108

Gong: Live 2 Infinitea/Live In London

Anthony Shaw By

Sign in to view read count
In the age of digital precision, it’s a reassurance to know that the spontaneity of live recording is not extinct. And when the band in question has a sum total of over 100 years of professional experience it’s a tonic to hear the power of the record. The disc provides ample evidence that Gong both should and shouldn’t be included under the jazz rubric! The selection of 14 tracks includes 10 pieces from February’s funk-jazz inspired ZERO 2 INFINITY(SNA 824), featuring all 7 musicians on that CD in league with the same man behind the mixing console since 1973, Switch Doctor David Id. The band’s style still veers like that of its co-founder Daevid Allen between sheer outer-spacedness of his multiple echoed ‘glissando guitar’ (Infinitea and Invisible Temple), to an earthy freeform interplay with the 2 reed layers, veteran Gongist Didier Malherbe on flute, soprano and alto saxophones, and doudouk, and newcomer Theo Travis on saxophones and flute (on Foolefare and Magdalene).

As an introduction to the music of Gong this album represents the same potpouri of styles that has been typical of their production for over 30 years. However the main focus, as the title suggests, is singularly the music of this millenium’s tour lineup. The 10 new pieces are the combined works of all band members – from north african Dervish wind work by Malherbe, to the disco-funk of drummer Chris Taylor and more standard freeform saxophony of Travis. Blended in are 3 standards from Gong’s ‘classic LP’s of the early ‘70’s, Zero the Hero and the Witch’s Spell, Inner Temple and the wistful, poetic Selene, first penned in 1969 by Allen with co-founder Gilly Smyth. She adds her characteristic vocal witchery (originally described as ‘space whisper’) here and elsewhere, while bassist Mike Howlett slips in odd allusions to other of the band’s golden oldies from those halcyon years.

Instead of swaying new listeners to the far-fling Gong diaspora (the band currently being on a 3 continent tour), this album shows their abiding strength is in live performance. They demonstrate energy far beyond that appropriate for a band with an average age well into the 50’s, skills honed during those intermittent decades on the road, and proof that audience contact was the spice that was missing from their last 2 studio CD’s. I can vouch that seeing is believing (a 2½ hour plus non-stop performance witnessed during the summer), but in lieu the of direct experience LIVE GONG will resound around your cranium to your continuing delight.

| Record Label: Snapper | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Chromola CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Nature City CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "The BBC Sessions Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review The BBC Sessions Vol. 1
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Live in Tokyo" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Tokyo
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Gold" CD/LP/Track Review Gold
by Jim Olin
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "In Hollywood, 1971" CD/LP/Track Review In Hollywood, 1971
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 11, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

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!