Monday, March 16, 2009


"Long out of print, this 1962 recording is one of the prize items of the free-jazz movement as it flowered in California. It teams flutist Prince Lasha (pronounced la-SHAY) and alto saxophonist Sonny Simmons, who cowrote all the songs and play with an esprit de duo that reflects their long-term partnership. Lasha, who also played saxophone, was a childhood friend of Ornette Coleman and became part of his circle in Los Angeles. Simmons, a Louisiana native who grew up in Oakland, came under Coleman's influence while honing his own terse, lyrically heated style.

Though the overall sound of The Cry! very much proceeds from Ornette's harmolodic "new thing" (while absorbing earlier styles ranging from Ellington exotica to Waller erotica) it's a racier vehicle that takes hairier turns. Stopping just short of freneticism, the melodies have an irresistible pull--not for an instant does the music sag. Propelled by the clean and steady dual basses of Gary Peacock and Mark Proctor (on three tracks, Peacock goes it alone), Lasha and Simmons harmonize with as much zip and warmth as they put into their solos..."

Below, "Congo Call"--a moody dancefloor jazz classic.

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