Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Moe Koffman - Solar Explorations

Solar Explorations

256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from GRT 9230-1050


Since the previous Herbie Mann post included a cover of Moe's signature tune, Swingin' Shepherd Blues, I thought I'd bump this one up in the rotation. I'd have to say the fact the world's premiere jazz flautist chose to include one of Moe's compositions along with heavy hitters such as The Beatles, Smokey Robinson and a fundamental track from the roots reggae canon speaks volumes of the high regard in which he was held by the woodwind world.

This double-LP is definitely a singularity in Koffman's catalogue and the closest any of his releases came to a true kosmigroove or free jazz mode as opposed to the bop-licitous charts of his early and later days or the snazzy reinterpretations of popular/classical music and saccharine smooth jazz that often plagued his output during the late 60s through to the early 80s. Overall it's very similar in feel to the third Dr. Music album recorded a scant few months earlier at the same studio.

This is likely due to It sharing much of the same core line up save for Kennedy and Mallory (who were most responsible for the lyricism and song-oriented structures of that project's output) with the addition of some Boss Brass members and guitarist Sonny Greenwich, who had spent the previous decade performing with luminaries like Miles Davis, Charles Lloyd, Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, John Handy and Sun Ra as well as recording with Hank Mobley on the latter's acclaimed Third Season album from 1967.

Note that persisting issues from the RapidShare and PayPal problems of the past two weeks prevent the preview player from working so I've provided a link to a track instead. Since posting clips currently costs over $200 per year in server fees, I might have to switch up to this more economical method, use minimal snippets instead of the whole track or ditch the previews altogether. sez:
Koffman's album of choice is Solar Explorations, a double lp of nine tracks with titles corresponding to the nine planets in this solar system. Obvious yeah, but far preferable to his early 70s conceptual missteps in blending jazz with Bach or Vivaldi's Four Seasons. David Axelrod, these ain't. On Solar Explorations, some of the larger ensemble pieces ("Saturn", "Uranus") resemble a more kozmik Boss Brass-- unsurprising with the guest appearances of both Rob McConnell and Guido Basso.

Better are the octet recordings, which are dominated by Koffman on flute, Sonny Greenwich on guitar and Doug Riley on Fender Rhodes. The tastiest cuts are designated by "Earth" (atonal free electronic interludes alternating with fierce percussive sections), "Mars" (great middle section tribute to Rod Serling) and "Venus" (anchored by a near-serialist bassline doubled on ARP and a jerky funk rhythm.).

Moe Koffman - Flute, Piccolo, Alto & Soprano Sax
Doug Riley - Keyboards, Fender Rhodes
Don Thompson - Bass
Rick Homme - Bass
Terry Clarke - Drums
Claude Ranger - Drums
Michael Craden - Percussion
Sonny Greenwich - Guitar
Guido Basso - Trumpet
Fred Stone - Trumpet
Arnie Chycoski - Trumpet
Al Stanwyck - Trumpet
Rob McConnell - Trombone
Ian McDougall - Trombone
Russ Little - Trombone
Bob Livingston - Trombone
Eugene Amaro - Sax
Keith Jollimore - Sax
David Rosenbloom - ARP synthesizer
Peter Schenkman - Cello

1 Saturn
2 Earth
3 Uranus
4 Neptune
5 Mars
6 Jupiter
7 Venus
8 Pluto
9 Mercury

Surf Moe's solar system alongside Soundological HERE or HERE.


DJInnaSoul said...

Awesome Cheebs, just awesome.

Melting away the November blues.

Simon666 said...

thanks cheeba, some nice stuff here :)

cheeba said...

You're welcome guys!

Arkadin said...

Thanks, Cheeba - dowloading now, listening later!

Why don't you use DivShare for your previews as I do? Always worked for me and I've never paid a penny..

Cannon The Catalyst said...

Thanks for this. Looks like something awesome to zone out to.

cheeba said...

@Cannon, happy zoning!

@Arkadin, thanks for the tip... I'll check it out but I've been burned by a "free" service before. Boomp3 was great and reliable - until they ceased to exist. Now I've got posts where I still have to go back and remove the outdated players.

For now, I've jimmied the mediafire link into the player. That doesn't solve the problem forever...I lose some control but at least the previews will be back for now!

psubliminal said...

Great album. I used to have it but my copy was beat. I seem to be having trouble extracting track 2, "Earth." Downloading the archive again to see if that fixes things.

psubliminal said...

I'm good. Thanks for sharing this!

cheeba said...

Hey psubliminal, you're welcome and thanks for the heads up. I'm glad you sorted it out but still really appreciate it whenever anyone tips me off about problems with files.

Solomon said...

Thank you Cheeba!

cheeba said...

You're welcome Solomon! Always a pleasure to have you drop by!

Quimsy said...

outstanding listen, sorry it's taken me so long to reply!
much respect

cheeba said...

cheers Q!