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Schuller, George / Circle Wide / Like Before, Somewhat After
Album:Like Before, Somewhat After Collection:Jazz
Artist:Schuller, George / Circle Wide Added:06/2008
Label:Playscape Recordings 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2008-10-05 Pull Date:2008-12-07 Charts:Jazz
Week Ending:7 Dec30 Nov16 Nov2 Nov26 Oct19 Oct12 Oct
Airplays:1111111

 Recent Airplay
1.Jan 01, 2009:Hangover Helper
Survivors' Suite (Part 1)
4.Nov 14, 2008:Memory Select
Common Mama
2.Dec 05, 2008:Memory Select
Survivors' Suite (Part 1)
5.Oct 31, 2008:Memory Select
Encore, B
3.Nov 28, 2008:Memory Select, Time Traveler Edition
Dew Point
6.Oct 24, 2008:Memory Select
Survivors' Suite (Part 2)

Album Review
Craig Matsumoto
Reviewed 2008-09-25 
Mostly Keith Jarrett covers, including -- wow -- the rare, ambitious "Survivors Suite" (albeit dilued, missing the grandiosity and mystery of the original). Soft vibraphone and Donny McCaslin's sax create an aura of jazz-club comfort -- something Jarrett admittedly did with his classic Dewey Redman quartet anyway.

Donny McCaslin -- sax
Brad Shepik -- guitar
Tom Beckham -- vibes
Dave Ambrosio -- bass
George Schuller -- drums, percussion
Jamey Haddad -- percusion on 2,3,4,6,7

1- An open, expansive, yet comforting feel, quite Jarrett-inspired
2- Cutesy percolating with vibes and misc. percussion. Fun, darting; gets into a happy, happy jam that even gets funky
3- A miniature version of Jarrett's album-long "Survivors Suite," from 1977. Opens with lonely tones and furious, faint guitar scraping. Into a comfortable groove with sad overtones.
4- Continuation of (3), in more comforting tones set by vibes, with a blazing guitar solo.
5- Peppy mid/fast, a neat late-night cooker
6- Small and cute, an island feel.
7- Slowish and wandering; picks up speed during the solo spaces, including a twisty fast-speed sax solo. Evokes a Jarrett-like space well.
8- That comforting feel, mixing some jazz freedom with a richly New York sound.

SURVIVORS SUITE, fuller writeup:
On the one hand, it makes sense that you wouldn't cover "The Survivors' Suite" shot for shot. If it sounded exactly like the original, you'd go listen to the original. (Coltrane-covering bands, take note.) On the other hand, it's not the notes and chords that made "Survivors' Suite" special; as I recall, it was the whole mood, the atmosphere, the strength amid bleakness, and the overhanging nuclear fears of the cold war. In other words, it's not coverable. It's no wonder that Jarrett never produced any work similar, and possibly never wanted to. In that light, it almost doesn't make sense to try to cover "Survivors Suite."

Schuller comes close -- the opening guitar scratches from Brad Shepik evoke the proper loneliness and emptiness, and Donny McCaslin tries his fiery best with a sax solo at the end of part one. If I hadn't heard the original, I'd consider it an intriguing track with an innovative base concept. Big ups to Schuller, then, for trying it, but I think the effort was a bit doomed. Leaving vibraphone off the menu might have helped, I think; those comforting chord strains might work well in the more placid opening to Part 2 but just pillow-smother the sense of dread I'd like to hear in Part 1.

Track Listing
1.Dew Point 5.Rotation
2.Common Mama 6.De Drums
3.Survivors' Suite (Part 1) 7.Back To School
4.Survivors' Suite (Part 2) 8.Encore, B