Sunday, January 22, 2017

Jack Dejohnette - 1974 [1994] "Sorcery"

Sorcery is an album by Jack DeJohnette featuring Bennie Maupin, John Abercrombie, Mick Goodrick, Dave Holland and Michael Fellerman recorded in 1974 and released on the Prestige label.

A lot of rambling takes place on this interesting but erratic LP. Drummer Jack DeJohnette (doubling on keyboards) performs three songs with a group featuring bass clarinetist Bennie Maupin and the guitars of John Abercrombie and Mick Goodrick; the music shows the influence of fusion (most obviously on "The Rock Thing") and has its strong moments (much of the nearly 14-minute "Sorcery #1"). But the attempt at humor on "The Right Time" is self-indulgent. The second half of this release, with trios by DeJohnette, bassist Dave Holland, and Michael Fellerman on metaphone (whatever that is).

This CD is awesome. It's creative, soulful, got a funk-edged blues jazz and is from 1974 (need I say more?). John Abercrombie and Mick Goodrick on guitars, Dave Holland on bass. DeJohnette's got a lot going on here. His horn work in Sorcery #1 (13:51) is fantastic, but while I enjoy all the solos here, what really impresses me is the rhythms and progressions they vamp over. They're very smooth, near progressive rock pieces. Track 4, The Reverend King Suite is a 6-part suite (though at only 14:19) with such colorful titles as A) Reverend King B) Obstructions C) The Fatal Shot D) Mourning E) Unrest F) New Spirits On The Horizon. If I didn't know any better I'd say these looked more like tracks off a Wishbone Ash album. 1974 is vintage stuff whether rock or jazz and this album is no exception. I think people who enjoy long jam 70s concept rock would like this as well fans of cross-over jazz such Miles' Bitches Brew. Not that the jams here are long (the whole album is only 41 minutes) - it's just that tunes are internally diverse, often hanging or alternating somewhere between a soul-jazz and loose rock feel. With only the occasional foray into cacaphony. If this album could just get 24-bit remastered, well, that would just be the cherry.

Quite possibly the most tripped-out of all albums by Jack DeJohnette – one that really shows his roots in many streams of the free, soul, and fusion jazz scenes of the time – and which is served up with a heck of a lot of surprises in the mix! Jack himself plays both drums and keyboards on the set – plus a bit of c-melody sax – and other players include Benny Maupin on clarinet, Dave Holland on bass, John Abercrombie on guitar, and Michael Fellerman on the metaphone 1 – a great instrument that really makes the sound of the record special. The keyboards are especially nice on the set, and electrify the proceedings in a way that seems to spark even more fire in DeJohnette's drums – especially on the classic break track "Epilog" – an excellent funky number that's almost worth the price of the set! Other tracks include "Sorcery #1", "The Rock Thing", "Reverend King Suite", "Four Levels Of Joy", and "The Right Time" – which is a wild vocals-only number!

"Sorcery" isn't a Fusion album but an album of Electric Bop. And for this motive "Sorcery" is an album of Fusion. Unreservedly Jack DeJohnette able to record an album very technical and easy to read. This is because Jack has a great musical sensibility and, in a period where everyone was trying to play hard, he tries to communicate what the music can be emotion and melody. With these ingredients "Sorcery" becomes an album of POP Fusion but not an album of POP Jazz, because 100% Bop. (P.s.: I do not have other words to describe this concept... Excuse me).

The experience of "Sorcery" is a sort of trip to the dreams and shadows of an human mind and for this fact I think that "Sorcery" is a good album if magic, inventive and feelings are what we seek in music.

Track listing

    All compositions by Jack DeJohnette except as indicated

    "Sorcery, No. 1" - 13:50
    "The Right Time" - 2:21
    "The Rock Thing" - 4:14
    "The Reverend King Suite: Reverend King/Obstructions/The Fatal Shot/Mourning/Unrest/New Spirits on the Horizon" (John Coltrane/DeJohnette) - 14:19
    "Four Levels of Joy" - 3:09
    "Epilog" (DeJohnette, Dave Holland) - 3:11

        Recorded at Willow, NY in March 1974 and at Bearsville Studios, NY in May 1974


    Jack DeJohnette: drums, keyboards, C-melody saxophone
    Bennie Maupin: bass clarinet
    John Abercrombie, Mick Goodrick: guitars
    Dave Holland: bass
    Michael Fellerman: metaphone, trombone



  2. Thanks so much for this one.

  3. Thanks for the upgrade, sounds fantastic!