CD Smiley, Etc. (CD 687283),
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Smiley, Etc.

  • 1. Two Trains
    2. Love Is Enlightenment
    3. Smiley Etc.
    4. Frank's Blues
    5. Some Blue Shoes
    6. Just Steppin'
    7. Smiley's Mini Drum Suite
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 9033

  • Credits
    EngineerChris Strachwitz; Bob DeSousa

    Personnel includes: Smiley Winters (drums); Rafael Garrett (vocals, flute, bass); Bert Wilson (tenor & bass clarinets, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Frank Jackson (piano).
    Producers: Smiley Winters, Chris Strachwitz.
    Includes liner notes Lee Hildebrand.
    Personnel: Smiley Winters (drums); Rafael Garrett (vocals, flute, horns); Michael White (violin); Bert Wilson (bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Barbara Donald (trumpet); Mike O'Barra (piano, congas, bongos); Frank Jackson (piano); James Zitro (drums, congas, bongos); Eddie Marshall , Paul Smith (drums).
    Liner Note Author: Lee Hildebrand.
    Recording information: Newman Center, Berkeley, CA (02/07/1969/03/19/1969); Sierra Sound Studio, Berkeley, CA (02/07/1969/03/19/1969).
    On this two-record set, each disc provides a different side of the versatile Smiley Winters. The first three cuts -- the entirety of disc one -- are all free jazz barnburners with explosive playing by all. Fans of jazz releases on the ESP or BYG labels should know what to expect here: lots of free blowing with some very intense moments. Among other things, four extra drummers and Donald Rafael Garrett's yelping vocals on the title track make the first disc an exhausting but highly rewarding experience. Particularly impressive are multi-reedman Bert Wilson (on soprano sax, tenor sax, and bass clarinet) and trumpeter Barbara Donald. On these numbers, Wilson slashes and soars to Ayler-esque heights and Donald just flat-out rips. These tracks either employ no discernible predetermined structure or ones similar to, say, Sunny Murray's Sunshine on BYG (i.e., quick runs of three or so notes apiece that don't waste any time dissolving into free improvisation). The second disc changes gears with an alarming halt. Its opener, "Frank's Blues," is a piano blues for trio that wouldn't sound out of place on an early Freddie Redd session. Otherwise, expect another, decidedly more post-bop Wilson and Donald workout as well as the Latin-tinged "Just Steppin'." The bass and drum duet "Smiley's Mini Drum Suite" closes out the set. In a perfect world, Bert Wilson and Barbara Donald would be stars of the late-'60s free jazz era, but they aren't, so the opportunity to hear them on this fine record (as well as on Sonny Simmons' Music From the Spheres) is one that fans of spirited free improvisation shouldn't miss. Highly recommended. ~ Brandon Burke

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