ECM

Mal Waldron – Free At Last (Vinyl LP)

Mal Waldron – Free At Last (Vinyl LP)

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‘Revisited and remastered, with additional takes, texts and photos, here is the very first ECM session, recorded in Ludwigsburg in November 1969, featuring the great American pianist Mal Waldron, whose resume includes work with Coltrane, Mingus, Dolphy and Billie Holiday. In his original liner notes, Mal wrote: “This album represents my meeting with free jazz. Free jazz for me does not mean complete anarchy… You will hear me playing rhythmically instead of soloing on chord changes.” As Jazz Journal noted, “tough, two-handed modal blues” predominates, and the music sounds as fresh now as the day it was recorded. Indeed, the tersely-grooving Boo and Rock My Soul could be club hits half a century later. The Extended Anniversary Edition of Free At Last is issued as an audiophile vinyl double album.’

‘It’s almost impossible to listen to Free At Last or any of the music that followed without thinking of the trial he had to survive to make it,’ writes Adam Shatz, linking Waldron’s ecstatic minimalism to his nervous breakdown in 1963, and his move to Paris two years later. ‘His rhythms became denser and more complex, his touch harder and more percussive, more “African.” The mood of Free At Last was dark and fierce, radiating identity and purpose. Its idiosyncratic flow came from the drone-like effects that Waldron created by pounding chords with his left hand. They gave the music an expansive sense of space, as if it, too, could breathe more freely in exile.’

Fabulous music; thrilling, soulful and troublous as ever.

  • 1. Rat Now
    (Mal Waldron) 
    10:15
  • 2. Balladina
    (Mal Waldron) 
    05:01
  • 3. 1-3-234
    (Mal Waldron) 
    04:01
  • 4. Rock My Soul
    (Mal Waldron) 
    11:23
  • 5. Willow Weep For Me
    (Ann Ronell) 
    07:31
  • 6. Boo
    (Mal Waldron) 
    03:25

 

SKU:ECM 1001

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