Odyssey of The Oblong Square
02. Deacon's Son
03. Odyssey Sweet
Alto Saxophone – Arthur Blythe, Charles Tyler
Bass – David Wertman
Drums – Steve Reid
Percussion – Mohammad Abdullah
Trumpet – Ahmed Abdullah
Recorded "live" January 1977 New York City on WKCR FM's "Jazz Alternatives" show hosted by Peter Low.
A bold odyssey from Steve Reid – his Odyssey Of The Oblong Square – a jawdropping session recorded in 1977 for a NYC radio show that's as rhythmically feverish and avant garde funky as the legendary drummer's other underground soul jazz classics of the 70s! If anything, the percussion is even more outstanding on Odyssey as it is on the great Nova and Rhythmatism sets for Mustevic – with Reid leading the charge on drums, and most of the other players contributing percussion on one way or another, for an all around frenetic sound, that's still unwaveringly in a groove. Mohammad Abdullah is on congas, ballophone and African percussion, with Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet, Arthur Blythe and Charles Tyler on alto sax – the horns all really kill on this set – and David Wertman keeping an unpredicable acoustic bass groove. Includes 4 long pieces, including the 3 part "Odyssey Sweet", "Odyssey Theme", "Deacon's Son" and "Ginsamseng" – all Reid originals. Amazing!
Drummer extraordinaire and legend, Vietnam conscientious objector, ex-Black Panther, Reid has played with everyone from James Brown to Sun Ra, Fela Kuti and Miles Davis, friend of John Coltrane, worked at Motown ... Currently working with Kieran Hebden on some of the most radical music being made at present.
Soul Jazz Records are re-releasing this rarest release of deep heavyweight jazz by Steve Reid and The Master Brotherhood, entitled ‘Odyssey of the Oblong Square’ available for the first-time since its original release over thirty years ago on Steve Reid’s own Mustevic Sound record label (where it came out in an edition of 1000 copies) and has been a serious collectors album ever since. There is also a one-off limited-edition vinyl, which, like the original, is limited to 1000 copies worldwide.
Steve Reid is now known worldwide for his radical collaborations with Kieren Hebden on Domino Records. ‘Nova’, ‘Rhythmatism’ and ‘Odyssey of the Oblong Square” are his amazing first albums recorded in the early 1970s – all now serious collector’s albums!
Steve Reid is steeped in musical history and a true pioneer of US deep left-field jazz. He played in Sun Ra’s Arkestra, was a Motown session drummer and backed James Brown at the Apollo! He was a Black Panther, imprisoned during the Vietnam war as a conscientious objector and lived in Africa in the early 1970s.
Originally released as a self produced album in small quantities from a 1977 radio studio performance, master drummer Steve Reid's loft jazz masterpiece is back in print after a long absence. On this album he is joined by David Wertman on bass, Mohammad Abdullah on percussion, Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet and Arthur Blythe and Charles Tyler on alto saxophone. Rhythm and groove are the primary elements of the music, with the bass, drums and percussion locking together to produce a massive groove that propels the horns ever onward. "Odyssey Theme" fades in to the band already in full flight, with a punchy theme for horns and hand percussion. The lengthy "Deacon's Son" has a probing start for alto and trumpet, with a solid bass and percussion groove. Nice extended saxophone solo spools out over hypnotic percussion. Abdulla takes things to a higher level with a lively trumpet solo, picking the pace up to a high level fast and exciting but still well controlled. "Odyssey Sweet" has a fast Ornette-ish full band improvisation, free-bopping over a slinky groove. "Ginsamseng" begins with a fast, full band improvisation, and M. Abdullah's hand percussion anchoring the searching horns. The horns scale back and Wertman's bass comes to the forefront, deep and strong, acting as a pivot point for the music. Bass, drums and percussion lock into an epic groove that slowly builds in intensity, scaled by hot sounding trumpet. This was taught and exciting music powered by a wall of percussion, and is an excellent example of the kind of "loft jazz" that was being made in the late 1970's.