230

Charles Earland: Intensity

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
For 1972's Intensity, Charles Earland's fifth of ten Prestige discs, the Mighty Burner seemed to be aiming toward something a little different than his usual collection of soulful tenor-organ jams. The presence of two songs from the rock group Chicago and a small trumpet-dominated horn section indicate that jazz-rock was the goal. The result, the LP's four original tracks plus two tracks from the same date originally released as part of Charles III, is one of his very best.

Unfortunately, though, Intensity has the notorious reputation as the last recording trumpeter Lee Morgan participated in (done two days before his girlfriend shot him to death). But Morgan is perhaps the least notable aspect of what makes the record work well. His playing here - and elsewhere at the time - sounds rather indifferent, sometimes sloppy and far less stellar than the glowing commentary he offered up on a string of excellent Blue Note records throughout the 1960s (evident on his own lackluster "Speedball," also included here).

What does stand out is Earland's strong performances, especially on two lesser known Chicago tunes ("Happy Cause I Love You" and a "Lowdown" that is not Boz Scaggs's more famous hit, as the disc's liners imply). Both are punctuated for effect with a needless fuzz guitar. But it doesn't detract from the attractive energy the Earland-Laws-Morgan triumvirate achieves.

Earland also contributes two of his own above average originals: the wonderfully melodic medium tempo swinger, "Cause I Love Her," and the cooking "Morgan" (named after the fact of death, but neither a Morgan feature nor specifically dedicated to him).

One notices, too, the interesting sound spectrum engineer Rudy Van Gelder achieves here. The occasional trumpet punctuation (arranged by Earland and the underrated trumpeter Virgil Jones) shimmers, even though its glory-hallelujah harshness seems a bit overheated. But the combo tracks are superbly captured. Compare the sound here to any one of Laws's Van Gelder engineered CTI dates. Then listen to any one of Morgan's Van Gelder engineered Blue Note dates. The difference is remarkable. Unfortunately, though, Billy Cobham's exceptionally vibrant drumming sounds as muffled and in-the-next-room as too many Van Gelder sessions did during that time.

The Prestige records Earland made between 1969 and 1974 remain his finest work. Intensity certainly ranks among the best, capturing a fine player at the very top of his game and easily recommended to those who seek meaningful organ jazz and of equal appeal to fans of the ever-diverse Hubert Laws.

Songs:Happy Cause I'm Goin Home; Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow; Cause I Love Her; Morgan; Lowdown; Speedball.

Players:Charles Earland: organ; Lee Morgan, Virgil Jones, Victor Paz, Jon Faddis: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dick Griffin, Clifford Adams: tenor trombone; Jack Jeffers: bass trombone; Billy Harper: tenor sax; William Thorpe: baritone sax; Hubert Laws: flute, piccolo; John Fourie, Greg Miller, Maynard Parker: guitar; Billy Coham: drums; Sonny Morgan: congas.

| Record Label: Fantasy Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Freddie Hubbard Freddie Hubbard
trumpet
Grant Green Grant Green
guitar
Dr. Lonnie Smith Dr. Lonnie Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Lou Donaldson Lou Donaldson
saxophone
Jimmy McGriff Jimmy McGriff
organ, Hammond B3
Johnny "Hammond" Smith Johnny "Hammond" Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Jack McDuff Jack McDuff
organ, Hammond B3
Big John Patton Big John Patton
organ, Hammond B3
Jazz Crusaders Jazz Crusaders
band/orchestra
Les McCann Les McCann
piano
Shirley Scott Shirley Scott
organ, Hammond B3

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "At This Time..." CD/LP/Track Review At This Time...
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Wheel of Time" CD/LP/Track Review Wheel of Time
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 6, 2016
Read "Dogs" CD/LP/Track Review Dogs
by Doug Collette
Published: February 28, 2016
Read "As subtle as tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review As subtle as tomorrow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!