A pair of legendary albums from the mighty Joe Harriott
– a player who emigrated to England in the 50s, then set the scene on fire in the following decade! First up is Free Form – the landmark album that forever put saxophonist Joe Harriott
on the map, and it's a brilliant batch of tracks that prove that Harriott
was advancing the jazz avant garde in England as much as players like Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor were advancing it in America. Despite the "free form" of the title, the tracks are more "new thing" – somewhat structured, with a rhythmic approach that's still a little straight, but solos that go nice and outside. Joe
's overall conception is a beautiful mix of angular thinking with freely expressed soulful emotion – and the record's one that ranks up there with the 10 most groundbreaking of the 60s! The group's about as fantastic as you could ever expect from England at the time – with Shake Keane on trumpet, Pat Smythe on piano, Coleridge Goode on bass, and Phil Seamen on drums – and titles include "Formation", "Coda", "Abstract", "Straight Lines", and "Impression". Next is Abstract – one of the legendary sets of avant garde jazz by the British alto genius Joe Harriott
– an artist who was sometimes billed as the British Ornette Coleman – a reputation he definitely earns with the groundbreaking quality of this album! The conception is bold right from the start – strongly rhythmic, but at a level that's different from Coleman's music – with some deeply emotional undertones to the solos (which also include work from Shake Keane on trumpet!) – and occasional modal elements that also bring in some spiritual elements to work perfect with the breakout solos. The group also features crack rhythm work from Pat Smythe on piano, Coleridge Goode on bass, and Phil Seaman on drums – and the track list includes "Subject", "Shadows", "Tonal", "Oleo", "Pictures", "Idiom", "Compound" and "Modal".