JJ 11/93: Bill Connors – Of Mist And Melting

Thirty years ago Michael Tucker, re-encountering Connors' 1977 album, maintained that contrary to some critical opinion plenty happens. First published in Jazz Journal November 1993


I remember this as being one of the first ECM recordings to suffer from the late-seventies ‘back to the (swinging] roots’ reaction to the label’s early success. At the time, one reviewer went as far as to suggest that, in Face In The Water, ‘nothing happens’. For my money, however, Of Mist And Melting remains the rewarding album it always was, featuring fine, open-ended compositions from Connors and sterling playing all round: rarely have ele­ments of ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ jazz com­bined so strikingly.

I’ve never heard another gui­tarist play behind the beat to the extent that Connors does here: the combination of his predomi­nantly cool linearity and DeJohnette’s patented rolling and tumbling creates a very spe­cial blend of poetic contempla­tion and rhythmic vitality – a combination central to the contri­butions of Garbarek. His dynami­cally rich tenor solo on Melting is exemplary in the reflective nobil­ity of its sculpted accents and tonal variety. Unfortunately, Peacock remains as (surprisingly) low in the mix as he was on the original LP, but that’s no reason not to invest in an album where plenty happens.

Melting; Not Forgetting; Face In The Water; Aubade; Cafe Vue; Unending (47.37)
Bill Connors (g); Jan Garbarek (ts/ss); Gary Peacock (b); Jack DeJohnette (d). Oslo, December 1977.
(ECM 1120)