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Review: 'Marion Brown'
'Porto Novo'   

-  Label: 'Org Music'
-  Genre: 'Sixties' -  Release Date: '18.4.20.'-  Catalogue No: 'ORGM-2149'

Our Rating:
This is a Record Store day re-issue of a hard to find and obscure album by Alto sax player Marion Brown who recorded this his fifth album in 1967 in Holland along side bassist Maarten Van Regteben Altena and drummer Han Bennink and it was originally released on Arista.

The album opens with Similar Limits that is full on avant garde jazz explosions of noise and notes that's in a similar ballpark to Impressions by John Coltrane and that isn't a shock as Marion played with John Coltrane on his Ascension album, the tune breaks down to some rumbling percussion and bass notes that are appealing to the sax to come back in that it eventually does to punctuate the cymbal work at the end of the piece.

Sound structure starts slowly and takes us on a journey around the structure that they are building this is quite laid back and is mainly quite gentle and reminds me a bit of something from Miles Davis and Don Cherry's Avant Garde album. The part of the tune with a bowed Double Bass almost feels like they are re-working a classical piece into something else.

They obviously didn't think too hard about titles as the next piece is called Improvisation and I guess it was exactly that as it starts with a long alto solo that goes through the scales to a part with alternating high and low notes just before the drums and bass come in and go all out nuts unleashing a tidal wave of drumming at odds and straining against the wailing sax. The bass and drums then admit defeat and Marion ends side one of the album playing solo again.

The B-side has just two tunes on it the first of which is QBIC that sounds like late sixties mad jazz at it's best it has all the cacophony of Albert Ayler and the more mad un-focused bits of Archie Shepp in the sort of wailing room clearing style that many hard and heavy jazz fans love and listen to alone as there other halves rush out to get away from the music just before the quiet interlude passage that is rather pretty and then the squalling runs come back to make sure only the hard jazz heads are there at the end.

The album closes with the almost 12 minute long Porto Novo that opens with a bongo and bass duel that reminds me a bit of the Master Musicians Of Jajouka album with Pharoah Sanders before the bass takes over and eventually the sax comes in after 3 minutes to make it sound like we are slowly leaving the port and the drummer has picked up his sticks to create a turbulent soundscape as if there is a heavy storm. It then gets devilishly complex as they try to find a way through the storm a rather intense way to close an album of fairly uneasy listening.

Find out more at https://orgmusic.com/releases/marion-brown-porto-novo/

  author: simonovitch

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