JJ 10/83: Jimmy Giuffre – Dragonfly

Forty years ago Barry McRae regretted Giuffre fraternising with the fusion but noted that creativity was not compromised. First published in Jazz Journal October 1983


To hear Giuffre playing in an electric group will be a surprise to some readers. His most recent work in live performance has tended to look back to the Herman days stylistic­ally, but Giuffre is an experimenter. His flirtation with free form was never completely successful but he has never been afraid to examine dif­ferent musical forms.

Here he comes quite close to the simplistic (in the non-derogatory sense) attitude re­quired by a small fusion unit. He is helped by Kay’s light-handed touch and generally there is a mood of un­derstatement not normally expected in this musical area. His clarinet on Cool almost ignores the electric situation and his highly inventive flute on In Between confirms that he is not about to surrender his creative ideals because he has tried a seem­ingly alien form.

Levin makes his most articulate comments on the Rhodes and Nieske adds special highlights to the normally matt finish of the Fender sound. There is not an ugly moment on the whole record but it may just be too much of a hybrid for some tastes.

Dragonfly; Cool; In Between; Moon­light (20.00) – J To J; Sad Truth; Stella By Starlight; Squirrels (18.00)
Jimmy Giuffre (ts/ss/cl/f/bf); Pete Levin (key); Bob Nieske (elb); Randy Kay (pc/mar). Southbury, Connecticut, 14 & 15/1/83.
(Soul Note SN 1058)