Friday, January 18, 2013

If You Don't Know Jack (DeJohnette)

Drummer Jack DeJohnette shows up in a lot of jazz in my collection, playing alongside many of my heroes.  I confess that I was not familiar until today with his work as leader.  That has been remedied.  ECM has released a box set of four albums that DeJohnette recorded under the group title Special Edition.  Jack DeJohnette: Special Edition is the kind of treasure I value very highly: a good slice of an artist's work, offering you several fine albums for a very reasonable price ($27.09 for the MP3 download).  In addition, a number of musicians that I have invested in are featured, including David Murray, Arthur Blythe, and Chico Freeman. 

The four albums are:
  1. Special Edition
  2. Album Album
  3. Tin Can Alley
  4. Inflation Blues
The last of these has not been released on CD before now.  Special Edition presents a lot of edgy avant garde compositions, but it is reasonable accessible over all.  DeJohnette's leadership and the brilliance of his co-conspirators is everywhere evident.  There is a lot of slithering horn on many of the pieces and I am a big fan of the low horns.  One thing that the four albums demonstrate is DeJohnette's command of a number of basic realms in jazz space.  

I am playing 'I know' from Tin Can Alley. This might be my favorite cut from the collection, a delicious walking blues with lots of screaming over guttural horn lines.  
I'm playing 'Monk's Mood' from Album Album.  This has a nice big band sound, putting Monk back into the contexts from which he drew his brilliant melodies.  There is a nice pastel feel to the solos by Murray and Johnson. 
 From Inflation Blues, I am playing 'Starburst'. 
This one reminds me of some of Miles Davis' spacy second quintet recordings, except for the marvelous bass clarinet.  

Finally, I offer 'India' from Special Edition
This great adventure story by John Coltrane is a very fine example of why I love Murray and Blythe and why I have now fallen for DeJohnette.  Be sure to take your passport for this one.  

It could be said that DeJohnette is only covering ground already explored by other intrepid jazz men, but boy does he cover it well.  The Special Edition box is a great buy.  This is one fine jazz man. 

Meanwhile, I am adding 'Meaning of the Blues' from Standards Vol. 1, by Keith Jarrett.  DeJohnette plays drums and Gary Peacock is on bass.  Enjoy.  

ps.  check out the video clips at DeJohnette's home page.  

No comments:

Post a Comment