Saturday, October 3, 2009

Return to Forever: Crystal Silence

This is an extra post to make up for some of the songs that I featured via Facebook before starting this blog. Here is a little lite jazz from Chick Corea and Joe Farrell of Return to Forever. I heard this first on Harry Abraham's show "The Best of All Possible Worlds" in the mid 1970s.

Chick Corea’s Fender Rhodes electric piano and Joe Farrell’s soprano sax performances on this number were simply beautiful. Not knowing that Harry Abraham was playing an imported recording, I vainly searched for nearly a year for this song. My search produced only another version of this same song recorded by Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton. While it was excellent rendition of the same song, the soprano saxophone was missing. Finally, Return to Forever’s debut album from 1972 was released in the US in 1975, and I was able to add this recording my growing jazz collection.

Both this and the Corea/Burton albums were on the same label - ECM Records out of Germany.  These and other ECM recordings caused me to become a fan of Manfred Eicher's record label. I began to purchase every old and current ECM release I could find (and afford) - even if I had never heard it.  Eicher's motto was "the worlds most beautiful music" and he was true to his word, I was only disappointed by only a couple of the label's very early avant-garde releases.

In addition, Joe Farrell's "Crystal Silence" performance was the first time I had ever heard a soprano saxophone (remember this was 20 years before Kenny G.).  Another ECM artist, Norwegian Jan Garbarek also played soprano sax on his recordings and both artists whet my appetite for more - even to the point of searching for one to purchase.

In 1984, I eventually found a Buescher Bb soprano sax at Yadco Music when they were located on Fifth Avenue in East McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Dan Yadesky, the store's owner, gave me a great discount as I had been his paper boy in the early 1970s.  At the time, Dan thought it was a 1947 model; however, upon checking the serial number today - this sax was actually made in 1925.  While I never mastered it, I found it easier to play than my tenor and it has better intonation due to it being a much better instrument.  I get it out of the case every so often and have fun playing it from time to time.

My Buescher soprano saxophone

Thanks to Harry Abraham who first started this chain of events by introducing me to this song that introduced me to the ECM record label and the soprano saxophone.

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