10 May 2009

DON SEBESKY - GIANT BOX














Reposted from OIR september 07.
I was lucky enough to pick this up on a Japanese cd reissue yesterday so here's a sonically improved rip of this CTI bomb which sounds better than my original vinyl rip.
Don Sebesky for CTI from 1973.I avoided this like the plague for 30 years imagining it to be all that was bloated and bland from CTI which sure churned out some shite in it's time.Then I saw it posted last year at Le Blog de Pekis ripped @128 from the jap cd.And I downloaded it to see if my preconceptions were right.They were not.It was fantastic!Absolutely fucking fantastic!!
From the Axelrod sounding "Psalm 150" and "Semi-Tough" ,the gorgeous "Song to a Seagull" to the banging fusion of "Firebird/Birds of Fire"(Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Stravinsky head on)this really is....All Killer,No Filler.
AMG on the case:
This may have been Creed Taylor's most ambitious single project. As the cash was flowing in the wake of Deodato's massive "2001" hit, Taylor rounded up almost every headliner on CTI's roster, had house-arranger Don Sebesky write big-thinking charts for them, and gave Sebesky top billing and two LPs of space. Two decades later, the lineup reads almost like a gathering of the gods -- Freddie Hubbard, Randy Brecker, Hubert Laws, Paul Desmond, Joe Farrell, Grover Washington, Jr., Milt Jackson, George Benson, Bob James, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira, Jackie Cain and Roy Kral, all on one album. Thankfully the musicmaking lives up to the billing. Everything that gave CTI its distinctive sound and identity is here -- the classical adaptations (Stravinsky's Firebird is merged shotgun-style with John McLaughlin's "Birds of Fire"), elaborate orchestrations and structuring, pop-tune covers, plenty of room for the star soloists to stretch out in a combo format. The stars all come out to shine; Desmond sounds especially inspired in a shimmering "Song to a Seagull" and Hubbard and Washington burn furiously on the appropriately-titled "Free as a Bird." And Sebesky was given a flyer to experiment; hence the wild extended swarms of freeform strings on "Firebird" and Laws' fancy Echoplexed winds on "Fly." The two original LPs were gathered in a classical-style box, complete with a booklet of photos and an interview with Sebesky, but the austere CBS CD reissue condenses everything onto a generic single disc. However less ostentatious, Giant Box still ranks as a sensational coup and a reminder of how potent CTI was at its peak. ~ Richard S. Ginell, All Music Guide
Piano/Electric Piano/Organ/Accordion/Clavinet: Don Sebesky (piano on "Semi-Tough" electric piano on "Firebird/Birds of Fire", "Song To A Seagull, "Free As A Bird" organ on "Semi-Tough" accordian on "Free As a Bird", "Circles" clavinet on "Semi-Tough")Piano/Organ: Bob James (piano on "Vocalise" piano solo on "Free as a Bird", "Circles" organ solo on "Psalm 150", "Semi-Tough")Bass/Electric Bass/Piccolo Bass: Ron CarterDrums: Billy Cobham (on "Firebird/Birds of Fire", "Psalm 150", "Semi-Tough") Jack DeJohnette (on "Song to a Seagull", "Free as a Bird", "Vocalise", "Fly", "Circles")Vocal: Jackie Cain and Roy Kral (on "Psalm 150") Don Sebesky (on Introduction to "Psalm 150", vocal solo on "Fly")Horns and Woodwinds: 16 in all including Randy Brecker, trumpet and flugelhorn Garnett Brown, trombone 3 trumpets, 5 trombones, 2 French horns, five sax/flutes, one tubaGuitar: George Benson (solo on "Semi-Tough") Harry Leahey (on "Firebird/Birds of Fire")Percussion: Airto (on "Firebird/Birds of Fire", "Circles", "Semi-Tough") Rubens Bassini (conga on "Psalm 150") Dave Friedman Phil Kraus Ralph McDonald (on "Psalm 150")Saxophone: Paul Desmond (alto solo on "Song to a Seagull", "Vocalise") Joe Farrell (soprano solo on "Circles") Grover Washington, Jr. (alto solo on "Semi-Tough" soprano solo on "Free As A Bird")Vibraphone: Milt Jackson (solo on "Vocalise")Trumpet/Flugelhorn: Freddie Hubbard (trumpet solo on "Firebird/Birds Of Fire", "Psalm 150" flugelhorn solo on "Free As A Bird")Flute/Soprano Saxophone: Hubert Laws (flute solo on "Firebird/Birds Of Fire", "Fly", "Circles")Violin: 14Cello: 4Harp: Margaret RossConcert string bass: Homer MenschVocal background: Lani Groves, Carl Caldwell, Tasha Thomas
The interlude between "Fly" and "Circles" is performed by Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter, Joe Farrell, and Hubert Laws.
Reissued in Japan on cd but tough to find-no vinyl reissues.

15 comments:

bacoso said...

japanese cd reissue ripped @320:
http://rapidshare.com/files/231349301/Don_Sebesky.rar

E S said...

Thanks. After your prologue, I decided to check this one out.
We all know that Sebesky has talent and knowledge, but after ruining the albums of many a great improviser with over bearing arrangements - does he have taste ? It looks like I'll soon find out.

fritz the cat said...

Totally agree on CTI, those saccharine merchants. Thanks for this one, I hadn't even got around listening to the previous version you had put up!

fritz the cat said...

brilliant version of birds of fire!

titles are wrong though, I'm afraid semi-though is actually birds of fire, I don't know about the others

cooljazz said...

Lots of memories with that album. Thank you.

Slidewell said...

I used to avoid CTI like the plague, but my tolerance for the slick cheesey has grown a bit, so I don't always throw the baby out with the bathwater anymore. This looks just wack enough to be truly awesome! thanks!

truelivin said...

Thanks! Gonna see what it is....

Smithy said...

Thanks.

Moes Lake said...

When I read 'Firebird/Birds of Fire' something sparkled in my heart. That's for me! Thanks!

hideo said...

got your original rip waybackwhen and looking forward to reacquainting myself with it

thanks

Art Simon said...

Love this one! This was unknown to me until your first post, and this one ups the ante. Thanks so much!

leffe said...

Super!

taro nombei said...

About time I took the CTI plunge. I've shied away too in the past, tho I'm not a total virgin - I love some of those early Freddie Hubbard albums.
Anyway thanks for convincing me!

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jpo said...

thanks for the cd rip-- tho i gotta say, scratches aside, the LP rip sounds better to me-- more spacious, and rich with better clarity... not sure why the japanese remaster decided to darken down the colors?
anyhow, there are tons of great CTI moments among the treacle.
Johnny Hammond's Live version of Carole king's "It's Too Late" with George Benson and all of Hubert laws "Morning star" as well as every note Ron carter ever laid down on Creed Taylor's watch. All of it intense, swinging and sublime. In fact, i'd argue without CTI, Ron carter might not have developed quite the same signature.

Just as there are tons of boring post bop moments scattered throughout the jazz canon ;)