The ol’ Jackeyboard! On fine form with this largely lucid (of sorts) Fusion-Jazz-Avant elixir from 1975 with John Abecrombie on electric guitar, Peter Warren on electric & up-right bass & Alex Foster on alto & tenor saxophone. Never re-issued, its another of DeJohnette’s concealed marvels from his earlier career (not that 1975 was very early for Jack). The opening title track of the LP (Cosmic Chicken) is a real stormer. The track has this delicious deviance, like it’s up to some shit it ought not to be in some back-alley. Warren has some super FX modulation on his electric bass & off-loads this kind of slow, prowling, dirty astro-Funk to great’ great effect. DeJohnette works-in groove, along with intricacy & flare with tumble-down fills into a great dissolute bump n’ grind whilst Abercrombie skulks at the edges. Then, during an introductory lull, Foster ingresses in & starts to whip-up, or indeed whip-out, some of the juiciest, tensile agitation from his sax. His minute or so on the reed is a definitive KO, captured with perfect, loud & overt analogue protuberance. The track builds & ebbs, back & forth, strutting into overdrive whenever the girls show-up then receding to more moderate territorial prancing. It’s only 4.53 in length, but they cram a lot of rambunction into this marvellous track & it’s got to be one of my favourite JD tunes ever. A similar, briefer & less excellent but still awesomely raunchy & impressive track dusts-off the B-side with Shades Of The Phantom. It’s got the same louche FX on the electric bass & was perhaps another take or play on the Cosmic Chicken performance. It subsides after about two minutes before some electric organ splaying from Jack with some sparse & subdued donations from John & Peter.
“Stratocruiser” from the tail-end of side-A is the other major notation on this album (despite a really overlong drum-solo intro). It’s a nice brisk piece of Tempo-Jazz & Fusion with plenty of verve & the kind of stuff DeJohnette is acclaimed for. This is where Abecrombie also gets to maximize his exuberance, which is perhaps less pronounced on this album than many of his other recordings with Jack. Much straighter & conventional tracks like “Eiderdown” & “Memories” I can do without, & in-between the awesome & the orthodox you also have Last Chance Stomp. It’s really the rough & rowdy cosmic-Fusion-Funk & the rapid Tempo-Jazz-Fusion that work so well here, at least for me, although the more experimental amblings with Jack on the electric-organ also unearth some droll novelties.
It’s all worth it just for Cosmic Chicken alone which is so damn good. I do wonder if any more unissued cuts emerged from this session? The line-up, FX undertaken, attitude & sound were certainly something to celebrate, & it’s vividly apparent that seriously super stuff could easily roll out of the vat in this scenario. The Avant-Garde or Free-factor is not too accentuated here, though there is evidently some considerable wildness & atonal/manic & hysterical leanings at stages of the soloing & covering improvisations. Some very fine material in places indeed.
Should not be too hard for crate-diggers to seek-out? if there is more tunes from this session recorded, man, it needs a decent reissue or at least payable MP3 accessibility. Good shit!
Label: Prestige Records