May 1998

Jack DeJohnette
ECM Records

This album has only a few lively moments. It appears that the performances are totally improvised. The players-drummer and percussionist DeJohnette, guitarist and bass guitarist Jerome Harris, pianist Michael Cain and percussionist Don Alias-are either sensitive in the extreme, generally lackluster or hooked on an ECM philosophy of too-subtle understatement.

The tracks range from the 2:04 "Welcome Blessing," a DeJohnette-Alias duet, to the 27:32 "From the Heart"/"C.M.A.," the jazziest excursion. "Free Above Sea" and "Priestess of the Mist" are spare, impressionistic performances. "Jack In" is in tempo, in a comfortable groove and has a clean, rhythmic guitar solo. "From the Heart" contains portions of cooking, uptempo piano-trio jazz. But there's little here that enhances DeJohnette's reputation as one of jazz's leading drummers.

Originally published in May 1998
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