Seminal work from British reedman Elton Dean
– two classic Ogun albums back to back on a single CD! First up is Happy Daze – a set that's got a lot more complicated class than you might expect from the title – really wonderful large ensemble arrangements penned by Dean
, and definitely in the spirit that he claimed made the group the heir to Keith Tippett's previous group of the late 60s! The music here is all nicely inside, and pretty darn soulful – swinging and stepping with a bit more of a groove than some of the other Ogun Records work of the time – really back to that hip point at the end of the 60s, when British jazz groups stretched out in their spirit, but never got too avant in their style – a perfect blend that Dean
really recreates here, with help from players who include Alan Skidmore on tenor, Harry Beckett on trumpet, Mark Charig on trumpet and tenor horn, Nick Evans and Radu Malfatti on trombones, Keith Tippett on piano, Harry Miller on bass, and Louis Moholo on drums. Titles include "Nicrotto", "Seven For Lee", "Sweet FA", and "Three For All". On Oh For The Edge, there's definitely an edge to the music – but one that's a bit different than that of some of Elton Dean
's contemporaries in the 70s British scene! Dean
brings a lot more swing and soul to this record than you might expect – working with a large group, but never letting the players get totally outside – which is a real change from some of the more freely improvising UK ensembles of the period. Dean
's own work on alto and saxello are totally great – as are the core rhythms of the group, which come from Keith Tippett on piano, Harry Miller on bass, and Louis Moholo on drums. But we're also plenty happy to hear Alan Skidmore on tenor, Harry Beckett and Mark Charig on trumpets, and Nick Evans on trombone. The recording has a very good "roomy" sound to it that gives it a darker edge than some of the other Ogun recordings from the time – and tracks include "Fall In Free", "Dance", "Friday Night Blues", and "Prayer For Jesus".