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Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath

music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath

Artist: Chris McGregor's Brotherhood Of Breath
Genre: Jazz Fusion
Release Date: January 1999

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
3 stars out of 4

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.

Side One 1. MRA (Dudu Pukwana) 4:58
2. DAVASHE'S DREAM (Mackay Davashe) 7:25
3. THE BRIDE (Dudu Pukwana) 7:35

Side Two

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
Nick Evans-trombone
Mongezi Feza-pocket trumpet, Indian flute
Mark Charig-cornet
Harry Beckett-trumpet
Dudu Pukwana-alto saxophone
Ronnie Beer-tenor saxophone, Indian flute
Alan Skidmore-tenor and soprano saxophone
Harry Miller-bass
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)



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