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Hubert Laws: Wild Flowers

Craig Jolley By

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Wild Flower is the best flute record I know of. Hubert Laws plays flawlessly and sensitively as usual, but the record really belongs to John Murtaugh. Murtaugh came up as a Los Angeles tenorist in the 1950's but made his reputation as a writer. The program was thoughtfully considered. Each composition has its own identity and feeling. Taken together there is variety and balance. Five tunes feature Murtaugh's magnificent string writing.

The string sound is dry and tart, not lush and not violin-dominated. The cello parts are notable. Bassists Richard Davis and Ron Carter play together magically in the ensemble, serving as a bridge between the strings and the rhythm section. On "Ashante" they carry on a dialogue over pedal-point strings. The modal "Yoruba" is the only piece without strings—four percussionists are substituted. The session's most rhythmically evolved composition, the tune goes though several tempos and rhythms and includes a Laws-Corea duet.

For those who sweat the little stuff the studio players were the best of their time as a glance at their names reveals. This music would not be nearly as successful without their inspired ensemble work.


Track Listing: Wild Flower (Murtaugh); Pensativa (Clare Fischer); Equinox (John Coltrane); Ashanti (Murtaugh); Motherless Child (traditional); Yoruba (Murtaugh).

Personnel: Hubert Laws (piccolo, flute, alto flute); John Murtaugh (arranger, conductor); Gary Burton (vibraphone); Chick Corea (piano); Ron Carter, Richard Davis (bass); Bernard Purdie (drums); Mongo Santamaria (conga); Joe Chambers, Airto Moreira, Warren Smith (percussion); David Nadien, Bernard Eichen, Paul Gershman, Harry Lookofsky, Matthew Raimondi, John Pintavalle, Guy Lumia, Gene Orloff (violin); Julian Barber, Selwart Clarke, Harold Coletta, Harold Zartasian, Richard Dickler (viola); Charles McCracken, Harvey Shapiro, Seymour Barab, Richard Bock, George Ricci, Alan Schulman (cello).

Title: Wild Flowers | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Label M


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