Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Nine to Get Ready
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Classical
The previous effort from Roscoe Mitchell's chamber jazz ensemble, the Note Factory, was the highly recommendable This Dance Is for Steve McCall, a session that, while showing tender and graceful moves from such a large gro... more »
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The previous effort from Roscoe Mitchell's chamber jazz ensemble, the Note Factory, was the highly recommendable This Dance Is for Steve McCall, a session that, while showing tender and graceful moves from such a large group, often burned white hot. On Nine to Get Ready, Mitchell guides his sound further into the contemplative territory Dance suggested--restraining this most powerful post-free-jazz band (including improvising titans like Matthew Shipp and William Parker) with compositions more about color and nuance than energy and direction. Tracks like "Leola," "For Lester B.," "Move Toward the Light," and the exquisite "Jamaican Farewell" (a different version of which appeared on the Art Ensemble's Coming Home Jamaica) are constructed by Mitchell out of fragile, delicate sound. His sound studies, though graceful and played with amazing feel, seem to hang together by the thinnest of silk threads. There are exceptions and breaks in the quietude--this is Roscoe, after all! The charming "Bessie Harris" swings hard, only pausing for Mitchell's slicing solo while "Hop, Hip, Bip, Bir, Rip" is a dense, gusty blowout highlighted by a gust of Mitchell's circular-breathing technique. The final track, "Big Red Peaches," ends this strangely beautiful CD with a goofy, fried-funk twist, as if Mitchell is tweaking our noses to rouse us from the moodiness. Excellent. --S. Duda
An elegiac masterpiece
R. Hutchinson | a world ruled by fossil fuels and fossil minds | 07/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Duke Ellington composes for and conducts the Art Ensemble. Well, not exactly, but I'm trying to give you the feel of this quite beautiful album. Roscoe expands his long-time Sound Ensemble to the larger Note Factory with the addition of several top players, including George Lewis on trombone and William Parker on bass, and leads the Nine through 10 compositions. The passing of Lester Bowie seems to hang over the proceedings. Roscoe must have known that Lester's time wasn't long, and both "For Lester B" and "Jamaican Farewell" serve as moving tributes to his longtime Art Ensemble compatriot (with Hugh Ragin on masterful trumpet). "Hop Hip Bip Bir Rip" is the only piece that utilizes the full outside roar that most associate with the Art Ensemble and other avant units. "Bessie Harris" sounds very much like Sun Ra to me, swinging, but on another planet -- maybe Saturn, maybe not... Most of the pieces are on the contemplative side, and emphasize composition and ensemble texture over individual improvisation, bop-style. The closer, "Big Red Peaches," is a funky little number, and a classic Roscoe gambit, going out on a backbeat after traversing the outer realms, the way the Art Ensemble used to close live shows with "The Odwalla Theme." I first heard -- and saw! -- them at the Chicago Jazzfest in 1980, an unforgettable ritual experience.
The early '90s was a lull period for Roscoe, and he has recently reasserted his position in the jazz pantheon with the CD reissue of SOUND (1966) by Delmark, his pathbreaking and influential first record, and with a series of increasingly confident recordings. This is the best of them, and one of his best ever! Thankfully he was able to record for ECM, with much better distribution than the various independent labels that cutting edge artists are usually relegated to, and the sound and packaging are superb. The cover photo of 9 parallel railroad tracks is a classic. If you are a fan of Mitchell, this is a must-have. If you are just checking him out, this is a fine place to start!"