THE VORTEX TAPES Elton Dean with various line-ups. SLAMCD 203 1990
TRACKS 1 Second thoughts Elton Dean; Keith Tippett pno; Marcio Mattos bs; Louis Moholo dms; 25 Sept 1990 16m 16s 2 First impressions Dean; Trevor Watts alto sax; Simon Picard & Jerry Underwood ten saxes; Paul Rogers bs; Tony Levin dms. 24 Sept 1990 9m 42s 3 Going fourth Dean; Nick Evans tnb; Mattos bs; Mark Sanders dms. 27 Sept 1990 11m 14s 4 Third time lucky Dean; Paul Rutherford tbn; Rogers bs; Nigel Morris dms. 26 Sept 1990 9m 49s 5 Taking the fifth Dean; Howard Riley pno; Rogers bs; Sanders dms. 28 Sept 1990 18m 39s
All tracks recorded at The Vortex Jazz Bar, London.
Beyond Coltrane 2002 by Fred Barrett At about the ten minute mark on the first track, the quartet of Elton Dean, Keith Tippett, Louis Moholo, and Marcio Mattos hits a smooth walking groove, and I knew at that moment that this disc was something special, not just your typical free-improvisation-blowing session. Iíve always held Dean and the musicians he chooses to accompany him in the highest regard, because they listen to each other so well. The same can be said for Keith Tippett and his cohorts, and when you get Dean and Tippett in the same roomówatch out! They have a particular form of ESP that solidifies wayward transient notes into a harmonious whole. This is music in its purest form, and it isnít just a quartet, but one creature with four voices, speaking to me in a language that I can understand. All that from a sixteen minute blowing session at the Vortex Club in September of 1990. Further explorations abound on the disc, each with a different configuration of musicians: one sextet, two pianoless quartets with the great trombonists Nick Evans and Paul Rutherford in place of the keys. Iím the kind of guy who holds rhythm sections in the highest regard. Iím a bass player, so Iím always listening to the support. Dean, and all the BritJazz masters for that matter, find the greatest percussionists, bassists and piano players, in my opinion. These are the men who can play outside the rhythmic conventions and yet make the whole foundation of the music solidóan extremely difficult task. Paul Rogers especially impresses me with his use of bowing and space. I could listen to him solo for hours. The final track on this disc features the quartet of Dean, Howard Riley, Paul Rogers and Mark Sanders and is just as potent as the first track. Riley proves that he can give Tippett a run for his money in the "cascading runs and flourishing octaves" department. This track is almost an advertisement for another SLAM CD, All The Tradition, which features this quartet exclusively. Looks like something to check out. Until then, Iíll keep spinning this beautiful free jazz disc to hear the infinite layers of tones, harmonies and rhythms. Discs like this last forever.