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A Fickle Sonance (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
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1961 recording of swinging hard-bop with Tommy Turrentine, Sonny Clark, Butch Warren & Billy Higgins.
There's a quality in Jackie McLean's Blue Note recordings of the early 1960s, a mix of the hip (the rhythmic swagger, the confident aggression) and the searching, an exploratory fervor and questioning that subtly undermines all assurances, resulting in a distinct and genuine art. It's akin to similar elements in his great contemporaries, Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, but it's definitely McLean's own. In 1961, he was absorbing modal forms into his music and they melded with his blues-based intensity, adding structural coherence to his solos. He's joined here by an excellent band, though two of his key partners are woefully underrated. Trumpeter Tommy Turrentine is a brassy player of the Clifford Brown school, who's capable of genuine warmth at slower tempos. Pianist Sonny Clark, a frequent McLean partner, possessed tremendous linear invention and bluesy depths that complement the saxophonist's own. He also contributes two compositions, "Sundu" and the title track. Drummer Billy Higgins and bassist Butch Warren, both Blue Note regulars, complete the group. --Stuart Broomer
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I recently purchased another recording by him called Action, in which it was more avant garde and "Ornette Coleman" influenced. This session, of which is more "straight ahead" is a fantastic listen from start to finish.
There is such great variety on this cut. Every member of the group except drummer Billy Higgins contributed to the writing on the album. Sonny Clark's Five Will Get You Ten is a great opener. The rhythm's and of course the melody is fantastic. The other Sonny Clark original is Sundu, also a great track.
Mclean's A Fickle Sonance is the title track. Butch Warren sets this nice tempo, where Billy Higgins comes in next, and then the horns. It's pretty cool. Stanely Turrentine's brother, Tommy wrote Enitnerrut for the record. Don't try to say it; it's his last name spelled backwards. And according to Ira Gitler in the original liner notes, if you're the least bit backward, it won't be hard for you to figure out who wrote the tune.
Overall this album was great. Another classic RVG edition in the Blue Note catalogue. This album swings, and you'll dig it!
The first cut is a really catchy swinging tune whose head will stick with you. I don't know how much work Tommy Turrentine and Jackie did together, but they have great chemistry and great balance. Billy Higgins swings hard and this is very cohesive group.
The second track sticks out for me as a rearrangement of "Embraceable You". I also like the Enitnerrut, with it's Afro-Cuban feel.
Jackie Mac has a sound that pierces you to the core. It's sharp and jagged. Flirts with freedom but never forgets its bop influences.
Jackie Mac's work has moved me and this CD is one of several great entry points to the life of a great musician, educator and spirit.