For their debut on the prestigious Vertigo label, the already popular Keith Tippett Group really made their mark with 1971's Dedicated to You, But You Weren't Listening, an album that still to this day is considered one of the landmark jazz/jazz-rock releases of the early '70s. The line-up for this recording was Tippett on electric & acoustic piano, Elton Dean on sax, Marc Charig on cornet, Nick Evans on trombone, drummers Robert Wyatt, Bryan Spring, Phil Howard, and Tony Uta, bassists Roy Babbington and Neville Whitehead, and guitarist Gary Boyle. Most of these players were also associated with other notable acts on the UK scene such as Soft Machine, Nucleus, and Brian Auger among others, so it was without a doubt a talented roster of musicians. Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records are now reissuing this fantastic album with 24-bit digital remastering from the original analog tapes.
Quite simply, Dedicated to You, But You Weren't Listening is marvelous from start to finish, and one of those albums that tends to get overshadowed by the other storied jazz-rock albums of that era but really shouldn't. Epic tracks like "Thoughts to Geoff" and "Green and Orange Night Park" are just soaring examples of adventurous jazz mixed with rock aggression, with Elton Dean really strutting his stuff in remarkable fashion as a soloist, dueling with Boyle's guitar on the former and launching into his own scorching solo on the latter. Though much of the album tends to fall on the raucous side ("Gridal Suite" approaches free-jazz at its most chaotic), there are a few more sedate, at times 'spacey' numbers, such as the majestic "This is What Happens" and the bizarre "Five After Dawn". The rhythmically complex "Black Horse" is perhaps the most accessible track here, a sort of swinging Big Band number with tight grooves, soaring horn & reed melodies, a sizzling Boyle guitar solo, and tasty electric piano riffs from Tippett.
If you are a fan of '70s jazz-rock, and don't have a copy of this album, then you owe it to yourself to pick up Esoteric's wonderful CD remaster and discover this timeless gem.
1) This is What Happens
2) Thoughts To Geoff
3) Green and Orange Night Park
4) Gridal Suite
5) Five After Dawn
6) Dedicated to You, But You Weren't Listening
7) Black Horse