The original liner notes by Andy Haigh are striking in their honesty. Like good jazz, they ask more questions than they give solid answers. For the sound of Elysian Spring is in questioning, considering, and evaluating possibilities. This must be a meaningful album, because nearly 40 years later the music is still startlingly fresh.
Trickles of classic Blue Note bop can be heard throughout “Glass Flowers – a solid-grooving soul-jazz feel predominates “2 & 2” – but overall the album is full of the kind of deft choices that only happen when musicians give themselves over to improvisation. This experimentation is most papable on the Gilles Peterson favorite “Blue Sands,” a modal song in 4/4. The theme is carried by the guitar in an unusual way for the late 60s, and is the audio equivalent of a soothing balm.
“Lotus” is another song that stands out for its unusual instrumentation of two flutes. To achieve the tones he desired, Bertrams frequently disassembled his flute mid-performance and used his hand as an extension of the instrument. This track is to be included on a recent compilation on BBE Records called Super Heavy Jazz, but the only place to get the full album is right here.
Rainer Bertrams – Piano, vibraphone, flute
Bruce Krasin – Saxophone, flute
Lenny Ezbicki – Drums, guitar
Jim Bridges – Guitar, bass
Merliani – Trumpet/flugelhorn, bass
Costello – Guitar on “7th Sea”
The self-titled album was here retitled “Glass Flowers” by Rainer Bertrams to more accurately reflect the music’s true nature.
Engineered by Art McLain
Recorded by John Wojciak
Photos by Ric Steliga