Sunday, December 11, 2005

LeRoy Jenkins - Space Minds/New Worlds/Survival of America (Tomato, 1978)

Violinist LeRoy Jenkins was a founding member of The Revolutionary Ensemble and when that group went of sabbatical in the mid-1970's, Jenkins turned his attention to teaching and producing solo albums like this unique piece of music. On this record he's joined by Andrew Cryille on drums, Anthony Davis on piano, George Lewis on trombone and electronics and Richard Teitlebaum on moog synth.

The title track is a side-long four part suite depicting a voyage to outer space in six movements. The crew of the spaceship (the musicians) guides their spaceship of music through the void. Jenkins violin is the prominent voice, but the addition of the electronics from both Teitelbaum and Adams in concert with the violin give the music some thing of an eerie and spacey feel, like a Sun Ra long-form composition. Side two of the record returns the group to the traditional song form with the electronics sitting out. Most impressive are "The Clowns" and "Kick Back Stomp" which feature the group improvising together at an uptempo pace.

This was a very interesting and unusual record, making use of different compositional techniques and instrumentation and using the electronic as an arrangement tool and extra voice in the music. The difference in the music on both sides is interesting as well, showing two sides of the band with and without electronics.

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