Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Marion Brown - Spooks
Album - Three For Shepp
Recorded - 1966
Altoist Marion Brown came to prominence with his appearance on John Coltrane's seminal 'Ascension' in 1965, but had in fact been recording at various sessions for about a year before that famous date, mostly under the leadership of Archie Shepp. Consequently, there was a great deal of gratitude felt by Brown for Shepp, and it gave rise to this 1966 album in much the same way that Archie had recorded 'Four For Trane' in 1964.
The album consists of one side of Brown originals with the other having been written by Shepp. 'Spooks' kicks off the second side and blows Brown's tunes into the weeds. The Brown side is very much in keeping with his ESP dates - long winding pieces that develop slowly while keeping up the usual free jazz exploration. But 'Spooks' fires straight in, the staccato introductory figure sounding reminiscent of a roaring twenties hot five (Shepp was always keen to explore the history of jazz in his music). The upbeat feel and rhythmic drive continues throughout the solos; Stanley Cowell on piano in excellent form, then Grachan Moncur III on trombone and finally Brown himself in his distinctive style. Shepp doesn't play, but he doesn't need to, his personality is stamped all over the track - so it's even more of a feat that Brown manages to retain some of his style through it all.