Old and New Dreams
ECM : 1980
Dewey Redman, tenor sax, musette; Don Cherry, trumpet; Charlie Haden, bass; Ed Blackwell, drums.
Is it possible this group is underappreciated? That instead of being recognized as a jazz super-ensemble, they are viewed more as an Ornette Coleman cover band? Though all bandmembers have strong ties to Coleman, and though Old and New Dreams drew on the Ornette songbook for much of their irregularly recorded life, they deserve our full attention as an organic, living, breathing, swanging thing-unto-itself.
“Rushour” is a Redman original, and he opens it with extreme brio. Cherry takes a slower tack, but the support is relentless. Blackwell handles the final solo and syncopates beautifully. Ornette’s “Broken Shadows” is given a superbly emotional reading, with some great musette from Redman; Haden’s bass is captured unbelievably well, particularly for a live date. But everybody contributes stunning playing. We cite one of our favorite records reviews of recent years: Old and New Dreams manage to MAKE. EACH. PART. AS. IMPORTANT. AS. THE. OTHER. PART. There is no “backdrop”; there is nothing “underneath.”
Here’s Ed Blackwell, who was interviewed by Robert Palmer for a March 1980 Old and New Dreams gig in New York (opening act: Arthur Blythe): “I know efforts I do individually with other people are not as strong as the feeling I have with this group. We need to have reunions, get back together for at least three or four months of the year. But you know, when I leave these cats to do my own projects, the love lasts me the rest of the year.” We know something of how he feels.