend-friendly corporate at CTI- apparently forced
Weston to play the entire date on electric piano. An
acoustic grandmaster with deep roots in Duke Ellington
and Thelonious Monk, Weston has always been ill at
ease with utilizing an electronic sound.
This album proves the validity of Weston's apprehension.
His larger-than-life touch, ruminating upon the Blues,
vibrantly nimble in striking the Call of Africa and the
mandates of African American legacy, just does not
communicate on a plugged-in keyboard.
Because of this, the entire album became just another
Pop management exercise in holding back some A-1 Jazz
which -as was the case with most product from the CTI
label- never happened. This session was successful
only for curiosity-happy thrill-seekers wanting their
tastes tickled... rather than fruitfully engaged.
Those interested in hearing how BLUE MOSES is supposed
to sound are advised to pick up THE HEALERS, the classic
duets of Weston and pistol-packing tenor champion David
Murray, or hear Weston's epic 2-CD hook-up with Liston,
Dizzy Gillespie and other friends, THE SPIRITS OF OUR
ANCESTORS. Check a great concert performance of the
roots masterwork on the DVD from Image Enetertainment,
RANDY WESTON: LIVE IN ST. LUCIA.
If your taste for Jazz runs only to the day-glo dilutions
of fusion, CTI cocktail wanderings, or the current slander
known as "smooth jazz", this might be for you.
If you love Jazz in its fullness, and particularly if you
love the work of Randy Weston and Melba Liston,
approach this album with a grain of salt.
Make that a pillar.
Paul Mark Provencher | 11/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some good time blowin by Freddie Hubbard with a swinging Billy Cobham. Grover gets in some nice licks and the charts are very exciting."
All-Star Line-Up, Incredible Ambiance
Paul Mark Provencher | Morgantown, WV USA | 07/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this LP for a very superficial reason: The album art by Pete Turner was too good to pass up! This LP jacket must be seen to be believed! I wonder if anyone has the photo print that Pete Turner offered via mail?
Notwithstanding my ignorant reason for purchase, the album became a personal treasure with my first listen. It's hard to pass up Hubert Laws, Grover Washington, Ron Carter, and Airto Moreira, for starters. The rest of the line up is just as incredible.
The music (that's the point right?) is accessible jazz that in my opinion doesn't dive too deep toward the "smooth jazz" blight that became prevalent much later. It's complex and at times eclectic, but rewards the listener after a few "training runs" with some wonderful emotions that call you back again and again.
I can really get the sense of walking at night in Medina; the rhythyms of the drums really do evoke Morroco in a way that Plant & Page also manage a few decades later with their unplugged foray into World Music. But I digress...
This is the kind of album that sets a nice mood for that evening when you want to sit back and let the day run off your shoulders. Or that long drive at night...
It's what it is - Weston may be more familiar and "pure" with an acoustic piano, but I still think there is a place for this album in the real jazz lover's collection."