Build an Ark - Dawn (Kindred Spirits, 2007)
Build an Ark is an improvising collective based out of Los Angeles that channels the cosmic sounds of post John Coltrane Impulse records. The albums of Coltrane's widow Alice feature prominently in the band's influences as does the music of Pharoah Sanders. This album is performed by a large and rotating cast of characters, including Dwight Trible, Nate Morgan, Adam Rudolph, Phil Ranelin, Derf Reklaw and Munyungo Jackson. "Healing Song" opens the album with full bodied piano chords and violin backing Leon Thomas like vocalizations. The title track "Dawn" sets a deep bass and drums groove while chants and hand claps duck and weave throughout. "River Run" is the highlight of the album for me, with bass and percussion again setting the groove, and Alice Coltrane-ian harp adding an almost otherworldly vibe to the proceedings amid some atmospheric flute and percussion. There are a couple of misfires on the disc, on the track "Morning Glory" vocals dominate, overshadowing the music with corny lyrics recalling some of Pharoah Sanders worst music on his overproduced 80's records. The finale, "Heaven" goes way over the top with overwrought strings drowning out the game efforts of the harp and saxophone. So, overall this is a mixed bag. I do enjoy the "kozmigroove" music of the Impulse era that this band takes as it's inspiration from and there is some good music to be found on this disc. Perhaps the next disc will dispense with the unnecessary strings and vocals that burden the music and allow these talented musicians to take flight on the cosmic journey they desire.
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