Few maestros are quite as masterful as Jack De Johnette, so much so that it is easy to lose track of just how ubiquitous he was in the development of Great Black Music, from hard bop to fusion. John and Alice Coltrane to Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett,Charles Lloyd … the list of collaborators goes on. He has also signed more records than anyone on the mythical ECM label, the kind of accolade that drummers are rarely in contention for.
The 1980s saw him lead a group known as Special Edition, for which he earned more plaudits than ever before. Through its active years it had a rotating front line, which gave opportunities to lesser-known or up-and-coming horn players, while his grinding playing style served, in his own words, to offer “the necessary gravity to keep the horn players in a tight orbit.” Here, the group weaves brilliant and chaotic feeling into tracks by Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk.