Rock Arc   world November, 1976   21

GATO BA Ft 141 E I

Let’s face it, JAll is creeping into the bloodstream of yesterday’s rock generation. Six or eight years ago, Janis and Jimi (Joplin and Hendrix) were the opiate of the people. Now it’s Chick and Herbie (Corea and Hancock). Those who were progressive enough to accept. “Southern Comfort Wielding” Janis and “free form” Jimi, now let Chick’s tones rattle their bones. I see this as a trend and a compromise. The trend is away from listening to heavy metal, to a compromising sort of new Jazz that is performed with a rock and funk execution. This Jazz is generally performed and created by entities who once existed strictly in the straight ahead and traditional mode, and its audience is comprised of those who have broadened their tastes to a more polished sort of Rock.

I believe guitar is to Rock as Saxophone is to Jazz. Just as the recording of Duane Allman and Eric Clapton together on their “Derek and the Dominoes” album was the piece de resistance for their fans, the same was true when John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins recorded their “Tenor Madness” disc for their audience back in the fifties.

One must realize that no boat (even the one in your bathtub) is any good without its commander; command of their respective horns is the reason I have chosen these players to discuss.

Unfortunately, due to many intangible factors, many of the great Jazzmen developed fatal heroin habits, which is how Charlie Parker died. This great bebop innovator of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties bequethed a legacy to his predecessors that will not be fully realized for many generations, hence the phrase “Bird Lives”. Parker existed in a solo orbit. Each musician who intersected with that orbit was greatly influenced from then on. Parker’s bag was bebop alto many years before his disciples would understand this provocative mode. Major examples of Bird’s style and present day influence can be heard in the music of altoists

Phil Woods and Lee Konitz. (Woods, by the way, is married to Parker’s ex-wife). Woods has the phrasing and fluidity of a master. He has produced a moderate amount of discography. His “Musique Du Bois” recording gives us an introspective sampling of some of Wood’s finest recent material. Lee Konitz is another master in the Bird tradition. We get a treat upon listening to Konitz’ disc “Lone-Lee”, recorded for the Danish Steeplechase label, in which he executes one whole side of Bird’s unforgettable “Cherokee” . . . . unaccompanied!

In the post-depression years the clubs in the country’s ghettos literally “jumped with Jazz”.

In Kansas City, along with the Birth of Bird came the Legend of Lester. Although Lester Young was a musical heavy, they say he was a subtle, easy-going person. Pres’ mellow sound is considered to be one of the most innovative ever. In their time, Bird was the omnipresent ace of alto while Young was regarded as the titan of tenor.

As Bird and Pres came to pass, along came Trane. John Coltrane brough a mystically amazing perspective to Jazz. They called it the new wave of the Fifties. Coltrane was not considered a great technical player. many say Rollins out-played him on the above mentioned

“Tenor Madness” disc. But still he was hailed as one of the most expressive players to ever walk this earth. Coltrane, reputed as the great tenor balladier in his early and middle periods, eventually came to be acclaimed as a great avant-garde soprano player. He was always groping for new and more expressive techniques.

With Trane’s passing in the early Sixties, we also saw the anti-climax of the end of an era in Jazz. The new wave became the now wave. The Jazz greats of yesteryear had sown their musical seeds. Many of today’s giants began to

blossom. We became aware of Miles Davis. Freddie Hubbard. Stan Getz. Herbie Hancock and many others, all of whom had been musically fertilized by the tradition of those who had gone before them.

A great instance of what these men meant to the World of Jazz, is portrayed in the music of Gato Barbieri. He is a Latin-American tenor who is hauntingly in the bop—Coltraneexpressive tradition. Gato brings us the feeling and percussion characteristic of the Latin sound and uniquely wraps these components into a very palatable musical entree. Barbieri is starting to receive some widespread notoriety now that he has recently released a remake of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” on his new disc on A&M records, “La Caliente”. Personally, I suggest his “Fenix” album on Flying Dutchman . . . A SMOKER!

Well, here we are in modern times, with an electronic gadget for just about everything. The Echoplex remembers and plays back whatever you want it to. The Lyricon, developed locally in Massachusetts, is a sort of saxophone synthesizer. These new devices add an infinite number of possibilities to our future reedmen’s capabilities. Although these trends are away from acoustic playing. if it’s JAll, the ghosts of Bird. Pres or Trane can’t be too far away.

by Jerry Zaslow


RCA CPL2-1831

This effort is a collaboration of a good sixty or seventy musicians conducted by Frank Devol. Ray plays some of the pieces here with a small combo. I’ve never heard him in better form. In 1957 Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

recorded this opera, which was produced by Norman Granz and considered a landmark recording at that time. Granz also produced this package, which I believe will be regarded in much the same way. Electricity and excitement fly through every moment of every arrangement. Together. Ray Charles and Cleo Laine doing “Porgy and Bess”—need I say more!

—Jerry Zaslow

Even if you don’t like Jazz, this Sonny Fortune album entitled “Waves of Dreams” is not hard to take. There are all kinds of things happening on this album. Fortune’s alto-saxophone playing is accompanied by his fantastic flute and soprano-saxophone work here. His track record speaks for itself. Since

George Gershwin’s contribution to American born classics is virtually limitless. In 1935 this was not exactly the reaction to the first public performance of his opera “Porgy and Bess”. This work stood the test of time well. This package, although not the complete “Porgy and Bess”, is obviously one of the greatest versions ever. It is charged with the emotion of Ray Charles as Porgy and the poise of Cleo Laine as Bess. Ray Charles, the definitive JazzBlues-singer-songwriter-composer-musician, is a perfect choice to portray this work, which is surely a solid piece of American musicology.

Married to arranger-composer John Dankworth, Cleo Laine is an exciting artist, and to me a very special singer. She is capable of a solid four octave vocal range. Laine started out in the English theater a good twenty years ago, but waited many years to expose her music to American audiences—truly our loss!

Over the years many have recorded the music of this opera in one form or another, from which the classic “Summertime” was born.

1967 he has played with Mongo Santamaria, Miles Davis, Buddy Rich and McCoy Tyner. This thirty-seven year old native of Philadelphia is straight forward in his attitude toward music . . . “I want to sell my music, but as music and not entertainment.”

Fortune brings together many musical ideas. as well as some excellent sidemen, on the five pieces contained in this package. Charles Sullivan is on trumpet and flugelhorn. Buster Williams on bass, Michael Cochrane on keyboards, Chip Lyle on drums. Clifford Coulter plays synthesizer on two tracks and Angel Allende conga on four tracks.

Fortune has the know-how of the Jazz tradition, the concept of specific self-expression, a now sound and a way of stretching “outside” in a structured way. He composed four of the five pieces on the album. “A Space In Time” is a beautiful ballad in which all the music is acoustic and presented in a quartet setting. As he stated on the album cover, “The title and the music are related to a very special feeling of love I’ve experienced for just a moment once or twice, a warm feeling, like the music.” “A Space In Time” is the only all-acoustic setting here. The other four tracks use some electric instruments which add many musical textures to the disc. I tip my hat to A&Ms Horizon label for documenting this musical statement and to Fortune for giving us an exciting and personal glimpse at his provocative world.

—John Redmond Carroll

SONNY FORTUNE “Waves of Dreams” A&M SP-711

Hubert Laws has got the light touch . . . you know, Romeo, my Romeo … that airy, springy feel. It gets to you, eventually, like an overdose of tulips or a long afternoon at a Hare Krishna barbecue. Someone should have started a tight at this session . . . sent the

strings and horn sections outside to start some hot blood running, the Montagues biting their thumbs at the Capulets.

Law’s debut album on Columbia is for lovers only. Weighted down by structures that are too restrictive, Laws only occasionally frees himself to lay his clear, dancing lines over the romantic clutter. “Undecided” alone is given a relatively straightforward treatment, and the flute floats over the skeletal backup undisturbed by the peripheral string accompaniment.

Laws insinuates himself nicely into and around Bob James’ keyboard work, especially at the end of “Tryin’ To Get the Feeling Again” and on the title cut, despite the latter’s semi-biblical finale, complete with peek-a-boo guitar appearance by Steve Khan.

It’s just too bad that Hubert didn’t do this album with less help. Too much business has made it a diffuse, punchless record. lacking both the maturity of love and the heat of infatuation, and incapable of bringing a rose to even Juliet’s cheek.

—Jerry Zaslow

HUBERT LAWS “Romeo and Juliet” Columbia PC 34330