Friday, April 4, 2014

CHICO FREEMAN – The Search (LP-1983)

Label: India Navigation – IN 1059
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: US - Released: 1983
Style: Hard Bop, Free/Avant-Garde Jazz
India Navigation Studio Recording, 1982
Design – Tan Ohe
Photography By – Beth Cummins
Producer – Bob Cummins

This is a beautiful collaboration between Freeman and the vocalist Val Eley. All four tracks include vocals by Eley. Her singing is very strong. The opening, "The Search", starts with unaccompanied vocal line. The moment when the piano trio jumps in always gives me goosebumps even after tens of listens to this album. I was at a cafe one day and listened to this album, fascinated with it, and walked immediately to a record store and bought it. Kenny Barron is so wonderful on this album. McBee playing in this album is very secure (in terms of intonation). Participation of Nana Vasconcelos is also great. All the four compositions are very well composed, arranged, and performed.

A1 - The Search  10:52
A2 - Illas  11:48
B1 - Close To You Alone  7:30
B2 - Soweto Suite  12:25

CHICO FREEMAN – Saxophone, Flute
VAL ELEY – Vocals
JAY HOGGARD – Vibraphone, Marimba
NANA VESCONCELOS – Berimbau, Percussion

Surely, it ’ s not the most known album nor the easiest to find of this musician and composer. Even so, it ’ s an excellent work, where the vocal performance of Val Eley gives it a character of great beauty and exclusivity.

Although Jazz always was the basis of the music composed by Chico Freeman, many of his works present a rather sharp stylistic diversity as he himself likes to point out: “ My objective is to explore new worlds, and I don ’ t want to be limited by categories. The only limitations I place on myself are the limitations on my own imagination, and within that realm, there are none ” .

Comprising three originals from Freeman and one from Cecil McBee, “ The Search ” is a memorable album, which reveals the vocal performance of Val Eley denoting a strong lyrical component, a style of recitation and drama so popular in the Cabaret music or the hippie revival of the musical “ Hair ” . Although I ’ m not a special follower of the singing Jazz, this album left me rendered to Eley ’ s vocal and interpretive skills, from the very first audition.

But this musical piece is much more than the voice of Eley, or we were not dealing with a star cast, composed of the finest instrumentalists. The faultless performance of Cecil McBee (bass) and Billy Hart (drums) is joined by the brilliant Kenny Barron (piano), giving the 40 minutes of this record, an unparalleled rhythmic robustness. Jay Hoggard (vibraphone/marimba) and Nana Vasconcelos (berimbau/percussion) complement the aesthetic sense of this work, with details of great opportunism and excellence. As for Chico Freeman, those who know him from other albums, know how exciting his performance can be. A real musical treat.

Generating a positive wave that emanates a contagious spirituality of influences as diverse as the Hard- Bop, R&B or the Free/Avant-Garde Jazz, this work can be heard with the greatest pleasure, without ever becoming dull or boring.

"The Search" is indeed a serious case of inspiration and musical quality and therefore I never tire of recommending it to all my friends and lovers of good music.

If you find it, buy this album!


  1. CHICO FREEMAN – The Search (LP-1983)
    Vinyl Rip – MP3@320+Cover


    1. DepositFiles:

  2. Fascinating Vitko . . . thought I had heard all the Chico on India Navigation! Obviously I was mistaken . . . thanks so much for this listen.

  3. What a pleasant surprise. Thanks for this rare LP, Vitko!

  4. The link works fine. Already playing it on my pc. Thanks Vitko

    1. Thank you, just in case, I put an alternate link. I've had some problems here last night. V

  5. Many thanks, Vitko! Good supplement to my Freeman's collection!

  6. Many Thanks ! A nice discover.

  7. What an amazing album. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. A really beautiful one... Thanks Vitko!

  9. anyone have flac of this gem - can't find it on LP or CD

  10. yeah seconding that request - if anyone has flac of this please post - LP only / out of print

  11. Thanks very much for this. This is a nice site to visit. If anyone ever finds a flac of this record, I'll check back every now and again to see. Paul from Melbourne.

  12. Around the time this album was released, Chico embarked on a USIS sponsored world tour with a quintet comprising Barron, a then shy young trumpet player called Wallace Roney, Clarence Seay on bass and Ronnie Burrage on drums. They travelled to a few cities in India and I was privileged to attend a workshop and live concert in Calcutta. All the musicians were unknown to me then, but they electrified the audience with their superb playing. Many were humming 'Illas' on their way out. Thanks a lot for posting this album, and letting an old man wallow in happy jazz nostalgia!

    1. I think you're a very lucky man what you had the opportunity to attend this event. My respect and welcome to the pages of this blog. Cheers!