A trio of amazing records from the UK jazz scene at the start of the 70s – all seminal sides from the legendary avant Turtle Records label! First up is Outback,early genius from British saxophonist Mike Osborne – his first session as a leader, recorded in the company of some of the greatest players on his scene! Osborne's got a strong vision here that's apparent from the first note of the set – a mixture of freedom and cohesive energy that resonates with the best modes of the ESP
albums cut a few years before this one – stretching out with the new imagination that was setting the London jazz scene on fire at the start of the 70s. Osborne's alto is at the lead of a quintet that also includes Harry Beckett on trumpet, Chris McGregor on piano, Harry Miller on bass, and Louis Moholo on drums – and the sound is a mixture of some of the post-Blue Notes work of McGregor with bolder-blown trumpet/
sax lines from Beckett and Osborne. The album features 2 long tracks – the stark, angular "So It Is", and the slower-building "Outback", which features some especially nice solos from Beckett. Next up is Flight – a complete classic from British pianist Howard Riley – exactly the sort of record that made him as important a new voice on the piano as Cecil Taylor in the US or Alexander Schlippenbach and Martial Solal on the European scene! The set's got the free, fiery vibe of some of Taylor's best work – but with even more inventive sounds from the whole trio – which also includes Barry Guy on bass and Tony Oxley on drums and amplified percussion – a tremendous lineup that's equally matched, and brilliant throughout! Riley is as wonderful as on his solo sessions – but he's almost even more incredible here for the way he balances things between all the players, and gives both Oxley and Guy some key space to make themselves known. Titles include "Cirrus", "Motion", "Flight", "For Lesley/
For Sue", and "Forgotten Game". Last is Pause & Think Again – marvelous work from pianist Mike Taylor – maybe the greatest album we've ever heard from this under-recognized British genius, and a set that's got some of Taylor's most inventive writing and arrangements! The group's larger than some of Taylor's usual settings – and features John Surman on soprano sax, Stan Sulzmann on alto, Chris Pyne on trombone, and Kenny Wheeler on trumpet – all players who are arranged in this style that lets them break free in strongly voiced solos, while still also hewing to Mike's wonderful sense of color and tone – a mix of structure and individual creativity that's a bit like some of the early Surman work on Deram, or that label's music with some of his contemporaries. The group also features Chris Laurence on bass and Tony Levin on drums – and Norma Winstone adds in some heavenly vocalizations at points. Titles include "And Think Again", "White Magic", "Pause", "Interlude/
Soft Winds", and "Awakening/
Eye To Eye". Great package – a box with all three records in album-style covers, and a huge booklet of notes!