The review site does at least give favorable marks for the Blue Note compilation. Though, one wonders what happened between the original vinyl releases and the compiling of the 2002 reissue, why now do they like this?
I will tell you right now, both of these sessions from 1969 "Is" and Sundance are both absolute must haves if you are an avid post bop fan.
I marvel at the freshness of the 45 year old music, just 4 years after the second great quintet of Miles Davis presided over the Plugged Nickel, and only 4 years after the Coltrane quartet disbanded, this music was created. Again, 45 years old is this music!
Chick Corea brings together a very interesting melange of free jazz, modal jazz, and electronic jazz to the preceding, just a hint of jazz rock only.
I love Corea's use of Fender Rhodes electric piano on both albums, especially the free stuff, I don't remember electric piano on too many free jazz albums, has Cecil Taylor ever went that route? Oh Man I would have to hear that!
The track "Song of the Wind" on Sundance reminds me of a Benny Golson tune, maybe Killer Joe would be a good way to describe it.
You have Hubert Laws playing his flute and Horace Arnold on skins, and the massively underrated Woody Shaw on trumpet, can't believe All Music give this a star and 1/2, crazy!
The Solid State Records release Is is much freer and pushes things out to the Andrew Hill Grachan Moncur III side of the spectrum. Definitely a notch further OUT than say for example the typical Blue Note release at the time.
"Jamala" from Is will surely wake you up to the fact we have some serious free jazz going on here, lots of over blowing atonal stuff, perfect! Benny Maupin is insane on this release, "you do realize Maupin is insanely underrated right?"
How could someone play on this track "Jamala" and sound convincing on tenor, then play on albums like his own Slow Traffic to the Right?
Can't say enough about Bennie, bass clarinet on Miles' Bitches Brew, and more Tenor on Lee Morgan's Live at the Lighthouse, just a player when I see his name, it's gonna be good.
An amazing time to have lived, I wonder if Chick thinks back with a big smile thinking about that? There sure as hell doesn't seem to be any Miles' around right now in jazz.
The bully pulpit seems to be filled with neo-conservatives who like the safety of what they're familiar with.
Seems like all the music to be discovered has already been played, I know that's not true, actually European bands like Jaga Jazzist keep me on my toes, when I think no one has anything fresh to say.
I went ahead and included both of these vinyl copy LP covers for Is and Sundance for this post, but I am listening to the Complete "Is" Sessions CD's through my iPod as I write this. Truthfully I can't complain with the sound, sound is on par with the vinyl.
You can get the download pretty cheap on Amazon, but if you need physical copies, the vinyl might actually be cheaper than this double CD.
Like I mentioned above, if you are a post bop/free jazz nut you need this, also fans of Woody Shaw, Bennie Maupin, and Horace Arnold should really have this music one way or another. If you are iffy on the free jazz stuff, stick with Sundance, and let Is go by for another day.