Saturday, November 7, 2015

MARC LEVIN AND HIS FREE UNIT – The Dragon Suite (LP-1969)




Label: BYG Records – BYG 529 112
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold jacket / Country: France / Released: 1969
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded by Stereo Sound Studios, N.Y.C., 1967.
Liner Notes – Philippe Carles
Producer – Bill Dixon
Recorded By – Jerry Newman
Matrix / Runout: BYG 529 112 A
Matrix / Runout: BYG 529 112 B

A1 - Morning Colors .......................................................................................... 16:07
A2 - The Dragon And The Rainbow: Forum With Modernmen .......................... 3:49
B1 - The Rainbow ............................................................................................... 0:32
B2 - Twilight Dance ............................................................................................ 7:39
B3 - Meditation: The Sea, The Fire, The Earth ................................................. 12:07

Marc Levin : flute,  trumpet, woodwind [wind instruments], composed
Jonas Gwanga : trombone
Cecil McBee : bass
Calo Scott : cello
Frank Clayton : drums, percussion

I have not heard this vinyl for a long time but I remember that I loved this fine album (and kept it), it's free jazz, but not as wild as some other recordings, rather a chamber-jazz approach with its exciting and dense moments, but at times very subtle and never lost in screaming.

Players are Marc Levin on wood flutes and some smaller cornet-type brass instrument, South African trombonist Jonas Gwanga, Calo Scott on cello (who is magnificent as always), Cecil McBee on bass and Frank Clayton on drums. Bill Dixon (Levin's teacher) produced the album.


 Originally released: Savoy Records ‎– SMG-12190


Levin is a rather obscure figure - he recorded another self produced album in the 1970's (again with Scott and Clayton and the drummer's wife at the time, Jay Clayton), and one for ENJA after he moved to Europe, but I haven't heard of him since.

Both sides of this probing avant-garde LP begin with unaccompanied flute intros that sound almost more like electro-acoustic classical sounds rather than flute. They gradually open up as others join in, and in both cases the results sound remarkably the similar. This I emphasize, of course, in the positiv context, in order to better understand the essence and structure of this unusual work. The added instrumentation (trombone, cello, bass, percussion, and other various brasses) is a combination of low-key and mellow sounds that, perhaps because of the exclusion of reed instruments, maintains a calm demeanor despite the sporadic increases in volume and fervor. Where other sessions of this genre tend to include an alto or tenor player here we have something else. The Dragon Suite sounds more like an instrumental dinner conversation. Levin's varying brasses and Jonas Gwanga's trombone in particular keep these free excursions grounded and their speech-like patterns sound. This is a perfectly enjoyable record, and like the Art Ensemble of Chicago's Tutankhamun session, it tends to wander rather aimlessly at times. With all this must be added a typically fine performance from bassist Cecil McBee and unusual excitement that provides Calo Scott on cello, as well as Frank Clayton's magical percussion.

I think that you should love this beautiful LP.



If you find it, buy this album!

6 comments:

  1. MARC LEVIN AND HIS FREE UNIT – The Dragon Suite (LP-1969)
    Vinyl Rip/FLAC+Artwork

    1fichier:
    https://1fichier.com/?kgdjhlkdls

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  2. This looks most interesting Vitko . . . many thanks!

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  3. I've never seen the gatefold edition. Sweet! This was one of those grey-market Savoy reissues on Byg. I can't speak to the legalities, but both are favorites and innovative labels.

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  4. A beautiful album, indeed. Thank you!

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  5. Thanks Vitko certainly one BYG I hadn't heard.

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  6. More Marc Levin......in flac
    http://inconstantsol.blogspot.de/2013/12/marc-levin-ensemble-songs-dances-and.html
    http://inconstantsol.blogspot.de/2011/02/abbey-rader-marc-levin-songs-of-street.html
    http://inconstantsol.blogspot.de/2011/02/marc-levin-social-sketches-enja-1975.html
    and
    http://inconstantsol.blogspot.de/2011/03/ed-curran-quartet-elysa-savoy-1967.html

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