Essence; Live at Vision Festival X, NYC


Sign in to view read count
Don Ellis
Mighty Quinn

Trumpeter Don Ellis was at the nexus of West Coast jazz in the late '50s and early '60s, a veteran of several big bands who appeared on Mingus Dynasty before recording Essence in 1962 (here reissued for the first time). The styles and tempos change (or disappear), but Ellis always plays with a pure tone, emotional restraint and a logical flow that has every note following naturally from the one preceding it. "Slow Space is similar to the silence-heavy music pianist Paul Bley would make with Jimmy Giuffre, and "Irony offers subtle sound effects as Bley reaches into his piano to pluck the strings and someone lets a marble bounce around in a whiskey glass. Ellington and Strayhorn's "Johnny Come Lately is straight-ahead and swinging, and "Angel Eyes is dark and bluesy. Ellis inhabits the standard so convincingly and his playing is so enthralling that you might find yourself hoping he'll carry the tune to its resolution all by himself.

Eddie Gale Now Band with William Parker
Live at Vision Festival X, NYC
Self Released

Last year's tenth annual Vision Festival in New York City marked the return of trumpet legend Eddie Gale. He never went away, of course, remaining active and creative in the Bay Area, but after performing with Cecil Taylor on Unit Structures and releasing his own highly regarded sessions for Blue Note, he only recorded sporadically since. The Now Band lives in the moment, and it's a privilege to hear William Parker sit in for what feels like a special, inspired one-off.

After the band states the compositional themes, each player takes his turn to solo: Parker walks his bass, Gale's tone is scalding and expressive, and altoist John Gruntfest keens savagely. Tenorist Ismael Navarette is smooth by comparison, but he rapidly warms up as the concert progresses, playing soprano with a bite on "African Sunshine. The opening "Remembering John refers to Coltrane, and Gale's music shares Trane's spiritual directive: inner peace can be found, but only after passionate intensity.

Visit Eddie Gale on the web.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Johnny Come Lately; Slow Space; Ostinato; Donkey; Form; Angel Eyes; Irony; Lover.

Personnel: Don Ellis: trumpet; Paul Bley: piano; Gary Peacock: bass; Gene Stone: drums; Nick Martinis: drums.

Live at Vision Festival X, NYC

Tracks: Remembering John; A Minute With Miles; African Sunshine; High Tech Emergency.

Personnel: Eddie Gale: trumpet; William Parker: bass; John Gruntfest: alto saxophone; Ismael Navarette: tenor and soprano saxophone; Valerie Mih: piano; Tee Squire Holman: drums.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Two Sides of John Wetton Multiple Reviews Two Sides of John Wetton
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 20, 2017
Read The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August Rosenbaum Multiple Reviews The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 13, 2017
Read A Sense of Place Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017
Read David Murray Octets on Black Saint Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017
Read New and Notable Releases Multiple Reviews New and Notable Releases
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Pi Recordings 2016 Releases" Multiple Reviews Pi Recordings 2016 Releases
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"" Multiple Reviews Three saxophonists very different paths since...
by John Eyles
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Lee Morgan On Music Matters" Multiple Reviews Lee Morgan On Music Matters
by Greg Simmons
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Badbadnotgood Is Truly Goodgoodnotbad" Multiple Reviews Badbadnotgood Is Truly Goodgoodnotbad
by Dave Wayne
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space" Multiple Reviews Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights" Multiple Reviews 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.