The Jimmy Giuffre 4: Cool




The Jimmy Giuffre 4


Dragonfly (Soul Note SN 1058)

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Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet),

Bob Nieske (electric bass), Pete Levin (keyboards), and Randy Kaye (drums)


Composed by Jimmy Giuffre


Recorded: Southbury, CT, January 14 or 15, 1983


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

On an album packed with elaborately composed and arranged fusion tunes, "Cool" is a relative throwback to what Jimmy Giuffre did best. The laid-back, medium-tempo blues provides Giuffre a platform for some superb inside/outside blowing on what is arguably his best horn, the Bb clarinet. Of course, the presence of Bob Nieske's electric bass, Pete Levin's electric piano and synthesizer, and the reverb-laden recording technique dates the music. It's very much of a particular era: the early 1980s, a time when many veteran jazz musicians of Giuffre's generation were still experimenting with electronics, with varying degrees of success. Giuffre's solo is magnificent, but the artifice imposed by the instrumentation stands between his artistry and this listener's full enjoyment. Still, it's to his credit that Giuffre continued to stretch at such a relatively late stage in his career. That impulse served him well, ensuring his continued relevance to the end of his life.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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