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Early Garrick featuring two jazz giants.
on 12 June 2014
This early Garrick album (plus bonus EP) is distinctly jazzy in comparison with his later work in which he develops a far more classically English style, incorporating influences from English literature and the church. There is no doubt that this is a jazz album (apart from the two "bonus tracks"). Michael Garrick is the definite leader. There is little of that uniquely Harriott inspired free form, despite that Garrick was in awe of Joe Harriott, as he remarks in his biography.
Harriott (alto), Keane (tpt) and Goode (b) (all West Indian immigrants) had worked together in London for many years and had produced the magnificent album "Abstract" three years or so earlier.
The musicianship is, as expected, absolutely first rate throughout the album. The music comes from Garrick throughout and much was written with Joe Harriott and Shake Keane in mind. It is absolutely unique, and in no pastiche of American jazz. Garrick had a great career ahead of him, so for followers of that journey, this album has an important place.
Personally I am less keen on the two final tracks, originally released on a separate E.P. However lovers of more classical / church music, they may have greater appeal. I certainly wouldn't rubbish anything from Michael Garrick even if it isn't to my personal taste.
The loss of Shake Keane (he went back home to teach English Literature) and Joe's untimely death mean that any recording featuring these two stars of the British modern jazz scene of this period are to be treasured.