Reviews – Live Jubilation by Michael James

The following review appeared in the Melody Maker in 1978 or 1979:-

“This record by Wellins, his first for over a decade, suggests that throughout his absence from the scene he pondered long and hard on the processes of improvisation. It is rich in rhythmic contrast, in harmonic surprise and, not least, in a truly individual beauty of tone. All these elements were present in his early Sixties work, but have now been developed to an advanced degree.

” In Jacobson, Kendon and Wells he has found three men whose intelligence enables them to play significant roles in his kaleidoscope world, to immerse themselves in the vortex yet remain joint masters of every situation they create. If this seems an extravagant claim, close listening to the extended “Spider” will soon dispel scepticism.

” Yet if Wellins moves so convincingly through ever-changing layers of turbulence, he still makes every note count, whether ejaculating fierce flurries of sound or bending long introspective tones over the driving pulse of his accompanists. Nor is a rapt, contemplative mood beyond his ken, as “What’s Happening?”, a concise study in tenor magic over shuddering keyboard chords, makes stunningly plain.

Bearing in mind his taste for displaced melodies and rhythmic dislocation, antecedents might be cited for some of his methods, amongst them J. R. Monterose’s 1960 quartet, or the unit Miles Davis led between 1964 and 1968. Yet the truth is that this is a document as personal as it is impassioned, one which shuns all dogma, ancient or modern, and proves Wellins to posses one of the most penetrating minds in jazz today.”

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