Gil Melle

Tome VI

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After several years of experimentation, Melle came up with what he portentously called "the first album of electronic jazz." More to the point for jazz listeners, Melle revamped his quartet to keep up with the cutting edge of jazz, playing soprano sax and adopting several mannerisms of modal and free styles while reserving the electronic effects mostly for somewhat free interludes in between the jazz workouts. Melle's homemade electronic instruments, which bear such strange names as the Tome VI and the Doomsday Machine, are primitive by the standards of only half a decade later, and the compositions become static whenever these inventions are trotted out. The most effective piece, "Blue Quasar," is mostly a modal excursion in the Coltrane mold sandwiched around a drifting center section populated by electronics. This LP was a technical breakthrough of sorts, for the electronic instruments were being played live at a time when electronic music could only be heard on pre-recorded tape. Aesthetically, it is merely a curiosity.

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