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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 Impulse! albums of accessible modern jazz from the '60s., 17 Oct 2011
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Jazzrook (Purbrook , Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Impulse 2-on-1: Illumination! / Dear John C. (Audio CD)
This welcome reissue pairs the elusive 1963 album 'Illumination!' featuring the Elvin Jones/Jimmy Garrison Sextet with Elvin's 1965 quartet/trio album 'Dear John C'. 'Illumination!' comprises three quarters of the classic Coltrane quartet plus Sonny Simmons(alto & English horn), Prince Lasha(flute & clarinet) and Charles Davis(baritone). The music is varied and adventurous with compositions by McCoy Tyner, Sonny Simmons, Prince Lasha, Charles Davis & Jimmy Garrison. 'Dear John C.' is more conventional modern bop with superb playing from Elvin, the underrated Charlie Mariano, bassist Richard Davis and pianists Roland Hanna or Hank Jones.
This enjoyable 2-on-1 Impulse! CD contains over 70 minutes of accessible modern jazz from the '60s which deserves to be more widely known.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elvin Jones, 5 July 2012
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This review is from: Impulse 2-on-1: Illumination! / Dear John C. (Audio CD)
Two albums for the price of one, first off is the rare and expensive Illumination LP which features the Modal classic: Half and half, an essential purchase for this track alone. The second album is a tribute to John Coltrane, excellent line up on both albums. Totally recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Elvin Jones - Illumination!/ Dear John C, 9 July 2014
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This review is from: Impulse 2-on-1: Illumination! / Dear John C. (Audio CD)
A remarkably good and quite surprising pairing. This single disc consists of a reissue of two Impulse issues, 'Illumination!' from 1963 and 'Dear John C' from 1965. Both are quite different and very successful.
'Illumination!' was by a sextet jointly led by Jones and Jimmy Garrison, with McCoy Tyner on piano, and the unusual addition of Sonny Simmons on alto and cor anglais, Prince Lasha on clarinet and flute and Charles Davis on baritone. To get first things first, the rhythm section play superbly. Garrison, playing in a slightly less advanced style than with Coltrane, shows himself a fine powerful and supportive bass player, and Jones, though still pretty explosive, allows the rhythm to flow. Tyner is impeccable although less percussive than he tended to be with Coltrane. Together they constitute a dream rhythm section and a luxurious support for the three young horn men. Of them, Simmons has the strongest impact. He has a long alto solo in a sort of slightly flattened out Dolphy style on 'Gettin' On Way' and an extensive solo on cor anglais on 'Nuttin' Out Jones'. All his solo work is highly successful, he adds a lot of tonal variety with his instruments, and the cor anglais, a larger member of the oboe family, comes across as a horn capable of being played with vigour and force, without lapsing into whinneying. Lasha doesn't really solo, but is featured strongly in the group sound, particularly on flute. Davis solos extensively, has a full sound on his horn, swings and is full of ideas. The three horns together create interesting and unusual textures.
'Dear John C' consists of Jones, Richard Davis on bass and Charlie Mariano on alto on three tracks, with Roland Hanna added on three tracks and Hank Jones on a further three tracks. It is not a tribute album to Coltrane, but a collection of unhackneyed originals and standards. Both bass and drums play beautifully in a more advanced style than on the earlier disc and Davis shows us his quality as a player in this style. Both play quite aggressively but always as an essential part of the group sound. Hanna, always a capable pianist plays well on his tracks but does not measure up to the remarkable eldest Jones brother, with his uncanny clarity of mind and of touch. One of the great pianists, surely? The outstanding performance, though, is that of Charlie Mariano, who plays with what can only be described as inspiration, reacting to every twist and turn of the music almost before it happens. It is an astonishing performance from a musician I have never much admired in the past. This must be the summit of his career.
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Impulse 2-on-1: Illumination! / Dear John C.
Impulse 2-on-1: Illumination! / Dear John C. by Elvin Jones (Audio CD - 2011)
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