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Julian Priester Love, Love Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

Long awaited reissue of a cosmic jazz classic from former Mwandishi trombonist Priester.

Colin Buttimer 2005

Let's not beat about the bush. Love, Love is a monster of an album. Despite its age (30+ years), it's a must for anybody interested in living, breathing, unexpected music. Julian Priester was an alumnus of Blue Note, Sun Ra and most importantly for this record, of Herbie Hancock's revolutionary Mwandishi group which recorded only three albums in its all too brief lifetime.

Each of those Mwandishi albums was a brilliant melding of the cosmic and earthy, extemporisation and groove. Love, Love was recorded after Hancock dissolved his sextet in order to explore an avowedly populist angle with the hugely successful Headhunters. Together with trumpeter Eddie Henderson's two post-Mwandishi albums, Realization and Inside Out, Love, Love represents one of the late masterpieces of a style later christened "Kozmigroov".

Although comprising two lengthy slabs of music clearly intended to be heard as a suite, it's side one (as it was in the days of vinyl) that grabs the listener by the lapels and proceeds to groove remorselessly for a full nineteen minutes. Love, Love however is no feelgood piece of happy-go-lucky frippery. Rather, its relentless bass vamp is likely to plough a deep furrow through your consciousness. Spine tingling shaken percussion presages the arrival ofNyimbo Henry Franklin and Ron McClure's basses which well up and sweep forward, singularly intent upon adhering like superglue to the groove.

For the next 18 minutes, a host of players appear and disappear like spacecraft attacking offworld teflon-coated targets. synthesist Pat Gleeson, saxophonist Hadley Caliman, guitarist Bill Connors and drummers Eric Gravatt and Leon Chancler are among a host of star contributors. As hypnotically repetitive as Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder's "I Feel Love", as deep as Parliafunkadelic or Miles Davis's Dark Magus band on their darkest days, it's also difficult to resist associating the title track with the deliberate hypnosis of longform techno.

Side two, "Images/Eternal Worlds/Epilogue" is an ambitious medley that sucks cataclysm, spookiness and melody into close orbit. Less single-mindedly cohesive, it's still a stunning piece of electric jazz, a thrashing, roiling beast that serves to remind how brilliant this shortlived period of hothouse innovation was. It's taken ECM far too long to issue this on CD, but thank goodness they've finally done so.

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