by Larry Young
5.0 3


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Unity 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ProseSax More than 1 year ago
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.
A desert island CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!