Monday, January 13, 2014

Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre Quartet, Musical Blessing

Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre left this earth this past November, after a long career dotted with important milestones and after garnering great respect from those who follow and make the new jazz music sometimes called "free".

He is gone but his recorded legacy remains for us to appreciate. One of his last recordings came out last year and shows him in good form. It is a quartet in his name and the title of the disk is Musical Blessing (CIMP 395).

Kalaparusha on tenor is joined by the acoustic basses of Michael Logan and Radu Ben Judah (aka Richard Radu Williams) and the drumming of the the prolific and percussively beautific Warren Smith.

It's a game combination that Smith particularly brings some strong, timely fire to, as you can depend upon. He is hard hitting, propulsive and creatively stoked throughout. The two bassists work well together and give considerable bottom drive to the pieces.

Kalaparusha sounds strong. After a bit of reed trouble that he works around well, he comes through with the sort of performance that made his reputation over the years. One thing Kalaparusha is not here and never was is a "lick" player. He creates his improvisations afresh every time out from the raw melodic-harmonic materials available to him, his interactions with the players on hand and the implications of the compositional materials that are put into play.

The disk contains a few somewhat unexpected touches--an impromptu version of Trane's "Impressions" and a mostly unaccompanied solo version of "The Very Thought of You," which Warren suggested Kalaparusha play in the manner he did when working his horn for subsistence on the NY subway--a sad reality and part of the reason he found himself caught as a new improviser in what he called a "starvation box". He is free of all that now. But we will miss him. We will remember him.

This disk is a fine tribute in its own way to his legacy. Kalaparusha puts himself out there like he always did, with no pretensions and just the love of playing to bring us to a good place. RIP, Kalaparusha.


  1. Nice review, I'm checking this out on iTunes as I write this...

  2. Thanks for reading and your kind comment, Craig. It's great to know somebody is getting something out of what I am doing. It's the reason I post!