Joe Henderson was a true genius and a unique musical visionary. “Elements” is a testament to both of those attributes for it really is in a league all its own. Spritual jazz-fusion…….yes, absolutely…..but it’s more than that. It’s celestial, cosmic, and trance inducing for it takes the listener on a musical excursion…..dark and mysterious…..unlike any other. Alice Coltrane undoubtedly cotributed alot to this, for the sublime sound of her harp and piano playing is very much an integral component of this awesome work of art. Joe does things on this album that are unlike anything else he ever did as far as the sound and tone of his sax are concerned. One example of this is the effects he uses on the third cut “Water”. He was able to “treat” his sax to make it sound as if it were eminating from the far depths of the ocean, that’s how I perceive it anyway. It also includes eastern Indian percussion and citar atop a hypnotic groove that really has to be heard to be appreciated. The last track, “Earth” is 13 minutes of spacy aural stimulation that features amazing violin work from Michael White atop another tripped out hypnotic groove. The first two tracks, “Fire” and “Air” are also phenomenal and of course feature instrumentation of the loftiest order from all participants. The former includes one of my all time favourite sax riffs and the latter is a free-form meltdown. This is a gift of extraordinary magnitude. [Source]
Here’s the line up:
Personnel: Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute, piano); Alice Coltrane (harp, piano, harmonium, tamboura); Kenneth Nash (spoken vocals, wood flute, congas, sakara drum, bells, gongs, percussion); Michael White (violin); Charlie Haden (bass); Ndugu Chancler (drums); Baba Daru Oshun (tabla, percussion). Recorded at Village Recorders, Los Angeles, California from October 15-17, 1973. Originally released on Milestone (9053).