LP: Blue Note BST-84376Tracks & Composers
1 At the Source: Ashes and Rust (Cochran)
2 At the Source: Eucalyptus (Cochran)
3 At the Source: Obsidian (Cochran)
4 Many Thousands Gone (Cochran)
5 Mtume (Hutcherson)
6 Clockwork of the Spirits (Cochran)
Recording Date & Location
The album opens very gently with a three part suite titled “At the Source.” Part 1 of the suite, “Ashes and Rust,” has an otherworldly quality. Part 2, “Eucalyptus” is gentle and introverted, a duet between Hutcherson’s vibes and Cochran on the piano. With Part 3, “Obsidian,” bass, cymbals, and Harold Land’s tenor saxophone add to the texture. “Many Thousands Gone” features a larger group sound. After a solo by bassist James Leary, Bobby plays a long, rippling marimba and vibraphone solo over a churning rhythm section. Harold Land and Oscar Brashear both follow Hutcherson with impassioned solos. Again, this music seems to be coming from the same place as Bitches Brew. This is terrific, challenging music. Side 2 begins with the only Hutcherson composition on the disc, “Mtume.” It’s a grand, roiling, percussion-heavy composition that would sound right at home on one of McCoy Tyner’s Milestone recordings like Sama Layuca. The final work on the LP, “A Clockwork of the Spirits,” is marginally less effective, but it’s still quite unusual, especially some of the harmonies.
Head On has never been issued on CD. Since it’s an unusual record, I don’t expect that it will be any time soon. (It will not be included in the upcoming “Mosaic Select” set of Hutcherson’s music from the 1970’s.) Even so, if you have a taste for the something different and you still spin vinyl, this one is well worth tracking down.