segunda-feira, 21 de junho de 2021
Doug Carn - Infant Eyes 1971
Though composer and multi-instrumentalist Doug Carn cut a hip organ trio record for Savoy in 1969, it's 1971's Infant Eyes, his Black Jazz debut with vocalist and then-wife Jean Carn, that endures as a spiritual soul-jazz classic and arguably created the genre. Though the Carn composition here is "Moon Child," he penned killer lyrics for Jean inside compositions by John Coltrane, Bobby Hutcherson, Wayne Shorter, and Horace Silver. Further, his complex harmonic charts made his sextet sound like an orchestra, establishing him as an arranger. This set also marked the recording debuts of drummer Michael Carvin and bassist Henry Franklin (who would issue The Skipper for Black Jazz the following year). Other players included veteran saxophonist/flutist George Harper, trombonist Al Hall, Jr., and trumpeter Bob Frazier. The album opens with a brief read of John Coltrane's "Welcome" as brass, reeds, winds, modal and Rhodes piano, bass, and drums all enter on a crescendo before Jean wordlessly soars above them. Hutcherson's "Little B's Poem" commences as a swinging, soul-jazz groover, led by Carn's whimsical Hammond organ and swinging hard bop drums. Jean nearly scats the lyric before the horns surround her in a waterfall of cadences, underscoring her souled-out delivery. Shorter's title cut is a long spectral ballad. Electric piano and cymbals whisper in the vamp before Jean deliberately and artfully articulates the melody through Carn's life-affirming lyrics; the band hovers and floats like a jazz chamber group behind her, providing her freedom to improvise. Carn's "Moon Child" offers humor as the piano playfully apes Traffic's vamp to "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" in the intro) before the horns enter in procession. Franklin walks them along the gradually unfolding modal groove while Carvin fills and rolls around them all. Harper's tenor break channels Coltrane, Shorter, and Sonny Rollins. McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance" (from 1967's The Real McCoy) is rendered ingeniously; Carn employs the B-3 to wed driving hard bop to soul-jazz. Franklin's furious bassline, Harper's roiling sax, and Carvin's skittering, break-laden kit work push Carn toward modal exploration with expansive chord voicings punctuated by speedy single-note runs. Carn never sacrifices the swinging, songlike structure while underscording the complexity in Tyner's harmonic inquiry. The "Acknowledgement" section of Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" is rendered with elegance and spiritual soul in Jean's delivery. The familiar bass and piano theme buoys her. The horns gather force and cascade under and around her as Carn lays down fat, open-ended chords for the rhythm section to play off. His lyrics are full of optimism and spirituality. Horace Silver's "Peace" closes. Carn's chart showcases an elegant interplay between bass and Rhodes piano as Jean expresses the lyric with nuanced resolve and resonance while the trombone emerges as a second voice. All of Carn's Black Jazz titles are influential, but Infant Eyes arrived at a special cultural juncture. AMG.