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Slap on your big ol' '70s headphones and get ready for a ride. Cozying up with Eddie Harris's "Silver Cycles," Head Jazz takes your ears (and whatever may be between them) on a hairpinned tour of contemporary jazz. A combination of a Magritte painting and Fellini film, Head Jazz leads listeners down path after crooked path in a never predictable but always fascinating and oddly rewarding series of twists and turns, many of which are contained within the songs themselves.
Yusef Lateef's closing double-shot gives two divergent examples of this surprising sequencing. "In a Little Spanish Town" combines The City Service Quartet on old tyme vocal harmonies with Lateef's burnished horn and "This Old Building" crashes a techno chopper into a gospel house party. The ever-eclectic Joe Zawinul's "The Soul of a Village, Part 2" combines aviary samples with a zydecoed hoedown hora that requires Jimmy Scott's definition of silky "Day by Day" to recover. From David "Fathead" Newman's choral-introduced "You Can't Always Get What You Want" to Hubert Laws' Traffic-y "Equinox," Head Jazz ranges from low sparks to hi heeled numbers. This is not an album just for listening. It is an album to be absorbed and explored.
Track Listing: 1. Silver Cycles - Eddie Harris
2. You Can't Always Get What You Want - David "Fathead" Newman
3. Let's Gather - Les McCann
4. Equinox - Hubert Laws
5. The Soul Of A Village Part 2 - Joe Zawinul
6. Day By Day - Jimmy Scott
7. Island Cry - Rahsaan Roland Kirk
8. Ramblin' - Ornette Coleman
9. The Catbird Seat - The Mitchell-Ruff Trio
10. Lorelei's Lament - Hank Crawford
11. The Lovers - Les McCann
12. This Old Building - Yusef Lateef
13. In A Little Spanish Town - Yusef Lateef
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.