Gil Evans incorporated electronic music into his work, following up a conviction that the rhythm of new jazz should be, and had always been, what people were dancing to at the time. He didn’t go so far as to redo his earlier acoustic “La Nevada” with automatic drums, which is what happens on the fourth track here. Sadly that song is not offset well by the valuable presence of Kurt Stevenson’s nylon-string guitar. Jim Peterson’s tenor solo promised something on the same track, but lacked the room to expand and stand up against the, in truth, “cheap” option of the machine percussion. Promise followed by a falling-off, which sums up—perhaps a shade harshly—the general case in this set otherwise comprised of compositions and arrangements by Greg Reeves, who performs most of the music on his battery of instruments and electronics. The addition of either one trumpeter or one reedman on each of the first seven tracks (bar track five) seems unduly sparing, and after track four hopes of any expansion beyond what has become the routine simply peter out. On one track, Cindy Blackman seems to be having a struggle with an oink noise, on another you might just feel something has been left turned on which ought to have been switched off. Reeves is on his own with all his gear on the last couple of tracks, the final one being best, indeed it is quite nice.
// Notes from the Road
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