Sunday, April 08, 2012

Marion Brown - Geechee Recollections / Sweet Earth Flying (Impulse 2-on-1) (Impulse, 2012)

Marion Brown was an alto saxophonist who was nominally a member of the New Thing avant-garde of jazz in the 1960‘s and 70‘s (he performed on John Coltrane’s epochal Ascension album, and made records for the stalwart avant-garde label ESP.) But by the time he recorded these albums in the in 1973 and 1974, his approach had changed. He was no less an innovator than before, but instead of seeking outside, he turned inward, developing an introverted lyrical, low-key style as he attempted to reconcile his memories of his youth in Georgia through music. It is interesting how he took the ideas of free jazz and made them into a subtle, flowing narrative form. Geechee Recollections does have some nice blowing sections along with a lengthy poetic recitation on “Karintha.” Sweet Earth Flying has some beautiful keyboard playing from Muhal Richard Abrams and Paul Bley, and has a spacey and thoughtful vibe, sort of like Miles Davis’ album In a Silent Way. Both albums are connected by lengthy suites with Brown playing passionately along with Wadada Leo Smith on Geechee Recollections, and with depth and tact of Sweet Earth Flying. This is a nice edition to the Impulse vault-cleaning project, releasing two influential albums that deserve a wider audience on one disc. Geechee Recollections / Sweet Earth Flying -

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