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Friday, 16 December 2016
"The Bass [aka 'Infinite Space' and 'Mountain In The Clouds'] by MIROSLAV VITOUS (2016 Beat Goes On Reissue - High Definition Andrew Thompson CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...
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"...Mountain In The Clouds..."
Bass Player MIROSLAV VITOUS is known to most music lovers for co-founding
Weather Report with Pianist Joe Zawinul and Saxophonist Wayne Shorter - yet
much of his solo career remains shrouded in sideshow mystery. His second album
- beautifully transferred here by England's Beat Goes On - is typical – having
received two release dates, three differing names and four kinds of artwork
across the years.
in November 1969 in at A&R Studios in New York - it was first issued
February 1970 in the USA as "Infinite Space" on Embryo SD 524. It
came in a fetching black and white gatefold sleeve with Miroslav’s photo
centred and was distributed by the mighty Atlantic Records. Receiving very
favourable 4-star reviews in the US trade mags - that initial LP had six tracks
(3 on each side) and lined up as follows - "Freedom Jazz Dance",
"Mountain In The Clouds" and "When Face Gets Place" on Side
1 with "Infinite Search", "I Will Tell Him On You" and
"Epilogue" on Side 2.
that version was deemed unsatisfactory and in 1972 it was remixed and reissued
by Atlantic in November 1972 in Germany on Hor Zu/Atlantic ATL 30 024 now
called "The Bass" with an extra unreleased-song - "Cerecka"
- and a rejiggered track list. To confuse matters further - the American
remixed and expanded version issued November 1972 on Atlantic SD 1622 was given
yet another name - "Mountain In The Clouds". A further European issue
actually sported yet more different artwork (a fourth variant). This December
2016 single-CD reissue uses the German name, artwork and 1972 WEA Remix. Here
are the finite details...
released 2 December 2016 - "The Bass" by MIROSLAV VITOUS on Beat Goes
On BGOCD 1260 (Barcode 5017261212603) is a straightforward CD transfer of the
1972 Remixed Atlantic Records LP and plays out as follows (47:25 minutes):
Freedom Jazz Dance
Mountain In The Clouds
Infinite Search [Side 2]
I Will Tell Him On You
When Face Gets Pale
1 to 7 are the 2nd issue of the LP "Infinite Space" now renamed as
"The Bass" - released November 1972 in Germany on Hor Zu/Atlantic ATL
30 024 and as "Mountain In The Clouds" in the USA on Atlantic SD
1622. Produced by HERBIE MANN – all tracks are by Miroslav Vitous except
"Freedom Jazz Dance" which is an Eddie Harris cover version
VITOUS – Bass
HANCOCK – Piano
HENDERSON – Tenor Sax
McLAUGHLIN – Guitars
CHAMBERS – Drums on "Epilogue" only
DeJOHNETTE – Drums on all other tracks
12-page booklet pictures the core four of Vitous, McLaughlin, Hancock and
DeJohnette and little else (none of the differing artwork – there was even
another cover variant in the late Seventies in France) –but that’s more than
compensated by the new CHARLES WARING liner notes – a Jazz Columnist for Record
Collector and Mojo. On top of that is the stunning ANDREW THOMPSON High
Definition Remaster that I’m fairly sure is based on the Rhino Remaster of just
a few years back. In short – this CD sounds amazing.
moment the relentless and wild soloing of "Freedom Jazz Dance" (an
Eddie Harris cover) hits your speakers – your room is filled with the kind of
playing virtuosity that seems ridiculous even today – and in gorgeous sound
quality too. At just short of eleven-minutes the opener is a tour-de-force for
Fusion Jazz and is followed by two-minutes of "Mountain In The
Clouds" where Miroslav finally takes centre-stage and lets rip on those
fret runs. At just over seven minutes "Epilogue" is the smoky
nightclub moment – softly plucked fret notes hovering over a vibes and piano
backdrop – it’s beautifully realised in the transfer. "Cerecka" was
added to the 1972 track list at the end of Side 1 - speeding cymbals doing
battle with free-form Jazz from Shorter for just under three minutes.
2 opens with the album's other mellow-yellow tune - the original title track
"Infinite Space" - just under seven minutes of vibes underpinned by
Miroslav leaning into notes. It's beautifully transferred and has such subtle
guitar from McLaughlin. At eleven-minutes plus "I Will Tell Him On
You" remains the album's other major piece - a rapid freak out of soloing
with DeJohnette working those sticks like a man on speed-dial.
album in its various forms has always been a celebrated collector's item on
vinyl. Beat Goes On is to be congratulated for making the CD variant available
again and in such beautiful audio style...