“It was a different time," Jack Wilkins says of Windows, the guitarists lead debut on Mainstream Records. Originally released in 1973, the album occupied a unique space within the jazz world. By this point, Coltrane had been dead for half a decade, Miles was releasing his freaked out insane live albums (Live-Evil and Black Beauty are just two examples), and the hard bop / spiritual jazz high water-mark that had arguably peaked a few years earlier was quickly being encompassed by more rock-influenced, fusion styles. Windows cut a lane which Wilkins could thrive as "an antidote to rock's subsuming influence". The title track sets the tone for the rest of the album: loose guitar chords that move into free - yet precise - improvised terrain, presented alongside Mike Moore's steady bass and Bill Goodwin's beautifully mic'ed drums. The album feels wholly improvised, but retains an undercurrent that keeps the structure (ie: peep "Naima" and "Pinnocchio"). Wilkins channels characteristics of Johnny Smith, Wes Montgomery, and Grant Green throughout his playing. Obviously for the heads, the pièce de résistance is the cult rendition of Freddie Hubbard's classic "Red Clay", made eternally famous by A Tribe Called Quest's "Sucka Nigga" off of 1993's Midnight Marauders. Long out of print and finally reissued, the rights of the album sat in record purgatory after Mainstream was acquired by Sony in the mid-80's. Things only picked up when long-time Mainstream producer Bob Shad's grandson, Judd Apatow bought back the rights and licensing for this album and others. Presented in a deluxe gatefold LP with extensive liner notes and unseen session photos, this album will almost certainly be hard-filed in your collection. 6 tracks in all, released by Wewantsounds. Recommended.
- deluxe gatefold LP
- includes extended liner notes and unseen session photos
- download card included
- music label: Wewantsounds 2018
reviewed by Richard Cashmere 4/2019
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