David Wertman

Kara Suite

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As one of the three inaugural 1976 releases to ignite the mythical Mustevic Music catalogue, David Wertman’s elusive ‘Kara Suite’ LP was the first record to turn jazz drummer Steve Reid’s vanity imprint into an bona fide cooperative record label with a multi-artist repertoire. Entrusting his own bass player with the limelight, Reid’s unlikely A&R decision would typify his oblique strategies and challenge the common perception of a soloist within jazz’s shifting landscape. 

Drawing few comparisons amongst independent label releases of the time, save for rare standalone LP by Ronnie Boykins (ESP 1975) and cellist Abdul Wadoud (Bisharra 1978), Wertman’s only solo album (preceding his work with Sun Ensemble and The New Life Trio) combined frenetic bow work, intricate spiritual exchanges and raucous rock solid cyclic riffage to underpin his own compositional complexities.

Providing a platform for first-time players like Richard Schatzberg (French horn) and future avant jazz punk participant Ken Simon (tenor / soprano sax) ‘Kara Suite’ provides an early indication of Wertman’s multilayered and nonconformist blueprint from which the hallowed New Life Trio would eventually illuminate.


Kara Suite