21 September 2006
CLIFFORD JORDAN - GLASS BEAD GAMES
"In all beginnings...a mystical,magic force,
What course ,what destiny...determined in time"
Strata East in full effect on this fabulous spiritual modal opus from Clifford Jordan with a double quartet line up from 1974.
Here's a great write up about this classic double lp by Kevin Moist from the superb
One of the coolest things about Strata-East was how it provided a space for previous-generation players often considered “too mainstream” by the freejazzers and “too weird” by the mainstreamers to move and grow in personalized ways. In the late ’50s and early ’60s Clifford Jordan was generally heard as a “Coltranesque” player, in his earlier classic style; but most of this Hesse-monickered double LP finds Jordan sailing beyond straight-ahead into deeper skies much more open and spacious. The homage to the inspiration of using swinging hard bop as a base for spiritual exploration is explicit on the tune John Coltrane, with its chant of “…Black Spirit… first newborn…”. While Jordan proves periodically here that he can wail whenever he wants to, mostly his tone and attitude are much less anguished than ’Trane’s often were, instead fountaining forth with a bountiful and dignified good-ness of nature that is at times almost buttery rich in its glow. Seemingly entirely recorded on “Stormy Monday, October 29, 1973”, there’s a loose but charged feel about the proceedings, probably accentuated by the session’s setup: Jordan and drummer Billy Higgins are constant on all tracks, but the bass and piano roles are divided between edgier cuts featuring Stanley Cowell and bassist Bill Lee (Spike’s dad), and more classicist numbers with pianist Cedar Walton and Sam Jones on bass. It’s easy to imagine everyone hanging around the studio egging each other on and feeding off the vibe of great musicians playing for themselves; much good spirit and positive energy radiate from this record.