Jimmy Giuffre: Emphasis




Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet)


Emphasis, Stuttgart 1961 (hatArt 6072)

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

Recorded: Mozartsaal, Liederhalle. Stuttgart, Germany. November 7, 1961


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

With the opening phrases so full of angular passages from Giuffre, and with all of those clattering chords from Bley, the listener can be diverted from the truth: this is a blues. It's not until Steve Swallow's bass begins to walk does the structure make itself known. Even with that in place, this trio avoids the conventional. Though there are little bits of call & response, they take decidedly odd forms: Giuffre plays an ascending arpeggio and Bley replies with a harpsichord-like clang, Swallow uses the bow to form a rising & falling moan and Giuffre Evan Parker-esque clusters. Unusual? Yes. Beautiful, too.

Reviewer: Mark Saleski


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