Good Music We Can Know

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Conscious Wielders of Creative Fire": Joel Andrews- The Violet Flame (1976)

I was recommending The Violet Flame to a friend the other day.  Naturally, I directed him to the source, the phenomenal Crystal Vibrations-- but when we got there the link for this particular treasure was long down.  So I figured I'd resurrect it here for the benefit of all, and take the opportunity to direct all those still-unfamiliar toward the hallowed New Age hall of wonders that is Crystal Vibrations.  Many priceless jewel-boxes (with live links) thrive there still.

Joel Andrews' The Violet Flame is a delight, and incredibly simple.  Each side of the LP is fully given over to a single "side-long meandering" on solo harp.  You cannot lose.  From the liner notes:

"During the time of the winter solstice, 1976, Joel gathered with a small group for a meditation to invoke, anchor and broadcast the Transmutive Seventh Ray activity of the Violet Flame through the medium of music. This is a result of that meditation and is a companion to the first album released entitled Kuthumi."

"the devic and elemental kingdoms are at one, and work interdependently on the horizontal grid of physical manifestation. therefore the vertical process of personal individual transmutation becomes a part of the process of planetary transformation, and through the symbol of the cross, stands as an essential link in bridging the elemental, human, and angelic kingdoms. this transmutative work, carried out from below by conscious wielders of creative fire, when couple with the transformative activities of those dispensers of cosmic force from on high, illustrates the highest quality of co-creative effort in building a new heaven and a new earth, and becomes a practical demonstration for the vision of a new age. LET LIGHT AND LOVE AND POWER RESTORE THE PLAN ON EARTH"


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Guardian of the Eastern Dark: Duke Pearson- The Phantom (1968)

The title track of The Phantom is an orgiastically successful piece of exotica-jazz.  A smoldering triumph of hazy tropic/modal bluesy languid-erotic repetitions-- with Pearson's piano acting as mysterious guide through the spiritual structure and Bobby Hutcherson's vibes as both explorer and scurrying wildlife, accented by a classic jungle-shadow flute sound (from Jerry Dodgion), and a killer bass line-- this track lives up to, and indeed surpasses, the sensual and exotic experience impossibly promised by the exquisite cover art.

The rest of the record is less successful-- at times it struggles even to be interesting-- but at the very least it does manage to lay down a handful of unobjectionably laid-back (and back-ground) samba-esque and Latin jazz numbers.  They're pretty sweet and winning in the moment, with nice performances from all, but ultimately a little forgettable.  "The Moana Surf," however, is a definite highlight full of understated excellence: Dodgion and Hutcherson really get into some nice sections together, the drums are awesome, and the composition pokes a toe into "The Phantom"'s shadowy realm. It's great stuff, in fact.

Mr. Pearson may not have been able to hold down an LP's worth of the kind of deep-grotto jazz-monsters perhaps promised by the title track-- and that's too bad, my god-- but The Phantom would be worth it for that selection alone.  It bears repeating, however, that the lesser tracks hold their share of quiet virtues and will no doubt occasion to delight you in an unguarded moment of luxury.  So pop this on and get down with The-Ghost-Who-Walks.