99005-2 Juju
Produced by Alfred Lion
Released on 1964
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Find it at GEMM
99005-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 4.0: FROM ART, BLUE NOTES AND MILES TO GO. The second Blue Note set features six original compositions on tenor with Trane’s gang: McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Reggie Workman. It’s lyrical (natch) and direct, Shorter’s tenor cutting through the cloud rumblings of Tyner and Jones. The songs are typical of the tamed tempests from the early 60s, marked by sophisticated balladry (“House of Jade”), touristic travels abroad (“Mahjong,” “Juju”) and artful contrasts (“Yes Or No”). Unfortunately, any deeper discussion usually devolves into the jazz critic’s cant of harmonic shifts, modal scales and timbral distinctions, words that only serve to obfuscate rather than illuminate. So, in the hope of shedding some light on this fine work, I’ll tackle a few of the weightier descriptors. Harmonic suspensions (courtesy of Bob Blumenthal’s 1999 liner notes): the carrying over of a note while the harmony shifts. Augmented chords (some guy at Amazon): basically a chord with a sharp note at the end (e.g., C-E-G#). Modal jazz: style of jazz popularized by Coltrane where the playing is founded on a particular scale (or mode) rather than a series of chords. I find these technical terms standoffish, since they tell me what the music is from a compositional standpoint but they say nothing to me about what the music feels like. Now, maybe you get a little chill when you hear the words “modal jazz,” I don’t know. And I suppose I envy you a little if you do. For me, Juju is the throaty tone of the tenor leading an upright and polite discussion while the piano and drums crash and tumble like leaves loosed in a small whirlwind and the bass harrumphing in accord with whatever the sax is saying. No modalities, tonalities or harmonic abnormalities enter my mind when I hear it. Apparently, the session is indebted to Coltrane and purportedly an homage to him. Again, I just know what I like, and I like how Juju swings. It’s a different chapter than Shorter’s later fusion or R&B records, but I think I’ll stick around the 60s with Shorter for the time being.

TRACK LISTING

  1. JUJU    8:30
  2. DELUGE    6:49
  3. HOUSE OF JADE    6:49
  4. MAHJONG    7:39
  5. YES OR NO    6:34
  6. TWELVE MORE BARS TO GO    5:26

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  7. JUJU (ALTERNATE TAKE)    7:48
  8. HOUSE OF JADE    6:37

    All songs written by Wayne Shorter

CREDITS

WAYNE SHORTER -- tenor saxophone
ELVIN JONES -- drums
McCOY TYNER -- piano
REGGIE WORKMAN -- bass
Rudy Van Gelder -- engineer
Michael Cuscuna -- 1999 reissue producer
Francis Wolff -- cover photograph, liner photographs
Reid Miles -- cover design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1964 Blue Note LP BLP-4182/BST-84182 mono/stereo
US 1984 Blue Note LP BST-84182  
US   Blue Note CD 46514-2  
JPN February 22, 1995 EMI/Blue Note CD TOCJ-4182  
US May 19, 1999 Blue Notes CDX 99005-2 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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