This album was originally released in 1969 on the obscure Freedom label. A limited run, it disappeared overnight and has, pretty much ever since, been a holy grail for collectors.
Although it was contemporaneous with free jazz, it's actually a little more structured than that (some of it bluesy, some has a latin-y sound might the best way to describe it - though neither, especially blues, are all that unusual in influencing jazz). It's one of those records that can be played over, and over again. It's, considering the personnel, a remarkably easy listen. But, understand that I don't mean in the smooooooth type of way. It just feels so perfect. It seems that Howard has a real talent for playing the sax and, importantly composition. There are some solos on the record, but they don't dominate it - so if that puts you off free jazz, this record may be an in (*may!*) for you.
For everyone else that likes ye olde free and avant garde jazz...this is immense.
(Fairly) recently re-released by the wonderful Bo' Weavil, I urge anybody that likes free-jazz to give this a whirl.
It has a fantastic line-up:
Noah Howard: alto saxophone;
Arthur Doyle: tenor saxophone (I have a particular fondness for Arthur Doyle, the liner notes describe him thusly "propelled throughout by an almost incoherent rage, a chaotic and murderous sound." - though if that worries you, the music *is* tight).
Earl Cross: trumpet;
Leslie Waldron: piano;
Norris Jones: bass;
Muhammad Ali: drums (brother of Rashied, though that's not, naturally, why he's good. He just IS immense on this record);
Juma: congas (apparently played congas for Hendrix at Woodstock - so there you go!)