Jimmy Giuffre

The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note

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The closely affiliated Black Saint and Soul Note labels were established in the 1970s by Italian jazz lover Giacomo Pellicciotti, and together they released some of the most forward-thinking jazz recordings on the market during their four decades of independent existence (both labels were acquired by another company in 2008). In 2011, the labels' new owner began releasing a series of budget-priced box sets documenting the complete output of particular artists, each individual disc housed in an LP-style cardboard sleeve. This one features four albums by reedman and noted avant-cool composer Jimmy Giuffre. The box offers three albums (Dragonfly, Quasar, and Liquid Dancers) by the Jimmy Giuffre 4, which included keyboardist Pete Levin, bassist Bob Nieske, and drummer Randy Kaye. The fourth disc (Conversations with a Goose) is a trio date on which Giuffre is joined by pianist Paul Bley and electric bassist Steve Swallow. On the three quartet albums, all of them released between 1981 and 1991, Giuffre's style is clearly influenced by the electric fusion sounds of the 1970s and 1980s: Levin's keyboards range over a huge spectrum of electronic timbres and effects, and while the rhythms always gravitate back to an easy swing, they wander off into some interesting areas from time to time as well. Conversations with a Goose is a very different album: here Giuffre sticks to clarinet and soprano saxophone, and the pieces are quieter, more intimate, and almost contemplative. The free expressionism that has always been a hallmark of Giuffre's mature style is well in evidence, and the interplay between the three players is consistently compelling.

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