Arguably the crown jewel New York’s Strata East label, Clifford Jordan’s Glass Bead Games features some of the heaviest playing to ever be laid down to wax. Recorded in 1973, the album was the fifth part of the “Strata-East Dolphy Series”. The lineup is brutally deep, with Billy Higgins on drums, Cedar Walton and Stanley Cowell on piano, and Bill Lee (Spike’s father) and Sam Jones on violin bass. Jordan’s playing is brilliant throughout. He takes a page from John’s influence but without feeling the obligation of mimicking his predecessor, resulting in some of the most significant saxophone performance on record since. Obviously, every track is full of heavy jazz vibrations that captivates you from the moment you lay down the needle, but it’s Lee’s “John Coltrane” that takes the proverbial sonic cake. Opening with a solo chorus by its composer and moving into a vocal chant by Jordan, Higgins, and Lee, the song is haunting, and leaves a lasting impression that’ll be hard to shake. 12 tracks in all, high quality Japanese pressing with repro gatefold and obi strip. Don’t sleep on this stellar reissue if you don’t want to fork an arm and a leg for an OG!
- black double vinyl pressing
- high-quality Japan import
- housed in gatefold sleeve w/ obi strip
- featuring Clifford Jordan (t. sax), Stanley Cowell (p), Cedar Walton (p), Bill Lee (b), Sam Jones (b), Billy Higgins (d)
- original release year: 1974
- music label: P-Vine 2023
reviewed by Ricky Fleece 05/2019