Don Pullen: The Sixth Sense
The Sixth Sense
The Don Pullen Quintet
The Sixth Sense (Black Saint 120088)
Composed by Don Pullen.
Recorded: New York, June 12 or 13, 1985
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
The quartet that pianist Don Pullen co-led with tenor saxophonist George Adams in the 1980s was one of the finest jazz groups of that era, combining the best aspects of inside and outside playing into a seamless, organic whole. Pullen's efforts in that direction were not limited to his band with Adams, however, as this performance demonstrates.
"The Sixth Sense" is a North African-sounding tune in 6/4 with an attractive, mysterious melody built upon a simple, modal-sounding chordal structure. Fred Hopkins—surely one of the greatest and most underrated jazz bassists of all time—combines with drummer Bobby Battle to create an elastic, swinging groove. Cornetist Olu Dara and alto saxophonist Donald Harrison contribute fiery, articulate solos, but the track's centerpiece is Pullen's spot. The pianist's hyper-agile and bracingly intense solo is stunningly creative. Pullen's visionary style simply did not recognize a distinction between "out" and "in." In Pullen's music, everything is "in," made manifest by open-mindedness, self-confidence, and determination. His playing here is profound.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey