Makanda Ken McIntyre: In the Wind (2004)
This eminently listenable collection of wind quartets featuring McIntyre overdubbed on all instruments displays the considerable breadth of his musical pallette, nimbly balancing calypso, bop, and nudges outside, with solid blues sense. While some pieces have a chamber music feel, others sound like a sax section broken loose from a larger band. Buoyant "Peas n Rice" becomes a New Orleans calypso with slippery soaring bass clarinet solos. A rich melancholy suffuses "Home," a piece for double reeds. "Charshee" boasts lilting chorus support for the sweet melody and slashing improvisations. The layers of the writing stagger to create thorny mandalas wheeling back to the easy swing.
The mannered opening of "Black Sugar Cane" heightens the surprise of the swoop and whirl tenor and alto solos that follow. The baritone barrels like a runaway train, with a quizzical figure popping up in the trio. The aptly named "Chitlins & Caviar" turns grease to gold with ear-burning hot sauce solos on double reeds, no less. The rolling clarinets of "Mambooga" create a colorful spinning toy, shooting sparks. A classy uptown theme, "Blanche" exploits the timbral ear candy of a flute quartet for romantic resonance. "Puunti" takes the saxophones on a tart calypso strut around the island. "Amy" ends the set with flute rocking blues that winks at Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Makanda Ken McIntyre shares his ludicrous lack of renown with too many practitioners of this art form that uses the moment as its medium.
Track Listing: Peas 'n' Rice; Home; Charshee; Black Sugar Cane; Chitlins & Cavyah; Mambooga; Blanche; Puunti; Chasing the Sun; Eileen; Amy.
Personnel: Makanda Ken McIntyre: clarinets, saxophones, flutes.
Record Label: Passin' Thru Records
Style: Modern Jazz