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.