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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers





The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers... [11:26];
Cat and Mouse [2:22];
Entranced Androids [7:24];
The Garden of Chew-Man-Chew [4:06];
Otherworldly Dervishes [8:36];
Through the Warphole [2:25];
Storm Clouds and Mist [5:04];
Cartune Riots [1:21];
Ode to South Africa [10:18];
One Tooth Shuffle [1:18];
After the Rain [7:13].
tracks 2,3,4,6,7,8,10 written by Jack DeJohnette and Bill Frizell
tracks 1,5,9 by Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frizell and Ben Surman,
track 11 by John Coltrane.
Jack DeJohnette (drums, percussion, vocals, piano);
Bill Frizell (guitar, banjo);
Ben Surman (additional production)
rec. live, Earshot Festival, Seattle, Washington, USA, 31 October 2001

This disc documents the collaboration in a time-out session, during a tour Jack DeJohnette made with Keith Jarrett, and the great jazz guitarist Bill Frizell. Mind you, though I use the word ‘collaboration’, the front of the disc’s liner-notes states "featuring Bill Frizell" when it is clearly a disc of the performances of a duo with each having an evenly weighted share of what’s going on.

What is ‘going on’ is a spontaneous improvisation session in which each of these two jazz greats enmesh in an exciting way though they had only ever played alongside each other once before on a disc with Don Byron: "Romance with the Unseen" (Blue Note 1999).

Listeners need to be aware that they will not be hearing either musician in ways they are used to. The results are more often akin to jazz-rock and free jazz than the straight no-chaser modern jazz with which each are more closely associated. The disc will appeal to those who like their music more off the wall than on. I found that listening to the whole disc in one go was a bit jangling on the nerves; it’s better heard in small bursts. The title track "The Elephant Sleeps but still Remembers", "Otherworldly Dervishes" and "Ode to South Africa" with its recognizable township jazz roots well to the fore are the highlights in an otherwise somewhat uneven but nevertheless interesting disc.

Steve Arloff


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