Keith Tippett Group - Dedicated to You, But You Weren't Listening (1971)
Awesome jazz album featuring Canterbury allstars Robert Wyatt, Elton Dean and others.
Pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader Keith Tippett's first album, You Are Here...I Am There, was issued in 1969, and received some notice as the work of an ambitious composer looking for a voice. Apparently, by the time he recorded Dedicated to You, But You Weren't Listening, which was released in 1971, he'd found it in spades. Tippett has become one of the great lights of the British free jazz movement, and for more than 30 years he has led groups of improvising musicians, from two to 40 in number, on some of the most exploratory and revelatory harmonic adventures in musical history -- whether those in America know it or not. The band here is comprised of 11 pieces, including Elton Dean, Robert Wyatt, Nick Evans, Roy Babbington, Gary Boyle, Neville Whitehead, and others. The commitment to jazz here is total, as Tippett grafts the dynamic sensibilities of George Russell, the textural and chromatic palettes of Gil Evans, and the sheer force of Oliver Nelson onto his own palette. The interplay between soloists and ensembles is dazzling -- check "Thoughts for Geoff," with blazing solos by Nick Evans, cornetist Marc Charig, and Tippett himself in a series of angular arpeggios interspersed with chordal elocution. Wyatt's drumming, which opens the record with a bang on "This Is What Happens," is easily the most inspired of his career on record. The nod to Mingus on "Green and Orange Night Park" is more than formal; it's an engagement with some of the same melodic constructs Mingus was working out in New Tijuana Moods. In sum, this is an adventurous kind of jazz that still swings very hard despite its dissonance and regards a written chart as something more than a constraint to creative expression. Brilliant.