Today on Ecléctico you're listening to Don Pullen, a pianist and composer originally from Virginia in the United States. Pullen was a master improviser with a percussive and dynamic style. Today's song features a quintet charged by two stellar horn players: Olu Dara, a pillar from the New York Cit loft-jazz scene on trumpet, and Donald Harrison, a Big Chief from New Orleans on alto saxophone. The tune teeters along the avant garde while steadfastly keeping time in a hard bop. Scroll down, go deep, and learn more with today's essay, too.
"The Sixth Sense" by Don Pullen Quintet (1984)
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Go deeper with this excerpt from and a link to an essay by pianist and composer Ethan Iverson:
This fabulous album documents a moment of casual in/out in the music. Pullen played jazz at a high level, he held down the piano chair with Mingus, but Pullen also developed a throughly avant-garde style, with his palm and hand launching a fusillade of wild runs and clusters. He definitely plays changes with a glissando, which seems impossible. However he’s doing it, Pullen at full roar documents some of the most exciting and esoteric techniques ever created by a pianist.
“The Sixth Sense” is a funky slice of hard-bop in 5/4.
Pullen’s own solo begins somewhat in a conventional zone, but soon enough the astounding double-time flurries start. The left hand keeps the 5/4 going. As good as the horn soloists are — and they are very good — there’s never any doubt that the leader is the most commanding presence on this date.