A Darker Shade Of Blue
Altoist Arthur Blythe’s first two recordings as a leader, The Grip and Metamorphosis, were recorded at the same concert; all of the two LP’s contents are on this single CD.
Review by Eugene Chadbourne:
Jazz listeners who want to get “lost in space” can consider this tasty slab of late-’70s indie jazz akin to a ticket on the Mars shuttle. Arthur Blythe and his associates on this record occupied one of the more spirited creative edges of the New York free jazz scene. The energy and determination with which the group plays is in itself an aspect that can make the sounds of other groups appear somewhat mummified. While “control freak”-style jazz listeners might be repelled by a sense of wild unevenness to the material and its presentation, it could also become part of the musical attraction, especially when taken in combination with the companion album, Metamorphosis. Both recordings were done at the same concert held at the Brook, one of the few Big Apple loft spaces that actually was a loft. Blythe rented the space for two nights, shelling out 100 dollars in rental fees to the proprietors, dancer Harry Streep and Latin jazz pianist Frank Ferucci. The booming live acoustics of the room were a challenge to the low-budget recording that took place, but any serious fan of Blythe and his cooking bands and improvisations will have to admit these early releases seriously rival his later, more finely produced recordings for Columbia. The playing is simply and significantly more daring. Particularly interesting is the rhythm section combination of the ever-so-steady tuba giant Bob Stewart and the strange, shaky drumming of Steve Reid. The album concludes with a recording of “My Son Ra,” a superb Blythe tribute tune that he cut again on one of his major-label releases.
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