Don Pullen: In The Beginning


In The Beginning


The Don Pullen Quintet


The Sixth Sense (Black Saint 120088)

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Don Pullen (piano), Donald Harrison (alto sax), Olu Dara (cornet), Fred Hopkins (bass), Bobby Battle (drums).

Composed by Don Pullen


Recorded: New York, June 12 or 13 1985


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

One of the strongest, most intense and inventive tracks on an album chock full of them, "In The Beginning" combines ultra-fast freebop, out-of-time free improvisation, tango rhythms, and extraordinary solos to create a brilliantly conceived and performed work of jazz. Everyone involved is at the top their game. The horns shine in particular: alto saxophonist Donald Harrison is terrific, showing himself an able successor to Dolphy and Shorter; cornetist Dara proves himself a creatively malleable, exciting—even incendiary—soloist. Pullen, of course, is great, as are bassist Hopkins and drummer Bobby Battle. This is one of those times (rare, for this critic) when enthusiasm trumps analysis. "In The Beginning" is jazz the way it ought to be: original, intense, unmindful of limits—some of Pullen's best work, meaning it ranks with some of the finest piano-based jazz of the last half century.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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