JJ 07/72: Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood Of Breath – Brotherhood

Fifty years ago Pete Gamble thought the Brotherhood's second album got closer to the impossibility of reproducing the effect of the live band. First published in Jazz Journal July 1972


While I don’t think that the true es­sence of the Brotherhood will ever be captured on disc, this their second al­bum goes a long way toward reproduc­ing the live article. The fact that Chris produced this one himself is almost certainly the reason why.

Side I shows the two sides of the band. Nick Tete, composed by Dudu Pukwana, has a simple repetitive theme, a wailing typical solo from Mr. P., and some excellent drumming from Moholo in the driving seat. Joyful Noises is a vehicle for Chris’s piano, firstly over a haunting theme played by the horns, then accompanied only by Miller and Moholo, and finally back to the band. His style as displayed here is out of Cecil Taylor, with the same excellent harmonic sense as the master, but is definitely more percussive.

Side 2 kicks off with Mike Osborne’s Think Of Something. Fine solos here from the composer and Evans, but unfortunately there is an embarrassing moment near the end when the band appear to experience discomfort during the transition from a free passage back to the theme.

Do It starts with free blowing from Pukwana and Skidmore, but this soon merges into the theme, which is one of the band’s most popular. There is some highly effective scoring here for the sec­tions, a spluttering solo from Feza and rock solid bass from Miller.

Funky Boots March is a delightful piece of trivia written by Windo and Evans, which has the band stomping for all it’s worth.

A fine record from a most exciting band, which should satisfy their many followers.

Sick Tete; Joyful Noises (19½ min) – Think Of Something; Do It; Funky Boots March (17 min)
Mark Charig (cor); Harry Beckett (tpt/fgl-h): Mongezi Feza (pocket-tpt); Malcolm Griffiths, Nick Evans (tbn); Dudu Pukwana, Mike Osborne (alt): Gary Windo, Alan Skidmore (ten); Chris McGregor (pno): Harry Miller (bs); Louis Moholo (dm). London 1971.
(RCA SF 8260 £2.19)