22 September 2006


Here is my last post on Strata East for the moment and it's the great Cecil McBee - I have so many albums with him as a sideman I thought it was fitting that this solo album by him should be posted.This features the terrific "Tulsa Black" track that was compiled by Soul Jazz some years ago for their Strata East cd.
I have lifted this review from the always excellent and eminently readable Daily Jazz Blogspot-Jazz reviews and comment from one man with an unfeasibly large record collection.

The bass has always been an essential component of the jazz rhythm section, simultaneously holding down the groove while marking out the changes. Bassists of the hard-bop era often got little in the way of solo space (they were too important to be allowed to wander off by themselves) but throughout the 1960s and 70s, perhaps thanks to the gargantuan presence of Charles Mingus, they began to take a more prominent role. Several highly influential figures appeared, like Ron Carter and Dave Holland along with many others. Cecil McBee is perhaps less well-known, but equally talented, having played on seminal works by the likes of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders.
This album finds him firmly placed as leader of an avant-garde group with a distinctly spiritual edge. Mutima is the key to the spirit and culture of black Africa, according to the sleevenote; McBee's compositions certainly evoke that spirit. The music is at times inspirational. The opening "From Within" is a bass solo with McBee playing two acoustic basses simultaneously. The idea of an 11-plus minute bass solo may terrify some, but this is riveting. Not only does he play the basses, but for a section he plays the feedback created by the amplification of both instruments. The sounds he creates are otherworldly and exciting, and not always easy to identify as being produced by an upright bass. "Life Waves" is an ensemble piece, but with McBee taking a prominent melodic role, and demonstrating enormous technical skill with some very fast lines.
The other standout track is "Mutima" itself, which is virtually indistinguishable from some of the work McBee undertook with Pharoah Sanders a few years earlier. Most Strata East recordings are pretty hard to come by, but thankfully this one has been made available as a reissue in recent years (although only on vinyl) so should be pretty easy to track down.

ONAJE ALLEN GUMBS; acoustic and electric piano
GEORGE ADAMS; tenor and soprano sax
CECIL McBEE Jr; electric bass
MICHAEL CARVIN; gong and misc. percussion
JABOLI BILLY HART; cymbals and misc. percussion
TEX ALLEN; trumpet & flugelhorn
ART WEBB; flute


NotGonnaTellYa said...

Only one thing to say.. "WOW". This is great. Thank you.

141743rd said...

Man, I pigged out on all this Strata East. ! What a treat -- I hate to see it end.
Come back soon, brudda.

bacoso said...

more strata east next month-billy harper,heath brothers,charles tolliver etc etc

141743rd said...

I'm drooling. So much spectacular music on that label. Also, IMO, that was a great period where alot of that particular style of avante (see, I've already degraded it with a single word description) gelled nicely, although there certainly are many different "forms" of it on Strata East.

141743rd said...

bacoso said... more strata east next month-billy harper,heath brothers,charles tolliver etc etc

Would you happen to have Pharoah Sanders's "Izipho Zam"? (...if you take requests. If not, no sweat.) Got "borrowed" years ago and never returned. Dying to hear that again. Thanks. -- 43rd

orleyfarm said...

I missed this one the first time around, any chance of a re-post?

E-mile said...

Hi Bacoso, I would add: P.L.E.A.S.E? (for that re-up)
regards, E-mile