172

Richard Clay: All Star Tribute to Pablic Picasso and Miles Davis

By

Sign in to view read count
At first blush, an album dedicated both Pablo Picasso and Miles Davis may appear to be honoring the quintessential odd couple. But after you think about it the combination makes sense. Both men went through quite distinctive periods during their respective lives as they moved toward the culmination of their artistic development. Picasso went through his Blue Period, Cubism, finally arriving at Surrealism, which found greater expression in his poetry than his painting or sculptures. Miles Davis, too, went through several states with which most jazz fans are familiar. There were the early days in Bop with Parker and Gillespie, the cool period, the quintet with Coltrane et. al., the impressionist work he did with Gil Evans and finally his ascent or descent, as you will, into exploring the popular musical formats of the day.

Newcomer Richard Clay has written a series of eleven compositions dedicated to the transformation of these two artists. There is nothing earth shaking about this music, except that it is quite listenable and seems to capture the art souls of the two it pays tribute to. Clay is a major performer on this album as well as its creator. His saxophones and especially his flute, are conspicuous on many of the cuts. But much credit for this achievement has to do with the musicians who gathered to join him in this endeavor. Veteran trombonist Curtis Fuller makes his presence known, particularly with a powerful solo on "Blue Cool" which contrasts with Clay's "cool" flute. But it is the trumpet of Eddie Henderson which makes the album go. Henderson is a practicing psychiatrist as well as an outstanding trumpet player straight out of the Miles Davis mold. I'll leave it to others to decide whether his medical training helps in reading Davis, or Picasso. Whatever, his work on cuts as "View of Bitches Brew", which runs the gamut from avant-garde to lilting waltz, has Henderson's muted trumpet dancing with Clay's flight of fancy fluting. There's also some very creative percussion work on this cut by Ray Mantilla. Henderson's trumpet becomes call of the bull ring which was the impressionist subject of Picasso's Minotauromachy, here reflected in "Minotaur I". The 10 minute plus track, "Blue Period", is a musical expression of what many experts call Picasso's more fertile period. Here we hear the sassiness in Henderson's trumpet plays against some very good ensemble work and Clay's flute. Buster Williams' bass holds matters togther on this long piece.

When I first put this album in the player, I was prepared not to like it probably because I get suspicious of albums with somewhat pretentious titles. But this is reasonably good original music played skillfully by good musicians and is recommended.

Tracks:Pablo; Blue Cool; Love of a Lifetime; Blue Miles; View of Britches Brew; Inspiration; Blue Period; View 2; Minotaur I; For Miles; Les Demoiselles d' AvignonTracks:Eddie Henderson - Trumpet; Curtis Fuller - Trombone; Richard Clay - Saxophone/ Flute/Keyboards; Geri Allen - Piano; Buster Williams - Bass; Ray Mantilla - Percussion/ Congas; Lenny White - Drums; Warren Smith - Percussion

| Record Label: Swan | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Tracé Provisoire" CD/LP/Track Review Tracé Provisoire
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Flying Machines" CD/LP/Track Review Flying Machines
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Leaving Everything Behind" CD/LP/Track Review Leaving Everything Behind
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Live in 1967 Volume Two" CD/LP/Track Review Live in 1967 Volume Two
by Doug Collette
Published: May 28, 2016
Read "Rivers" CD/LP/Track Review Rivers
by James Nadal
Published: June 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!