Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Melodic Art-tet - Melodic Art-tet (NoBusiness, 2013)

This fascinating archival album captures a live in the studio performance by a collective group featuring Charles Brackeen on flute, soprano and tenor saxophones, Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet, William Parker on bass, Roger Blank on drums and Tony Waters (Ramadan Mumeen) on percussion. This performance was recorded in 1974 at the beginning of the loft scene in New York City and shows how the group takes a wide range of jazz history from hard bop to free jazz and melds it into a language of their own. There are four lengthy improvisations on this album, the third of which encompasses an ambitious five part suite (Time and Money>YAMACA>Open Pit>Chena In the Chapel With Cheer) which develops a number of individual motifs that give the players plenty of improvisational opportunities. Brackeen’s tone and playing are reminiscent of some of Albert Ayler’s quieter moments with his saxophone quivering and probing in space before developing a more cohesive improvisation. Abdullah makes for an excellent foil (as well as writing excellent liner notes for this release) and the rhythm team ties it all together. This was a well done archival release that explores a corner of the music scene that is not well mapped while at the same time shining much needed light on unappreciated musicians. Melodic Art-tet - NoBusiness Records.

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