Saturday, 26 November 2016

"Crying Song/Afro-Classic/The Rite Of Spring" by HUBERT LAWS (August 2014 Beat Goes On Reissue - 3LPs onto 2CD - Andrew Thompson Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Love Is Blue…" 

In their on-going trawl through the Charles Taylor Inc catalogue of primo Jazz albums from the late Sixties and into the late Seventies (CTI Records) - Beat Goes On of the UK (BGO) gives us 3 albums by Jazz Flutist HUBERT LAWS onto 2CDs.

Released 25 August 2014 – "Crying Song/Afro-Classic/The Rite Of Spring" by HUBERT LAWS on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1149 (Barcode 5017261211491) offers 3LPs Remastered onto 2CDs and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (71:32 minutes):
1. La Jean
2. Love Is Blue/Sing A Rainbow
3. Crying Song (from the motion picture “More”)
4. Listen To The Band
5. I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You
6. Feelin' Alright
7. Cymbaline
8. How Long Will It Be?
9. Let It Be
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album “Crying Song” – released 1969 in the USA on CTI Records CTI 1002

10. Fire And Rain
11. Allegro From Concerto No. 3 In D
12. Theme From Love Story
13. Passacaglia In C Minor
14. Flute Sonata In F
Tracks 10 to 14 are the album “Afro-Classic” – released 1970 in the USA on CTI Records CTI 6006

Disc 2 (30:53 minutes):
1. Pavane
2. The Rite Of Spring
3. Syrinx
4. Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (First Movement)
5. Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (Second Movement)
Tracks 1 to 5 are the album “The Rite Of Spring” – released 1972 in the USA on CTI Records CTI 6012

The chunky 20-page booklet has superb liner notes by noted musical expert CHARLES WARING with reminiscences from the great player himself - while the 2014 ANDREW THOMPSON remasters are typically lovely – the rhythm and vibes so complimentary – allowing Laws to solo over them without drowning them out. It also comes with a card slipcase.

Even with the best will in the world – it’s hard to get excited about someone doing a Flute interpretation of “Sing A Rainbow”- (Track 2 on “Crying Song”) - awful stuff that would embarrass elevator music. But then you’re suddenly hit with two unexpected hypnotic gems – his covers of Pink Floyd’s “Crying Song” and “Cymabaline” – both from their 1969 Soundtrack “More”. They’re trippy and very cool. Funk dudes on a Jazz tip will dig the hip version of a hip tune – “Feelin’ Alright” - Dave Mason’s Traffic hit – a song that’s been covered to buggery ever since because it’s just so damn good.

1970’s “Afro-Classic” opens with a great organ-flute Jazz interpretation of James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain” clocking in at just eight minutes with Dave Friedman giving it some fuzz-pedal vibes. The rest of the album’s mainly orchestral takes of Bach and Mozart seem wildly out of place after the tuned-in and turned-on opener.

Debussy, Bach and Stravinsky dominate 1972’s “The Rite Of Spring” this time upping the acoustic guitars in tandem with the vibes and flute. Both “Pavane” and the title track feature fusion centre passages while the second half of the album is taken up by orchestral versions the “Brandenburg Concerto No.3”.

Beautifully presented and sounding wonderful – it’s an acquired taste for sure – but if you’re a fan – then this BGO remaster is another quality buy…

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