on 27 February 2009
A wellcome re-issue for this classic Mclean album form 1963 which sees the great man in the midst of the most creative period of his career. Joined by fellow adventurous musicians Grachan Moncur III(trombone),bobby Hutcherson(vibes),Eddie Khan(base) and Tony Williams(drums) make up this classic quintet.The music is still rooted in the be-bop tradition but the compositions are melodically quite unusual and the soloists allow themselves greater freedom to express their ideas.The music never really ventures into "free" territory but maintains a melodic adventurousness throughout with none more so than on Moncur's haunting piece "Ghost town".If you treasure the albums from McLean's more creative period such as "Destination out" and "Action action action" then you should add this to your collection immdiately.File under adventurous but accessible.
Recorded after "Destination Out" I think this just fails to reach the quality of that album. However this album really deserves four and a half stars. It has much of merit. Despite the tunes being complex they remain pretty approachable. The band features Jackie McLean, Grachan Moncur III (tmb) and Bobby Hutcherson (vb) as "Destination Out" plus Eddie Kahn (b) and the very young Tony Williams making his first record at the age of seventeen.
Tunes are by McLean and Moncur, and seem to be fairly complex modal affairs.
The front line artists all play well, Eddie Kahn lays down the beat, and Tony Williams plays some interesting drums in his unique style.
Still interesting to listen to this is a "record of its time" chaning the nature of jazz yet further and laying the foundations for Eric Dolphy. Jackie McLean's contribution to modern jazz is often underestimated.
on 21 December 2004
Now this was the period that saw McLean ditch the post bop style and try something a little different, a little more modal and on the whole the albums work, though it pales against 'freedom now' for one simple reason, Tony Williams drumming. I know he is rated highly but i've lost count of the albums he has well, let's be honest messed up by his drumming style. Everything seems to revolve around the ride cymbal and there is no sense of keeping time. It might have worked with Miles (as in 'miles smiles') but here it deters from the experimental lines McLean is playing until the each track sounds like a disjointed mess with everyone trying to find a common rhythm to improvise over. McLean is as usual on devasting form and manages to rise to the occasion but against Williams stop-start rhythms its often a losing battle. Shame.