Human Feel's sophomore album, Scatter, is filled with tremendous and passionately performed avant jazz, but its importance comes mainly from being the first widely available CD (thanks to Gunther Schuller's GM Recordings label) featuring then-newcomers Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Chris Speed (tenor sax), Andrew D'Angelo (alto sax), and Jim Black (drums). The presence of bassist Joe Fitzgerald is also noteworthy for a couple of reasons: he's a highly skilled and expressive player here (as he would also prove years later in Ballin' the Jack, and he left Human Feel after this CD and was not replaced.
Documentary focuses on the workers of the General Motors Assembly Plant in Moraine, Ohio - which opened in 1981, and churned out an average of 280,000 small trucks and SUVs a year - from the announcement a year ago that the Plant will be closing, to its last day on December 23, 2008, just two days before Christmas. While the workers are shocked that they will be losing their jobs, we quickly see they are also losing much more: the pride they share in their work, the camaraderie built through the years, and the shared concerns about what their collective futures will hold. As the major industry in Moraine closes its doors for good, many see its demise as an indication of the changing American manufacturing landscape, which seems to be dying as products are increasingly being made elsewhere. The film offers a snapshot of a moment in America where we may be seeing the end of the blue-collar middle class.
This posthumous collection features the remarkable Eric Dolphy in prime form. On three songs, Dolphy (switching between alto, bass clarinet and flute) performs two originals and Jaki Byard's "Ode to Charlie Parker" with a quartet that includes trumpeter Edward Armour, bassist Richard Davis and J.C. Moses. In addition, Dolphy is heard on three third stream avant-garde classical pieces by Gunther Schuller (taking a rare clarinet solo on "Densities") and jamming on a wild version of "Donna Lee" with an all-star group including such players as trumpeter Don Ellis, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, Benny Golson on tenor and guitarist Jim Hall that gets completely lost during it's last two choruses! Highly recommended.