Charles Earland

Kharma

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Earland was getting into mixing up his customary organ with electric piano and synthesizer by the time of this 1974 concert, recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival. While this sometimes broadened his tonal range impressively, at other times it worked against his best strengths and his best instrument, the organ. Still, this is a respectable and energetic set containing some real flights of inspiration, as when he seems to be barely keeping some demons in check during the more frenzied solos in "Joe Brown" and "Morgan." There's a good share of space for the three hornmen in the lineup, and he lets loose with some pretty combative outer-space electronics once he gets into the two-part, 16-minute "Suite for Martin Luther King," complemented by some nearly free jazz soprano sax by Dave Hubbard. That piece mellows into some near-fusion in its second half as Earland moves to electric piano, a mood which carries over to the closing "Kharma," probably the most pop-R&B-friendly of the five tracks (all Earland compositions). The album was paired with the fine 1972 LP Live at the Lighthouse on the 2002 CD reissue Charles Earland in Concert.

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