20 December 2008

Maurice McIntyre - 1969 - Humility

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

I keep getting the wrong name for this album, calling it Insanity instead. I'd wager that this is a legitimate Freudian slip as Maurice McIntyre's attempt to fuse Coltrane/Sun Ra-like free jazz with somewhat American Indian sounding chanting is often pretty insane sounding. It probably doesn't help that McIntyre often sounds more like a crazy dude on a street corner than a shaman, but it does make for a pretty entertaining listen.

There's not a whole lot of sonic variation on this album. We typically get a very Sun Ra like backing with Coltrane style leads (and Sun Ra cohort John Gilmore would also be a clear antecedent), sprinkled with the aforementioned chanting. The good news is that if you dig the first track, chances are you'll like the entire album, and if you don't, you can feel safe flinging it out your nearest window. Sure, there are some compositional differences. "Pluto Calling" could fit directly on a mid-60's Sun Ra album, while "Humility in the Light of the Creator" provides a lyrical, "Love Supreme," sort of saxophone line. Then for all out free-jazz freakiness, I refer you to "Life Force" and the extended "Ensemble Fate."

McIntyre's Humility feels more like a tributary than a mainline expression of avant-garde jazz. If you're already into that sort of thing, you'll likely find something interesting here. If nothing else, the oddball chanting must be heard to be believed.

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