Hasaan Ibn Ali was a session pianist with Max Roach, who influenced John Coltrane’s “sound sheets” methods. Roach talked Atlantic Records into reserving Ibn Ali studio time in August-September 1965, but the project was shelved following the pianist’s incarceration on narcotics charges. The master tapes were lost in a 1978 Atlantic warehouse fire. In recent years, rumors emerged of a second copy of the session tapes. Omnivore Recordings has now released Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album, and it’s clear just why this recording had been sought after for so long.
Ibn Ali lays down seven original tracks with alternate takes on three songs, for an hour-long recording as seminal as Coltrane’s ’65 Both Directions at Once, released in 2018. Both feature bright, precise sounds that bridge free jazz and more traditional forms. Odeon Pope on tenor sax is particularly notable here, but Art Davis on bass and Kalil Madi on drums also are featured. The recording occasionally has glitches in sonic range, but engineer Michael Graves gleaned as much from the tracks as could be hoped. Master sessions should always be duplicated and digitized, since the ’78 Atlantic fire, like the Universal Music fire 30 years later, caused untold numbers of music classics to be lost forever.
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