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George Schuller and the Schulldogs: Tenor Tantrums

This is solid contemporary jazz. The style is post-Ornette-in fact like Masada and other contemporary groups the principal prototype would seem to be Don Cherry’s Complete Communion period. Schuller plays drums and writes effective lines that use harmony and counterpoint quite effectively. Sometimes bass lines underpin the solos, but whether there are preset harmonic reference points for the soloists is hard to hear (and irrelevant, after all). The writing reminds me of Mark Helias, who organizes things particularly well in a comparable way. But good as the writing is, it’s the excellent soloing and group listening that make this record stand out. The tenors are George Garzane and Tony Malaby, Ed Schuller is on bass, and Dave Ballou’s trumpet is heard on two tracks. The two saxes are both fine and complimentary players, and Malaby even manages to sound interesting on soprano. I have to advise impenetrable annotator Mike Silverton that the ’60s sitcom F-Troop Indian tribe he keeps referring to was the Hekawis, not Fugawis (think about it).

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