Avante garde, experimental, fusion…all of that and more is what this
music encompasses. Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath was formed
in 1970. Although the lifespan of the group was very short, there
was enough great music recorded to fill an album's worth of material.
This music is very similar to Miles Davis' ground breaking jazz fusion.
The track "Night Poem" is over 20 minutes of free-form jazz. I actually
found it to be overkill. All the rest of tracks were typical length
for the genre and very entertaining with a solid foundation. McGregor
plays the piano and xylophone nimbly and with enough visionary creativity
to invite the listener to enjoy their own private show inside the
confines of their own mind. His support is beyond stellar; every member
of the band contributes with equal amounts of musical intelligence.
Everyone plays to their own strength, thereby letting it all come together seamlessly.
This has to rate as a fusion classic, and one that few too many people
haven't had the pleasure to hear. Now it's available in glorious vinyl
and CD. Either format will prove to be a worthwhile purchase. Staunch
jazz traditionalist need not bother; this is for those that have the
free form mindset. Those listeners that have the gift of hearing all
the parts of the musical composition at once, and separately, will
find this to be a most enjoyable experience.
1. MRA (Dudu Pukwana) 4:58
2. DAVASHE'S DREAM (Mackay Davashe) 7:25
3. THE BRIDE (Dudu Pukwana) 7:35
4. ANDROMEDA (Chris McGregor) 4:05
5. NIGHT POEM (Chris McGregor) 20:37
6. UNION SPECIAL (Chris McGregor) 1:42
Chris McGregor - Piano, Leader, Xylophone
Mongezi Feza-pocket trumpet, Indian flute
Dudu Pukwana-alto saxophone
Ronnie Beer-tenor saxophone, Indian flute
Alan Skidmore-tenor and soprano saxophone
Louis Moholo-drums, percussion
Mike Osborne-alto saxophone, clarinet (by courtesy of Turtle Records)
John Surman-baritone and soprano saxophone (by courtesy of Indian Brandee Productions)