Monday, March 17, 2008

Roy Campbell - Akhenaten Suite (AUM Fidelity, 2008)

Taking his inspiration from the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, trumpeter and composer Roy Campbell performed this suite of music at the 2007 Vision Vestival in New York City, with Billy Bang on violin, Bryan Carrott on vibes, Hilliard Greene on bass and Zen Matsuura on drums. The music remains interesting throughout, maintaining an exotic, yet accessible sound with Campbell's soaring trumpet interacting with Bang's swirling violin and Carrott's shimmering vibraphone. The two parts of "Pharaoh's Revenge" were highlights of the disc for me, lengthy performances that are buoyed by the energy the band brings to the proceedings. The music recalls that of Sun Ra, and he had a great composition called "Sunset on the Nile" but I think Campbell's performance of the same name name is an original, regardless it's a majestic piece to end the disc followed by introductions of the band members. While the musicians here are associated with the free-jazz scene in New York, much of the music is centered around the compositions, and even mainstream jazz fans should find a lot to enjoy here. This is fresh, invigorating and enjoyable music.

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