Tales of the Exonerated Flea

Tales of the Exonerated Flea

by Horacee Arnold
     
 

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In 1974, drummer and composer Horacee Arnold assembled a stellar cast of players for Tales of the Exonerated Flea, his second Columbia album. Following on the heels of 1973's acclaimed Tribe, Tales was recorded at the height of the jazz-rock fusion era. Arnold's vision was a wide-ranging one and he

Overview

In 1974, drummer and composer Horacee Arnold assembled a stellar cast of players for Tales of the Exonerated Flea, his second Columbia album. Following on the heels of 1973's acclaimed Tribe, Tales was recorded at the height of the jazz-rock fusion era. Arnold's vision was a wide-ranging one and he recruited players form all over the jazz world, from stalwarts like bassist George Mraz and flutist Art Webb, to vanguardists like Sonny Fortune, to hardcore fusion players like Weather Report's master percussionist Dom Um Romao, the Mahavishnu Orchestra's bassist Rick Laird, and keyboardist Jan Hammer. As if this weren't enough, Arnold even reached into ECM's roster and signed up their two iconoclastic guitarists Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie. The end result is one of the most fascinating, soulful and truly successful albums of the entire genre. What one hears in listening to Tales of the Exonerated Flea is a cast of players who are seeking to open up both rock and jazz to new modes of expression. There are no sterile chops or elongated knotty passages that serve neither rhythm nor harmony. What's happening here is real fusion, of style, language, color, rhythm, harmonic and melodic concepts as well as dynamics. An intense examples is "Sing Nightjar" with its intricate melody and fine, provocative solos by Towner on 12-string and Hammer. The initial funky Latin groove of "Benzele Windows" that is introduced to fiery effect by Romao is quickly underscored by Webb's brilliant flute work and added to by Abercormbie and Fortune playing in tandem. When Hammer's electric piano enters the fray, moving in counterpoint with Arnold's lightning rhythmnatism, the piece becomes a startling orgy of rhythm and complexity before the shimmering dark funk of Laird, Hammer, and Arnold creates a dark funky groove for Fortune's soprano solo. The title cut uses a striated, extended and tensely convoluted bop line to introduce a burning Latin flavored stomp undergirding a modal line in the head. The chugging rhythmic invention at the heart of "Chinnereth II" belies a rather delicate if involved melody line before the tune becomes a joyful song with many parts and choruses. In all, Tales of the Exonerated Flea is a fusion record of the very best kind, it's full of soul, restless adventure, high-wire soloing and dirty grooves. Reissued on CD by Rock and Groove in 2004, it should be explored by everyone interested in the development of jazz-rock.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/18/2011
Label:
Wounded Bird Records
UPC:
0664140286924
catalogNumber:
2869
Rank:
50120

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Horacee Arnold   Primary Artist,Percussion,Drums,Timpani
John Abercrombie   Electric Guitar
Sonny Fortune   Flute,Soprano Saxophone
Jan Hammer   Piano,Electric Piano,Moog Synthesizer
Rick Laird   Bass
Ralph Towner   12-string Guitar
David Friedman   Vibes,Bass Marimba
George Mraz   Bass
Dom Um Romão   Percussion
Dave Bash Johnson   Percussion,Conga
Art Webb   Flute,Alto Flute
Clint Huston   Bass

Technical Credits

Horacee Arnold   Composer,Producer,Annotation
John Hammond   Executive Producer
Frank Laico   Engineer
Ed Lee   Cover Design
Stanley Tonkel   Engineer
Buddy Graham   Engineer

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