The addition of Bobby McFerrin to drummer Jack DeJohnette's group should have been a definite plus; the singer can do so much with his voice, from substituting for a string bass to using his falsetto like a horn. This program of mostly originals, however, not only lacks more than one or two strong melodies, but also fails to have real development, particularly on the selections that include McFerrin. Performances often start in what could just as well be the middle and end inconclusively, with many of the pieces being little more than funky riffs for the rhythm section. Despite a few strong moments (mostly from pianist Michael Cain), only "Seventh D" and "Summertime" (both instrumentals) are worth hearing a second time.
This album was a surprise when it was released for it features drummer Jack DeJohnette exclusively on piano and synthesizer in a trio with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Freddie Waits. DeJohnette on a couple of the tunes was among the very first pianists to really capture the sound of Thelonious Monk. Other selections are more in his own style and he displays a strong technique that does not sound like the work of a drummer who is moonlighting.
The final version of drummer/composer Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition bands sports a unique sound, on the verge of M-Base, and artfully driven due to saxophonists Greg Osby and Gary Thomas. Their tart sweet sounds are as much a part of the identity of this group as anything, and DeJohnette adds his own personal brand of funk and swing to the proceeding, making for an exciting and vital original music. Bassist Lonnie Plaxico, straight off the bandstand with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, keeps things briskly moving along, while Michael Cain plays a lot of acoustic piano, and some modified electric keyboards, to further separate this Special Edition from the others.
Music We Are may appear, on the surface, to be yet another in a long line of piano trio records released every year—not that there's anything wrong with that—but in the hands of DeJohnette, pianist Danilo Perez and bassist John Patitucci, the music not only transcends the expectations of the format, but stretches the boundaries of music, plain and simple. Eclectic and esoteric, it's an album that celebrates the cross-pollination of music from the earth's four corners while revering the jazz tradition that permits music to be made on such fertile ground, with abstract classicism, tinges of Gamelan and folkloric innocence intersecting and driving the music to unexpected and joyous places.
Audio-Visualscapes is an album by Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition, featuring Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, Mick Goodrick, and Lonnie Plaxico, recorded in 1988 and released on the MCA/Impulse! label.This single-CD (formerly a double-LP) from Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition contains music that mixes together advanced hard bop, fusion, M-Base funk and avant-garde jazz.
Jack DeJohnette has long been more than "just" a drummer; he is also a fine keyboardist and a very talented composer. This CD finds him exploring music ranging from American Indian melodies to rockish fusion and his tribute "Miles." His group includes powerhouse guitarists Vernon Reid and John Scofield along with a chanting vocal choir. The music is stimulating if not as essential as DeJohnette's earlier work with Special Edition.
Drummer Jack DeJohnette (doubling on keyboards) performs three songs with a group featuring bass clarinetist Bennie Maupin and the guitars of John Abercrombie and Mick Goodrick. The music shows the influence of fusion (most obviously on "The Rock Thing") and has its strong moments (much of the nearly 14-minute "Sorcery #1")…The second half of this release, trios by DeJohnette, bassist Dave Holland and Michael Fellerman on metaphone (whatever that is), are less memorable, although one admires DeJohnette's willingness to take chances…
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.