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Conception Vessel Import

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, Import, September 30, 2008
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Conception Vessel: Touchstones Series
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 30, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B001CITRGM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,151 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
This interesting album was Motian's first as a leader, from 1972. Though these days it's almost a cliche to refer to the "ECM sound", the label was very eclectic and diverse in its earliest years. Conception Vessel is no exception to that rule.

Motian's first two albums for ECM (Conception Vessel & Tribute) remind me of Tony Williams's two 60s albums for Blue Note; in each case, an extremely innovative drummer showed off his chops as a composer, and at the same time broke stereotypes about what a drummer-led session should sound like. Not unlike Williams's debut (Life Time), Conception Vessel includes an array of different lineups.

Two of the tracks include a trio of Motian, Charlie Haden and the underrated guitarist Sam Brown. (Sandwiched in between is "Ch'i Energy", a brief drum solo.) Brown plays acoustic on "Georgian Bay" and electric on "Rebica". This sound would be more fully realized on the 1974 album Tribute; the tracks start off somewhat aimlessly, but pick up in intensity and focus as they go along. "Rebica" in particular gets nice and wild in the end.

Two other tracks ("American Indian" and "Conception Vessel") feature Motian in a duo with his then-boss, Keith Jarrett. "Conception Vessel", one of Motian's most memorable compositions, is given a brilliant performance here. Motian's compositions seem to bring out the more abstract side of Jarrett's piano playing. "American Indian" is a brief, pleasant but throwaway track with Jarrett playing flute rather than piano.

The album's closer, "Inspiration from a Vietnamese Lullaby", is a quartet performance with Haden, violinist Leroy Jenkins, and flute player Becky Friend. The interplay between Jenkins and Friend is ecstatic and beautiful, creating a softer-toned variant on the 60s "New Thing".
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