This two-fer brings together two key Gary Burton Quartet works of the the late '60s. After 1967's DUSTER, the Quartet went on to collaborate with composer Carla Bley on A GENUINE TONG FUNERAL, a quirky, mordant jazz "opera" that owes as much to Kurt Weill as to Charles Mingus. Besides Burton, guitarist Larry Coryell, and bassist Steve Swallow, the free-spirited drummer Bob Moses makes his appearnce, having replaced veteran Roy Haynes. Other Bley stalwarts include saxophonists Gato Barbieri and Steve Lacy, who pop in and out of the vivid cartoon-like musical narrative.
The shaggy Moses is key to the musical feel of LOFTY FAKE ANAGRAM, the official follow-up to the outstanding DUSTER. With the exception of Duke Ellington's "Fleurette Africaine" however, the writing isn't quite as strong as on the previous date's--there's nothing here on the level of Mike Gibb's "Sweet Rain" or Bley's "Sing Me Softly Of The Blues" or Swallow's pop-like "General Mojo's Well-Laid Plan." This time the bassist contributes "General Mojo Cuts Up," a chance-based exploration along the same lines. Still, Burton and co. are in peak form. Larry Coryell just naturally played like a rock guitarist while retaining the harmonic sophistication of a jazz musician. Here his playing is fluent and innovative, as is that of the Quartet as a whole.