The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) will be celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. The Chicago-based collective’s contributions to creative improvised music are immeasurable. As a continuous advocate and outlet for creative cultural expression the AACM ranks at the top of musical collectives both in terms of longevity and quality of purpose. Though the association as a whole has managed to persevere the lean finances and tough times that have marked jazz music’s recent history, many of the individual members have not been so lucky. McIntyre is one such casualty. As one of the earliest members of the AACM, he was one of its brightest original beacons, and he possessed a discipline and drive towards his music that served as a model for many of the organization’s later members. The years he has devoted to his craft have not always been kind and like many of his peers he’s been forced to abandon his passion for lengthy stretches in order to survive.
This CIMP date marks McIntyre’s first return to the recording studio as a leader in almost two decades and he meets the challenge head on seeming to want more than anything to make up for lost time. His comrades are similarly galvanized by his triumphal return and apply themselves to making the date something to remember. “Kalaparush’s Blues Changes” provides a pathway for the players to find their bearings both with the studio surroundings and each other. The tender “Leah’s Song” shows of the trio’s romantic side and features beautifully solo by Logan as a centerpiece. “Painting #9” starts off a little sluggishly but the blend of Logan’s oaken arco tone, McIntyre’s lucent flute and akLaff’s fluttering brushes soon dispels some of the haze.
Clocking in at nearly a third of an hour “Denise’s Song/Orbit Stroll” is the disc’s nucleus. McIntyre’s tenor streaks broad grayish strokes across the piece’s understated rhythmic pulse and it’s a true pleasure to hear him cut loose, though mild dropouts surface in his tendency to move slightly off mike during his solo passages. Logan and akLaff also make solid contributions, especially the former whose bulbous bass vamp etches a feeling of moody mystery into the piece. “John’s Tune” references middle-period Coltrane and McInytre’s tenor adopts a tougher tone in tribute. With the onset of the title track, a loosely conceived threnody, the three continue along a path beset with vestigial melancholy and in the process create a music of lasting sincerity. McIntyre’s presence has been sorely missed. This disc not only decries his absence, it also points to what will hopefully be his regular return to recording and a reawakening of awareness with regard to his importance.
Personnel: Kalaparush Maurice McIntyre- tenor saxophone, flute; Michael Logan- bass; Pheeroan akLaff- drums.