Two poles to this entry on the undeniably great Gil E. The first was
His Impulse LP “Out of the Cool “,the first record I bought with my first paycheck
As a junior teacher in a school in Capetown.More than most of those early and voraciously examined LPs,this one continues to be loved and played . Drama and colour here aplenty,and ideas , too,as in “Stratusphunk”,where the theme is first played by the saxophones “slaptongued”, a technique that requires conventional fingering but no breath into the instrument.A ghostly sort of plucking sound results….strange and melodically ambiguous.
Vividly wistful episodes frame the main action….”Where Flamingos Fly “ spelled out by a lonely and melancholic trombone,and “Sunken Treasure”,wherein Johnny Coles’ grieving trumpet floats over a eerie orchestral hymn that is stitched together
by trombones and marimba.
The other pole was a concert in the Festival Hall,London,by which time Gil was tinkering with the music of Jimi Hendrix.I remember David Sanborn and George Adams AND Arthur Blythe in the reed section,but I somehow managed to miss the essence of the music,and only occasionally re-capture it when I listen to the record that emerged some years later.Oddly anti-climactic…..and it’s my fault. I saw him in the street in Soho around this time , looking rather lost , and I nearly approached him to buy him a drink….but my courage failed.