JULIAN PRIESTER — Love, Love (review)

JULIAN PRIESTER — Love, Love album cover Live album · 1973 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Fans of Herbie Hancock Sextet's cult favorite, 'Crossings', will probably find a lot to like in Sextet trombonist Julian Priester's 'Love Love'. All the familiar ingredients are here, futuristic analog synths, sinewy washes of string Melotron, heavily reverbed avant-garde jazz solos, ecloplexed everything and African influenced poly-rhythms. To Priester's favor he has one thing that Herbie didn't have, the searing guitar work of Bill Connor. Unfortunately, what Julian is lacking in comparism to Hancock's classic though is the amazing psychedelic production of David Rubison, as well as Herbie's slightly better developed compositions. This is not to say Priester can't compose and arrange with the best of them, but we are comparing him to one of the top jazz composers of the second half of the 20th century. Side one starts with beautiful subtle orchestrations with horns blending with Pat Gleeson's electronics, then the band breaks into a steady odd-metered groove while the horns, synths, guitars and Melotrons all have their chance to snake by and have their say. All this is nice and groovy in an early 70s psychedelic way, and it does have a very nice retro sound to it, but after awhile it does go on a bit long. Also, typical on this album is less than top- notch mixing from Gleeson and Priester, who are not pro mixers and it shows. The problem manifests itself on this side with a loud persistent hi-hat that could have been placed a bit lower in volume.

Side two is a little more adventurous and energetic as the band opens by alternating avant-garde rushes of drum driven heavily echoed solos, with quiet mysterious orchestrated electronic/acoustic horns passages. The music and playing is top notch, but once again Gleeson and Priester undermine themselves by putting the synthesizers to high in the mix, and giving the drums a very muddy sound that makes most of the set disappear except the cymbals. Halfway through the second side (song titles seem to mean nothing on this album) the band brings it all together with this charging rhythm that's part Afro-Cuban and part galloping psychedelic space rock. Everone piles on with intertwining solos and for once the production is dead-on as Gleeson's synth colors blend perfectly with the horn players relentless solos.

If this album had been mixed and produced by professionals it would have been a 'masterpiece', all the same, it is still very good and is highly recommended for fans of the Herbie Hancock Sextet.
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