Allen’s “Angels and Demons at Play” unravels across a deceptively simple bass/drums vamp. Whereas the original version of the piece (included on Ra’s album of the same name) was an illustration in brevity the reading here stretches out for nearly fourteen minutes. The extra space allows for plenty of stirring interplay between Hill and Allen and communicates a feeling of unencumbered exploration. Celestial’s “Galactic Dance” works off a similar rhythmic vamp supplied by Oettel’s spatulate string plucks, but is more subdued in sound until an unexpectedly roaring finish. Allen and Celestial sit out on “My One & Only Love” leaving Oettel and a plungered Hill to converse in an earthy bass register vernacular. “Journey to Birmingham” is a musical account of Hill’s visit to Ra’s grave site and is filled with extraterrestrial tonalities thanks to Allen’s flute and an undulating underpinning of bowed bass and cymbals. Allen also has an opportunity on this piece to work up a squealing sirocco of sound on his alto. The quartet’s interpretation of the Ra classic “Interstellar Lowways” is beautifully rendered in a wave of melancholic tone colors and Allen’s solo is particularly engrossing in it’s juggling of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ elements. Hill also solos at length and turns one of his finest improvisations of the session on this piece. “Lush Life” serves as an amazing chance to hear these four deconstruct a standard. Each of them seem to recognize and build upon the core elements that make the tune so memorable to begin with. Allen’s opening solo section sets the stage and the ensemble soon enters to follow in a similar suit. Considering the scarcity of sessions like this one anyone with an interest in the Arkestra and its members owes it to him or herself to seek this disc out. In doing so it’s possible to discover not only what might have been, but what will most certainly be as group’s like this one continue to record.
Track Listing: Angels & Demons At Play/ Galactic Dance/ My One & Only Love/ Journey to Birmingham/ Interstellar Lowways/ Your Guess Is As Good As Mine/ Lush Life/ Discipline 27.
Recorded:June 30 & July 1, 1997, The Spirit Room, Rossie, NY.
CIMP recordings are available directly from North Country Distributors (http://www.cadencebuilding.com)
Personnel: Tyrone Hill- trombone; Marshall Allen- alto saxophone; flute; Jason Oettel- bass; Samarai Celestial- drums.
Record Label: CIMP Records
Style: Modern Jazz
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