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Guy Berger

Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition

17 posts in this topic

My understanding is this is simply a catch-all name for the groups Jack led in the late 70s and early 80s. (I haven't heard New Directions - the group with John Abercrombie and Lester Bowie.)

I've heard three of their albums

Special Edition - the best of the three, one of the best ECM recordings I've heard - Arthur Blythe and David Murray are a fantastic pairing.

Tin Can Alley - good but my least favorite

Album Album - a tad more commercial than the earlier too, but my second-favorite. Great tunes on this one, and it's nice to have Murray back

Any thoughts on their other work? I'm convinced Inflation Blues is a must once/if it is reissued. I know they did some more fusiony stuff on other labels later on. I'm not averse to well-done fusion so if others endorse it, I may seek them out. (Are any still in print or easy to find on disc?)

Guy

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I heard three variations of the group live:

Marty Ehrlich, John Purcell, Howard Johnson, Rufus Reid.

David Murray, John Purcell, Howard Johnson, Rufus Reid.

Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, Lonnie Plaxico, (the guitarist's name is escaping me at the moment).

All three groups were excellent, but the one with David Murray was the best (they played all of the material from Album Album in superior versions).

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Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, Lonnie Plaxico, (the guitarist's name is escaping me at the moment).

Mick Goodrick is the guitarist. This lineup impressed me mightily at the time, but not so much these days. I was younger then....

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"Audio Visual Scapes" is good, too.

Both Directions and New Directions are outstanding. Lester Bowie was on top of his game with the "New" lineup.

Edited by BFrank

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My understanding is this is simply a catch-all name for the groups Jack led in the late 70s and early 80s. (I haven't heard New Directions - the group with John Abercrombie and Lester Bowie.)

I've heard three of their albums

Special Edition - the best of the three, one of the best ECM recordings I've heard - Arthur Blythe and David Murray are a fantastic pairing.

Tin Can Alley - good but my least favorite

Album Album - a tad more commercial than the earlier too, but my second-favorite. Great tunes on this one, and it's nice to have Murray back

Any thoughts on their other work? I'm convinced Inflation Blues is a must once/if it is reissued. I know they did some more fusiony stuff on other labels later on. I'm not averse to well-done fusion so if others endorse it, I may seek them out. (Are any still in print or easy to find on disc?)

Guy

There's another on ECM, Inflation Blues (with JohnPurcell, Chico Freeman, Bakida Carroll)

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Special Edition is a great album

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Special Edition is a great album

I agree, Murray is a big plus.

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Another vote for Special Edition, one of the great classics of that period. Blythe and Murray were a fantastic pairing. They're not half bad on McCoy Tyner's "44th Street Suite" from the early 90's, either. I liked Tin Can Alley and Inflation Blues, too.

I saw DeJohnette not long after the "Special Edition" album with Murray, John Purcell and Peter Warren, the bassist on Special Edition. Whatever happened to Peter Warren? Somewhere in the basement I have a vinyl LP of his from the early 80's, which features, if memory serves, Purcell, DeJohnette, John Scofield and... could it be Ray Anderson? Not sure, too lazy to check. Good stuff, anyway.

Edited by Tom Storer

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That Peter Warren album on Japo was great, and it was Ray Anderson. Don't remember selling it but as I can't lay my hands on it, I must have done.

Edited by JohnS

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I always thought that the Special Edition and new Directions albums were a bit tame compared to how those bands played live .... 

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My personal preferences: I think that "Tin Can Alley" is the strongest of these albums, with "Special Edition" and "Inflation Blues" both close behind. I enjoy "Album Album" a little less than those three.

I saw this group with Chico Freeman, John Purcell and Peter Warren joining Jack, in Ann Arbor, Michigan in January, 1981. It was a very energetic, rousing performance.

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I never saw Special Edition as I'm sure they never visited the UK. But I did see DeJohnette's Quintet with Gary Thomas and Bennie Maupin. That was loud fast and frantic.

I have several live Special Edition tapes from Eoropean concerts in varying fidelity. I've just played a 40 minute version of Tenor Madness which must give a good idea of what the band sounded like live, it's a pretty energetic performance. This version of the group features Howard Johnson, John Purcell, Rufus Reid plus a second sax I can't identify from the announcement. If anyone can recall this 1985 (?) concert/tour I'd appreciate any additional information.

Edited by JohnS

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The unknown sax is most likely Greg Osby. He's on other tapes from this tour. Very nice stuff.

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The unknown sax is most likely Greg Osby. He's on other tapes from this tour. Very nice stuff.

Or if it's a tenor player, then more than likely Gary Thomas. Both he and Osby were variously in Jack's band(s) around this time (usually both of them together).

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Definitely. Murray adds a lot to "For Eric". Jack is doing a Haiti benefit concert Saturday night in Bearsville if anyone around Woodstock wants to check it out. Wish I could go. Its too bad the album with Scofield and Goldings was a one off b/c I'd love to hear that group cut another record.

Edited by CJ Shearn

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