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Gnu High Original recording reissued

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, August 15, 2000
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 15, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: ECM Records
  • ASIN: B00000DTEF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,005 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
"Gnu High" was released in the mid 70's on the innovative ECM label. It represented one of the last appearances by Keith Jarrett as a sideman.
Kenny Wheeler prior to this album had been primarily associated with the avant garde. This is very much of a mainstream affair. The other participants, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette are on top of their form in this session. Kenny Wheeler plays flugelhorn instead of his usual trumpet.
This is a dream group which unfortunately never recorded again. In Ian Carr's biography of Keith Jarrett, he indicated Jarrett did not feel comfortable with the music. This does not show up in the results as Jarrett is brilliant.
Kenny Wheeler is one of the most underrated musicians in all of jazz. He has a beautiful tone and a strong melodic sense. The compositions are all first rate.
Kenny Wheeler has made many outstanding recordings since this effort but because of the strong supporting cast this remains a classic.
As usual the ECM production standards do not disappoint. Fans of progressive mainstream jazz will enjoy this recording.
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By A Customer on August 9, 2002
Format: Audio CD
It seemed as if Kenny Wheeler set this record up to provide his sidemen with a chance to boost their reputations enormously. Wheeler sets up the CD with his swooping solo over the changes and then Keith Jarrett produces some of the most lyrical piano playing on record. His solo transition on the first track is one of the high points of the album. Dave Holland seems to have ears the size of a house for everything that he picks up and responds to and sometimes seems like a rock in the middle of all the swirling music around him. Jack DeJohnette has a great solo where he stays on his cymbals for so long that when he finally plays one of his toms it feels like finally stepping on firm ground after an atmoshperic ride. Wheeler's writing is consistantly original and beautiful throughout.
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Format: Audio CD
I write in total agreement with the previous reviewer; this is a fantastic album, probably one of Wheeler's best. Although it is hard to imagine Wheeler making less than fantastic album, this is something special because of the fantastic musicians involved. Keith Jarrett plays brilliantly, as usual, and so do Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. All the three compositions are excellent, and Kenny's flugelhorn sound is captured excellently by producer Manfred Eicher.
This an overlooked record in the ECM catalogue, and certainly one of the classics of the era.
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Format: Audio CD
Wheeler likes to use word play with his song titles. Gnu High, Deer Wan, and so on. The creativity doesn't stop there. I purchased this when it came out on vinyl years and years ago and recently picked up the remaster on CD. The intuition between these musicians is on a level with Trane's quartet and Miles' Quintet of the 60's. That's quite a statement if you think about it, but it's true! It's a shame this was really just a pickup band made up of some of ECM's finest talent - probably their greatest rhythm section. Then again, this is the rhythm section that played in Miles band for a couple of years (see The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions) It's a shame it couldn't last and tour but with Jarrett on the keyboards, how could it?

If you are a fan of Miles' last great quintet with Hancock, Carter, Shorter, and Williams - especially ESP - then you are going to love this session.
This is a fantastic recording, very cool and yet it has that unmistakeable ECM-ness about it. Buy buy buy!
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Format: Audio CD
When this came out in the 70s, I bought a used vinyl copy and played it to death. Jarrett sounded so great--and who the heck was the trumpet player? Since, I've learned who Kenny Wheeler is. Oh, yes. As an inveterate fan of these two great artists, I can't say that either has ever made a better album. And that's saying--well, everything. It's beauty, passion, swing, a kaleidoscope of emotions and an emormous underlying tranquility as large as the ultimate oceanic truth played here. Yes, it has stood the test of time--imitated by legions, but still worthy of being played over and again.
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Format: Audio CD
I am a huge Kenny Wheeler fan, and this is my favourite album of his, along with 'Angel Song' (although they are very different).

I will not say any more about Kenny, because it is all covered below, I would just like to highlight the exquisite playing of the rhythm section. DeJohnette plays very freely, in fact, if you could hear what he is playing isolated from the others, you would have trouble discerning a pulse most of the time. Dave Holland is, as always, very alert, and responds to the soloist all the time (incidentally, Dave is also a great composer, if you liked this CD you should try some of his recordings as leader - 'Extended Play: Live at Birdland' is a good place to start). Keith Jarrett is magnificent on this CD - his solo passage on 'Heyoke' is great, just like a short version of his solo concerts with the twenty minute two-chord vamps taken away. His playing on the whole CD is astonishing, in my opinion his best playing on record (and I own a lot of Jarrett).

Overall, a great CD, with four musicians really listening and responding to each other.
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