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Sound Travels

5 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 17, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

2012 promises to be a banner year for legend Jack DeJohnette, renowned as one of music's most adventurous artists and prolific drummers. He'll receive a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Fellowship, the highest U.S. honor for jazz musicians. The Chicago-born, New York-based artist will also turn 70, boasting a top-drawer historical resume that ranges from his early days as a charter member of the Charles Lloyd Quartet and his seminal drumming in Miles Davis's pioneering fusion band in the late '60s and early '70s (including Bitches Brew) to his longstanding quarter-century-plus contributions to the Keith Jarrett Standards Trio as well as his own diverse solo career recording for such labels as ECM, MCA/Impluse!, EMI/Blue Note, and his own imprint Golden Beams.

Add to that another crowning achievement: DeJohnette's latest and arguably best album, Sound Travels (a co-release between Golden Beams and eOne). It's a superb genre-spanning, nine-song collection that grooves with Latin rhythms and West Indian energy, muses with meditative tunes, and buoys with straight-up jazz swing. Sound Travels features an array of collaborators, including vocalists Bruce Hornsby (on the funky, bluesy tune Dirty Ground that has AOR hit potential), Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding. Also on board are emerging talents such as trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and guitarist Lionel Loueke (and Spalding, who plays bass on seven of the tracks) and established jazz stars such as saxophonist Tim Ries, percussionist Luisito Quintero and, on one track, pianist Jason Moran.

But DeJohnette is the spotlighted star of the album. He composed all of the tunes (he co-composed Dirty Ground with Hornsby, who wrote the lyrics), he drums with his distinctive and passionate style, and he plays the piano (his first instrument on which he studied classical music from the age of 4 to 14) on nearly all the tracks, including the lyrical solo bookends.

DeJohnette's goal for the album was simple: I love to play grooves and beautiful melodies, he says. It was fun once we got started. It was like, let the juices flow.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 17, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Entertainment One
  • ASIN: B006CLHCSE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,986 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Robert Carraher on February 9, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Filled with Latin rhythms, Caribbean passion merging perfectly with contemplative meditations and some straight ahead jazz, legendary jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette delivers up a disk that feels much younger than his 70 years. There's even a tune that should light up the album orientated rock stations, the bluesy tune with a 7/4 time signature, "Dirty Ground" with Bruce Hornsby on vocals.

Other co-conspirators in this marvelous work include Bobby McFerrin on vocals and percussion and last years surprise Grammy Winner, Esperanza Spalding on acoustic and electric bass as well as an improv vocal on one tune. Joining them are new talents Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet and Lionel Loueke on guitar, plus jazz main-stays, saxophonist Tim Ries, percussionist Luisito Quintero and on one track pianist Jason Moran.

Perhaps the most influential jazz drummer of the last half of the 20th century, Jack DeJohnette was one of the first drummers to incorporate free jazz and world music into his playing, all the while maintaining that deep groove of jazz and R&B in his style. Consequently, he was drawn to play with some of the greatest players and composers in the post bebop era. He played with Bill Evans in 1968 on the acclaimed Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Then, in `69 he became a mainstay with the Miles Davis group and a key component of Davis' master piece of fusion, Bitches Brew.

He's led several groups since the early `70s, including Compost, a jazz-rock group, Directions (with John Abercrombie, Alex Foster, Warren Bernhardt, and Mike Richmond); New Directions (with Abercrombie, Lester Bowie, and Eddie Gomez); Gateway (with John Abercrombie and Dave Holland); and Special Edition (with David Murray, Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, Peter Warren, and others).
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Format: Audio CD
All jazz fans knew that Jack DeJohnette is a jazz master long before the NEA bestowed the formal title upon him a couple of weeks ago (and good for them!) But drummer-led albums don't really appeal to me, so I didn't plan on checking this out until I heard an interview with Mr. DeJohnette on WBGO, New York's great jazz station. What a surprise! First of all, he plays the piano on this album as well as the drums and his keyboard solos are lyrical and meditative. Second, there are amazing players on the album, new young voices like Spaulding and Akinmusire and Ries, and also veteran vocalists McFerrin and Hornsby (!). Third, this album is listener-friendly without being condescending. It is accomplished, but feels somehow home-made, like you're in the studio or even a living room with the players. There's not a trace of the sort of academic sound that too many jazz records have these days. It's what I would call "real music." If you get a chance to hear Jack DeJohnette talk about is music, you also can understand why this music is so warm and generous. He comes from a sadly bygone era in jazz, where there was a sense of adventure and openness in the exploration of music. But this album doesn't sound old at all...it's as fresh as right now. Don't sleep on it.
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Format: Audio CD
A true gem with diachronical value.Amazing compositions from start to finish. A great work really from Mr jack dejhonnette .One of the best jazz records for 2012.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The composition is wonderful as was expected. It could n't be less better. received in time and is being played repeatedly and enjoyable.
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