It's hard to pick a favorite Curtis Mayfield album, and my judgment is surely clouded by the fact that this album was under-celebrated at the time and still often overlooked. But as speaking objectively as I can, this is surely Mayfield at the top of his game. And possibly my favorite album. Clive Anderson's liner notes on this Charly reissue may be a bit pretentious, opening up with a citation from Wordsworth, but they do pretty much nail the album and do it justice. The album is like an extended meditation on the American underclass, and particularly the despair in the Black communities in the mid-70s.
Drummer Jack DeJohnette's debut as a leader (which has been reissued on CD) has quite a bit of variety. The music ranges from advanced swinging to brief free improvisations and some avant-funk. DeJohnette (who doubles on melodica) is joined by Bennie Maupin (on tenor and flute), keyboardist Stanley Cowell, bassists Miroslav Vitous and Eddie Gomez, and drummer Roy Haynes. He uses six different combinations of musicians on the eight songs (five of his originals, John Coltrane's "Miles' Mode," Cowell's "Equipoise" and Vitous' "Mirror Image"). Intriguing and generally successful music.
After beginning a three-album Bruch series with the little-known Violin Concerto No. 3, Op. 58, Liebeck here takes up one of the composer's most famous works, the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26. The rest of the program, though, advances the aim of Hyperion's Romantic Violin Concerto series, which is to recover forgotten works of the period. The little Romance in A minor, Op. 42 and the Serenade in A minor, Op. 75 both got started as concertos, but never came to full fruition.
Jack McDuff and Joey DeFrancesco personify the Jazz Organ Renaissance that is sweeping the world in this incredible recording for Concord. Organists have paired up before in recording studios but never in such a historical effort. Unlike Jack and Joey’s last double organ session which was live, this recording offered more artistic control. Concord wisely permitted Jack to put together the charts and gave Joey the bass duties to lessen the load. This album was recorded in New York City, NY, on December 11 & 12, 1995.