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Journey's End

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1994
$26.99

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1994)
  • Label: Ecm Records
  • ASIN: B0000031RZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,782,658 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Gavin Wilson on June 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Since Mingus, a number of bassists have pursued solo careers -- for instance, Stan Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, Charlie Haden, Al Johnson, Miroslav Vitous and Eberhard Weber. Usually they would first establish their reputation within a group under someone else's leadership. They would cut a solo album or two before leaving the group altogether. But once they leave the security of the group, their fortunes vary tremendously. Pastorius's tragic post-Weather Report career had more downs than ups. Yet Charlie Haden has thrived while going through phases of obsession with liberation politics and more recently LA and film noir.
Since leaving after the marvellous 'Sweetnighter' album, Vitous's post-Weather Report career has been patchy. 'Magical Shepherd' was fairly dire, and it's one the few LPs I own where I am not looking forward to a CD re-master. (Looking for direction, Vitous had even started playing guitar, which Rolling Stone rated 'a big mistake'.)
But suddenly, almost out of the blue in 1983, came this marvellous ECM album. In terms of instrumentation, the line-up is the same as Keith Jarrett's Nordic Quartet -- piano, sax, drums and bass -- and indeed Jon Christensen is the drummer here. But there the similarities end. For sax and piano, Vitous looked to Britain, and the highly distinctive playing of John Surman and John Taylor. Taylor is excellent, and unlike Jarrett, he never forces himself into the foreground. Surman is a one-off, and I really should have many more of his CDs. I particularly like the low notes he gets on baritone sax and bass clarinet. (If you like this album, you should also like 'Road to St Ives', and it is worth experimenting with 'John Dowland -- In Darkness Let me Dwell'.
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By James on March 15, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Journey's End" is sublime. I was very sorry to see this meandering journey end. This is incredible music by the front tier of Britain's contemporary jazz masters. As noted above, few past bassists have succeeded in a solo career of their own. "Journey's End" (1982) marks a high point in Vitous's career as band leader. Vitous was replaced by Jaco in in the 70s band, Weather Report. As good as Jaco was, one wonders what Weather Report would have become with Miroslav Vitous holding down the rhythm section. The ECM sound is superb and the music is creative owing to John Surman's melodic sax/clarinet and painterly treatment. John Taylor's piano work dances and weaves its way around the melodies. Vitous on bass and Jon Christensen on drums propel the music onward and upward. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In 1979 Vitous recorded one of his best albums as a leader, "First Meeting." This album included John Surman on saxophone and clarinet, Kenny Kirkland on piano, and Jon Christensen on drums. His follow-up album to that, simply called "Miroslav Vitous Group," (which I have yet to find), was recorded shortly there after and included the same line-up. This album, "Journey's End," was recorded in 1982 and includes the same personnel as the previous two albums, with one exception: Kirkland has been replaced with John Taylor. As talented as Taylor is, his style doesn't seem to fit with this band the way Kirkland's did.

This record consists of all original recordings; two by Vitous, two by Surman, one by Taylor, and one group piece called "Carry On, No. 1" - which is, oddly enough, the standout track on the album. And while they are all very fine compositions, they're not of the same caliber of "First Meeting."

Surman's "Tess" plays like his solo work, as if the other members were his backup band. And Vitous' opening track, "U Dunaje U Prespurka," is forgettable.

I give the CD 4 stars for "Carry On" and Surman's "Paragraph Jay." If you can find this CD for a decent price, as I did, it's worth a modest investment. But I doubt you'll listen to it constantly.
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