Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In Praise of Patrick Gleeson

The "fusion" movement of the late 60's/70's was a mixed bag, with innovations in rhythm, tonal palettes and the use of electronics charting a new path yet standing alongside indulgent excesses that today you might be embarrassed to admit you listened to (Romantic Warrior, anyone?) 

Someone I think is due for more recognition is Dr. Patrick Gleeson, who was part of Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi group that recorded Crossings for Warner Bros. and Sextant for Columbia. If memory serves, I believe he taught Herbie about the synthesizer. He is also an integral presence on Julian Priester's overlooked Love, Love, which I think is a fusion classic. If you haven't checked that album out, which ECM re-released on CD, it's worth your time.

He seemed to disappear for awhile, but he and Bennie Maupin put out Driving While Black in 1998. It's ironic that the advances in keyboard technology and sequencing make him a little more generic sounding than his earlier analog work. I see that he released Jazz Criminal in 2007 with Jim Lang, who appears to be a studio keyboard player. Anyone heard this?

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