Saturday, August 1, 2009

Elvin Jones - "The Main Force" (1976)

A year along from "New Agenda", Elvin Jones and his group are in a jamming mode, working over looser structures with improvisational groupings amongst the reeds and percussion, with plenty of solo space as well. "The Main Force" is a more african-focused event with early fusion touches, ripped freshly from vinyl and presented here today in WAV and MP3.
Sometimes it sounds like they're all auditioning for Miles Davis' mid-70s live band, none so more than guitarist Ryo Kawasaki, who's coming off Gil Evans' "Music of Jimi Hendrix" and "There Comes a Time" albums, and here keeps his foot planted firmly on the wah-wah pedal, still a year away from smoothing things out considerably on his solo album "Juice". Kawasaki's track "Salty Iron" opens the album.

There are no less than four reeds players here; with Frank Foster and Steve Grossman joined this time round by Dave Liebman (who along with Grossman, of course, had successfully auditioned for the Davis band), and Pat La Barbara, who'd been working with Buddy Rich for the previous decade on albums like "Roar of '74" and "Stick It". La Barbara would continue as a central player for Jones for several years after this.

The woodwinds wind around each other in afro-style coils pushing eastwards on the sprawling fifteen-minute jam "Song of Rejoicing after returning from a hunt", which closes the album. The track is adapted by Jones from the djoboko rhythm of the Ba-Benzele pygmies; and arranged by Gene Perla. Perla doesn't play on this album, but would go on to form Stone Alliance the next year with Grossman and Liebman.

Or, as Todd Barkan writes in his hysterical liner notes :

"Here we are taken on a liferaft shooting the rapids of Elvin's bloodstream. A stream of consciousness hurtling us through lush, green river valleys into dens, electric jungles, and out onto sun-yellowed plains - flowing all the way back to the blood of his African ancestors."

I'll take two of whatever Todd's on, then chase them with a few margaritas.

Elvin Jones gets to break out with his signature thunder rolls on Gene Perla's "Sweet Mama", built around some wild impro from bassist Dave Williams. Williams had played on the first Blackbyrds album and Kenny Barron's "Peruvian Blue", then worked again with Elvin Jones the next year on Hadley Caliman's "Celebration". His composition here is "Mini Modes" - see the preview at the top of the post.

Producer Ed Bland contributes the modal "Philomene", and the man holding down the rhodes (and occasional piano) is Albert Dailey, fresh off Azar Lawrence's "Summer Solstice" and soon to record on Reggie Workman's "Conversation".

Jones confines himself to one percussionist at a time on this album. Angel Allende had built up an impressive track record in the years preceding this album - Mongo Santamaria's "Mongo '70"; Idris Muhammad's "Black Rhythm Revolution" and "Peace & Rhythm"; Lonnie Liston Smith's "Visions of a New World"; and Sonny Fortune's "Awakening"; "Long Before Our Mothers Cried" and "Waves Of Dreams". Allende gets a good workout with Jones on the aforementioned "Song of Rejoicing ... ".

The other percussionist, and the other Dave, is Dave Johnson. Imagine naming your child 'Dave Johnson', destined to be lost amongst forty-eight other 'Dave Johnsons' at the All Music Guide. Child abuse, pure and simple. Sensibly, this particular Dave took on the name Mguanda in the early 1970s, and appeared on both Bayete's classic "Worlds Around the Sun" and Horacee Arnold's "Tales of the Exonerated Flea".

Hope you all enjoy this further slice of Elvin.


01. 'Salty Iron' - 5:15 - (Ryo Kawasaki)

02. 'Sweet Mama'
- 6:22 - (Gene Perla)

03. 'Mini Modes'
- 10:32 - (David Williams)

04. 'Philomene'
- 4:38 - (Ed Bland)

05. 'Song Of Rejoicing After Returning From A Hunt'
- 15:43
Adapted by Elvin Jones from the Djoboko Rhythm of the Ba-Benzele Pygmies; arranged by Gene Perla.


Drums - Elvin Jones
Bass - Dave Williams
Guitar - Ryo Kawasaki
Keyboards - Albert Dailey
Percussion - Angel Allende (3-5), Dave Johnson (1-2)
Reeds - Dave Liebman (1-2) , Frank Foster (3-5) , Pat LaBarbera , Steve Grossman (2-5)


Vanguard Records
VSD 79272
Producer - Ed Bland
Recording Engineer, editing and mixing - Ben Taylor
Cover photos - Joel Brodsky, Frank Kolleogy
Design - Rafael Rovira

ALSO BY ELVIN JONES at this blog :
"New Agenda" (1975)
"Summit Meeting" (1976)
"Time Capsule" (1977)


Vinyl rip and scans by Simon666

Other albums linked to in this post are at the blogs Ile Oxumaré, Regaláme Esta Noche, JJ's Jazz and Such, Music You Don't Care About, My Jazz World, Pharoah's Dance, Flabbergasted Vibes, Happy as a rat in a Cheese Factory, Into the Rhythm, and DJ Ulison Professor Groove. Please thank these folks when you visit them - comments keep music blogs alive.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Simon. I really enjoyed "New agenda" and I am looking forward to hearing this one. Thanks again for sharing your passion. It's a marvellous blog and I have become addicted to it! Your "blogwatch" is really cool too.

blunto said...

wow thanks!!

Simon666 said...

tbanks Kermit and blunto :)

RowanB said...

yeah i also enjoyed the other elvin joint so thx

E-mile said...

hi Simon, I have this at home...on CD!!! it's a neat reissue in digipack on "cometrecords" just a bit too big to fit in my regular CD-racks. Nice album, good posting on mr. Jones [:-)
peace, E-mile

Simon666 said...

Hey e-mile -
Comet Records! That must be a rare one, could only find one ref. to a shop that used to have it but doesn't now ... I knew there was a Vanguard re-release in 2001, which is now "discontinued by the manufacturer", like his other ones from that label ...

hippo said...

I've never heard of this one. Thanks a lot!

JTF said...

Another I can't wait to hear!

ish said...

Thank you as always Simon!

mwgilbert said...

Thanks very much. You post interesting music!

chayjazz said...

Thanx for this one, and all the others.


MFS Equipe ♪ said...

Like someone syas...the horse with no name....



verge said...

What a great cover!!
Just from that and the snippets, this is already destined to be a great listen.

AmBrOsE said...

Thanx for sharing this album simon ;-)

Simon666 said...

Hi again guys,
I’ve now posted Elvin Jones – “Time Capsule (1977), carmen geddit ☺

Solomon said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this and all the good music. Your blog is much appreciated.


Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments guys :)

hey Jazzypier, drop me an email if you have time ....

lcbriza said...

Thanks again Simon!

Art Simon said...

I really like this one. The post Miles groove is great. Thanks!

hulaboy said...

Thanks a lot - I nutted on this when it came out.

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot for your great work. this one is really phantastic (like many others of your posts & rips)...

greetings from a fusion-addict


Simon666 said...

Hi guys –
I’ve now posted Elvin Jones – “Summit Meeting” (1976) , come check it out.

Jeroen said...

Thank you Simon for this Elvin Jones serie! The snippets of this one promise a lot...

Anonymous said...

Never too much Elvin Jones, so many great albums from the 70's... Checkout Genesis and Polycurrents if you can find them.

heebiejeebies said...

hey man thanks so much for posting all of this great music! been dying to find stuff like this online. Lovin the Donny Hathaway album Extensions of a Man as well as allof this Elvin...had no idea this all existed!

Anonymous said...

Big thanks. Great stuff

Unknown said...

Incredible. I take a weekly masterclass with Pat LaBarbera, so this is a great find. Thanks!

hipsauerkraut said...

Thank you, excellent one from Mr. Elvin Jones, never heard that one before, but really like it. Btw I've added your site to my recently opened blog.

Vile said...

Could you upload this to somewhere else since it seems only premium members can download this from rapidshare. Thanks for the awesome blog. Keep funkin!

Anonymous said...

Vile, welcome to blogland!

Now, learn how it works. Rapidshare is free or cheap. Simon666 is not your servant. Enjoy!

verge said...

@Vile- For all the music you're going to find on the net, it's definitely worth it to buy a rapidshare account.

No, it's not free.
Though, if you don't want to pay, you can still download, but I believe you can only download one file at a time.
I think that's the deal.
So, you probably had something else downloading when that happened.

If you're new to the blogosphere, welcome and you are in for some real treats!


Anonymous said...

Thank you - Much appreciated

jazzlover said...

Kawasaki plays much like McLaughlin during Miles' Bitches Brew era. So funky-fantastic! This is a really good fusion.

Thanks for this album Simon 666. Much appreciated.


oui said...

thank you! elvin jones is great

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this!

jazztap said...


Keith said...

Thank you very much

Pippo said...

Thank you so much Simon, this me is a great find. Shall the Rhodes live forever !

grumpy said...

Wonderful to find this here with lossless links still active! Many thanks.

Simon666 said...

Glad you're still digging down here and enjoying it folks, thanks for the comments :)

Nick said...

thx very much...this is a history lesson for newcomers~BeatNick

Anonymous said...

great stuff - thanks so much for posting / hosting all this wonderful music.

regarding Elvin specifically - way too long since I've listened to him doing his thing.
One of the most vital sounds in jazz (even if he does sound a bit out with the ensemble at times here!).

Did get to seem him live with the jazz machine at ronnie scotts - you've brought back a good memory of that for me through these posts.

thanks again