A great package – one that brings together the four first albums from the fantastic Eastern Rebellion group! First up is Eastern Rebellion 1 – seminal work in the development of the career of Cedar Walton – the formation of his excellent Eastern Rebellion ensemble, a group that became a platform for soul jazz expression for the next two decades! The group on this set features George Coleman on tenor, Sam Jones on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – all working in territory that Walton and Clifford Jordan were exploring heavily at the time – long, drawn-out soul jazz tunes – frequently built upon modal rhythms, and touched with traces of post-Coltrane blowing. The key factor, though, is that the work's never too outside, never too overindulgent – just hard-swinging soul jazz, in a 70s expression of the older Blue Note ideal! Titles include "Bolivia", "5/
4 Thing", "Mode For Joe", and "Naima". Eastern Rebellion 2 is the second trip into the studio for Cedar Walton's mighty Eastern Rebellion ensemble – and every bit as great as the first! This time around, the lineup's a bit different – with Bob Berg in on tenor, and Curtis Fuller
expanding the group on trombone – but the groove is still the same – wonderfully in the pocket soul jazz, swinging with a gentle and fluid glide that's really tremendous. The work ranks up there with the best of Walton's recordings ever – and the tunes are all originals with a rich imagination for tone, soul, and color – and plenty of space for strong solo work. Titles include "The Maestro", "Sunday Suite", "Ojos De Rojo", "Fantasy In D", and "Clockwise". Eastern Rebellion 3 is the lesser-known third album by Cedar Walton's landmark Eastern Rebellion combo – one of the most important indie soul jazz groups of the late 70s, still going strong on this set! The lineup is still the same as on the second set – with Bob Berg on tenor, Curtis Fuller
on trombone, and the wonderfully solid team of Billy Higgins and Sam Jones on rhythm. However, the sound here is slightly different – with a more conscious sense of disharmony at times – creating an unsettling edge that replaces the warm, fluid feel of earlier records. The change shows that Walton and the group were still growing and searching – and titles include "Incognito", "Firm Roots", "Seven Minds", and "Never Never Land". Last up is Eastern Rebellion 4 – an expanded version of the quartet you'd usually expect to hear in this classic Eastern Rebellion series – and a group that really makes all the best of all their added elements! In addition to Cedar Walton's amazing work on piano, the set also features Curtis Fuller
on trombone, Chocolate Armenteros on trumpet, Bob Berg on tenor, David Williams on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – the last three of whom are familiar Rebellion partners, but who get some new power in the lead from the presence of Fuller
and Armenteros! Chocolate's horn seems to lead the group into some Latin jazz modes – which really open up Billy Higgins' work on the kit in a great way – and Walton responds with a strongly rhythmic version of his lyrical mode. Titles include "Close Enough For Love", "Manteca", "Groundwork", "St Thomas", and "I Am Not So Sure".
(Part of the "Timeless Jazz Master Collection"!)