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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wolf, 26 Sep 2011
This review is from: All Night Long (Audio CD)
I heard this band at the 100 Club in London (yes that was a looooooong time ago). The band were absolutely s-m-o-k-i-n'. From beginning to end I was on the edge of my seat. And Louis Moholo was such a power-house (playing with his back to the audience for the first set) that it felt like a big-band of 30 musicians were conjuring this stuff up. The music was literally ecstatic, for them (quite obviously), and for me. The rest of the world, just a few paces away, just disappeared.....
What does that have to do with this album? I bought it on the strength of that gig. And it is a testament to the power of this recording (stand well back from the speakers!) that, the musicians and their reaching for the edges of the improvisational tornado, took me right back to the sweaty full furnace atmosphere of that basement gig. I wore this album out!
In this kind of multi-sided interactive Jazz it is a well-worn cliche to say that musicians of the calibre of Louis Moholo, Harry Miller and Mike Osborne were 'near telepathic' but that does not mean it is not true, just that (my) words completely fail to capture the essence of something that was only expressible in the tones, rhythm and extra-ordinarily melodic sounds they reached for. And yes this music is melodic. As the other reviewer mentioned this music is largely improvised but not free-improvised: it's based on "heads" and "changes" like Round Midnight. But the pieces are surgically explored. Every rhythmic, melodic and harmonic possibility seems to be being explored without anyone losing sight of the fact that they are working together in front of an audience. And that was what made that gig and this recording so special - the sheer inclusiveness of their approach. It is likely the audience was ready for anything knowing the background to these illumined players and they got it! But those who weren't - like the girlfriend I took with me - were left under no illusion that so much control and freedom and passion could be exhibited and given away so freely by so few for so many.
This album demonstrates that this mix of 2 South Africans (Moholo and Miller) and 1 Englishman could create music of equal hard driving energy and sheer exuberance as anything that Trane, Ornette, Cecil or the AACM were doing the other side of the pond. And as EST (Esbjorn Svenson Trio) also demonstrated you neither have to have a background in the Blues nor be Afro-American - no matter how powerful a combination that is! - to play what is unarguably (IMHO) the highest grade Jazz.
Had Hendrix chosen the horn or the drums or the string bass this is what he may have sounded like... x3!!!
Slightly Off Topic I would like to make a plug for a book that greatly inspired me and helped me understand what the Afro-American innovators of the 60-70's were doing with their music. As Serious As Your Life by Val Wilmer - passionate photographer and writer about the Blues and Jazz scenes - really nails the essence of their thinking, and experiments, by letting the musicians speak for themselves. She holds it all together with a deeply informed journalist's thoroughness and attention to the nuance and detail of the musicians' searches...and her images are empathetic in that they demonstrate that the musicians have everyday (family) lives and show this.
Now go out and buy this CD and strap yourself in!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hold on tight !, 5 May 2010
Mr. I. Stephen "dj_dadrock" - See all my reviews
This review is from: All Night Long (Audio CD)
If you thought that free improvised jazz wasn't really your bag - then this might make you think again. Generally speaking it's not mine either, but the freewheeling interplay between Osborne, Miller and Moholo is guaranteed to hold your attention throughout and the physical and creative energy levels are nothing short of astonishing.

One of those albums that leaves you feeling mentally exhausted, but also with a bloody great grin on your face ...
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All Night Long
All Night Long by Mike Osborne (Audio CD - 2009)
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