CD Complete ESP-Disk Recordings (CD 1053191),
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Complete ESP-Disk Recordings
0. DISC 1:
1. Earth, The
3. Moon, The
4. Bernard Stollman Meets Franks Wright
6. Voice of Life, The
7. Playing with Other Musicians
8. Bernard Advises Frank on Europe
9. Europe vs. America, Pt. 1
10. Europe vs. America, Pt 2.
11. Other Recordings, Books, and More
12. All Is Said
0. DISC 2:
1. Lady, The
2. Train Stop
3. No End
4. Fire of Spirits
5. Your Prayer
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 4007
Richard L. Alderson
Contains FRANK WRIGHT TRIO (1965)/YOUR PRAYER (1967) plus previously unreleased bonus interview tracks.
Personnel: Frank Wright (tenor saxophone); Frank Wright; Arthur Jones (alto saxophone); Jacques Coursil (trumpet); Henry Grimes, Steve Tintweiss (double bass); Muhammad Ali, Tom Price (drums).
Recording information: 11/11/1965-03/26/1967.
Photographers: Michael Wilderman; Ray Ross.
Frank Wright was firmly in the mix of the free jazz movement, and could easily be termed one if its forefathers along with John Coltrane and Archie Shepp. This double CD demonstrates why, as you hear the reissues of his two albums on ESP-Disk, Frank Wright Trio and Your Prayer, along with a series of interviews explaining how he made this fiery, inventive, singular-minded music. Wright's claim to fame has not been as well revered as, say, Albert Ayler, and was for a time submerged in his image as a pretender. But Wright was never fooling around and, as a serious-minded improviser, is well served by this document of perhaps his greatest works. The trio sides from 1965 with bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Tom Price include the soulful then overblown short chorus of "The Earth," a free bop display on "Jerry" where you can hear the direct connection between Wright and his disciple David Murray, and the 15-minute tonal and thematic "The Moon," still drenched in bop, but forceful, alive, and telling the truth. The other five tracks are quintet recordings, including "The Lady" with its five-note stairstep unison line; the 12-minute "Fire of Spirits" featuring a unified, collective, intense call and response with quick solos and percussion segments by Muhammad Ali; and the honking "Train Stop," which could easily be called "Trane Stop" as Wright uses devices similar to John Coltrane -- and also considering it was recorded in 1967, the year Coltrane passed away. There's the definitive early creative free jazz icon "No End," a freedom chorus planted in basic one- and two-note phrases, and the 16-minute "Your Prayer," the most reverent, poignant, and slowest piece of the bunch, with Wright overblowing only on occasion but adding preacher-like shouts, whoops, and hollers. Alto saxophonist Arthur Jones proves a quite worthy foil as his tone approximates but does not match Wright. The underrated trumpeter Jacques Coursil plays neat and clean, concise, and precise tones that echo no one particular influence, as he plays a stabilizing influence in the band. The interviews are instructive to a degree, as Wright talks about performing with jazz heavyweights like Lester Bowie, the inspiration from God (he did later become the Rev. Frank Wright, an ordained minister), going to Europe where his music was readily accepted, and other updates on his life well after these recordings were made. The best story is that of ESP owner Bernard Stollman, who heard Wright in a nightclub and offered him a record deal on the spot. An important landmark in the making of new music for this time period, and one that launched Wright on a long journey into progressive jazz up to his death in 1990, this is where it started for him and many others. It's a CD that has to be considered essential in the lexicon of creative improvised African-American music. ~ Michael G. Nastos
Mojo (Publisher) (p.116) - 4 stars out of 5 - "While never leaving the underground he could still wave the skronk flag high..."
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ESP-Disk ESP 4007
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