Bob Downes Open Music Trio: Flashback (2009)
Flashback is a mixture of rehearsal and live recordings made in 1973 in various locations, so the sound quality is never quite up to studio par. However, the compositions and performances more than compensate for this. The mood here is one of pulsating, rhythmic energy, not free enough to lose rock audiences and never clichéd enough to alienate jazz audiences. Of particular note here is the way in which multi instrumentalist Downes (whose main instruments are flute, reeds and vocals) gels with bass virtuoso Barry Guy along with Denis Smith on drums. The fiery and spontaneous execution of the pieces is reminiscent of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Albert Ayler or even Sonny Rollins (on "West Eleven").
Guy's bass work on "Seashore" is stunning and he plays some terrific bass guitar on "Maya," essential listening since Guy virtually never plays electric bass. Flashback which Downes has made available on Openian (the first jazz album on his label in 35 years) is a fascinating piece of jazz history that should be savored. Although Downes no longer performs in public, this truly engaging set of recordings is a testament to the really exciting sound of his open music.
Track Listing: Brasilian Beauty; Funky Groove(I); Funky Groove (II); Wavelength; Asian Aura; Wailing; Whorefying Experience; Seashore; Maya; Blues Ride; Walkin' Runnin' Man; West Eleven.
Personnel: Bob Downes: flute, alto flute, bamboo flute, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, vocals; Barry Guy: double-bass, electric bass; Denis smith: drums.
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde