All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath: Eclipse at Dawn

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
The advent of a recording from the Brotherhood of Breath is a time of eager anticipation. The band was always inventive, their music challenging. They rode the winds of free jazz, added the flavor of dance music and enticed with the beat of the kwela. They bring all these elements together once more on this live recording from the Berlin JazzTage festival on November 4, 1971.

The music on the recording is continuous. Yet it does not weigh heavily. They change the impetus to good effect, moving from a danceable beat, to a free-for-all, to a swinging big band sound.

They find a blue feeling on "Eclipse at Dawn." Dissonance pulls in several strands, the trombone, the tenor sax and the trumpet stimulating the feeling into a slow, but steady flow. Nick Evans (trombone) lets the motifs fall steadily in the midst of a barrage of sound from the rest of the band that whirls and eddies and laps tumultuously at the core. The dizzy atmosphere is then braised by Mike Osborne's alto sax before the eddying air blows out and into "The Bride," the longest tune on the CD.

The Brotherhood showed collective imagination and an individual flair, working one into the other for impressive results. "The Bride" turns that trait up in trumps. It's a happy, jumpy tune that dissolves when Gary Windo (tenor sax) rips in, his playing manifested by the hard convulsions that cast themselves out of his horn in frantic cry. He is unfettered, but he has the vision and the logic to be the lifeblood. The Brotherhood come back to revel in collaborative and delightfully manic improvisation.

The Brotherhood also worked remarkably well in a big band swing groove. "Now" has sparkling ensemble lines, a pliant rhythm, and solos that do not break out in frenzy. Alan Skidmore (tenor saxophone) makes it all the more entertaining with ideas that sparkle in the mainstream.

"Nick Tete" devolves on snappy, happy dance rhythms. The melody is irresistibly catchy and the band fills it with a rainbow of colors. There is a slight tempest that moves in about midway, but it only adds to the attraction.

The music is vigorous, exciting and downright engaging. And that's what the Brotherhood of Breath was all about.

Track Listing: Introduction by Ronnie Scott; Nick Tete; Restless; Do It; Eclipse at Dawn; The Bride; Now; Funky Boots March; Ronnie Scott and Chris McGregor send-off and applause.

Personnel: Harry Beckett: trumpet; Marc Charig: trumpet; Nick Evans: trombone; Malcolm Griffiths: trombone; Chris McGregor: piano; Harry Miller: double bass; Louis Moholo: drums; Dudu Pukwana: alto sax; Mike Osborne: alto sax; Alan Skidmore: tenor sax; Gary Windo: tenor sax.

Title: Eclipse at Dawn | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
Our Prayer

Our Prayer

Fledg'ling Records

Up To Earth

Up To Earth

Fledg'ling Records


Related Articles

Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Denmark I Was Born CD/LP/Track Review
In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983 CD/LP/Track Review
In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read A Year Ago Today CD/LP/Track Review
A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Dreams of Belonging CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Hallways" CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "All the Rivers – Live at Panteão Nacional" CD/LP/Track Review All the Rivers – Live at Panteão Nacional
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "When The Birds Leave" CD/LP/Track Review When The Birds Leave
by Don Phipps
Published: March 1, 2018
Read "Putting Off Death" CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Turbulence" CD/LP/Track Review Turbulence
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Alto Gusto" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017