The Great Pretender (Lester Bowie album)

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The Great Pretender
Studio album by Lester Bowie
Released 1981
Recorded June 1981
Genre Jazz
Length 42:44
Label ECM
Producer Manfred Eicher
Lester Bowie chronology
The 5th Power
The Great Pretender
All the Magic

The Great Pretender is the first album by Lester Bowie recorded for ECM and released in 1981.


The Allmusic review by Michael G. Nastos awarded the album 4 stars stating "The Great Pretender is a perfect title for this effort, a mix of funk and humor, gospel and jazz, with no small points of reference to Dizzy Gillespie, early doo wop, Mahalia Jackson, James Brown, and Sun Ra... The Great Pretender falls just short of Bowie's magnum opus The 5th Power, but not by much in terms of sheer modernism. It's utterly enjoyable creative jazz, worthy of a space in your collection".[1]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 2/5 stars[2]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Great Pretender" (Buck Ram) - 16:22
  2. "It's Howdy Doody Time" (Edward Kean) - 2:08
  3. "When the Doom (Moon) Comes Over the Mountain" (Harry M. Woods, Howard E. Johnson; arranged by Lester Bowie) - 3:39
  4. "Rios Negroes" (Bowie) - 7:17
  5. "Rose Drop" (Bowie) - 7:28
  6. "Oh, How the Ghost Sings" (Bowie, Donald Smith, Fred Williams, Phillip Wilson, Manfred Eicher, Martin Wieland) 5:50



  1. ^ a b Nastos, M. G. Allmusic Review accessed May 9, 2011
  2. ^ Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 28. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.