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Sacred Dimension

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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Nov. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Gondwana
  • ASIN: B005ZEK0WO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,876 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

BBC Review

When John Coltrane died in 1967, the effect was like dropping a boulder of intense feeling into the deep waters of jazz, creating ripples that are still felt today. In the aftermath, it fell to his closest collaborators to continue the work, spreading his message of spiritual awakening and universal compassion through the medium of progressive jazz. While his widow, Alice Coltrane, continued on an outward curve, drawing deeper on Hindu cosmology and digging into free jazz, former bandmates such as McCoy Tyner and Pharoah Sanders ushered in a new genre of jazz – as on Sanders’ 1971 classic, Thembi – which was still characterised by deeply-felt spiritual yearning, but which reined in Coltrane’s raging intensity in favour of a more accessible and breezily melodic tone. British saxophonist Nat Birchall is keeping that flame burning in the 21st century.

In fact, Sacred Dimension is so imbued with the post-Coltrane cosmo-spiritual vibe, it’s a little like a presentation by an early-70s jazz historical re-enactment society. Ancient World kicks the album off with bells and shakers before pianist Adam Fairhall sets up strident, Tyner-ish chords, which, supported by Nick Blacka’s determined modal bass figures, are goaded into crashing waves by the heavily rolling energy of drummer Andy Hay. Add in Corey Mwamba’s neat vibes solo and Rachel Gladwin’s delicate harp à la Alice Coltrane and it could easily be a lost outtake from Tyner’s 1970 album Extensions. Similarly, Sacred Dimension is a limpid, free-flowing tone poem in the same vein as Tyner’s His Blessings from the same album, or Sanders’ Greetings to Saud, from 1973’s Elevation.

What’s impressive, though, is how confidently Birchall assumes the mantle of Coltrane acolyte. His soprano solo on Ancient World has some of the Moorish-Iberian tang first hinted at on Coltrane’s Olé, and plays out as logically unfolding series of melodic permutations, owing much to Coltrane’s endless interrogations of simple themes. Dance of the Mystic – another loping, modal groove – sets the scene for a tenor workout crammed full of fleeting echoes of Coltrane motifs that flutter almost close enough to identify while staying just tantalisingly out of reach.

In the end, this is much more than mere pastiche. It’s a deeply sincere homage to a master, presented with an open heart full of passion and love. And, God knows, the world needs more of that right now.

--Daniel Spicer

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Naylor TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Nov. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Although having been around on the British jaz scene for some years its only in recent years that Nat Birchall has come to the attention of the general jazz listener. Through his work with Matt Halsall's band and his own previous two releases have we got to hear Nat's true musical vocation.
All three albums are based around the early to mid sixties Coltrane spirituals. This album in particular could be a meeting of John and Alice Coltrane at their most outwardly spiritual. There is no place for Matt Halsall on this album but Rachel Gladwin plays some serene harp on several tracks and vibes also make an appearance on a couple of tunes.
Of the five tracks you have got three mid tempo spirituals and a couple of "After the rain" styled ballads.
Nat always plays within himself but displays heartfelt emotion rarely heard from todays young guns.
At 41 minutes it is a little on the brief side but at least it leaves you wanting more.
A calm,serene and gentle 41 minutes of the best British jazz.Buy it now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Ruddick on 13 April 2014
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
10/10. A great album by Birchall who is a fantastic British jazz musician. A great band in great form I love it. .......... ..... ..... ..... ...... ..... .....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Who Dat! 29 Nov. 2011
By Lawrence F. Dreyfus - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Who Dat! say coltrane dead. Excellent set,musicians are very good and brought back memories of better music and times,a good addition to my collection.
5/5 7 April 2014
By Ad Hoc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Nat Birchall's albums are extraordinary reasons and causes for their listeners to become part of his bands' live music performances.
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