The Journey - Mujician (2000)
Occasionally great albums come up that really influence you and change the way you play or think even. I'd heard Mujician several times over the past years, but somehow I'd not really sat and listened as i should have. Music seems to speak to you at strange moments, and of course depends on things such as your mood, your tastes, your age, your life (and so on). What I liked so much when hearing this album so recently was the fact that it almost sounds composed. I have re-thought the direction that my playing (and composing) should take through this album. Hopefully I'll be able to make music that will live up to this groups high standards!
If you enjoy the music from this group have a listen (or download) to the posts here from my improvising group The OPen Source. We are trying to work a little in this direction, but the best thing is to check out the music and decide for yourself - the posts are here and here.
Here's a review I posted on Amazon :
It's a long journey as they say, but you won't notice the time pass. Several reviewers have hit the nail on the head when they said that the music is often gentle and melodic, making it quite accessible to the newcomer to free-jazz. In fact what's great about Mujician is that although the music is fully improvised one is transported on (no pun intended) a musical journey. The music passes via very gentle melodic passages and more frenetic 'swinging' post Coltrane type music, but it never becomes a squeak-honk session and so retains the listeners attention, or at least mine.
This group must be really something to see in concert and several of their CDs are in fact recorded in front of a live audience - this one being recorded at the Bath Festival, I think it was a first appearance even!
Fans of music such as Supersilent, Soft Machine, Elton Dean, Harry Miller, may find this an interesting (good listen) also.
If you're interested by this disc and other Mujician CDs don't be put off by the price, have a look round the net as it's still available at very reasonable prices elsewhere. Of course if the price is right here ....... snap yourself up a copy before it's re-deleted!
::: Postscript - February 2011 :::
I was sad to read the other day (Sunday - 6th February 2011) that Tony Levin (watch Tony Levin's interviews on his blog) had passed away after a battle with lymph cancer. Interestingly enough I had the chance to jam with Tony on a few occasions, but in a more straight ahead context. At that period he often spent time in Brussels, Belgium working with Philippe Aerts an excellent bass player and composer. Philippe had a trio composed of John Ruocco and Tony Levin, and being a young student studying jazz I naturally went often to catch the trio whenever they played in the Brussels region after all John Ruocco was our prophet, or as close as we could get to, when learning about playing jazz and developing 'far out concepts' (*). On those occasions Tony and Philippe would always hang around Le Travers jazz club on Monday evenings, which was 'the' jam of the week. Being as Philippe was always game to play at those sessions it meant that Tony would also get up and play with us and it was always very inspirational. Tony played a VERY heavy swing and pushed you to play for all your worth, and if I remember correctly he could play loud which made you really 'blow'! Years later when discovering Mujician I often thought back to those evenings at the Travers jamming and chatting (and drinking a few good Belgian beers!) with Tony who was a very unassuming character with a big smile and kind words.
*Maybe a small blogpost at a later stage concerning John.