Sunday, November 06, 2005


I think this is magnificent stuff. It's much more melodic than expected, with elegant and twinkly space piano, potent bass and drum work, and reasonably structured sax soloing. Sometimes reasonably structured. Coltrane does go off into the blurts and zoots and squawks--there are moments on the album where his horn laughs, gurgles like a mud duck, and percolates some sort of dark matter soup. Much less fractured than Ascension, but this is only a sketchbook whereas Ascension was a completed canvas.

I've had Loriod's recording for years, and still love it--but Aimard is at once more spectral and precise. A brilliant recording of otherworldly piano works.

Led Zep is one of those bands I was fanatic about for years--then I simply couldn't hear that stuff anymore. How many times can you hear "Heartbreaker" or "Black Dog" before your head explodes? I didn't care to find out.

But I've been listening to the first album again lately and that rough spooky blues sound still appeals to me [after a LONG hiatus]. This concert DVD has some good bits, but I had to skim through some rather dull Jimmy Page guitar-fiddling. Bonzo Bonham still blows me away. More than 25 years after his death I don't know that there's been a rock drummer of such magnitude since (though I do like Dave Lombardo). There are I think five different versions of "Dazed and Confused" on the first DVD, including excellent ones from Dutch radio and French TV that illustrate how great a jam band Led Zep was.