Various Artists

Jazz Loft Sessions

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Sam Rivers' New York City loft was the scene for a series of experimental jam sessions recorded over the space of seven evenings for this fascinating compilation. With a host of players taking part, including Hamiet Bluiett, Olu Dara, Byard Lancaster, Dave Burrell, Fred Hopkins, Randy Weston, Ken McIntyre and Anthony Braxton, to name only a few, these improvisations blend avant-garde with many different styles, some more successful than others at holding a listener's attention. Among the most successful tracks are "Tranquil Beauty," a curious blend of New Orleans jazz with free jazz, along with Weston's dramatic "Portrait of Frank Edward Weston." The one obvious disappointment is David Murray's "Shout Song" a squealing miniature that serves as proof why writer Stanley Crouch called himself a failed avant-garde jazz drummer. While not every track will appeal to everyone who purchases this CD, there is enough valuable music within it to make it a worthwhile investment.

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