Dewey Redman – The Ear Of The Behearer LP

Dewey Redman-The Ear Of The Behearer

Dewey Redman is an often unmentioned & overlooked arch-potentate of manic fully-frenzied tempestuous Free-Jazz & challenging Avant-Garde experimentalism as well as an almost paradoxical much more traditional formula of Jazz & Blues. A set of Redman’s early records contain a considerable flurry of fierce & mucronate tracks/compositions which from my fairly extensive study of his back-catalogue are massively reduced in intensity & adventurism by the mid 70’s as his craft underwent significant amelioration & restraint.

As mentioned, on this largely brilliant record, you get a contrasting if not disparate misalliance of styles. There are three absolute scorchers (all out frenzy), three Avant-Garde styled pieces & one long conventional Blues/Jazz number (Boody) that to me is totally out of place with the allodial heavily improvisational themes. Talking strictly from my own perspective, I think it’s a very ill judgment to collocate such clearly contrasting energies/styles on one record & that it would be better dividing them into two separate session/albums.
Side A detonates with the rip-roaring Innerconnection, an overcharged, hyper-convulsive boutade of rapidity, spiralling ecstatic & uncontrolled through reams of severe spontaneity & expostulation. It starts with an alacritous, smash-and-grab syncopation before bursting it’s banks & rolling the listener through further torrents of impetuous improvisation & multi-directional free-fall. The superb musicians stationed – Ted Daniel on trumpet, Eddie Moore on drums, & Sirone on bass (all musicians I have never heard of before, including two more contributors on cello & percussion who crop up later on the LP) all make remarkable, hugely energetic contributions throughout. The excellent Eddie Moore plays like a mad man, tumbling like a multi-limbed crash-dummy all over the damn shop with fantastic urgency. Redman, to me really one of the greats of Sax slips out of the maelstrom early but smashes his way back in at about one minute forty for a lone fumation in emergency before the rest of the group crash through the sky-light & re-converge into the fray. Shortly after Jane Roberts charges in on Cello for a maniac bowing attack, Sirone & Roberts then have a bass/bow dual over/ under the auxiliary furore before the songs opening syncopation is abruptly revived for a hasty evacuation. This is, seriously adventurous, speed-limit-desecrating, ultra octane override. Everybody plays & interacts astoundingly well & the very meagre but massively effective emplacement of brusque compositional posts (ignition, middle-bridge, exit) denote Dewey’s brazen aptitude at directing/influencing/optimizing what is essentially a massive spree of dissolute free-improv gorging & soloing. This is very special stuff, & to me it’s definitely amongst the very best out there in this category.
Track two is Imani, a polar opposite. It’s a lethargy riddled, slow & tenuous crawl fest of low bowed cello & percussion from Danny Johnson. This kind of laborious Avant-Jazz drives me mad, I can’t stand it actually. Flaccid & lolling with uncertainty & unconfident low-definition based ambiguity. Aside from a few interesting sounds out of Dewey, this is really pretty dire. It could be failed experimentalism or it could simply be an acquired taste/perspective. I’m absolutely not feeling this one though.
Third comes Walls-Bridges. As with Interconnection, this fires off (& concludes) with a swift syncopation before fast & erratic swing paves the pace & platform for tons of blistering improvised free-form & soloing. Although not quite as engaging & overflowing as Interconnection, this is wondrous stuff & a welcome continuation of the same immensities.
The closing track on the A-side is “PS” is an odd & undetermined piece of Avant-Garde. This to my ears manages to achieve what Imani so badly scrambled, with decent soloing from Dewey & cool lone & duel bowing from Simone & Jane with heavy atmospherics (complimented with some very pleasing percussion via bells, triangles & other odd-shit from Johnson).
Side B begins with the twelve minute plus Boody. Endearingly named but otherwise blaringly misplaced, this is a conventional standard with added lethargy that could have been pulled off of a trillion commercial Jazz/Blues records at the time. Perhaps that’s a little harsh, but what the hell this track is doing amongst the albums otherwise abject frizantte mayhem & allo-Avant-Garde I don’t know? absolute incongruity if you ask me.
Sunlanding is another frenetic noisy free-for all with all seven musicians simultaneously flailing. It’s brief (just 2.25 minutes) but brilliant, extremely fast, turbulent & demanding.
Lastly is Image (In Disguise), a heavily experimental foray with Dewey on a musette. It’s got a substantial ethno-traditional music/folk demeanour as well as the inevitable Free Jazz & Avant ingredient. Dewey is the prevailing energy with plenty of soloing & improvising on this cool & shrill instrument. The track comes off quite nicely & is an excellent finish to the LP with so much curious sonic discovery & experimentation.
Despite my feelings of one dud track & another badly clashing/mismatched with the extraordinarily intense Avant-Jazz calibre of this LP, this album is a triumph! Interconnection for me has to reside amongst the best, most imaginative & frantic Free Jazz of all time, & Redman’s superb playing/style receives tremendous support & augmentation from the posse summoned, all jacked direct into the inferno assuring charcoaled speakers if not listeners. There is also a rich novelty in instrumentations, arrangements & individuality of style with graphic originality.
Rather ridiculously this album along with Dewey’s magnolious 1975 follow up “Coincide” (& also the hard-burner “Tarik” on BYG Actuel) are not available or in print (the two Impusle! Albums I believe never having even warranted a CD edition). AWFUL!!! Luckily, tons of the records seem to abound & it’s quite easy to snatch up on the vinyl circuit, so do yer dex a favour an cram some of this good shit doon em!
PS: post article research reveals that this album was in fact re-released in 1998 on CD format & should be possible to track down with some diligence.

Label: Impulse

Rekd: 1973