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Glass Bead Games

1 customer review

Currently unavailable.
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Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Label Ouest
  • ASIN: B00004VGDN
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,385,983 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If you love Jazz and you get the chance to buy this album, Do It! Ignore the track-listings on here. There are many more tunes on this album that are not listed, the whole album is great- Especially Bill Lee's John Coltrane.

It is probably the best dedication tune to the finest musician the world has ever seen. Just Buy It!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
One of my most treasured sessions 4 Sept. 2008
By Kenneth James Michael MacLean - Published on
Verified Purchase
This is one of the swingingest and most melodic modern jazz recordings in my library. This obscure session makes my top 25 top jazz recordings of all time.
Stanley Cowell's solos on this date are some of the most beautiful and melodic I have ever heard.
I have been listening to this date constantly for 30 years, and it is just as fresh to me now as it was when I first heard it.
]Highly recommended if you like mainstream, engaging and melodic music. This sessionwill hold your interest from beginning to end.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A Love Supreme of the 1970s. 6 July 2007
By Samuel Chell - Published on
This is the first and only domestic reissue of the two-LP 1974 release under the leadership of tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan. Fetching skyhigh prices on eBay, then reissued only as a pricey Japanese import, it's small wonder the session's reputation and following exceed the number who have actually heard it. Rest assured that the music is not simply a "cult" curiosity. Although the instrumententation mirrors that of Coltrane's quartet, the music is strikingly different from "A Love Supreme," admittedly a primary inspirational source. Compared to the predecessor, "Glass Bead Games" is less prayerful and more playful, less searching and more knowing, less focused on the religious quest than its rewards. The rapturous intensity of the earlier date is replaced by the quiet energies of the benefactors of the progenitor-hero's journey. On "John Coltrane" the musicians chant the words "John Coltrane, Black Spirit; John Coltrane, first new born," but rather than the torrential, monolithic incantation of "A Love Supreme," theirs is the song of the children of the forebearer, discretely delighting in their newfound jouissance.

The two sessions constitute a revelation on several levels. First, the decade of the seventies was not entirely the funk and fusion, country and disco cultural wasteland it's been portrayed as: it did produce genuinely creative, uncompromisingly "human" new music within the jazz mainstream--and without electronic assists; second, Bill Lee was more than Spike's dad: he's a bassist with a singularly powerful, deep groove; third, Billy Higgins was, as so many musicians insist, a once-in-a-lifetime drummer: I don't hear the relentless swinger that Stanley Crouch raves about in the liner notes but a musician who's more like the bellows inspiriting the collective flame.

Most importantly, the always underrated, now largely forgotten Clifford Jordan was not just a formidable tenor player: he was a creator of the first order, his playing so effortless, unselfconscious, mature and profound that at a time when altissimo fury was all the rage, his fate was to be the neglected, overlooked Lester Young of his era. All the more's the pity that his work on Horace Silver's most ambitious and rewarding album, "Further Explorations," is unlikely to be heard because, inexplicably (even with all the other RVG reissues), this Silver session remains out of print. Nonetheless, "Glass Bead Games" does't require corollary support--it's a self-sufficient work of rare beauty. Don't expect to be immediately or merely "impressed." It "intrigues" upon the first listen. With each successive listening the musical conversation yields fresh new discoveries--playful, profound, inexhaustible, and immensely satisfying.

Compared to a Wayne Shorter on a session like "Footprints Live" Jordan is at once a more assertive soloist and more enabling force. Compared to a Michael Brecker on "Pilgrimage" Jordan is far more relaxed and low key yet paradoxically a more directive and shaping influence. His tone has as much "bottom" as "top," yet he makes the transitions between the two registers so effortlessly that the listener isn't conscious of them, as is also true of the quick alterations in dynamics. The climaxes, rather than spelled out, are merely suggested so that they register with deep and lasting impact on the listener. He's not a man content with a mere musical "dialogue" with his fellow musicians nor is he about to take the initiative in pulling his troops up to his level. Instead he begins to tell a musical story so compelling that his three comrades cannot resist contributing equally to what becomes a collaborative narrative--rhythmically, harmonically, melodically. This is brilliant music-making by a Coltrane-influenced successor who feels no obligation to mime the predecessor. It may be the most significant saxophone performance on record since Coltrane and, providing the listener stays with it for any length of time and repeated listenings, the most successful, satisfying creative jazz recording of the past 25 or more years. Jordan's game--so effortless, unforced, and centered--is simply inexhaustible. It erases distinctions between composed and improvised, soloist and ensemble, narrator and narrative, musical language and verbal language and, most importantly, performer and listener. To call the playing "remarkable" is to do it an injustice: rather, like Shakespeare's uses of language, it's representative and exemplary as a record of one instance of tapping into and then realizing the potential of the vast energy field that is human consciousness.

The 2nd quartet, with Cedar Walton and Sam Jones replacing Stanley Cowell and Bill Lee, doesn't have the freshness and magic of the first--some of the playing is sufficiently "self"-intruding to impede, if ever so slightly, the untampered flow of the game itself. But a single scintillating glass bead game is more than enough to make this recording a singular, quintessential, and comparatively late example of an enduring though fragile art form that America was once not too proud or insensible to claim as its own.

[Be careful about ordering the right copy. The problem is that the program listed with the album on Amazon as well as on most other sites, including All Music Guide, is totally inaccurate. It's a program belonging with a Strata-East release from 1975, "First Impressions," featuring Shamek Farrah--one of those Eastern recordings with mystical incantations and theological aspirations if not pretensions. "Glass Bead Games," on the other hand, is a 13-tune treasure that scintillates with inexhaustible life and beauty in the present moment thanks to the collective skills of the players. Don't settle for less. The 2006 U.S. reissue on Harvest Song is the right one, the first-ever complete release, made available in early 2007 by Jordan's widow. It's available, for the present, from only one source. Go to [...], music department, and do a search. The price, moreover, is more reasonable than the Japanese imports or eBay auction copies.]
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Joyous and warm saxophone playing 16 May 2008
By Mr. W. G. Simpson - Published on
Verified Purchase
I was moved to review this because other reviews make it sound cerebral, or "difficult", part tribute to Coltrane, part modernist German literature, and so on.
Nonsense! It's a really enjoyable jazz album from start to finish. No duff bits, the leaders sax swings joyously, with a warm tone that induces happiness, and sounds as if he is happy. No skronk at all. The pianist has a kind of liquid fluidity, the bassist has his mournful bits, and the drumming knits it together so well.
Perhaps we have been spoilt by the modern jazz of the 80's, 90's, 00's, but this is a relatively straightforward swinging slab of modern jazz that came out a bit ahead of its time and rocks along from start to finish.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of the Greatest Unknown Jazz Recordings 11 July 2009
By ersch - Published on
I just recently had the fortune of being turned on to this recording. I have several thousand jazz CDs - jazz in fact is my vocation. So without hyperbole, I can solidly say that Clifford Jordan's Glass Bead Games is one of the best recordings (if not the best) I have discovered in several years. With Jordan's probing yet always grooving (in large part thanks to "General Swing" Billy Higgins) compositions I never get tired of listening to this CD. It is really tragic that it isn't more readily available... If I had the luck of one of the previous reviewers - to have listened to this for the last 30 years - my life would have been richer...
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Herman Hesse Must Be Smiling 3 Oct. 2007
By S. J. Karanja - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This CD has become my mantra. It prepares me to go out into the world each day knowing that music does have the power to change things. It is a righteous homage to Dear John without being a Coltrane-copycat. These cats mean business. Even if Herman Hesse is not smiling I bet you will be when you get an earfull of what Clifford and his friends are putting down.
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