Change of Scenes

Stan Getz / Francy Boland / Kenny Clarke / Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band

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Change of Scenes Review

by Richard S. Ginell

That this rare album was originally released only in Europe testifies to the dominance of jazz-rock in 1971 and not to the staggering quantity of imagination that one hears on the session today. Still co-leading his legendary European unit (this was their last recording), Francy Boland unleashed his classical training to produce dazzling, fantastically complex writing often loaded with dissonances, unusual groupings of instruments, freeform freakouts, alternating sections in 5/4 and 4/4, loose-jointed structures, and firestorm endings. Yet Getz's great ear picks everything up intuitively; his solos, though brief in playing time, are loaded with sometimes strident emotion and occasionally flirt with the outside. The Clarke/Boland band itself is in dynamic, bold, and brassy form, playing the hell out of these tough pieces (dig the Kenton-ian buildup near the close of "Provocations"). Within the band, Albert Mangelsdorff breathes fire on trombone, Herb Geller doubles -- or quintuples -- effectively on five instruments, including English horn, piccolo, and oboe (along with tenor and alto), and Boland occasionally appears on ghostly organ and electric piano. Not only was this Getz's most adventurous session since Focus and the first few bossa nova records, it was very much out of character for Boland, who usually played it safer than this.

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