Kenn Cox


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Multidirection has as much in common with Blue Note's mildly avant-garde releases of the early '60s as it does the soul-based output typical of 1969. In this sense, one could compare it to Andrew Hill's Grass Roots or Jackie McLean's Jacknife, as soulful yet mildly dissonant hard bop is the order of the day here as well. The most profound difference between the three is the relative absence of household names on Multidirection. Trumpeter Charles Moore contributes three interesting -- if not entirely memorable -- tunes featuring choppy, stutter-step heads. Cox supplies the rest, all of which are decidedly more hard bop in nature. The flying cymbal patterns of drummer Danny Spencer are particularly interesting, as his rapid-fire, tension/release hi-hat style sounds a like a virtual carbon copy of Tony Williams as heard on early avant-garde classics such as Evolution and Out to Lunch. This may delight some listeners and bother others, as Spencer's chops are adequate but nowhere near as tight and tastefully flamboyant as those of the brilliant Williams. Similarly, the group's collective response to Moore's solo on "Snuck In" is again reminiscent of the high-modernist sound on Evolution, though this time it reminds one of Lee Morgan's passage on "Air Raid." Unfortunately, neither Morgan or Williams were present on this date, making it enjoyable but, like a reasonably good sports franchise, lacking the starpower to take it to the next level.

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