The John Betsch Society - Earth Blossom LPHeavenly Sweetness
John Betsch is one of the finer jazz drummers that almost no one ever talks about. Since the 1970s, he has served as the imaginative anchor for numerous bands, notably those of Abdullah Ibrahim and Steve Lacy. His only album as leader finds him fronting a sextet which he wryly dubs the John Betsch Society. While none of the musicians are household names, they succeed in producing an enjoyable, tuneful recording. In fact, several of the tunes, including "Ode to Ethiopia," "Open Pastures," and "Darling Doria," are downright hummable with a loose, loping, country-like groove and might even appeal to fans of early Grateful Dead or Canned Heat. Billy Puett contributes some strong Coltrane-inspired tenor playing on his own composition, "Ra," and is also very effective elsewhere on flute. Overall, Earth Blossom is a solid, straight-ahead effort which includes a few songs that, were they better known, might well become standards.