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Unity

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
On Unity, jazz organist Larry Young began to display some of the angular drive that made him a natural for the jazz-rock explosion to come barely four years later. While about as far from the groove jazz of Jimmy Smith as you could get, Young hadn't made the complete leap into freeform jazz-rock either. Here he finds himself in very distinguished company: drummer Elvin Jones, trumpeter Woody Shaw, and saxman Joe Henderson. Young was clearly taken by the explorations of saxophonists Coleman and Coltrane, as well as the tonal expressionism put in place by Sonny Rollins and the hard-edged modal music of Miles Davis and his young quintet. But the sound here is all Young: the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
On Unity, jazz organist Larry Young began to display some of the angular drive that made him a natural for the jazz-rock explosion to come barely four years later. While about as far from the groove jazz of Jimmy Smith as you could get, Young hadn't made the complete leap into freeform jazz-rock either. Here he finds himself in very distinguished company: drummer Elvin Jones, trumpeter Woody Shaw, and saxman Joe Henderson. Young was clearly taken by the explorations of saxophonists Coleman and Coltrane, as well as the tonal expressionism put in place by Sonny Rollins and the hard-edged modal music of Miles Davis and his young quintet. But the sound here is all Young: the rhythmic thrusting pulses shoved up against Henderson and Shaw as the framework for a melody that never actually emerges "Zoltan" -- one of three Shaw tunes here, the skipping chords he uses to supplant the harmony in "Monk's Dream," and also the reiterating of front-line phrases a half step behind the beat to create an echo effect and leave a tonal trace on the soloists as they emerge into the tunes Henderson's "If" and Shaw's "The Moontrane". All of these are Young trademarks, displayed when he was still very young, yet enough of a wiseacre to try to drive a group of musicians as seasoned as this -- and he succeeded each and every time. As a soloist, Young is at his best on Shaw's "Beyond All Limits" and the classic nugget "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise." In his breaks, Young uses the middle register as a place of departure, staggering arpeggios against chords against harmonic inversions that swing plenty and still comes out at all angles. Unity proved that Young's debut, Into Somethin', was no fluke, and that he could play with the lions. And as an album, it holds up even better than some of the work by his sidemen here.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/25/2014
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • UPC: 602537714148
  • Catalog Number: 2006101
  • Sales rank: 48,056

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Larry Young Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Organ, Hammond Organ
Joe Henderson Tenor Saxophone
Elvin Jones Drums
Woody Shaw Trumpet, Drums
Technical Credits
Rudy Van Gelder Engineer
Nat Hentoff Liner Notes
Alfred Lion Producer
Reid Miles Cover Design
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    WORE OUT MY VINYL COPY

    Four players-Woody Shaw's robust-toned trumpet; Joe Henderson's rich tenor sax; Elvin Jones' roiling waves of drums; and Larry Young (who later became known as Khalid Yasin) holding it all together on Hammond organ. Larry took the harmonic feel of Coltrane's tonal years and applied it to the organ. This album was considered a classic when it came out in the mid-sixties, and time (and digital remastering) has only burnished its glow.Starting with the march-like "Zoltan" (inspired by composer Kodaly), no two tracks have the same rhythmic feel. Young's bass lines on the organ pedals are deft and original, and generate heat even through Elvin Jones' layers of percussion. "Monk's Dream" is just organ and drums-keep reminding yourself that. The two horns must leap to stay on top of these tunes. Joe Henderson almost whispers on "Softly As In a Morning Sunrise" . Woody Shaw was only 19 and his tune "Beyond All Limits" gets to be the only bonus track- a true bonus just to hear him solo on this byzantine progression a second time. <BR/>A desert island CD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Perfect Album in So Many Ways

    This album is one of the most satisfying jazz albums I've ever bought. First off, it's a treat to hear the organ in such an up- front and wide-open setting; usually when we hear a B-3's sweet tones it is merely tapping out some cute seventh chords in the background of a blues jam. Larry Young is as unrestricted as any jazz musician can sound within the bounds of a chord progression here, playing lines as melodic and purposeful as Freddie Hubbard or as emotional and forceful as Joe Henderson, who also plays in top form on the date in question, within the same solo, all the while holding down a solid bass line with his left hand so masterfully that many have been led in ignorance to think there is a bass player on the recording (there isn't). Woody Shaw, often hailed as one of the most underrated soloists in post-bop, shows his true talent here as well, placing his unorthodox yet fluid phrases in all of the tunes from his own 60's avant-garde flavored "Moontrane" to the very standard standard, "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise," all with the same level of energy and sheer emotion that is par for the course on this fantastic album. So, the soloing is great. Really great. Next order of business: Elvin Freaking Jones! Elvin passed away recently, and I'm sure many people are looking for his most characteristic and celebrated recordings to appreciate what a great talent he was and what an impact he had on jazz drumming and on jazz as a whole. Unity is as good a place to start as any. Though he was obviously most famous for his work in thepurpose-driven John Coltrane Quartet, he displayed hisunique polyrhythmically swinging style on a number of records as a sideman including this one and other perennials such as Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil and Sonny Rollins' Live at the Village Vanguard. It is a joy to hear him communicating with less familiar musicians with the same empathy as he did in the Coltrane quartet. His solos are fantastic as well, with his free, over-the-barline style which often displayed itself in open-ended solos turning up here inside the boundaries of extended form ("Monk's Dream") and in four bar phrases ("Zoltan"). Even within the restriction of specific solo lengths, Elvin plays with the same freedom and motive-oriented melodicism as always. And last but not least: song selection. No Larry Young originals here, but three by Shaw and one by Henderson which are wonderful new (at the time) compositions that have become those type of "standards" that get played from time to time but aren't in the Real Book and don't exactly get called at wedding gigs. The very Monk-ish "Monk's Dream" is a Larry and Elvin duet here, a very good choice and a nice variation for the album's general flow. As said earlier, the standard "Softly..." is treated with the same improvisational attitude as the more modern tunes. Great selections. Okay, if my bombastic ramblings communicate nothing else to you, please hear this last line: buy this album!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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