452

Bob Downes Open Music Trio: Flashback

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
Bob Downes Open Music Trio: Flashback Bob Downes may be a name unfamiliar to many, but to some his name is synonymous with an electrifying period in British jazz. Downes was on the cusp of this new movement and recorded some idiosyncratic albums between 1969 and 1970. Deep Down Heavy was almost a rock album, whereas the as yet un-reissued Open Music recorded for Philips was much nearer to the free jazz genre. Two others were Diversions a trio album (for his own label Openian) and the more rock infused Electric City on Vertigo. This last album employed a host of well-known British jazz musicians including Ian Carr, Kenny Wheeler, Harry Beckett and Ray Russell. But it was his trio work that was the most intriguing.

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.

Title: Flashback | Year Released: 2009


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Mannequins" CD/LP/Track Review Mannequins
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "Illegal Crowns" CD/LP/Track Review Illegal Crowns
by John Sharpe
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "The Big Sound of Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Sound of Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "N.O. Escape" CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Original Demos" CD/LP/Track Review Original Demos
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "Reliquia" CD/LP/Track Review Reliquia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.