This is a bewitching and intriguing album with some very expressive playing, especially from Miroslav Vitous, John McLaughlin and Chick Corea.
Reminded of my love for Vitous' "Magical Shepherd" record by it being issued on CD, I was intrigued by this one - only to hesitate because of the inclusion of Jan Garbarek, much recorded by ECM on his own and others' records.
Having got the record, I'm convinced anyone's reaction to it is going to be tempered by their feeling about Garbarek. If you love the man, you'll love this record. If you have come to find him a little predictable (as I have), you may find yourself (even though he does try to show more attitude than in records like 'Rites') wishing that Vitous had chosen his old colleague John Surman to play the sax.
So three and a half stars !
on 16 October 2003
Miroslav Vitous - came to prominence on the earliest Weather Report albums and then largely disappeared from view... but now with John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Jach DeJohnette, Jan Garbarek - what a band to make your "comeback" with!
Lovely acoustics as you would expect from ECM - though I would have liked to hear a little more John McLaughlin input.
on 31 October 2007
I bought this album when it first came out, listened to it a couple of times then forgot about it. I listened to it again recently and was so taken with it that it's been on the CD player every day for about 10 days.
The band is first class. I agree with the reviewer who was apprehensive about Garbarek, but disagree about his playing on this album - I think Vitous has got him well under control, making him play straight ahead improvisational sax. The addition of McLaughlin adds wonderful colour and tone, and Corea is in great form: he really gets better with age.
But its Vitous himself (bass) and deJohnette (drums) who steal the show on this CD, with a shimmering array of driving beats, textures and rhythms - all with a delicacy and detail which is never oppressive but uplifting and very satisfying.
As is to be expected from ECM the production values and sound engineering are first class. However, this - for me - is one of the best produced albums I've heard in a long time: the sensitivity to Vitous' light touch, deJohnette's cymbal playing particularly and McLaughlin's guitar make this a recording of crystal clarity.
I've just ordered US II which apparently is another cracker