Thursday, March 26, 2009
Don Pullen - Warriors
For Chokabert, who loves his work. One of the greatest pianists ever.
"Don Pullen developed an extended technique for the piano and a strikingly individual style, post-bop and modern, but retaining a strong feeling for the blues. He produced acknowledged masterworks of jazz in a range of formats and styles, crossing and mixing genres long before this became almost commonplace. By chance, unfortunately for his future commercial success if not for his musical development, his first contact on arriving on the New York scene was with the free players of the 1960s, with whom he recorded. It was some years later before his abilities in more straight ahead jazz playing, as well as free, were revealed to a larger audience. The variety in his music made him difficult to pigeonhole, but he always displayed a vitality that at first hearing could shock but would always engross and delight his audience.
Although Don was able to play the piano in almost any style, (the attribute that had made him so important to the wide-ranging music of Mingus) and sometimes gave the impression that there were two pianists at the keyboard, he caused most astonishment by his ability to place extremely precise singing runs or glissandi over heavy chords, reminiscent of traditional blues, while never losing contact with the melodic line. His technique for creating these runs, where he seemed to roll his right hand over and over along the keys, received much comment from critics, was studied by pianists, and heavily filmed and investigated, but could never be totally explained, even by Don who had developed it. His piano technique can be seen on the DVDs 'Mingus At Montreux 1975' and on 'Roots Salutes The Saxophones'. But it is better not to concentrate too much on his technique, especially now that he is gone from among us, and to pay attention to his depth of feeling and the intensity of improvisations, whether these were suggested by the song itself or engendered by the moment. It is easy to forget that those who come to love his music from his records may be totally unaware of his playing method. Even at his concerts, only a minority of the audience would be fully able to see his hands moving along the keyboard and be aware of exactly how he revealed the emotional outpourings of his soul." - All About Jazz