Jimmy Giuffre

The Four Brothers Sound

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On this interesting LP, Four Brothers Sound refers to the four overdubbed tenor saxes Giuffre uses throughout the session. The effect is similar to that achieved by Bill Evans on his similar effort, Conversations With Myself. The chief differences between the two might be this: where Evans layered wholly different improvisational lines to the same changes, Giuffre generally sticks to ensemble work. Also, Evans was the only performer on his set, while pianist Bob Brookmeyer and guitarist Jim Hall join Giuffre on several cuts. The resulting aesthetic is perhaps more clamming than that found on Conversations With Myself, as the listener is not faced with the challenge of following multiple improvisational directions at once. Particularly satisfying are the "unaccompanied" numbers, during which Giuffre's four sax lines weave in and out of one another and seem to float in a breathy space unhindered by sharp instrumentation. The effect of this overdubbing process is, while sonically challenging, unlikely to turn off listeners not quite sold on experimental jazz. Like the overdub sides Lennie Tristano cut for Atlantic three years earlier, Four Brothers Sound is proof that the term avant-garde needn't always be associated with harsh dissonance. This is a very enjoyable set and, while not available as a single CD, it has been reissued as part of the Giuffre Mosaic boxed set The Complete Capitol & Atlantic Recordings of Jimmy Giuffre.

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