Happily, it is not the responsibility of this review to address in detail the train wreck that was the 1979 film adaptation of the stage musical Hair. A complete misfire conceived by a screenwriter, Michael Weller, and a director, Czech expatriate Milos Forman, who did not seem to have the slightest familiarity with hippies, the '60s, America, or even Broadway, the movie was miscast with supposedly bankable young film stars of the day (Treat Williams, John Savage, Beverly d'Angelo), and the essentially plotless libretto of the stage version was replaced by a contrived Hollywood script in a textbook example of how not to do an adaptation. But never mind the movie itself…
The last of the Jackie McLean Prestige sessions, this LP has material from two different sets, but fortunately, the music is on a higher level than one might expect of "leftovers." "Strange Blues" is from a marathon quartet set that McLean had with pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Arthur Phipps, and drummer Art Taylor, as is a rendition of "What's New" that is an alternate version to the one included on Makin' the Changes. In addition, "Disciples Love Affair" and "Millie's Pad" match McLean with the tuba of Ray Draper (who contributed both songs), trumpeter Webster Young, pianist John Meyers, bassist Bill Salter, and drummer Larry Ritchie, while the incomplete "Not So Strange Blues" is all McLean on an explosive blues with the rhythm section. A generally strong set chiefly recommended to Jackie McLean completists.
Pianist Jaki Byard's first recording as a leader was not released domestically until this 1988 CD. That fact seems strange for Byard is absolutely brilliant on the solo piano set. Many of his selections (all nine tunes are his originals) look both backwards to pre-bop styles and ahead to the avant-garde including such numbers as "Pete and Thomas (Tribute to the Ticklers)," "Spanish Tinge No. 1," and "One, Two, Five." The most remarkable selection is "Jaki's Blues Next" which has Byard alternating between James P. Johnson-type stride and free form à la Cecil Taylor; at its conclusion he plays both styles at the same time. A highly recommended outing from a very underrated pianist.
Bernward Koch is a German composer, pianist and keyboardist. Additionally he plays percussion, bass, and guitar. His music mainly evokes a soothing and calming style, with a clearly recognizable melody from the piano, enriched with keyboards, flute, guitar,and percussion. His first release, 1989's Flowing, was successful, especially in the USA (and Asia),and achieved top positions on the Billboard New Age Chart. His tracks contributed to several US-Aids-benefit compilations among others together with Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Al Jarreau, Ottmar Liebert, Dave Grusin, Dave Stewart.