Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Simon says :
Yesterday's Julian Priester album "Love, Love" was one of a set of albums made by members of Herbie Hancock's early 70s Mwandishi band after the albums "Mwandishi", "Crossings" and "Sextant".
Colin Buttimer noted the two Eddie Henderson albums, "Realization" and "Inside Out", but others that should be added are Bennie Maupin's "Jewel In the Lotus" and this album, "Pinnacle" by Mwandishi bassist Buster Williams.
I previously had the track "Batuki" from this album on Rhodes Compilation #6. As well as Onaje Allan Gumbs' typical great rhodes playing, the upfront mix of Buster Williams' funky, agile basslines and Guilherme Franco’s energetic mixed brazilian-african percussion make for a rhythmic, spiritual feast that place this album, in some ways, as a bridge between what we might call the Mwandishi and Headhunter periods of 70s jazz.
Doug Payne said :
Whereas the other Mwandishi members recruited band mates like Hancock for their solo projects, Buster Williams opts here to recreate the sound, keeping only drummer Billy Hart from the original band. Onaje Allan Gumbs is especially Hancock-like on the occasionally electric eclectics (notably on the funky "The Hump") and more frequently required piano backbone (especially appealing on the gospel-ish "Noble Ego" and the more exotic "Batuki"). Reed players Earl Turbinton and Sonny Fortune share duties recreating the swagger and the sweetness of Bennie Maupin, while trumpeter Woody Shaw brings his own trademark bop sound to the title track and "Batuki." The addition of Guilherme Franco’s percussion and vocalists on "Noble Ego" and "Pinnacle" suggest that Pinnacle is a descendant of drummer Norman Connor’s Mwandishi-like records, "Dance of Magic" (1972) and "Dark of Light" (1973).
The program’s five long selections set up interesting ostinatos that allow for thoughtful, well-considered improvisation. Buster Williams himself is outstanding, particularly well featured in his self-designed spaces and never as out of place or obstructive as a strong rhythm player can too often be. He suggests that he had ably developed a language beyond the more familiar diction of Ron Carter and one that clearly laid the foundation for Stanley Clarke.
1. 'The Hump' (Williams) - 11:31
2. 'Noble Ego' (Williams) - 6:57
3. 'Pinnacle' (Williams) - 4:47
4. 'Tayamisha' (Williams) - 6:32
5. 'Batuki' (Gumbs) - 14:18
Buster Williams - electric and acoustic bass, vocal (3)
Earl Turbinton - soprano sax (3,4,5); bass clarinet (1,3)
Sonny Fortune - soprano sax (1,3); flute (5); alto flute (3,4)
Woody Shaw - trumpet (3,5)
Onaje Allan Gumbs - acoustic piano, electric piano, moog synthesizer, arp string ensemble
Billy Hart - drums
Guilherme Franco - percussion
Suzanne Klewan - vocals (2,3)
Marcus - vocals (2,3).... and Simon adds :
Although this was Williams' solo debut, it's part of a long line of great collaborations around this time between the players represented here.
Apart from those already linked in the post, I'd recommend:
Harry Whittaker's vast "Black Rennaissance"(Williams, Hart, Shaw)
Carlos Garnett's "Black Love"
(Williams, Hart, Franco, Gumbs)
Woody Shaw's "The Moontrane"
(Shaw, Williams, Gumbs, Franco)
Sonny Fortune's "Waves of Dreams"(Williams, Shaw)
Norman Connor's "Saturday Night Special"
Harold Land's "A New Shade Of Blue"(Williams, Hart)
More BUSTER WILLIAMS around zee jazz blogs:
"Crystal Reflections" (1976) at Ile Oxumare
"Heartbeat" (1979) at El Goog Ja
Other blogs linked here :
Oufar Khan, Bug in The City, Abracadabra, Blog-o-Blog, Manepipoca's Music House, Pharoah's Dance, My Jazz World, Ile Oxumare.