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File under: Free Improvisation

Ted Daniel's Energy Module


Label: NoBusiness Records

Format: 2LP

Genre: Jazz

In stock


Big Tip! Unreleased session from 1975."Trumpeter Ted Daniel's Energy Module was a short-lived band. They played exactly two gigs in the course of one week in the fall of 1975-and never played again. They gelled quickly as a quintet, however, in large part because everyone knew each other from working in Daniel's big band, Energy. However, the Energy Module was a less formal affair than the large ensemble, in which they played Daniel's original compositions and arrangements. "We had a couple of rehearsals and played through the tunes, but our main focus was on collective and individual improvisation," Daniel says. "We were getting ready to take care of business."
And they took care of business with a vengeance, as you can hear on this recording of their second and final performance. It's the sort of loose-knit, pull-out-all-the-stops blowing session that took place nightly on New York's Lower East Side in the 197os. But November 8, 1975, at Sunrise Studio was much more than an ordinary night in the lofts. Ted Daniel, Oliver Lake, Daniel Carter, Richard Pierce, and Tatsuya Nakamura stoked the cathartic fires of free jazz to a white-hot intensity and made it a special night indeed.


The album opens with the Sunny Murray miniature “Jiblet“, a powerful introduction to the following tracks, which are a mixture of cover versions and Daniel’s own compositions. And there are a lot of characteristics the pieces have in common. “Innerconnection“ by Dewey Redman and “Congeniality“, an Ornette Coleman tune, live from the excellent horn interaction: tightly intervowen ferocious runs, polyphonic mayhem, the opposition of the saxes crying and honking and the trumpet’s smooth and elegant tone.

The highlight of the album is the band’s version of Albert Ayler’s “Ghosts”. In contrast to the original, the band hides the theme behind collective improvisation, only here and there it shines through. In the beginning it’s the trumpet that tries to establish Ayler’s march-like melody against the saxophones, winning them slowly over. The band emphasizes the tune’s call-and-response and gospel roots and only after five minutes the frontline plays the theme in unison, which makes it stand out all the more powerful, it’s literally swelling in front of Nakamura’s driving rhythms. From then on the horns process the tune in an exciting and powerful way.

Actually, the music on this album is a must-have for fans of classic free jazz. The only weak point is the fact that Pierce’s bass can only be properly heard once the ensemble passages turn down the volume, for example in “The Probe“ (a Ted Daniel composition), where he proves what an imaginative and creative player he is. His repetitive pulse opens the track, then the complete band presents the main theme, before Lake takes over for a long, reflective alto meditation full of intense dynamics (especially the restrained overtones, the shivering, compressed tones, and the imaginative modulations of the theme are really awesome).


Ted Daniel - trumpet, flugelhorn, French hunting horn, Moroccan bugle
Daniel Carter - tenor saxophone
Oliver Lake - alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, piccolo, cow bell
Richard Pierce - bass
Tatsuya Nakamura - drums, quarter drums

File under: Free Improvisation
Cat. number: NBLP 81/82
Year: 2014
Recorded on the 8th November, 1975, at Sunrise Studio, 122 Second Avenue, second floor, New York Limited edition of 400 Also availabela s double CD NBCD 72/73

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