JOE FARRELL — Moon Germs

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JOE FARRELL - Moon Germs cover
3.80 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1973

Filed under Fusion
By JOE FARRELL

Tracklist

A1 Great Gorge 11:40
A2 Moon Germs 7:23
B1 Times Lie 8:25
B2 Bass Folk Song 9:50

Total Time: 37:34

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Stan Clarke
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Piano – Herbie Hancock
Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Joe Farrell

About this release

CTI Records ‎– CTI 6023 (US)

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, November 21, 1972

Thanks to snobb, js for the updates

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JOE FARRELL MOON GERMS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Steve Wyzard
FUSION MASTERPIECE

It's sad that since his untimely death in 1986, Joe Farrell has been mostly forgotten. Sure, the albums he did with Chick Corea, Elvin Jones, and even Andrew Hill still have their adherents, but albums like Moon Germs remind us he deserves to be remembered as far more than just a side-man. And while this is a CTI album from 1973, don't worry: there's not an overbearing orchestra in sight.

The four tracks on Moon Germs (Farrell's "Great Gorge" and "Moon Germs", Chick Corea's "Times Lie" and Stanley Clarke's "Bass Folk Song") all follow a similar pattern: begin leisurely before launching into ridiculous speeds, Farrell takes the first solo, Herbie Hancock (electric piano - less than a year away from Head Hunters) takes the second solo, a very young Stanley Clarke (electric bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums) add their irrepressible best, before everyone returns to the beginning. Farrell, known for his Rollins-ish tone on the tenor, plays only soprano sax on this album, with the exception of "Bass Folk Song" which is his flute showcase. Like soloing, especially from these guys? On this album, solos go far beyond the usual 10-30 seconds each.

The word "masterpiece" gets thrown around all too often, but Moon Germs truly deserves it. While released in close proximity to many other fusion classics that are still revered today, this album can stand head-and-shoulders next to any of them. Highly recommended to fans of all the players involved, but most especially to Herbie Hancock fans. If you enjoy his Crossings/Sextant period, you MUST hear his performances on this album!

Members reviews

Sean Trane
Third CTI album from the RTF wind man, and featuring again an all-superstar line-up, this time with Herbie replacing Chick, DeJohnette reclaiming the drum stool from Elvin and Stanley holding the bass. Recorded in late 72 in RVG studios, the album sports a weird moonlike eyeball watching over some kind of geometric forest at night, and while one could fear that the album is going to be even further “out there” than its two predecessors; actually it’s probably Farrell’s most accessible to date.

The A-side features two Farrell compositions, the first of which is the almost-12-mins Great Gorge, which has Hancock batting homeruns on either sides of the field at will, but not in the extremely dissonant range; though he does go electronics (something he’d experienced in his recent Mwandishi album, but that was Pat Gleason’s job. The 7-mins+ title track is a much more standard piece, where Farrell shines like a thousand full moons.

Oddly enough, if Farrell had opted to let Chick have space for a composition in Outback, in the present album, he doesn’t do the favour to Hancock, and it’s again a Corea piece that find space, though Herbie does it great justice. If Time Lies is an earthy piano piece, Farrell soars high above in the stratosphere with soprano sax. The album-closing Stanley almost-10 mins composition Bass Folk Song is maybe the album’s most energetic piece, due in no small amount to the young Clarke, who just like DeJohnette were still climbing the jazz notoriety (none of the two having yet recorded as solo artiste). While Stan was only appearing for the first time on a CTI album, JDJ was now almost a CTI veteran, before becoming an ECM pillar.

Again, if you’re looking to the “soft jazz” trademark that the CTI label was best-known for (Benson, Grover, Deodato, etc); you’d better stay away from yet another attention-demanding Farrell album, despite this one being the most fusion-like so far of Farrell’s solo career; though his next one would indulge further in avant and fusion directions.

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