Blythe, Arthur - Lenox Avenue Breakdown / In The Tradition / Illusions / Blythe Spirit 2 x CDs

SKU 28-IMT3324855.2
In the late 70s and early 80s, kind of just before the little suit-clad kids made big headlines (but also made jazz pretty boring for the next 15 years), there was still room for someone like Arthur Blythe at a major label; a master player who was also a real risk taker and knew the history of jazz inside out, while not being afraid to also be part of its future path.
I especially love the band he had (found on here) with guitarist James Blood Ulmer and tuba player Bob Stewart. This is his first four Columbia albums complete and sounding really good, as BGO issues tend to do! Highly recommended!

"The four albums, originally from the period 1978-81, are all good ones. One, Lenox Avenue Breakdown, is an acknowledged classic, and deservedly so, with the unorthodox front line of alto sax, flute and sometimes guitar, cello or tuba, and the killer backing of Cecil McBee on bass and a young Jack DeJohnette on drums. This was in some ways DeJohnette’s breakthrough record: the unusual melody and rhythm lines of the four tunes, and the penchant of all his fellow players for a freer jazz if not completely free jazz, allowed him to spread his wings: his drumming is absolutely marvelous on this album, playful, forceful, alternating passages of strict timekeeping and others much looser, and throughout it all powerful swells and ebbs of percussion.
Everyone solos well at some point but mention should be made of Bob Stewart’s tuba work: this album includes what is probably the first classic and modern tuba solo on a major recording label....
Illusions and Blythe Spirit are almost as good, and In the Tradition isn’t far behind them...
Throughout Blythe is a wonder. His sax sound, rough and vibrant, with plenty of vibrato at times and straight-bore no vibrato sound at others, just cuts through all the other players. His solos are unfailingly immediate in their impact. Equally impressive is the ensemble dynamic in his outings with cellist Wadud (who has very good solos on these albums) and tuba player Stewart. It’s interesting. Blythe is a fleet player who moves across the changes fluidly. You would expect him to favor a sleek rhythm section playing along with him but he tended instead to favor the almost clunky sound of tuba backed by cello and guitar –no bass- but usually drums. I liked it then and I like it now. These are superior jazz recordings. Some of what happens on these unique recordings may startle the new listener at first but there is so much to please her, and the music is so good, intelligent, and Blythe is such a good and versatile musician –no Johnny One Track—that anyone who buys this collection should be delighted with it within one or two listenings."-David Keymer
  • LabelBGO
  • UPC5017261212429
Your Price $18.00

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