COMPOSERS: Jack Dejohnette
ALBUM TITLE: Jack Dejohnette Special Edition
WORKS: Special Edition: Tin Can Alley; Inflation Blues; Album Album
PERFORMER: Jack Dejohnette (drums), David Murray, Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman, John Purcell (sax), Howard Johnson (tuba), Rufus Reid, Peter Warren (bass), Bakida Carroll (trumpet)
CATALOGUE NO: 372 1965
There’s no mention of remastering in the notes to this austerely packaged reissue set, so perhaps my ears are now more tolerant or CDs sound better, but I’m hearing a lot less of the digital screechiness that seemed to afflict these albums when they first appeared in this format. In any event, if you’ve been getting by on tattered (and increasingly rare) vinyl copies, now’s certainly the time. Described neatly by one critic quoted in the booklet notes as ‘Afro-centric experimentalism’, these four albums represent a leap forward for a musician whose instrumental skills had thus far been largely deployed in bringing other leaders’ music to life.
DeJohnette’s rise as a composer and arranger during this period planted a flag in the territory of the sound of surprise – remind yourself of the marvellous riffy hooks in ‘Ahmad the Terrible’ and ‘Ebony’, for example – that’s never been displaced. Highly recommended.