Saxophonist Elton Dean shines on one of his final recordings, featuring the powerhouse Belgian improv-jazz-art-rock band The Wrong Object.
Recorded live in Paris in October of 2005, less than four months before his untimely passing, The Unbelievable Truth demonstrates the remarkable breadth of the late British saxophonist’s reach. With Dean originals ranging from the 7/4 jam “Seven for Lee” to the tender ballad “Baker’s Treat,” The Unbelievable Truth also highlights The Wrong Object’s equally diverse writing and freewheeling improvisational ability. From quirky Zappa-esque complexity to ominous material reminiscent of Dean’s 1970s tenure with Soft Machine and even a hint of swing, The Unbelievable Truth proves that Dean remained a vital musical force to the very end.
Aymeric Leroy’s liner notes inside of the cd:
This wasn't supposed to be a one-off; neither was it meant to be just another unrehearsed blowing session for the veteran British saxophone legend - that it turned out to be both was accidental and unfortunate. Actually, "unrehearsed" isn't quite the word - Elton had been sent scores of Michel's pieces and practiced them beforehand, and the Wrong Object had independently rehearsed some of Elton's compositions; but they'd never actually played together before this concert. The reason being that the band's van broke down on the motorway on their way from Belgium, and by the time they arrived at the venue there was only time for a very basic soundcheck. Maybe this is why something special and unique happened that night. The band had "warmed up" with an opening set of their original repertoire interspersed with their usual helping of Frank Zappa covers, and as soon as he joined them on stage, Elton was his usual incandescent self. Little did anyone know this would turn out to be one of his very last gigs. Of course, more was going to be heard from this combination, but fate decided otherwise - Elton's already shaky health took a fatal turn for the worse and he passed away in February 2006. Thankfully we now have a souvenir of that one gig - with fine playing by all and versions of some of Elton's best-loved tunes, from his old signature piece "Seven For Lee" to "Basho" from what many consider his finest album, 1980's Boundaries, to the more recent "Baker's Treat", a gorgeous ballad and a staple of the recent Soft Machine “reunions”. There is no doubt in my mind that, although their musical paths only crossed briefly, Elton's spirit will continue to feed the Wrong Object's inspiration for many years to come. Trust someone who was there, that night. [MoonJune]