Thursday, February 24, 2005

The All Seeing Eye

Wayne Shorter: The All Seeing Eye. Posted by Hello

Black History Month
continues at HurdAudio with a visit to The All Seeing Eye from 1965 by Wayne Shorter.

The titles dwell upon a range of spiritual mysteries: "The All Seeing Eye," "Genesis," "Chaos," "Face of the Deep" and "Mephistopheles." Wayne Shorter seems to be using his tenor to speak upon subjects where words typically fall short. Many of these compositions feature some solid modal bop textures that give way to some surprising turns in the arrangements and some unusual creative solos. It leaves the impression of something deeper running underneath every sound that becomes exposed whenever the stylistic surface sheen begins to shift directions.

My ears are strongly drawn to the piano work of Herbie Hancock on this disc. His touch is exquisite whether he's adding something to the foreground or background at a given moment. The interplay between Hancock and drummer Joe Chambers on "The All Seeing Eye" is particularly satisfying. The ascending/descending intervallic patterns in Hancock's solo on this track is a real high point in this listening experience.

The horn arrangements also catch my attention. From the opening sequence of "The All Seeing Eye" to the coda of "Face of the Deep." Especially notable is the opening spiky horn material that opens Alan Shorter's composition "Mephistopheles" before giving way to the ostinato pedal in the rhythm section.

There isn't a weak element to be found on this disc. The All Seeing Eye features an ensemble of master improvisers, flawless recording that balances and allows each instrument adequate space and some great compositions that really tap into an undeniable spiritual energy and introspective reflection. Wayne Shorter has impressed me every time I've heard him play and usually when others play him as well. These timeless, classic Blue Note records he did in the '60s really cast a transcendent spell.

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