142

John McNeil: Sleep Won't Come

By

Sign in to view read count
John McNeil: Sleep Won't Come John McNeil is a veteran trumpeter and composer who has been part of the New York scene since the late 1970s. He was a member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and the Horace Silver Quintet and has led his own groups. I have two of his Steeplechase albums in my own collection, and although '03's This Way Out received good reviews, I haven't heard any of his work in some time.

The theme of this album is insomnia and McNeil's ability to deal with it. The first half of the session is equally divided between atmospheric ballads and outre free jazz ventures which reflect the bipolar attempt to get some sleep. McNeil's musical companions are Jeff Jenkins, a 1980s New Thing pianist now relocated in Denver; and bassist Ken McLagan, early accompanist of Jane Ira Bloom. The title tune, which opens the album, is a hypnotic ballad, which McNeil plays a la Miles Davis circa 1960, and lures into his web, as does the traditional folk tune "The Water is Wide," which features McLagan's arco statement on the melody. It does not prepare us for the juxtaposition of "The Other World" or "Wired Together," which are sandwiched in between these compositions. The liner notes do a far better job at telling the listener what to expect with "...far out Charles Ivesian piano tone-cluster mashing notes..." a la Cecil Taylor, where McNeil attacks the melody with great ferocity in what surely must be the nightmare part of insomnia.

The schizoid nature of the album serves to emphasize the wide moodswings that it creates. The longest tune, "Each Moment Remains," is a memorable performance that could have been the centerpiece of a more mainstream album, and "Escape from Beigeland" is a neo-bop composition. In "World Without Velco," the interplay between trumpet and piano are neatly illustrated in an smartly tailored manner. Most of the compositons were written by McNeil, with Jenkins providing one tune and co-writing two others.

Track Listing: Sleep Won't Come, The Other World, The Water is Wide, Wired Together, Each Moment Remains, Escape from Beigeland, Penumbra, Polka Party, Somnambulation, Nanotech, World Without Velcro.

Personnel: John McNeil, trumpet; Jeff Jenkins, piano, prepared piano; Kent McLagan, bass

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: OmniTone | Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Prairie Burn" CD/LP/Track Review Prairie Burn
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Candy Prince" CD/LP/Track Review Candy Prince
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Thank You For Coming To Life" CD/LP/Track Review Thank You For Coming To Life
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "IZA" CD/LP/Track Review IZA
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 16, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!