201

Elton Dean: Moorsong

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Elton Dean: Moorsong English saxophonist Elton Dean retains the dubious distinction of having put the "Elton" into Elton John. (Yes, it's true. The zillionaire pianist formerly known as Reginald Dwight took his first name from Dean, with whom he performed decades ago.) Dean, who has extensively collaborated with pianist Keith Tippett, appears comfortable in a variety of styles. From blues to swinging jazz, from fusion to free improvisation, Dean does it all on Moorsong.

The first five tunes on Moorsong have a smooth, groovy (and at times quite funky) fusion feel. Dean's distinctive voice on the saxophone sets this quartet apart from the vast sea of organ-based improv groups. While he receives ample support from the other band members, he personally raises the music to a higher level. His relatively constrained melodic work on ballads like "Baker's Treat" does justice to the material, but Dean is at his best on the more up-tempo numbers. Here he freely exercises a vision informed by his experience in many different styles of music. By juxtaposing swinging melodies with punchy thrusts and the occasional squeal, he supplies welcome energy and surprise. Dean's boundary-stretching is the key ingredient which makes the fusiony aspects of Moorsong work.

The next two tunes on Moorsong, "Reel Welders" and "Soldering On," skip in and out of free improvisation. In this setting, Dean's quartet breaks loose, and the individual personalities at work gain clearer voices. These tracks explore space and texture while wandering in and out of a healthy groove. The final tune, an interactive free duet with Dean and guitarist Mark Hewins, places more priority on color and flow.

One must respect Dean's artistic integrity on Moorsong : by mixing the "alternative" sounds of collective improvisation with the more usual ballads and up-tempo fusion numbers, he emphasizes the continuum that they indeed represent.


Track Listing: John's Fragment; Willy the Knee; Baker's Treat; Bedrock Ruse; Full Fathom Five; Reel Welders; Soldering On; Moorsong.

Personnel: Elton Dean: saxophones; Fred T. Baker: bass; Liam Genockey: drums; Mark Hewins: guitar; Alex Maguire: Hammond organ; Mark Sanders: percussion.

Title: Moorsong | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Live At The Open Gate" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Open Gate
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "The BBC Sessions Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review The BBC Sessions Vol. 1
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Blues Revival" CD/LP/Track Review Blues Revival
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Z Octet" CD/LP/Track Review Z Octet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Forage" CD/LP/Track Review Forage
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.