Sunday, June 8, 2008
Saxaphonist John Stubblefield is one of those musicians who spent his life moving back and forth between many types of jazz and latin forms with no straight trajectory. He started out in the 60s backing RnB acts like Jackie Wilson and Solomon Burke, before moving to Chicago at the end of the decade, working with Maurice McIntyre on "Humility In The Light Of The Creator" (1969) and working with the progressive "Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians"
In 1970 he moved to New York, and began working with people as diverse as Chico Hamilton, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Tito Puente, whose band he joined from 1972-74. In 1972 he played a range of reed and percussion instruments on Anthony Braxton's Town Hall album. He briefly joined Charles Mingus' band, but the two had a falling out, eventually reconciling many years later. He also played for a while in the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra, alongside trumpet player Cecil Bridgewater.
Stubblefield played on many dates with the percussionist Mtume in the mid 70s. The two can first be heard on the September 1973 Miles Davis recording of "Calypso Frelimo", which ended up as one side of Davis' double album "Get Up With it". In February 1974 Mtume got Stubblefield in to play on his album "Rebirth Cycle", which also featured bassist Cecil McBee.
Later that year Stubblefield and Mtume joined forces again on McCoy Tyner's "Sama Layuca", with Stubblefield on oboe and flute, and then in 1975 they took part in Reggie Lucas' more fusion-oriented "Survival Themes". The african and eastern leanings of the Mtume and Tyner albums carried over into Stubblefield's participation in Stanley Cowell's "Regeneration" in early 1976, on which he played the "Zurna" (or "zurma"), an egyptian double-reed instrument.
Later in 1976, he joined Nat Adderley's group for the albums "Don't Look Back" and "Hummin' ", both of which also featured Onaje Allan Gumbs on acoustic piano and rhodes.
On December 8th and 9th, 1976, Stubblefield gathered Mtume, McBee, Gumbs and Bridgewater together at Blank Studios in NYC to record this album. Joining them was ubiquitous drummer Joe Chambers, who'd just completed his second album "New World". (thanks Greg!)
The upfront percussion of the Adderley and Chambers albums continues on a few tracks here. "Song For One" bursts into life like an uptempo Strata-East spiritual number, and Mtume and Chambers go into a full brazilian break in the middle of Gumbs' joyous "If Only you Knew", one of two tracks featuring rhodes. McBee's locked in with Chambers, having played on his earlier albu, "The Almoravid", and contributes a good solo to the opener. Low-key tracks like "Little Prince" and "What's Gonna Be Is Gonna Be" feature a beautiful harmony of understatement between Stubblefield and Bridgewater, particularly when they're on the flugelhorn and soprano sax. "Minor Impulse" and "Twelve for K.D." explore more standard post-bop territory, the latter a tribute to the late Kenny Dorham. The album's got great production from Marty Cann, with some unusual spatial overdubs.
01. "Song For One" (Stubblefield) - 7:18
02 "Little Prince" (Stubblefield) - 8:00
03 "Twelve for K.D." (Stubblefield) - 4:00
04 "If Only You Knew" (Gumbs) - 5:35
05 "What's Gonna Be Is Gonna Be" (Bridgewater) - 7:35
06 "Minor Impulse" (Stubblefield) - 7:10
John Stubblefield - Tenor and Soprano Sax
Cecil Bridgewater - trumpet and flugelhorn
Onaje Allan Gumbs - keyboards
Cecil McBee - contra bass
Joe Chambers - drums
Mtume - concussions (that's what it says)
Storyville Records SLP-4011
Recorded in 1976, released in 1978
Produced by Marty Cann
Engineer - Bob Blank
Recorded and mixed at Blank Studios, December 8-9, 1976.
Photography - James Levin
Liner Notes - Alun Morgan
Special thanks to Onaje, Bridgewater, McBee, Sharon, Gabe, Hank, and to all who have helped me along my musical path.
Also special thanks to Howie Gabriel.
John Stubblefield plays Prestini reeds exclusively.
This album is dedicated to John Stubblefield III 1919-1976
Album links in this post go to : Vanish your Self, Bitches Brew, Sonora Aurora, Nothing Is v2.0, Ile Oxumaré, Astronation, and Orgy In Rhythm. Joe Chambers' "New World" rip by Greg.
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