Air – Air Lore Novus AN 3014 (1979)
This has definitely grown on me since my first listen. It’s now one of my most favorite jazz albums of the late 1970s, with “The Ragtime Dance” and “Buddy Bolden’s Blues” possibly being my favorite songs on the album (though it is hard to choose because all are great). The only new composition here is “Paille Street”; the others are old tunes by Jelly Roll Morton and Scott Joplin. The performances make rather unusual choices in melding bits of more traditional styling with more modern improvisation. But what is most unusual is which bits they update and which bits they leave alone. The group changes up dynamics, timbres, rhythms, in ways I haven’t ever quite encountered before. One minute you can recognize this as music composed for piano, but the next you can’t. Curiouser and curiouser.