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Album Review

Travelling Somewhere consists of a concert recorded by Radio Bremen (Germany) on January 19, 1973, one week before the Chris McGregor & the Brotherhood of Breath show in Switzerland that would be released on Ogun in 1974 as Live at Willisau. The pianist's modern big band was in top shape, with a lineup that blended original Blue Notes players (Dudu Pukwana, Mongezi Feza, and Louis Moholo) with the best avant-garde jazz talents in London at the time (Harry Beckett, Mark Charig, Nick Evans, Harry Miller, Evan Parker, Gary Windo, Malcolm Griffiths, and Mike Osborne). Total: three trumpets, two trombones, four saxophones, piano, bass, and drums. Each musician is a creative force by himself. Together they played an overwhelming maelstrom of free jazz. The keyword here is untamed. Yes, they follow compositions, but their liberty is wide and wild. Just listen to Pukwana's "The Bride"; a melody has been written, but it is being played from all angles. Sound quality is very good, the only irritating factor being McGregor's piano, which sounds awful, out of tune, honky tonky, and deep in the mix. But the pianist's role was not central to this outfit and the glorious horns cover the instrument's flaws. "MRA" starts surprisingly sloppy (was everyone ready?), but things coalesce quickly and from this point on the energy level remains high. These players were having fun, as can be heard on "Travelling Somewhere," "Kongi's Theme," and the two aforementioned Pukwana tunes. It's a shame "Do It" had to be faded out — the end of the CD was reached and there was not enough music left to justify a two-CD set. Of course, newcomers should begin with one of the group's three original albums (at least to hear McGregor right), but this archive CD is a welcome addition to the group's very short discography. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Travelling Somewhere, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath
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