Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Art Lande - Rubisa Patrol (1976)

Pianist Art Lande has previously featured on these pages in an early 80s trio; this is the first album by his 70s quartet, who would subsequently take their name from this album.  And winding back to '76 with ECM puts us square in the middle of the label's first phenomenal purple patch, when almost every release was an instant and lasting classic.  So prepare for something pretty special as far as 70s jazz goes.

Digging this album out after not having listened to it in quite a while, the first thing that struck me was just how good it sounds.  This is where the renowned 'ECM sound' really started to crystallise, and the recording quality is a joy to behold even before you get started on how good the music is; you'd barely believe it was forty years ago that ECM's Jan Erik Kongshaug rolled the tapes.

Lande is on top form throughout this mostly laid-back programme, but Rubisa Patrol is very much a group effort.  Trumpeter Mark Isham is arguably the star player here, with his mellifilous tone wringing every possible drop of beauty from these melodies (two of them from his own pen).  However, the first sound you hear on the album is a bamboo flute played by bassist/flautist Bill Douglass, who also gets the spotlight (on regular flute) on two takes of Jaimi's Birthday Song.  As mentioned above, this is a wonderfully relaxed record, but the Isham composition For Nancy does pick up the pace a bit for variety, and the minute-long Bulgarian Folk Tune even more so, making for a memorable halfway point on this stunning album.



  1. I'm finally getting a chance to listen to this, and I really like it! Thanks so much for sharing it

  2. I've downloaded several of your ECM posts today. Thanks so much!