Reviews that mention Don Pullen

September 21, 2018

Beaver Harris-Don Pullen 360° Experience

A Well Kept Secret
Corbett vs. Dempsey CvsD CD042

What might have been heard on its release in 1984 as a last gasp Black Nationalist-Free Jazz session with a touch of exoticism, from a 2018 perspective was in reality a precursor of a more universal Jazz ethos. That’s because A Well Kept Secret was eclectic enough to mix Freebop with atonality, riff tunes with romanticism and taking cautious steps into what would soon be called World Music.

Context is everything. At the time the two leaders, drummer Beaver Harris (1936-1991) and pianist Don Pullen (1941- 1995), were best known for their affiliations with exploratory avatars like Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler in Harris’ case and Charles Mingus and Milford Graves in Pullen’s. Tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford had recorded with Mingus, as had baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett, part of then-nascent World Saxophone Quartet. Only journeyman bassist Buster Williams and almost unknown steel drummer Francis Haynes didn’t appear to be card-carrying members of the Great Black Music affiliation. MORE

September 18, 2017

Various Artists

Inner Peace: The Supreme Sound of Producer Bob Shad
WeWantSounds WWSCD 007 CD

Although presented as a hearty helping of Jazz that celebrates the spiritual and rapturous side of contemporary improvisation, this CD also solves another important conundrum. What happened to accomplished Bop and Hard Bop players in the 1970s that had neither the inclination nor the interest to cast their lot in with the rigorous avant-garde or showy fusion movements of the time?

Initially hooked into the network of Jazz clubs and big-band-oriented studio work Rock’s hegemony in those fields turned these seasoned players into the equivalent of seafarers who couldn’t find berths in which to sail. To resolve the problem, these veterans adapted the electric pianos, electric basses and guitars of Rock and R&B groups to create the funky grooves preserved on the 11 cuts here. While this transitional style would soon harden into Disco and/or Smooth Jazz as simple melodies, relentless beats and overblown arrangement began to dominate the scene, in retrospect these players got their revenge when parts of the music subsequently became so-called deep cuts sampled by Hip-Hoppers. Like reading the novel on which a popular film is based, the musical details of these tracks deserve to be heard as much more than mere source material. MORE

February 1, 2015

Don Pullen

Richard’s Tune
Delmark/Sackville CD2-3008

Frank Lowe Quartet

Out Loud

Triple Point Records TPR 209

Derek Bailey/Joëlle Léandre/George Lewis/Evan Parker

Dunois 1982

Fou Records FR-CD 06

Steve Lacy

Cycles (1976-80)

Emanem 5205

Ted Daniel’s Energy Module

Energy Module

NoBusiness Records NBCD 72/73

Something In The Air: Revolutionary Records Redux

By Ken Waxman

About 40 years on, so-called Free Jazz and Free Music from the late sixties, seventies and early eighties, doesn’t sound so revolutionary any more. The idea of improvising without chord structures or fixed rhythm has gradually seeped into most players’ consciousness, with the genre(s) now accepted as particular methods for improvisation along with Bop, Dixieland and Fusion. Historical perspective also means that many sessions originally recorded during that period are now being released. Some are reissues, usually with additional music added; others are newly unearthed tapes being issued for the first time. The best discs offer up formerly experimental sounds whose outstanding musicianship is more of a lure than nostalgia. MORE

November 23, 2013

Giuseppi Logan

ESP-Disk 1013

Giuseppi Logan

…and they were cool

Improvising Beings ib 16

Musician’s re-discoveries have to be viewed in a contemporary context that takes into account innovations that have arisen since the player disappeared from view, plus the necessity of determining whether the skills that created the legend in the first place have remained intact. That was the chronicle involving Jazz’s first great re-discovery, trumpeter Bunk Johnson. Returning to the scene in the early 1940s, after a 30 year absence, the resulting sides didn’t match his historic reputation until later on when he was finally united with properly sympathetic sidemen. MORE