Reference: FSRCD 1631
Bar code: 8427328616317
4**** by All Music Guide
All the compositions in this album are by Pete LaRoca. The writing displays an assimilation and development of aspects of Jazz, Latin, Afro-Cuban and Oriental music and reflects La Roca's continuing growth as both a leader and composer.
"This is a wonderful rediscovery. Drummer Pete LaRoca made only three albums as a leader during his heyday in the 1960s and now this long forgotten session is available once again. Although best known for his Blue Note debut Basra in 1965, LaRoca recorded two albums for Douglas Recordings in 1967, the previously released Bliss! and this obscure date. This session is a fascinating slice of late-60s modally influenced Jazz featuring an especially welcome solo spot from John Gilmore, who was rarely able to record outside of Sun Ras grasp. Hearing Gilmore free of the Arkestra is reason alone for celebration, but to combine that event with an early appearance by Chick Corea elevates the session well beyond mere historical curiosity. Gilmore is more restrained here than with his regular employer, but it is a delight to hear him elucidate with a sense of subtlety that was sometimes lost in the ecstatic throes of the Arkestra. Gilmores resplendent tone is in full force here, like an otherworldy cousin of Paul Gonsalves; he brings an authoritatively timeless air to these pieces. Corea's cascades of precise linearity contrast nicely with Bookers rock solid bass vamping and LaRoca's splashy cymbal work. Bliss leaves Gilmore out of the mix and highlights Corea's gorgeous descending melody.
Considering the albums 1967 vintage, the session never sounds dated, despite the typical modal vibe, so much the rage at the time. The only real complaint is the sound of the recording. A studio recording, it still has a distant quality in regards to the placement of the drums and piano. During LaRoca's solos he sounds like he is out in the wings, while Gilmore sounds front and center. This is a minor flaw however, as the bands performance more than makes up for this lack of fidelity. Considering it was La Rocas last record before deciding to take a long hiatus from music to become a lawyer before his eventual come-back, we are fortunate to have it, despite its mere half hour duration."