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HWright

"Compost" by Jack DeJohnette (1971)

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I was researching Harold Vick the other day (inspired by the recent comments on this board about his RCA material) and I found reference to the fact that he played in a group Jack DeJohnette had in the early '70's called Compost, which recorded an album for Columbia.

Has anyone heard this on LP and if so do they have any comments? I'm also interested to know how much drums Jack plays on the album, because based on the liner notes (see below), I get the impression that he may be mostly playing other instruments, as was the case with some of his other albums.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

J A C K D e J O H N E T T E

" C o m p o s t ( T a k e O f f Y o u r B o d y ) "

© 1971 Columbia (C31176 USA [LP])

MUSICIANS

---------

Jack DeJohnette: Electric Clavinet, Organ, Vibes, Drums on "Happy Peace"

"Compost is people sandwiches, tushees, love, hassles,

magic, Brian, work, learning, phone calls, love, music,

music, London, love, parties, city and country and hope."

Jack Gregg: Bass

"Nature's oven. Organic matter cooked into a natural

fertilizer to feed the earth that feeds the crops that feed

us. It's live. Happy Peace."

Bob Moses: Drums, Vocal

"Welcum ooh thuh nude ear dance

mon scoochie borootoos

airy foundation beam

liberation scream steam

glisten ooh hour music

basketball in thuh sky

making love to nature

rhythms god u high

make music to help people

HEAR THE COLORS AND FEEL THE LIGHT

thank you again my eternal friend."

Jumma Santos: Congas, Percussion.

"Dynamite!"

Harold Vick: Tenor Saxophone, Flute.

"A new dream, a new scheme."

TITLES

------

1. Take Off Your Body (Bob Moses)

2. Thinkin' (Jack DeJohnette)

3. Bwaata (Bob Moses/Jack DeJohnette)

4. Happy Peace (Jack DeJohnette)

5. Country Song (Jack Gregg/Jack DeJohnette)

6. Sweet Berry Wine (J. DeJohnette/B. Moses/H. Vick/J. Santos/J. Gregg)

7. Funky Feet (J. DeJohnette/B. Moses/H. Vick/J. Santos/J. Gregg)

8. Inflation Blues (Jack DeJohnette)

Produced and recorded by Martin Rushent

More liner notes:

Jack DeJohnette is best known as drummer with Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis

and for his two albums "DeJohnette Complex" and "Have You Heard", recorded in

Japan. Jack Gregg has collaborated musically with Steve Swallow, Jeanne Lee,

Marion Brown, and the Youngbloods. Bob Moses has played and recorded with

the Free Sprits, Gary Burton, Rahsann Roland Kirk, Mose Allison, Sea Train,

and Gunter Hampel. He is a founder of Free Life Communications, a self

determination musicians' cooperative. Jumma Santos has appeared with Nina

Simone, the Four Tops, Ahmad Jamal, Trini Lopez, and Roy Ayers, and on Miles

Davis' "Bitches Brew". He also teaches ethnomusicology in Boston. Harold

Vick's experience as a tenor saxophonist and woodwind player includes work

with Ruth Brown, Lloyd Price, Ray Charles, Philly Joe Jones, Dizzy Gillespie,

King Curtis, Grant Green, Walter Bishop Jr., The Negro Ensemble Company, the

Jean Erdman Theater of Dance, and Aretha Franklin. He has written for TV and

films and composed the music for the Black Experience Family Repertory

Company. His albums are "Steppin' Out", "The Carribean Suite", "Straight Up",

and "Watch What Happens".

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I've only seen the Compost album (albums? - I think there were two), 2 or 3 times in my life. VERY hard to find, at least they have been for me. Can't say that I've ever heard as much as one cut.

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Happy sounding stuff, entertaining, fun, but probably not essential unless you are especially keen on the artists involved. But I like them.

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I remember this one from back when it came out on Columbia. Nothing all that great here. Not nearly as good as his first date for Milestone or his later sessions for ECM. As I recall, it was an attempt to get in on the jazz-rock thing that was going on around 1970. Most of that stuff was very expendable. I never heard this one all the way through but what I did here did not impress.

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it was an attempt to get in on the jazz-rock thing that was going on around 1970.

How does Compost compare to Dreams, who AFAIC got it (that kind of "it" anyway...) about as right as it was going to be gotten on the second side of their first album?

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True, Compost is pretty rocky. Dejohnette spends more time at the keyboards than at the drums. There is plenty of varied percussion. But it's still attractive.

I've never heard Dreams. Not even seen the album(s?).

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Dreams.gif

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dreamsimaginemysurprise.jpg

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Thanks Jim, I don't believe Dreams ever got a release on this side of the pond. The Compost albums were lucky finds.

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Is Jack Gregg still playing in Europe? His wife took up w/ Woody Shaw years ago. Woody was a major d!ck to Jack.

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I have that first Dreams album and Compost's "Life is Round".

Dreams is a jazz/rock group in the BS&T mold. Compost is more of a jazz group with pop sensibilities.

Jack plays drums on only 3 cuts, but it doesn't really matter. It's the whole group sound - not an outing for solo features. Other musicians on this date (besides Jack & Harold) are: Bob Moses, Jumma Santos, Jack Gregg, Roland Prince, Ed Finny, Lou Courtney & Jeanne Lee.

Edited by BFrank

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Dreams is a jazz/rock group in the BS&T mold.

For 3/4 of their recorded output, I'd agree.

But on the second side of their first album, they got away from the tight arrangements and got into something different, something that I've heard was a more accurate reflection of their live shows. Loose and improvisational backgrounds, and open soloing. THAT'S the Dreams that captured my imagination at the time.

The personnel of the group, for those who don't know, included Michael & Randy Brecker, Barry Rogers, John Abercrombie, Don Grolnick, Will Lee, & Billy Cobham. This was before any of them had become famous, before "fusion" had become a clearly defined style. It was all "jazz-rock" then, and the parameters were wide indeed!

Billy Cobham gets off an archtypical spot, a few years before he hit w/Mahavishnu. How that solo escaped the attention of the rock drum crowd of the time, I don't understand. I do understand how the album slipped under the radar, though - the songs on the first side ain't so hot, and the second side was just waaaayyy too "different". That side of the album sounds like a band that didn't know that they were supposed to have a certain "style". Instead, they just played the songs, and did with them whatever seemed right at the time. In fact, Michael Brecker's long unaccompanied solo that opens the second side of that first album is still the best thing he's ever recorded, afaic. It's a wild, hairy mix of Coltrane & King Curtis, and it doesn't want to be bothered with noting the difference.

Things would soon change...

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I'll have to take another listen to that 2nd side!

I didn't mean that they sounded like BS&T, but there was that jazz/rock/horn sound that a number of groups were experimenting with at the time. Others would be Chicago (of course), Chase, Sons of Champlin ...

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You ever hear Archie Whitewater?

It was a horn band, not a person, and they made one album for Cadet. Sam Burtis played trombone, Joe LaBarbara played drums, and everybody else is STILL obscure.

But they had a lot of vibes solos. Now THAT was different!

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i have "take off your body" or whatever it is called.

i like it a lot.

dejohnette plays mostly clavinet-sounds like it is through a wah pedal too.

bob moses does the drumming and i think also the singing.

but i am a fan of this album-i haven't bought the other compost LP because it is very expensive here in new york.

i find compost to be a lot more soulful than dreams.

i also like dejohnette's milestone album "cosmic chicken" i think it is called.

he had another milestone too which has not been released on CD with maybe bennie maupin and gary peacock and someone else which is more free and not fusion-ey at all.

fantasy should release these dejohnette albums (better than the two which are out on CD right now) as well as the jerry hahn albums and the azar lawrence albums.

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Thanks for the feedback everyone.

The comments on Dreams inspired me to reread the section on them in Stuart Nicholson's "Jazz Rock: A History." (Alas, I don't believe there is a comparable section in the book on Compost).

Edited by HWright

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Finally getting to hear the two Compost albums... a bit unfocused in spots, delightfully eclectic in others, and Harold Vick sounds freakin' great in the band no matter what.

Plus, the version here of "Bwaata" puts Joe's version on Multiple into a new perspective, I think.

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Has the Compost/Dreams material ever seen a cd reissue?

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Dreams, yes. Compost, not.

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I recently came across one of Compost LPs at work. We were playing the recent Flaming Lips CD when I mentioned that one of the instrumentals had recently won a Grammy for best instrumental. My boss responded he had someyhing better to listen to, so out came Life Is Round. I was pretty skeptical but actually enjoyed it quite a bit. He ended up letting me have it for $3!

I will have to spin it again tonight.

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Finally getting to hear the two Compost albums... a bit unfocused in spots, delightfully eclectic in others, and Harold Vick sounds freakin' great in the band no matter what.

Same here. Vick rises above DeJohnette trying hard to make up a band with mass appeal. All good players, Jumma Santos in particular, but I can't help but think that with a looser attitude towards the groove and less vocals the results would have been much greater.

These albums were hard to come by in Europe, only few copies around. A keyboarder friend had one of them ans played in a combo that named itself "Compact" ... I must admit I liked them better than their idols as their grooves were much more natural. Some of the best players of the local scene in that band, but I couldn't land a gig with them because they already had a percussionist.

Plus, the version here of "Bwaata" puts Joe's version on Multiple into a new perspective, I think.

I like the version on the Henderson LP better - the looser approach fits that tune very well.

Overall, I find deJohnette's attempts for wider appeal too generic.

Edited by mikeweil

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Truthfully, I think they were a "jam band" before there were such things. Lots of "hippie" notions in the grooves (which I think are maybe too loose!), and definitely in the lyrics. Very much a product of the times, when it was the thing to do to just pass a bowl around and let everything be groovy.

Which, I think, probably was not at all a fake vibe for those guys at that time. But it was only one part of them, and putting some of the other parts in the mix might have given the music more distinctiveness.

Altogether, though, I'm glad I've finally gotten to hear their stuff, and will probably come back to it every so often, just a once-through and then put it back until the next time the whim strikes. This is the kind of music that, for me, is too..."interesting" (and not just musically, maybe more in other ways than musically, in fact) to be forgotten, yet not really striking enough to demand a proper reissue, much less to justify spending money on should one ever be offered. Unless it's for Harold Vick...

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FWIW if you're a 'streamer,' both Compost albums are on Amazon Music.

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Man, I have no memory of having started this topic. I do remember the part of the story not included in the thread though..in about 2010 Wounded Bird reissued both Compost albums on CD and I bought them. I wasn’t too impressed to be honest. Rereading this thread inspires me to pull them out of storage and give them another try...especially to hear the second side of the first one. 
 

Or I could listen to them on Spotify (I see they have both Compost albums there...)
 

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Round-Compost/dp/B004708KAG

https://www.amazon.com/Compost/dp/B004708JZW


 

Edited by HWright
Spotify comment added.

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