Friday, July 4, 2014

LEO SMITH – Divine Love (LP-1979)

Label: ECM Records – ECM 1143
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: W. Germany - Released: 1979
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded at Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg, W. Germany in September 1978.
Artwork By [Design] - Peter Brotzmann
Composed By – Leo Smith
Engineer By – Martin Wieland
Photography [Back] – Dani Lienhard, Signe Mahler, Roberto Masotti
Photography [Front] – Roberto Masotti
Producer By – Manfred Eicher

A1 - Divine Love . . . 21:47
B1 - Tastalun . . . 6:38
        (Trumpet - Kenny Wheeler , Lester Bowie)
B2 - Spirituals: The Language Of Love . . . 15:28
        (Bass - Charlie Haden)

Leo Smith – trumpet, flugelhorn, steel-o-phone, gongs, percussion
Dwight Andrews – alto flute, bass clarinet , tenor saxophone, triangles, mbira
Bobby Naughton – vibraharp, marimba, bells
Charlie Haden – double-bass
Lester Bowie – trumpet
Kenny Wheeler – trumpet

Leo Smith refused the advances of the ECM label for a few years, but eventually created this album for them and continued to record with them sporadically. His working group of the time is largely featured, along with a piece for three trumpets that puts him in the company of both Lester Bowie and Kenny Wheeler. His scores from this time were very well-thought-out and demanded a special type of concentration from the performers, moving into areas quite different than the usual intensity build-up of free jazz or the theme-improvise-theme standards of much that came before. Whether his intentions are best served by the likes of Bowie and Wheeler -- both working in an area that might not be their forte -- was a decision that didn't seem to bother the production staff, and the results are at the very least a memorable meeting of three brass masters. The presence of vibraphonist Bobby Naughton was typical of this period, heralding a new layer of lyricism and romantic beauty in Smith's music, which one would think would be perfectly suited to the ECM treatment. That sympathetic connection was never quite made, however, as the producer was probably busy finding the ultimate reverb setting for Smith's horn. 
(by Eugene Chadbourne)

Bobby Naughton, Wadada Leo Smith, Dwight Andrews - Stuttgart, West Germany, September 1978 (Photo by Fridel Pluff)

"The music I have written since 1970 represents two types of systems that I have utilized in my music; the systems of rhythm - units and ahkreanvention. The rhythm unit concept is one that accepts a single sound or rhythm, a series of rhythm - sound, or a grouping of more than one series of sound rhythm as a complete piece of music and thus need not be so- called developed further to be appreciated as a whole fresh realized work or piece, IMPROVISATION. The correct understanding of each unit is: the value given to an audible unit is followed by the relative equivalence of silence. "Divine Love" and "Spirituals: The Language Of Love" are good representations of the rhythm unit concept.

Since 1971 I have been concerned with creating alternatives for a world music, one which utilizes the fundamental laws of improvisation and composition while retaining a uniqueness of its own. I began to design a notation system for scoring sound, rhythm and silence, or for scoring improvisation, a technique I term ahkreanvention. Ahkreanvention literally means to create and invent musical ideas simultaneously, utilizing the fundamental laws of improvisation and composition, Within this system, all of the elements of the scored music are controlled through symbols designating duration, improvisation, and moving sounds of different velocities. These symbols are depicted on two types of staffs sound staffs divided into low, medium and high, and sound staffs of adjustable sound partials. Since this system was designed, all of the music I have worked on has dealt with the philosophical and technical attitude upon which it is based. "Tastalun" is an ahkreanvention piece scored for three muted trumpets, and it represents my experimentation with this system of notation. In prior years I have been able to record solo ahkreanvention pieces, but this was the first time I have recorded an ensemble ahkreanvention piece. My purpose and mission as a creative musician is to bring about an understanding and appreciation for all the instruments found throughout the world and to advance the concept of equality of both the instruments and their creators in the world arena."

_ By LEO SMITH , 9.23.1978

Buy this album!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. New link:

      LEO SMITH - Divine Love (LP-1979)

  2. I think this is the first time I've ever seen this recording being shared, and with my turntable no longer working it will be very nice to hear it again. Many thanks.


  3. Great blog Vitko
    One of the best Leo Smith records

    check out too


  4. A rare LP. Thank you, Vitko!

  5. wow and wow... thanks for both leo smith's records!

  6. I love the woman in the street scene. Who is that, Bobby Naughton's mama? In any case, it's not easy to find records with Bobby OR Leo so I really appreciate you making them available. I remember the one on ECM. That was back in the day they'd suprise you with who they would sign, like the AEoC! Thems were the days....

  7. Pure beauty! Thank you Vitko for both albums.

  8. Can you re-up this one also? Thanks

  9. could you please re-up. Thanks so much.

  10. Dear Tom,
    the link works perfectly well, I just checked.