Fifty years on from these historic recordings, multi-saxist Jimmy Giuffre remains a most potent force in contemporary jazz. For the first half of the 1950s, Giuffre, in cahoots with Shorty Rogers and Shelly Manne, could be viewed as L.A.'s jazz equivalent of The Three Musketeers. Be it as members of the orchestras of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton or The Lighthouse All-Stars and Shorty's own Giants they were close to inseparable.
It was during his tenure with The Giants that Texas-born Jimmy Giuffre successfully launched his own solo recording career. The 'Tangent In Jazz' sessions that comprise the second half of this release, defines that all-important juncture where Giuffre marked out his future directions: creating jazz music with what he contentiously termed "a non-pulsating beat." Said Giuffre, "I've come to feel increasingly frustrated by the insistent pounding of the rhythm section. It's become impossible for the listener or the soloist to hear the horn's true sound or fully concentrate on the solo line. An imbalance of advances has moved the rhythm section from a supporting role to a competitive role."
At Giuffre's behest, the role of bass and drums were drastically redefined - supplying varied textures and effects rather than a familiar steady jazz pulse. Just as unique was the deep and intimate "woody" sounding timbre Giuffre produced from his clarinet by virtue of exploring the darker "chalumeau" register of the A-natural model as opposed to the widely used B-flat instrument. In doing so, Giuffre anticipated the future approaches of the quartets of fellow Texan Ornette Coleman, post-Miles John Coltrane, Dolphy-era Mingus and, ultimately, various aspects of the ECM label's house policy in breaking free of mainstream and standardized musical structures.