Reel to Real
By Sergio Spada
The impressive energy and vitality that shine through the notes of this recent publication could come to move listeners who love jazz and are looking for something special. The live recording of this concert, in Baltimore in 1970, in a special period of American and world history, full of instances, protests, claims, affirmations of identity, all themes that often passed (also) through music, invests like a tornado and gives no respite. It’s about a hundred minutes of pure instrumental force emanating from a quartet in a state of grace led by Roy Brooks, a drummer as full of experiences and gifted, although he is unknown compared to the big names. And the rest of the line-up needs no introduction: Woody Shaw on trumpet, Carlos Garnett on tenor, Harold Mabern on piano, Cecil McBee on drums. In a nutshell, one of the best live sets witnessed on support (CDs of excellent sound quality) in the history of jazz, probably without exaggeration. On the tireless, urgent, relentless rhythm, set by Brooks and the rest of the formation, a young Woody Shaw (no one in the formation passes thirty years) in combination with Garnett’s sax blow their anger, the urgency of their instances, the desire to split the world in their respective instruments, in a series of songs that are pure hard bop. And that they are often fluvial, lasting around twenty minutes if not thirty, such as to overwhelm the lucky audience present and the listener himself today. Really exciting, especially for those who have attended some concerts of that type, even in our area, sometimes, hoping that this beauty can spur those who play today to distill to the last drop of their sweat on a stage.