Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
My very favorite James Newton album-solo flute
Phasedin | New Jersey | 09/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded in August 1981 for ECM records, i'm sad to see his currently out of print. Since ECM (the record label) still very much exists, I certainly hope they find it worthwhile to re-issue.
I own the original vinyl edition of this-AND bought the CD as well when it came out. I also bought a copy of this for a friend. So that's 3 copies I personally am responsible for purchasing over the years. Quiet music like this is better suited to the CD medium I find.
This is James Newton, all solo, playing all original pieces. Some of the pieces feature overdubbed flute parts as well as their being pieces simply for a single solo flute. In addition Newton doesn't just stick to the single most well-know member of the flute family, but also plays Alto and Bass Flutes, so the overdubbed pieces have a real depth to them. These pieces tend to be my favorites and if you're a casual listener, you would think that their may be a small backing string section behind the main flute part. But, no, it's all Newton.
I once bought a vinyl copy of this for a person who was playing flute in a High School orchestra. She had no idea that Alto and Bass flutes even existed. I hope this recording comes back in print so that others can discover it as well."
A Milestone of Great Music and Deep Courage.
Michael F. Hopkins | Buffalo, NY USA | 12/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For the master flutist, composer, and aesthetic pioneer
James Newton, there have been many crossroads since his
emergence onto the music scene in the 1970s. Paying first
dues alongside fellow mavericks David Murray and Arthur
Blythe, it wasn't long before Newton's love of Duke
Ellington, Claude Debussy, Charles Mingus and Eric
Dolphy converged with his copious respect of Japanese
Shakuhachi and India's Bansri traditions, forming one
of the most unique artistic voices ever experienced.
Noted for highly original Jazz expression, Newton
is as persuasive a creative force innovating Classical
music; a point generously reflected by his stirring
2000 release for New World Records, AS THE SOUND OF
The beauty of Newton's work, whether wry straight-ahead,
elusively cohesive freeform, or dutiful homage staking
its own turf, is that any one performance is a wellspring
of pathways. Each makes its presence known, while all
sources converge into the fountain of Newton's signature
sound and vision.
It is his singular ability to summarize world society
and homegrown culture in the forging of his own expression
which makes the Guggenheim Fellowship recipient one of
the grandmasters of this or any age. For many, AXUM was
the album which first crystallized Newton's multicultural
genius for all to see, beyond any doubt. The 1982 ECM
release is Newton in the solitary spotlight, performing
solo or utilizing overdub to form his own flute choir.
To be certain, the word choir is operative here, as
his highly instrumental music never fails to sing from
the heart and soul.
Very much the African American artist, Newton's love of
gospel syntax is as profound as his frequent use of
Blues-rooted over-voicing borne straight from the
immortal Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Blendings highly versed
in Black Christian folksong dip their heads into deep
African majesties one might anticipate from the mighty
Randy Weston. Aural reflections of all manner of water
music abound here.
Through it all, Newton's lyricism is impeccable. Each
and every nuance of AXUM, from the most searching
shout to the most fragile sigh, carries the cry of
a people's struggle, and one man's commanding grasp
upon the situation.
Let anyone claim -as some have tried to "legally" do-
that what Newton has recorded here is unoriginal, ripe
to be stolen or otherwise disrespected in the trivial
pursuits of the Pop market's greed merchantry, and you
will see the vile manueverings of corporate bestiality,
and rank piracy.
If you know the tale of what was perpetrated by The
Beastie Boys -with the apparent indifference of ECM
itself- in 1992, and shamefully condoned by the courts
of this country by 2002, no further words are needed.
If you wonder what I'm talking about, check the Web
some time, and look into one of the most shocking
violations of artistic rights and aesthetic freedom
ever perpetrated by vested interests in the name of
For an age which witnessed the barely-covert
political censorship of Country singers who refused
to be "just good ol' girls", this type of skullduggery
is all too common. For those of us who are African
American and persist in artistic endeavor and greater
good amidst sponsored Stephen Fechitry and other
genocidal practices, this latest outrage is but
another dismal sample of this nation's most
long-standing historical bad habits.
Even so, let none lose sight of the real value at
hand here. Whatever fortunes and unethical precedents
were established by thinly-veiled racism, institutional
apathy and idiomatic disdain, it all stands small and
petty alongside the lasting value of James Newton as
a courageous individual; one whose stand on behalf of
human integrity equals his many landmarks as a
AXUM is a centerpiece of this man's integrity, and
the achievements to come.
Long may the piper play.