This week’s album is taken from the ECM catalogue: John Clark’s disarmingly beautiful Faces from 1981.
John Clark is a Brooklyn-born jazz horn player who hasn’t made many records as a bandleader but who has nonetheless been hugely prolific by recording and playing with the likes of Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Leonard Bernstein, Chick Corea, and many others.
Faces is a very quiet record, matching its cover image perfectly with its ghostly and introspective quality. There’s a vaporous, trailing-behind sensation throughout the record’s duration which find expression in the generous reverb on both the horn and the electric cello. It sounds like you’re watching a person in a rain-soaked coat wandering through the streaks of neon reflected in water puddles while life slowly rails off someplace vague. It’s the perfect soundtrack, or rather companion, for deep introspection.
That may sound a bit sad and dreamy but there are also occasional joyous moments to be found here like in the steel-drum tropical sunshine of “Silver Rain, Pt. III” or the baroque exuberance of “You Did It, You Did It!”
If you enjoyed this record make sure to have a closer look at ECM’s catalogue if you haven’ yet, you may find pearls like Faces more often than not!
The video below states that the release date was 1980, however, that was the year the album was recorded. It saw a physical release in 1981.