On Tin Can Alley, the great Chico Freeman really shines with drummer Jack DeJohnette – lending his tenor, flute, and bass clarinet to the album – and helping make it a really reed-heavy affair! John Purcell's also in the frontline with Chico – playing alto, baritone, and flute – and in addition to Peter Warren's bass and cello, the album Jack DeJohnette also plays drums, congas, piano, and organ too! The range of instrumentation almost echoes some Chicago AACM roots at times – but with that tighter focus that musicians like Jack were bringing to their work at ECM – and titles include "Riff Raff", "The Gri Gri Man", "I Know", and "Pastel Rhapsody".
Inflation Blues is a record that bristles with energy right from the start – spurred on by the creative rhythms that have always made Jack DeJohnette one of the most inventive drummers of his time! The group features a triple-threat lineup with Baikida Carroll on trumpet, Chico Freeman on tenor and soprano sax, and John Purcell on alto, baritone, flute, and clarinet – especially nice at points when the reedmen shift and turn with sharp edges learned from the earlier avant years, yet given a nice focus here under DeJohnette's leadership. Jack penned all original tunes for the set, and there's a depth to his writing that really marks a move forward – possibly some of his richest musical statements on record ever! Titles include "Ebony", "Inflation Blues", "Slowdown", and "The Islands".
Album Album is a record that really dives deep with a rich mix of creative rhythms and inventive horn lines! The album still has Jack staying true to his more avant roots – working with tenor from David Murray, alto and soprano sax from John Purcell, baritone and tuba from Howard Johnson, and bass from Rufus Reid – a lineup that's a bit bigger than on other Special Edition albums, and which is used to fill in even more colors and deeper elements than before. Some of the tunes are wonderfully vivid in approach – and titles include "Festival", "Third World Anthem", "Zoot Suite", "Ahmad The Terrible", and "New Orleans Strut". ~ Dusty Groove