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Bobby Bradford & John Carter Quintet: No U Turn: Live in Pasadena, 1975

This previously unissued recording of cornetist Bobby Bradford and woodwinds player John Carter at Caltech’s Baxter Lecture Hall, with two bassists-Stanley Carter and Roberto Miranda-and drummer William Jeffrey, is the earliest known documentation of the Bradford/Carter duo in performance. It’s historic for a couple of reasons: It captures Carter on soprano, an instrument he would soon set aside in favor of the clarinet (which he plays here as well), and it includes a rare live recording of Bradford’s “Love’s Dream,” which he seldom performed in the U.S.

“Love’s Dream,” the opener, begins with a hymn-like intro-an underlying impetus toward freedom, recalling Albert Ayler’s brass/reed-ensemble hymns. Bradford’s cornet emerges as lead improvisational voice, then gives way to Carter’s soprano, then reasserts itself, setting the theme for the set: a deftly balanced collective improvisation that keeps individuality, along with group identity, in focus.

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