Back to Business Best Books of the Month Valentine's Day Shop Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon King Bose SoundTouch 130 Amazon Fire TV Stick Grocery Valentine's Day Cards Create an Amazon Wedding Registry Amazon Gift Card Offer chiraq chiraq chiraq  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage Prime Exclusive Savings in Video Games Shop Now SnS
Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential companion piece to 'Electric Byrd' (or is it the other way around...), January 6, 2010
This review is from: Kofi (Audio CD)
If there is one definitive piece of evidence that Blue Note records went in the toilet the second Alfred Lion left the fold, it is Donald Byrd's "Kofi". Or rather, it is the fact that this excellent material was scrapped and not released for over twenty years while the label sought to appease its new ownership, United Artists, with aimless commercial slop in the meantime. I'm certain that one listen to this music from any jazz fan would confirm my contention that such a disgrace cannot be overstated.

Byrd, of course, would eventually give the company men what they wanted with the crossover twaddle of "Black Byrd", but in the late '60s fusion still belonged to the realm of intelligent experimentation. The sessions that produced the five tracks on "Kofi" were some of the very best that came in the influential wake of Miles Davis' seminal, early 'jazz-rock'; at least at this point in time, Byrd sounds as if he absorbed the essence of what made that music so amazing and was able to filter it through his own creative lens without sounding like a carbon copy of "In A Silent Way". This is due largely to the fact that he made a conscious effort to blend atmospheric electric colors with a thematic African flavor, which lends the album its own unique character.

The most essential element Byrd incorporates here is that of sonic space. In particular, the minimalist groove of "Fufu" and the dominance of an echoplexed, Herbie Hancock-like Fender Rhodes on "Perpetual Love" provide lush and vivid backdrops for Byrd and tenor saxophonist Frank Foster (who is absolutely fantastic on this record) to undertake some of the best soloing of their respective careers. Keyboardist Duke Pearson, bassist Ron Carter, Byrd, Foster, and drummer/percussionist Airto Moreira (making an auspicious recording debut) gel fabulously on these tracks, never coming close to overstepping one another or undermining the integrity of the overall canvas. On the opening title song, they are joined by flautist Lew Tabakin, who turns in a riveting performance, blowing a steady cascade of notes over the pointed brass arrangements and Pearson's rich chordal tones. Moreira then rises to the occasion, endowing "Fufu" with its accented rhythms, while Byrd and Foster share the limelight in "Perpetual Love", attaining a sublime series of trade-offs. The final two tracks, "Elmina" and Foster's "The Loud Minority", feature a heavier emphasis on volume and funk/rock influences, with Mickey Roker, usually a more subtle player, adding a far more aggressive approach to the drums. Although these songs are not as strong in a musical or environmental sense, the strength and conviction of the playing ensures that the thread of quality is maintained through the entirety of the set.

"Kofi" is truly one of the lost treasures of this short-lived but highly fertile period where jazz musicians were beginning to explore the possibilities of different styles and instrumentations, before the overindulgence of electronics and abandonment of improvisation swept the entire spirit of it away. It may be unfathomable that it rotted in the vaults for years, but at least it's out there now to be found (though certainly not in most stores) - and it does make for a hell of exciting find when you come to it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Philadelphia, PA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,929,810