Jack DeJohnette, born in 1942, is one of the great living jazz drummers, beloved in electronic circles for, among many things, his role in trumpeter Miles Davis’ transition from bebop to fusion. DeJohnette has a new outfit, Ripple Effect, which teams him with Ben Surman. The duo perpetrates a fairly rarified realm of fusion, and it’s represented by two tracks at music.download.com that represent if not dual ends of that spectrum, then at least two potential directions, one welcome, one less so. “Ancient Techno (Remix)” (MP3) has a tinny quality at its core that keeps it from ever getting remotely close to the hubristic indulgences of the worst fusion, but it isn’t comfortable enough to leave melody behind in favor of open-ended music-for-music’s-sakeness; it has some nice touches of MIDI percussion, but much of the tuned percussion draws too much attention to itself, too eager to please. However “Ocean Wave (Remix)” (MP3) gets a lot closer to a state of pure motion, sounding like a thorough reduction of juju music: the dappled lines, the kinetic rhythms, the elated counterpoint. On “Ocean Wave,” even the solos are in service to the groove. (If the links don’t work, then search for Ripple Effect or DeJohnette at music.download.com.) More info at jackdejohnette.com.
The Ripple release, which came out on October 4, is well-timed to coincide with an archival Miles Davis box set, The Cellar Door Sessions 1970, released the week prior, featuring Johnette, along with John McLaughlin, Keith Jarrett, Airto Moreira, Gary Bartz and Michael Henderson.
Update: Apparently the Cellar Door album has been delayed. Thanks to Jeff LeVine (jefflevine.blogspot.com) for the news.