Jimmy Giuffre: Jesus Maria


Jesus Maria


Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet), Paul Bley (piano), and Steve Swallow (bass)


Jimmy Giuffre 3 1961 (ECM 1438/39 78118-21438-2)

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Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet), Paul Bley (piano), Steve Swallow (bass).

Composed by Carla Bley


Recorded: New York, March 3, 1961


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

After his evocative folk-jazz signature piece "The Train and the River" graced both The Sound of Jazz telecast (1957) and the film Jazz on a Summer's Day (1958), Jimmy Giuffre grew restless. Supplanting accessibility with abstraction, Giuffre symbolized jazz's final, fateful segue from popular entertainment to niche art. Carla Bley's gentle "Jesus Maria" is a transitional piece, taking Giuffre near the avant-garde's precipice without plunging over. (Free Fall would come soon, both as album title and career description.) Lovely, lyrical, yet at times skirting atonality, "Jesus Maria" is a snapshot capturing an artist's past and future in one fascinating moment.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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