EDQ: They’re all on that old road

… EDQ for Elton Dean Quartet. Previously, Dean had been a member of Tippett’s classic sextet, and Moholo-Moholo notably led the band Chris McGregor. They are two of the most exciting bands of the late sixties. Dean had also been in Soft Machine during the period that this band evolved from art-rock to jazz-rock fusion, but in addition he conducted or participated to projects that ventured into more experimental fields. Its versatility is evident in this session. The EDQ also benefits from the inclusion of Laurence, in great demand in both the jazz and classical fields.

The album is subtitled “The Seven Dials Concert” and brackets the content of the original LP with unreleased performances by Naima, Here’s That Rainy Day, Attic and Echoes. The Seven Dials in Shelton Street in London was one of the venues where the London Jazz Center Society gave concerts by the cream of the British scene of the time, including several members of the South African diaspora, represented here by Moholo-Moholo. I used to go to these shows when I could and wish I had been at this one. If this was a capsule review, I would just say “Superb. Buy it ‘, but I guess I should elaborate.

As Matthew Wright observes from the cover art (Wright had been director of the Seven Dials Jazz Club), John Coltrane’s influence is often evident, and not just from his last free-jazz period: Trane’s beautiful Naima is here. ‘one of the most unexpected performances based on ballads alongside Nancy, an aria Trane favored. Most of the time, however, the music is intense and complex, with technically remarkable playing: particularly compelling is a device Tippett introduced early in Edeepub, turning the piano into a sort of titanic gong. The music is at its peak when Laurence’s bass introduces a long prelude to a warm but slightly acerbic Rainy Day. Later, on a cheerful Easy Living, Dean’s saxello is reminiscent of Trane’s standard soprano saxophone.

In the wildest passages, Tippett’s hands seem to suggest two independent players, who nonetheless always cooperate and are always consistent and on Naima in particular he demonstrates that he is also capable of elegant, empathetic, relatively conventional accompaniment as well. than to contribute to a beautiful solo. His work on Dean’s Dede-Bup-Bup (which at least starts off as a freewheeling neo-hard-bop) is a particular delight, and the entire concert reminds us of what a powerful and versatile talent we lost with his death. in June 2020.

These four players are all important characters in their own right, but they form a well integrated unit where no one tries to cut anyone off and even in the freest passages there is a strong sense of cooperation and mutual support. .

Edeeupub; Here is that rainy day; Naima; Dede-Bup-Bup; Nancy (With the laughing face); Easy life; to overdo ; Not too; Attic; Echoes (79.46)
Elton Dean (ace, slo); Keith Tippet (p); Chris Laurence (b); Louis Moholo-Moholo (d). Seven Dials Club, London, November 18, 1976.
Ogun OGCD 048

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