This summit recording by pianist John Hicks, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Cecil McBee might not always hit the heights, but it still impresses with a fine repertoire and quality playing. John Coltrane's "Cousin Mary" kicks things off with Hicks and Jones matching the vigorous interplay the drummer and pianist McCoy Tyner plied so well in Coltrane's classic quartet, while a faithful reading of the tenor giant's airy ballad "After the Rain" is also included.
Cecil McBee (born May 19, 1935) is an American post bop jazz bassist, described by the Guinness Who's Who of Jazz as "a full-toned bassist who creates rich, singing phrases in a wide range of contemporary jazz contexts." Allmusic called him "One of post-bop's most advanced and versatile bassists"
Still known as Dollar Brand at the time of this recording, Abdullah Ibrahim had his first encounter with a large ensemble on African Space Program, and the results are quite successful. Despite a muddy sound quality, this is music built on infectious themes and played with verve by a fine cast of instrumentalists. The first part of "Tintiyana," entirely written, is redolent of Ellington and Mingus, all churning low tones and percussion. When the second portion begins, the mood turns celebratory with a striding, gospel-imbued theme supporting heroic solos from all involved. Several of the musicians on hand were generally involved with the avant-garde end of the jazz spectrum at the time, and their playing is full of bite and a risk-taking nature that greatly enlivens the proceedings.
Altoist Art Pepper, in the midst of a successful comeback, recorded this excellent set (also included in full in his massive Galaxy box set) for Galaxy. With pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Roy Haynes, Pepper performs a definitive version of his intense ballad "Patricia"; other highlights include "Miss Who," "Lover Come Back to Me" and "Chris' Blues." The CD reissue also has a second alternate version of "These Foolish Things".
This is another excellent effort by Chico Freeman, who is heard on tenor, flute and bass clarinet. The instrumentation varies on each selection during the LP, which also features trumpeter Wallace Roney, pianist Clyde Criner, bassist Cecil McBee, drummer Billy Hart, and Jack DeJohnette on drums and piano. Other than Thelonious Monk's "Jackie-ing" (Monk had recently passed away), the repertoire is comprised of originals by Freeman, McBee and Criner. Even if none of the songs individually caught on, they help set an exploratory yet fairly accessible mood, as Chico Freeman does his best to move the mainstream of jazz forward a bit.
R.I.P. Arthur. In Memoriam. Given the urban title of alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe's debut Columbia album, it's quite a shock when he and his red-hot band of collaborators that include James Blood Ulmer on guitar, Bob Stewart on tuba, flutist James Newton, bassist Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette open with the decidedly funky Latin breaks on "Down San Diego Way." It's not a vamp and it's not a misleading intro, the first of four tracks showcases not only the deep versatility of the rhythm section, but Blythe's own gift as both a composer and as a soloist. He states the melody, handing off the harmonics to Ulmer and Newton and then flies high into the face of its chosen changes, allowing the beat to change under him several times before bringing back a theme and letting Ulmer solo.
Although brief at just over 42 minutes long, this is a satisfying effort from pianist Kenny Barron. His second Enja release documents a quintet consisting of trumpeter Wallace Roney, tenor saxophonist John Stubblefield, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Victor Lewis. The entire quintet is showcased on four Barron originals, the haunting melody of "Phantoms," the freebop of the title track, the relaxed swing of "Voyage," and the lovely waltz "Lullabye."
Journey in Satchidananda is the fourth solo album by Alice Coltrane. Its title (and title track) reflects Coltrane's inspiration by Swami Satchidananda, to whom she had become close, and whose disciple she was. "Shiva-Loka", or "realm of Shiva" — the realm of the third member of the Hindu trinity, the "dissolver of creation". "Stopover Bombay" refers to a five week stay in India and Sri Lanka on which Coltrane was due to go in December 1970. "Something About John Coltrane" is based on themes by her late husband, John Coltrane. "Isis and Osiris", on which Charlie Haden replaces Cecil McBee on bass, and Vishnu Wood plays oud, indicates Coltrane's interest in Middle Eastern and North African music and culture. The presence of the tamboura, played by Tulsi, reflects Coltrane's interest in Indian music and religion.
Features SHM-CD format and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. One of the most dynamic albums that Andrew Hill ever cut for Blue Note – a record of long tracks, played by a largeish group who seem perfectly suited to Hill's most creative musical ideas! There's an approach here that almost predates some of the more righteous soul jazz ensemble sides of the 70s – as Hill's piano leads a octet that features Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, John Gilmore on tenor and bass clarinet, Cecil McBee and Richard Davis on basses, Joe Chambers on drums, and Nedi Quamar and Renaud Simmons on percussion. The percussionists roll out with quite a bit of presence in the set – not so much as on some of the Art Blakey percussion sides for Blue Note, but more with a pronounced sense of "bottom" that you might not always hear from Hill – an earthy, sometimes organic way of riffing that then allows freer solo work from the horns and piano on the top!