Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sunny Murray/Untouchable Factor: Charred Earth

The info:
Sunny Murray/The Untouchable Factor-Charred Earth
Kharma 1 USA rec NYC 1/1/77


Sunny Murray-Drums
Byard Lancaster-Reeds
Dave Burrell-Piano
Bob Reid-Bass


1. Charred Earth
2. Seven Steps to Heaven
3. Tree Tops
4. Happiness Tears
5. Peace
The album is from a live gig that opened up the new year in 1977. The title track starts the record off on a dark, solemn note. I guess after seeing way too much news footage of buildings that have been firebombed and of dead bodies burned beyond recognition as the powers that be pursue a scorched earth policy in Iraq and elsewhere, that the term "charred earth" takes on an especially urgent air to it. The pace picks up significantly on "Seven Steps to Heaven" with a rhythm section that lurches as Byard Lancaster solos - let's just say these cats tear the roof off the sucka. "Tree Tops" goes into free jazz ballad mode, with a soothing melody provided by Lancaster on sax (not to worry, he provides fire as needed, especially about 5 or so minutes into the tune), a droning bowed bass in the background, and Murray and Burrell providing some fireworks (albeit subdued). "Happiness Tears" is a pleasant, up-tempo piece that veers almost into boppish territory. "Peace" rounds out the album on a hopeful ballad-like tip, picking up where the previous tune left off while slowing things down a few notches. Lancaster and Burrell both get plenty of solo time on these last two tracks. I don't really know anything about the bassist, but he seems to hold his own throughout the gig with these free jazz veterans. Again, Murray doesn't really solo per se on the album, but his drumming provides the pulse and thus propels the music throughout.

Sound quality is reasonably good. Expect the usual snap-crackle-pop that comes from mp3 rips from vinyl.

Download Charred Earth