Bobby Few – Continental Jazz Express (2000)

Bobby Few - Continental Jazz Express (2000)
Artist: Bobby Few
Album: Continental Jazz Express
Genre: Free Jazz
Label: Boxholder Records
Year Of Release: 2000
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

1 Continental Jazz Express 16:36
2 Beautiful Africa 6:25
3 China 1:24
4 The Journey Continues 2:10
5 Like a Waterfall 3:59
6 En Route 4:34
7 Continental Jazz Express 8:34


Ever since his moving to Paris in the late ’60s as part of the American “fire music diaspora” (with Alan Silva, Noah Howard, Frank Wright, etc.), the career of Bobby Few has been difficult to trace from the left side of the Atlantic. Luckily, at the turn of the 21st century, a handful of small U.S. labels began to reissue material domestically and document current projects by these jazzmen. Boxholder is one such label. In June 2002, it released two CDs by Few: a trio concert with Avram Fefer and Wilber Morris (Few and Far Between) and the solo Continental Jazz Express, both recorded during the 2000 Vision Festival in New York City. The latter presents a continuous performance of 45 minutes that blends composition and improvisation. Holding things together is the composition “Continental Jazz Express,” an extravagant piece of boogie-woogie attacked from a fire music perspective. Its two-tone left-handed vamp and cluster-like melody reproduce the cling-clangs and whistles of a steam locomotive. It’s fast, furious, and literally stunning coming from a man who was at the time already 65 years old. The themes of the piece (which is much more than a train metaphor) tie together episodes of improvisation and at least one other composition embedded in the work, the pensive “Beautiful Africa,” which sounds close to one of Randy Weston’s tunes. But the train doesn’t stop long to refuel, and the mad race resumes. Hands leap one over the other, notes cascade up and down the keyboard, and when the beast finally comes to a full stop, one can only applause at the virtuosity, ardor, and true jazz soul displayed. A must-have.
Review by François Couture

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