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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2013
Alto sax player Marion Brown came up with the free jazz of the 1960s, putting in appearances on record with the likes of John Coltrane and Archie Shepp. By the following decade, as the two LPs collected on this disc show, his musical preoccupations had evolved to such a degree that we could only wonder at why he didn't make a bigger name for himself, or at least we could if we had no appreciation of the vagaries of (ahem) the jazz life.

By 1973 Brown's muse was loosely related to that of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Creative Construction Company. Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith was a member of the latter grouping along with Anthony Braxton, and he's present on GEECHEE REFLECTIONS. It ought to go without saying that he's well-versed in Brown's methodology, but there's a risk in saying that of damning the music with faint praise, which will never do as this is rarefied stuff.

The abundance of percussion doesn't result in overkill anywhere, while on a piece like "Tokalokaloka, Part Two" it's the foundation for music which overtly revels in Afrocentricity. Such a notion is of course fraught with implications given the diversity of music that whole continents can and do produce, but with this stuff consciousness-raising has healthy political and social dimensions.

SWEET EARTH FLYING came out in the following year, but Brown clearly had a healthy disregard for the passing of time as the differences between the two LPs are abundant. On a superficial level the percussion has been usurped by keyboards, which happen to be played by Paul Bley and Muhal Richard Abrams, both men whose presence is more or less a guarantee of things happening, as they do on "Sweet Earth Flying, Part 5" but happily not in a predictable fashion, where the keyboards are exceptionally lyrical.

"Eleven Light City, Part 3" could be the stuff of a different band if it wasn't for the unity of Brown's vision and the abilities of the band to bring it to fruition. On soprano sax Brown evokes the spirit of Lol Coxhill, but probably not merely in order to confound expectations.

This set confounds them anyway, along with Brown's one and only ECM album AFTERNOON OF A GEORGIA FAUN. Take the three LPs together and you have a little body of music that's both enigmatic and intriguing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2012
Both these albums have been out of print since shortly after release, undeservedly so. Without hyperbole these are two of the finest albums of the 70s. Brown has the most fantastic tone and plays free but melodic lines of great beauty. The ensemble interplay is fantastic and given the calibre of the sidemen across both records, Leo Smith, Paul Bley, Muhal Richard Abrams, etc, as expected.

Geechee Recollections is slightly earthier than Sweet Earth Flying but if you're a fan of Harold Budd's Pavillion of Dreams, Sweet Earth Flying will be the one for you. Bismillahi Rrahmani Rrahman from the Budd album is very closely related to Sweet Earth Flying.

This release is essential, unfortunately it's too late to benefit Brown who died last year in poverty.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2012
Showing that free jazz can be poetic, moving, delicate, soulful and quirky. The best purchase i've made in a long time.
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