Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Eddie Gale - Black Rhythm Happening

Album - Black Rhythm Happening

Recorded - 1969

Trumpeter Eddie Gale recorded this in '69 in a rare headlining appearance for the man who had served his apprenticeship with some of the biggest names in avant garde jazz, including Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor. It's a bit of an over-looked album and i only got wind of it through the compliation Blue Note's Rare Grooves, which featured this title track. Not that the track is by any means a stock example of rare groove.

For starters, all of the rhythm here is panned hard left, which is a device i have always found irritating and off balance, especially when listening through headphones. However, it's fairly easy to over look this of-its-time idea and it's worth doing so, because the tune has some great elements. The most noticable of these are the joyous call and repsonse vocals, from what sounds like a whole room full of people. They seem to be having a damn fine old time, chattering away and yelling inbetween bursts of singing.

Weaving under this and through the polyrhythms is a guitar line that meanders like an off-kilter Grant Green. There are also some occasional bursts of brass that are ever so slightly atonal. It makes for an interesting fusion of soul jazz, avant garde jazz and gospel. No wonder, then, that it is said to have been one of the inspirations behind Archie Shepp's classic Attica Blues.

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