Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jack Dejohnette - 1985 "Works"

Jack DeJohnette (born August 9, 1942) is an American jazz drummer, pianist, and composer.
An important figure of the fusion era of jazz, DeJohnette is one of the most influential jazz drummers of the 20th century, given his extensive work as leader and sideman for musicians including Charles Lloyd, Freddie Hubbard, Keith Jarrett, John Abercrombie, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, and John Scofield. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2007.

Works is a series of ten albums whis is being released on the occasion of ECM's 15th anniversary. The series presents recordings of ten musicians who have been working with ECM from the beginning. The Works albums are available in a limited edition only. 

Exceptional compilation from master drummer and composer Jack DeJohnette. Six tracks - no filler. I've been playing this tape in my car all week, and loved every minute of it. From fusion, post bop and even the rather mournful "Blue" this has again sparked my interest in his work.

JDJ is the best jazz drummer ever, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, and since jazz drumming is the most badass & difficult kind, JDJ is probably the best drummer of any kind to ever pick up sticks.  (Andy Sells of FCS North, who is massively indebted to JDJ, is my other favorite.  The incredible Jaki Liebezeit of CAN was another JDJ disciple.)  Jack should be a household name, but for some reason he is not, and that's just criminal.  He's one of the top ten musicians of the 20th century, in my mind.  His main innovation was playing in what could be described as a heat-dazed, stuttery, somewhat "late" (straggling behind the beat) fashion, which disorients the listener in an almost hallucinogenic way, as though time is sort of melting and bending around one's ears.  As contrasted to the way that most "rock" drummers try to just pound away in a very in-your-face, authoritative, metronomic way, and how most early jazz drummers hyper actively clink-clink-clinked on their snares and cymbals without letting the music breathe.  Think about how much more unnerving it is to have someone in a car following you several blocks or miles behind you than it is to have someone tailgating you right on your bumper, if that makes any sense...  Sometimes Jack sounds like a swarm of bees, sometimes like a prowling panther, sometimes like earthquake aftershocks, sometimes like an aurora borealis creeping across the mountains, but he always brings the awesomeness.   Despite his explosive abilities, he rarely tries to Kanye the spotlight away from his bandmates, hence it's no coincidence that his photo is not on this album's cover.  Just a cool shot of a bright light at the end of some kind of alleyway.  Listen to the jaw-dropping 9-minute "To Be Continued."  The only huge drawback is that this LP omits all his groundbreaking playing with Miles Davis (e.g. Bitches Brew & On The Corner), but you should already have that stuff anyway.  In other words, this comp draws on Jack's more under-the-radar collaborations on the ECM label, not the "big-name" albums that he boggled minds on* by dudes like Miles, Herbie, Freddie, Abercrombie, etc., on big major labels like Columbia.  So I doubt there will ever be a truly comprehensive best-of collection for JDJ, since the licensing would cost so much that it'd be unfeasible to put together.  And the 29-minute "Go Ahead, John" from Miles' Big Fun, arguably JDJ's pinnacle of playing, would take up way too much space. 

Track listing:

1  Bayou Fever 8:41
2  The Gri Gri Man 4:45
3  To Be Continued 9:12
4  One for Eric 9:51
5  Unshielded Desire 4:48
6  Blue 8:14

Total length: 45:31


Jack DeJohnette - Drums, Congas, Organ, Timpani, Piano
John Abercrombie - Guitar, Mandolin
Dave Holland - Bass
Eddie Gomez - Bass
Lester Bowie - Trumpet
Terje Rypdal - Guitar 
Miroslav - Vitous - Bass
Dave Murry - Bass Clarinet
Arthur Blythe - Alto Sax
Peter Warren - Bass

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