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May 1998

John Handy Quintet
The Second John Handy Album
E1 Music

This mid-'60s group featured Jerry Hahn, Michael White, Danny Thompson and Terry Clarke, all players who have gone on to other significant achievements. The group chemistry is the main point of interest for jazz listeners (Handy and Charles Lloyd were about the only jazz players that appealed to the hippies, for some reason, and some of the material is accordingly on the light side.) Handy is also a master of the sax and his cohorts rate high as soloists and even higher as group players, all of which assures a deserved continued interest, and three previously unheard tracks add to that. But if one long (13:46) piece ever made a record worth buying, "Scheme #1" here is surely that piece. Handy said in the original notes that the group wanted to go more in this experimental direction, which sounds as much like Schoenberg or even at times Stockhausen as it does free jazz, though Handy in 1966 had digested aspects of Coltrane's later work that most of his imitators still seem unaware of. The group's togetherness raises this performance to a level no other third stream music ever reached. Too bad they split up without building on it.

Originally published in May 1998
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