Doug Carn - Infant Eyes w/ Jean Carn
Black Jazz BJ/3
Infant Eyes takes the listener on one wild ride, with Doug Carn penning lyrics to some modern jazz classics, which his wife Jean then performed masterfully, with the two most well known of these coming in the form of Bobby Hutcherson's "Little B's Poem" and Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes." There is also a very moving lyrical version of Coltrane's "Acknowledgement," that lives up to the depth of the original version. In addition to the vocal tunes (which also feature some nice soloing by the sextet), the talented group also adds in two instrumental tracks in Carn's original "Moon Dance" and a fiery cover of McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance," a smart move that keeps the record from being strictly a vocal endeavor that might not keep the listener's attention throughout.
It's pretty clear where the heads of these jazz musicians was during this time, with the musical choices skewing heavily towards the avant garde and post bop stylings of the previous decade. I often see Infant Eyes cited as a soul jazz masterpiece, but I think of it more as a deeply spiritual album, an exploration of what jazz music could be in the early 1970s, when so many boundaries had been tossed away and the musicians were feeling empowered to follow their own unique visions. And make no mistake, unique is the perfect description of Infant Eyes: there wasn't an album in jazz anything like this before it was released, and except for the three albums Doug and Jean Carn made for Black Jazz in the following few years, there wouldn't be anything quite like it again. In fact, Carn has said that he shopped the album to all the major jazz labels of the day, but none had any interest in putting it out for a mass audience. Apparently he had all but given up hope before Gene Russell showed up at his door asking if he would be interested in releasing it on Black Jazz, and the rest, as they say, is musical history.
Infant Eyes may be a jazz statement purely of it's place and time, but it has held up remarkably well over the years, and actually may be better understood in today's musical world where disparate musical styles are constantly being mixed and matched together in popular music. While this is not an album for every jazz listener, if you are willing and able to open your ears and mind to new sounds and ideas, your jazz world will be all the more richer for it. - thejazzrecord.com
Little B's Poem
NEW SEALED LP