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Examples on record of sunny murray's enduring originality and influence as a drummer are many (refer to eremite 14, 45 & 46, among others), but very few recordings demonstrate his strikingly unusual voice as a band leader and composer. none do so more spectacularly than his 1969 album big chief. unfortunately it's been a sick collector's item since long before ebay. so it is with great pride and satisfaction that eremite returns to our friends in the human clan this long unavailable masterpiece. the group assembled for this parisian studio date includes musicians from france (guérin, tusques & vitet), south africa (beers), jamaica (terroade), and the u.s.a. (bibbs, friend & silva), and the huge sweeping sound they conjure while absolutely NAILING murray's highly irregular compositional structures is as thrilling as free jazz gets. hart le roy bibbs appears once only in a wildly memorable turn. everywhere and throughout murray uses the ensemble's orchestral instrumentation to explore his fascination with "sound displacement" & the far extremes of the frequency range. prepare your hearing for searing high-end burn! the record resolves beautifully in a performance of "this nearly was mine" that manages to be both otherworldly and poignant.
not only is big chief one of murray's great achievements, it's one of the truly special recordings in free jazz history. seriously. there is no greater love. the music was fastidiously remastered from the best available sources by mike king (reelrecordings.org), pressed on premium HQ-180 gram vinyl by RTI, and presented in a heavyweight stoughton replica sleeve in an edition of 600.