Marshall Allen/William Parker/Drake/Jordan/Silva —
All Star Game ... CD Eremite, 2000. Used ...
The title definitely gets it right – as the quintet's an all-star lineup that features Marshall Allen on alto sax, Kidd Jordan on tenor, Hamid Drake on drums, and both Alan Silva and William Parker on bass! The twin basses are really wonderful – and have this deep texture that really shapes the performance – a sense of tone and timing that brings urgency to the record in a way that either player on their own wouldn't have been able to achieve – often with a sense of soul that really adds a lot to the reeds! CD features six long live tracks – all improvised by the group. CD
Drummer Denis Charles is at the helm of this bold musical journey – a set of free-thinking work by a quartet that includes Nathan Breedlove on trumpet, Jemeel Moodoc on alto, and Wilbert DeJoode on bass! The alto work here is especially strong – captured at this great point in Moondoc's career, with long lines that spin out soulfully, filled with imagination. Breedlove's trumpet brings a sense of punctuation to the performance that we really appreciate too – and although the solos have a pretty feel free, there's a sense of structure to most tunes that really keeps the spirit level high. Titles include "Jamaj's", "We Don't", "Mota", and "Round About". CD
A rare early session from vibist Khan Jamal – recorded with his Philly-based Creative Arts Ensemble collective! The group follows strongly in the spirit of similar combos from Chicago and St Louis – particularly the latter – and Jamal's group is working here in a mode that's initiated by the original sonic experiments of the AACM, but taken to deeper, more organic levels. Given Khan's later work, the thing that's most surprising here is the sound texture of the record – because although seemingly improvised, there's also a greater feel towards a whole here – a spacey, ethereal quality that reminds us of some of Sun Ra's most creative moments. Jamal plays vibes, marimba, and clarinet – and the rest of the group includes Monette Sudler on guitar and percussion, Alex Ellison on drums, Dwight James on drums and clarinet, and Billy Mills on both electric and acoustic bass. Although not overly electric, there's a shimmering quality to the music here – as if the production abstracted the original acoustic sound with weird echo and other techniques! Titles include "Inner Peace", "Drum Dance", "Cosmic Echoes", and "Breath Of Life". CD
A beautiful trio, and one with a vibe that takes us back to the loft jazz scene in New York during the 70s – with a loose, open quality that's really wonderful – as the trio builds up their sound through very sensitive interplay – never letting ego get in the way of their performance as a group, yet still allowing for plenty of space for individual improvisation as well! Sabir Mateen is wonderful throughout – blowing in this strongly spiritual mode in tenor, with a quality that rivals his performances on the Eremite label – and bassist Sirone has this commanding tone that's still incredible after all these years – alongside sensitive work on drums from Andrew Barker, who also recorded the session. Titles include "Infinite" and "Flowers" – each of which take up a side of the record! LP, Vinyl record album
Reedman Sabir Mateen makes some wonderful contributions here – blowing tenor and clarinet with the sort of soulful, searching tone we love on his work for the Eremite label – which makes for a great contribution to the music of Matthew Shipp on piano, William Parker on bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums! The Shipp/Parker pairing are as wonderful as ever – and very much well suited to each other's very dynamic shifts here – which can even be striking on some of the more laidback, mellow moments – some of which feature Mateen really impressing us on clarinet! Cleaver can come full-on when needed, but then really lays back – almost allowing the group to be a trio, except when he's called upon to deliver the right dose of energy. Titles include "Atomic Note", "New Tension", "Irrational", "Gasp", "Cosmic Joke", "Our Lady Of The Flowers", and "Silence Blooms". CD