A lot of the culture in New York was moving further and further downtown in the 1970s and the jazz scene was no different. The 4-story loft at 501 Canal Street doubled as a performance space and home to alto sax player Alan Braufman, pianist Gene Ashton (better known as Cooper-Moore) and a handful of other young jazz musicians recently relocated from Berklee College of Music in Boston. After linking with bassist Cecil McBee and drummers David Lee and Ralph Williams, Braufman recorded Valley Of Search, his lone album as a bandleader for Strata East overflow label India Navigation (the same imprint responsible for McBee’s Alternate Spaces and Pharaoh Sanders’ excellent Pharaoh album), and it has since become a coveted piece of 70s free jazz. “Ark Of Salvation” and “Destiny” ooze spirituality in sheets, thanks to Braufman’s charismatic turns on alto sax, flute and pipe horn, Cooper-Moore’s rich piano licks and the wall-of sound rhythms of Lee and Williams. McBee’s virtuosic solo on “Miracles” achieves new tones for double bass, perhaps returning the favor to Braufman for playing sideman on the classic Mutima LP the year before. Braufman’s nephew Nabil Ayers spent a lot of time at the Canal street loft as a child (yup, he inspired “Little Nabil’s March”), and has taken up the task of reissuing the album on a new label (also called Valley Of Search). This official repress gets a nice remaster, packaged in repro sleeve with original artwork and extensive liner notes about the album’s creation by Clifford Allen. Recommended.
- official repress
- printed insert w/ extensive liner notes by Clifford Allen
- music label: Valley Of Search 2018
reviewed by nick nightingale 07/2018