Recorded live November 21, 2004 at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Trio Beyond is the name of the group that played at Queen Elizabeth's Hall in London, 2004. Jack DeJohnette initiated a project to pay tribute to the late Tony Williams' Lifetime - with the late Larry Young on organ and guitarist John McLaughlin, all three were Miles alumni - a band that, along with the Miles Davis band, spearheaded the jazz-rock fusion era. DeJohnette replaced Williams in the Davis group, and John Scofield is also a Miles alumnus; Larry Goldings had been approached by Williams in 1997 to put together an organ trio with a similar concept to Lifetime; Williams passed away shortly thereafter. The results on this double-disc album, Saudades, are explosive, dynamic, and utterly compelling. The repertoire comes from Lifetime's songbook. Spectrum: The Anthology and the intense stunner of a set closer "Emergency" come from the band's debut album of the same name, and two more pieces, Young's "Allah Be Praised" and John Coltrane's "Big Nick" come from Turn It Over, the second Lifetime disc. DeJohnette goes a step further here in featuring Davis' "Seven Steps to Heaven" in the program. The album the tune draws its title from is the first date Williams appeared on as a member of the trumpeter's group. Also included here is "I Fall in Love Too Easily," which was a staple of the Davis quintet at the time. "Pee Wee" is a Williams original scored for the quintet, while "If" is drawn from Young's classic Blue Note album Unity. Two of the remaining three tunes - the title cut and the rocking "Love in Blues" - were co-composed by Trio Beyond and Goldings; "As One" is the other. Musically, this is jazz first and rock second. The readings of both the Miles tunes and the Lifetime and Young material have been deepened by the mature experience of the players, but also nuanced by a deeper understanding of the era and its place in the jazz tradition - and yes, fusion - jazz-rock fusion has a certified place in the lineage. The set crackles with freshness and a sense of delight by the players. Goldings has never sounded looser, Scofield hasn't played this way since he played with Davis, and DeJohnette's sense of space and time, while deeply influenced by Williams, are his own. The moments on "If," which opens the album, are full of funky grooves by Goldings who simply juxtaposes his sense of bop phrasing, vanguard eclecticism, and the blues equally. The title cut is deep grooved and edgy, full of knots, twists, and turns. McLaughlin's "Spectrum" contains all the abstraction of the original and then some. Scofield uses his guitars as a sound device in addition to their intended purpose, and Goldings has never had a difficult time playing outside. Disc two kicks off with nearly 13 minutes of "Seven Steps to Heaven." The playing is attentive, finessed, and well rehearsed. The feeling that comes across is certainly different than the acoustic quintet's version but one that is reverent and full of its own sense of mode and harmonic interval development. "Love in Blues" rocks but is all to brief, clocking in at less than five minutes, and "Big Nick" contains within it the same, shifting bluesed-out sense of time that Lifetime's did. DeJohnette's sense of groove and ground are impeccable, ad the soloing all around is top-notch. This is one of the finer moments in recent ECM history, and a fitting tribute to Williams and his contribution to a music that sharply divided "purists' (who still are a pain in the ass in trying to preserve jazz as a museum piece), and those more progressive thinking fans who were - and are still - looking for a music that could breathe, engage the culture, and continue to grow.
All Music Guide
A blistering live set, recorded in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2004, with music originally presented under the rubric "Lifetime and Beyond: Celebrating Tony Williams." Project initiator Jack DeJohnette replaced his good friend Tony Williams in the Miles Davis group in 1969, when Williams left to launch Lifetime, the explosive and short-lived group that had a powerful impact at the dawn of electric jazz. Although jazz critics comprehended Lifetime's achievement only retrospectively, the band's confrontational cross-referencing of jazz improvisational fluency and rock dynamics was enormously influential amongst musicians. Only "Bitches Brew", which paved the way for diverse progressive jazz-funk hybrids, was as highly regarded by players at the time.
Trio Beyond echoes the instrumental format - organ/guitar/drums - of Lifetime, as Larry Goldings, John Scofield and Jack DeJohnette revisit material once played by Larry Young, John McLaughlin and Tony Williams. Thus "Emergency" and "Spectrum" are drawn from Lifetime's first disc, while Coltrane's "Big Nick" and Larry Young's "Allah Be Praised" were part of the repertoire on the follow-up "Turn It Over". However, in rounding out this portrait, DeJohnette, Scofield and Goldings also retrace the path of Tony Williams, going back to his early days with Miles Davis. "Seven Steps To Heaven" was one of the first pieces that the then 17-year-old Williams played with the great trumpeter, recording it on the album of the same name in 1963 and, soon afterwards, on several live discs ("Miles In St Louis", "Four and More"). The standard "I Fall In Love Too Easily" was also part of Miles's book in the early 1960s, recorded on the "Seven Steps" album and, again, two years later on the "Plugged Nickel" sessions. "Pee Wee" is a piece Williams wrote for the Davis group, and recorded on "Sorcerer" in 1967 in the classic 60s Davis group with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter.
Trio Beyond also looks fleetingly at Larry Young's "Unity" recording of 1965, an important pre-Lifetime statement (with Elvin Jones, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw). "If" comes from this source.
The rest of the material, composed and/or improvised by the trio members, includes Larry Goldings's "As One", which launches the sequence that includes Larry Young's "Allah Be Praised" and the collective piece "Saudades"; on CD 2, "Love In Blues" which flowers out of "I Fall In Love Too Easily", is also a group improvisation.
Jack DeJohnette: "The idea for this trio came out of conversations that John Scofield and I had regarding how important Tony Williams had been to us both musically and as a band leader. Among other things, his innovative propulsive rhythmic approach and his visionary concept of time and space had been a tremendous influence on us both. John had been playing with Larry Goldings for a while, another admirer of Tony, and we both felt he was the perfect person to round out the trio based on Tony's Lifetime band."
Larry Goldings, in fact, had been approached by Tony Williams shortly before the drummer's untimely death in 1997 (aged just 51) to form a new group in the spirit of Lifetime band, a further musical-historical rationale for Trio Beyond...
"Saudades" marks Goldings's debut on ECM, although he appeared on Carla Bley's ECM-distributed WATT recording of 1999, "4 X 4". Born in Boston, he studied at New York's Eastman School of Music and the New School for Social Research, with teachers including Ran Blake and Jaki Byard. Goldings honed his craft as an improviser/arranger working as musical director in singer Jon Hendricks's band. Since then he has worked with everyone from Jim Hall to Madeleine Peyroux, from Maceo Parker to James Taylor. On piano, Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly have been his primary influences but on organ he remains indebted to Larry Young, the single most important figure in leading the jazz organ toward more 'abstract' possibilities and beyond blues/shuffle stylings. Goldings has been associated with John Scofield since 1993. He also leads his own trio and quartet, with several recordings on the Palmetto label.
Trio Beyond это два сайдмена электрического Дэйвиса - гитарист Джон Скофилд и барабанщик Джек ДеДжонетт плюс органист Лэрри Голдингс (которого незадолго до смерти в 1997 году звал в свою группу сам Тони Уильямс) воссоздают насыщенную почти что физиологическим электромагнетизмом атмосферу Lifetime. Тем более что это запись с концерта в лондонском "Квин Элизабет-холле", который состоялся 21 ноября 2004 года. Конгениальное исполнение того же репертуара (и всего три новых номера, включая заглавный "Saudades") - еще одно доказательство того, что, хотя ни Янга, ни самого Уильямса давно нет в живых, их "фьюжн" - сплав джаза и рока - живее всех живых. Как бы ни хотелось мэтру Марсалису убедить всех в обратном. И не менее важный аргумент: диск издан "евроджазовой" фирмой ЕСМ, а ее владелец Манфред Айхер, как правило, в выборе стратегии не ошибается.