Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jack DeJohnette - Cosmic Chicken

Veteran jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette was born in Chicago in 1942 and is still going strong. He's one of my favorite drummers; his very personal style draws from Roy Haynes and Elvin Jones, as well as from funk and world music - but he never sounds like anyone other than himself. Cosmic Chicken, from 1975, was the second of his two records on the Prestige label, before his long run on ECM. It's also the first by his working band, which he called Directions. (Later bands were called Special Edition and New Directions.) Alex Foster is on saxophone, John Abercrombie on guitar, and Peter Warren on bass. DeJohnette  himself plays keyboards as well as drums - he is a trained pianist.

All the pieces, except for Steve Swallow's "Eiderdown" and a DeJohnette piano solo, are credited to the entire band, which seems to indicate that they are largely or completely improvised. Some of them obviously had some discussion beforehand - at least an agreement on key and tempo. The results are mostly some sort of psych/jazz/fusion, and mostly pretty good. Even if later DeJohnette albums reached greater heights, Cosmic Chicken (which never had a CD reissue) is very interesting and enjoyable.

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