A fanfare of trumpets launches this most exciting but hard-to-describe live recording into its own orbit of jazz. It's part Charles Mingus, part Sun Ra, part Duke Ellington, part Carla Bley, but all original, captivating the listener's attention immediately and not letting go. Following the frenetic opening of "Part 1 and a relatively frenetic opening to "Part 2, the tension eases into a more relaxed and almost rock-based 4/4 feel. "Part 3 begins contemplatively with an interwoven guitar soloing between other instruments and soloists before breaking up into a tight, moderately fast piece.
The short, dirge-like trombone solo on "Part 4 introduces a sombre, part-improvised, part-scored work which picks up pace and interest halfway through with the addition of drums. "Part 5 is back to more elaborate collective and individual improvisation, interspersed with subtle and unexpected arranged sections. The no-nonsense big band feel on the start of "Part 6 remains constant for its entire thirteen-plus minutes, and the conversely short ultimate track, "Part 7," is a superb and exciting finale to the album.
Given the calibre of the international musicians featured on this seventy-minute recording, it is probably invidious to single out any of the numerous soloists, but the solos themselves are universally outstanding. A feeling of continuity remains constant throughout, despite the occasional punctuation of audience applause and the fact that the music was recorded in a very large tent.
The whole of Hoarded Dreams works so well because it doesn't manage to get bogged down by any one particular style or genre. It bounces from free or collective improvisation to carefully scored ensemble sections, creating a surprisingly satisfying effect because it exploits a classic characteristic of jazz: creating a mood of tension followed by release. This previously unreleased work is nothing short of an extraordinary masterpiece.
Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7.
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