5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
You won't find this album listed in the Penguin jazz guide. That's because this great album (one of Burton's best) has never been issued on CD in the U.S., or (I think) even in Britain. It's been available in Japan -but that's it. And why is a real mystery. A look at the personnel only deepens the mystery-Burton-vibes (with his 4 mallet technique), Steve Swallow-double bass (one of the better players at the time, before he switched to electric bass to much acclaim), Bob Moses-drums (a sensitive player just right for Burton), and Larry Coryell-electric guitar (just beginning to explore the possibilities of that instrument in a jazz-rock setting), whose technique was perfect for Burton. You can hear what Coryell sounded like early on in the 2 CD set "The Dynamics With Jimmy Hanna 1960-1965", on the Bolo label. This was a rock/r&b/jazz group from the Northwest (Sonics, The Viceroys, The Wailers, etc.) that put out both instrumentals and vocal sides worth hearing.
This reissue has fine sound-crisp and clean and open. But it doesn't state anywhere if this edition has been remastered-but it sounds like it has been remastered, at least somewhere along the way. There's a 6 page booklet which includes a short piece on Burton, the era, and the music, along with the original liner notes by Burton (very valuable), and photographs of the band. I'm glad the folks at the Cherry Red label used the original cover-it's perfect for the music.
This album, along with "Lofty Fake Anagram" (and the hard to find/needs to be reissued) "Duster", is one of Burton's very best early period albums. The fact that it's a live recording gives the music an extra edge which gives the music even more personality. While the album is usually lumped in with "jazz" recordings, it's actually one of the first albums of what would become jazz-rock. Listen closely and you'll hear the beginnings of that sound-albeit without all the high power flash and firepower that came to define jazz-rock a short time later.
Listen to "Lines", a duet between Burton and Coryell-their playing is both accurate and speedy-something that partly defined jazz-rock when it became widespread. Coryell throws out a series of rapid fire notes (with Burton echoing him in spots), but the foundation is closer to jazz. "Walter L." is another good example. Again Coryell's guitar slips into rock territory with a distorted sound in his solo.
Listen to Burton's solo piece, "Dreams", and then check out Dylan's "I Want You" (with a quirky bass solo) and then you'll begin to hear how important and advanced (and good) this album was at the time. Likewise, listen to Coryell on "One, Two, 1-2-3-4". It's another example of Burton's vision of pushing jazz into a different territory.
But all categories aside, this is a fine album full of great music, played by a very fine group. I still remember buying this album (unheard) in my neighborhood record store. I was looking for something new and different, and the cover photograph caught my eye. Everyone with long hair (except Swallow), Burton was influenced by The Beatles, and that leather jacket-with fringe-what? Jazz? Hmmm. I played it at home, and the next day went back to buy "Lofty Fake Anagram", another good find. Burton (with Coryell) was playing something close to jazz, but in his music I heard something new and exciting. The term jazz-rock hadn't been invented then, but it didn't matter. The music was so good, played on such a high level that names didn't matter. Hopefully more people will find this new reissue and have a chance to hear this fine group from the early days, playing an amalgam of jazz, rock, and even a bit of country music, underneath everything else. Back in the late 60's, it didn't matter what this music was called, and it doesn't really matter what it's called now-it's just great music. One of my music reissue prayers has been answered.