Monday, December 12, 2005

Bittorrent Boogie

M'Boom and The World Saxophone Quartet - The Grand Collaboration Max Roach was one of the great organizers in jazz. Not only was he a label owner and entrepreneur, but in the 1970's he formed the percussion ensemble M'Boom, which he saw as a chamber group promoting the role of percussion in jazz. Roach also managed to organize one large concert each year and in 1981 he decided to have a big concert with both M'Boom and the WSQ performing separately and together in New York in a meeting appropriately titled "The Grand Collaboration." The WSQ was very potent at this stage of their career, with then young lions David Murray and Julius Hemphill leading the charge out of the loft scene as free jazz met the tradition of bebop and swing.

The concert opens with the WSQ collaborating with Max Roach playing a wide ranging suite of music, culminating in David Murray's composition "Fast Life." The music evolves from lush swing to pretty far out stuff with neither Roach or the Quartet missing a step as they essentially flow through the entire history of jazz. Up next comes M'Boom on their own playing a fascinating set beginning with spooks nearly science fiction sounds evolving into a deeply rhythmic groove. After that comes the main event with the two groups improvising in collaboration with each other. Much later in their career, the WSQ would collaborate with a group of African drummers, and you wonder if this meeting is where the genesis of that idea came from. There is a wonderful synthesis between the groups and the open mindedness and rehearsal time really paid off with an exciting concert.

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