Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hubert Laws - 1972 - Wild Flower

Hubert Laws
Wild Flower

01. Wild Flower 3:10
02. Pensativa 4:00
03. Equinox 6:20
04. Ashanti 5:26
05. Motherless Child 5:31
06. Yoruba 6:04

Bass – Ron Carter
Flute – Hubert Laws
Congas – Mongo Santamaria
Drums – Bernard Purdie, Mongo Santamaria
Percussion – Airto, Joe Chambers, Warren Smith
Piano – Chick Corea
Vibraphone – Gary Burton

Hubert Laws plays flawlessly and sensitively as usual, but the record really belongs to John Murtaugh. Murtaugh came up as a Los Angeles tenorist in the 1950's but made his reputation as a writer. The program was thoughtfully considered. Each composition has its own identity and feeling. Taken together there is variety and balance. Five tunes feature Murtaugh's magnificent string writing.

The string sound is dry and tart, not lush and not violin-dominated. The cello parts are notable. Bassists Richard Davis and Ron Carter play together magically in the ensemble, serving as a bridge between the strings and the rhythm section. On "Ashante" they carry on a dialogue over pedal-point strings. The modal "Yoruba" is the only piece without strings—four percussionists are substituted. The session's most rhythmically evolved composition, the tune goes though several tempos and rhythms and includes a Laws-Corea duet.

For those who sweat the little stuff the studio players were the best of their time as a glance at their names reveals. This music would not be nearly as successful without their inspired ensemble work.